Perfect Me

Perfect me 2

Psalm 138:8 (NKJV) The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

I am not exactly sure when I stumbled across this scripture. All I know is that it has become one of my go-to. When things do not add up to my expectation or jive with the way I interpreted God’s Direction or Timing, this verse instantly comes to mind. When things are unraveling or the world crumbling, “the Lord will perfect that which concerns me…” I must be honest that at first it doesn’t bring the solace one might hope for. It is not easy to swallow or digest at first. How can an imperfect person achieve a perfect way?

Perfect means complete. It means having all the required elements, qualities or characteristics. When the word, perfect, is used as a verb it means to make something completely free from faults or defects. To make complete. “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4) It doesn’t matter what the situation or circumstances of our life – the Word of God promises the Lord will perfect that which concerns me. His Plan for me is that I will lack nothing but prosper in all things pertaining to life and godliness. His Purpose is in me with enough faith to grow, mature and develop the good fruit that will satisfy my soul. The Lord even promises to make all things work together for good for those who love Him and to those called according to His Purpose. (Romans 8:28) This promise is just before the sweetest of godly convictions that nothing can or will ever separate us from His Love. We have been given perfect love by a perfect God who will perfect all that concerns His Beloved.

Psalm 18:30-32 (NKJV) As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect.

The egocentric nature of humanity wants to believe it plays some role in perfection. The mind, will and emotions embrace pride that can be the greatest foe against faith. Pride tells us not to surrender in weakness or to submit to God’s Authority. However, if God’s Way is perfect – it is surrender and submission is required which comes at the end of self. The Word of God is proven. No word that He has ever spoken or given breath to will return to Him empty of purpose. Jesus Christ is the Word of God who came wrapped in flesh. (John 1) To fully embrace completion and allow the Lord to perfect that which concerns me comes through the bond formed with His Son – Jesus Christ, the Word.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the access point to God the Father. No one can enter the Presence of God apart from the Son or uninhabited by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit marks us for completion as the sons and daughters of God. The only way to achieve the promise of perfection is to trust God. We must learn to live in the process of perfection with persistence, perseverance and patience knowing and believing that His Way is perfect and His Word proven for my life.

God arms us with strength by His Grace. His Power is manifested in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Perfection is achieved only by oneness with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son and filled with His Spirit. All three have vital roles in completion. The trinity is a partnership. When the rich, young ruler came to Jesus in Matthew 19, he had one simple question, “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” The man went away sad and dejected because he had great possessions. God knows our weakness. He knows the imperfections. He sees right through us. He wants to take those things produced by doubt such as fear, worry, stress and anxiety in order to replace them with perfect peace. The kind of peace that can only be found in total trust and sweet surrender of this life for the Kingdom of God and eternal life.

Isaiah 26:2-4 (NKJV) Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in. You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength.

God will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is stayed on Him. Those who trust the Lord will be able to wait on Him while He perfects or completes all that concerns them. Trust is the shelter and refuge provided by Jesus Christ, the rock of our salvation. The one who takes our weakness giving us enough grace to exude His Power despite our imperfections and weakness. God is creating a masterpiece of all the broken pieces. He takes each one and makes something good out of it. He gives us beauty for ashes. Think about that for a moment. We have a fire pit in our backyard. When our inky black Labrador retriever was a puppy – she would dig in the ashes like a sand pit. Sitting by the backdoor waiting to come in, she was unaware that she was covered in gray dust and a complete mess. Do we come to God like that sometimes? After we play in the remains of our past, broken life or tried to make something useful much less beautiful out of our mess? Have you ever tried to make a log out of ashes? Impossible. Who would even try? The Lord says that He will give us beauty for ashes. (Isaiah 61) He is perfect in all of His Ways. Trust allows God to make something beautiful out of every broken thing in our life. Not just beautiful but perfect! We must only believe enough to trust Him in His Way and at His Word.

Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV) Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I am not perfect. I will never experience perfection outside of complete oneness with Jesus Christ. To fully embrace and totally trust His Way by following Him every day not just some days. To believe the Lord and take Him at His Word even on those days when nothing He spoke is evident in the circumstances of my life – to hold that truth as my confident hope. To continually sow seeds of faith in the firm foundation of Jesus Christ requires more effort and energy than I have as a human and must completely deplete me of self to be completely filled with Christ. Less of me and more of Him must be my daily commitment. Otherwise the life I live is not authentic but rather a façade for others. God has promised to give me His Strength. I must be weak to receive it. He has given me His Word – I must believe it. God has given me His Son – I must follow Him. The Lord has given me His Perfection – by grace I can receive it when I learn to trust Him more. Today I press toward the goal for the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus that takes me out of brokenness and worthlessness to live in complete confidence that He who began this work in me will finish it. He indeed perfects that which concerns me.

Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

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Chaos

Chaos

I Corinthians 1:9 (ESV) God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Chaos! Utter chaos! The words scribbled in my journal this morning. The last few weeks have been a runaway train. Today our fourth child graduates from high school – breathe mama breathe! Time is flying by and the winds of change are clearly stirring up my heart and soul. With a mind fully of memories, thoughts and a to-do list that keeps on growing – I am seeking peace this morning. I need rest for my mind. Rest for my body. I am looking for the Peace of God and calling on the internal comforter – His Spirit inside of me.

The words that come next are from a place of deep reserve. The reservoir of hope filled each morning in this quiet time begins to spill forth from my mouth even though my head and heart may not agree right this second – God is faithful. The faithfulness of God is not surprised by circumstances or shaken in our disbelief. He is faithful always. Let that sink in for just a moment as I have this morning. Even though I have lost control – God is still sovereignly in absolute control of my life. My world is in His Hands because I have placed it there and refuse to take it back. It is in this passage I find new breath on a morning of absolute stress, worry and well…chaos.

Our little fur baby, Izzy, is asleep in the chair next to me. Our giant fur baby, Scout, resting at my feet. Both are completely passed out and intermittently snoring. They are resting after an early morning breakfast and frolic in the yard. They do not worry about their next meal. They are not concerned with the details of the day. The rain is of little to no concern to them in the shelter of the home provide. They trust me to take care of them. They follow me from room to room plopping down right where I am working, sitting or even sleeping if possible. I wonder today if that is the lesson in the busyness of life – a gentle loving reminder of the faithfulness of God that is for us and the rest found in Him. I must only trust Him. Believe Him. Take Him at His Word. Love Him. Desire Him. Seek Him. Serve Him. Follow Him…and all these other worries, concerns and details fall into place. Lord, let me find my way back into your Presence today.

Deuteronomy 7:9 (ESV) Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…

Do you know that God loves you with steadfast love today? It is not performance based but a covenant promise to you, His Beloved Child. God keeps His Covenant with us because He is faithful. My ability to keep my covenant with Him was irrevocably broken by sin. So His Faithfulness provided a sacrifice for my sin to pay the debt owed and rescue me from certain death – He has apprehended me with love not by force. His Love set me free to choose who I love and serve in this life. I choose You, God! I have decided to follow Jesus and accept the grace that I have been given. God only desires our love. Not just any love, but a committed love. A love that tries to be faithful and is remorseful in our failures. We have made a very structured idea of church and set mandates for the Body of Christ never detailed by God. He asks only that we love Him enough to seek Him, follow Him and trust Him.

Deuteronomy 32:4 (ESV) “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.”

The firm foundation of our life, faith and confident hope is the unchangeable, all-powerful, fully authoritative, all-knowing, and ever present Rock who is the Lord. He is incapable of lying or changing His Mind without altering His Perfection. If something is perfect, it has no need to change. It is our imperfection that calls for change. God promises to be the Rock. Our shelter. Our refuge. The hiding place of the righteous who come boldly before Him. He is a Good God who is faithful and without iniquity. He offers divine disciple but thanks to grace there is no punishment involved. When faced with challenging seasons or long processes, it is the faithfulness of God that is our hope. We must look above the wind and waves to see that He is still right where He has always been and perfecting all that concerns us according to His Word. (Psalm 138:8)

Hebrews 3:3-6 (ESV) For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.

God’s faithfulness was demonstrated in Jesus Christ. Though tempted by the enemy, Jesus overcame him by simple telling him what God said. The enemy fled. Christ lives in us. The resurrection power and life that overcomes is in you and me. Moses built a tabernacle for God’s Presence in the wilderness. God revealed His Glory to the people. Forty long years of wandering and there were few who would ever enter the promise of rest. King Solomon built a beautiful temple. God was pleased. He went on to waste his life indulging in sinful conquests. God had a better plan and a more glorious thought – He sent His Son to inhabit those who would be His People. We are His House. Christ lives in us. He gives us the desire and drive to be faithful to God so it is no surprise that the enemy comes to tempt us. He reminds us of our past. He sows regret, remorse and shame to choke out new life and hope. He tells us that God is mad at us. He says that He is punishing us. He tells us that the Lord has forgotten us. Or maybe just that we deserve the consequences of our choices. He is a liar. The Word says that God has other plans for “His House”. Christ is building a strong “Body”.

I Corinthians 10:13 (ESV) No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

The greatest temptation commonly faced by believers each day is to abandon trust. To believe something other than the Word God has given us. To pursue lesser things hoping to achieve some other kind of glory. We have been given the Glory of God for our broken vessels. He resides in us and wants to shine through us. I don’t know what you are facing today – I only know the insufficiencies of my own heart. What I do know is that God is faithful! Some days, like today, I must remind myself that He is faithful. He is always faithful. His Faithfulness is unreserved when it comes to me. He is relentless in His Passionate Pursuit of me. I must learn to run to His Refuge and seek His Shelter when tempted not to trust Him. To seek His Peace that passes all understanding to pull in my rebellious thoughts. I must only call out His Name and He always rushes to my aid. He will leave the 99 just to carry me back. He is faithful today. He has already provided everything I need to overcome temptation and achieve my purpose today and every day. I must remind my heart, mind and soul – God is faithful every day even today!

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

Living a Kingdom Life

Living a Kingdom Life

Luke 12:31-34 (ESV) “Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” The Kingdom of God belongs to the righteous. Our righteousness is founded and established in Christ alone. If Jesus Christ lives in us, then the Kingdom belongs to us equally. Do we live a Kingdom life? Do I live a Kingdom life? What is such an existence? It is Your Father’s good pleasure to give you and me His Kingdom? God wants us to live a rich and satisfied life. In fact, it is the reason that Jesus Christ came to give His Life and reestablish a right relationship between God and His People. We must seek that which is given to us. We must make it our passionate pursuit to receive the fullness of God given to us in His Kingdom. But how? Where? God’s Kingdom is not a house or inhabitable dwelling. God’s Kingdom begins in the human heart, overtaking the soul, changing our mind and engaging in a lifestyle of faith and confident hope not in what we see but completely in Who we believe.

Ephesians 3:14-19 (ESV) For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

The fullness of God is His Love. He is our First Love. The Father loves us in our unlovable condition and consumes us with His Love. He does not give us a portion of His Extravagant Love. He gives us all of the all-consuming and completeness of His Love through His Son, Jesus Christ. We are the fickle hearts and wavering minds that choose to love Him one day and leave Him the next. It is never God’s Will or Way to abandon us to our own devices but He continually pursues us with unfailing love and goodness. (Psalm 23:6) It is His Desire to live in relationship with us so even on our worst days new mercy is waiting for us. (Lamentations 3:22-23) His Grace is enough. It is sufficient. The power within us is the Holy Spirit who is the guarantor of God’s Faithfulness to us. He identifies us as God’s Children. He establishes Kingdom power and authority in us.

To be rooted and grounded in the Love of God is the starting point of a miraculous and prosperous life. To allow Christ to dwell in our heart and mind to the point that through faith nothing is ever impossible again because we are overtaken and consumed by His Love for us. Nothing can ever separate us from the Love of God again. Do you believe that today? You will never establish a Kingdom lifestyle outside of the complete confidence that God’s Love for you is complete and all-consuming. “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29)

Matthew 16:18-19 (ESV) ”And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

The revelation of Jesus Christ is life changing. It is the moment – that we decide that Christ is who He said that He is in our heart and mind the keys to the Kingdom are obtained. It is not anything we do but completely based on what we believe. Do you believe? Jesus asked Peter, “But who do you say that I am?” When Peter announced with heartfelt conviction, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”, everything changed. Peter would go on to make many mistakes but that did not limit the Kingdom power bestowed in that moment. Jesus did build His Church on Peter – His Rock. The firm foundation of faith that believes that God is for us. The cornerstone of faith – Jesus – provided everything we need as a perfect sacrifice who gave us access to all of God the Father and fills us with His Spirit. The moment of reconciliation when our mind, soul and body agree that He is Christ. Christ in us. This is the point when everything changes for those who believe…truly believe.

“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:18-20) When the Body of Christ begins to believe with complete confidence that we have Kingdom power, no longer will there be separation. The revelation of Christ is personal. We own it. No one can take it or apportion our faith, blessing or promise for themselves. It belongs to us. It is our inheritance. God’s Investment in us is to be used for us and others. It cannot be taken. Therefore the need for comparison and competition fades in the shadow of complete confidence in Jesus Christ. Agreement brings unity and produces miracles, signs and wonders as Christ is in our midst.

Romans 14:17 (ESV) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Every kingdom has a king, ruler or authority in command. Ours is Christ Jesus. Sometimes one must evaluate the heart and mind to resolve conflict. The enemy wants us to unseat Jesus from His Throne inside of us and allow pride to climb back up. There is nothing God wants or needs us to do. He simply wants us. He consumed with passionate love for us that is all-consuming. The conflict of confidence is created by doubt. To disbelieve that God’s Love is complete and His Kingdom within us. We must believe that the Word of God will not fail. We must plant our feet in the foundation of Jesus Christ and take a stand. He must remain on the Throne of our life to be the King of our kingdoms. Will you allow the Holy Spirit to clean house today? To remove the lesser things held on to in fear of the Power and Preeminence of Jesus Christ – our King. To sow seeds in the void left behind and pour healing oil over battle scars and wounds of the past. Let him wash away all fear, stress and anxiety to replace it with confidence in God’s Love and Power today. Speak the Word of God over yourself and situation today. I agree with you in Jesus Name that His Kingdom come – His Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Psalm 16:11 (ESV)You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

 

To Die For

To Die For 2

Philippians 2:13 (NLT) For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.

Have you ever looked back and wondered how did I get here? The twists and turns of life can lead us to surprising destinations. Each choice determines a step in one direction or the other. Distractions produce detours and delays. Unmet expectation can produce in us a feeling of desertion or maybe abandonment. If it is true that the Lord directs our steps and that His Plan cannot be undone – it means that there is potential purpose in each and every placement of our life. The hardest part of any journey is not the beginning when filled with energy and drive. It is not the end when the finish line is in sight and renewed purpose produce a motivation from our core. No, the most difficult leg of any journey is the middle. The call of endurance has its own reward. The one who answers it will be saved. They will have victory. They will overcome. However, when you cannot remember the beginning and become uncertain of the end – one must hold tightly to hope.

God has given us purpose. He has prepared a great plan. He has provided enough faith to begin the journey. It is in the sowing and reaping of this great commodity that trust leads us to greater destinations in the Lord.

Exodus 14:10-12 (NLT) As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’”

The Children of Israel made it through the push to get out of slavery but they weren’t sure they had what it would take to make it into freedom. They cried out to the Lord, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt?” Our comfort. Our convenience. Our complacent life in bondage. Their complaints seem so dramatic, but don’t we do the same thing? When God transitions us from one season to the next, it is human nature to see the natural perspective but God has hidden Kingdom potential to be harvested. The harvest is in you. The faith in us that causes us to step out of the ordinary into the extraordinary is not a product of the land but of the person who God is working in and through.

Did God bring you out to die? Fail? Fall down? Grow weak? Get tired? Yes. God brings our flesh from the possible to the impossible to make miracles happen that only He can do and get credit for. It is all for our good as He completes the good work that He began in us. You cannot live in bondage and be free. You cannot rely on captivity to make you prosper. Faith becomes essential when stepping out of the boat and walking toward Jesus.

Spring cleaning is in the air. I recently tackled our guest bedroom. It became a catch all during our move a couple years ago. When I didn’t know where to put something – it went to the guest room closet. A few hours into the process, the closet was empty, but the room was a wreck. Piles of keep, giveaways, throwaways, and sell it – everywhere. I was overwhelmed and had to step away. Walking out, I shut the door behind me. After eating some lunch, I tackled the mess. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to open the door and deal with all the boxes, clothes and miscellaneous items everywhere. I just wanted to stuff it all back in the closet, shut the doors, and walk away. In the beginning, I was on a mission. In the middle, I just wanted to quit. But in the end, I have a clean closet.

Matthew 4:1-4 (NLT) Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

I know you may not want to hear it, but the Word of God is true. The Holy Spirit will lead us to the wilderness. He will take us right through the valley to prove the brightness of the Light of His Love. He will take us over the rough side of the mountain to overcome doubt by faith. He will lead us deeper than our feet can touch so we discover what trust is all about. He will allow us to be hungry to experience the fullness of those who taste and see that the Lord is good. He will take away the ordinary to produce something extraordinary in you. He will make the natural impossible to fill your life with supernatural results. God is always ready to do more than we can think, ask or imagine. The Lord has to get you out of the way to accomplish such a thing.

Why? God wants to prosper us. He wants to grow the potential inside of us. He put purpose in us that must find its way out of us. We must be broken to be made whole. We must humble ourselves to God to be exalted in His Timing. We must completely surrender our way to fully embrace the Way. Salvation is only the beginning. There is a Kingdom to enter. Faith in Christ opens a door that no one can shut but we must continually enter in, continue to follow Him, seek Him more, and commit our life to the Way of God even when it isn’t our way.

James 2:21-23 (NLT) Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God.

Abraham waited 100 years for his promise, Isaac, to arrive. Yet even after that God required his son of him and Abraham did not hesitate in preparing the offering. His faith and actions worked together beyond the moment what he desired arrived, but Abraham was willing to give his son to God if that is what was required. Abraham believed God. God called Abraham righteous because of his faith. More importantly, God called Abraham his friend.

God desires a relationship with us that is not contractual but covenant. It is not our ability to meet all of his expectations but total trust that He will exceed ours that vividly displays our roles in it. We are to submit our life to the Lord and He promises to prosper our life as our soul prospers. Prosperity of the soul is faith. To receive a new heart for our broken one. To fully embrace the plan and purpose created in us to be brought forth by God. It is difficult to believe when there is no physical evidence of what the Lord has promised us. I am sure if we could have a conversation with Abraham that he would share all the frustration and fear that accompanied him on his journey to find true faith. He was a man. Just an ordinary person like us who had a dream, vision and promise from the Lord too good to let go of.

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

Unwavering faith is not found when we have it all together, it is discovered when everything falls apart. When our body cries out for relief, our mind is reeling, our heart is beating wildly, tears streaming, and yet somewhere in the deepest part of us – we still choose to believe. We find faith at the end of ourselves when trusting God is the only option. This hope we have is eternal. It is held on to by faith. Not superficial faith but when nothing is going right in the middle of a journey that you are ready to quit. The still small voice that says, “What are you doing here?” Let’s keep going. Pride must die in the wilderness to make our way into God’s Promise. Passionate persistence and perseverance born of a pursuit in our heart. Christ lives in us. He commands our destiny. No scheme of the enemy or plan of man can stop God’s Purpose in our life. Therefore, we must not stop in the middle but press on to the end. God is faithful. He will complete the masterpiece of our life when we put it in His Hands. His Promise is to die for – it will be the death of me. He must increase and I must decrease.

Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT) I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Ignore the Roar

Ignore the Roar

I Peter 5:6-9 (ESV) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

There is an adversary prowling the earth seeking someone to devour. The word “devour” means to consume destructively, recklessly or wantonly. It is to engulf or swallow up. To absorb or engross wholly. The enemy of our soul seeks someone to devour. How does one resist the devourer? Those who remain subject to God and His Word that humble themselves under His Mighty Hand will be lifted up…at the proper time. Does it seem like you never have enough time? Or do you live from paycheck to paycheck? What are you lacking? We are people who are predestined to live in abundance. Jesus Christ came to give us a rich and satisfying life. The Lord promises to do exceedingly abundantly more we ask or think…according to His Power at work in us.

The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. We have a good Shepherd who carefully watches the flock called the righteous. I am called righteous in right standing with God based on the salvation of Jesus Christ who opened a gate for me. To enter the Presence of God and live in peaceful surrender to the Living God. Humility is essential to the righteous remaining in the shelter and refuge of God. The roar of the lion is loud. When I was a teenager, I went to Africa on a missionary venture. Lying in bed at night, an occasional roar of a lion could be heard in the darkness. At first it was a bit frightening, however; I was safe in a compound with whitewashed walls and members of the Maasai tribe patrolled the perimeter to keep those inside safe. The lions roar was just a reminder of the dangers lurking outside the walls of the camp. Lord, help us to see that the roar of the lion that produces fear, anxiety and stress is but a veiled threat to those who live in the sanctuary of trust and peace that you provide.

Malachi 3:10-12 (ESV) Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

“And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.” (Matthew 13) The Lord gives seed to the sower. You are a sower. You plant in your life every day. You decide the productivity of your life based on the quality and quantity of your investment. The potential in us is based on the Kingdom as we have been given eternity in our heart. A promise that EVERYTHING will be made beautiful in its own time. A gift of faith that is the beginning of great fruitfulness in our life. There is a thief who wants to steal, kill and destroy the hope that is given to us in the productivity of our seed. Jesus came to grow it in us and for us.

The seed of God’s Word must be pressed deep into a soft and fertile heart to grow into anything of worth in our life. Malachi 3 talks about the tithe. The tithe of our life is our time, talent and treasure. All should be considered in our giving to God. Our covenant relationship with the Father gives us the opportunity to reap Kingdom benefits and blessings in all three areas according to our level of faith and trust in Him. To partner with the Lord requires an investment. We must give to receive these things. Our position in life must be Presence. Our posture must be humility. It is under the Mighty Hand of God that we find the prosperity longed for. This is an act of submission and surrender to the Lord that gives our time, talent and treasure to Him – we must decide that God deserves our first fruits of each not what is remaining.

The promise of partnership with God is that He will rebuke the devourer. To rebuke means express sharp, stern disapproval. It also means to reprove or reprimand. The original meaning of rebuke means to beat back or hack down. The Lord will call off the devourer by His Word. We have God’s Word that He will deal with the devourer if we choose to trust Him more. When we move our life and all its resources from doubt and fear to live in full dependence on the Lord and trusting Him – the enemy can roar but he cannot move within the borders of faith and trust. He can only hurl lies and threats over the fence but they are quickly rebuked by God’s Word now active in our heart and mind. When Jesus was in the wilderness, the enemy came to him. Jesus did not argue with the devil or complain about the situation. His answer to every temptation was simple. He told the enemy what God said. The Word is Jesus and He lives in us now. His Word is the potential for our life. Do you know what God says about you? Do you know what the blessings and benefits of the Kingdom are for you? Do you believe it? When we decide to trust the Lord fully with our time, talent and treasure enough to give Him the most choice portion, the devourer must move back as he is beaten down by God’s Word. Jesus makes intercession for us with the Father and defends us by the Word.

Proverbs 21:20-21 (ESV) Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it. Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.

Remember the widow who cried to Elisha, her husband was dead. (2 Kings 4) He was a man of God and servant of the Lord. The woman feared the creditor was coming to take her sons. Elisha asked her, “Tell me; what have you in the house?” Her response, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Oil represents anointing. Christ lives in us. The Anointed One has chosen to inhabit our heart. With faith, nothing is impossible. Faith cannot stay in our heart but must be sown in trust. What if you already have what is needed to prosper and live in the abundance of God but it is just hidden in your “house”? You have the Word of God and the faith that moves mountains but cower in fear over simple provisions of life. You have the Peace of God that passes understanding but remain in fear, worry and anxiety over the roar of the lion. The woman changed her situation when she became a vessel. Her abundance of oil in the small flask did not run out until she stopped providing a place for it to flow.

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness and honor. Ignore the roar! Give no credence to the lion today. Jesus has rebuked the devourer. Do not let him in. He cannot touch anything resting inside the Shelter and Refuge of God’s Presence. When we plant all our expectation in Jesus Christ by faith it will be fruitful in its proper time. The Lord has promised that there is a season for EVERYTHING. He tells us that EVERYTHING will be made beautiful in its time. No seed planted today bears fruit tomorrow. There is a process and most certainly a wait time. But in the meantime, the Lord promises to the rebuke the devourer in all things given to Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

In Good Time

In the Timing

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV) For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…

Living in Florida, there are not always clearly defined seasons. Winters are often unseasonably warm and the sweltering summer may begin in spring. Life can be like that for us, too. Trusting God is tough when the season does not yield the kind of fruit expected or it is taking longer than originally thought. As I study to share with the women of our church for Mother’s Day, I am struck by the words of Solomon. For EVERYTHING there is a season. Everything is an all-inclusive term leaving nothing out. To consider this means to accept that all the details of our life have something productive within them. There is time for EVERY matter under Heaven. It is easy to praise God when things turn out as expected but how one responds when a world falls apart, plan fails or loss is inevitable reveals the contents of our heart. It is in brokenness the seed gives life to its potential and so it is with the measure of faith that the Lord has invested in our hearts.

Psalm 145:14-16 (ESV) The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

It has taken the Lord more than 52 years to break through my hard heart and captivate my thoughts with the idea that every season has purpose. It has taken a long and arduous journey to realize that all things are possible with God and that His Word will not return to Him void. Youth comes with the missive that everything has to happen right now. You only live once. Make it count. Fifteen minutes represents years to those who are young and impatient. With such an impetuous nature, experience teaches many hard lessons that only one encounter with the Living God can change from disaster to destiny. When I was a child, my grandmother with great love and affection would say to me, “You must have patience.” Now that I am a grandmother – I am only beginning to understand the true potential of waiting and trusting God. I am quite sure that I will one day say these words to my little grandson as he already exhibits a lack of patience and willfulness as a little baby.

In church as children, we are taught, “He’s got the whole world in His Hands.” One worship song declares, “You hold my every moment.” And goes on to proclaim, “You hold my world in Your Hands.” The confession is there but do we actually believe what we are speaking in our life. To trust that the Lord will make good of every detail of our life (Romans 8:28) and believe that He supplies food in due season and satisfies the desire of every living thing. The Lord has promised that for EVERYTHING there is a season, but do we leave the field when it takes too long? He also says that there is time for EVERY matter under heaven. We serve an intentional God. A God who started from the beginning and has made it to the end. The details are clearly defined as destiny. The promise has purpose marked out specifically by a plan that contains a future and hope. He has set it forth in His Word. He has placed the Word in our heart. Jesus makes all things possible for those who believe. It comes down to this season. It is all about this moment. The current process has fruit that will nourish and satisfy our soul and yield true contentment and abundance. We must only believe.

Proverbs 16:4 (ESV) The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.

To believe that there is godly purpose in every detail of our life takes practice. It is an intentional mindset to trust God no matter how long it takes or how close to disaster it seems. To wait beyond our patience simply because He said to. To do exactly what He said even when it is not logical, rational, comfortable, convenient or controlled. To live abandoned to God’s Purpose takes us far beyond the ordinary into the extraordinary. Walking by faith and not by sight is not something others may understand and embrace. I guess it depends what you are after in this life. Do you desire what comes naturally or that which is derived supernaturally? Do you want a mediocre life or to live in the miraculous? Who the Son sets free is truly free. The Lord will not make you take His Blessings. He will not force His Promises on you. He will not make you prosper if you decide to do something else. But for those who believe and pursue Him – God is faithful. He will do exactly as He promised at the appointed time and not a moment sooner.

Purpose is aborted outside of patience. To end the process before the product is complete is a miscarriage. The Lord has promised life exceedingly abundantly more than one can think, ask or imagine which means that there is preparation in order to produce it. Did you know that most lottery millionaires are penniless in just three short years? They receive an increase but have a heart of famine. They do not know how to manage money and invest wisely so they live recklessly. Without good counsel, many will be in deeper debt than before the windfall came. New wine will burst old wineskins causing it to spill out. (Matthew 9) So the Lord must prepare you for the promise that He has for you so that when it comes you will be ready for 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.

The Lord promises that He has made everything beautiful in its time. EVERYTHING. I cannot stress this enough today as I read the Word and feel compelled by His Spirit. God knows your life from beginning to end. He recorded it before you took your first breath. (Psalm 139) He didn’t write a fairytale. He wrote a future and hope for this life you are living. There is nothing you can do to separate yourself from the Love of God. He loves you. He pursues you with unfailing love and goodness every single day. His Mercy is new every morning. His Grace is always enough. To decide that God has a plan that does not carefully planned and recorded including our faults and failures is ridiculous. He knows. He had to. Christ finished His Work on the Cross and provided the payment for our every sin bearing the weight of each one – past, present and future – in that moment. God is omnipresent. He is omniscient. He is Sovereign. What does that mean? Everywhere. All knowing. Completely in control including all power and authority. This is the God who promises that EVERYTHING is made beautiful in its time. He put eternity in our heart so we know the goal and what to strive for. He does have the whole world in His Hands. God does hold every moment. He is exactly who He says He is and will do exactly as He promised.

I have been a mother for 28 years raising five children. My season of parenting is down to just one child and three more years before she graduates from high school. I have been a mom the majority of my life. I have lived long enough to see broken things become beautiful. I have planted fields yet to bear fruit. As the nest becomes empty, I am not sure what comes next. I don’t remember my life before I was responsible for little people. Holding my little grandson, I look at him differently. I love him with all of my heart but know that he is not my responsibility. What’s next?

The changing of seasons in life is not always easy. In fact, leaving one place for another is often a challenge as humans given to comfort, convenience and control. As I wait on the Lord for direction, I know that He makes EVERYTHING for a season. I must trust His Timing. The Lord promises a time for EVERY matter so those unresolved issues will be made right. He doesn’t just promise us resolution but says that He makes EVERYTHING beautiful in its time. There is beauty in the broken things. There is life for those dead dreams. We must only speak the Word by faith and dry bones will come to life. Timing is everything, right. God’s Timing is perfect. Every promise will be yours in good time. Will you trust the Lord of the harvest today? Will you dare to believe that His Word will not fail? Will you be there when the harvest of your heartache, the fruitfulness of your tears gives way to the beauty of His Plan and Purpose when it comes to pass? It will happen all in good time – God’s Time!

Isaiah 40:28-31 (ESV) Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

 

Tiny Box

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Colossians 3:1-3 (NLT) Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

Oh what if we could wrap our thoughts in a tiny box and put them on a shelf. To unclutter our mind and organize our thoughts in such a way that worry, anxiety and stress could be alleviated in such a simple gesture. Each morning when the alarm sounds at 4:30 a.m., it is easy to hit the snooze button. One would think after years it would be a habit but I still moan and groan about it most of the time. So when my mind wakes me up somewhere around 3:00 a.m., my body begins to revolt. Tossing and turning, adjusting and readjusting, from the right to the left. I often begin to pray since I believe God is the only one up at such an awful hour. Finally, it is useless to try to drift back asleep so I tumble out of the bed. Those thoughts circling in my head are the things that wake me up. If I allow my mind to start to contemplate the day yet before me, I know I have lost the battle and will give in.

Set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits… How do I set my sights on the realities of heaven, when life keeps me completely preoccupied? How does one walk by faith and not by sight in actuality? Is faith really practical thinking? Is it logical at all? If so, how do I set, put, place my mind in the realm of hope as if wrapped in a tiny box and put in the Hands of God? The challenge is often accepted in powerless situations when life is too hard to handle so you have to let it go, but what about every other day? How do I live a Kingdom life in a loud, intrusive world? To think about the things of heaven and not the things of earth seems irrational and irresponsible somehow yet it is the reminder given in Colossians 3 today.

2 Timothy 2:3-7 (NLT) Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.  And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.

We have but one enemy and a fierce adversary. He has nothing to lose. Everything to gain. So he sows weeds to choke out God’s Words, and lies to trip us up along the way. Eve was not persuaded by a boldface lie but rather a subtle half-truth. Jesus overcame every temptation by the Word of God. Jesus did not have to defend who He was instead he simply recited the Truth which is the Word of God to the enemy until he left. As believers, too often we get caught up in “civilian” affairs. Rather than fighting the good fight of faith, we fight everyone else including ourselves for things already given and promises already made. We are Kingdom kids. We have an inheritance untouched and untainted resting in the Presence of God and acquired through repentance and reconciliation to Jesus Christ. There is nothing in this world for us. We are temporary residents on a journey to eternity. Faith gets us there. The power to believe beyond what is perceived by human senses but carried in our heart. We must learn to keep our heart and mind set on Heaven. The realities of faith are given to the righteous who can do this – those who remain undaunted and undistracted by the common problems of life given to the reality that God is enough in every situation.

Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT) And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Last year, my husband and I were overjoyed to find out that our daughter and her husband were moving closer to home. For three long years, they had lived in the North about 21 hours away. Shortly after the news another announcement came that they were expecting their first child. I could not believe God’s Goodness and Grace in giving me the desire of my heart. Well, soon after that, plans began to unravel. The church delayed the transfer. It seemed as though she would deliver before moving. How would I get to her when the baby was coming? How could this be happening? So my daughter and I made a pact to put the situation in a tiny box and pray about it. We did not discuss it further. It literally was such a hard thing that we both just put it in God’s Hands and walked away. Well, as it turns out, God moved them as planned but closer than originally thought. Instead of four hours away, they live 30 minutes from us. Our grandson came right on time with us all gathered to celebrate his arrival. God had a plan. The Lord worked out the details. We didn’t have to worry or work it out – He did it all!

I share this with you because I am learning to live life through Christ. The new life that He promised us can only be attained by faith that becomes confident hope. Our confidence is built on trust. We must learn to trust the Lord in every situation even when it is beyond logical comprehension or even the slightest possibility. This is how the reality of heaven is discovered in an ordinary life. When the Lord opens doors, no one can close it. We have the power to bind and loose things but only by faith. We must make faith practical and intentional in our life. Everyday life not just overwhelming situations. To take each worry, care, fear, insecurity, doubt, what if, regret, and every other negative thought or idea and put them in tiny boxes sending them up to the one who relieves all fear and takes care of His Beloved Children. God did not give us the spirit of fear. Do not take hold of it. He gave us His Spirit to produce the fruit that nourishes our soul, fortifies our heart, and changes our mind.

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.

The Word of God is clear. Don’t worry about anything. What are you worried about today? What is your greatest concern? Does fear rule your life and make your choices? Do you doubt the validity of God’s Word today? Doubt is manifested in our thoughts in the form of fear, worry, stress, and anxiety. All are characteristic of insecurity. We must become firmly rooted and grounded in God’s Love through His Son, Jesus Christ. Pray about everything. It sounds crazy to whisper things to God rather than rushing off to try to them. You must tell the Lord exactly what you need and wait for Him to respond to experience the new life found only in Jesus Christ. When the impossible comes, give it to Him. When you are overwhelmed, cry out to Him. He is waiting for your call. He is ready to respond to your cries in the night. When our faith begins to wrap each impossibility in a tiny box and send it up to Heaven, it is exchanged for peace that exceeds anything we can understand. The Holy Spirit guards the faithful heart willing to trust the Lord and live life through Jesus Christ. He gives us perfect peace that goes beyond human comprehension and logic. It is the conviction that anything is possible if we just believe enough to give it all to God!

Do you have something ready for that imaginary box? A problem too great. A circumstance too overwhelming. A situation that seems to have no positive ending. Give it to the Lord today. You have tried everything else. The secret is letting it go and filling the void with God’s Word. His Promises always produce good things by faith in the heart willing to believe.

Romans 12:2 (NLT) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Life in the Fold

Life in the Fold

Psalm 23:1-3 (NIV) The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

I lack nothing. The word “lack” means deficiency or absence of something needed, desirable or customary. To lack also means to fall short. The statement “I lack nothing” can be a powerful game changer in the mindset of a believer. To know and understand that the Lord is my shepherd and I lack nothing creates a shift of responsibility that will alleviate the load most of us carry on a daily basis. As believers, followers of Christ, and so-called Christians, there is no reason for us to live in poverty. We have all that is needed. However, if we do not access it then we live in a state other than offered by Jesus Christ.

The perception of lack comes from the enemies lie that God doesn’t love you and does not provide for you. The father of all lies wants to convince you that God is not a good father and is unaware or unconcerned by your present state. Alignment with the Lord and His Word produces the satisfying fruit of His Spirit that will prosper our life as He prospers our heart. The land of lack is cultivated by doubt, fear and insecurity that God may not be exactly who He says He is or might not do what His Word promises to do.

Psalm 34:8-10 (NIV) Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Perception is everything. Do you believe that today? Those who find contentment through thankfulness choose to live there. To attain contentment one must fill the deepest void within our heart and soul. I do not believe that our life truly lacks anything of value and worth when lived for Christ. However, our perception tells us otherwise. Our pride reminds us of those things that are not rather than in humble gratitude appreciating that which is given to us. The lack in our life is produced by deficient faith not a deficient God.

My recent guilty pleasure is online grocery shopping. I make my list, fill my cart, and go pick them up at a designated time each week. My original thought was that I would save a couple of hours each week wandering through the grocery store. After a month of using the service, I am hooked. The blessing is not just in my time but finances. I do not wander aimlessly through the store picking up impulse buys or wondering if I need something. I walk through my pantry scanning bar codes and checking supplies. Before I tried it, I was almost talked out of it by a friend. What if they forget something? What if the fruit is bruised? What if your bread is hard? What if it did not meet my expectation? I was skeptical and fearful with my first pickup. A little concerned the second time. However, now I am sold on it. I have discovered an organized pantry not filled with an abundance of items that I bought fearing I might need. I have found that I save an average of $50 a week. How many times are our lives overflowing with a surplus of things when our heart’s desire is just contentment?

Those who fear, respect, and live in reverential awe of God lack nothing. Those who trust the Lord and His Goodness will seek Him and therefore lack no good thing. Have you tasted the Goodness of God? Do you know and understand that He pursues you with unfailing love AND goodness every single day? It’s time to turn around. Stop rushing to and from trying to make things happen and find success. Success is upon you. His Name is Jesus. He is all you need to move from lack to abundance. It begins in our soul moving through our heart until it makes it to our head. We must make up our mind that we lack nothing and no good thing.

Psalm 23:4-5 (NIV) Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

We have nothing to fear in this life. The Lord is our Shepherd. When He came to find us, leaving the 99 just to find us the one who was lost, all of Heaven rejoiced with Him in our return! It was not a sad return but a triumphant entry. The only weapon formed against us is the lie. The enemy must keep our thoughts wrapped up in the past. He continually shows us with guilt, shame and regret hoping that someone will take hold of it. The thought that God will not do good in our life because we know who we were and what we did. Well, His Grace is enough. It is more than enough to cover every sin, fault, failure, mistake and indiscretion including every intentional thing that led to negative consequences. There is nothing that can or will ever separate us from the Love of God. The anointing of God is in you. When you returned He gave you His Spirit because of His Son – Jesus. Now you are His Son or Daughter who has an inheritance, what father does not feed and clothe his child or care for them when they are sick or injured body, mind and spirit? Not my Heavenly Father – He cares for us. He covers us. Jesus promised us a rich and satisfying life. The Lord promised to do more than we could think, ask or imagine. Where is it? Inside of you – looking for a way out.

Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV) I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Do you believe that God loves you today? Really loves you like a father or mother loves their own child? We must build our confidence in the character of God the Father. Maybe that begins by seeing the Lord as our Shepherd. The one who guides us with an unwavering commitment of care. As our relationship grows from simple obedience becoming total trust, our perception of God will move from Shepherd to Father. His Goodness is undeniable. His Unfailing Love unfathomable in its graciousness. We must become confident that God’s Goodness is for us in the land of the living. Martha believed Jesus to be the Resurrection and Life for eternity. The day that He raised Lazarus from the dead – He became the Resurrection Power and Life for the land of the living.

The Grace of God given to us in Christ is always enough to restore a right relationship with Him. Nothing to be added or taken away. Our life will prosper in His Love and Care when we decide He is for us today – not just forever. It is God’s Will for you to prosper in all things – enjoy success – and live in abundance IN ALL THINGS. Will you wait for Him today? Stop rushing off to make it in this world and hope for a place in eternity. Tell the Lord today – You are my confidence. I lack nothing and no good thing. Keep saying it until your heart and mind agree that Jesus is always enough! When you find contentment sheep in God’s Fold – you will experience the blessings and benefits of becoming part of God’s Family.

Psalm 23:6 (NIV) Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Live Enthusiastically

Live Enthusiastically

I Corinthians 15:58 (NLT) So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

There is a first for everything. A time and season for everything as described in Ecclesiastes 3. Some of these things are welcomed while others avoided at all costs. Life unexpected or interrupted moments that might very well wreck us if our God did not securely hold us in the palm of His Mighty Hand. Last night would be a first time for me. I was invited by friends to go see a Christian comedian. All fun right. This was not just any funny guy but a prophet headlined other another guise. Who would have thought that in the midst of his humor would be a message to be written in my heart? I pulled out my phone and started taking notes. One of those quips was this – “How you do anything is how you do everything.” (Michael Jr.)

To be strong and immovable in the Lord comes from grace, faith and confident hope in Jesus Christ rather than the current conditions of this life. To decide that no matter what Christ controls destiny and I am locked in the current of His Plan and Purpose rather than my present condition. This is the foundation of a life lived on purpose which will prosper the one who engages in it. To abide in Jesus Christ and live according to His Word, His Will and His Way opens doors that no one can close and makes every detail of our life promised turn out for good and His Glory. We win. We have victory because there is nothing holding us back from God’s Plan any longer. Sin has no power in my life and my debt is fully paid. I just have to live on purpose.

Always work enthusiastically for the Lord for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

Ephesians 6:7-8 (NLT) Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.

The confidence that I have in Jesus Christ allows everything I do to be on purpose. When I choose to commit everything that I do to the Lord for His Honor and Glory – no matter what it is – there is a promise attached. It says, “Nothing you do or the Lord is ever useless.” The power of this statement is my willingness to believe it and motivation to do just that by simple obedience. I always read the instructions. When I purchase an item with some assembly required, I look for the information booklet including that tells me the step-by-step process to construct the item. If I treat the instruction manual as merely the manufacturer’s suggestion, it will most likely take me longer to put that thing together or I will have to start over again until I get it right. I may fail. But when I follow the instructions, it usually produces success. How many times do we pursue God’s Purpose without following His Plan and still act surprised when it does not come to pass? Welcome to the greater portion of my life. How about you?

A successful Christian who is a true follower of Jesus Christ cannot live in divided interest. Our home life, church life, work life and social life must all be fully invested and aligned with Christ. Our life including every aspect must be reconciled to Christ. His Word says that we will prosper in every season. It tells us to depend on, rely on, lean on and trust the Lord in all things, not just some things, but every facet of our natural and spiritual life. This is not a religious act but a relationship. His Love leads us to greater things. We could not earn, deserve or recreate in us or through us the masterpiece that God has designed and facilitated for us. The only way to achieve it is in Christ.

Enthusiasm is the absorbing or controlling possession of the mind by any interest or pursuit. To act enthusiastically is to pour enthusiasm in what you do. What is your passion today? What do you like to do? What do you know how to do? What do you want to do? God placed eternity in our heart. Part of eternity is futuristic but there is an element of the eternal that lives in us. We are given a measure of faith to entrust to the Holy Spirit living in us so it will grow, mature and develop into the prospering life promised by the Living God to His Children. We have something to get excited about in every detail of our life even the hard times that seem to break us only give way to fertile heart soil for which His Word can be invested. We must learn to see God in every aspect of life not just the expected places but even the most unexpected ones.

Romans 8:28 (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.

What if this scripture is true? What if those who know God have the promise that He causes everything to work together for our good just because we love Him? It changes everything. It absolutely is His Plan and Purpose for you, friend. Every single detail of your life holds godly purpose and potential – it is up to you and me to take the land. His Unfailing Love and Goodness are for the land of the living not the day of the dead. From our first cry to our final breath, Christ commands our destiny. He took our life back from the grave and encourages us to live outside of it. There are no such things as dead dreams to those who love the Lord and are called according to His Purpose only new life and endless possibilities. We must only believe. Godly discipline is not punishment. It is the pathway to purpose. When I discipline my life with the help of the Holy Spirit who produces self-control in me, I am able to walk on purpose in every step even when I don’t know where I am going or what I am doing or understand any of it – Christ is the one who leads me and guides me from mountains to valleys and everywhere in between. He knows where my purpose lies and will lead me right to it if I simply obey and choose to live, love, work and breathe enthusiastically. My enthusiasm is Christ! Christ in all things. Christ in me! To live is Christ and die most certainly to gain! Lord, let every fruitless and worthless pursuit die in me that new life and new enthusiasm for you – Jesus will rise within its void.

I Corinthians 9:25-26 (NLT) All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 

Sacred Structure

Sacred Structure

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (MSG) You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.

Did you know that the most important structure in your life is not what you make of opportunities but rather who you become in the process? You are the Temple of God’s Spirit. Christ lives inside of you. You are the dwelling place of divine purpose, promise and possibility. You! It is so important in our pursuit of prosperity that it is understood that nothing will grow outside of the faith in us until our soul prospers. My youngest loves junk food. She is a snacker who would eat cookies, candies and sweets all day and night forgoing real food of any nutritional value. It is my responsibility as her parent to guide, instruct and help her to make good choices in this area for health and wellness. If I allow her to eat what she wants without providing what she needs, she will not grow, develop and mature into a healthy adult. We live in a day and age of indulgence with our kids. Few set proper boundaries choosing to be a friend rather than a parent. However, when children round the corner into adulthood without any form of training – the results can be devastating. My little sweet tooth recently had to get a filling. She is learning the consequence of her cravings. Lord, teach us to do the same.

The sacred structure of our life is not external but rather eternal. All the promises, blessings and benefits of God are wrapped in His Goodness. He will never give us anything that would harm us even if that very thing is harmless in itself. Miracles happen in the impossible. Who wants impossible situations in their life? Persistence comes from pressure. Who is ready to be pressed? Endurance comes in the waiting and none of us have time for that. Yet, in His Divine Supremacy, God knows exactly what our life must look like in order for us to discover the potential and purpose of that which He entrusted in our heart before our first breath. He knows exactly what it will take for us to engage in the process that will produce it. It usually comes at the end of our self. When our weakness is all that is left, and we seek out the new strength, power and ability only discovered in His Grace that is always enough and more than sufficient. How many times do we build our Babel and wonder why it is crashing down around us? You are God’s Most Sacred Structure too high a price was paid for you to live a broken or worthless life.

2 Chronicles 7:11-16 (MSG) Solomon completed building The Temple of God and the royal palace—the projects he had set his heart on doing. Everything was done—success! Satisfaction! God appeared to Solomon that very night and said, “I accept your prayer; yes, I have chosen this place as a temple for sacrifice, a house of worship. If I ever shut off the supply of rain from the skies or order the locusts to eat the crops or send a plague on my people, and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health. From now on I’m alert day and night to the prayers offered at this place. Believe me, I’ve chosen and sanctified this Temple that you have built: My Name is stamped on it forever; my eyes are on it and my heart in it always.

Solomon built the Temple of God. His project complete the Children of Israel dedicated the structure to the Lord. It was a time of celebration. Success. Satisfaction. God appeared to Solomon. Alone in the darkness of night, the God of his father, David, now sought out the son. David was a man after God’s heart. Would Solomon do the same? He whispered to His Beloved, “I accept your prayer. Yes, I have chosen this place as a temple for sacrifice and a house of worship.” But now the Lord gets to the heart of the matter, the man who was king.

If I ever shut off the supply of rain from the skies or order the locusts to eat the crops or send a plague on my people, and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health.

There are many good things that we do “for” the Lord. Pray. Study His Word. Try to live right. Repent. Serve. Give. Share the Gospel. Worth efforts in building the Kingdom of God. But at the end of the day, God is more interested in the sacred structure of our heart rather than what we build, accumulate or achieve in life. The city on the hill and salt of the earth that is referred to is that which is built on one foundation who is Christ alone and mined from the depths of the human heart called love. Sometimes our endeavors consume us and it is easy to lose sight of righteousness in rightness. The Lord desires a relationship with us. It is not a performance but a passion deep within to find eternity by faith and have confident hope that His Love never fails. So when the things we build begin to crumble and fall, it will reveal the firm foundation of a sound sacred structure in a prospering soul. There is no greater faith demonstrated than those who believe when the unthinkable and impossible occur in life. Those who continue to live by faith when the future seems to hold nothing. Those who decide that if all there is at the end of life is Jesus – He is still all you need or want.

I Peter 2:4-8 (MSG) Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. The Scriptures provide precedent: Look! I’m setting a stone in Zion, a cornerstone in the place of honor. Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation will never have cause to regret it. To you who trust him, he’s a Stone to be proud of, but to those who refuse to trust him, the stone the workmen threw out is now the chief foundation stone. For the untrusting it’s… a stone to trip over, a boulder blocking the way. They trip and fall because they refuse to obey, just as predicted.

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone. Our life has a plan. It is the construction of a confident hope that is mortared by faith and trust in the foundation of Christ already set forth. I believe that as we begin to follow Jesus and experience early success – it is easy to become complacent. To lose the enthusiastic zeal that accompanies new love and softens the pursuit. To rest on the laurels of past victories, and stop pursing the greater things that God has in store for those who love and trust Him. When pride prevails, it will take the place of humble grace that empowers ordinary people to live extraordinary lives. Complacency is established in comfort, convenience and control. When any one or all three are compromised, it is a shaking that often causes one to seek the Lord. To cry out and call His Name again. Funny how God works! You are the most sacred structure to the Lord. He chose you to give His Spirit. To consummate covenant with a Holy Inhabitation that will impact our life in miraculous ways when given the time and space to cultivate the good fruit that feeds and nourishes our heart and soul. Sometimes God will “gut” our life to begin a renovation or restoration to the masterpiece that He had planned before time. To give us the new life as a new creation promised long ago. Do you trust Him today? Do you believe? What kind of life are you after? To live in blessed buildings or become a sacred structure? It is up to you! If at the end of your life, you have nothing to show for your hard work but you have a heart full of Jesus – You have it all!

Psalm 27:7-8 (NLT) Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”