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!

 

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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.”

Every Blessing

Every Blessing

Psalm 1:1-3 (ESV) Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.

I am blessed. Truly blessed. I am blessed beyond that which I could have ever imagined. To think that there could possibly be more is incomprehensible if I assess my life from the beginning. All the times I messed up, fell short, wandered off or completely rebelled against God – yet somehow sitting at my desk, looking outside, hearing the birds singing, smelling coffee brewing in the air conditioned comfort of my home – I am definitely blessed. I am a sinner. I sin every day despite every effort not to. I serve God yet still get lazy or remiss in my duties. I read His Word every day yet still stumble over lies and half-truths. My imperfection puzzles me when it comes to the blessings of God that still overtake me. How about you?

How is it possible to be blessed in our imperfection? How can God take all the details of our life and make good of them? Falling short and failing often – how is it even possible that every spiritual blessing is still available to me? The beginning of blessing is perspective. Perception is everything to those who walk by faith and not by sight. We must see our life through spiritual eyes guided and led by the Holy Spirit to walk in the blessings and prosperity of God. To live a life of rejoicing in every small beginning and victory rather than focusing on what we do not finish or have not won…yet. If I can learn to comprehend God’s Blessing – where it is and how it works? I will be like a tree planted by streams of water that yields fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither.

Ephesians 1:3-6 (ESV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

God’s Blessing is not a product of my ability to live right but provided by His Righteousness. The Spirit of Adoption makes every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places mine simply because I am a Child of God. The only thing I do is to accept my position in the Kingdom through salvation and repentance. Repentance is not kneeling before God constantly confessing what a terrible, weak person I am. It is turning over my sin and weakness for grace and power. I can only be holy and blameless through Jesus Christ so I must surrender my life to Him. He is the One who causes the seeds already planted in me along with faith to grow into the blessings and promises already ordained for me as my inheritance. By the virtue of Jesus Christ, I am redeemed and granted every blessing hidden in me once buried under sin and shame.

Deuteronomy 28:1-6 (ESV)  “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

Do you get mad when instructions for some assembly required are included? No, you get mad when they do not include instructions so you must either figure it out or wait for one to be mailed to you. Do you get frustrated cooking because the recipe has twelve steps? Do you get irate when shortcuts produce a less than fantastic meal or dessert? When the map application on your phone carefully details a route to your destination? What do you do? Follow it. If you decide to head off in your own direction and miss your destination, are you shocked and dismayed. Of course, not. Instructions guide us to success if followed and adhered to closely. Most of the time, you will get the intended or expected results. So why in the world do believers forego God’s Commandments? Instructions? Guidance? It is called the Law because God is Sovereign. He is not a man. He does not lie. He does not change His Mind. His outcomes are consistent. “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord God will set you high above all the nations of the earth and all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you.” Obedience is a choice. Blessing is always the outcome of obedience.

Now the mind-blowing revelation of it all…where is the blessing of God? It is not in His Word. It is in you! Seriously. Every spiritual blessing is hidden inside of you right now. You came into this world prepackaged with every spiritual blessing that would give you a rich and satisfying life. You even came with the fertilizer called faith. God gave you everything to prosper from the beginning to the end. It is all inside you. The blessing of God comes in the form of fruit. Read it. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Fruit comes from a seed given the place and time to grow from a seed into its full potential. All your fruit is blessed. However, seeds must be sown to grown. Seeds must die to their present form to release the fullness called potential. All seed have a purpose. You are filled with seeds of spiritual blessing. You take it everywhere you go inside of you. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

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

Further in Ecclesiastes 3, it says, “a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up what has been planted…” Seasons are important in our life. Every single season from birth to death have meaning in the acquisition of spiritual blessings. To prosper means engaging in each season and continue to sow and reap along the way. God has a time appropriated for every matter under heaven. It is all under His Careful Watch and Control. What is His Purpose for us? Sometimes in the midst of drought or famine – our fear and doubt begin to attack our growing and developing faith. God does not help those who help themselves. God helps those who trust Him.

Ecclesiastes 3:9-11 (ESV) What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 

The gain of a worker from his soil is dependent on the worker. Busyness can become a distraction. We look without for what lies within us. God will bless the work of man’s hands. The principle of sowing and reaping is not only spiritual but natural. Seedtime and harvest puts food on everyone’s table. I can invest all my time and energy in the workplace and have nice things. I have sown into it so I will yield something from it. Faithfulness will always have a reward. God placed eternity in our heart to reach for something higher than basic living. He has given us a measure of faith to sow with each seed. He has filled us with spiritual blessing. It comes in the form of seeds that will produce good fruit. It must be sown. It must be cultivated. It must be remembered. Many seeds produce fruit but the harvest is given to others because we abandon the field. God makes everything beautiful in its time. He does not forsake His Seed. We are not created or destined to beg for bread.

3 John 2 (ESV) Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

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

Spiritual blessings come from a prospering soul. Our life will not prosper or go well until it is well with my soul.

Galatians 5:23-25 (ESV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 

The Fruit of God’s Spirit feeds our soul. It prospers us from the inside out. We must live by the Spirit first and every spiritual blessing will follow. It is not determined by a long list of rules and regulations but rather a covenant. God’s Love for me provided me with a blessed and prosperous life. Jesus Christ died to pay the debt that kept me from it. Grace provides access to those blessings in my life. When I apply faith to every facet of my life starting with my heart and soul, something miraculous happens. The Favor of God called fruitfulness is restored and ordinary becomes extraordinary as the Heavens are accessible again. The enemy is attacking you because of the seeds of blessing and prosperity inside of you. As faith grows and godly potential is released, you become unstoppable because of Christ flourishing inside of you. Nothing is impossible for those who believe.

Proverbs 28:19-20 (ESV) Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty. A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.

God has filled us with every spiritual blessing. I am blessed. You are blessed. My “land” belongs to me. It is my life. I choose what to plant in each season which determines the yield of each harvest. The blessings of God within us cannot be accessed apart from Jesus Christ. He calls himself the vine. He connects us to the source of life so that by faith each seed in us can prosper and grow. If you are only after God’s Hand, you are considered a robber and thief. The Kingdom of God is accessed through His Heart. It is a covenant relationship between the Father and His Children. As our heart and mind aligns with God and His Word, the productivity of our life will turn into prosperity. Every blessing is inside of you. It is a seed. Will you sow it?

Proverbs 10:22 (ESV) The blessing of the Lord makes rich and he adds no sorrow with it.

For the Glory

For the Glory

I Chronicles 29:11-14 (NLT) Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! 

God is great. His Power is undisputable. His Sovereignty, though highly debated, is not contingent on the belief or allegiance of others. He is God. He is all powerful. He is glorious. The Lord is victorious. His Majesty uncompromised by any other force. Everything in the heavens and everything on the earth belong to God. His Kingdom has dominion and authority in every realm. Even in a world bent on rebellion and rejection – the rocks still rejoice and praise His Name. He is the ruler of all and reigns over everything. Let that sink in for a minute. Humanity is not used to having its own opinion. Personal freedom takes the form of pride gone awry. Our thoughts form beliefs false in nature creating a random chaos which governs our life that we think is freedom but really is a form of bondage. The Kingdom is our freedom. It is the place of promise and prosperity. The point of no return where the broken is made complete and the voids in us sufficiently filled with illogical love, inexplicable grace and inexpressible joy that once was only a notion in fairytales and made for TV movies. Everything belongs to us. He offers us the Kingdom. What is keeping us from engaging in such an amazing offer?

Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! 

If it is true that everything I have has come from God, what is left for me to give Him that is truly mine? Think about it. I have an office at work. In my office is a desk, chair, computer, office supplies, and a variety of other items provided for my use. If I run out of anything, I go to the supply closet. If what I need is not there, I let the office manager know and it is purchased. Everything I need to do my job is supplied. I have few personal items in the office. But even those were either gifts from other people or purchased with the money I received from working for my employer. What truly belongs to me is not of much worth to anyone. What I own was given to me via other sources. My boss is a provider in the workplace. If I take this to a next level perspective, everything I have has come from the Lord. He has given me life. He has given me freedom. He has provided for me naturally, physically, financially and spiritually – whether I acknowledge Him or not. This truth does not change for my own peace of mind. EVERYTHING I have in my life is from God. God placed me in my current position to provide for my family and me. He has given me a source of income to supply certain things and bless our home. It all points back to Him.

Matthew 4:8-11 (NLT) Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. In the wilderness, Jesus was tempted by the enemy. The same temptations that our Savior faced are no different than the ones that we face each day. In our weakness, the enemy comes to offer a substitution or compromise that will abort the process God has currently placed us in to prosper our soul and then our life. The greatness, power, glory, victory and majesty of His Kingdom reserved for us belongs to God and is given to us by the Father. The enemy wants us to believe that it is ours for the taking, asking or earning. Not so. The enemy offered Jesus a place at his feet. The feet that lead to delays, detours, distractions, and destruction. Jesus dismissed the enemy on the spot. He said, “For the scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.”

What if the very thing keeping us from the Kingdom is our pride? God owns greatness, power, glory and victory. He sits in majesty with Jesus at His Right Hand making intercession for us. Could it be that we do it for the glory? To become one with Jesus and live in His Kingdom means giving up everything. The only thing that belongs to us is our life because when the Son set us free – we are declared free indeed by the Father. What if it is an issue of pride? We cannot lay down a life that is so weak and feeble as to confess that there is nothing great, powerful, glorious or victorious in us because then people might see past the beautiful façade of independence and confidence portrayed by a broken wretch like me.

Matthew 18:2-4 (NLT) Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

There is a principle of faith that must be childlike in nature. A child is not consumed with the worries and cares of life. They are convinced that their parents will care for them. They are comfortable dreamers and discoverers because they do not have to worry about putting food on the table, a roof over their head or clothes on their back. They just live in the goodness of their parents. Their kingdom is the home built by their caregivers. Yes, there are things like sowing and reaping. Faithful obedience that produces things in our life. Planting and harvesting are not faithful endeavors for what a man sows God has already said that he will reap. It is a principle. Faith is a partnership. It is to believe and fully entrust our life to the Lord including everything and withholding nothing from Him. To give Him every area of our life because it already belongs to Him.

Abraham had two sons. Ishmael born of a slave woman of his own doing as he helped the Lord fulfill His Word to the man. God’s Word came to pass and his wife, Sarah, became a mother well over the age of possibility by faith in God – Isaac was born. When the Lord required his son, Isaac, Abraham made the long journey to the mountain ready to give the Lord exactly what He required. Abraham, the father of faith and friend of God, withheld nothing from the Lord. However, how many people in the same position would have brought Ishmael to God instead? A substitute or compromise or less than their best. Most people do every single day – crying out for Kingdom lives but giving worldly offerings rather than radical obedience. The reminder from God’s Word today is that EVERYTHING belongs to Him. He gave you your life and everything in it for one reason – His Glory.

We get too big for our britches as they say in the south thinking that we are contributors to our life and successes when the truth is that everything in our life is a product of God’s Love, Kindness and Goodness. His Kingdom is a place that one can only enter in humility and inhabit by His Grace. God deserves the Glory all of it. If we are not willing to let Him rule and reign in our life than rebellion takes over because His Sovereignty is not compromised by doubt and disbelief. If you want the Kingdom, full allegiance must be to God through His Son, Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life – it is through Him the Kingdom is accessed and inhabited by us.

Psalm 84:11 (NLT) For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.

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!”

Complete

Complete

Romans 15:13 (NLT)  I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Complete. Having all parts or elements. Lacking nothing. Whole. Entire. Full. Finished. Ended. Concluded. Having all the required characteristics, skills or the like. Consummate. Perfect in kind or quality. Thorough. Entire. Total. Undivided. Uncompromised. Unmodified. In Genesis 2, God, the Father, completed creation and then rested in its wholeness and perfection. Sin separated us from encountering God and embracing His Divine Impartation of perfection for us. Jesus Christ, His Son, came to the world and paid the price of sin in full on the Cross. When our Savior and Lord said, “It is finished” the restoration of mankind to God was complete including every description listed above. The salvation of God and impartation of His Grace to humanity is absolutely complete. Those who to accept the grace that has been given and enter into the righteous relationship offered have full and unrestricted access to the Father through the Son. Let that sink in for a few minutes…

The limitation on our life and lack that may be in it is not of God. It is a breach in our trust agreement with Him. How do I know this? Because it says so in the Word of God…our connection with Christ completes us. The Christ in us fills every void left by sin, shame, regret, bad choices, old habits and weakness. His Grace must be enough to complete us or it remains powerless at best. We have faith invested in us to become confident hope that is exercised by trusting Him more. The promise and plan of the Living God for your life is complete. It has all of the elements needed for success. You will lack nothing in His Presence. He makes broken things whole again. You have all the required characteristics, skills and the like as you are created in the image of God who is absolutely perfect in all of His Ways. His Will is to completely fill your life with every good thing that was ordered and ordained for you during conception as He was with you in your mother’s womb. You are not random. God made you intentionally complete and sin tried to destroy His Work. In Christ – His Work becomes a masterpiece.

I Corinthians 13:12-13 (NLT) Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

The value of our life is not determined by our current situation or circumstances. Success or failure in life doesn’t determine the ultimate worth of our life. You are priceless. An innocent man, not just any man but the Son of the Living God, died for you. The Living God who decided that you were worth dying for. I could not conceive this until I had children and now grandchildren. I would gladly give my life so that any one of them may live. It would be an easy exchange. I love them with my whole heart. God’s Love for us is exponentially more than a human heart or mind can comprehend. It is perfect.

God is completely in love with you and me. The righteous relationship is not in any way impacted by our past. Grace removes our sin as far as the east is from the west. Trust removes every hindrance from the perfect plan that God preordained for us and predestined us to have. We do not understand the completeness of God for if we did it would be the greatest pursuit of our life. Instead, we work harder and try to make better choices rather than fully relying on the completeness of God to fulfill His Purpose, Plan and Promises for us. We see things imperfectly. We are puzzled by the impossibilities rather than picturing the miracles to come. With partial perspective, comfort zones are carefully constructed because doubt produces fear and insecurities about God’s Perfection and His Intentions for us. God knows me completely and loves me just the same. God’s Love for us is complete and perfect. There is no way to earn or deserve it. God would not set us up for failure when He promised us a future.

Ephesians 1:22-23 (NLT) God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

In order to experience the completeness of God in our life, one must make Christ the Lord of their life. To become one with Him is to engage in fulfillment and completeness offered to us by Jesus Christ. He will gladly fill every area offered in surrender and submission with Himself which becomes the sought after prosperity of man which is not found in the natural but only experienced by a prospering soul. It is our union with Christ that offers true abundance in this life and forever.

Ephesians 3:18-20 (NLT) And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

What if the problems you are facing and lack you are currently living in is not God withholding anything from you but rather you withholding something from Him? The Love of God offered through Christ offers us completion with fulfillment of life and power. It is accepted humbling through His Grace that works best in our weakness. What if the lack in our life is actually of our own doing? It absolutely is. Oh, please don’t be offended. This is not an accusation but a providential challenge. You work hard. Give generously. Live righteously. Try to be kind. However, if there is no submission and surrender in the form of trusting God in certain areas of life – there will be lack. We must know and believe that God’s Love for us is complete and unconditional. We must live by the truth that nothing can ever separate us from His Love thanks to Jesus. Christ must fill every area of our life to experience His Fulfillment and Completion. We are part of an abundant Kingdom. Our Father is the Living God. He is good. He loves us and withholds nothing from us. Are we ready to receive?

God is able to do and accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. How? His Mighty Power at work is within us. The Christ in us is pressing and prodding us to accept the abundant life that is promised. The barriers and obstacles within us must give way to totally trust and the absolute conviction that God will do exactly as He promised. He will complete our life. We will lack no good thing. We have every spiritual blessing. It is not a God thing. It is a “me” thing if I am not experience such an existence.

Lord, I acknowledge that you are my source of hope in all things. I ask you to fill me completely with joy and peace. I will trust you more today. I receive the overflowing confident hope that faith allows and your Spirit gives in Jesus Name. AMEN!

John 10:10 (NLT) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Ignore the Roar

Ignore the Roar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life in the Fold

Life in the Fold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live Enthusiastically

Live Enthusiastically

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 8:28 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

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

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

Purpose

purpose

Ecclesiastes 3:11-14 (NLT) Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him.

This morning has gotten away from me. Too many things and not enough morning. Over the years, I have become very disciplined almost religious in my morning routine. When the alarm went off at 4:30 AM, as it has every morning for the last several years, I still moan and groan but get up to face the day. Some say that making your bed every morning leads to success. To discipline ourselves to clean a little bit each day will make for a clean house. The people who have experienced such a life obviously do not have teenagers or animals roaming about sabotaging all their hard work. If achieving one’s purpose were a work of the hands alone, I believe that people would find such a life easier than it is. The real achievement of purpose comes from the contents of our heart. God placed eternity in our heart. He also put faith in us to begin the process. Only God sees our life from beginning to end and knows exactly what it will take for our soul to prosper into the purpose that brings full satisfaction and abundant life. There is no satisfaction in life apart from Jesus Christ. He is the starting point of everything that brings us abundance in our life. His Spirit starts within us weeding out all the worthless things taking the place of the worthy things that the Lord is doing in us and through us. Oh if we could learn to discipline our heart like we do our habits. To pursue the purpose of God and allow Him to produce the prosperity that we have yet to only dream about. His Promise to those who do is that He makes everything beautiful for its own time.

Romans 8:28 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Our youngest son works in my office. He is an engineering major who is learning the insurance business. He is great at math. It is his second language. I work with the regulatory side of the process. Presented with a complex issue in rating, and already knee deep in a project. I asked him to run through the algorithms and spreadsheets as the company had a question. I knew this project would take me hours to figure out. I am not a math wizard. I really only was hoping that he could at least explain it to me. Within minutes, he returned to my office and explained the confusing and complex issue. Math and science are second nature to this kid. The two subjects have always been very easy for him. All I did was give him a simple task, and within minutes his purpose was confirmed yet again. His worth to our company revealed in simple obedience. In that moment, my kid became the answer to a problem. His purpose came out in living color and his place in our workplace secure. See you never know when what God put in you will coming pouring out into purpose and prosperity.

We KNOW…God has a purpose for us. The problem is how you extricate that divine deposit from the inside of our heart to fruitfulness in life. It is way easier than we make it. We do it. Simple obedience releases purpose in our life. God has worked out all the details for us. We pursue purpose through Jesus Christ. He came to give us a rich and satisfying life. An abundant life. On the Cross, He deemed His Work finished. Coming out of the grave, He proclaimed victory over sin, death, fear, doubt, and insecurity. He released His Spirit to us to be our guide, teacher, mentor and more. We have all the components of success within us. They fill the human heart from our first cry to final breath. Christ commands our destiny. So why do I feel like a failure?

John 10:10 (NLT) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

The purpose will die within us if not cultivated by faith and trust in the Lord. There is a thief. He sows weeds called lies in order to choke out God’s Word which waters our faith and grows into confidence. He compares us to other people when there is no comparison. God has no favorites. He created us individually to live corporately as a Kingdom. Each has their own place and purpose which is designed to work for unity and prosperity of the Kingdom. You have no rivals. God has created you fearfully, wonderfully and marvelously to achieve your divine destiny. The only way to lose is to give up, give in or forfeit. How do I know God has purpose and it will prevail? Well…

Proverbs 19:21 (NLT) You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

God’s Word does not return to Him void. It will accomplish exactly what it set out to do. I believe that, do you? The word “prevail” means to prove superior in strength and power. It means to succeed, dominate and win out. To achieve the purpose set forth in me by God and given power and authority by Christ means all I have to do is rely on grace, trust the Lord and do what He says. Just do it! It works for Nike. It works for athletes. What about you? Have you considered simple obedience? You have wasted most of your life worrying about things that never happened. Fearing something that was just a thought. Carefully planning for the future, but not living in today. What would happen if you lived on purpose for God today?

I Corinthians 9:25-27 (NLT) All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.  So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

What if for one day? One set of 24 hours – you dared to believe! To trust the Lord with your life for a day. To discipline your mind to believe that He is faithful and will do exactly what He promised. To not complain about the conditions and circumstances surrounding your mundane routine and decided to praise Him confidently that every detail is handled by His Hands according to His Will. To begin to dream again if only for a day. To weed out doubt and speak life into the dead things given up in the name of foolishness and folly that really were God’s Destiny for your life. You are never too old. Too lost. Too broken. Too whatever to step into the fullness of what God has planned for you. You just have to discipline your heart and mind to accept that God isn’t finished with you yet. In fact, every detail of your life led you to this moment to read this word and say, “What if she’s right?” What if God’s Word is true? What if God really does have something planned for me? What if I can win? What if I really do have potential and purpose hidden in this hard heart? Would it be worth breaking your routine and interrupting your schedule for? Life interrupted is when God has time to work and His Spirit space to move.

Isaiah 49:3-4 (NLT) He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, and you will bring me glory.” I replied, “But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the Lord’s hand; I will trust God for my reward.”

We belong to a Mighty God. His Kingdom is vast. It is easy to compare our gifts, talents and abilities with other people, but that is not God’s Plan. You have a purpose. You have eternity in your heart to start the pursuit. You have faith to prosper in it. You just have to believe. Believing leads to trust which produces confidence as the Lord continually shows that He is faithful. Simple obedience. Radical change begins in a single step. To decide that you have worth to God and His Purpose will bring full satisfaction will make it your worthwhile pursuit. You are not useless. You were made for God’s Glory. You are His Treasure. The Lord is with you. Living inside of you and working on you to complete the masterpiece that He created you to be! You were made on purpose, for a purpose, and with purpose! God’s Purpose!

Proverbs 16:4 (NLT) The Lord has made everything for his own purposes, even the wicked for a day of disaster.