Safe

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John 10:27-30 (ESV) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

No guilt in life, no fear in death – this is the power of Christ in me. From life’s first cry to final breath – Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man can every pluck me from His Hand until He returns or calls me home – here in the power of Christ I stand. (In Christ Alone written by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend) These powerful lyrics led me to seek out the promise and security of the thought that there is nothing that can pluck me from His Hand. The permanent security in a chaotic life that is substantial enough to “command my destiny” is what I am after. I no longer subscribe to a normal life. It is not possible. Consequences, circumstances and certain conditions wrecked the notion that there is such a novelty. I am absolutely okay with it. It repositioned me by default. I had to make a conscious decision. Would I live a random existence being tossed to and fro or would I choose to live in the reality of my faith?

In John 10, Jesus tells us that He is the Good Shepherd. The kind of caretaker who lays down his life for his sheep. The Lord is dedicated to our preservation. He is the one who will leave the 99 to pursue the one who is lost or fallen. The shepherd who keeps track of each one signifying each one’s individuality and importance to Him. He came with a distinct purpose. Not only is the Good Shepherd devoted to our preservation, but He is intent on our prosperity. He warns of the thief who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus goes on to say that His Purpose is to give us live and that we would have it abundantly. Our life has potential far greater than may be seen but that has caught the attention of the adversary. The enemy viciously attacks the sheep especially those who wander astray. But the Good Shepherd will continue to pursue us so that He can revive, renew and restore us in righteousness. He saves, heals and delivers us. He is the Good Shepherd.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary offers this insight concerning these powerful promises for our life. “The safety of the saints inferred from these two. If this be so, then none (neither man nor devil) is able to pluck them out of the Father’s hand, not able to deprive them of the grace they have, nor to hinder them from the glory that is designed them; not able to put them out of God’s protection, nor get them  into their own power. Christ had himself experienced the power of his Father upholding and strengthening him, and therefore puts all his followers into his hand too. He that secured the glory of the Redeemer will secure the glory of the redeemed. Further to corroborate the security, that the sheep of Christ may have strong consolation, he asserts the union of these two undertakers: ‘I and my Father are one, and have jointly and severally undertaken for the protection of the saints and their perfection.’” You are safe today. Safe and secure in the Hand of God placed there by Jesus Christ. We must maintain our confidence in the security of God to fight the insecurity sown in us by the enemy. Doubt produces fear that can flush us from God’s Hand due to the natural adrenaline response known as fight or flee. Innately ingrained in us to fight for survive because of our separation from God now must be reprogrammed to remain confidently positioned in righteousness even when the storm rages and the heat of battle ensues.

Proverbs 18:10 (ESV) The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

You are safe today. Our strength and stability are not what has secured us. Weakness does not take us from it. No, you are safe today because you are held by the Lord in the palm of His Mighty Hand. No one can take you from Him. No one will ever displace us from His Love. It is our confident hope that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. It is God’s Solemn Promise and Divine Character never to lie or change His Mind about us but rather He will hold us gently but tightly forever in palm of His Hand. Sometimes we must declare to our mind, soul and body that we are safe. To remind ourselves that the conditions around us do not indicate our outcomes in Christ. The Name of Jesus is power. There is none above or beside Him. He reigns. He wins. He is life. He is our Good Shepherd who makes us safe.

Psalm 119:114-117 (ESV) You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God. Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope! Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually!

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Don’t Panic

Retro Red Industrial Panic Button

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT) So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

A month ago, the news reported that gas prices would take a hike. Warning travelers to expect higher expenses due to increased cost in oil. I remember reading it but really didn’t think much about it until the sign at the pump was nearing the $3.00 mark. We use a lot of gas in our family with three cars. My husband and I work in town so the commute is lengthy from our home in the county. Thankful I had downsized to half the SUV that I used to drive, I didn’t give it much thought just kept going on my merry way. Today, AAA is reporting that gas prices are falling again by about eight cents a gallon currently and so is the trend. Life is full of ups and downs. Good news one day and not-so-good news the next. According to Ecclesiastes 3, there is a proper time for every activity under the sun. There is no reason to be afraid or panic. We have Jesus Christ living in us and He wins. He always wins! Yet still in this thing called life it is sometimes to keep our life fully focused on Jesus and easy to be distracted by the news.

This is only one example of media hype. Exaggerated news that gets people all stirred up only to produce fear that often turns to panic. Panic is a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, which produces hysterical or irrational behavior and has the propensity to spread through a group rapidly. Fear is often defined as false evidence appearing real. The enemy is always dropped lies in our path inviting us to entertain and embrace fear. Fear is a much more logical choice then faith as it is based on our current reality rather than personal revelation. We must make an exchange each and every day to consciously release and abandon fear as to not subscribe to panic. The Lord invites us to be strong and courageous. He exhorts to not be afraid or given to panic before the enemy and his lies. God promises to personally go ahead of you and me. He promises not to fail us. He will not abandon us. The key to overcoming fear that leads to panic is to fully embrace faith in Christ and learn to trust Him more.

God is Sovereign. He is perfect, therefore, He does not lie or change His Mind. His Word must accomplish what it was sent to do. He is ever-present. He is in our past. He is present now. He is already in our future. Cannot grasp or comprehend the vast proximity of God? Me either. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever which means He knew you then, He knows you now, and He intends to be with you forever. When He died on the Cross, Jesus knew exactly what He was getting into when it comes to you. He bore the weight of every sin and provided sufficient grace so that you could maintain a right relationship with God the Father if so desired. Oh that we would comprehend and somehow understand that constancy of God and His Pursuit of His People to fully know that there is nothing to fear in life or death.

Psalm 112 (NLT) Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever. Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need.  Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. The wicked will see this and be infuriated. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.

How joy full are those who decide to fear the Lord, delight in obeying His Commands and pursue Him with passion…I have embellished the scripture a bit. We must get wrapped up in the Presence of God in order to silence every other influence in our life. The enemy is constantly sowing seeds of doubt in us. He is offering half-truths, substitutions, counterfeits, and false exits that only lead to exile. He cannot overtake us so the enemy of our soul tries to immobilize us. Creating chaos, fueling fear and pressing the panic buttons hidden in the inner most depths of our heart where faith has not found its way yet, we forget who we are in Christ and who we belong to.

Those who confidently trust in the Lord to care for them do not fear bad news. What happens when you hear bad news? A bad report? An unexpected bill? A terrifying diagnosis? What is your reaction? How do you respond? Faith in God is a discipline. It is not something that just happens but must be cultivated in the broken recesses of our heart until it grows larger than any fear that once existed. Trust is a decision. Like putting a hand to the plow and moving in the right direction, the farmer doesn’t know what will come from each seed but he believes enough to sow each one. As believers, we sow faith and trust God with the harvest He has promised. Panic will cause you to abandon the field and leave the crop for someone else. Fear robs us if not dealt with swiftly and removed completely. We are called to be strong and courageous. We must answer that call.

I John 4:15-18 (NLT) All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

God has not given us the spirit of fear or timidity. He has given us His Spirit. His Spirit is that of power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7) The power in us is greater than any force around us. The Spirit of God is inside of us. Christ lives in us. He has given us victory. Our needs are sufficiently provided and in fact we are given every spiritual blessing. The only weapon the enemy has to use against us is a lie. A lie destroys trust. Truth establishes trust. It is up to us to live in love with God and His Son – Jesus Christ. To become fully convinced that God is love and He loves me will uproot many fears and doubts sown by sour relationships and broken soul ties in life. As we live in God – our love grows more perfect through experiences and encounters with His Unfailing and Unconditional love. The more confident I become in God’s Love and Care for me the less dependent on what I see that I will become. We walk by faith and not by sight.

To live in fear of any kind means that area of life is not subject to God’s Perfect Love. It is drinking the Kool-Aid offered by the world and buying the hype. The enemy is the father of lies. He knows the areas of insecurities in our life most vulnerable to attack and capitalizes on them. We must live strategically disciplined lives sowing God’s Word in our heart, changing our words to blessing and life, wrangling in all rebellious thoughts contrary to the Lord, it is up to us to cultivate the life that God has promised by faith and trust that overcomes ever fear. We are to be strong and courageous. We are to trust in all things. We must listen for His Voice and respond accordingly. There will be wars and rumors of war. There will be false prophets. There will be lies meant to entangle and trip us along the way. God is with you! You will not fail. God has not given you the spirit of fear. Do not take it. Refuse it and replace it with faith. Tell the enemy what God says about you and what He promised to do through you. Remind your soul. Take captive wayward thoughts and you will find perfect peace in the Presence of Perfect Love.

Joshua 1:9 (NLT) This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Absolute

Absolute

Psalm 147:5 (NLT) How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!

God is great. He is absolute in power. His understanding is beyond human comprehension which makes faith naturally illogical. The absoluteness of God is a stumbling block for human nature. As perfectly created imperfect beings there is a contradiction in us to be settled by grace. The weakness in us is sin. The solution for it is Jesus Christ. Like any corrosive, there is a certain erosion to the body, mind and spirit that leaves a void once the penalty of sin is paid for. The unlocked door to an opened heaven still needs a gentle push to swing wide giving us access to new life, spiritual blessing and future that God has already prerecorded for us.

Our heart has a measure of faith and eternity already deposited before our birth. It was placed in us by God the Father as a compass of calling and map to destiny. Sin calls for substitutions and certain compromises but God is holy and tells us to be holy, too. How is it possible to remove all impurity from that which is tainted? Is it possible to have the life that God predestined me to have even when I have taken detours along the way? Of course it is because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is the stability of God’s Plan for us. He is the resurrection power that gives lives to dead dreams and destinies buried by sin, shame, regret, remorse and self-loathing. The absoluteness of God is our staunch defender, He doesn’t lie. He cannot change His Mind. He is Sovereign. He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. This is the absoluteness of God that will not allow His Children to settle for something less and be satisfied.

Psalm 139:13-18 (NLT) You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous— how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

God’s Plan and Purpose for your life is absolute. What does that mean? Absolute means free from imperfection, complete, perfect, not mixed or adulterated. It is pure and complete. The absoluteness of God makes His Promises unrestricted, unrestrained and unlimited. He is positive that He loves you and certain that He desires you. He is outright about His Intentions and there is nothing you can add to His Perfection. God is absolute in His Love and Intentions for you and me. We must be absolutely certain of this in order to put our faith and trust in Him.

The life by design described in Psalm 139 is not the blueprint of a perfect person but a perfectly loved Child of the Living God. Created in His Image to be like Him, the Lord carefully constructed every detail of our life and that includes the mistakes, shortcomings and weaknesses in our sin. This prerecorded life deemed “marvelous” workmanship has the potential of flawlessness. If every moment of our life was carefully laid out before our birth or a single moment passed, an all-knowing God would have to include the good days and bad. Those times when we choose less. The moments that we rebelled. Sin had to be a factor or His Grace would not be enough. God’s Thoughts concerning you and me are precious. He is absolutely positively certain of His Love for us.

2 Corinthians 7:1 (NLT) Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.

Because we have these promises…let us. I need you to read this again. So…because we have these promises…let us. Are you absolutely convinced of God’s Love for you? Are you confident that no matter what happened in the past or how things look today that His Love for you is unconditional and unfailing? See I don’t think we all do or there would be more certainty in the Body of Christ. Holiness is a consecrated life reconciled to Jesus Christ. It doesn’t mean living up to a standard clearly unattainable but letting the Christ in us take over. You can’t do it. How many times must we try and fail to see that the discipline in our life is not to become Christ but to let Christ become one in us?

Confidence in the intentions of God for His People produce a life of sowing faith. The measure of faith (Romans 12:3) already given to us planted in the fertile part of our heart marked eternity (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Everything you need to live a holy life is in us. God gave it to us. He has already invested himself in us. Christ is the catalyst to claiming every His Plan, Purpose, and Promises. It already belongs to you. You must only step into His Absoluteness to have it. His Love is not understandable. His Plan is inconceivable. His Purpose is beyond our comprehension. His Affection for us is almost too good to be true. Yet it is…He promises to perfect that which concerns us. (Psalm 138:8) The angels do not even understand the limitless love and overwhelming attention that the Lord pays to us. What does it take to live in the place of true faith and actual holiness that responds to the promises of God?

Hebrews 12:10-11 (NLT) For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.  No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

God’s Plan for our life is established by His Absolute Perfection. It is certain. It cannot be changed or altered by scheme of man or the enemy of our soul. It is set in stone and written on our heart. It is through divine and personal discipline that our heart and mind become united with the Lord in holiness. Holiness is allowing the Living God to resurrection new life in us and through us. It means letting go of our plan, life goals and agendas by running them through the Word, asking God for His Will and choosing His Way every single time. It is a discipline. Discipline is not the same as punishment. We no longer are judged by God but by Christ. (John 5:21-23) How can Christ judge himself or why would He? If Christ lives in me, I will no longer be judged. It is only the parts of my life withheld from the Lord that are fodder for others. The pain of discipline is our physical, mental or natural response to change. Just like our muscles cry out after a work-out, flesh reacts to the pain of its own death. We must press through the pain with our eyes on the prize. God is absolutely and perfectly in love with you and me. His Promises belong to us and can never be taken from us. It is only by forfeit that a loss may be established. It is only the quitter who finds victory elusive. Do you trust the everlasting love of God today? Do you trust Him enough to be your absolute?

Hebrews 12:12-13 (NLT) So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

Make the Investment

Make the Investment

Colossians 2:9-10 (NLT) For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

Complete lacking nothing. Fulfillment. Abundance. Oneness. The purpose of Christ in us is to give us new life as Children of God. We make excuses for the “lack” in our life to accommodate the real problem. Those areas of life not meeting our expectation are not fully given to God in our covenant with Him. People live diversified lives. Christians are people. Rather than putting all our proverbial eggs in one basket, but choosing to invest time and energy in multiple endeavors. Kingdom potential requires a Kingdom commitment. Our covenant with Christ is made complete as we learn to live in union and communion with Him forming one body, mind and spirit. It is truly a spiritual marriage and relationship that requires all of our physical, emotional, and spiritual effort to form and maintain. It is not different in the natural realm. If I half-heartedly approach my marriage, I will not have one for long. I will not reap the benefits and blessings of living a lifetime with my soul mate if I choose to share my life, mind, soul and body with someone else. It is easy to commit spiritual adultery and it be socially acceptable to the world when in fact it limits our potential relationship with Christ.

I am in this world but not of this world. Where is my investment? Where is my interest? Am I really living a Kingdom life or just merely imitating a commitment that really has not been established on a covenant level? All in. That is the commitment demonstrated by Jesus Christ on the Cross when He died for us. He gave everything to have a forever relationship with us. To give us a new life. To hand over the keys to His Kingdom giving us full dominion in this life traveling to eternity.

Matthew 6:20 (NLT) Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

How important is unity with Jesus Christ in your life? On a personal level, how much time, talent and treasure are invested in pursuing the Lover of your soul on a daily basis? Do you treasure your relationship with Jesus Christ? Do you value His Words, His Way and His Work? Where is your treasure today? If everything was taken from you, would you still say, “It is well with my soul”? My prayer for you is that you never dip to that level of abasement like Job to lose it all just to find his soul. Usually, it is the harrowing edge of life and death that call our attention beyond the daily struggles and daydreaming to the reality that this life is short. It is futile. We are merely traveling through to eternity which is far more important in the grand scheme of things called life.

Jesus hinted to the level of investment required when He shared two short parables in Matthew 13. The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl give us insight to the level of commitment required to obtain the Kingdom and God’s Standard of Living. Once you discover the Kingdom, it must become your passionate pursuit to possess it such as the man who sold everything to own the field with hidden treasure or the merchant who found a pearl of great value and also sold everything to obtain it. Kingdom life will cost us every second of every day until our last breath is exhaled. It must be the thing that we desire the most. It must be our life’s mission to find it and own it.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

What are you settling for today? Trust is the union that produces Kingdom life for ordinary people. To have faith in Christ that supersedes what we see and decide to trust Him right there at His Word. Faith is not logical apart from the Word who is Jesus. Jesus is the Word of God who came wrapped in flesh to demonstrate God’s Unconditional Love and desire for us. To trust Him with our heart. Our broken and jaded wavering heart is to believe that no matter what happens God loves us and intends to welcome us into His Kingdom. The secret is simple. Seek His Will in all you do. He will show you the path to take. It means developing a relationship with the Lord that becomes a strong union so that He becomes a viable partner in our life. Someone we confide in. Converse with. Listen to. Take instruction and guidance from. Wait for. Believe in. Trust implicitly with our life.

I Thessalonians 5:14-22 (NLT)  Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.

When Jesus died for you, He did not claim you a prize or reward. He has given you and me the freedom to choose how to live life. You are free to choose the Lord or reject Him. It is really that simple. It does not change who God is or the identity of His Son or the Presence of His Spirit – the decision belongs to you. It defines you. Kingdom living is not some intricate and detailed rules and regulations set forth by doctrine or theology of great churches. It is not that “old time” religion. The Kingdom is the community formed by the Body of Christ. In other words, there is a place for you in the Kingdom. You belong there. Your new life has benefits and blessings – intangible and tangible – that are waiting for you and can be claimed by no one but you. Our covenant with Christ has given us an inheritance whether claimed or forsaken it is still designated for you. The over complication of Kingdom principles have been set forth by the church to explain the lack of consummation. In other words, if there is no open heaven – it is not our fault.

Jesus Christ offers a place for us to abide in His Love and live in unity with Him. Like God, He doesn’t lie or change His Mind but simply waits for us to respond to His Love. Grace is always enough to open the doorway to your residence in the Kingdom of God. All you must do is walk in. Moving our life into the Kingdom works just like moving to a new city, home or location. The greater the baggage the longer the process. When our family recently moved, I spent months going through our old house getting rid of all the stuff accumulated over the years. Closets were cleaned. Items sold. Many things given away. When it came time to leave, it was all packed in a moving truck, trailers and several cars to be moved to the new house. Box by box. Piece by piece. Everything found a place in our new home or was discarded. We must do the same in our spiritual life. We are not homeless. There is a place in God’s Kingdom for each of us. An open invitation to come and live that life now. It is not just an eternal promise but daily offering to taste and see that the Lord is good.

The simple steps set forth in I Thessalonians show just how easy it is to begin to plant our life in the Kingdom of new beginnings. Daily choices to seek Jesus and live in communion with Him. These are the steps of completion that lead to success and prosperity that produce natural, physical and spiritual abundance. The giving of our life to Christ is a sacrifice of this life and common practices to live in partnership with Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less. I must decrease to allow Christ to increase in my life and spill forth as He promised. Evaluate your life. How do you spend your time? Living in the rat race or fighting the good fight of faith? Working 9 to 5 or pursuing the Lord 24/7. When we acknowledge Jesus in any area of our life, abundance and blessing will follow. When we give Him our problems, Jesus has the solution. Our pain is exchanged for healing. We are Kingdom people who have real estate unspoken for that will only be claimed by commitment to become one with Christ.

John 17:22-24 (NLT)  “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!”

Undeserved

Undeserved

Romans 5:1-2 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

I do not deserve the grace and kindness given to me through Jesus Christ. It is completely undeserved and therefore quite difficult to take hold of. It has not been justly or rightly earned. It is unmerited favor which in my sinful state cannot ever be acquired by human acts or abilities. Like a prickly cactus in a hot desert filled with life giving and sustaining water, how does one fully embrace a love so pure and untainted? Barbs of self-recognition lead to doubt and distress. Such revelation pierces the skin and penetrates the heart with the simple truth that I can do absolutely nothing to earn or repay God for the extravagant gift of His Love.

In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6) Too often those “fiery arrows” are self-inflicted when the lie of the enemy is allowed to penetrate the soft and broken heart. It is truth by the world’s standard but nullified by the Kingdom principle that God is love. His Love for us is giving freely and undeserved. We are saved by grace through faith. The route is simple but pathway diverse. The struggle to accept the simplicity of the Gospel that is the covenant of relationship often leads right back to captivity by doctrinal law and religious overtures meant to buffer our pride so there will be no suffering. The suffering that leads to repentance is the revelation of who Christ is and the fact that we will never be able to offer anything in return to reciprocate His Generosity in giving up His Life to give us a new and everlasting place with Him forever.

Salvation is a heart change. However, if there is not a mindset associated with it there is no chance of survival for the new believer. The enemy comes in with lies. He attacks us with truthful accusations. None of this changes the fact that Christ died for you and me giving us the opportunity for full restoration and active relationships with God the Father again. The helmet of salvation is confidence in the hope give to us through faith in Christ alone. Uncertainty is slain with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Unarmed with faith and confident hope fortified and forged by God’s Word, there is nothing to defend our belief that God is who He says that He is and Christ has given us the Gift that is promised. Faith and trust in God is irrational and illogical outside of God’s Word and Truth that by His Grace I am saved through this process.

Romans 5:3-5 (NLT) We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

To fully accept the gift of new life given to us by Jesus Christ, means that I must allow Him to change my character. The hope that I have comes through my utter helplessness. It is in all the things that I cannot do that the Power of Christ prevails because I succumb to weakness. Grace works best in human weakness. (2 Corinthians 12) Happiness is a temporary feeling. A conditional emotion based on the evident outcomes in life. The cause and effect of the natural occurrences in life. An immediate reaction to our current condition. The Lord has a different plan for us. It is not emotionally driven.

We can rejoice, too…when we run into problems and trials. God is building our character each day. The character of Christ was always in His Identity as the Son of God. Peter made the revelation in Matthew 16 when asked by Jesus, “But who do YOU say I am?” Peter’s response, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” This is the declaration of those who have a change of heart and mind. The ones who dare to step over pride and past self to fully embrace the Undeserved Love of God the Father for us – the prodigals. The strength of character is to fully know and believe that in Christ our relationship with God the Father is fully restored regardless of where we are now, how we feel, or our strength and ability. Character is built on the foundation of Christ alone. The kind of character that allows us to be confident in our salvation and to follow a hope that will not lead to disappointment. We must know that God loves us as undeserving as we all are.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT) God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

What to do when the masterpiece looks like a mess? I often joke with people that I have a black thumb. A notorious plant killer by reputation with a heart that longs to nurture and grow little plants. When I was preparing for Mother’s Day in our church, I ordered fifty tiny succulent plants. Knowing of my own inability, I waited until the last minute to order them. When the ten day shipping really was only a couple of days, I was in trouble. For about a week, I worried over my tiny wards. These little cacti are made to live in diverse conditions. Yet, I fully believed in my heart that they had met their match. When the day finally arrived for them to go their new home, they were all alive. I celebrated. I still have a handful of them in my dining room facing the morning sun. I do not worry about them just tend to them every so often. They are alive. Just outside the dining room window are two hydrangeas that are flourishing after a year of my care. Miracles do happen.

I wonder how many times God is working in us and developing our character and new nature but we still wear the titles of our past life. Apparently, I am a reformed plant killer. If the enemy can keep our eyes on the mess, we may very well miss the message. If we give up in the test, there will be no testimony. Quitters never win. If the only thing good in me is Christ – then why do I expect greater things from me than the Lord? Christ gives us new life and calls us a new creation. The Character Changer is making a masterpiece because that was His Plan all along. The nature of God does not change to accommodate my feelings or emotions. He does not lie or change His Mind. What He says will be done for no word that comes from Him will ever return void of accomplishment.

Romans 5:10-11 (NLT) For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

No one deserves a right relationship with God. Jesus gave us the relationship out of His Goodness, His Grace and His Unfathomable Unconditional Love. It doesn’t make any sense. Outside of faith, it is completely unattainable. Abraham was called a friend of God because he dared to believe in God who “brings the dead back to life and creates new things out of nothing.” (Romans 4) Do you know that God? Do you believe that He will do what He says? You can say that you do but does your life show that you are absolutely certain of His Love. Certainly in Christ is evident when our character is built on humble acceptance of a love incomprehensible and undeserved. You are a friend of God by faith, friend. Your ability to be perfect melts in His Perfection and gives way to promises too great to pass by. Will you accept Him today? Get over the prickly human qualities that buffer pride constantly telling us that there must be repayment and recompense. There is nothing you can do to earn or deserve God’s Love – you must simply live in it.

James 4:5-7 (NLT) Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

God of Gifts, Grace & Glory

God's Gifts, Grace & Glory

Romans 11:28-29 (ESV) As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 

The Gift of God to us in His Son Jesus Christ is threefold. He gives us His Gifts, Grace and Glory all in one neat and tidy package called you. If you are like me, there are days I look in the mirror wondering how the Lord will ever turn this mess into a message or the test into a testimony. I cannot see the full potential hidden inside me. The purpose of my design or the prerecorded details of my existence. All I do know and believe with any certainty is that God has a plan for me and has called me to be someone other than I am.

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. We are so use to the fickleness of human hearts that when presented with unconditional love – it is difficult to comprehend and far more difficult to accept. To believe and live by the Truth that God’s Love is unfailing. It is constant. Standing the test of time, it has the endless mercy and fathomless grace that no one could ever contain except an all-consuming God. You have been given an inheritance. It is familial and secured in the righteousness given to us by Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the guarantor that it will be given to us. The word “irrevocable” means it cannot be revoked, recalled, repealed, annulled and must remain unaltered. The perfection of God is precise. He predestined our life before our first cry and it is clearly defined until our last breath. Do you believe that God’s Plan and Purpose is irrevocable today?

God’s Gifts and Giftings

Malachi 3:6 (ESV) “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

Numbers 23:19 (ESV) God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

God will always be consistent and true to His Word. Trust is the essential that makes our belief a reality. When we trust God taking Him at His Word, our faith grows in confident hope that is willing to wait on the Lord. God does not change. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Jesus is the Word of God who came in the form of a man to be our example. He died to be the sacrifice for our sin and open up the heavens for us. He accomplished this fully on the Cross when the Lord spoke, “It is finished.” He released His Spirit to us to identify us as His Beloved. The Father now calls us His Children. Who would change their mind about a son or daughter? We love them no matter what.

If we choose to ignore God’s Gifts, to live outside of our giftings, to ignore His Calling, it will never change God or what He already has planned for us. Disobedience may create detours, delays and consequences but God promises to make good of those details produced by doubt. We must choose to believe that God is who He says that He is and will do exactly as He has promised to do. The purpose in us is activated by faith. Faith exercises trust which will become a relationship. This relationship produces confident hope that becomes our conviction. The conviction is that nothing is impossible with God!

God’s Grace

Romans 11:30-32 (ESV) For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

Through one man’s sin, all of human became guilty. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, all humanity was saved. The abundance of God’s Grace is the essential component that turns our fears, faults and failures into a future that is filled with God’s Goodness and confident hope. The impartation of God’s Grace is absolutely vital to accepting His Gifts and answering His Call. The Word demonstrates our need for God’s Mercy and Grace called the Law. The Law was not to condemn us but that through it people would see their need for Jesus. Everyone falls short of God’s Glorious Standard. Everyone needs the sufficiency of His Grace. It is not a performance based assumption but a complete and perfect surrender to the Cross. Religion makes it exclusive. Relationship gives itself to everyone. The Word of God is all about love. The love of God for us. The love of God in us. Our love in the same capacity for everyone else. It is all about love because the Law was satisfied by Jesus. There are no fatal errors with God just divine opportunity to take another broken piece of a stubborn, hard heart and lay it at the feet of Jesus to become the masterpiece God promised.

God’s Glory

Romans 11:33-36 (ESV) Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

True story. Years ago as a teenager, our family went to a restaurant for dinner. As customary in many establishments, the young waitress offered my parents something from the bar. My dad looked at her and said, “In the Name of our Lord Jesus, I do not partake of alcohol” or something very close. Her face turned red with shame and she took the beverage card quickly departing to find some sweet tea. My sister and I melted under the table in embarrassment with her. While the conviction of my dad was pure and honest in demonstrating his love and acceptance of Christ, the public display of his conviction turned the waitress off immediately. Our new life in Christ is not a demonstration of perfection or a public display of professing our faith and commitment to Christ in such a way to drive others away. When the Light of His Love is burning within us, it is attractive. People want the love, joy and peace that is given off by the faithful and confident believer. The opportunity to share our faith is practical. It begins with relationship. The Purpose of God for us is to encounter His Love and choose to live in it. The Plan of God is one opportunity after another to experience God’s Love. The overflow of His Mercy and Grace in our life gives us something to offer others.

We live for the Glory of God. Our life should always point to the unfailing love, grace and kindness of God offered in His Son – Jesus. We do that when our faith and confidence is in the unchangeable character of God which produces unconditional love and acceptance of all mankind. It is the kind of confidence that is not based on circumstances or conditions but calls for logical faith demonstrated by practical wisdom. Simply put – we obey God’s Word because we love and trust Him more than what we are feeling – physically or emotionally. In every storm, Jesus is our anchor. In every shakable matter, Christ is our foundation. In every mistake, He demonstrates magnificent grace that will not allow us to be removed from our election and calling in God.

Romans 4:16-17 (ESV) That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 

The Promise of God including His Purpose and Plan all depend on faith. It rests on His Grace alone because we can never earn or deserve the good things God has in store for us. We have already proven that adherence to the Law in our personal life is impossible. Sin happens. No one is sinless. Every droplet of the Blood of Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary to save, heal and deliver every single one of us. It is all inclusive. The power of purpose is to believe. The moment our faith becomes planted in confident hope and the possibilities set forth by the Living God seem attainable – passion of purpose kicks in and we will press for the mark of His High Calling. The belief that Jesus gives life to the dead and calls into existence things that do not exist is the beginning of miracles. God has already predestined us for supernatural living. His Gifts and Call deemed irrevocable. There is nothing that can separate us from God’s Love. God will always be true to His Word. His Word will always be truth to us. Our disobedience does not create impossibility only shows us our need for more of Him. You have a gift. You possess giftings placed in you by the Living God designed for His Glory. His Grace is all you need to achieve a glorious life – so live it!

Luke 1:37 (ESV) For nothing will be impossible with God.

 

Que Sera Sera

Que Sera Sera

Ephesians 2:9-10 (NLT) Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Que sera sera translated means “whatever will be, will be.” We are God’s Masterpiece created anew in Jesus Christ. What does it look like? How does one become such a work in this lifetime? Is it really a transformation or just a foretaste of the life after death promised to those who love the Lord? I think that depends on each person. The Lord has a plan and purpose developed for us during creation. (Psalm 139) We are not random acts of science born as a result of a human act but a work of divine inspiration of God. He created us. He desires us. He wants to be with us. God loves us. He prepared a plan that is good with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29) Those who pursue God through His Son, Jesus Christ have nothing to fear because the plan is already working in us and through us by His Spirit. God made us with a measure of faith and taste of eternity in our heart. The breath of life breathed in us perpetuated His Plan in motion. Now it is up to us if that is what we choose for our life. To live out God’s Word for us. To have all that He promised us. To prosper in our soul until it produces abundance and full satisfaction in our life.

Que sera sera is absolutely true. God has recorded each day of our life in advance. Whatever will be – will be. Does that mean that there is nothing for us to do to facilitate the process? No. We do have investments that yield Kingdom dividend. It is in our weakness that the sufficiency of God’s Grace is revealed. It is in the sacrificing of our way that His Way is fully achieved. Is it really all that important to make a plan? To have vision or revelation if que sera sera is true and whatever will be will be?

Psalm 37:23 (NLT) The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.

The Lord orders our steps. Like a well-crafted staircase, it is going somewhere or leading us to a higher destination. However, it is by faith that we continue in God’s Way. His Will and Word lead us to the greater things that He has in store for us. The motivating factor of God is His Love so He will not force you to accept His Graciousness and Goodness but is always pursuing us with unfailing love and goodness. (Psalm 23) I think the hardest part of Christianity is our free will. Though the Lord is perceived with a hovering hand ready to punish each indiscretion or mistake made – nothing could be further from the truth. The Hand once thought to be a visit is actually open and inviting us to a better life. New life and new creation produce good fruit that nourish our soul and bring forth the blessing. The Word of God says, “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence, and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:11) We are invited to participate in a new way of life living in the Presence of God and those who engage in that life are promised joy and pleasure forever. We must make a plan. We must plan to plant our faith in God. Wait for Him. Engage with Him. Following the Lord wherever He leads us.

Habakkuk 2:2-4 (NLT) Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. “Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.

God has a plan for our life. He reveals His Plan to us many times. We get excited. Ready to run with it. Then lose momentum when it does not produce immediate results. We do not take God seriously enough to actually write down what He speaks to our heart or the word that is given to us by another. We do not heed the words of the prophet, Habakkuk, shared that say, “The vision is for a future time.” Anything born before its time is premature. Things that come too early are aborted. The Plan and Purpose of Lord for our life are from His Perspective. He is the Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the End. He sees our life completely. He knows exactly what it will take to win our heart, mind and soul forever. Not only does He know, but exacts an individual plan that requires absolute faith and complete trust until our hope becomes the confidence that leads our life.

Nobody likes waiting. People don’t come preprogrammed with patience. Even our little grandson already knows how to throw a tantrum when he does not get his way at just three months of age. Doubt gives way to frustration and discouragement compiled with the fear that life will not get any better than this so that even grown folks pitch fits in the Presence of God rather than waiting quietly in the watchtower marked “trust” until He comes. The righteous live by faith in God. Faith is not perceived by the eye but believed in the heart. Even when human logic and understanding do not understand, faith waits on the Lord. Trust keeps us from running off.

The Lord is clear that He reveals His Mysteries to us. The Word of God says that we are given the secrets of the Kingdom. (Mark 4:11) You have eternity in your heart. It is written by the Hand of God. Like any good book, it must be examined thoroughly to establish its validity. We must pursue that which God has placed in our heart because it is part of the eternal plan. Our natural ambition and drive for success outside of the four walls of the church is equally as important as how we serve God in the church. We must understand that every part of the component of self is part of His Plan for success and prosperity. Our realm of influence is to be the light of the world and salt of the earth. We have a Kingdom investment to make in earthly soil that will not only produce heavenly rewards but natural blessings. The plan is faith and will always incorporate trust in the Lord. We must make a plan and stick to it. We must set goals based on God’s Word for our life and choose to walk in them even when things are not turning out the way we planned knowing that His Plan is in perpetual and purposeful motion.

Galatians 6:7-9 (NLT) Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 

“Que sera sera” is an expression of surrender. Whatever will be – will be is scary when given a random spin. But as a believer to say, “Whatever will be will be… according to God’s Plan” – it becomes a surrender of self to the working of God in us and through us. The supremacy of God allows Him to exact His Plan for our life without our willful participation. But instead of exerting His Hand of Authority over us – He extends it to us through Jesus Christ. Now we can say with confidence, “I will wait on the Lord. He has a plan. It’s a good one. I want it and trust that it will come.” Are you ready to give up? Have you grown weary of well doing? The enemy wants you to leave the field that you have been sowing so he can steal every benefit and blessing about to spring forth because God is faithful. His Word does not return to Him void. It will do exactly what it was set forth to do! You must only wait for it! Has God given you His Word on something but it just seems impossible now? Awesome! God does miracles in the midst of the impossible. When there is no logical or natural way to accomplish it – God will do it every time! Be encouraged today! The Lord has not forgotten His Promise for you. His Plan for your life is in full motion. I know you cannot see all the steps ahead of you but if you take just one step of faith – you are headed in the right direction!

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.

Thankful Heart

Thankful Heart

Psalm138:1-2 (ESV) I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

Today is my birthday. It is just an ordinary day to me. I will let you in on a little secret. Taking another year doesn’t really bother me, I believe age is just a number. It is all the extra attention that I find to be the most uncomfortable. I am a giver. I love to bless other people. The position of receiver makes me want the day to pass more quickly. There is vulnerability in being the recipient. It creates a feeling of obligation in the acceptance of a gift. There is humility in the posture of receiving because it creates expectation. This morning as I fed the dogs, started laundry, working on the Mother’s Day plans for church, my heart began to recount all the blessings in my life. I am a grandmother now. Oh how I love that little guy. My life and my home the one that I dreamed of as a little girl. Life has not always been perfectly but now looking back it is turning out beyond anything I could have asked for, considered or imagined. Even though there were times I just knew all my bad choices, horrible habits, years of wandering, and inability to walk in constant obedience would result in a consequence – I just cannot find them now. God has certainly taken all those details making good on His Promise that unfailing love and possibility would be birthed in even the tiniest of details. Today – I am thankful with my whole heart.

I wonder what would happen if we lived each day in such a state. To be thankful with our whole heart would certainly change our mind. It would alter thoughts and reposition our perspective in life completely. Human nature is giving to comparison and complaining that eats away at our confidence in the God who works out all the details and even perfects that which concerns us. To be grateful acknowledges Him and to do so before the rush and radiance of His Glory comforts us in the waiting. I have received much from the Lord and to Him I must return my praise, glory, honor and worship. He takes our whole life and makes a masterpiece of it – can we give Him our whole heart in return?

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

On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased. (Psalm 138:3) I didn’t ask for anything for my birthday this year despite my husband’s pleadings for some ideas. I was bestowed a crown fitting for a queen or at least my dentist charged me like it was. I really am content. The only thing I wanted today was to be surrounded by my family and closest of friends. To fellowship together and enjoy each other’s company over dinner somewhere. To hug all my kids and squeeze my littlest grand – there is nothing I am more thankful for than this. The Holy Spirit lives in us growing and developing fruit to feed our soul. The first of which is love. Love then joy and peace. These three things are essential. Given to us with a measure of faith to cultivate them fully in our life. Our heart is the fertile soil of new beginnings. I wonder if thankfulness and gratitude is an added nutrient that accelerates growth in us like a good fertilizer on flowers or the lawn. To weed out all the fear, doubt and insecurity sown in us by the enemy to choke out the confident hope that leads to impossibilities and prosperity overtaking us from the inside out. As I call on the Name of the Lord today – it is with two simple word not nearly enough for all He has done – Thank You!

I Thessalonians 5:16-19 (ESV)  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.

The Lord WILL and DOES perfect all that concerns you and me. It takes a lifetime to produce the miracle inside of us called new life. It takes a lot of planting for our heart and mind to prosper. We facilitate that process only in our “yes”. In the waiting, it is our willingness to praise and worship the Lord for who He is that is essential in tending that which is growing with us to manifest in our life. We can rejoice always. We can pray to a listening God without ceasing. We can give thanks in all circumstances because His Word will not return to Him void. It will accomplish exactly what it set out to do. He does perfect all that concerns us out of His Unfailing Love and Faithfulness in spite of us. This is the Will of God for our life. To prosper as our soul does. Let the Holy Spirit fill you with new life, new love, and new possibilities today. It begins with a simple “yes” watered in thanksgiving.

Psalm 138:8 (NKJV) The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord endures forever.

Yes Lord Yes

Yes Lord Yes

Psalm 51:10-12 (ESV) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

There are seasons in life when it is time for a little introspection. It is important to evaluate our heart carefully to determine the proximity of Presence in our life. Relationship can easily turn into religion if our worship becomes habitual not a result of intimacy. I am here today. In this place of quiet with the Lord, the only One can truly hold me accountable by His Spirit in faith and confident hope. The words of the psalmist inspired by the Holy Spirit hold true today for all of us if our internal desire is the eternal hope of Christ. Though righteousness is found in Christ alone, it is up to us to give the Lord permission to examine us, evaluate our progress, eliminate that which is unproductive and exact growth and development in all the proper places. All we can do is say, “Yes!”

Create in me a clean heart, O God

Ezekiel 36:26 (ESV) And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

A change of heart is in its absolute breaking. God must have all the pieces of our heart in order to create a masterpiece. An artist cannot do anything with a canvas if there is no brush or paint. It is easy to withhold bits and pieces of our heart in order to preserve pride. It is difficult to surrender those parts that are painful. Depths of emptiness too vast to risk devastation. Darkness that is so recessed light has not reached it yet. All this space within us ready for holy inhabitation must be fully exposed and exchanged for the new heart, new spirit, and new mind waiting in the Presence of God offered by His Son, Jesus. Lord give me a new heart today. Remove the stony one of flesh and make it soft as promised.

Renew a right spirit within me.

2 Timothy 1: 6-7 (ESV)  For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

The Helper, Holy Spirit, who the Father gave us through the Son lives in us. He teaches us all things and brings into our remembrance that which God has ordained, decreed and spoken to us. (John 14:26) The Spirit offers us internal insight and eternal understanding not given to the world but received through Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:12) Finally, the Spirit is God’s Guarantee of every spiritual blessing in our life. The Spirit identifies us as God’s Children. This is the Gift of God when we come to Him through Jesus Christ. It is a non-negotiable part of our covenant with God as the Spirit is full consummation of our relationship to Him. Have you opened this gift in your life?

God has not given us the spirit of fear. Too often it is readily taken when offered by the father of lies as the truth that governs our life. Oh to have back all the time wasted worrying about things that never happened and carrying burdens that never came to fruition but still robbed me of peace and rest in the Lord. God has given us the spirit of power, love and self-discipline. Have you taken hold of that today? Sometimes we must exchange something we have to fully obtain what God is trying to give us. The same is true in renewal of a right spirit within me. I must examine my motives and emotions for power and love which always requires self-discipline to overcome the traps of doubt marked worry, anxiety and fear. God didn’t give us these so we must reject them.

Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (ESV) 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.

There is nothing that can separate us from the Love of God. (Romans 8:28) Do you believe that today? I mean really believe it. Sometimes even saints of God forget that the Love of God for us is constant and concrete in the Cross. There is absolutely nothing you can do to ever make the Lord stop loving you or pursuing you with unfailing love and goodness. His Mercy is new every morning according to His Faithfulness not our ability to be faithful. There are no fatal errors for those who love God. Hard times create soft hearts. It is those moments of extreme weakness (physical, emotion and/or spiritual) that the truest nature of God is discovered. His Grace. When I am weak, I am strong. The enemy tries to make us think that when our walk turns to wandering or our thoughts to wandering that we somehow become lost. The Lord never leaves us or forsakes us but waits like the father for the prodigal son. I wonder what would happen if Children of God fully understood and embraced the importance and power of God’s Grace. It would be a life changer and history maker for the Body of Christ as the fullness of His Power permeated people and steeples everywhere.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

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.

I’ll say yes, Lord, yes to your will and to your way. I’ll say yes, Lord, yes… I will trust you and obey. When your Spirit speaks to me with my whole heart I’ll agree and my answer will be yes, Lord, yes! (Shirley Caesar)

As I sit here today in the quiet of early morning, I am offering my heart to the Lord once again. I say yes, Lord, yes to Your Will and to Your Way. Sometimes that is not an easy proclamation in our journey with Jesus. We walk by faith not by sight. Trust is the issue of greatest importance. He will make known the path of life to me and offers me a choice which is a product of the freedom afforded me by His Son. In His Presence, there is fullness of joy but I must leave myself at the doorway and enter through Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The only way to the Father is through the Son. I must give Him my heart today. I must present Him my willful and overbearing spirit with all its pride to make room for His Spirit. I must move in closer with each “yes” until I am close enough to experience His Pleasures marked as promises forevermore. I find joy in doing His Will which always starts with love. His Spirit is producing the kind of fruit in me that is worth sharing. The cost is my pruning so that more fruit will grow. The sacrifice is my hard heart and unwilling spirit. Today – I say I will say, “Yes, Lord, yes!”

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (ESV) From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 

Working in Me

Work in Me

Philippians 2:12-13 (NLT) Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

“Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.” Buddha

There is more to the story of salvation than to escape the ramparts of hell. To engage in an experience of repentance and leave the same person with the same problems with a lack of purpose is a great tragedy considering the deposit and investment that is conceived in that moment. We live in a visible world serving an invisible God. His Presence surrounds us and His Spirit lives in us but the tangible being is not so evident. We must work hard to show the results of our salvation through love-driven, passion-infused, reverent and radical obedience to the Living God. The words of Buddha hold true even if not the intent. We must work out our own salvation independent of people and fully reliant on the Lord. God is working in us even before our first encounter with Christ leading us to that moment. Once we have found our Savior and Lord the continuation of our life has the potential to be powerful and purposeful in every single endeavor because Jesus is now inside of us.

We must make a personal investment in the potential of our future. But the Work of God in us is not an external effort but rather an internal transformation. It is not an act of doing but rather a work of becoming. The work completed on the Cross by Jesus was enough to provide all the grace needed for the Power of God to fully finish that which He predestined and preordained for us. All the blessings and promises are predesigned with our only act of obedience to fulfillment. We must work God’s Plan so it will work in us. The distinguishing factor in all of this is to keep our relationship with Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life of every purpose and promise rather than becoming a willing participant of religion that is consumed by what we do more than who we are.

Mind, will and emotions are pivotal to the change of God beginning to take over within us. We must sacrifice them along with our feelings to let the Holy Spirit produce good fruit that nourishes our heart and soul instead. As our soul prospers, our spiritual life becomes primary and natural life is impacted by a crucified flesh giving way to the Holy Spirit. It is a takeover of sorts by those who long to be pursued and overtaken by God’s Unfailing Love, Amazing Grace and Constant Goodness. It is a submission of our mind, will and emotions to the Cross so that confidence in Christ and what He promised to do is our primary position. It is the moment that we take up that Cross to follow the example of Jesus that things begin to change in a good way.

James 2:19-22 (NLT) You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? 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. 

Working the Plan of God is not what we do but the confidence to lay down our life in careful and continual obedience. To trust the Lord means doing things His Way when all logic points another. Abraham is a prime example of working God’s Plan. There was no reason for him to believe that he would father one child let alone a nation. Yet, he dared to believe. The unbelievable was his absolute confidence and so he lived loving and serving God. Did he mess up? Yes. Did he make mistakes along the way? Absolutely. God did not look for his perfection but rather his perseverance that no matter what he still believed especially when there was absolutely nothing tangible to be confident – the person of God – the Great I AM – was simple enough.

“Salvation is not a self-improvement program. That can only change us on the outside. The work of God changes us on the inside.” (Zac Poonen) It is easy to change habits and make better choices. Hard work, determination and motivation will change our way of living and produce a better life. Even religious obedience can produce the benefits of sowing and reaping, but in the end if our relationship with Jesus Christ is not established – we gain absolutely nothing. There are those who will come to Christ and have a better life just because they decided to work the plan. The Bible is the precedent of obedience that leads to productivity. However, if we do not allow the Lord to work His Plan in us – our life is worthless and meaningless void of God’s Glory found in His Grace.

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

Greetings from Paul to the people in Philippi who belonged to Christ is one of thanksgiving for the testimony these people lived. As he continues, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work in you, will continue His Work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Friend, we are a work in progress. The only time that Christ stops working in us and through us is when we decide go our own way (He is the ONLY Way), to live a lie (contrary to Truth), and choose something other than Resurrection Life and Power given to us for today. God will do exactly as He promised. Our only job is to continually surrender our life to Him. How? “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” (Philippians 2:5) He finished the Work on the Cross for the joy set before Him. Jesus did not live for immediate gratification but eternal pleasure. His Good Pleasure is you and me. He thought we were to die for and He did. He marched into hell and took possession (title and deed) to our life. When Christ came out of the grave, His Motive always was love so rather than take ownership of us and enslave us. He gave us freedom to live in love with Him or choose something else. What is your choice today? Will you work God’s Plan by submitting everything to Jesus? Will you surrender your heart to the work that was begun in you? Do you trust that God will complete it? That is what this life is all about – falling in love with Jesus Christ! Living in a loving relationship that transcends the boundaries of time and brings heaven to earth. He gave it all to us. We must only work out our salvation with fear and trembling as His Love consumes our ordinary life and produces an extraordinary existence.

“Salvation is a work of God to show His Glory. That’s why He’s not going to let it fail.” (Paul Washer)

Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLT) Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.