What’s the Point?

What the Point

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.

What’s the point? You know you have asked yourself the question at least once along the way of life. What’s the point of trying? Giving? Forgiving? Starting over? Disappointments are a dime a dozen. Faith seems futile in the absence of logic. Hope elusive in the chaotic degradation of the world. Yet still there are those who strive each day to plant just a tiny seed of faith and stretch to see a glimmer of hope. Romans 5 begins THEREFORE SINCE WE HAVE BEEN JUSTIFIED BY FAITH (all caps all mine). Our predisposed position in life due to the justification offered by faith and believing gives way to peace with God through Jesus Christ. This is the point of access. Suddenly the faithless and hopeless generation born of sin has been pardoned and set free to become a new creation and accept a brand new life. No matter who you are or where you came to Christ from – this statement is about you. Therefore, since (you) have been justified by faith, (you) have peace with God through (your) Lord Jesus Christ. The first step of purpose is the point of salvation. The moment in time when our old identity was exchanged for a new one – Child of the Living God and Member of His Kingdom.

You will never know the point of a God-seeking, faith-driven, hope-full life until you see yourself and your existence from God’s Perspective. God created us and has already plotted our life according to His Plan. It is a series of carefully orchestrated steps that go through valleys, around the bend and over the mountain with seasons set forth to produce an abundance in each one. When our focus is based on what we can see rather than on what we know about God’s Plan – it is easy to say, “What’s the point?” Throwing up our hands and walking away serves our pride and preference but perseverance always leads us to purpose and promise.

The Plan

Jeremiah 29:10-14 (ESV) “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and hope.” Oh, how many times have these words been recited and never fully realized. To keep this in context, the promise required a journey. To bring you “back” from exile. It had a time frame. When seventy years are completed. God has a plan. It requires a journey. It has an appointed time. You also have a requirement. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Sometimes reading part of the verse only gives us the promise and by not reading the rest – the process is missed. There is always a process in God. God is transforming us from the inside out. Jesus Christ is inside of us. New life is birthed from the inside.

Psalm 139 tells us that our days are prerecorded. Romans 8 and Ephesians 1 informs us of our predestination to become Children of God. To be adopted to Himself through His Son – Jesus according to His Purpose and His Will. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. He is the Beginning and the End. Our Savior is the Author and Finisher of faith that puts us and keeps us in right standing with God our Father. Everything is going according to His Plan even when our plans fall apart. God’s Sovereignty is our security. It means He does not lie or change His Mind because He is perfect in ALL of His Ways. God’s Spirit seals us as sons and daughters of God cultivating good fruit to feed our starving soul until we hunger and thirst no more. Friends – God has a plan. There is a point to all that you are going through today.

The Path

Psalm 37:23-27 (ESV) The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever.

Let’s plunge into the deep for a moment and think about this – what if God really does order our steps ahead of time? In other words, what if you have not strayed from the Lord? What if your mistakes were on purpose? What if the whole point of everything you have been through was to lead you to Jesus? Once Jesus Christ came to reside in you – His Power and Authority vested in Him by God the Father became your power and authority, too. THEREFORE…nothing can ever separate you from the Love of God, no weapon formed you will prosper, greater is He that is in you, and you have hope that can NEVER lead to disappointment which means by faith you always win, live victoriously and overcome.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He was with you then, is in you now and will be with you forever. The Plan gave you the Person of Christ to navigate the path to His Promise which is our purpose in God. If this is true, you do not ever have to experience a lack of anything again because you are full of Him. It says that the righteous are not forsaken and they do not have to beg. In order to live the life promised all that is required is to turn away from evil and do good – in one word – repentance. It’s not about turning you around – it’s about turning our life over to Jesus Christ. It doesn’t mean you will change position in life but you will be positioned in the Kingdom.

The Process

2 Corinthians 5:16-19 (ESV)  From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

The process of redemption is achieved through reconciliation. Repentance turns us back to Jesus Christ. However, if there is no reconciliation the relationship falls apart. Our calling is to become a new creation in Christ Jesus. To stop looking at our existence through human eyes and take on a spiritual perspective. Christ does the work. We only give Him something to work with and through. To reconcile means restore friendly relations, to coexist in harmony, become compatible, and make consistent with one another. The process is in full operation – it is our choice to participate. Those who do not participate do not get the prize or promise. It is in our complete reconciliation of our life to Christ that purpose is fulfilled and destiny released in the life of God’s People. Simple obedience offers radical change that blesses those willing to engage in it.

The Purpose

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…

James 1:2-4 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

What’s the point? Perfect, complete and lacking in nothing. God has already provided it all. Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life. The purpose of the plan, path and process is to achieve His Purpose. We would have settled for less so long ago. Our lack of discipline gives way to substitutions when times get tough. Doubt and insecurity makes us question God’s Goodness due to our inability to do good all the time. Disbelief leads to questions and scrutiny of the Truth set forth by God’s Word. Delays and detours all have a place in God’s Perfect Plan. You cannot miss God! He is always with us – will never forsake us and pursues us with unfailing love and overflowing goodness. God has ordered our steps. Every single one is part of the course toward something good. God uses every detail of our life for good. His Glory is ready to fill every empty vessel poured out and ready for His Love. Your life is not pointless. God is always on point.

John 10:10 (ESV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

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Full Communion

Full Communion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace with God

Peace with God

Job 22:21-22 (NIV) “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart.

These are the words of Eliphaz to his friend, Job during the worst time of his life. Job’s children were gone. His wealth gone. Everything God had blessed him with in his lifetime taken from him within a single day. Even his own physical health compromised, I am quite certain that he was not looking for a sermon but sympathy from his friends. The story of Job is one, though hard to read and difficult to comprehend, is absolutely necessary to understand true submission to God. “Submit to God and be at peace with Him.” This may imply that Eliphaz had decided that Job must have sinned against God to invite such tragedy into his life. From a human aspect – it would be the natural assumption. However, his words I believe are led by the Holy Spirit and not his own intellect. Submission to the Lord in all things will give us peace. The Holy Spirit produces peace in our life as a fruit. As our soul prospers so does our life, but I do not believe that God will allow us to prosper in this life if it compromises eternal life. “

“In this way prosperity will come to you.” Everyone has a natural desire to prosper. To see increase and live in abundance. It is a common thread of commerce. However, peace does not come from financial security but confident faith that there is more to life than this. A place of eternity rest offered through Jesus Christ. The Lord has given us His Spirit to produce the kinds of fruit that satisfies our soul and causes our heart and mind to prosper in God’s Word which is His Plan for us. “Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart.” I have studied the Word of God every day for the last eight years. Each morning getting up early to read, study and meditate on it. I want to extract every single truth, promise and blessing hidden within the pages of text. I do not say this to boast but rather to share that even though I have spent countless hours poring over the Word of God, I find new things every single day. It is life to my heart, mind, thoughts and soul. It is never old but always fresh and new.

Romans 10:2-4 (NIV) For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Our zealousness and enthusiasm serving God must be based on His Word. Faith comes by hearing and found in God’s Word. We desire righteousness but do not fully understand what it entails. Pride wants to earn it. Somehow find a way to deserve the Grace of God. It is impossible. Yet still religiosity can interrupt our relationship when pride tells us – “I can do it.” The only way of reconciliation with God is through His Son, Jesus. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can make it to God except through Him. The Word made flesh to live among us is none other than Jesus. I must submit to God’s Righteousness fully accepting His Grace in my weakness. His Power is complete in my life when I do. The story of Job depicts man’s struggle with pride. Doing everything right cannot erase our sin or promote a relationship with God. It is our thriving relationship with Jesus that gives us total access to God the Father and His Power in this life.

Divine discipline as recorded in Hebrews 12 is not in the form of punishment. It is God’s Love at work in us to remove barriers of pride, fear, and insecurity that keep us from reconciling our life to God through His Son, Jesus. It is always born of love, mercy and grace. God cannot punish those who believe as it would be contrary to His Word. God doesn’t take back His Promises but daily pursues us in order to bless us. It is His Desire to give us the desires of our heart. Misalignment spiritually creates conflict in our life. (James 4:1-6) Our friendship with God makes us enemies of the world. I want more of God’s Grace. To have it means moving my life from this world to Kingdom living by constantly pursuing a relationship with God by way of accepting His Grace more and more which means I must decrease and He must increase in me. Pride is crucified in this place and submission fully embraced as a way of life.

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (NIV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

To be reconciled with God is live at peace with Him. Submission to God comes in the form of acceptance of His Grace as enough for my life. His Power is manifested in my weakness and inability to accomplish anything of worth outside of my relationship with Jesus Christ. I must become a new creation. Pride must be executed so that the fulfillment of His Purpose can be accomplished in me. I must learn to submit. Humbling myself before the Lord and other people. God has a plan containing a future and hope that oversteps death into eternity. By faith, I can achieve it. I must understand my place as a participant in this process. I must humble myself before the Lord which means also extending it to other people.

“Submit to God and be at peace with Him” is not a threat or form of punishment. It is an invitation. Like a wedding invitation all in white tied with a scarlet bow, bidding us to come and participate in the greatest love story ever written. To be His Bride. To await His Coming with real enthusiasm not overrated zeal. His Word gives us the opportunity to know Him. His Spirit is the intimate consummation of His Betrothal. We have a promise, not only of a fantastic future, but blessings for the land of the living. Pride will never exalt us to the level of confirmation that humility born of absolute trust in the Living God allows. It is the destruction of the platform of pride that spiritual elevation takes to the new levels and life intended by God. I must live in Christ to find them. He must increase and I must decrease. I must live at peace with God in Christ Jesus to reach my full potential. Sometimes it is the moment when all we have is the Lord, that we find He is all we ever need.

Colossians 1:19-20 (NIV)  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Get It Together

Get It Together

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (ESV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

I used to think it was my job in life to defend Jesus Christ. Many times it ended in disputes. I have noticed that when some people find out I am a “believer” that they want to somehow change my mind or debate the issue. There was a time in my life when I would engage them. I took offense to their attack on my religious faith. However, I have changed my mind. I don’t feel the need to defend my Jesus any longer. I am confident that He is the Christ, died for my sins, offers my life and has enough grace to back it all up. I believe that God is good. He is always good even during those times I do not understand. I know that I have a future and hope and that each step of my life is triumph unfolding. It took away my need to explain. I no longer feel threatened by someone else’s questions. I know that God is faithful and that Christ is my freedom. I am called to love people. Not to argue with them, be offended by them or make enemies along the way. I am supposed to love everyone just like Jesus loves me. I can’t do that all by myself. I must reconcile my life to Jesus Christ.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God…” God did it. Jesus paid it all. His Spirit lives in us. If someone came to me and said that I am not who I say that I am, I have proof. I have a birth certificate, driver’s license, social security card, and numerous other forms of identification. The DNA in my body is exclusive to me. If I was introduced to a stranger, and they denied who I was, I wouldn’t argue with them and keep fighting with them. I would prove it to them. If they still didn’t believe me, it would be foolish to continue to try to prove myself to them because they have decided for themselves. We are one with Christ. Jesus lives in us. I am confident that my old life has passed away and the new has come. It is from God. Change in us and through us is from God alone as Christ makes His Way into every facet of our being. We don’t have to argue the point but rather become living proof.

I was setting up for an event one day when I noticed someone I used to work with. She was my supervisor. At that point in time, my life was a wreck. I don’t know any other way to put it. I was a broken women, far from the Lord, struggling single mom of three, and a terrible employee. I didn’t want her to recognize me. I spent the whole day avoiding her and making sure we didn’t end up in the same place at the same time. I was a different person now. I had found my way back to the Lord. I had given my life to Him. I wasn’t that person she knew any more. Completely packed up and ready to leave, I made a quick stop to the restroom. You guessed it – she was coming in as I was leaving. She said, “Lori?” I acknowledged her and she quickly engaged in conversation despite my reluctance. I didn’t want her to judge me for who I was back then and I certainly did not want to apologize for being the worst worker ever. How could I explain my transformation in a 5-minute testimony to someone who knew me at my absolute worst? I didn’t have to. She told me that she had been watching me the whole time. She knew it was me but hardly recognized me by my attitude, actions and appearance. She finally asked, “What happened?” I think I was so shocked all I could say was Jesus. I was ashamed of who I was but she was enthralled with who I had become. It was a lesson learned. Sometimes the greatest testimony to be shared is the one of just living life in Christ.

Convincing people of God’s Love is impossible. They must experience it firsthand. Telling them about it will never do it justice and to argue the point is contradictory to what the Lord told us to do anyway. Our confidence in Christ allows us to trust Him. In the place called trust, our lives become transformed. The Light of His Love shines in us and through us. If every person who claims to be a believer, truly believed the Word of God and place of Christ in our life – it would not be necessary to make everybody believe what we do. We only see in part. Remember that when you encounter someone who worships differently than you do. The Lord allows us to express our worship religiously but if that religion begins to negatively influence our relationship with Christ – it is not okay.

“We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” As ambassadors of Christ, God should be appealing to others through us. My life should make others want to know my God. I am an ambassador of Christ who should implore or beg with urgency on behalf of others to receive the same mercy that we found in Jesus. Ambassadors are high ranking dignitaries who go to other countries and nations to negotiate treaties. They do not go to make war or create conflict but to find the way of peace between two parties. Christ calls us to be His Ambassadors. Are we ready to make peace, give grace, pour out mercy, and do everything in our power to bring others to Christ? To expose them to the Love that has made our life new and changed our person by simply encountering it. I love the woman at the well. After meeting Jesus that day, she didn’t care what people thought of her or how they had hurt her, betrayed her or even shunned her. She met the Savior. She encountered unconditional love. This was definitely worth sharing and she knocked over the walls of hurt, fear and insecurity to tell those who perpetuated these tragedies about Jesus.

Colossians 1:15-20 (ESV) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Just a glimpse into the strangeness of my thoughts, on the days I blow it. Those times when I don’t behave like someone who knows the Lord or am overtaken by worry and fear. I will envision myself pushing Jesus back to the throne of my life. Like really striving to get Him back up there. He is in His White Robe and I am sweating and huffing hauling Him back to where He belongs in my heart and mine. Jesus reigns supreme. He is the image of the Invisible God. You can see God because Christ painted a clear picture. In Christ all things were created. All things were created through Him and FOR Him. This is important. Every single human being has the same eternity in their heart and measure of faith that can grow. Love is the perpetuator. Rather than changing people, maybe just maybe if we shared the commonality of our need, want and desire to love and be loved it would get us a little further in our ambassadorship. I don’t need anyone to tell me what’s wrong with my life – I can tell you in vivid detail including the things you don’t know about. We need the One who can make our life new. Every single breathing body was created for His Pleasure with a place in His Kingdom. This is the common thread offered by Christ to live in God’s Love forever.

He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. People can interpret the Word of God a million different ways and build doctrine on their perception of the Bible. God is love. Jesus is His Son. I am loved by Him and called to share His Love not my religion with the rest of humanity. Sometimes it gets a little confusing, in our efforts to change the mind, hearts and lives of others our good intentions overshadow the Grace of God that accepts people just as they are not as they may one day be. When our son was diagnosed with cancer, the enemy used the opportunity to send people to me with the common question, “How can you serve a God that would allow such a thing?” I don’t. God didn’t give our son cancer. He will heal and restore His Body. I don’t believe the enemy gave it to him either. Cancer is a disease. Our bodies were created to be eternal. Sin made that a problem because it corrupted our flesh. The Garden of Eden was shut off to us so that the Tree of Life would not give us eternal life in our sinful condition. Jesus paid the price for our sin so now we have the opportunity to enter eternity and be rid of the dying, rotting and corrupt flesh that is our human body. Now, if I tried to share all that with someone who doesn’t know my Jesus it comes out like blah, blah, and blah. My answer was simple. Just watch what God will do. Our son battled cancer multiple times in three short years. His body has many side effects from treatment but he has been in remission for almost three years now. He only had a 2% chance of survival. Most people can only sustain chemotherapy treatment two or three times, He has had five rounds. Our son has graduated from college and is alive today because God did as He promised when He told me that “he would live and not die for My Glory.” That is exactly what happened. True story.

Reconciliation is the process of making consistent and compatible. We get our life together and experience the Glory of God – not by forcing someone to believe like we do but when we effectively reconcile our life to Christ becoming consistent in our faith and confident in our belief. When the evidence of my life is compatible with the Cross where Christ died for me. It is not my ability to teach you the Word of God but demonstrate His Love that makes all the difference as His Ambassador. You don’t need someone else to point your flaws and failures. You need the Grace and Goodness of God that says, “I love you anyway. I will make something good of all that!”

Hebrews 3:12-14 (ESV) Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

The Lord did not commission us to divide and conquer but to unite His Body and build His Church on the foundation of His Love and Faithfulness. Sin will always be something every human being struggles with so don’t let anyone fool you. We all need each other to continuing building confident and steadfast relationships in Christ. Church is not a bad place and its uniformity called religion adds order to it. However, each day my life is evaluated by God on the basis of true love. Abiding love established in the preeminence of Christ. It is the very thing that makes the Lord prominent in my life. I am confident in Christ and His Love for me today. Are you? I believe that He is working on my behalf and has complete control over every authority and power in my life. Do you? I am striving to become the new creation who I am called to be in Christ but that means I must full invest my life and love in this covenant relationship. I don’t fight for Jesus. He won the victory for me. I don’t have to overcome every false religion or lie the enemy has told people just live the loving truth. Sometimes to get it all together means entering His Presence to find ourselves again. It means grabbing Jesus with both hands to hoist it back on top of the throne of our life and make sure to keep Him there. His Lordship is not compromised by my lack of faith. His Purpose is not overshadowed by my doubt and fear. My insecurity will never push Him out so far I cannot reach Him. We have come to share Christ. We must hold our original confidence until the end. The First Love feeling when we met the One who knew every detail of our past and choices in the present yet loved us anyway. Can we do the same? The First Love feeling that you would do anything, go anywhere and give up everything for Christ. Do we feel that way today?

Revelation 2:2-4 (ESV) “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you that you have abandoned the love you had at first.””

My Personal Account

My Personal Account

James 1:2-3 (AMP) Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace].

My husband and I have been on a “business conference” in the Bahamas for almost a week. A luxury resort on hundreds of acres of beautiful beach, lush palms, and opulent settings. There is a suite in one of the buildings called the “Bridge Suite.” It was built for the late Michael Jackson and is offered at a mere “$25,000” per night to those who would like to enjoy its amenities. Walking through the marina on the way to a wonderful dinner with new friends, yachts lined the waterway all lit up in palatial splendor. Some larger than our homes, one couldn’t help but stop to look at the pristine decks fancifully lit floating effortlessly atop the calm waters. Many of these impressive vessels can be chartered for about $1,000,000 a week complete with captain and crew. What a bargain! It is rumored that one of them is currently being chartered by basketball great, Shaquille O’Neal. There is a great deal of wealth here. Earthly wealth evident in costly meals, amenities and casino tables lined with men and women tossing chips worth more than some people earn in a week – gone in a moment without regard.

Strolling through the casino on the way to our room, several associates from the company lined one table. Stopping to talk with them, I noticed that the table had five men with piles of chips and a row of dice. The gentlemen were clearly part of the casino staff and were preparing to open the table. Carefully counting the chips on the table representing the money that would be won and lost this evening. Someone offered me a place at the table and handful of chips to get started but I quickly declined. I have no idea how to play the game and no real interest in gambling. It’s just not my thing. The routine of the staff as they prepared to open the table to the eager “investors” made me consider some things in my own life.

James 1:2 in the New King James Version says, “Count it all joy…” rather than “consider it”. Counting the cost of our life. Counting it all joy. Many people would lose money last night in the casino. It is their goal to keep people at the table until they do. Those who counted the cost ahead of time brought only what they were willing to give up or able to lose gambling. Others may not have been so wise and lost more than they could afford. Our life really is about reconciliation in all of the choices that we make. Knowledge becomes wisdom or at least one would hope so. As I heard the story of the “Bridge Suite”, walked by all the yachts in the dock and even watched people throw away money at the casino – I considered the cost of my life. Jesus Christ considered my life and well being to be priceless as He thought I was to die for. Do I reconcile my life to such a standard? When I count the cost of my life, how important is it? Do I invest my life in worthwhile things or worldly fancies? Do I use common sense and godly wisdom when it comes to how I portion my life? Or do I throw away precious moments and divine opportunities on things that don’t really matter? Oh don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that Christians have to live poor existences barely scraping to get by, but rather we do so anyway because we fail to recognize God’s Full Potential and Purpose in our life.

Luke 14:28-30 (NLT) “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’

Have you counted the cost for this new life that is offered in Jesus Christ? Sin kept us from God’s Glorious Standard of Living. Is our lack of faith going to continue to hinder us in our salvation? God didn’t call us to be impoverished but to live in abundance. Wise investors count the cost before beginning a building. They have a plan and work that plan until completion. Coming to Christ may be random, but living in the prosperity of God which is His Ultimate Purpose and Plan for us is a radical choice. There is a huge property here that was built by the Chinese government that now sits vacant. They flew in more than 8,000 workers to build an extravagant property to entice the rich and famous to their resort. However, the low paid workers were not qualified and now the cost to bring the property up to code was more than they were willing to pay and so they abandoned the project. It sits vacant to this day. Coming to Jesus Christ is only the beginning, but if we do not count the cost and invest in a firm foundation called faith our life will not be ready to support the new creation that is coming out of us. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Without spiritual investment – one can only yield the natural not the supernatural or sustain it. What do I have to do to successfully count the cost?

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (NLT) This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.

If you have come to know Jesus Christ, there is a new person inside of you straining and striving to get out. There is a new life waiting for you. It is all a gift of God labeled His Plan. It is a future and hope not just for forever, but to be evident in your today. God brought us back to Himself through Jesus to change our life for the better now and today. The process is called reconciliation. It is outlined in Romans 5:10-11. As we begin to take every aspect of our life and compare it to God’s Promise for our life, there will be inconsistencies. As we continue to reconcile those inconsistencies and make them balance out – change begins to happen as God’s Abundance begins to reach us called fulfillment. Without full reconciliation to Jesus Christ, our friendship with God is not complete. Reconciliation will always be defined by our relationship to Jesus Christ.

Matthew 16:25-27 (NLT) If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.

What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? The profit of reconciliation to Jesus Christ is new life, rebirth and resurrection. But there is more to it than just that, when our life is defined by our relationship to Jesus Christ – we will thrive in the natural. Once the value of our soul becomes firmly established in Jesus Christ, the overflow of our life is in proper order. God begins to pour into us because by faith and trust it flows right back out of us. Light is produced that shines in generosity to others in every possible way. Our life secure in the Lord there is no need to focus so heavily on our life now. Trusting God will produce every spiritual blessing and we become complete lacking nothing. Soul satisfaction is the beginning of all prosperity in life.

James 1:4 (AMP) And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.

To be quite practical, I will probably never own a yacht. Not because it is not possible, but because there is no desire to do so. I would like to tour one just to see how it all fits together and how things work on a ship of that magnitude. I do have other dreams and desires that may seem impossible to some people. They are hidden in my heart. I know that one day it is quite likely that they will happen in my life. Not because of any other reason than the fact that my first desire is to reconcile my life to Jesus Christ. Faith is the most important thing in my life. When I begin to feel the burden of struggle, weight of problems and become a bit testy from the trials of life – I remind myself of the great potential hidden within me. If I engage in the process counting the cost of my choices and commitment to Christ and when I choose to participate in the process of reconciliation of ALL my life to Christ, it is then and only then that the potential of my life called purpose and prosperity become more than a possibility. They are the probability in that moment. I must make a faith my foundation, trust my motivation and hope my destination to have the new life that the Lord promises those who find their existence in Him. This is my personal account. To prosper as my soul prospers…

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

True Reconciliation

true-reconciliation

2 Corinthians 5:16-19 (NLT) So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!  And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.

Probably one of the most difficult things to achieve among people is reconciliation. In this day and age, most people don’t reconcile their own bank account let alone anything else in their natural life so to consider spiritual reconciliation is out of the question. As believers, if we do not learn to reconcile our life first to Jesus Christ and then with other people, we miss the point of Kingdom building altogether. Christians and followers of Jesus are called to be the Body of Christ. To reconcile is to bring into agreement or harmony. It means to make compatible and consistent. Reconciliation is to reconsecrate our life to Jesus Christ and build relationships according to that connection. Our expectation is then removed from other people and placed fully in the Lord. Whatever we give to others is from the endless and limitless supply that Christ gives us. But how do we get there from here…

True reconciliation is only possible as the next step after true repentance. Put on your waders people because this is about to get deep. We are called to become a new creation in Jesus Christ. New creation. Not a fancy remodel. Not a Band-Aid fix. No weekend makeover. One or two trips to the altar does not instantly produce new attitudes, actions, thoughts or intentions. Salvation is a process. We must work it out inside of us to share it with the world. The trouble is the human component of pride that will not allow our heart and mind to be fully transformed by God. His Ways are not our ways and His Thoughts are not like ours. The idea of surrender is not acceptable to our flesh. We don’t really want to be crucified with Christ. We want to walk with Him. Talk with Him. Even dine with Him in precious communion but when it comes to laying our whole life down for His Cause – it is a quick no thank you followed by a frigid plunge into denial. Religion makes us feel good about ourselves and what Christ is doing in us. Relationships make us feel good about other people and what Christ do within us together. How do I stop evaluating myself and others from a human point of view? After all I am only human. Oh how I loathe it when people confess this over their life. Just as much as, I am what I am. Stop limiting the potential of your life by remaining human, reconcile your life to Jesus Christ, put all your faith in Him, put all your trust in Him, surrender your whole life to the Lord and let Him make you into a new creation.

Galatians 2:20-21 (NLT) My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

“The old life is gone; a new life has begun.”  You cannot step into a new place without leaving the old place. It requires an exchange of where you are for where you are going. You cannot live in the past and step into the future. Time will pass but nothing will ever change. To be crucified with Christ means that I lay down my old life for a brand new one. No longer living by the same set of standards, I accept God’s Glorious Standard which now belongs to me in Christ. Now I must daily examine my life for those things that do not “reconcile” with what God has promised me according to the New Covenant handed to me when I gave my heart to Jesus Christ.

“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” How is that even possible? To be alive in our body yet dead to ourselves. Welcome to the plight of all mankind? We must die to our flesh and live by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God in us. He is our Helper. He is our Advocate. Our Teacher who guides us and instructs us along the way. So how am I reconciled to Christ exactly? The Christ in me is greater than any other force in the world around us. He is the Sovereign Living God in us who has all power and authority in Heaven and earth. I have a free will. I can call Jesus my Savior in Name only but until I call Him Lord and surrender my life – I cannot be reconciled or called a new creation.

Matthew 9:19-21 (NLT) So Jesus and his disciples got up and went with him. Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, for she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”

Everyone has issues. Everyone has problems. Everyone has hang ups. Everyone sins. You can dress it up. Clean it up. Pretend. But the truth is that every moment of every day every single one of us need Jesus Christ completely. The woman who bled for 12 years. She sought help from doctors. She expected comfort from her friends. She was shunned by religion. Twelve years of disappointment, hurt and isolation that finally led to desperation. She was desperate for change. She was focused on deliverance. She had heard of Jesus. She saw a glimmer of hope. As her desperation grew she would make one final attempt. The crowd was packed. The road was narrow. The way was blocked. She lunged for the hem of his garment just as Peter did when the waves and wind wrecked his faith. In that instant, the glorious and marvelous moment, she was healed. Set free. Delivered of pain and shame just because she reached out to touch Him. In that second, her body became reconciled to Christ and started working properly again. Her heart took a long time to decide. Twelve years of reconciling her trust to others. She took it back and handed it to Jesus. She was complete.

Jesus can only heal those who admit that they are hurting. The man with the withered hand had to reach out to receive restoration just like the woman who touched the hem of his robe. Are you reaching out today? Or are you still trying to fix it, resolve it or heal it yourself? Afraid of disappointment or worse devastation? Our faith is not worth anything outside of Jesus Christ. If we reaching within for solutions rather than crying out and reaching out – restoration is not possible.

Jesus can only comfort those who are broken. He is close to the brokenhearted. Hearts filled with pride and surrounded by unforgiveness are uninhabitable by the Holy Spirit. Sadly, fear and anxiety make people who live in such strongholds feel safe and secure. Pride bolsters their confidence with the lie that this is a godly position rather than a horrible compromise. We must let our walls be broken down and live openly. Forgiveness is essential to spiritual freedom. It is trusting Jesus to guard our heart, keep us safe, and restore our brokenness with hope that never leads to disappointment.

Jesus can only satisfy those who are empty. We cannot be full of our self and full of His Spirit. The two are like oil and water. They conflict. If what we are doing does not stem from our heart but our hands it is hard to be fulfilled in Christ. Every good thing comes from the Father. It is looking for a place to fill or void to replace. I must lay down my life on earth to inherit the Kingdom. The Kingdom is not something that I can see but must experience. If God’s Glory is not filling my life, it means that I have not given Him room to move or a space to fill.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT) Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I cannot be an effective minister or ambassador for Christ if I do not submit my weaknesses to Him every single day. I cannot be an effective messenger unless I am willing to share my inabilities with other and point to Christ for the change that people see. We do not glory in our transgressions but to paint a perfect picture is a lie. No one can live up to that. Church is for the hurting, broken and those desperate to reconcile their life to Jesus Christ. For when I am weak, I am strong. God never called me to be the strong one. I am just to have faith. Not a bucket of faith, but a teeny tiny mustard seed because let’s face it that is really all we can muster. It is my total inadequacy to save myself and redeem my life that I am made into a new creation. It is not my ability to serve God with my hands but in full surrender of my heart.

John 15:5-9 (NLT) “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.”

True reconciliation with Jesus Christ is an act of surrender. To maintain the constant conviction that apart from Jesus Christ I can do nothing. It’s true. Apart from Him, you can do nothing of worth just random acts of kindness and some generosity. I cannot save a single life, fill an empty void or offer anything of worth outside of Christ in me. If I construct a wall of pride to protect me or a fence of offense to secure my feelings, there is nothing of worth that God can do through me because Christ cannot move in my life. He is with you. He will sit behind that wall with you as long as you want. He will never leave you or forsake you. But if the Glory of God is not manifested all around you – lives changed, people healed, strongholds broken and chains falling as revival breaks out – it might not be a God thing…it might be a you thing or a me thing.

True reconciliation with Jesus Christ means reconciliation with the Body of Christ. God desires that all of humanity to be saved even though He knows full well it is not going to happen. Jesus tells us to “remain in His Love.” His Love is farther, deeper, wider and longer than our human comprehension can ever conceive let alone experience. His Love is big enough for everyone. How big is your love today? If it is your own heart, emotions and feelings, it will only be big enough for the first hurt, insult or let down. It is in Jesus Christ that we can tap into unconditional love and never-ending grace that we as human beings are incapable of.

Colossians 3:1-3 (NLT) Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.

Pride keeps us from renewal and restoration in Jesus Christ. Self-preservation tells us to hold on so we don’t fall apart. The truth is if we do not fall apart and had all those pieces to Jesus Christ there is nothing for Him to work with. He will not take our life from us. We must be willing to lay our life down for Him. Jesus Christ invites us to think about all the possibilities of heaven not the things of this earth. If you are willing to die to this life including all the drama, emotions, feelings, hurts, injustices, unfairness and let Him flood those empty spaces – the Lord will fill  your life with every good and gracious blessing that Heaven has to offer. It belongs to you. True reconciliation is giving up less to acquire Heaven’s All. You are worth it. You may not feel like it. You may even doubt it. The work of Jesus Christ on the Cross says differently. You are worth it all. All of Jesus. Why not give Him your all today? Every disappointment, hurt, shortcoming, downfall, broken piece, letdown, all of it. His Hope never leads to disappointment instead He will fill you up! True repentance must be followed by true reconciliation to seal the deal. Hold tightly to your promise of new life today.

Hebrews 10:20-23 (NLT) By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.