Commune with Me

Commune with Me

Revelation 3:19-21 (ESV) Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Today is Sunday. The day of the week set aside for most churches and organized religions to meet and worship God together. Since before my eyes opened, I have felt a gentle summoning in my spirit. Not the one that requires me to hop out of bed and get the day going but the still small voice of invitation to linger. The Lord loves me. He desires me. He covets my attention. Not the afterthoughts given after I portion my mind out to my family, friends, and the world but the first fruits of this day. He doesn’t want to be my second thought but in this moment the only One on my mind. It is easy to turn it into a working relationship rather than living in a worship experience. Just like in marriages, friendships and partnerships to get caught up in the responsibility to the relationship rather than remembering how it all came together in the first place. The enemy has ordained busyness in our life to compromise time. He has ordered distractions and step traps that keep us tangled in lies rather than continuing in love. He knows exactly what he is doing. Yet, in this moment of alone time with the Lover of my soul, I am aware that He has already overcome the enemy and killed the giants that I face so I can continue in my ponderings and revelations of His Love if only for a few minutes longer before the day begins.

Psalm 23 (ESV) The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 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.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

The Lord is my shepherd. The authority and direction of my life. Confidence in the Lord to lead me to complete satisfaction is essential in true repentance. The difficulty of the pursuit is not in His Presentation but our perception of His Love, Faithfulness and Intentions. To walk by faith into the unseen realities of hope that cannot be perceived but experienced. I can share my faith with someone else but until you encounter Jesus Christ for yourself there is no possible way to ever fully comprehend what I am talking about.

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me… Where is comfort in reprove or discipline? Well, for those who are seeking a better way they are the confidence needed to leave this world behind and enter Kingdom living instead. The rod and staff or reprove and discipline are not punishment. When our bodies begin to suffer or gain excessive weight, it is a personal decision to choose a better way so diet and exercise become the focus of change. Our workout may be “punishment” and the sweat a sign of dying fat, but at the end of the day it is our personal choice for a healthy life which causes us to make better choices. This is the essence of repentance. Not to punish us but lead us to the purpose, promise and prosperity that is our inheritance in Jesus Christ – it is a personal choice to turn from the darkness of this world and live in the Light of His Love. Yes, it is not always easy. Sometimes it even hurts, yet in all things it proves to be worth it.

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Jesus never intended to overload us with rules and regulations. Religion does that. His Desire and Purpose was to make a way for us to have a thriving relationship with God the Father through Him. Jesus offers to aid us in our labor and remove the heavy burdens. We are to be yoked to Jesus. But in yoking one must give up their way or risk never moving an inch toward purpose. We must give up our way to have the Way, the Truth and the Life that Jesus offers those who come to Him. It means giving up the worries, cares, and fears that doubt constantly hands us wrapped in insecurity. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”

Psalm 27:8 (NLT) My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The Lord desires an intimate relationship with His People. Each one of us have a place at His Table that cannot be filled by another. There are no favorites because each one of us is His Favorite. There is no partiality because our purpose is individual and characterized specifically for us. The concept of communion with the Lord is not that of a tiny cup of grape juice or wine followed by a thin wafer that tastes like paper. We do this as a religious representation. I believe in communion – corporately, privately and individually. However the relationship that Christ desires with each one of us is to commune together in intimacy. To sit together and talk. To come together and linger. To love each other in every way through each day. It is I Corinthians 13 love mixed with the Blood of Jesus that makes us inseparable even in our imperfection. He is knocking on our heart each day. Asking if we will let Him in. To trust Him just a little more. To let His Love go just a little deeper to stay a little longer. He pursues us with goodness, mercy and unfailing love every day in the hope that our heart will turn the knob of repentance and by faith swing the door wide so He can come closer than ever before.

Romans 8:37-39 (ESV) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

You are more than a conqueror in Jesus Christ through His Love. In all things, believers have the power, authority and dominion to overcome. It is in our acceptance of His Love that empowerment by grace makes this the reality of our life. When Jesus died, the veil that separated mankind from the Presence of God was torn from top to bottom so that no one could ever put it back together again. God was sending a message through His Son. His Love for you is unstoppable. He created you to pursue you with His Love and will not stop until He has found you. You are the one in the ninety-nine that He left His Throne in Heaven to apprehend. He has a place for you in His Kingdom that no one else can ever dwell in. I think if we understood for a single second the vastness and overwhelming nature of His Love with any kind of confidence things would change for the better in that second. The burdens would be lifted. Chains broken. Worries vaporized. Sin released. Freedom would reign in the Body of Christ because someone chose to open the door and let Jesus in.

Could it be that it is our own fear, doubt and uncertainty of God’s Love for us that keeps the door of Heaven closed from us? Is He knocking but we refuse to open the door? Repentance is not an immediate change but a commitment to keep turning our life over to Christ for more new life. It is the opportunity to let His Glory fill us and overtake us. There is no punishment for God’s Children. Just reprove and discipline, divine guidance to better things and new blessings in every single day. We do not see the Lord like this because we do not know Him intimately. We have not communed with Him outside of communion. He is inviting you today. You! To come and talk with Him. You can hear it in your heart, but have been too afraid to answer. What do you have to lose? Nothing that His Love will not renew, restore or revive. Let Jesus in today! He has secrets to tell you, new things to reveal to you, and a new life that He has prepared just for you!

I John 5:3-5 (ES) For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

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So We’re Not Giving Up

So We Are Not Giving UP

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (Message) So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

What a great reminder! I need to be reminded often that this life is temporary – it is not permanent yet it is all I know in terms of reality. There are days that I know God is real but wonder where He is. I know you never feel distance from the Lord so please humor my musings with me today. Despite avoiding sin, trying to make better choices, attempting to live according to God’s Word, trying to love with regard for His Command, and serving continually in church – there are still days when giving up seems like a good idea. I wonder today if for just a moment one might peer inside with quiet introspect to evaluate life from a forever standpoint. How are you today? No really strip away the façade of who the world thinks you are, what you do, and how others expect you to act and look into the mirror of your soul – who do you see? What does your life really look like to you? The authenticity of faith is the complete conviction that what is hoped for is the reality of our life. However, as Christians who often pretend, it is important to soul search and heart seek to see the truth behind our convictions.

Going with the flow can carry us away. In any pursuit, it is easy to get swept away by the current of culture or society even church. It is important that faith be the forefront of our life but not in just idea but complete conviction. To know Christ by name is not enough, it is only in our relationship with Him that there is fulfillment to be found at the end of this troublesome journey called life. Unfortunately, human nature generally only seeks the Face of God and salvation from His Son when tragedy strikes and suffering ensues. An emotional overture leads us to Him but the process is abandoned when the pressure of change and transformation begins. Fear of the unknown take the place of faith in the unseen God and suddenly what seemed like a great idea is abandoned as a fruitless endeavor. Most will give up on the verge of breakthrough because they do not believe that God is good or completely head over heels in love with them.

I Peter 2:11-12 (Message) Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.

People without an identity have no residency. However, God has given us His Identity and full residency in His Kingdom. Our ability to know and understand this is important in the exercising of our rights and responsibilities as Kingdom residents. I Peter 2:10 says, “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s People. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s Mercy.” You have it all but must decide to claim it, receive it and walk it in it day by day. The Lord will not force His Love and Goodness on us but promises to pursue us without day by day. (Psalm 23) He meets us each morning with new mercy and the promise that joy comes with it. The potential of our life is in our recognition of who we are, whose we are and to become determined to live that life.

2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (Message) If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! 

The ordinary life that you are currently living is not your future. There is an extraordinary one waiting for those who fully recognize that Christ is in them. The transformation process is well under way. It will take time. Time has meaning – every single second appointed by God with purpose. (Ecclesiastes 3) There is also a promise attached – “Yet God made everything beautiful for its own time.” Timing is important to God. So much so that He recorded every single moment of your life before a second was lived or a breath even taken. (Psalm 139) Why would you give up now? You are pressed but not crushed. You may be persecuted but never abandoned. You may be struck down but never destroyed. You are blessed far beyond any curse because His Promise for you is etched in time. It is your history. It is your inheritance. Let go of fear, doubt and worry today. Do not let anxious thoughts coax you from the hiding place that is our refuge. God’s Presence will keep you until His Promise overtakes you.

“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” (Lance Armstrong) How true! When discomfort, inconvenience, annoyance, betrayal or even pain overtake us – what is the response? It depends on the foundation of faith and the conviction in our heart that makes the difference. To believe that there is nothing more to life than this would be a sad revelation to live by. If you believe deep down in your heart that there is more to life than this, you must decide to know what exactly that is or risk giving up on your passion and purpose. Life without meaning seems fruitless. Your faith will pull you through if it is credible. If when we take the time to look past the layers of self-imposed identity to our soul – we must see Jesus. He is our new identity. The life giver who can take the messed up pieces of broken hearts to make a masterpiece. He resurrects dead dreams to become our reality. He has already predestined you to live with Him forever. Jesus is waiting on you to become committed and convicted to engage in the process of building a relationship and then a Kingdom together.

Hebrews 10:23-25 (Message) So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

In The Stillness

In the Stillness

Psalm 46:10 (NLT) “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”

After spending the day with my grandson, I sent his mom a message that I felt incredibly lonely driving home. I sense of sadness that his car seat was no longer in the rear view mirror, tiny feet kicking and his little voice filling the vehicle with a mixture of sounds and babbling. Her response wise beyond her years, “Lol, I think you’re just not used to having no kids.” Ah maybe that is true, too. Of course, I miss my little chunky hunk because being a grandmother is awesome, but maybe she is right. I have been with a houseful and car full for what seems like my whole life. I have mothered for 28 years a tribe of little people. Yesterday, I dropped off my last high schooler for her first day. I probably will not have the pleasure of another drive like that as next year she will drive herself to school. Just like that and it’s over, the sleepless nights, endless care taking, selfless giving, and suddenly the house grows quieter and life begins to still.

”Be still, and know that I am God!” Quoted in the storms of life and hectic overtures of overwhelming circumstances, when adrenaline kicks in and emotions take over but I believe stillness is a sense of peace and confidence designed for every season. We must learn to be still in the Lord not only when chaos ensues but when calm produces silence that is louder than life. Parenting was certainly a part of my purpose in life but God has recorded every single day which means that they all count in my opinion. Why take note of something that is meaningless and without promise? Why not just skip to the good parts unless they all have the potential to be good either now or in the future?

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

Stillness comes with complete confidence in Christ. The certainty that God who began the good work within you will continue until it is finally finished. But do you see when that is…on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. There are things that the Lord did in and through you yesterday. There are things that He will do with you today. There are things reserved for the future and some that will not be revealed until Jesus comes again. In a world that requires us to take hold of destiny and “make things happen”, God says, “I will complete everything that I began in you.” Do you trust God today? Do you believe that the Lord is doing good things in and through you? Are you certain?

Acts 16:25-30 (NLT) Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Paul and Silas had been publicly beaten without a trial and unjustly put in prison. Not just any jail, but the inner dungeon where their feet were clamped in stocks. Around midnight, the men began praying and praising. Most of us know the rest of the story, a massive earthquake came and the doors to the prison flew open and the chains fell off all the prisoners. When the one put in charger woke up, he was ready to kill himself rather than face his superiors for he assumed all of his wards had escaped. But Paul and Silas were still there. They did not leave. Why? These men lived in the stillness of God and recognized His Presence. They did not fear for their life or what mere men could do but relied on God and His Purpose to lead them. When the jailer realized that they had not escaped, he asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” He then took the men to his house, fed them and then his whole house was saved.” The position of my life today, this very minute, has purpose in God’s Plan for my life. I can be still and know that the Lord will be honored. I must learn to live in the permanence of His Presence without mixed emotions. I must decide to stand steadfast on the firm foundation of faith where the Lord has placed me rather than getting stuck in the mud of lies and half-truths the enemy lays out for me each day. Doubt and disbelief will create detours, delays and even derailments. I must live a life of confidence and certainty so that I will be still in the Lord.

I Corinthians 15:57-58 (NLT) But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. 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.

Every single moment of our life has purpose and meaning when Jesus Christ lives in us. He is constantly perpetuating new life in us and shaping us into new creations. We have overwhelming victory…always. Confidence gives credibility to our faith and it becomes the example to others of just how valuable our life in Christ is to us. The validity of our faith is not revealed in the good times but in our commitment to work enthusiastically and love life all the time. Even in our sufferings, shortcomings, and season changes, the steadfastness of our heart must be that God is working every detail for our good and we are becoming the masterpiece that He promised. I have value and worth that you do not have because I am an original. You have value and worth that I do not possess and it is because you are authentic, too. There is no competition for God’s Love and Affection. Christ gave His Life for all of us.

Nothing in our life is useless when Christ is in us. Every bit our faith has potential when solely investing in God’s Plan and Purpose. All things are permissible but I must strive to obtain the benefits and blessings that belong to me therefore I must live in the stillness of God not the spin of society. You can do anything you want to do. Freedom in Christ gives you the right to choose. Choose well. Be confident in the Lord today. He will never let you or me down. Christ in us is always enough to turn our mourning in to dancing and sadness into joy. Those who sow in tears will reap a harvest far greater than those who give in to their sorrow and simply walk away. Stillness says, “Stay!” I am learning to be still in the Lord. The transition from season to season has me a bit on edge. For 28 years, mothering has been my primary purpose. Now I am entering a new season, some days in stillness and other days kicking and screaming. It is well with my soul. How about you? God is good! His Goodness is for you. It is in you. Christ is enough to be confident that through every season of life there are good things to come!

Psalm 27:13 (NLT) Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.

True Worth

True Worth

Luke 12:6-7 (NLT) “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

The most expensive painting sold to date is “Salvator Mundi” attributed to Leonardo da Vinci which brought a whopping $450.3 million at action in November 2017. A masterpiece no doubt but it is not a familiar piece such as the Mona Lisa. A little-known Saudi prince purchased the painting and then donated it Louvre Abu Dhabi. The worth of the creation is linked back to the creator. Leonardo da Vinci is a widely known famous artist making his work very valuable. I know a man whose mother was rummaging through a yard sale when she came across a pencil etching by none other than Salvador Dali. She immediately purchased it for a few dollars then taking it to an appraiser. It is worth a great deal now that the artist is identified. It has been moved from a garage overflowing with junk to an exquisite frame hanging as a focal point.

There is no one else like you. Created in the Image and Likeness of God, yet completely unique and individual in purpose and form. There are many men and women but if only humanity could comprehend the worth of our composition. The soul of each person ever born has a place of purpose and divine planning in the Kingdom of God. Worth more than any other created thing, God has the hairs of our head numbered. You are an original. There is no competition between you and another for God’s Love. He has no favorites. We are all His Favorites. When Jesus died on the Cross to purchase our life, it defined the true value of each one of us. Priceless and greatly desired by the God of the Universe. Science wants us to believe that human beings are a random act of nature. When two cells collide and explode to form a person, who is no different than any other species. Well, I beg to differ.

Psalm 139:13-14 (NLT) You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

When was the last time you thanked God for making you…you? Don’t feel bad, I don’t do it either. I am thankful for my husband, children, family, friends, church and other people. However, seldom have I ever if I can remember ever saying, “Thank you for making ME so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it.” If most of us were honest enough to admit it, our prayers are often filled with the qualities coveted. Begging the Lord to change the distinguishing features that make us unique to be like everybody else. My daughter has a younger friend who has recently taken to copying everything she wears. I have shared with her the saying, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” She wants none of it. The societal trends prove that it is more important to most to fit in rather than stand out. Way makers are not as fashionable as those who follow the trends and gravitate to acceptable norms. Though my youngest will not admit it – she got her tastes in fashion from someone else along the way.

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) 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.

In Ecclesiastes 1, Solomon writes “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.” This is true. Fashion is the same thing in cycles. Music is constantly made over. God didn’t produce you to follow suit. You are a masterpiece. God’s Masterpiece. Created by Him for a purpose and plan far greater than you can comprehend. You are valuable to the Lord. Jesus thought you were worth dying for. He paid the price for your old life and gave it back to you with the promise of a new life. However, most people live far below God’s Standard of rich, satisfying and abundant life settling for what they think they are worth. Until I decide that I am God’s Masterpiece comprised of great value and worth as His Special Treasure, I will not see the true potential of my life.

James 1:18 (NLT) He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

The end of comparison the worst of all joy killers begins in the revelation of our uniqueness to God. To know and understand living as a precious and prized possession rather than who we think we are or how much we value ourselves changes everything. It is not anything earned or deserved but rather who we are because of God and Christ in us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. The Lord is taking all our rough edges and broken pieces making it into the new creation that He promised. He sees only the good in us because His Grace is covering the rest. You are chosen. God decided for you to be you. He filled you with purpose, gave you promises, and made the commitment to save you from the very beginning. Your life is not random. You are here for such a time as this – live like it. Remind yourself who God says that you are today. When the enemy casts lies and doubt throwing shade on the Light of His Love, remind Him of what the Lord has already declared about you. You are significant to the Kingdom. There is a place and space only you can fill. People who only you can touch. God loves you. Love you, too. See the awesomeness of your authenticity and walk boldly before His Throne.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) his means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Overflowing Gratitude

Overflowing Gratitude

Colossians 3:15-16 (NIV) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 

I am blessed with a wonderful work environment. It allows me to bring my grandson and even my dog some days to the office. Both can be therapeutic in their own special way. My daughter had some work duties and asked if my grandson could come spend some time with Grammy. My response – absolutely without a moment’s hesitation. Having worked at home when my kids were young, it is easy to adapt to a little helper for the day though he is quite the distraction. After a morning filled with bouncing, playing, lunch and snuggles, naptime offered a respite for me to catch up on some work. When his nap was abruptly interrupted by some unexpected noises in the lobby, he settled in on my chest to sleep. Since my job is essentially a keyboard and monitors, we all settled in quite nicely as quiet calmed the office again.

Deep in thought and contemplating the project, I became aware that my little chunk was completely relaxed draped across me in a deep sleep. Looking down at the top of his head at the hair quickly covering it, I paused at the sight of him. Overwhelmed with thankfulness, I prayed. Thanking God for this precious gift that He has given me overflowed into overtures that quickly spread in my heart as words began to form on my lips. I am truly blessed. Some days I am more focused on the yet to comes rather than those things that have already arrived. Plagued by the problem, my praise somehow silent in the midst of unfailing love and relentless goodness.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. The peace of Christ is not manmade. We cannot create an image of perfect peace if it is not that which fills our heart and mind. Like rose-colored glasses, gratitude changes our perception in life when we stop and give thanks simply for what grace has already provided. Life is hard. It is unsettling. But I believe that might just be God’s Mercy not allowing us to settle for less or die not knowing Him. Forever is a long time. Much greater than the here and not including the sum total of our life. It is in that quiet moment holding an imperfect little man who sees so perfect for me that I am acutely aware of God’s Love and perception of me…a sinner and depraved wretch who He loves more than anything and chose to set free. Love sets free in the hope of finding it to be true. Yet the longing of God’s Heart is for us to cling to him as my baby grandchild was holding me. At complete peace and total rest in the arms of His Love in the closest possible proximity covered by His Love.

You were called to peace. Our office has been in a bit of turmoil. Our staff experienced the loss of a member to a new opportunity. The company that shares the space with us the same. People problems can disrupt us and cause us to become focused on the wrong thing sometimes. Life unexpected in many ways can be the unsettling reality that draws us out of the peaceful presence of the Love of God until we feel isolated and alone separated from the Lord and the peace that He offers us. This passage in Colossians can also be found in Ephesians. It is a call to unity in the Body of Christ. To be lovers and encouragers of one another and bind together the church that is the Kingdom of God and Bride of Christ. We must experience the perfect peace of God to ready our heart and mind to share in such an experience. Gratitude is overflowing grace too thankful for what is in our heart that we could ever want or desire anything less than Him.

Isaiah 26:3-4 (NIV) You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

I discovered this passage when our son was in the midst of cancer treatment. His body showing obvious signs of the fight, the doctor had just told us that we were in the realm of hope and needed godly intervention as the disease was quite aggressive. Soon after the conversation, I was talking to him with no response. Looking at his face, he was sleeping. Peacefully sleeping moments after his physician had told him that he was running out of options and had to trust the Lord for healing help. Sleeping just like that baby laying on my chest yesterday. His countenance at peace. His breathing steady. His body relaxed. The Lord WILL keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast. Those who decide to seek Him wholeheartedly will always find Him even if that means bringing Him all the broken and messed up pieces. We must learn to trust the Lord in the details of life enough to be thankful.

Gratitude is not a concession. It doesn’t mean that there are not some things that are still to come. It is not a settlement for those things not yet completed or fully satisfactory. Gratitude is a declaration of trust. Praise is our proclamation that no matter what God is in control and we are okay with that. Sometimes I must remind myself in my own heart and mind by simply stopping and beginning to thank God for even the most basic of blessings until it overtakes the negativity and bitterness building in my mind. The lie of the enemy is subtle in its penetration but lethal once inside. Faith in God requires our total trust. We cannot see Him. Faith comes by hearing and deciding to believe it. It is being consciously aware of God’s Intervention and Interaction in our life including the most simple blessing that is often taken for granted like a roof over our head, food in our belly, a job, or even the dysfunctional people surrounding us with love.

Colossians 4:2-3 (NIV) Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.

Paul writes the letter to the church in Colossae while in chains. A prisoner of the Gospel, he still takes the time to say, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Lord help us when we lose sight of the true freedom offered by grace. The opportunity to be thankful in all circumstances knowing that You are working all the details together for our good. Help us to recognize that Your Love is always for us, surrounding us with us, and pursuing us. Nothing can separate us from it. When I feel alone, isolated, abused, betrayed, discouraged or even just discontent, remind me Holy Spirit to be thankful. To engage in the close proximity of Your Presence by letting my praise open the door. We must learn to devote ourselves to prayer. But not only prayer, we must learn to be watchful and thankful for what we see, hear and know about the Lord. His Purpose, Plan and Promises belong to us and are secured by faith. Not our ability to be faithful but His Faithfulness to us. That alone is enough to make the believer shout… or should be. Find a way to wander off this morning, to enter a quiet place and begin to thank God for everything around you. Let gratitude overflow and cover your heart and mind with more grace until it abounds. Let His Perfect Peace fill you at the sound of praise as you enter into His Presence. Crawling on His Lap, like a child, let His Love cover you today. This is God’s Will for you in Christ Jesus!

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Forgotten

Forgotten

Isaiah 49:14-16 (NIV) But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

Has God forgotten His Promise to you? Does it seem delayed so discouragement is the company you keep? Are you wondering if you missed Him? Somehow wandered off course into the barren wilderness? It happens. It is natural to have human expectations. The Holy Spirit produces good fruit in us that feeds our hungry soul but it takes time to change our appetite. The Water of His Word, that Living Water, will have to make it through the hardness of our heart to finally drench us deep within. Salvation begins the process of restoration and renewal. It takes time for transformation to take over as the Lord prepares us for His Purpose and to receive the Promise. Until then…

Our little grandson has an enormous appetite. He loves to eat. He is enamored by food. He gets plenty on a regular and consistent basis. However, when a bottle is being prepared or the food containers opened while locating a spoon and bib – the guy loses his mind. Either throwing a full-fledged fit or dissolving into tears, one might think that he is on the verge of starvation. He is obviously very healthy and well-cared for yet in his little mind the feeling of hunger is a desire too great to bare. He has never missed a meal. He knows mom and dad will take care of him yet still feels the need to respond to his wait time and discomfort that produces patience. His mama comforts him speaking words of affirmation to him as she hurries to get everything together. She’s a good mother.

God is a good father. He created each us with a specific plan and purpose in mind. A projected life that no one else can live. He promised to provide everything we need to be successful. He persuades us with His Unfailing Love and Kindness while pursuing us with His Goodness. He always comes to our rescue or performs a release at just the right time. Yet there are times when even strong Christians and longtime believers wonder if the Lord has forgotten…

But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” Do you feel like the Lord has forsaken you today? Do you think that he has forgotten you? The enemy wants nothing more than to make you believe this terrible lie of abandonment and isolation. It is simply not true. Could a mother forget the baby at her breast? Oh wow! I cannot even imagine. Before my first child was born, I remember having nightmares that I forgot I was a mother and would leave my child behind. But once I held him in my arms looking at his beautiful face, I knew that I would never forget him and love him forever. I don’t understand people who get so busy and caught up in life that they forget their child is in the car. How is it even possible? Yet they do – most of the victims die due to suffocation. What is so important that you would forget your baby? Your precious child? How could you forget? It happens all the time. Maybe it is just another sign of the times – love has grown cold and sin is rampant. There are wars and rumors of war. This world is on a downward spiral as families disintegrate in the midst of busyness and disregard. It would be easy in the chaos to believe that our existence is insignificant but it’s not.

Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. The Lord is whispering to you and me today reminding us that He has engraved us in the palms of His Hands. We are important to our heavenly Father. The things that He has shared with us and continues to entice us with are going to happen simply because He said so. It is hard to trust anyone when life is filled with broken promises and unfulfilled oaths. When people say one thing and do another. The disregard for human life may seem to reduce us to just another species but it is not true. We have a God who loves us. He sent His Son to die for us. He desires us as His Special Treasure. He has created a Kingdom to be our dwelling place. He even says, “…your walls are ever before me.” My existence has a place in the Kingdom of God and its walls that cannot be filled by another. I am important. I am significant. I am not forgotten and neither are you.

I Samuel 16:7 (NIV) But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Samuel was off to find and anoint the next King of Israel. He went to Jesse’s house as instructed by the Lord. Standing before him were seven likely candidates, but as each one passed by the Lord’s Hand was not upon him. The Lord had already instructed Samuel to look past each man’s appearance for He was looking at their hearts. How is your heart today? What is its condition? Have you allowed bitterness, impatience, fear, doubt or disbelief to harden it? God is always looking for the readiness of our heart and nothing else. The appearance of my heart is God’s Focal Point – therefore it should be my utmost concern.

I Samuel 16:11-13 (NIV) So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

God had already designated David to be the next King of Israel. He was out tending his father’s sheep as instructed. Doing what he was told to do in an isolated field with only the herd for company. He was alone but not forgotten. When it was time for Samuel to anoint God’s Chosen One, he was called from the very place that he was into the Presence of God and anointed just as God purposed. Hear me today as I speak to myself – just because your life seems ordinary today doesn’t mean that God’s Extraordinary Purpose is not coming for you tomorrow. Work your field. Hold your position. Wait for Him. He is coming.

How do I know this to be true? It is the promise I hold on to fortified by this: God is not a man that He should lie or change His Mind. The Lord told me that He would bless me so He will bless me indeed. (Numbers 23:19-20) He doesn’t withdraw His Gifts or Calling. If He called me to be here than the blessing will find me right where I am. Even if I get discouraged or disappointed and allow doubt, worry or fear to trouble me – God is still faithful to His Word. (Romans 11:29) And finally – the hard part – the purpose and plan that is designed for my life has an appointed time. God will not ever hasten His Process because it is my preference. The Vision will come to pass at the right time – God’s Time. (Habakkuk 2:3) I must learn to wait on the Lord. When I am tired of waiting, I must learn to wait some more.

I have always told my children that if they were to get separated from me to stay right where they are when they discover I am missing. In other words, if you look up and don’t see me – stop moving. If someone tries to take you away or talk to you – yell as loud as possible, “You are not my mom!” The same method should be used as Children of God. If at any point there is a separation rather real or perceived – stay where you are. Don’t make permanent decisions in temporary circumstances. We can chase preference and leave Presence. When the enemy comes offering lies and untruths, tell Him who your Daddy is. He will flee from you. God has not forgotten or forsaken you or me, friend. He is preparing and positioning us to step in the overflow of His Anointing.

I leave you with familiar words from Jeremiah 29. Recited many times yet sometimes we might forget, it was spoken to those in exile. They had a season of waiting yet to be fulfilled – seventy years to be exact. However, the promise remained even in their otherwise compromised state. God has not forgotten you. He has not forsaken you. He hasn’t given up on you either. You can never escape God’s Plan, Promise and Purpose for your life because He is constantly pursuing you. His Plan is to prosper us from the inside out! In the meantime, call to Him. He will come to you. Pray and He will listen. Seek Him wholeheartedly and He will be found!

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Like an Arrow

Like an Arrow

Isaiah 49:1-4 (NIV) Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.” But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”

I had this vision of an arrow sailing through the air. I could not see the archer who shot it. The target was not clear. It was simply whistling by. It was for me. Not intended to harm me but to pierce my heart. I knew that there was a message for those who are far from the beginning but cannot see the end. Endurance is a quality that God instills in us to win. Jesus said, “Those who endure to the end will be saved.” The beginning of a thing is excited with a rush all its own. The end is triumphant and often a welcome relief from the journey. However, the battle is won and target achieved in the middle. The ones who decide to continue when nothing is clear. Like an arrow, the archer has a target in sight.  A mark that is aimed for. He releases the arrow to cover the distance and when it arrives at the destination fulfill its purpose. The arrow does make a sound it just does what it was created to do. What about you? Are you in the middle of something? Wondering if you will ever make the mark or maybe feeling as though you missed it altogether? Does your life seem to be a perpetual flight with no landing in sight? Oh friend, there is purpose in your destination too wonderful to miss.

He made me a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. Persistence, perseverance, patience, endurance, discipline and the like are contrary to human nature. To wait on the Lord and trust in His Purpose and Plan are difficult to an untrusting people who have been tainted by disappointment, betrayal, pain, and a lack of fulfillment. How do I know that the designated purpose delineated for me will bring me the full satisfaction that is promised? Well, there is only one way to find out. A polished arrow has been through some refinement or perhaps a great deal of fires and forging to prepare it for the moment of release. It is carefully hidden in the archer’s quiver for an appointed time and destination. The waiting can be the hardest part. We miss the peacefulness of His Rest eager to see if He will be faithful. If we could only learn to overcome doubt and fear in order to embrace the Faithfulness of God – who is the mighty archer ready to release us at any moment.

But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”  Can I encourage you today that God is not finished with you yet? Perhaps, He has not even begun to show you the reward set aside for you at the end. We must stop saying that our labor is in vain just because it has not hit the mark yet. Discouragement laced with the lie of the enemy tells us that our strength is spent with nothing to show for it. Grace says that in my weakness I will have His Power as my own. To place our life in God’s Hand completely is the only way to reach the mark and claim the prize. However, it is not in our doing anything but rather submitting our life to His Hand, remaining in His Presence and going where He sends us.

Isaiah 49:5-6 (NIV) And now the Lord says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him    and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord and my God has been my strength—he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

How often the words in Psalm 139 escape us! The part where the Lord reveals that every single day of our life is carefully recorded before a moment lived. The promise of Romans 8 that He works every detail of our life for good simply because of our love for Him. No matter what happens in life or what I do – nothing will ever separate me from His Love. His Grace offers power in my complete weakness. To trust Him and know Him releases the full potential in my life to achieve God’s Purpose and Plan. Not because I am worthy of any of it – but because He is good and does not lie or change His Mind. He is faithful. Someone needs to hear that today. Stop beating yourself up because of faults and failures. Don’t look back – keep your eyes fixed on the future. Reclaim your joy and peace again by positioning yourself in His Presence and waiting for the Lord to do what He promised. All things will work together when we stop trying to work it all out and figure it out as well. God has a plan. He has a purpose just for you. He will do exactly as He promised.

Philippians 3:10-12 (NIV) I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

What is your mark today? Goal? Prize? Desire? Purpose? We all have one. The primary purpose of our life is to know Christ and be united with God the Father to become part of His Kingdom. The benefits and blessings of such a pursuit are the potential of our life and purpose. In Hebrews 12, there is insight to something that I never noticed before. “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Did you see it? It says, “The race marked out for us”. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean you can’t believe it! We must fix our eyes on Jesus. He must be and remain our primary focus to persevere in the pressing for the mark. Your destination is divine. The pathway secure. You just have to keep on keeping on to make it.

There are some other things that the arrow reminds us to do. We must aim for something. (I Corinthians 9:26-27) It is said that if you aim for nothing you will hit it every time. This is true in trying to experience Kingdom life lived without expectation. We must aim for consistency. (2 Corinthians 5:8-9) We must aim for honor. (2 Corinthians 8:20-21) Honoring God in all we do will keep us steady on course. People are not the problem but each one holds potential. However, the enemy will send fiery darts towards us to cause our arrow to lose course. (Ephesians 6:16) Do not be distracted. Keep the faith. Aim to remain faithful and focused in the flight. (2 Timothy 2:4) There are many arrows in God’s Quiver each with its own purpose – we must aim for unity. (2 Corinthians 13:11-12) We are in this together. Fighting for the same faith. Trusting in the same Lord. Members of the same body. Residents of His Kingdom not at war with each other but all that comes against it.

I Timothy 1:5 (NIV) The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

The aim of our charge or tip of the arrow must always be a deep and penetrating love that cuts through our heart to produce a good conscience and sincere faith. The only good in me is Jesus Christ. My faith is in Him as He is the “pioneer and perfecter” of it. On those days when it feels like we just keep on keeping on, it’s easy to lose sight of where we came from or where we are going. These are the days when our eyes must go back to the archer. The arrow that honors the archer stays on course and hits the target every time. It may seem like you are flying aimlessly to nowhere but if God is the One who released you – I promise that you are going places. Amazing and wonderful destinations of prosperity and fulfillment. Have faith in the Archer today. Stay the course. Hit the mark. You will be found faithful in the end and have the rich and satisfying life that He has sent you after.

Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV) Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Have Hope

Have Hope.png

Hebrews 6:17-20 (ESV) So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

My husband and I were blessed to enjoy a cruise many years ago. If you have never had the opportunity to set sail, I highly recommend it. As a wife and mother, there is something truly wonderful about stepping on a ship to be whisked away from schedules, routines, menu planning, meal preparing and such duties to be taken to an exotic destination while someone else feeds and cares for you for a change. On the last night of the cruise was the captain’s dinner, and as we made our way back to the cabin the waters had become quick rough. The large vessel was now rocking back and forth. It was difficult to keep one’s balance. Upon entering the cabin, I quickly changed and crawled into the most magnificent comfy bed. The kind that just sucks you in and drifted off to sleep. My husband was not fairing quite as well obviously ill from the waves. I was awakened to him calling my name holding tightly to side of the bed an unnatural shade of green. “How can you sleep?” he said in his distress.

From a very early age, I have always been able to sleep through storms of all kinds. As a child living in a mobile home, a tornado came through ripping off the screened patio on the side of the home and carrying off the metal shed next to it yet I continued to sleep right through it. Just recently a hurricane made landfall not far from home, and again my kids and husband couldn’t believe that I could sleep through the wind and rain. It is a blessing I suppose. That or an uncanny gift of escaping reality for the time being, who knows? What I do know for sure is that storms do come, waves rise up and darkness seems to overtake light but in all things – I have hope.

What is a natural ability can also become a supernatural gift for those who choose the proper anchor! The Truth overpowers the lie every time. To know the Truth is freedom. To hold on the Truth is our security. Is the enemy trying to drain your confidence today? Is he wrestling to make you release the anchor of our soul? He has a way of doing that consistently and often with great success but it doesn’t have to be that way. Confident hope is the security of our heart, mind and soul in the attack of the enemy. He cannot take your potential. He cannot redefine purpose. He cannot change God’s Plan for us. Christ in us is enough. Always enough. His Grace is sufficient. The lie of the enemy has no hold but that doesn’t mean that it is man’s mistake to hold tightly to the lie rather than embracing the Truth. God’s Word is the Truth that carefully details our life. Christ is the Word of God that lives in us making all things possible for those who believe.

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie… I wonder the possibilities if God’s People would grab hold of the unimaginable promise that God has unchangeable character. To accept with absolute confidence that He guarantees His Promises with an oath to us that He does not lie and will never ever change His Mind. We become fixated on the process and forget the promise. Just as the disciples who knew Jesus had not yet arrived in the absolute belief that He indeed was the Son of God evidenced when the ship hit a storm. Jesus was sleeping comfortably within the vessel and his closest friends and followers asked, “Do you not care?” Jesus calmed the storm raging around them but it was up to them to settle the sea within their own heart and mind.

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain… Even though the ship was tossing and turning that night, I crawled into the big comfortable bed without hesitation. The captain and his crew were in the wheelhouse taking care of things. An announcement had already been given that the seas were rough but to rest assured the vessel was under control and on course. I chose to believe the experts. Resting in the safety of my bed, the waves were still peaking and the boat still bouncing but I was not afraid so rest came easily. Oh the Peace of God that will carefully contain us in every storm in life. The Presence of God around us thanks to the veil torn from top to bottom by Jesus. Hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. Hope is the weight of faith that keeps us in the secret place of rest that the Lord promises those who believe. Those who allow their faith to gain substance.

Hebrews 10:23 (ESV) Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

God is faithful. He is always faithful even when we are not. His Faithfulness ensures the promise, potential and purpose of our life to be successful and prosperous. We must not only have faith but faith full invested in hope. Hope will never ever lead you to disappointment even though people and problems may try to. Whether gripping it with both hands or holding on as to a thread, the power of the anchor of hope given to us by God through Jesus Christ is always enough to keep us. There will be some days that His Love for us and His Plan makes perfect sense so faith and trust come easy. There will be days with faith is a completely illogical choice except for the promise that He has given us. Everyday hope can be the anchor for our soul. Perfect peace is possible for those who believe. Jesus is our Peace. He allows us to have His Mind by His Spirit who works on the inside to produce the good fruit that feeds and nourishes our soul. God is good. He loves you. He is always on your side. He is for you! He will never ever let you down. You must only believe and hold tightly to the anchor that He has given for our soul. Hope is the anchor of our soul!

Romans 5:1-5 (ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

No Competition

No Competition

Romans 2:11 (AMP) For God shows no partiality [no arbitrary favoritism; with Him one person is not more important than another].

The Lord blessed us with five wonderful and unique children. Each one an individual with their own personality and purpose. If you ask them, they have a preconceived notion about who they are and where they fit in the dynamic of our family. Our youngest is quick to concede that we stopped having children after having her because “we saved the best for last.” Yet when our first grandson was on his way, she struggled at the thought of her position as “baby” might be challenged by the newcomer even though she is well in her teenage years. Insecurity is a dangerous thing. It roots in our heart and mind as the enemy casts doubt in whatever area it is allowed to exist even in our relationship with God – the Father.

God shows no partiality or arbitrary favoritism to anyone. He sees us all as beloved children with different callings and purpose arising from the anointing us by Christ and His Personal Design as Creator. Unique and individual – there is no one else in the world that can fulfill the Plan of God for my life but me. He is omnipresent. God sees everything and everyone from beginning to end. He put time in order along with our steps promising that not a detail of our life did not have good potential. Yet still sons and daughters of God struggle in our inabilities and weakness to perceive and accept the unconditional love of God for each of us. Competition rises from comparison amongst the Body of Christ. We must learn to love each other and see each other as God sees us. We must learn to love ourselves and see ourselves as the significant people He created and called us to be empowering us by His Grace through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Colossians 3:14-15 (AMP) Beyond all these things put on and wrap yourselves in [unselfish] love, which is the perfect bond of unity [for everything is bound together in agreement when each one seeks the best for others]. Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always].

The bond of unity is our purpose that leads to fulfillment. However, if there is constant competition between members of the same body it becomes dysfunctional. For example, if my right hand wrestled with my left hand all the time, what would I ever get done? If my left foot was always trying to trip my right foot, I wouldn’t get very far. Our perception of God’s Purpose and Plan for our life must be based on the fact that I am a Child of God with a designated purposed and carefully defined plan. No one else can fulfill my destiny. The assignment given to me by God is for me and me alone. Comparison is the thief of joy because we evaluate our gifts and talents according to someone who is not called or created to do what God ordained for us.

We cannot bind ourselves together in unity without complete confidence in God’s Love for us and His Perception of us. We are His Children. Just as our natural children have a place in our family, we have a position in God’s Family that no one else can fill. When our son had cancer and lingered on the verge of death, no one would dare say, “Well, at least they have four other kids if anything happens…” Why are we so quick to think that the Lord sees us with a herd mentality? What makes us think that we are easily replaced? Grace is enough to bind us all together because we do not have to fight for it. It is freely given to us by God who loves us unconditionally and completely. He gave His Only Son to die a brutal and horrible death for us – we are His Beloved. He treasures us. He will leave the ninety-nine just for the one. That one is you. That one is me.

Romans 8:28-29 (AMP)  And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers.

We must have great confidence in God’s Love for us as individuals to have the peace of mind to become one body in Christ. All other relationships will grow and prosper in the revelation that you are God’s Favorite. He has a plan and purpose only you can accomplish. There is nothing and no one that can separate you from God’s Love because it is individual. He knew you and everything about you choosing to love you and sacrifice His All just the same. Me, too. It all applies to me personally as well. When I am tempted to compare, criticize, or concede – I must respond with confidence. God loves me. He loves me on purpose. He doesn’t lie or change His Mind. Each person in the Kingdom has a place in its government and function. The enemy will lay traps to entangle us or make us think we are not good enough to fulfill God’s Purpose or obtain his Promise. Truth is I am the best one for His Plan, Purpose and Promise for me. We are all important and significant to the Lord. Didn’t He prove that when He gave His Son for us? You are God’s Favorite You! Remember that today…walk in it…live in it!

Philippians 4:7-9 (AMP) And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]. Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.

None Should Perish

None Should Perish

John 3:16-17 (ESV) “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

It is probably the most well-known verse in the entire Bible – John 3:16. For God so love the world that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Sometimes familiarity breeds contentment satisfying our soul with salvation, but missing the life that comes with it. The life God has designed for us is complex and complete. It does not eliminate any details due to indiscretion but takes the imperfect form of humanity and filling its voids with Christ. The new creation promised for those who choose it is not a redesign but recreation and restoration of the original. God is perfect. He does not make mistakes. He created us recording every single moment before our arrival. God has a plan and no matter our involvement or acceptance, it is still continuing in our life. God loves us. Each one of us. His Goal in sending Jesus was not for a designated few but that whoever believes wouldn’t die but live forever with Him. A true and abiding relationship as a father to a child is what God desires of you. A loving and living together that steps over the grave into the Kingdom.

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” To stop at John 3:16 would be enough to save us but not necessarily grasp the scope of God’s Massive Project. It was never His Intent to divide the people of this planet but to bring them back together in one Body centered on His Son. Condemnation is not a quality of God for mankind and should not be characteristic of His People. Mercy triumphed over judgment at the sacrifice of Jesus giving up His Life to secure ours forever with Him. How is it our place to crawl into the vacated seat when it comes to each other? It is God’s Plan and Purpose that none should perish. It is pointless. Salvation is a free gift. It did not cost me anything of worth. It is easy to give the grace and mercy given to me away because I didn’t earn it. I should be of the mindset of Christ. He is always thinking about compassion. His mindset is life and never death. He is a builder of the Body not a condemner of people.

The Bible says that His Grace is enough. It is sufficient which means that if the love, grace, mercy or compassion of Christ can be exhausted than it was never an ample supply. This is the basis of forgiving seventy times seven, turning the other cheek, loving our enemy and laying our life down for others. He is giving us an opportunity to participate in the Kingdom economy and reap its heavenly reward which is always relationship. God owns it all. Everything belongs to Christ. The Lord has complete authority and power in every situation. The freedom of others does not always produce the benefits of Heaven. It is our opportunity to be the traders of grace who bring the message of the Gospel to others not just in word and deed but in our dedication and commitment to the mission that none should perish.

Jonah 4:1-4 (ESV) But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”

To bring everyone up to date in the story, God sent Jonah to Nineveh. He was to share God’s Message of repentance to the people. Jonah did not like God’s Plan so he tried to run away to Tarshish. On his way a great storm arose, Jonah was cast into the sea to satisfy the wrath of God and that the others on the ship might be saved. Once overboard, Jonah was swallowed by a whale and lived in its belly for three days until vomited on the local beach. He repents and goes to Nineveh. The people of Nineveh repent and cry out to God. The Lord acknowledges their repentance and relents. He did not bring disaster to the city or its people. In other words, God spared them and did not give them what they deserved. Jonah got mad. He was “exceedingly displeased”.

In Jonah 4, we find Jonah in the midst of a fit mixed with a good old-fashioned pity party. Sitting and stewing the sun arose and he was baking in it when the Lord appointed a plant to come up over Jonah to give him shade while he sorted things out. Jonah was glad when the plant covered him and protected him. The next morning, God appointed a worm to kill the plant and when the sun rose once again Jonah was subject to its heat and discomfort. Through the course of the day – he grew faint and decided it would be better to die. Why? He was disappointed that God had spared the people. He allowed his anger to separate him again from the Presence of God.

Jonah 4:9-11 (ESV) But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”

God owns it all. Every living breathing creature is a product of Him. You and I are His Most Beloved Creation. How many times do we forget His Mandate that none should perish? How often do we get mad when God saves, heals, delivers and blesses those sorry sinners? Comparison will always be a joy killer. No sinner is too far gone for the Lord’s Arm to reach them. We are the ones who decide the limit of sin or depravity when there is no such thing in the eyes of Jesus. His Grace is always enough. I wonder if the separation, isolation or frustration that we feel is often generated by our own jealously and insecurity in the Lord’s Unfailing Love and Acceptance for me. Working hard for him yet He showers sinners and evil doers with the blessings I thought were reserved for me. Who are they to step in front of me in order to get what He is offering? They must do their time like the rest of us. Serving, giving and striving for the promise. Right? Wrong. When we can do anything for Him or feel pressure to perform for the promise, we have missed the point altogether. I can do nothing for God. He is my fulfillment. He is my purpose. Everything I am and ever hope to be is in Him and offered through Him. I can do nothing apart from Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:8-10 (ESV) But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

“For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” God delights in mercy. He gives it to us each morning. When our eyes open, it is waiting for us and the basis of salvation. God’s Desire to show us mercy so that we can receive His Grace. We must be ever so careful that our heart for people remains soft and merciful. There is no competition for the Love of God. It is for everyone. Jesus came so that none should perish but have eternal life which means there is more than enough grace for everyone. Have you written someone off? Maybe you walked away because they were just too hard to love. I will let you in on a little secret. Limited love is a product of unaccepted grace. To restrict our love, compassion, kindness and forgiveness to others based on their attitudes and actions is the opposite of the kind given to us by Jesus. If we truly receive His Love, it satisfies our soul. It fills us with hopeful expectation that cannot and will not be met by other people therefore we can love freely and unconditionally because they have no impact on God’s Love for me, His Plan, or His Promise. All of this is individually designed for me but His Grace is for all the world. Lord examine my heart, mind, spirit and soul for compassion. Show me where I have allowed condemnation to take the place of mercy. Soften my heart Lord even if that means breaking it so that I will not miss my purpose in passive judgment. Lord, you are not slow to fulfill your promise to us. You are waiting that none should perish. Be that me or those around me subject to my influence. Lord, let me always choose mercy over judgment and live a triumphant life.

Micah 6:8 (ESV) He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?