Keep Going

Keep Going

Hebrews 10:35-36 (ESV) Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

Keep going. Just keep going. I have to tell my feet that sometimes during my workout. The limbs get all shaky and I cannot catch my breath yet I tell myself over and over – keep going. Cardio is my best friend and worst enemy. It pushes my body past the breaking point yet yields the positive results I am hoping for. When I pull up at the gym, I can feel my flesh begin rebel and make excuses for every reason to turn the car back on and leave. I am determined to live a better lifestyle through diet and exercise. It requires dedication that is greater than my desire to quit. I continue because I want the reward of a healthy body. It all seems rational until the first turn of the pedals of the elliptical or the drops of sweat make it hard to see. Someone needs to hear the words – “keep going”! Jesus is whispering to us today. Do not throw off your confidence in me. I have promised you a great reward that is an inheritance just for you. You just need to have endurance. So you will do the Will of God knowing full well that He is faithful to each promise.

There are things in life that must be sought after past our feelings and emotions. The things of God are seldom achieved in an instant but require faith exampled by endurance. You may believe that God’s Promises are true and His Plan is for you yet still feel like giving up. Perhaps, the wait is too long. The struggle too real. The trials too hard. The temptation too great. “Do not throw away your confidence…it has a great reward!” When our mind, will and emotions beg us to quit, it is usually because breakthrough is coming. Our flesh does not want to die or give way to the Holy Spirit inside of us so it balks at endurance and tries to shut us down as we strive for anything other than what makes it comfortable. Convenience leads to complacency hence just another reason I am at the gym. Confidence will kill comfort, convenience and complacency when hope becomes the anchor of our soul and mindset that is held on to.

Romans 5:1-5 (ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Faith is logical when it is based on God’s Word. We have been justified by faith which is made credible by the Word of God. Peace with God is established through His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the Word. He obtained access to God and all that He has promised when Jesus gave us grace to access a new relationship with the Father. Now because of God’s Grace, we can enter into His Presence and experience His Glory. Sounds magical. It’s really not. Magic requires a slight of the hand or illusion for the eyes. The Lord is straight forward. There is a process involved to obtaining that which is hoped for. It is not reserved for favorites but the faithful.

The process of God that leads to fulfillment is through refinement as set forth in Romans 5. Suffering produces endurance. Discipline always requires suffering. It is contrary to what comes naturally and therefore requires a forceful change of an otherwise innate reaction. The Word of God is contrary to our mindset formed by the nature and society. It must be continued consumed and digested even when it tastes like a bitter pill at first. Anytime, we introduce a new food to my grandson – his initial response is to wrinkle his nose, make a sour face and shudder. It takes a couple bites before he is readily consumes it. He tastes and sees that it is good so he begins to devour it. And so it is with God’s Word, His Will and His Way – it doesn’t always seem palatable but daily consumption, digestion and nutrition will soon change our heart and mind because we taste and see that the Lord is good!

Suffering produces endurance. Endurance produces character. Character produces hope. Hope in the Lord will never ever put us to shame. We must endure. The Bible tells us in Matthew that those who endure to the end will be saved. Luke 21:19 tells us “by your endurance you will gain your lives.” We must keep going to fully discover the hope that is to be found in Jesus Christ. God’s Plan, His Purpose and every promise to prosper holds something worth having if His People would only learn to endure.

Hebrews 12:3-7 (ESV) Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

Endurance produces discipline within us. It is the turning point of decision each day. Do I keep going or turn back now? What is your God dream? What motivates you? Are you tired of the same old same old and reaching for new things with new goals and aspirations? Is it a new season? Or is God revealing a new chapter in life? Have you been met with the unexpected? The Lord will be your confidence, but to do that He must first teach us discipline. Discipline is not punishment. Say it again, godly discipline is never ever punishment. If God still punished us, it means that the grace given is not enough and insufficient. Jesus is the example of endurance set forth for us to follow. Hebrews 11 is the Hall of Fame of faith delineated to encourage us that ordinary men and women can do extraordinary things when they set their heart and mind on God first.

Hebrews 12 is the gunshot of the race of faith to the finish line of hope. To keep our eyes on Jesus the “founder and perfecter” of our faith. He endured the cross for us. He exhibited complete discipline and obedience to the Father on the earth as a man. We must gain encouragement and motivation from the simple truth that the struggles in our life even the very real striving to just keep going will be worth it. Christ solidified that for us. No father or mother stops pushing and prodding their child toward purpose and success. Neither would your Father in Heaven who paid such a high price just so you could have it. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Following His Example means living a life of disciplined endurance that keeps going no matter what!

Lamentations 3:18-24 (ESV) So I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

When you cannot change your present situation, current circumstances or conditions, there is still one thing that is completely within your power to change – your mind! In the midst of the worst pity party imaginable, new hope and life arises from the one who calls his or her mind to order. But THIS I call to mind and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His Mercies never come to an end. In fact, they are delivered each morning. Great is YOUR faithfulness. It doesn’t matter how you got it, why you are here or if it is totally your fault. Mercy says, “Hey, come with me!” God is faithfully pursuing us today with unfailing love and goodness no matter where yesterday left us – we still have His Love therefore we have hope. You just have to keep going. The Lord will be our portion. He will fill every dry and dead spot in us with new life. We must only endure the struggle so our godly character reflects the love and care of our gracious Father. He has already given us the seeds of faith to prosper. Hope will carry us to the harvest.

I John 4:16-18 (ESV) So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Hey Friend! You have to keep going! It will be worth it if you hold tight to your confidence in Christ for it comes with a reward. The rich and satisfying life promised by the Lord to be exceedingly and abundantly more than imaginable – it belongs to you. You must be confident in His Love so that courage will drive your heart to receive it. We cannot live in fear of failure or the bondage of daily striving, but must run the race of faith freely unhindered. It seems silly to most and that’s okay. My promise belongs to me and I intend to have it. In fact, I want all that the Lord has promised me. Discipline tells me that I am a Child of God and He has invested in me potential that will be birthed into purpose if I don’t give up but keep walking in His Footsteps and running toward obedience. It is the demonstration of trust to live like winners before the finish line is insight. We have victory. We are triumphant. We can hold our head high because help is on the way. I don’t have to get it all right, but I must keep going in Jesus Name!

I John 5:13-15 (ESV) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

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Turning Toil into Rest

Turning Toil into Rest

Psalm 139:1-5 (ESV) O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

Psalm 139 is one of my favorite passages in the Word of God. Like a giant soft snuggly blanket on a cold night, I can wrap myself in God’s intentional creation and determination to love and keep me in the psalmist words. It makes the chaos of life stand still in God’s Supremacy. It makes me feel important when dark shadows of insignificance creep into my heart. God has carefully scripted the details of my life including every moment before I was born. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me and far too high for me to grasp so I am get caught up in the waves of busyness and striving that are the cast nets of the enemy to trip us up in the race of faith. To think personal appearance, qualities, abilities, and achievements even when applied to discipline, faithfulness and obedience to God in some way influences the outcome is ridiculous when I am predestined for the Kingdom – including every promise, blessing and prosperous moment that God our Father already planned and prescribed for us. Excessive pride and exceptional vanity cause the believer to strive for what is already given and long for what we already have. These two traits are the very essence of frustration. Greed for more is the appetite of pride. Discontentment is the adornment of vanity. Neither will ever bring peace nor rest in our life but a constant need to seek worthless things rather than heavenly rewards. God did not call us to live in poverty or lack. He is an excellent Father and wonderful Provider. God did not call us to walk around brokenhearted, sickly and diseased. He is the Healer. God still does miracles. Just as the plan of God was foretold, the process of God lies within us. Written on our heart, it must be opened and carefully read. There is a plan and purpose within us that will lead to full satisfaction and complete contentment. It begins in our heart not in our hands.

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

I do believe the prosperity gospel. God desires to prosper us…just as your soul prospers. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5) One of the greatest privileges as a believer is to enter the Kingdom economy on earth before entering heaven. Peter experienced such when he was asked who Christ was to him. His response opened the Hand of Jesus who gave Peter “the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” Peter’s confession of Christ as the Son of the God established the platform of his life on which the Lord would begin constructing the church. Psalm 103 reminds us “bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Kingdom benefits and blessings belong to those who believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and decide to make Him the Lord of their life. We must bless the Lord with the offering of submission giving Him access through salvation to our soul first and then placing the rest of our life under His Authority and Power which will release Kingdom benefits and blessings that make ordinary existence into the extraordinary life that is exceedingly and abundantly more than is humanly imaginable filling our journey with supernatural occurrences that will always point to God!

Ecclesiastes 2:22 (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.

Where did this journey in the Word begin? I love Saturday morning. It is the only day of the week when I do not have to wake up early. The alarm is not set for 4:30 AM as usual. This morning rather than relaxing and resting my mind woke me up. Swirling with my expectations for today mixed with others expectations of me roused me until finally I got up. Busy. What is busyness anyway? Everyone is busy. But no one is too busy. Oh, I hear you ready to lop off my head. God gives each person 24 hours in a day and the freedom to choose how to use it. All things are permissible but not all things beneficial – given all the same amount of time in any given day – it is up to us to decide how it will be portioned. The pressure I was feeling caused irritability to arise and I could feel the bristling of emotions. Walking into the study, sliding into my chair, I opened my journal and wrote the following: “How do I do it all? Lord, I need you to take control of my time.” Toil and striving for anything other than Jesus Christ and His Kingdom is the product of pride and vanity. Where do I get this from? Ecclesiastes – yes the whole entire book. We must place our priority on Kingdom first. No, I did not say “ministry” or “church” first. I did say, “Christ and His Kingdom.” It is the place of allegiance for the believer that allows all other areas of life to be successful. It somehow miraculously stretches our time and energy. The word “toil” is not a Kingdom word. It’s not. Toil means hard, continuous, and exhausting labor or effort. God calls us to rest. Jesus calls to those who “labor and are heavy laden” with the promise of rest. To rest in His Love, on His Promise and trusting in His Plan. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. However, in our toiling at home, work, ministry, church, and even in our hobbies and extracurricular activities – the enemy tells us that God is please with such exhaustive toil and really it does not bring the Father any glory because though it make a man rich it brings great sorrow with it. The blessing of the Lord does not bring us sorrow but complete satisfaction and contentment in all things. Toil is birthed by vanity which refutes the declaration that His Grace is enough for me. His Power works best in my weakness. Toil is vanity’s effort to self-assert itself over the completed work of Christ in us.

Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV) ”Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness AND all these things will be added to you. It is a terrible cycle entered into by most creating a vortex that separates many from the lifestyle God intended from the beginning for each one of us. We are told to be anxious for nothing. Trust and confidence that God is our provider of all things pertaining to life. It says in His Word that God has already given us every spiritual blessing. Like the widow with one flask of oil, it is up to us to find the vessels to pour it into. Most hold that little bottle of anointing in one hand and work with the other. This is not the plan of God for our life but rather to pour out the anointing in us into every area of life. No duplicity. Faith in every approach. Giving the Lord authority in every area of our life. Instead, work becomes our priority because everyone needs to money to survive, right? So our life is poured into our job, career or climbing the corporate ladder. Seeking to acquire things becomes the focus of drive and ambition. Work gets the majority of our time. Work also makes play justifiable. There is nothing wrong with balance but soon our life is filled with busyness. Add on top of that trying to serve in church as well and what a chaotic mess develops. Why? Seek first the Kingdom of God. The filling of our life with Jesus and His Anointing makes everything we do prosper and purposeful. Trouble is most give the Lord what’s left which is a pitiful pittance rather than the extravagance of our predestined masterpiece life. We must discipline ourselves to seek the Kingdom first. Above all things and ambitious journeys. God knows every need, want and desire of your heart. It is only in trusting the Lord to do as He promises that a prosperous life is achieved.

I John 2:15-17 (ESV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

When our son was diagnosed with cancer, my perspective and priorities were radically changed. Not over time, but in a single moment. Funny thing is that it was not when the words rolled out of the doctor’s mouth sending my heart crashing to the floor. It was not in the two weeks of trying to reorder and reorganize our schedule to include fighting for his life. It was sitting in a parking lot waiting for him to arrive to enter treatment as I was texting the office assuring them I would be there next week. My son got out of the car and the Lord let me see with vivid clarity what death looked like. It was in that moment that the things of this world did not matter anymore. I needed Jesus. I needed Him close. I needed Him to be real. I needed Him more than anyone or anything else. I called the office in that moment telling my supervisor that I would do my best to help them but I would not be back until our son was in remission.

Friend, we must reprioritize our life. It is imperative that our heart and mind be set on Jesus and His Kingdom first. It is not an old-fashioned cry of the church but the modern day yearning of those who desire His Kingdom on earth and revival to come. The world will give as many cares, burdens, worries, fears, doubts and insecurities it takes to keep God’s People land-locked and not Kingdom-bound. The enemy knows exactly what it will take to discourage, distract, detour and dissuade you from seeking the Kingdom first. We are driven by so many drives, urges and emotions that striving just comes naturally. Comparison does not only kill our joy but chokes out contentment. King Solomon had great wealth so much so that he was able to indulge every indulgence. Nothing was kept from him yet he declares it all vanity. It’s sad because so many famous people who are envied by others end their life because of depression. I wonder if it is because when they attained what they thought would be bring them peace and happiness – they found it be an illusion of emptiness which was completely devastating. The true meaning of hopelessness, I guess, is having it all and finding it is not what you wanted. We have a hope that will never lead to disappointment. To acquire Jesus Christ and His Kingdom is to have it all. We must not get caught up in busyness. It is a prideful place of vanity that takes Christ out of the equation. Toil must be turned to rest in the peace of God that is afforded those who trust the Lord in all things. Lord, I cannot do it all. I am not supposed to. So let me do one thing and it is this one thing that I ask:

Psalm 27:4 (ESV) One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.

Time for Release

Time for Release

I Corinthians 1:27-31 (ESV) “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

A thought occurred to me while dying on the dreaded elliptical. As I literally prayed for my legs to keep moving and the Lord to give me the strength to continue and finish the workout routine, my thoughts suddenly shifted. I realized in that moment just how weak my body is and strong the mind can become. My brain was telling my legs to stop moving and exhaustion was taking over. I began telling myself, “Greater is He that is in me.” In an effort to overcome my flesh by discipline, I had to literally change my mind. With a lowered head watching sweat hit the pedals, I asked the Lord to overcome my flesh and move from the inside of me to surround me with His Presence. That’s when it hit me…

Many will boast “greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world.” But do we ever allow the Christ in us to become our refuge? In order to do so, one must allow the Jesus who empowers us on the inside to become the place of residence. It is an act of engagement were faith moves from the inside to the outside of us. It is a conversation with the Living God that invites Him into our present. Salvation makes a deposit in us. He gives us a Helper called the Holy Spirit to cultivate good fruit in us. God already is before us, behind us and right beside us. Jesus is the access point of connection who invites us to yoke or partner our life with Him and He in turn bear the weight of every burden, care, worry and concern turning broken lives into supernatural existences with Kingdom productivity. We must make Jesus where we live.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (ESV)  So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Verses in 2 Corinthians are often quoted but kept in context it reveals a stunning bit of knowledge that could empower us today. Paul said, “To keep me from becoming conceited…” Our pride would like nothing more than to keep Jesus locked up inside of us. If our faith and trust never permeates the atmosphere of life it cannot exhibit its wonder working power and supreme sufficiency. It is in our absolute weakness and complete brokenness that allows Christ to move from the inside of us to the outside. It is the very moment that the invitation to live and abide in Him truly yields its fruitful benefits. Paul, in his humanness, did not see the powerful revelation at first and continued to ask the Lord to take away his “thorn”. What is the “thorn” jabbing the tenderness of your heart, softness of your flesh or most vulnerable of thoughts today? God may not be willing to take it away. His Love too great to leave you just as you are, but rather to demonstrate the reality of Christ in you so that you might allow Him to come out.

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. What is the boasting of your life today? Could it be confusing with complaining or a lack of contentment with God’s Care? Do you praise Him in the storm or rage on with the wind? Do you walk by faith or live in hindsight? The Lord allows us to have weaknesses to increase dependency on Him. We will stop cheering on our problems when the triumphant victor, Jesus, makes His Way on the scene. He comes at just the right moment. There will be no mistake that it is Him. Once you experience His Presence along with perfect peace – you will not want to force the Lord back into the box of a closed mind or limited expectation.

2 Corinthians 4:7-11 (ESV) But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

There is purpose in our dying flesh, my friend. It is the breaking of our heart and death of our fleshly confidence that gives way for our faith to usher King Jesus on the scene. His Supremacy will never be compromised by our inability to believe or unwillingness to partner with Him. He remains full of power and authority. Yes, greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world. You must give your allegiance to Jesus and invite Him out into your present situation. You will never do that if you feel strong, competent and complete. It is when our insufficiencies and lack are brought into the Light of His Love that He always offers something better. You have the opportunity to live the best life ever. A supernatural existence of blessing and favor from a Heavenly Father that has nothing but love for you. The place of transition is when our boasting about Christ becomes an invitation to give up our life to let Him be Lord. To seek His Presence. To listen for His Voice. To strive for obedience in every detail. To assist in the death of our flesh with constant discipline. God has a great plan. Jesus died to give you the rights to have His Plan. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. If He is not your Way, your Truth and your Life – it is time to make the transition.

Hebrews 6:17-20 (ESV) So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

The Lord has given us freedom. All things are permissible but not all things are beneficial. To keep Jesus locked inside of us is to allow our flesh to have supremacy by default. We need to live in His Presence to release His Kingdom from the inside to flourish in faithful hopefulness that Christ released offers. God ripped the veil from top to bottom showing that Jesus had restored access to heavenly things – not just heavenly thoughts. Light hidden under a basket does no good. So the Christ inside us must be released in order for us to live in the sufficiency of Grace and fulfill our purpose according to His Plan. Maybe the frustration you are feeling is the bubbling inside as Jesus gets ready to burst forth and offer you refuge. Or perhaps, the discontentment is the Mind of Christ telling your natural being that there is more to life than this. Take control of your rebellious thoughts and change your conversation. Overcome the enemy with the Word of God that causes Him to flee. Know what God says about you and live like it. Greater is He that lives in us but now it’s time to release Him into the rest of our lives.

Psalm 62:8 (ESV) Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah

Fight for You

fight-for-me.jpg

Exodus 14:13-14 (ESV) And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Our middle daughter still lives at home while attending school. She is employed by a new restaurant that is just starting out. Living in the county, it is difficult to start such a business and endure the cost until patrons begin to help meet budgets. A little more than a week ago, she had the unfortunate situation arise and her paycheck was returned for non-sufficient funds. Now our daughter only works a night or two a week as she attends class Monday through Friday all day long. She contacted her employer who assured the funds would be available immediately and given to her. She is learning to adult in the safety of our home. Her father and I assisted her financially in the interim while she attempted to work with her employer. However, the limited funds impacted her social life and freedom she had come to enjoy. If mama pays, I have a say is the rule. She had been handling the situation completely until I received a call from my defeated teenager. The bank informed her that they needed a new check to process and they could not redeposit the old one. The restaurant manager disagreed so she sat on the verge of tears overwhelmed with frustration and called her mama.

Can I just say that it had been very hard to intervene from the beginning? I asked for the owner’s name and telephone number. She hesitantly obliged as she did not want to lose her job or cause a problem. I have to be honest. I was ready to burn the place down and call the Labor Department. As the phone rang, I prayed that the Lord would keep me to the point and calm. The young man who answered sounded to be about 20 years old. I told him who I was, my daughter’s name and that she needed to be paid immediately. No hesitation or wavering in my voice. He must have felt that parental authority because before I could finish – he told me his location and that if she would come to the establishment that he would honor her check. Well, my daughter was quite relieved but now concerned that due to my intervention she would lose her job as all expected cutbacks. Within 30 minutes, the message came that there would be cutbacks. Her name was NOT on the list. Isn’t God good? Yes, God!

The Lord will fight our battles for us. In fact, the victory is secure in Jesus Christ. When my daughter cried out for assistance, of course mama bear came charging through the forest. She works hard in school and maintains good grades. She is a dedicated and committed worker. She loves Jesus and tries to make good choices according to her faith. Truth is I would have helped her from the beginning, NOT because of all the former qualities and characteristics I shared, simply because she is my daughter and she belongs to me. No one will cause her ill will or come against her without facing mama bear. Just ask the Labor and Delivery nurses who attended our grandson’s birth, God bless them all. If we love our children and desire good things for them, how much more does the Father love us?

Deuteronomy 3:18-22 (ESV) “And I commanded you at that time, saying, ‘The Lord your God has given you this land to possess. All your men of valor shall cross over armed before your brothers, the people of Israel. Only your wives, your little ones, and your livestock (I know that you have much livestock) shall remain in the cities that I have given you, until the Lord gives rest to your brothers, as to you, and they also occupy the land that the Lord your God gives them beyond the Jordan. Then each of you may return to his possession which I have given you.’ And I commanded Joshua at that time, ‘Your eyes have seen all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings. So will the Lord do to all the kingdoms into which you are crossing. You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.’”

The life you may be settling for is not the one that God intended for you to have. He did not promise you poverty. He did not threaten you with enemies. He did not tell you to struggle. The Lord has given you possession. Power and authority to take over the place you occupy and vision and dreams to claim that which is beyond human reach but acquired by supernatural application. The Lord has given you protection. He will fight for you. You just have to trust Him enough in the transition. You already own the new season, position, or place that His Grace has given you. You just simply have to take the land. Finally, God didn’t tell you to go it alone. The Lord has given you His Presence. He will take out the giants, overthrow kingdoms, and give you victory in all things. You are not made to survive but to thrive. He did not create you to exist but to flourish.

You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you. The Lord doesn’t need you to fight His Battles or even your own for that matter. Our position in this relationship is to trust and obey. To fall into complete alignment with His Will and His Way all laid out in fine detail in His Word (who is Jesus in human form so we have an earthly example). Do you believe that God is for you? Do you believe that He is with you? Has He made you a promise that seems too good to be true? Well its not! God is with you. He is for you. He is always good. He is always victorious. He is your protector. He is your provider. By choosing to live in the Presence of God all of these benefits belong to believers, oh there is the missing ingredient – do you believe?

Luke 11:10-14 (ESV)  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

You are a Child of God. You must tell yourself daily, “God is good and He is for me.” You must remind your heart and mind, “I am a Child of God and exactly who He says that I am.” Your identity must be founded in the person of Jesus Christ and trust must bind us to that realization to hang on until His Glory comes and Goodness fills the vacancies and voids of our life. Too many time it is a settlement, compromise or substitution that is chosen out of doubt which produces fear and anxiety that produces an identity crisis.

I Timothy 6:11-12 (ESV) But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

In the meantime, what am I fighting for? Faith. We must fight for our faith. Faith is evident in one’s ability to cling to Christ until the promise comes rather than grabbing hold of the next best thing. It is to pray and seek the Lord’s assistance with full confidence that He is working behind the scenes. It is to entrust every single detail of our life to Him as He promises that it will be turned into good. It is to believe without a single doubt that there is nothing that can separate you from His Love so it is easy to put every expectation in Him. He promises to meet and exceed them all! We must fight the good fight of faith in order to live a life of obedience as good children who love and trust their Father. My daughter called mama because she knew she would answer. She shared her problem and frustration with me. When I asked her to trust me and give me the phone number, she was obedient. I called and they answered – praise God! The Lord was already there and the cash in hand. Not only that with favor, He gave her double for her trouble in protecting her position and giving her more shifts. God is a good Father. He is so in love with you! Why not share your burdens with Him today! He will fight for you!

Psalm 84:11-12 (ESV) For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Soft Heart

Soft Heart

Philippians 2:1-2 (ESV)  So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

In I Corinthians 13, or Love Chapter of the Bible, love is described in lengthy detail. Not the kind of love experienced in this world or through ordinary people but the love consistent with the character of Christ. How many weddings use this text going in yet shortly after embarking in life decide it is not all its cracked up to be? I have been married almost twenty years. While most days are unicorns and rainbows, there are some days when the trolls and storm clouds rule the day. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love doesn’t envy and is never boastful. It is not arrogant. It is not rude. I doesn’t insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. Love doesn’t rejoice when others fall on their face or glory in “I-told-you-so’s.” It rejoices in truth. (Let me just drop the definition of truth in there – it begins with God’s Word.) Love bears ALL things. Love believes ALL things. Love hopes ALL things. Love endures ALL things. Love NEVER ends. So why talk about love when I didn’t even reference it in today’s passage? Well, glad you asked…

Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the love described in I Corinthians 13. Love is not a characteristic but a character or real person. It is in His Demonstration of true love that our life is changed both inwardly and outwardly. The same chapter also concludes that if we do not have this kind of love then we have nothing at all. We must all have the same love to achieve Kingdom living. So if there is any encouragement in Christ…complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord or one mind.

Unity and harmony are the very channel that God’s Anointing and Blessing flow. Though the most basic Kingdom principle, probably the hardest to achieve. Hard hearts to not bear deep roots. In fact, the harder the heart the less likely that faith will be watered by His Love and emerge into the flourishing life that God has promised and Christ secured for us. In fact, just like the Word of God says, without love there is nothing. Without love, we hold doctrine rather than hope. Without love, it is a religion never a relationship. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is the source of love, joy and peace in our life meeting and exceeding every expectation. If this is true, unity and harmony will emerge.

Matthew 11:28-29 (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.

How many times is this promise longed for but never fully achieved? The promise of rest for the weary, labored and heavy laden. Is that you today? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Is hope waning in your weary soul? Are you wondering where God is? The Lord is closer than you think. He lives on the inside of you. He invites us to “come to me” so rather than yoking to Him in the morning and partnering with Him through the day – it is human nature to come crawling when we need just a crumb of hope or spoonful of peace to get us through one more day. Where is the victory in surrendering to our feelings? Where is the triumph in doing the same thing every day? He invites us to yoke our life with Him and learn from Him. He is gentle and lowly of heart. A humble heart will receive rest for your soul. A hard heart that refuses to break will ultimately be shattered by life – devastation, disappointment, and the like will crush the one not fully yielded to God. Why would a loving God do such a thing?

My son is a police officer. He works the night shift. While the community is sleeping, my kid is patrolling the streets and keeping them safe. Many mornings I will wake up to text messages of injuries and reports of near misses just to tell me that he is safe nevertheless. Is protecting and serving my first choice for our kid’s career? Do you read the news? Even high profile figures have blatant disregard for law enforcement and incite hatefulness in others yet are celebrated even compensated for it – so the answer is not really. It is his occupational choice. When he was a little boy, he lived in my house. I was able to provide for him and protect him. When he needed assistance or guidance, I was with him. But now, how can I protect him from harm in another city? Or give him guidance in the middle of a pursuit or arrest? I can’t because I am not with him. It is in our proximity and position that God is able to work in us and through us. It is by invitation only that Christ will teach us a better way of life. He would never force it upon us. Love links us to Christ but it is only with a humble heart that the maximum effect of His Love will change our life.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (ESV) For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

A humble and soft heart allows the Light of His Love to escape. It is in the cracks and crevices created by giving up those things contrary to His Love that allow His Love to truly penetrate our heart, fill our mind, and make us amenable to unity. The flexibility in our heart is not subject to abuse, offense, or harm from others because are full of Christ. The building of God’s Kingdom is a commitment to love Him first over ALL things. It is a call to step out of our former self and become a new creation in Jesus Christ by allowing Him to change our heart and mind bringing them into agreement and allegiance to His Word. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Everything needed, wanted and desired is fully satisfied in Him by humbling our heart and giving the Lord full jurisdiction. Suddenly the things that truly lead to contentment, fulfillment and a flourishing life are within reach or should I say within us making its way out of us. This is the first fruit of God’s Spirit – love. Unconditional and unfailing love found in us and distributing through us for the building of the Kingdom and life in the everlasting. Amen and Amen.

How’s your heart today? It is up to us to examine our heart. Like a loaf of bread in the local market, I am not going to purchase one that is stale and stiff. I want soft bread for my family that is delicious. Such is the task for us as believers, to give our heart and gentle squeeze for softness, the humble heart always remains soft. It is the only way it can be freely given to others like Jesus has asked us to do. Lord, created in us clean (and soft hearts) today. Holy Spirit, renew my spirit and refresh our souls in Jesus Name.

Psalm 51:10 (ESV) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

The Simplicity of Faith

The Simplicity of Faith 2

Psalm 121:1-2 (ESV) I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

A car insurance company had an advertisement on television depicting a group of young people attempting to escape some kind of evil villain. Running out of the clearly haunted house, they are presented with two options. First, jump in the running car and speed away or go hide in the garage filled with chainsaws. The obvious point is that choosing their company should be simple. As a kid, I watched some of those scary movies that are spoofed in the highly effective ads. Whispering under my breath don’t go in there or run. Life is filled with choices. Each day a gift opened that is used how a person sees fit. Perspective changes the outcome of things. Too often driven by nature, society or basic instinct – people react to their environment rather than living by faith in the Lord who promises to be our help.

I lift my eyes to the hills.

What is your focus today? Is it getting the kids to school? Making it to work on time? Fulfilling your overloaded schedule? Meeting the demands of all those who depend on you? Stress, worry and burden is the enemy’s secret scheme to weigh you down so that he can overtake you. Like a mighty lion chasing its next meal, once close burying its claws into the prey so that it must now carry the weight of both animals to continue to flee. Tiring quickly from the extra burden, the animal grows weak and tired so that the lion must only wait until exhaustion takes over and he can easily steal the victim’s life. There is a roaring lion pursuing you today. He wants to distract, detour, and discourage you so that doubt will begin to fill your heart and overtake you. The burden of life becomes too heavy and God seems so far. He cannot take your life but simply waits for you to give it away. Well, I have wonderful news for you today!

Psalm 121:3-8 (ESV) He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

The Lord is your keeper. That’s right – He is with you always. In Psalm 139, it reminds us that the Lord knows us. He knows when you sit down and rise up. He is well aware of the words I speak. He knows what I am doing before I even do it. He goes before me and hems me in from behind surrounding me with His Love and Protection. His Hand steadily upon me. The Lord is ALWAYS thinking about me. Good thoughts! This psalm is written by David as many of them others, too. I wonder how many were penned sitting in a field tending sheep all alone. Isolation can be a deafening silence. The enemy of our soul uses it to try and convince us no one cares not even God. Simply not true and overcome by the simplicity of faith.

What is this simplicity of faith? I am so thankful you asked. Talking to a young woman at church whose heart had been broken and betrayed, she made the statement – “I don’t know how to put God first.” My response – “It is a lifelong struggle.” We speak faith. Pretend faith. Preach faith. Who really lives by faith? Before you raise your hand and voice your “faith”, hear me out. Faith is living in full expectation that what God said – He will do. It means living like the impossible will happen at any given moment. People with such a hopeful expectation are not consumed by earthy trivialities. They do not get caught up in “civilian affairs”. They are not whining or complaining on social media to draw the attention of others. They are not fighting one another for earthly causes but bound together by the Love of God to be the Light of the World pointing to the Kingdom. No, they are walking by faith. Faith in God’s Word with such confidence they look for their Helper in every detail of life.

What does that mean? They keep their eyes uplifted looking for their Helper to arrive. Faith walkers are talkers who decided to buy the hype and become zealous for the promises of God. They began to actually believe, like David, that He pursues them with unfailing love and goodness ALL the days of their life. They grabbed hold of the promise that He works all the details for our good. They envision the masterpiece of their life coming together so rather than keeping their eyes on the ground or looking around – they look up!

Matthew 17:19-20 (ESV) Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

The disciples were perplexed. They could not cast out a demon which was a high priority on the resume. Coming to Jesus for technical advice, the Lord dropped a truth bomb on his team. They were unsuccessful because of little faith. The Lord goes on to tell them that if their faith was the size of a mustard seed that nothing would be impossible for them. Faith is simple. It is small. It is contrary to human nature. Yet, the Lord saw fit to give us a measure to work with. He even says that those who have this faith can move mountains. Oh the mountains and other treacherous terrain! Rather than avoiding them, what if we looked for our Helper in overcoming them. That’s faith. Every hill and valley were created by the Word of God and His Workmanship therefore remain subject to Him. Look up! Look to that mountain you are facing – God is waiting for you right there! You must have faith in God. You must put your trust in Jesus. Not just in big things but even the smallest detail. When you are tempted to look around, push your head up. When your arms are weak, force them up in praise. When your knees are tired, fall down and pray anyway. That is the simplicity of faith. God first. Jesus in everything. Bit by bit. Piece by piece knowing that it will take a life time to achieve. We must start somewhere. Why not start now?

Whatever you are facing – no matter what it is – the Lord promises to work it out for your good. When the enemy enters your mind trying to commandeer your thoughts, find the promise! You don’t have to memorize the whole book – but find your Word in God’s Word and use it! You have the mind of Christ. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. The enemy is a roaming lion seeking the weak and helpless but thanks be to God – He shuts the mouth of lions sending them on their merry way. Help is coming! Look up! Your faith has summoned King Jesus and His Power and Authority is yours. It only took a few moments. A little reminder that God is with you. Know you have placed your eyes back on the Helper – see faith really is that easy. This is the simplicity of faith. Daily sowing new seeds in the fertile heart broken by life but being mended by the Lord! Look up – help is on the way!

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Abraham Moments

Abraham Moments

Genesis 22:1-2 (ESV) After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Abraham waited 99 years for the birth of his promised son, Isaac. Well advanced past the age of child bearing, it seemed impossible that his wife, Sarah, could conceive yet just as the messenger of the Lord prophesied she would she did. Now years later – some scholars believe that Isaac was in his mid-thirties when Abraham led him to the land of Moriah as God instructed. More than 30 years old means a life of memories, watching his son grow, mature and develop into a man and now God asks his father the one thing that is most precious to him. Why would God ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? Why would Isaac freely go to the altar realizing full well that his life would be required? There is but one word to describe it and you don’t want to hear it. Obedience.

Obedience smacks our pride in the face as it always requires more than our flesh wants to give. Like a hot poker, striking the most sensitive part of our heart to refine us and make us holy and willing. The purpose is to prosper us but it feels like death to that not so freely given. The sacrifice of God provided by His Son, Jesus, is demonstrated by the Abraham moment. Are you willing to give up that thing most precious by faith trusting in God’s Plan? The realm of hope yielded the promise now the promise is required for more. How quickly people stop praying when the answer comes? How immediately is yesterday’s miracle forgotten and tomorrow’s worries consume us again? Taking that which is good and forgetting that our life in God is always ready to yield more. Are you having an Abraham moment? What is the Lord requiring of you today? God is not looking for a sacrifice. He is only searching for obedience.

But what if He doesn’t provide? What if He doesn’t do what He said? What if… We as believers do not serve a “what if” God but a “when He does” kind of God. He is always faithful. He is always good. He is not like man that He should lie or change His Mind. Why would a perfect God change His Perfect Plan? We must be changed. Our hearts soft and reverent in our pursuit of Him. There may be something good required but it is only God’s Greatness that is in store. In fact, He promises it will be more than we can think to ask for or even imagine. Faith is born in obedience. Faith will always require trust. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Our faith is weak until it is tested. Will you place that thing on the altar of the Lord and wait for Him to act?

I Samuel 15:21-23 (ESV) But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”

When a young soldier attends boot camp it is with the intent and purpose to tear down and rebuild the person and develop strong character. The kind of character that relies on obedience to guide each action. This is imperative to the strength of the troop and success in each mission. If there is rebellion or division, the entire group is compromised and in danger from the enemy. It is complete unity and absolute obedience that a strong front is presented. Obedience requires absolute faith and trust in the one who is in charge. To literally put your life and well-being in the words and commands of such an individual. It is no different with the Lord. Completion in Christ requires obedience. Too many times like poor Saul, our power and authority are taken from us because sacrifice is misguided by doing what we want rather than relying on absolute obedience. Tired of waiting? Pressing on wearing you out? Persevering uncomfortable? I encourage you to continue in your well doing and do not grow weary. God desires full obedience because He already made the perfect sacrifice. He wants you to hear His Word and do what He says even if it means lugging to the altar what you value the most. He is really pulling your heartstrings to see if you will meet Him there.

Romans 16:17-20 (ESV) I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Success in the Abraham moments of life changes every outcome for the better. What is sacrifice anyway? It must be something we have to give. Well, every good thing in our life comes from God so it is not our sacrifice. The sacrifice can only be one thing. It is our freedom. Freedom to hold on to that which is good and give it back to Him as required. To sacrifice implies that something I have is of greater worth than anything given to me by the Lord. Think again. It all is from God and it all belongs to Him. My very life once given to Christ in exchange for salvation is not my own any longer. Obedience is my free will to give the Lord what He is asking for. It is the very thing that pleases Him.

The power of obedience is its ability to “the God of Peace” who will “crush Satan under your feet.” When we obey the Lord, the enemy loses all power in our life because there is nothing held in higher regard than our relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. It is a full demonstration of allegiance to His Kingdom which backs our stand with armies of angels at the command of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The empowerment of God by faith and trust is when in the midst of great loss or suffering – obedience is chosen over any other act or reasoning. It is the moment that every argument is cast down and our hope fully embraced. When arguments and lofty opinions give way to punishing all disobedience and living in the freedom of total obedience. (2 Corinthians 10:5-6) A mind made up in God will always strive for obedience in God’s Word and His Way because it is our connection to His Kingdom. Which leads me to our primary example…

Hebrews 5:7-10 (ESV) In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

The act of obedience demonstrated by Jesus Christ is our example. He prayed for God to deliver Him from the Cross and when God asked for obedience that is exactly what Jesus gave Him…and for us. There is no temptation or trial that overtakes us because even in death there is victory for the believer. The struggle in this life is to have faith and trust God in all things. We have Abraham moments when the Lord tests us looking for obedience. He loves us. He doesn’t want to harm us but to make sure that our heart is set on Him above all things. Idols in our life are quickly identified when God asks us for it. Pride is exposed when our answer is an excuse. An outright “no” driven by fear reveals hidden doubt keeping us from God’s Promises in the first place. Obedience is not God’s Punishment it is a privilege to come to Him and in return, He can do exactly as He promised. What is God asking of you today? Will you obey? Jesus did. Will you? Will I?

Psalm 139:23-24 (ESV) Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Nothing But Time

Nothing But Time

2 Peter 3:7-10 (ESV) But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Time is our friend. We do not think it is because there never seems to be enough of it. However, need I remind you that God has given us power, authority and dominion over everything on the earth including time? Before you balk, shake your head and begin to tell me that you are busy, hear me out on this one. People are striving to make things happen in their life. Cramming work, family, friends, fun and a little bit of church into the melting pot called life and quickly deciding that there is not enough time. Well…I disagree. There is time allotted to each person in each day – 24 hours to be exact. An individual has the right to choose how they will spend every precious second of the given day. God has given a place in time to every seasonal overture of life as clearly detailed in Ecclesiastes 3. One day to the Lord is like a thousand years. That is a very long time. The perception of time is important in comparison to our faith. God sees your day like centuries and an overflowing abundance of time. Yet, minute by minute it is pilfered away with the complaint that there is never enough of it and the little given wasted on worthless things.

Oh don’t get offended. We all waste time. Even the most efficient hardest worker will give precious time to fear, doubt, worry, anxiety and other worthless endeavors. Our time is sucked up by work, play, hobbies, social media and even the beloved Netflix. The vortex of motion created by the hands of the clock mixed with the various things vying for our attention change our perspective from being the master of time to becoming its victim. The Lord has given us the promise that He makes all things beautiful in its time. He goes on to say that He has planted eternity in our heart. Faith grows our longing and desire for the everlasting through the seasons called life. I wonder if we miss the potential of faith in opposition with time rather than working within it.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV) He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

While waiting for an associate at the bank, an elderly gentleman hobbled in and sat down to wait as well. He was well advanced in age and a woman who was next in line offered him her place. He quickly objected and said, “Thank you young lady, but I’ll wait. I have nothing but time.” How ironic that a man who has little time left on the earth would say such a thing. How profound? We must learn to wait. Patience is part of the process in obtaining each promise. God is not withholding good things from you but rather preparing you to receive them and sowing new seeds of faith for the next season of life. We must learn to trust the Word of God and that He is a Promise Keeper. The Word of the Lord will never return without fully accomplishing what He sent it out to do…even for you.

Ecclesiastes 8:5-7 (ESV) Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way. For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him. For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be?

The wise heart will know the proper time and the just way.

Words of wisdom for me today. We must learn to be wise with our time. We must befriend each moment and seek the good in it. God has given every precious moment of our life a deposit and promise to be found if only we would become masters of the clock. The world will never make time for God unless there is a tragedy of epic proportions. However, those of us who have claimed our birthright as Children of God must understand that is not the case for us. It is our privilege to live from glory to glory and victory to victory through Christ. Christ must become the timekeeper of our life who carefully orchestrates our priorities and schedules. It is not enough to make Him our top priority but work Him through every minute that ticks by to reveal the true potential in our life. There is a time and a way for everything. The Lord has promised to work every detail of our life for good! Good things will come to those who wait. They may be right in front of us but we are too busy to see them. Therefore…

Psalm 34:1 (ESV) I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Psalm 62:8 (ESV) Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah

Ephesians 6:18 (ESV) Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…

Are you beginning to get the picture? We must begin to invest our time wisely. Rather than allowing time to dictate its promise, it is our privilege to be masters of our time, talent and treasure. To do so wisely is a gift from the Lord through His Word. I will bless the Lord at all times keeps my emotions under subjection to the Spirit. Trusting Him at all times allows me to persevere when things are not going as I planned and endure through unmet expectation. Praying at all times in the Spirit allows the Lord to control my outcomes rather than a diversified heart and mind leading us off by public opinion. The Lord has promised to make all things beautiful in its time. We must command our clocks and maximize our moments by faith in order to be ready when the time does come!

Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Never Too Late

Never too late 2

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

Breakthrough is coming. It is on the horizon of your life today as a believer. I know you are tired of struggling. Wandering. Wondering. Believing. For what? Never satisfied and always longing contentment that is elusive. Why? Why hasn’t the Lord brought His Promise to pass? We all come to the place of exhaustion – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. It seems to be part of God’s Plan to bring us to the end of ourselves. I know just when it seems I am going to quit – something happens that encourages me to take one more step, give it on more hour, or breathe one more breath. The verse of promise – God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His Purpose for them. Is that you today? The good little onward Christian soldier with weak knees, tired arms and a broken hallelujah? Awesome – you are closer than you think!

I saw a quote on social media the other day that made me laugh and cry at the very same time. It said, “I threw in the towel. God threw it back at me and said, “Wipe your face…you’re almost there!” Stop it. How many times do we give up on the verge of breakthrough? Think about the Word God has given you – the promise you desire more than anything. Do you still seek it? Pursue it? Pray over it? Or are you caught up in the busyness of life or bondage of the feels? See the enemy has to intercept your faith so belief will died. How does he do that? He continually feeds your mind with thoughts of fear, insecurity and doubt. If we entertain such thoughts – they will form words of complaining, grumbling and even cursing the promise or worse Promise Maker. We must understand the importance of endurance and perseverance in the process of promise to make it.

Genesis 32:9-12 (NLT) Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac—O Lord, you told me, ‘Return to your own land and to your relatives.’ And you promised me, ‘I will treat you kindly.’ I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps! O Lord, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children. But you promised me, ‘I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore—too many to count.’”

Jacob cheated his brother, Esau out of his blessing so ran to his uncle, Laban for protection. Now to some it might seem like his purpose in God was done in his outright deception that he was responsible for. Yet, while working for Laban, Jacob prospered greatly financially and married two wives and had an abundance of children. If you read the story, he did not deceive Laban but the Hand of the Lord was on the wayward child or prodigal son. It is hard to accept the success of those who seem unworthy. Need I remind you and me most days that we are all a product of God’s Amazing Grace and deserve not a single blessing or good thing in our life today? With this in mind, Jacob is now returning home. He is not expecting a welcoming committee just praying that his brother doesn’t kill them all.

Jacob was pursuing God’s Promise. God placed eternity in his heart from the beginning and no amount of earthly success or wealth could stop the man from chasing his destiny. I wonder today if some of us just need to stop and look at what the Lord has done for us. Just take a deep breath to see the ground covered rather than the distance yet to go. Life is our process. Every detail from beginning to end carefully scripted in God’s Plan of fulfillment and Christ’s Mission of full satisfaction. For time sake, Jacob is about to cross over and enter his homeland. The women, children and servants have all gone before him. He is preparing for the encounter with Esau. Genesis 32:9-12 is his prayer to the Lord which reveals the heart of his journey. This sets the scene for his encounter with God.

Genesis 32:24-28 (NLT) This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” “What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.” “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”

Many of us are right where Jacob is in these verses. On the edge of destiny, promise, or purpose, yet feeling alone and isolated. God desires an encounter with you. He brought you to this place to get you all to Himself. He created you for such a time as this and you are about to enter in. This is probably the hardest part of the journey. It is the place where most will turn back. Coming to the end of ourselves is the ultimate place of transformation. It is the place of change. It is the moment of revealing when God shows off the masterpiece that He has been working on this entire time. You think it’s too late. God says, “I am always on time.” It is never too late as long as you are breathing.

If our lifelong pursuit of God’s Promises – do not lead to a face-to-face encounter with the Living God which results in our complete undoing – there is no point in it any longer. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel because in that moment Jacob was changed, transformed and made new. We are called to be new creations yet struggle in the change. God is faithful, friend. Just like Jacob, He has a plan carefully scripted and handwritten for you. It makes good of every detail of your life. He will reveal His Promise to you when it is His Person that you seek. Breakthrough is coming for those who choose to be broken and made new. You can never stay the same and reach full satisfaction in Jesus Christ. It is by allowing the Hand of God to change us, move us, transform us, and transition us that we walk by faith and not by sight into His Glorious Destiny prepared just for us by our good, good Father. Don’t give up. Don’t stop. Seek His Face and He will make Himself known to you even in the driest desert place. The water that satisfies the thirsty soul is not outside of us but the Living Water within us. Rise up oh well!

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

On Wings Like Eagles

On Wings Like Eagles

Isaiah 40:27-31 (NIV) Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

The eagle seems to soar effortlessly above the earth circling the clouds with only occasional flapping of its massive wings. It is a wonder if can carry its’ weight in the sky let alone prey its size or greater sometimes. Yet it does all by God’s Design as an example to us! There are qualities of the eagle that make it unique and serve as a constant reminder that God has designed us to soar on wings like eagles yet so often we stay landlocked with chickens, ducks and turkeys. Scratching the ground for something to eat, relying on others for a few sparse seeds of hope, or confined in a bondage never intended for us. God is ready to set us free. His Word says, “Who the Son sets free is free indeed” and “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” The eagle does not dwell among other birds. It doesn’t even travel in a flock but chooses a single course of action and only one mate. The eagle prefers the heights and even makes its nests in the crevices of mountains if available. The regal eagle knows its identity and what it is created for – oh if only we could learn from his stellar example.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles… The image of an eagle soaring in the air utilizing the wind current and allowing the airstream to carry it along. Oh the hope who are able to trust the Lord who will renew their strength. Those are the ones who will run and not grow weary in the race of faith. They are the same who will walk and not faint in this lifetime of endurance. How often verses and scriptures are quoted yet we do not have a clue of how it works or what it means. Everyone grows tired, weak and weary. It is just part of life. Those who know how to rest will continue in the journey. Those who are aware of their limitations will find new strength. Those who have a Source of Life will finish strong and claim entrance to eternity. Lord, let that be me.

Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. Too many times, people are after the Hand of God and never know His Heart. The Heart of God is for you. He is a Good Father. Far too impressive to ever allow us to settle for less than His Standard, or offer a substitute in place of His Best. Our complaints do not hinder the work of God but rather us instead. Our grumbling is only a sign of weakness that the Lord seeks to satisfy with strength. Until our voice is silenced, it is very difficult to hear the Voice of God. Today we must stop complaining and grumbling in our dissatisfaction to know and understand that God will do exactly as His Word said that he would. He will do it according to His Timing. It comes at the price of all of me poured out to be filled with all of Him. Christ in me is the very essence of hopeful fulfillment that never leads to disappointment.

Isaiah 55:8-11 (NIV) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Eagles prefer the heights. The higher the better in fact. God’s Word reminds us today that His Thoughts are not our thoughts neither are His Way our ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His Ways higher than our own. I wonder what might happen if for just a moment or even a day someone reached for God’s Perspective and embrace His Perception of life. To overcome fear, anxiety, worry and stress that land lock us due to doubt and attempt to trust Him for something new, better, or completely impossible. God’s Word cannot and will not return to Him void. It cannot leave without a return. It must accomplish what it was set forth to do. It is on a mission. Our belief or lack thereof does not in any way cause His Word to lack in any way. It is filled with purpose and potential to release a promise and remains until it does just that. Which means that until I am ready to receive it – it still remains in the atmosphere. Think about the promises that you have given up on because they seemed unattainable. Those dreams dead and buried are really only sleeping. It is time to wake them up.

Philippians 2:112-16 (NIV)  Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

I was tending to my little succulent garden which I treat almost as children. The only plants that I have ever managed to keep alive. One of them was looking a bit wilted and as I touched it fell over in the pot. On closer inspection, the roots of the plant were never buried deep enough to take root. For a moment, I thought about pulling it and discarding it. Instead, I dug a deeper hole and planted it more firmly adding just a little bit of water. I am going to give it another chance. I have needed so many second, third and more chances in this life – had to pay it forward to my little cactus friend sitting in my dining room. God loves us so much that even in His Consummate and Uncompromised Perfection chooses to love and pursue rebellious and prideful children to the depths of the earth. He does not lower His Standard of Living and will not compromise His Word for us but He will wait for us to choose better, look up and pursue the heights with Him. He tenderly and lovingly plants us back in a firm foundation of faith and waters our fertile heart in His Love, Kindness, Goodness and Grace then more Grace. He knows us inside out. He knows our pitfalls but continually focuses on our potential. He has given us His Son to provide access to Him. He has given us His Spirit to carry us higher than ever thought possible. Will you seek the God who is higher than us? Those who do will mount up on wings as eagles and be carried by His Strength.

Psalm 91:1-4 (NIV) Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.