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.

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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.

Just Plowing

Hand to the Plow

Psalm 126:4-6 (NLT) Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.

Restore us, oh Lord. Has that been the cry of your heart lately? Are you experiencing a dry season? A drought in your life. It can be physical, emotional, spiritual or maybe financial. Where is the abundant life? Where is the satisfaction promised to those who love God and seek to do His Will? Does it seem like the field is barren? The brook has dried up? Are you are barely holding on – weak and weary from well doing? The productivity in each season is directly correlated to the cost. To restore us there must be emptiness. Surrender to the creative power of the Divine Creator to fill us to capacity. New wine cannot fill old wine skins. God’s Mercy will not give us what we ask for until we are ready to receive it. His Glory cannot shower a hard and unwilling heart or risk its complete devastation. See God loves us too much to give us what we want if it will require more than we are willing to give. Sowing and reaping are partners. One must accompany the other. Sowing is a release that precipitates receivership. We cannot receive more of God until willing to release more of self. It is in the ebb and flow of planting, growing and harvesting that the Lord increases every area of our life. Those who sow little will reap little. But those who give their all will gain the Kingdom.

Isaiah 28:24-26 (NLT) Does a farmer always plow and never sow? Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting? Does he not finally plant his seeds—black cumin, cumin, wheat, barley, and emmer wheat—each in its proper way, and each in its proper place? The farmer knows just what to do, for God has given him understanding.

The Kingdom principle of sowing and reaping was established in the days of Noah – known as seedtime and harvest. A covenant between God and His People. The promise that the work of our hands to provide for natural needs and work in our soul to prosper in supernatural blessings. However, it is human nature to limit our giving to maintain comfort, control and convenience rather than giving our all in obedience to God. We diversify our efforts yet expect God to exponentially do more than His Word mandates. We must sow to reap. Sacrificial giving, total surrender, and diligent submission to God’s Word, Will and Way produces the rich and satisfying life promised to us by Jesus Christ. To have it requires more than most are willing to give. The cost of discipleship too high for ordinary people who are not fully convinced in the Living God who dwells among us. A lack of confidence in the Resurrection Power of Jesus Christ and the new life promised to those who are willing to give their all to Him.

To serve the Lord is like plowing. We can plow away day and night. We can continue season after season. But when we do not put any seed in the ground – those seasons becomes cycles. Cycles produce the same thing over and over again. They are dry, stale and barren times that cause discouragement, disappointment and doubt. Cycles become seasons when there is new seed put in the ground. The sacrifice is great. The seeds are watered with our tears. God honors the price paid by the righteous who change plowing into planting. They will see a harvest. God tells us what to do – He is always speaking to His People. Obedience is the key. Not just doing what we want to do – but doing exactly what the Lord is telling us to do. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Partial obedience is disobedience, too. Neither will produce the kind of fruit in our life that the Word of God promises.

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

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) If the fruit of the Spirit is love, maybe the sacrifice of self is forgiveness. If the fruit of the Spirit is joy, perhaps the release is sorrow. If the fruit of His Spirit is peace, maybe the cost is surrender. To have the Fruit of the Spirit requires the giving of self. Pride is non-existent in the Presence of God. A flourishing field is covered in the sacrifice of the farmer who rises early. Tends and nurtures it while there is nothing above the ground. The sweat of his brow and even some tears along the way. He stays in that field until the harvest comes no matter how hot the sun or torrential the rain. He considers the cost of the harvest worth having so he pays the price. Is the life that God has promised you in Jesus Christ worth it? If you think it’s worth having – you will pursue it? The Kingdom of God is like a field with hidden treasure. The man sold everything he owned to buy the field. It is like the pearl of great price – the merchant sold everything he owned to have it. (Matthew 13:44-46) You must decide what is the Kingdom worth to you? How much are you willing to give to have it? Is it worth your all? Jesus considered us to be the joy set before Him when enduring the Cross. He thought we were worth His All.

2 Corinthians 9:10-11 (NLT)  For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

God is a good father. He is constantly providing good things to His Children. He supplies our life. He is ready to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can think, ask or imagine. He is ready to heal us. He wants to restore us. The Lord is ready to make a masterpiece of all the broken pieces of our messed up life. The prosperity of God is not withheld from us because God doesn’t love us or as an act of punishment of any kind. His Grace is always enough. Rather than plowing through life and doing it our way, God is looking for the one who pursues His Way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Everything we want, need and desire is complete in Him. He withholds no good thing from us. God doesn’t give seed to those who plows. He gives seed to those who plant. Those who release self. Those who begin to serve from the heart and not the hand. Those who pay the price of obedience freely and willingly even in times of famine and drought knowing that God is faithful and His Harvest in us, through us and to us secure. The Lord will enrich those who sow in every possible way.

Thank you Lord for giving us the seed to sow. Thank you for placing us in proper fields. Let us put our hand to the plow and not turn back. Eyes on You, Jesus! Father, show us areas of our life where we are just plowing and not sowing anything of worth. Give us the strength and grace to give attention to these areas. May we remain diligent in sowing even if all we have to give are salty tears at the end of self. Holding nothing back, Lord – we give our all to You today!

Luke 9:62 (NLT) But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Que Sera Sera

Que Sera Sera

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amplified Trust

Quote About Trusting God 1000 Images About Peace And Trust On Pinterest Trust God Trust.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (Amplified) Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

To walk by faith and not by sight makes life interesting. Sometimes, it makes you feel a little bit crazy. Have you ever gotten out of the boat, like Peter, and about two or twenty steps out thought what in the world was I thinking? The waves begin to rise and the wind starts whipping. The fog rolls in and even the One you were trying to get to seems to have left you all alone. Fear becomes a weight pulling you under and doubt begins your descent. To trust in and rely confidently on Jesus requires all of our heart. Our mind plays tricks on us. Even our eyes and ears can lead us astray. It is this thing called trust that makes all the difference. How do we find it? How do crazy Christians make it in this world?

I am a crazy Christian. A Jesus freak in every sense of the word. I lost my way along time ago and am too far gone to go back now. Yet there are days when I look around wondering how I wandered into such a mess or did I miss my turn. Faith is illogical. Hear me today, it doesn’t make sense to trust the Lord. Your mind will never be able to wrap itself fully around the concept of salvation and the magnitude of grace that it offers. We can know Christ though. In fact, His Desire for intimacy with us is exemplified in the offering of His Spirit to a broken and fickle heart. He longs to be our beloved as He that is His Fondness and Affection for us. So much more than a friend, closer than a brother – Jesus is the Lover of our soul.

“To trust God in the light is nothing – but to trust Him in the dark – that is faith.” C. H. Spurgeon

Matthew 5:16 (Amplified) Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.

It is important to know and understand that the Light of the world lives in us. It is that light inhabiting our being through Jesus Christ that is the beacon illuminating every dark place in the world. Therefore, it is only reasonably to believe that as believers there will be times when we find ourselves in darkness. Those days when nothing seems to line up with God’s Word. There is nothing pointing out God’s Way. Moments when our faith in God is challenged and our hope clearly defined by the impossibility of darkness closing in around us. These are the moments in life when it is our time to shine.

Let your light shine before men. To trust God when things are going well is not trust at all. I have faith in the furniture in my house. However, if I find a curbside treasure, I will not trust the solidity of the chair without careful evaluation and testing. To trust God in the darkness is faith at its finest. When we believe God made a way when that way is not abundantly clear or discernable with our natural senses. These are the times that our faith in God is tested to reveal if connected by trust. Do you trust the Lord today? Do you trust Him enough to let Him shine in every dark recess of the heart to expose light from within you?

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Corrie ten Boom

Isaiah 43:16-19 (Amplified)  This is what the Lord says, He who makes a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters, He who brings out the chariot and the horse, the army and the mighty warrior, (They will lie down together, they will not rise again; they have been extinguished, they have been put out like a lamp’s wick): “Do not remember the former things, Or ponder the things of the past. “Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

God’s Way is never like we planned it. There is always a twist, turn or tweak that makes it better. Too often it is human nature to get caught up in our expectation rather than placing the weight of it on the throne of our Savior and Lord. To say, “Jesus, here it is! You do it!” Fear tells us it may not be what we want. Doubt reduces the credibility of the Cross as a finished work and diminishes the value of God’s Gift of Grace. There has to be a point in time when all of our expectation is placed in Jesus Christ. This is the point of faith overtaking fear and confidence removing all insecurity. God has already made a way for us to access His Kingdom, Power and Authority – trust gives unlocks its unlimited potential in our life. It is the breath behind our “yes”!

“Do not remember the former things, Or ponder the things of the past. “Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” God’s creativity is always at work in us. He has promised to complete the good work that He began when He first gave us life. He will not stop until His Word, Will and Way come to pass. Trust is futuristic not reliant on the past or former things. It sees through the darkness using the Light inside as a guide. We must constantly remain forward facing in this walk of faith or risk being sucked back into the dark shadows our past failures or repetitive cycles that will kill the seeds of faith growing within us eliminating the potential of new life as a new creation in Jesus Christ.

Psalm 20:6-7 (Amplified) Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember and trust in the name of the Lord our God.

I am about to wreck some religion and theology. We are all God’s Anointed. Being filled with God’s Spirit which identifies you as His Son or Daughter is characteristic of anointing. You have been filled with the Spirit of the Living God. We all have various gifts and talents entrusted to us by the Lord along with a measure of faith to release the potential. His Anointing gives life to that faith and makes it grow, develop and mature into our calling. You are called and equipped to minister and be an ambassador of Jesus Christ. A partnership and covenant relationship is what unlocks the heart and releases that potential. It is all about trusting the Lover of our Soul – Jesus to do what He promised to do when He said, “It is finished.”

Do you trust the Lord today? With your whole heart? Do you lean on your own logic or completely on His Word? Trust me. After living more than 50 years, I will testify that your heart and mind changes with time. We are in a state of constant transition and change. I was a daughter and sister, then a wife and mother and now (oh glorious day) a grandmother. Seasons of life are inevitable but if I make all these transformations but do not focus on my relationship with Jesus Christ to change my character and identity from death to life – I have wasted my existence. People made me who I am in the natural through relationships. My father sent me a text the other day to say, “Happy Birthday!” My response – “Thanks Life Giver.” My parents made me a daughter. My husband made me a wife. My children made me a mom and now a grandmother. Why is it so hard to accept that God who created us with divine inspiration could make us into something new? It is important to fully lean on the Lord. To trust Him to tell us who we are and what He has planned for us. I am no good to anyone without Christ as my foundation. Every other relationship must be built on and established in the Lord to be productive. I must trust the Lord with all my heart and lean on Him for understanding.

Psalm 37:3-5 (Amplified) Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him also and He will do it.

Today, I must amplify and exhibit trust in the Lord. I must strive to rely on and have confidence in the Lord and His Word in all things. To do good even when I do understand what the fruit will look life but sow just the same. To dwell in His Presence in my placement and the position that He has placed me in until He comes because He is always faithful and His Word does not return void. To go one step further and DELIGHT in doing it. Deep breath! This is probably the toughest one of all is delighting in the unknown because you trust the God you know. God has promised to give me the desires and petitions of my heart. I must commit my way to the Lord and TRUST HIM to do it. Lord, open the doors and windows of my heart to the Light of Your Love today, chase away all the darkness, and let me be a conduit of love and trust that draws men and women to You!

Psalm 34:10 (Amplified) The young lions lack [food] and grow hungry, but they who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing.

Thankful Heart

Thankful Heart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Process of Fruitfulness

Process of Fruitfulness

John 15:1-3 (AMP) I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]. You are already clean because of the word which I have given you [the teachings which I have discussed with you].

God loves you too much to give you the promotion without the pruning. – Bob Sorge

The pruning season of life is not preferential but it is a vital part of God’s Process in our life. You know the times when things are going pretty good, not much to complain about, and then suddenly everything begins to fall apart…maybe even you. It is important to understand the process of godly pruning in order to appreciate the season right before increase. To identity the difference between God’s Hand of preparation and the enemy’s attack against us is important. It is easy to blame satan for our inconvenience, discomfort, dissatisfaction or even displacement. When life seems to be out of control, I promise God is still in control!

I believe that I am currently in such a season. As the Lord reaches deep within to snip away the undergrowth and overgrowth in my life. All the things keeping me from the “richer” and “finer” fruit that He has for me hidden away as potential. This is not just a revelation for the new Christian but a vivid reminder to the saints of God – He is not finished with us yet! As long as you are breathing – there is growth potential in your life and purpose left to discover. Do not give up on dead dreams for where there is pruning and preparation – new life begins.

God prunes us when He is about to take us into a new season of growth and expansion. – Christine Caine

Who doesn’t want the blessing of God? Who is opposed to prosperity? It is what the heart of God’s People cry out for? Revival? Restoration? Healing? All the benefits of God are the product of our “yes”. Yes to what? Preparation and pruning of the dead things that stand in the way. Jesus is the Vine. God is the Vinedresser. Jesus was pruned just like us when He lived on the earth. He went through temptations. He endured pain. He died an innocent man for those who were completely guilty. He knows and understands the cries of pain in the process and our Savior catches our tears saving them for redemption sake. To be fully engrafted in the fullness of God – one must be pruned.

John 15:4-6 (AMP) Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken off] branch, and withers and dies; and they gather such branches and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

Pruning is not punishment. It is evidence of God’s Love and desire for more intimacy with His Children. He wants to give you His Kingdom but human nature is willing to avoid the process to settle for much less. God is relentless in His Pursuit of us. His Desire is a relationship of intimacy with us. He gives us His Spirit as our partner and friend to engage in life together. To prune means to trim by cutting away dead or overgrown branches especially to increase fruitfulness and growth. To cut away. To reduce the extent of something by removing unwanted or unnecessary parts. As a well-known plant killer, it is with great hesitation that I prune the plants in the flowerbed. I desire them to grow and have more blooms each season but I am afraid that with one touch from my black thumb – they will die an untimely death. I am not a botanist. I struggled in every science class I have ever taken. God created you and me. He knows us inside and out. (Psalm139) He already has recorded every single moment of our life in great detail. He has given us a measure of faith to enact the eternity placed in our heart. He has a purpose in our creation. He wants to make our life a masterpiece. (Ephesians 2) He will take every broken piece and detail to make it good and worthwhile. (Romans 8) All this because the Lord loves us! Nothing can separate us from His Love. He pursues us with unfailing love and goodness every day. (Psalm 23) He has a plan for us and it’s a good one with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29) All of these seeds planted deep in our heart. The circumcised heart is pruned by His Hand with love to give way to the fruitfulness within. “Every living thing needs to be pruned so it can reach its fullest potential including you and me.” (Unknown)

John 15:7-11(AMP) If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My [true] disciples. I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in My love [and do not doubt My love for you]. If you keep My commandments and obey My teaching, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.

God’s Love in us produces good fruit. The Holy Spirit sees inside our heart and mind including the part in need of godly attention. He prepares us for the season yet when it comes – the human response to pain and brokenness is what have I done wrong? Maybe it’s a matter of what am I doing right. What if the current season of your life including the pain is all part of God’s pruning process? What if it is all a plan to bless and prosper your life? God is positioning and preparing you to prosper as your soul prospers. Just a new wine requires new wineskin so it is with His Fulfillment, you cannot contain the next season’s blessing retaining last season’s growth. If you are not growing you are dying. Jesus came to give you a rich and satisfying life. It is often described as abundant life. Overflowing in the blessings, gifting and prosperity that comes with His Anointing in our life. You must be ready to be pruned if prosperity is your vision. You must give up on the natural to embrace the supernatural. You must be dissatisfied with ordinary to reach for the extraordinary. Friend, God must remove the things taking the place of next season’s fruit.

Our purpose in life is to bear “much” fruit. Fruit that nourishes and satisfies our soul so that in every season of life – the godly are well-cared for. You have been given very spiritual blessing and a cultivator within. You must give the Lord permission to do His Will in your life. This requires trust. Trust even when the shears are in His Hand as He moves in to snip and clip away all those lesser things to make room for more. Is God pruning you today? Does it hurt? It will be worth it. God will do it. All you must say is “yes”!

Beautiful growth would be stunted if God didn’t remove the very things that hinder it. (C. S. Lewis)

Matthew 13:23 (AMP) And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands and grasps it; he indeed bears fruit and yields, some a hundred times [as much as was sown], some sixty [times as much], and some thirty.”

The Pursuit

Pursuit

Proverbs 21:21 (NLT) Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor.

The pursuit of righteousness is highly theologized and exhaustively debated to the extent that its simplicity is overlooked. The pursuit of the human heart is full satisfaction. We long to live completely content in our existence. Though God has provided a well-documented road map to success, our inability to submit to His Way makes it virtually impossible to navigate. How does one pursue righteousness? What is righteousness anyway? Righteousness is our position, as sons and daughters, in right standing with our Father, God. He is the creator of every individual. He prescribed a plan filled with His Goodness and Grace to give us an amazing and abundant life despite our radical rebellion and countless faults and tremendous failures. The Lord pursues us every single day.

Psalm 23:6 (NLT) Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Is it really true that God’s Goodness and Unfailing Love pursues us? Isn’t it the other way around? Isn’t it our job to pursue God? It is important to know the close proximity of God and His Deepest Desire to understand that our pursuit of Him is a fruitless endeavor. Why? We cannot catch the one who is pursuing us. He has the unfair advantage of knowing us from start to finish. He knows our birthday and the count of our final breath. No friend, the reason that we cannot catch the God is because He is set on capturing us. The pursuit of God in righteousness is called surrender.

“Our pursuit of God is successful just because He is forever seeking to manifest Himself to us. The revelation of God to any man is not God coming from a distance upon a time to pay a brief and momentous visit to the man’s soul. Thus to think of it is to misunderstand it all. The approach of God to the soul or of the soul to God is not to be thought of in spatial terms at all. There is no idea of physical distance involved in the concept. It is not a matter of miles but of experience.” (A. W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God)

To take a step back from our relentless running the course of religion to find that the very thing we are chasing was pursuing us the entire time is completely humbling. It is an overwhelming and life changing experience to encounter God in absolute and utter brokenness when there is no possibility to the problem you are facing only to see that He was with you all the time. We are not comfortable with debt or obligation. Grace is difficult to comprehend and even harder to accept from such a position. The Grace of God is of immeasurable worth. The value of it makes our heart and mind uncomfortable so religiosity seems to satisfy our need to earn it or deserve it. The only way to obtain righteousness is through Jesus Christ. To humbly surrender and submit our life to Him for careful renovation. How does one pursue that very thing that is pursuing us?

To pursue means to follow in order to overtake. To follow close or go with. To strive to gain. To seek to attain or accomplish. To put into practice. If the plan has been set forth and payment made our pursuit for God must be to put into practice that which produces purpose in our life. The purpose of God leads to fullness, satisfaction, abundance and that which exceeds common thinking. Our thoughts and course of action must turn from gaining God’s Love to falling into God’s Love. His Presence wants to overtake us and turn the impossibility of possessing a love that we cannot afford or ever achieve into the abundance of our life from which all things overflow.

“To have found God and still pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too easily satisfied religionist, but justified in happy experience by the children of the burning heart.” (A. W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God)

Maybe the passion of a burning heart for God is not kindled by our pursuit of God but rather the knowledge that He is constantly pursuing us. Each moment of every day contains purpose for us if we decide to let God work in us rather than always try to “work” for Him. His Love, Kindness, Goodness, Patience and endless copious amounts of Grace make my life fruitful and complete. I cannot lead another to a place I have never been. I cannot describe the content of something I have never possessed. I cannot share an experience that I have never had. God’s Love for me is the constant consistency in my life which becomes the kind of confidence that produces courage. The idea that I cannot ever lose God’s Love is profound yet often forgotten our attempts to acquire that which has already been given of infinite worth. I can do nothing to please God outside of absolute faith in His Love for me.

“To have found God and still pursue him…” I have been a Christian since 1977. At just eleven years old, I came to the very real revelation that I was a sinner who needed a Savior and asked Jesus to be just that. At over fifty years of age, I am finally able to look back and see God’s Pursuit of my heart and soul. All the times I thought God was visibly absent but see His Presence with complete clarity. God has been with me even when I thought I had wandered too far to ever come back. Every time I did finally turnaround, the Lord met me face-to-face. God’s Perfect Plan comes complete with enough grace for all those times I tried to love and serve Him failing miserably. For all my wanderings the work on the Cross was enough for me to find my way back home. My Father with arms open wide. He was waiting for me to turnaround. To repent and ask Him, invite Him and usher Him in. The idea of pursuing God is noble but doesn’t mean a thing. He has been pursuing us the whole time. To pursue His Purpose with passion comes in understanding that this is what pleases God and produces a deep abiding relationship with Him. To know that nothing can separate us from His Love so we learn to live in it. To gain an appetite for His Love, Grace and Goodness insatiable by ordinary living so we pursue the extraordinary. God loves you. He has always loved you. He will always love you whether you choose to engage in a lifelong relationship or find Him just in the nick of time. He is that Good! He is our God! Pursue His Love and living in His Presence – it is then that God will be your passion!

Psalm 143:8 (NLT) Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.