The Kid’s Table

The Kid's Table

Mark 9:33-35 (ESV) And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 

Living in the southernmost part of the country, our seasons are generally welcomed by the calendar and not a change in the atmosphere. While most of the country begins to welcome autumn with falling leaves and pumpkin spice latte, it is recognized here by the turn of the calendar page while coffee is sipped in the humidity of another stormy day. Flipping ahead in my planner, I cannot believe another year is quickly passing. This time last year, our family was preparing for the newest member’s arrival with baby showers while our middle daughter anticipated her high school graduation. Now there is a sweet chunky cherub filling our home with giggles and only one child who has not reached adulthood. Indeed, friends, seasons change without our bidding. They are preset by God to carry out His Plan and His Purpose. Each one bearing seeds from the past sown by faith into the potential of a fertile heart. Are you ready for the change of season?

The seasons of God set forth for us come with the promise of a wonderful plan. The only thing required to achieve His Purpose is faith. Faith empowers us to believe. It is the key that opens the heart to trust the Lord enough to follow the Way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and Life. He is the Word who carefully lived out the course set before us to become Children of God and receive His Spirit who seals our adoption. However, human expectation sometimes allows pride to get in the way of the process by which faith is acquired.

With the turn of the calendar page it is evident that the busiest time of the year is coming – a new season is here. Planning for the holidays begins with the grandmas, moms and daughters long before the turkey is placed in the oven or pies set out to cool. Menus and accommodations for overflowing tables begin. There will be more food than our family will ever finish and a fridge filled with leftovers just because there always is. Newspapers and laptops strategically setting forth the holiday shopping that will help us work off those extra pounds with retail therapy. There is one inevitable argument that will arise. Who will sit at the kids table? Not an easy call since all the kids are grown and our family expanding. There is the main dining table used for everyday use and then there is a formal dining room only used for special occasions. Of course, everyone wants to sit at the fancy table. It will require someone to humbly accept positions at the “kid’s table” in order for dinner to go smoothly.

Isn’t that how it works with the Lord? All His Children want to sit at His Table with the Father. However, just as our children all began sitting at the kids’ table. We as Children of God must be of a humble heart to do the same. Seasons with God change us but rather not as in the natural. In the spiritual realm, maturity in God comes when Jesus increases and I decrease. (John 3:30)

Matthew 15:22-28 (ESV) And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

The Lord has prepared a table for us. Communion with Christ means taking in His Body and being washed in His Blood. The significance of His Sacrifice for us is met with expectation that will become the motivation of our relationship with Him. The Jews were looking for elevation. They knew who they were – Children of God. They knew what God’s Promise was and that the Messiah coming. They expected to be served like kings and queens, so when presented with a Humble Savior didn’t recognize His Majesty. Surely this is not the Christ – Son of the Living God.

How often our approach to Christ is of a religious nature? Like a Pharisee looking to live the life of promise but not willing to follow His Example. The beginning of all things in Christ is a relationship that is only achieved in humility. A relationship that starts with two desiring oneness. What is it on the table the Lord has set before us that we desire? Do you need healing? Do you need deliverance? Do you need restoration? Do you need reconciliation? Do you need provision? Do you desire prosperity? All this is laid out like a banquet for Children of God but until we are willing to gather the crumbs beneath the table of God and consume the Body of Christ in all His Humility – we are not worthy to sit at the banquet with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who decided to be broken for us in the first place.

But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! 

I do not think Jesus was trying to humiliate this woman. I believe that He already knew what she desired but more importantly the Healer saw the faith in her heart. He wanted his disciples to see it to. They walked with Jesus. Talked with Him. Maintained friendships with the Messiah. Believed He was the Son of the Living God. However, they were following Him expecting the table not the Cross. The woman was desperate for her child. However, unlike Naaman who almost missed what God had for him because of pride, she was of a humble heart. She was desperate for Jesus. Human desperation has differing outcomes according to the condition of our heart. The woman was broken. She would stop at nothing to have a touch from the Lord so she would gladly gather the crumbs beneath his table. Jesus saw her faith and so did his men. He blessed the woman and her daughter was healed.

Psalm 34:8-10 (ESV) Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!  The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

In Luke 14, there is a parable of Jesus of the Great Banquet. A man had prepared a banquet for Jesus. Jesus had instructed the host that the blessing in a feast was to invite those who could not reciprocate such as the poor, crippled, lame and blind for the eternal reward would be greater. The man quickly disregarded his statement and tells Jesus, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God!” Hold up! Reclining at the table in casual conversation the man is schooling Jesus? What? No. Jesus shares the story of the Great Banquet. The invitation was given by the host – yet the ones invited refused to come to the table so the host invited essentially everyone and there was still more room. Jesus was only telling of his arrival for God’s People and their refusal to accept His Invitation so now there was an open invitation into the Kingdom of God to sit at His Table. The table that Jesus was preparing was not like the one of his host that day. It was not fanfare and show but provision. God was providing a way for all to enter in. Jesus invites us to come in and sit with him. He is withholding no good thing from you. He has already reserved a place for you with a standing invitation. It is only accepted through intimacy with Christ that whets our appetite for the things of God rather than looking for the goodies that He has in store for us.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! His Heart is filled with full satisfaction that He wants to share with you. The kind of fulfillment that is not dependent on the things of this world but fully discovered only by faith that leads to confident hope. Friend, it is not what is on the table but what lies underneath that allows us to experience the miracles of Jesus in our life. The foundation on which the marriage supper is grounded is Christ. He is what lies beneath and supports the table. Faith is founded on radical humility that fully gives way to total trust in Him. He knows what you like and don’t like. He knows exactly what you need. He has everything covered. He is standing at the door knocking today! Jesus is waiting and says, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” The Lord desires a meal with you. He seeks to meet with you face-to-face. Will you humble your heart and receive Him?

James 4:10 (ESV) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.

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Still Later

Still Later

Mark 16:14-18 (NLT) Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead. And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

Where are the modern day miracles? Signs? Wonders? Why is the church not experiencing an outpouring of Heaven and revival like Jesus promised? It says clearly, “these miraculous signs will accompany those who believe…” Do you ever find religion boring? I do. The Lord is shaking his church hoping to reach the people today. I feel it. Do you? Mediocrity grows bitter in our midst and it is time for breakthrough. How does one experience breakthrough? What does it feel like, sound like, or look like?

Breakthrough in Jesus Christ is like the mighty wall of Jericho falling flat. I had been praying for breakthrough in a relationship for almost two years. Offense had become opposition building a wall between two people. I continued to press into God’s Presence. Something had to give. In praying one day, the Lord showed me an image of the Great Wall of Jericho and as the people watched it fell flat before them. No one was harmed and everyone crossed over safely into the Promise. The Lord is ready to blow over some walls of oppression surrounding you today. The very ones you have agonized over and been tormented by for a long time. They will fall flat. No one will be harmed. All will cross over. Shortly after that vision came to me – the Lord did just that in the situation I was facing and praying about. The issue literally dissolved at the altar of God and reconciliation was instantaneous. Crazy huh? No – God desires to save us, heal us, deliver us, bless and prosper His People. He is waiting on us.

Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.

Oh my goodness, how many times do the Children of God dwell in “still later”? Like tasting something new and then mulling it over in our mouth until it loses its flavor and is tasteless and lukewarm. Rather than swallowing it and absorbing the nutrients hidden inside, it is quickly discarded as tasteless and no good. The Word of God is the Truth for our life. It is the very essence of God’s Plan laid out like a fine meal to be savored yet packed with powerful nutrients for our soul to prosper. Jesus is the Word who came in flesh. He was dining with the original 11 remaining disciples reprimanding them for stubborn unbelief.

Faith is not possible outside of believing yet it is claimed every single day. How can I believe in Jesus to be saved and not allow it to carry over into my life? The reality of salvation, if truly believed, is life changing and miraculous. It is not anything I do but the fact that I become a conduit to Christ in me. I must exercise my faith to expand the foundation of hope in my life. Jesus goes on to tell them that those who believe WILL experience a miraculous life and ministry. Yes, ministry. The Great Commission has ordained each of us who believe to “go into all the world and preach Good News to everyone.” The problem is our belief is left inside the four walls of the church, or small group, or special conference along with the hype and social group. It is not for the world, but something to rev us up and send us out to live the same mundane and mediocre life from the day before. Still later…

Today is “still later” for the church and Body of Christ limping around powerlessly vulnerable to every lie the enemy lobs over the fence at us. We sit sick and bound in every kind of sin not because the Blood has lost its power but because we don’t believe in the full potential of His Name. The Blood of Jesus has the power to save, heal, deliver and set free. If these are not characteristic in our life, there is more to our salvation yet to be discovered. God is shaking His Church with a wakeup call. Christ is offering a rebuke to those living in the days of old. It is the last great awakening.

Hebrews 12:25-29 (NLT) Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.

The attack of the enemy is subtle. He quietly builds walls of doubt and disbelief grouted with insecurity to keep God’s People from the promise of fulfillment. The rich and satisfying life promised to us by Jesus are just on the other side. It is not within our personal power to make things happen but completely possible through confidence in Christ. The Christ in us is always enough to live a miraculous life full of signs and wonders if only we would discard stubborn disbelief allowing faith to become the foundation of our life. The Faithfulness of God in His Son, Jesus is demonstrated in “still later”. His Lovingkindness and Patience towards us revealed. It doesn’t matter if you have loved Jesus a day or a decade or even more than that – there is still more for you and me on the other side of disbelief.

I speak to the walls in my life – you must come down in Jesus Name. I speak to the borders and boundaries of faith in your life as well – you also must come down in the Name of Jesus. Lord, we want every miracle, sign and wonder promised to us. Help us Lord to believe. The atmosphere of your life is changing right now along with mine. Do not be afraid of shaking or earth moving – it’s just walls coming down because we believe!

Mark 9:23-24 (NLT)  “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

Adopted

Adopted

Romans 8:14-16 (NLT) For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.  Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.

When my husband and I married, I gave him the gift of three children. In fact, they were with us in the wedding and rode home to begin our new life together right from the church. He was made by God for his new role in our blended family. It was as though God predestined him for the job. Our daughter expressed a desire from the start that she wanted to be adopted. She wanted have the same name and security of the official process. Her dream would become a reality. There were papers to be signed and filed. A price to be paid. A process to follow. But I can remember how exciting it was to go before the court and finalize the adoption. Not long after – the official documents arrived including a birth certificate with her new name and her dad’s name on it. With these important papers in hand, we began to change her name in school, at the social security office, and every other place necessary to assume her new identity.

I am no longer a slave to sin. I am a Child of God. How often this is the declaration of a people who still live as orphans. Those who have Jesus Christ inside of them have been sealed by the Spirit of the Living God. You are a son or daughter of God in that moment. It is up to us to assume our new identity in Him. He adopted us to be His Own Children. We have the privilege of calling Him, “Abba, Father.” His Spirit joins with our spirit to become the confidence needed to enter boldly to Him and live in a loving and abiding relationship with Him. In 2 Corinthians 1, it tells us that God “has identified us as His Own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything He has promised us.” Why do sons and daughters of the Living God live in lack? Lack of confidence, faith, hope, love, joy, peace, provisions and prosperity are all signs of orphan syndrome as I would call it. If we are not confident in our adoption by God through Jesus Christ and His Spirit who seals and entitles us to every blessing and promise, how can we ever convince others of the same? It is our purpose to be fully convinced of our spiritual adoption and live out the process of showing our identity to the watching world.

Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT) Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 

Before… I wish it was possible for the finite human mind to fully wrap itself around the concept of God’s Omnipresence. He is everywhere all the time. He always has been and always will be. The constancy of God is the stability of His Plan. He is. He was. He will be. God is the Great I Am. Jesus, His Son, is the same yesterday, today and forever. He goes before us, falls in behind us, and is right there with us living on the inside of us. Conceptually, it is easy to repeat this but to fully understand it is crazy. Yet even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ. I read it. I understand the meaning of the words. I know that it is true. Yet, I still cannot fathom knowing me how God would desire me as He does. He does because God already decided to love you. He was ready to adopt us into His Family knowing full well the sin that would plague us. He provided all the grace necessary to cover our sin and build a pathway to Him. All because He decided to love us and desired to adopt us.

Galatians 4:4-6 (NLT) But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”

The Bible tells us that God placed eternity in our hearts along with a measure of faith. I believe at the right time the two will become one and our life will prosper when Jesus comes to reside in us. His Spirit cultivates good fruit and changes the appetite of our soul. However, it takes time to change our heart and mind healing the past experiences and working all details for our good. The Holy Spirit prompts us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Why not? I believe that if you polled your congregation asking the question, “Who have always had a good relationship with their birth father?” You would find very few who shared such an experience. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19.7 million children, which is more than 1 in 4, live without a father in the home. These kids are more likely to live in poverty, develop behavioral problems, become pregnant as teenager, to face abuse or neglect, go to prison, to abuse alcohol or drugs, suffer obesity, commit a crime or drop out of high school. Fatherhood is a necessary role..

With this in mind, there is a fatherless generation who cannot experience the fullness of God’s Love because they do not understand His Role as Father. They cannot love or trust Him because their experience is absence, abandonment, or abuse. They do not cry out to Him for fear that He will not come because their natural fathers were not around. As the enemy works to destroy the home, he has successfully caused a separation between God and His Children based on experience. Many foreign orphanages are silent halls lined with cribs of babies who do not cry out because they know that no one will come. We must learn to lean on the Father again. Call out His Name. Allow our heart and mind to receive the adoptive spirit and live in His Love completely as sons and daughters of the Living God.

Acts 2:16-18 (NLT) No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants—men and women alike—and they will prophesy.

I do not believe that revival will come until the sons and daughters become confident in their identity. To fully assume our position in the Kingdom of God with confidence that nothing will ever separate us from the Father’s Love. To remind our heart, mind and soul that He is a Good Father and oh so faithful to His Children. We need to learn to recognize the Father’s Voice as He whispers His Love, Affirmation and Acceptance of us. To realize the full benefits of all His Promises and understand that they are not by chance but the rights of an inheritance. They belong to us because our Father has given them to us. God has poured His Spirit in us. We are free. Free to live. Free to love. Free to dream. Free to prophesy good things and God things in our life. It is only by achieving confidence that overcomes the experience of our past. To fully assume our place in the Kingdom is to complete the process of adoption by fully receiving our rights as the sons and daughters of God. He will not force you to come home but the Lord will welcome you every time. His Love for you and me established before the creation of the world. His Grace made sufficient because He knew us and desired us before time began. He is a good Father. He calls you His Child. Isn’t it time we lived like it?

2 Corinthians 6:18 (NLT) And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Trust Fund

Trust Fund

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (AMP) Now it is God who establishes and confirms us [in joint fellowship] with you in Christ, and who has anointed us [empowering us with the gifts of the Spirit]; it is He who has also put His seal on us [that is, He has appropriated us and certified us as His] and has given us the [Holy] Spirit in our hearts as a pledge [like a security deposit to guarantee the fulfillment of His promise of eternal life].

I was not born into an affluent family. In fact, the first home I remember was a mobile home that traveled with us. My parents hardworking both coming from middle class families so the idea of a trust fund equated to a jar for loose change left somewhere in the house. Yet today I have an abundant trust fund waiting for me. It came as part of the package provided to me by God and accessible through Jesus Christ. I have a rich and satisfying life available to me and sealed by the Holy Spirit. So where is it?

The truth is that those who decide to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are now members of a ridiculously rich and lavishly opulent Kingdom. It has everything need, wanted and desired by God’s People beginning with fellowship with God the Father through Christ the Son. There is a trust fund of precious promises, bountiful blessings and certain benefits that belong to us. Again, where are they now? Why do believers live desperate, disappointed and devastated lives as paupers – body, mind and spirit when the Word of God clearly establishes otherwise? A trust fund is comprised of a variety of assets to provide benefits to individuals or organizations. Established by a grantor, a trust fund provides security to the benefactor. There are guidelines for distribution that if met it is automatically released to the person or group intended.

Galatians 5:18-21 (AMP)  But if you are guided and led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the Law. Now the practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies], envy, drunkenness, riotous behavior, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

If guided and led by the Holy Spirit invested in us by Jesus Christ, there is no condemnation. The Law is now satisfied and therefore we can live in its abundance. Sin will always separate us from God, but His Grace is sufficient meaning once applied it is more than enough. Eternal life belongs to those who are completely broken in sin but covered in the Blood of Jesus. Salvation is only the beginning of the process of true repentance which is the act of reconciling our life to the Lord. It is not a forced act but a display of willingness. How so? Freedom! Who the Son sets free is free indeed. You can remain subject to the susceptibility of sin or choose a better way.

Religion is still reliant on the Law to find a better way. Our relationship makes us reliant on the Love of God and His Kind Forbearance and Mercy to get us through this life. You will never be able to completely fulfill the Law with attitudes and actions completely like Christ. Our sinful nature will always have some level of influence. All things are permissible but not all things are beneficial. There is eternal life freely given by God through Christ and accepted by mankind. But then there is a Kingdom that holds an inheritance for those who are the Sons and Daughters of God. It is completely yours tucked away as a “trust fund” for those who desire to be part of the Kingdom now AND forevermore.

There are certain things that hinder us from the blessings and benefits of our inheritance such as immorality. Can I just put this out there? Just because a church allows unwed couples to serve in ministry positions does not release the blessings of servitude to them. It is still considered immorality and though our entrance in Heaven is secure in Christ, the blessings of the Kingdom are not released until our life lines up with the Kingdom. So what good is to other people when sin is tolerated and the Kingdom limited in their life? Truth will always promote trust that will open the windows of Heaven in our life and rain down blessings. That’s just one thing on the list of many things that the church entertains these days which limits the potential receivership of others. Sin separated us from God and Jesus paid the price for our sin. The actions of the Savior remove all condemnation and give us complete access to the Father. It is making Jesus our Lord that releases our trust fund in the Kingdom.

Galatians 5:22-23 (AMP) But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

The fruit of my life that feeds my soul is from His Spirit. It includes love, joy and peace. It also provides patience or the ability to wait on the Lord. It fills us with kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness that will eliminate certain behaviors that once limited us including hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envy and others like these that divide the organization called church or the Body of Christ which is ordained to be blessed beginning with unity.

Ephesians 2:18-22 (AMP) For it is through Him that we both have a [direct] way of approach in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens [outsiders without rights of citizenship], but you are fellow citizens with the saints (God’s people), and are [members] of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the [chief] Cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together, and it continues [to increase] growing into a holy temple in the Lord [a sanctuary dedicated, set apart, and sacred to the presence of the Lord]. In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

What if our trust fund in the Lord is not just individual but corporate? What if the blessings and benefits that are prayed for and desired are actually linked to others in the Body of Christ? We are no longer strangers and aliens. We must trust the Lord in all areas of our life to receive that which is ordained as an inheritance. The economy of the earth is driven by supply and demand. There must be a relationship of commerce to keep the country running. Ephesians 2:14 tells us that Jesus is our peace and our bond of unity. Maybe the Kingdom is not being released in our personal life because we lack proper relationships in our new life. The Kingdom’s economy is souls. Souls bound together in perfect unity with Christ so that it can also attach to others freely without human expectation but hopeful revelation. We must expand our sphere of influence so that God can use those who are the executors to grant what God has freely given. Our life is not independent of others but intertwined. Each person has a deposit to make in our life and we have something for them, too. Not of ourselves but through Jesus Christ.

We desire God’s Hand and Outpouring but until we know and understand His Heart there will be no such thing. Revival of the family is in its offspring. Generations will die if not reproduced. God’s Heart and His Kingdom flourishes in “things” with streets of gold and mansions all around. God’s owns the cattle on a thousand hills but what He desires most is you. Me. Us. Together. God’s Kingdom is a family of believers who when they find perfect unity in Christ will experience an outpouring like never before. God loves you. He loves me. He has already ordained blessings and benefits for us that far exceed our expectation and will satisfy us completely. It cannot just be obtained individually but entrusted corporately as well.

In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. We must work on our relationship with Jesus Christ not as Savior but as Lord to release all that is given to us through our covenant. We must strive to develop strong bonds and eliminate division in the Body of Christ which is to be God’s Dwelling Place. It will provide the proper place for His Glory to dwell. God has so many wonderful things in store for us. Dissatisfaction, discouragement and disappointment are all evidence that there is more to come. We must put them off for determination, discipline and dedication to establishing His Kingdom here on earth so that His Spirit has plenty of room to move and fill our lives with what we desire the most – Jesus!

Psalm 103:1-5 (AMP) Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is [deep] within me, bless His holy name. Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget any of His benefits; Who forgives all your sins, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you [lavishly] with lovingkindness and tender mercy; Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the [soaring] eagle.

True Bliss

True Bliss

Psalm 119:1-5 (NLT) Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees!

“Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.” (Thomas Gray) Is ignorance truly bliss? Is it true that what you don’t know won’t hurt you? This is not a new thought. In fact, the saying goes all the way back to the eighteenth century. It is valid that not knowing something may often be more comfortable than knowing it, but that doesn’t make it harmless. In fact, true bless comes in knowing and understanding the Love of God which gives us the capacity to receive it. To know the Word is to know Jesus and that changes everything in our life. Knowledge must become wisdom to be effective in our life. It must form our thoughts, guide our steps and determine our actions. God has given us careful instructions to follow. To ignore them may give us some level of comfort but will not lead us to the joy and fulfillment that all are seeking. In fact, to live a random life without purpose will only lead to disappointment. We were created with destiny in mind and eternity in our heart. Faith pushes the limit of human expectation to the realm of hope. There must be more to life than this. To pursue the knowledge of God and find His Way will always lead us to true bliss.

The word “bliss” means supreme happiness, utter joy and complete contentment. It is also described as the “joy of heaven.” A state of nirvana defined by freedom from and oblivion to pain, worry and the pressures of the external world to find internal inexpressible joy and overwhelming peace. To know the Lord and seek His Wisdom brings us such fulfillment in life. There will be trials and temptations in life. We will experience suffering, sorrow and even betrayal. There will be attacks and abuse. The unexplainable events that destroy good people while evil prospers. The world will not change because revival comes. People will change and the Kingdom will expand through the hearts and minds of God’s People who decide to live in the joy of the Lord and His Bliss rather than choosing to remain ignorant and call it bliss.

To desire God’s Hand with no interest in His Heart will never lead to anything of worth. It may fill our homes with things and give us influence to those around us but it will never cause our heart to know contentment, our mind to experience perfect peace or create steadfast hope in every situation. Less of me and more of Him is the only way to fill those voids in us. The cracks and crevices of broken hearts that only the healing balm of the Anointed One can ever make whole again. Our convictions will not change until faith becomes logical. The logic and legitimacy of faith is found in God’s Word. Jesus is the Word.

Hosea 4:6 (NLT) My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children.

When social media came into being, my oldest son wanted an account. My only stipulation was that I was added as a “friend” and that I had his password at all times. Complete invasion of privacy…no it’s called parental privilege. The rules have carried on through all five kids regarding social media. As long as I am paying for the phone, device and/or data, I have the right to go through your accounts. I had a colleague who was having struggles with a teenager. He was seeking advice. I was privy to the social media accounts of his children and suggested that he do the same. Without sharing a single detail, he and his wife would see all they needed to see to know the challenges of their children. He quickly objected as it would be an invasion of their privacy. Kids will be kids and some things are better unknown. A few years later one of his children perished in a car accident due to intoxication. People are destroyed because of a lack of knowledge or as translated here “because they don’t know me.” We must not put our heads in the sand with an ostrich approach to life because the present dangers are all around us.

Proverbs 2:1-8 (NLT) My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.

We must treasure God’s Word. It is more valuable than any precious gem or metal. The Word of God changes our heart and mind to align it with God. If fills the voids, making us whole again so He can fill our life with good things just as He has promised. We must search for the valuable nuggets of truth. Sow seeds of knowledge to grow, develop and mature into wisdom. We must do so as though our very life depends on it because it does. The Lord grants us wisdom. He has given us His Spirit to teach, guide and mature us with complete understanding. This is the common sense that keeps us honest. Integrity becomes the shield that allows us to keep walking head up and eyes facing front when nothing in the natural lines up with the supernatural. The pathway of truth is the Word. You cannot follow Jesus and not know the Word. The two are one. He protects the faithful not the faithless.

Psalm 119:6-8 (NLT) Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me!

Proverbs 18:15 says that “intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.” God is always speaking to His People. Constantly calling, wooing and reminding us of His Love and Faithfulness. He pursues us with goodness. Our life must be lived in comparison to Christ in order to become with Him. Why? Quite simply, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He doesn’t change therefore to become one – knowledge and understanding must come together to form wisdom that completes our union with Him. I must decrease so that He may increase in my life for fulfillment’s sake. In order to be, have and do all that He promised means that I must compare my life to His Commands and learn His Righteous Regulations. This will give weight to the anchor marked hope that keeps me steadfast in the storm. The greatest thing about God is that He already knows me inside and out yet still loves me with unconditional love and purity.

Ephesians 1:7-9 (NLT) He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan.

The Lord has showered us with kindness along with “all wisdom and understanding.” God gave us faith and then a way to apply it. Trusting God is to accept a carefully constructed plan that is already prescribed for us. It is to receive an abundance that will give us a rich and satisfying life from the inside out. As our soul prospers so will every other aspect of our life. Our soul prospers as faith grows into absolute confidence and total trust in the Lord. Our life has amazing possibilities. It is full of potential. We were created on purpose with a purpose that no one else can accomplish. Our truest sense of being is fully described in God’s Word. He tells of His Unfailing Love. He reminds of the sufficiency of His Grace. He promises to give us new mercy each morning. He has already provided everything we need. He is making a masterpiece of all the broken pieces of our life. All of this and so much more belongs to us. It can only be discovered by those who value wisdom more than anything else and seek it out. Ignorance is not bliss. It is death for the soul. A lack of knowledge is a dream killer. Those who know the Lord will find it easier to trust Him more and more. We must carefully evaluate our life. Do away with ignorance. Everyone has areas of their life left alone out fear or doubt. These are the strongholds, obstacles and barriers of blessing. God tells us if we lack wisdom in any area of our life that all we must do is ask Him for it and He graciously pours it into our heart and mind for application. Truth is bliss to those who know Jesus. It is the freedom source to those who know and love Him.

Ephesians 1:18 (NLT) I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

Plenty

Plenty

Philippians 4:11-13 (NLT) Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

The word “plenty” means a full or abundant supply. It is the open invitation when unexpected guests arrive at dinner time. Here in the South, the surprised host might say, “Please stay…there is plenty” knowing full well it will be a scramble in the kitchen. Somehow it always works out though. I wonder if the food in our pantry mysteriously doubles in the invitation to others. Could it be the meat in our freezer magically grows and expands to meet our hospitality? Who knows…but all I know is that there always seems to be more than enough.

God has promised us an abundant life. Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life. The Word of God tells us that He has already supplied all that we need. There are many stories of plenty in the Bible. The key to plenty in the Kingdom of God is obedience. To give with the full expectation that God is enough and Christ in us is sufficient as our Source and Supplier. When Moses built the tabernacle in the wilderness, somehow the Children of God left Egypt with a rich supply for their pain and suffering. So much so that Moses had to tell them to stop giving. In the Book of Exodus, an opulent design is set forth for the Tabernacle’s construction and design including the wardrobe for the priesthood. Rich and luxurious lacking nothing completely extravagant. When the time came to build it, the people began bringing in the offerings. In Exodus 36, Moses commands the people to stop bringing gifts because “their contributions were more than enough to complete the whole project.” They fled Egypt with only what they could carry yet still make it out alive. They had enough. In fact, they had more than enough. How is it even possible?

What about the widow woman in 2 Kings 4? Her husband, a man of God, has passed away and the debt collectors are threatening to come take her sons. She seeks out the prophet, Elisha who inquires, “Tell me, what do you in the house? The woman replies, “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil.” Oil often represents anointing. We are anointed. Christ, the Anointed One, resides inside of us. It is in her obedience to the prophet’s instructions that the flask of oil becomes barrels of oil. Watch this – the woman does as instructed. The oil stops when the vessels are full. She had enough to pay her debts AND to live on the leftovers. God is ready to pour out plenty in our lives. In fact, the Great Multiplier is already inside of you and me as believers. It is in obedience that plenty becomes the abundance that we are looking for and satisfaction is discovered.

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. The secret to satisfaction is contentment. Not that God would ever prescribe us to settle for less than enough or living in lack but to learn to be content. This requires setting our full expectation on God the Father and depending on Christ in us for everything. Our needs, wants and desires are important to the Lord. His Spirit cultivates good fruit in us to feed our hungry soul the kinds of things that lead to satisfaction. As our soul prospers, our life will prosper in the expansion. God loves a cheerful giver. How much of your life are you willing to give to God’s Cultivation called prosperity? It begins in our heart. We must learn to trust in God’s Perfection and Planning. He makes everything beautiful in its time!

Matthew 14:15-21 (NLT) That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.” “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered. “Bring them here,” he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!

Church folks love fellowship! You cannot get into the local restaurants on a Sunday around one o’clock where we live in the Bible belt. Everyone is ready to eat and commune together in the local diners and buffets. The crowds came to see Jesus. To hear what He had to say, and now it was dinnertime. The disciples weren’t about to make a fast food run, but rather send the folks away. Jesus told them to feed them. Say what? The men had a borrowed lunch of five loaves of bread and two fish to feed thousands of people. Jesus took the meager meal and blessed it. He thanked God for it. Then He broke it into pieces and gave it away. In the end, everyone was full and there was more left over than what they started with.

Do you feel pressure today? Are you dissatisfied? Are you wondering why you do not have plenty but barely enough to survive? You want to give your life away but I dare say that until it is blessed and broken on the inside – there is nothing in our hands or homes worth giving. What is meager in your hand becomes mighty in God’s Hand! What seems mediocre in life becomes magnificent in the Kingdom! What seems impossible to you right now is miraculous when Jesus takes over! Maybe the pressure is your ordinary life about to give way to something extraordinary. All these stories seemed like not enough but became more than enough through obedience. Godly obedience will always include giving because that is how He supplies us.

2 Corinthians 9:7-8 (NLT) You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

Lord, I have all that I need today to live in the land of plenty and to experience the abundant, rich and satisfying life that you promised. It is here in the now. Bless it, God. Break it. Use it for your good and glory in my life and to those around me. In Jesus Name, AMEN!

 

Follow Your Heart

Follow Your Heart

Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV) Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Always. To all. Do not be. In every. The absolute terms used in this passage are often ignored. Is it really possible to always rejoice? Is it logical to be gentle to all? Can one truly live anxiety free and answer the directive, “Do not be anxious about anything”? In every situation is peace truly an achievable goal and aspiration? We have the customary response of “yes” but if it is not evident in our life is it truth we speak or simply the acceptable vernacular of Christianity. Though called a peculiar people, radical Christians are not supposed to be odd in a crazy kind of way but rather decisive in the Love of God firmly and completely established in Jesus Christ. In other words, authentic faith is radical and illogical thinking to the world, but we can be credible Christians living in the peace of God that “transcends all understanding.” Jesus Christ is the guard for our heart and mind in a world set on rebellion and an enemy bent on destruction. You have within you the power to overcome in every situation. It begins by dealing with doubt.

Doubt is the culprit. The carefully laid trap of the enemy to take the promises of God and make them seem illogical and impossible. The suggestion by him that God does not have the capacity to love unconditionally and forgive completely that leads us to believe that maybe the Gospel is too good to be true…for me. If for just a moment the enemy of the human soul can muster a tiny bit of uncertainty – it becomes a fast growing weed choking out the Truth being rooted and grounded by God’s Word cultivated by His Spirit. Our hope seems unstable in a stormy sea of stirred up emotions and overwrought feelings when God is unchanged. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. We are the ones who waver.

I John 4:17-18 (NIV) This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Let’s face it perfection is impossible for people. Perfect love is only possible in Jesus Christ. We must place our life in Him to experience a love so profound that it transforms our life from mediocrity to magnificence just because He is perfect. Love completed in us nullifies our doubts one by one quenching fear in the fire of passionate love. There is no fear in love. Therefore, the new creation of Christ makes way for a life of peace and calm. Each worry, care and anxious thought is the product of contention with God. It is a place that His Love has not overcome our doubt and disbelief. Peace is established in us by constantly reconciling every thought, feeling and emotion to the perfect love of God given to us in His Son, Jesus Christ. God does not punish us or it would suggest that His Grace is not enough. God is disciplining (or teaching) us to live a worry-free life of careless pursuit of His Kingdom.

Luke 12:22-26 (NIV) Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

The title of this section in my Bible bears the heading, “Do Not Worry”. Do not worry about your life. It goes on to detail the very things that consume our thoughts on a regular basis. Our perspective is influenced by society. The key to our success as believers is our full perception to be based on God’s Word. How is God’s Word going to feed me? Cloth me? Take care of me? It already does. Look around right now. Not at what you do not have but what God has already provided you. Media heavily influences our wants, needs and desires. We keep our eyes on our neighbors rather than on Jesus and His Kingdom. To covet what someone else has keeps us from living the rich and satisfying life promised by the Lord. We must learn to set our sights higher than eye level. Walking by faith is to see and adhere to principles of an unseen Kingdom that can change our existence on the earth.

Jesus asks a very pointed question, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” Good point. What comes next is even better! “Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Worry robs us of precious time. It steals moments of joy from us. It wastes time better spent sowing faith and reaping promises. Doubt will use the same ground of heart that faith is supposed to grow from. We decide what is sown in our heart and given to its cultivation. I am not in control. You are not in control. Sometimes I have to remind myself that God has already ordered the steps of my life. He put eternity in my heart so I will never be satisfied with less than God’s Best. He gave me faith so that I can reach my full potential. I have already been provided with everything I need. Every spiritual blessing fully and firmly implanted in my life. Purpose is imbedded in me by God for a prosperous life. I have the keys to God’s Kingdom…I must simply learn to use them.

Luke 12:27-31 (NIV) “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

If you read Ecclesiastes 3, it makes some valid points in the logic of peace over worry. First, there is a time for everything. Second, there is a season for every activity under heaven. It goes on to list every detail of human existence. The process that comprises the little dash between our birthday and day of departure. Finally, it says, “(God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” It is not a promise problem but a perception problem. We must change our perspective to change our pursuit. According to God’s Word, our life is predestined and predisposed to eternity. We have a destiny. It is ordered. It is timely. We must simply seek the Kingdom and these things are given as well.

Luke 12:32-34 (NIV) “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Where is your treasure today? It is usually best determined by where you invest your life? Your time, talent and treasure are the deposits made into the earth and/or Kingdom. To give our all in earthly pursuits leaves the eternity in our heart unsatisfied. The world is subject to destruction. Fear is the natural accumulation when evaluating one’s existence according to the earth. Love is cold. Sin is rampant. Wars and rumors of wars. It is not a very hopeful place. You and I carry the Light of the world inside of us. We have the Kingdom in us and the ability to share it without worry, fear, stress or anxiety. We have been given our freedom to choose how to portion our life including our heart, mind and body. In order for our life to prosper – our soul must prosper first. Our soul prospers in the Kingdom. But as in any endeavor, we must give the time and energy in pursuing it to become our reality.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. (Matthew 13:44) If you want the Kingdom, you must invest your life pursuing it. To have God’s Kingdom means to live in peaceful allegiance to Jesus Christ. There is no other way to the Father. Are you willing to give up your cares, worries and anxiety to have it? Will you forfeit fear? Will you bury every doubt in the Truth that it is Your Father’s Good Pleasure to give you His Kingdom? You must only give up this worthless, dead end life to have it!

God has placed eternity in our heart. We have the potential to prosper in this life by carefully placing all of it in the Kingdom of God. Jesus came to give you a rich and satisfying life. He did it. It is finished. To claim it is to change our perspective from earth to the Kingdom. To pursue the Kingdom relentlessly will allow perfect love to overcome fear by removing all doubt. We must believe that God is good. He loves us. He will always love us. He does not punish but prospers His Beloved. If only we would follow our heart and the eternity in it.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Full Communion

Full Communion

John 15:4-5 (ESV) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Abide in me. A personal invitation of intimacy from Jesus to us. He invites us to come closer, go deeper and live in the overflowing abundance called fruitfulness. To consider our creation is by God the Father. To remember that our purpose is for Him. To know that without full communion there is no fulfillment in the Lord. All these things are essential in achieving our purpose and acquiring all of God’s Promises for us. We must learn to abide in Him. We must learn to live in full communion with Jesus Christ.

I am the vine. You are the branches. Everything that Jesus has can be filtered to us and through us in life through virtue of relationship. To live in love with the Lord and remember to constantly pay attention to this relationship will make it thrive. Like a marriage, it must be nurtured each day and endure the storms of life through a steadfast commitment to love regardless of our feelings in that moment. The Lord has a purpose and plan to cultivate in you and me. It is only attainable by abiding in Christ on a daily basis. Those who endure for a lifetime will be saved.

The word “communion” makes many Christians think of the tiny glasses of grape juice and little wafers that taste like paper. This religious act is done in remembrance of Christ and His Sacrifice. However, I do not believe that this is the sum total of what the Lord was demonstrating to us. Communion means an act or instance of sharing. It is an interchange. It is also described as an intimate fellowship or rapport. The word “rapport” is a friendly and harmonious relationship characterized by agreement and mutual understanding that makes communication possible and easy. This is the kind of communion that Jesus desires – to live in a harmonious and intimate relationship with us. To abide in Him is an act of intimacy reserved for just two with the purpose of becoming one.

Matthew 26:26-28 (ESV) Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Before Jesus, the acts of religious duty were external. The sacrifice was on the altar. The blood was not to be consumed. The relationship between mankind and Creator at a distance due to sin. All that was about to change and Jesus symbolizes such a change of culture in the institution of communion. He took the bread and blessed it. Then it was broken to be consumed. He took the cup giving thanks for it and instructed them to drink the blood of the covenant. As one might imagine, the religious folks of the day were appalled this defied the rules and regulations set forth by God given to Moses. The Lord was suggesting a new relationship and new level of intimacy that would shatter religion making way for a righteous relationship between God and His People.

I Corinthians 11:23-26 (ESV)  For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

While I am a firm believer in the institution of communion and taking the symbolic sacraments in remembrance of Christ corporately, I believe that Paul is suggesting a much deeper form of service in I Corinthians. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” Eat the bread. Drink the cup. The Bread of Life is Jesus Christ. (John 6) He is the Word. We must daily break the bread and consume it to continue in our covenant relationship with Him. He feeds our soul. He seeds our spirit. The purpose inside of me must be broken to my way to fully claim His Way. He is the Way the Truth and the Life. Every time the bread was blessed and broken, it did abundantly more than as a whole loaf. (Matthew 14 & 15) One boy’s lunch became a banquet for thousands from this very effort. Imagine our life in the Hands of the Creator becoming the masterpiece that He promised it would be. Jesus tells us that those who partake of the Bread of Life will never hunger again. In other words, satisfaction comes in daily feasting on the Word of God and digesting each truth to allow it to nourish our soul and bring us fulfillment as only He can do.

One cannot forsake the Blood of Jesus Christ. I know the Cross was a tragic, grotesque occurrence. To see an innocent man beaten, bloodied and bruised dying a horrific avoidable death. However, to demean the Cross is to devalue our life. Jesus was on the Cross for you and me. There was no other way but the way that He took to save us. How can we who are the recipients of His Grace forego a daily sojourn to the foot of the Old Rugged Cross? I cannot. I do not plead the Blood of Jesus over my life as a beggar but proclaim it as a victor. I have victory in Jesus and He won it on the Cross, walking through death and the grave until He arose in all His Glory on the third day. I need the Blood of Jesus.

I do not find the Cross offensive, but it is my objective. To be crucified with Jesus Christ means I must go to the Cross to make to resurrection power and life. I have not arrived until I stand face-to-face with Jesus Christ. Until then, I need every single drop of the Blood shed for me. I need to crucify my flesh daily. I must receive a washing of His Word. I must experience the renewal of His Spirit. I have a purpose that required payment of a penalty that I could not afford. I must remind myself daily that my life is not my own. True repentance always turns back to the Cross. Communion is where I find fulfillment. Without it, I am empty and void. Without the Blood, there is no communion.

I Corinthians 11:28-32 (ESV) Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

Self-examination begins with a standard. God’s Standard of living and loving is set forth in the Word of God and demonstrated by His Son – Jesus. To understand fully the ramifications of righteousness require a standard. Communion with the Lord is not possible apart from obedience and discipline. God is constant. We must be the flexible variables reconciling our life daily to His Word, His Way and His Will to live the rich and satisfying life available through Jesus Christ. We can act out many religious rites and rituals but apart from true communion with Jesus Christ it will mean nothing in the end. Until we allow this Gospel to be fully digested and become a way of life there really is no point to following certain actions or activities because they are all labors done in vain. God is looking at our heart. He wants to see Jesus. To see the seal of His Spirit marking us as His Children. This is accomplished through a life of communion with Christ.

Galatians 2:19-21 (ESV) For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

I was made by You. I was made for You. I am unfilled without full communion. (Since Your Love – United Pursuit)

Safe

safe.gif

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!

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.”