Let’s Be Friends

Let's Be Friends

Romans 5:10-11 (NLT) For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

In life, there are people who are acquaintances and then those who become friends. An acquaintance is someone we know but is not invited into the intimacy and inner circle of relationship reserved for friends. To be acquainted with someone is to be casually familiar. There is a common misconception about “friends” due to the influx of social media with friends and followers, etc. Maintaining contact at a distance. Communication have changed from conversations to text messages. An inner circle now a bubble to preserve our space and guard the heart. Culture is changing the definition of friendship into more of acquaintances. The church can do the same without careful and thoughtful intervention.

For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son… Jesus reintroduced us to the Father and His Love through His Sacrifice. God becomes our acquaintance through repentance. His Love for us is pure and passionate as He continues to pursue us with unfailing love, goodness and faithfulness. He never changed His Mind about us. His Heart has always been for us. We decided to go our own way and seek something different. Through Christ we are given the opportunity to have a right relationship with God the Father once again. It is up to us if we will remain acquaintances or become friends of God.

So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. To celebrate a new relationship with God requires becoming one with the Father through the Son. The covenant of relationship must be established. Friendship requires mutual giving of ourselves. It is challenging to keep the bonds of friends within the confines of time – life is busy. However, in order to become friends with God there must be an investment. We must give ourselves to the careful cultivation of righteousness in a once rebellious heart and contrary mind.

James 2:21-23 (NLT) Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God.

Abraham was called the friend of God. Abraham proved his relationship with God when he offered his son, Isaac on the altar that day. It was evidence of his faith in God demonstrated by his actions. He showed that he trusted God with his past, present and future represented in his only son. His past disappointments and failures. His present joy as the boy was a long awaited promise and his most precious treasure. His future and the next generation that would become like the sands on a beach and stars in the sky. Abraham lived out before us a foreshadow of God the Father and His Friend who would ultimately give his child’s life so that we would not perish and die but live life to the fullest and enter the everlasting. God has proven His Great Desire to have a relationship with us. He gave us access through His Son, Jesus. Now it is up to us to decide if whether our journey will be as acquaintances or we will choose to be friends of God.

A friend is a person attached to another by feelings of affection and personal regard. The one who gives assistance to and supports each another. People who remain on good terms and are not hostile. The origin of the word “friend” is not casual in nature but includes friend, lover and relative. God wants to have a right relationship with us that becomes a friendship. Friendship is forged by trust. It is giving ourselves to others and allowing them to engage with us far closer than arm’s length. It can get messy. It can be a struggle sometimes. It takes time and energy to maintain. When faith in God turns to trust taking hold with hopeful expectation the fragments of our broken heart shattered by disappointment and even friendships over time will become something beautiful. God will never let you down. He is the most faithful of friends. Oh, what a friend we have in Jesus. All our sin and shame to bear. What a privilege to carry – everything to God in prayer. We must focus on becoming friends with God.

Colossians 3:12-15 (NLT) Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

We have the mind of Christ. Just as the Father and Son are one so it is God’s Desire to achieve such a relationship with each of us. In John 10:30 when Jesus made this declaration, it incited a riot and the people wanted to stone him. How dare He infer that He and God were one person? Yet this was the purpose and promise of His Arrival and Mission, Jesus came to give us acquaint us with God so that we could become friends with Him again. To become the Body of Christ means becoming interactive with other people beyond our comfort zone. It means to create relationships and bind our hearts together as one. How many churches are divided? How often do congregations split? Strangers and acquaintances fill churches each week and leave to the isolation of ordinary life. Relationship is the goal of God’s Heart and mind. It begins with Him and overflows to His People. We cannot become one body until we have one heart and mind. The beginning of such a work is in each person becoming friends with God.

Friendship change the relationship. It changes the level of commitment. A young man came to us seeking approval to date our daughter. We were reluctant but agreed. He was not just any boy but the son of our best friends. Our hesitation was not in him but what might happen if the relationship did not work out. When our kids decided to end the relationship, it began a very difficult thing. We love our children. We love our friends. Our lives completely intertwined. The value of our friendship proved a source of loving kindness and forgiveness. It forced the call to breakdown the wall of awkwardness being built quickly by the enemy. The true commitment of friendship bind people together. A friendship with God ups the ante. When we have a real and true friendship with the Lord – it will always be our heartfelt desire and constant to overcome every barrier and obstacle that would attempt to disrupt it.

When the storms of life come – they hold each other. When the unexpected happens – they help each other up. We must choose friendship rather than living this life as acquaintances beginning with our relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son and His Spirit within us. When there is a friendship with God – certain things become avoidable and sin not so inviting if it hurts the One we love or separates us from each other. Relationships are always messy even our relationship with God. Love is a commitment. Jesus died on the Cross giving us access but the altar is still unavoidable and the smell of dying flesh. I cannot live as an enemy of God and be His Friend. Friends are not hostile or adversarial but committed and true. The enemy of our soul hates relationships especially the one forged in friendship so he attacks it constantly. To be friends with God will always be a challenge when love has grown cold and sin rampant.

We must examine the triple-braided cord of friendship in our life. Are we invested in our relationships? Are we friends of God? Am I friend to others? A person standing alone will be attacked and defeated. God will be our shield to those who live in His Presence. It is a place for His People, Children and those He calls friend. But the Lord didn’t stop there but declared it to be a bond of three – I must work on personal relationships with others just as diligently as I seek Him. It will take more than the click of a button or hitting send on the next text message. It will be worth it.

I John 4:7-12 (NLT) Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

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The Case of the Missing Dryer

The Case of the Missing Dryer

Proverbs 16:2 (NIV) All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.

Our dryer was in need of repair. The repairman came last week and determined the problem. He would order the parts and return this week to complete the task. Upon arriving home from work, I noticed that the laundry room rug was in the garage and dryer lint everywhere. Opening the door, there was a 100-lb Black Lab where my shiny white dryer used to be kicking up dust with her wagging tail. I called out to the girls, “Where’s my dryer?” They came out laughing. “In the laundry room…” Still giggling as they looked around for it, the two set out in search of the dryer all in jest. No seriously – how does someone remove a major appliance from my house and nobody notice? This is no laughing matter.

We do laundry every single day. The washer and dryer are full service in our house and part of the daily routine. The initial reason for the visit turned into a two-fold repair and it was easier to take it to the shop to complete it rather than try to in the very small and narrow laundry room. My watchful eyes were unavailable when they were leaving so they later called my husband to explain. No big deal right? Maybe not for you but we take our washing, drying and folding very serious around here.

All joking aside, our days are filled with activities, actions and even attitudes based on the motives of our heart. Innocent routines and schedules that can become a priority to us. Perhaps there are certain things that you do on a regular basis that others find a bit excessive. I hear it all the time. Whether it be accusations or excuses, judgment of the life or lifestyle of others based on the motives in our heart. It is important to examine and evaluate our ways to decide how to spend our time. Time is the most valuable commodity that is given. We do not know how much we actually have. It is invaluable because once it is spent and cannot be replenished. The resources in our life are time, talent and treasure. The Lord takes the human heart and weighs its motives not productivity. God doesn’t give to us based on performance but rather obedience. Obedience to God will always produce blessings and promises in our life even if it takes a bit of time.

What does any of this have to do with a clothes dryer? While some people reading this may think the loss of a dryer no big deal, others will be completely offended that the repairmen took it without asking and then some may know the feeling because they are avid launderers, the point is that no matter what we do or do not do in this life – God is weighing the motives of our heart in all things. He is checking our time table for His Timing. He is evaluating our motivation according to His Word. God doesn’t lie or change His Mind. He says that all things are permissible but not all things are beneficial. Perhaps, it we became more intent on examining our heart and motives daily – extra time or different priorities might be for our favor. I didn’t have a dryer last night. I could not continue my evening routine of putting on a load while cooking dinner and tending to it afterwards. Instead, I sat on the front porch rocking, Snapchatting friends, and then talking with the Lord. I rested for a few moments.

Psalm 26:1-3 (NIV) Vindicate me, Lord, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered. Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

The Lord searches our heart for our motives. He evaluates our intentions. He rewards us for our actions. (Jeremiah 17:10) Is it possible to be obedient with the wrong motives? Is it feasible to be right with unjust intentions? Does God reward actions other than obedience? The Lord is looking in the human heart for one thing – love. Every other action must come from the Source of Love that is in us thanks to Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is on a mission to produce Christ-like Love in us so that every motive and intention becomes an action based on our sole motivation to love the Lord and others. Ugh.

In our busyness, it is easy to justify good motives and intentions without ever tapping into the prosperity of God given to our soul. We perform hoping to persuade God to move for us but His Desire is to move in us. To change our heart and mind to live in full agreement and harmony with other people. He wants to break our routine to produce new relationship opportunities and increase our sphere of influence. You can be filled with faith and overflowing in anointing yet completely miss God’s Will, His Way and His Blessings in our own rightness.

The psalmist says, “Vindicate me…” which means “Free me”! Are you living a blameless life but are not experiencing the blessings and benefits promised in God’s Word? Do you trust the Lord with limits? When your life does not align with God’s Word, His Will and His Way – it is time for a test. Testing and trials give us an opportunity to examine our heart and mind for breaches. To be mindful of His Love is not enough. We must learn to trust the Lord and depend on Him in full reliance. Our purpose in life is not fulfilled until we are called home. God has placed certain things in our life that take time. Things that will require change in us that takes us out of our comfort zone and destroys complacency. To have them requires us to examine and evaluate our motives and intentions openly and honestly before the Lord and allow Him to point out any offensive way in us without becoming obstinate and offensive. Ouch! Ain’t nobody got time for that… except those who desire to live as one with Christ.

I Corinthians 4:4-5 (NIV) My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

My mother keeps an impeccable home. It looks as though it is the model home staged for perspective buyers at all times. She has always been that way. I am quite sure it set her into heart palpitations trying to keep up with our family as none of us were committed to the same level of clean. Over the years, I developed better habits and decided to keep a neat home. Yet, when my mother comes for a visit, I am set into a flurry of activity to clean and organize my house. When I visit my daughter, she does the same thing. She attempts to make it acceptable to me. The truth is that my mom doesn’t judge my home according to her standards. When I go to visit my daughter, I am after the chunky little hunk of a grandson not that all her laundry is done and dishes clean. We must be very careful not to judge our life according to others or we will become busy in comparison rather than in our convictions.

My conscious is clear. It doesn’t make me innocent. There will always be someone with higher or lower standards to compare ourselves to in order to feel better or worse about our life. However, the Lord is our judge. He examines our heart for love born of the faith found in Christ that releases all humans from our expectation to invest our entire life in the Hope of Glory – His Name is Jesus. He will bring to light those things hidden in darkness to expose the motives of our heart. His Convictions are not the same as the court of law but based on His Love. His Grace. His Mercy. He delights in mercy. I believe that by investing all our faith, hope and trust in Jesus that we will begin to let others live their life freely as well. It is by cultivating my relationship with Christ that allows me to let go of what I do for Him to become like Him. Lord, help me to evaluate my motives and examine the intentions of my heart today. May I only compare my life and standards to You – Jesus and the love you have placed in me with the grace to fully accept it. Let me live according to Your Standard of Love for others and even myself.

The case of the missing dryer is solved. It will be back in its proper place today ready for service. I am thankful for the mysteries in life that cause us to hear God whisper even in the simplest of things. He is always speaking – but sometimes busyness keeps us from listening and routine too busy to sit and hear.

2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV) Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

It’s A Stretch

It

Psalm 77:1-3 (ESV) I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah

If I were to wake up with a headache, I would immediately get out of bed and walk to the kitchen. In the last cabinet on the left bottom shelf, there is a bottle of ibuprofen that has proven to give immediate relief in the past. As I reach for the container, popping off the lid, I take two little tablets with some water. After about fifteen to thirty minutes, the headache usually dissipates. Problem solved. Health restored. Simple, right? True story – my child (who goes unnamed) tells me that they have a headache. I give them directions as to where the pain reliever is located and tell them exactly how many pills are appropriate. A little while later the same child complains of headache. I ask, “Did you take some medicine?” The answer is “no”. Different child is feeling some pain from dental work. Same instructions given. Child continues to gripe about their mouth. Same question is asked, “Did you take some medicine?” “No…” I further inquire, “Why not?” Answer from ailing child, “I don’t like to take medicine.” Now it is me ready to hit the medicine cabinet…

My first kid wanted me to do if for them. They were waiting for me to go get the medication and a glass of water. I was supposed to bring it to them. Without asking, the assumption was that I would know and do it in response to their complaint. The second kid has a fear of swallowing pills. Rather than overcoming fear to receive the relief desired – this child would continue to tough out the discomfort instead. I am not a pill pusher. In fact, I am a borderline hippy when it comes to medication. The point of these illustrations is only to share some insight about the Lord today.

In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.

It is human nature to pursue God with our problems. To ask for relief, pray about problems and give Him a complete and detailed list of our desires. In the beginning, coming to the Lord like a child, leaving full of hopeful expectation. But as the relationship grows, it can also become stale and stagnant. We stop reaching for God’s Heart only seeking His Hand. When His Hand does produce what we want and how we want it – we stop reaching. In the day of my trouble…I seek the Lord. Same. In the night my hand is stretched out without wearying. Same. My soul refuses to be comforted. Concerning and still same. There are times when it is our nature to live in our consequence, dwell in our problems and make our situation the excuse of incapacitating faith that will not bend to relieve us or soften to sustain us, but will only be complete in our believing. Nothing is impossible for God. (Luke 1:37) If we believed this simple verse completely and if it was the conviction of our life – we would be fully restored and renewed sparking a revival of epic proportions.

Luke 5:12-13 (ESV) While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him.

Faith in Jesus Christ will always produce a miracle. Oh I hear the naysayers, I have been praying for years. My body is not whole. My bank account broke. My loved one not saved. I have no peace. The list goes on and on. Faith will produce nothing until it is invested in Jesus Christ. You can love the Lord with all your heart, mind and body but if you do not trust Him enough to believe – it will do nothing to produce His Promises in your life. Obedience is essential. The man had leprosy. A common ailment in Biblical times. It made him a beggar and outcast. He fell on his face before Jesus and full of faith said, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” When was the last time, you fell on your face before Jesus and spoke similar words? Jesus didn’t hesitate for a moment, but immediately stretched out His Hand and healed him. Right there on the spot. Why? The Lord is ready to heal us. Renew us. Restore us. He is waiting on you. Jesus is waiting on me.

Matthew 12:10-14 (ESV) And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”  Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.

The organized body called church has been infiltrated by preference rather than permeated by His Presence. Oh God is with us. Where two are gathered in His Name…He is right there. He is right here with all the power to save, heal, and deliver promised to those who believe. He can and will do exactly what His Word says that He will do. His Word cannot and will not return to Him void. So if the Lord is ready, willing and able according to His Word to do miracles, solve problems and heal bodies there is only one other explanation. We do not believe.

The man with the withered hand is an awesome illustration of church. He came to church with a problem. The religious folk had doctrine to follow. But then Jesus filled with the Presence of God showed up, and messed up the carefully planned service on the designated day. He gave the man one simple instruction – “Stretch out your hand…” He did. He was healed in that moment. I wonder if we are not experiencing the miraculous because no one is reaching out to Jesus. The fruit of our faith is believing. Believing is trusting. It means reaching when no else is reaching. Stretching our hand out when everyone is staring at us. It means doing what He asks in that moment to receive what He has for us! We want God to bring it to us where we are when the Lord is trying to deliver us from our current situation. We desire the healing but not the healer. The giving more than the giver. We want to be saved but do not have a desire for our Savior.

Matthew 11:25-30 (ESV)  At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 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.”

A relationship will fall apart of one person stops reaching. The moment that there is not stretching to come together and continue in a relationship it is the beginning of the end. Jesus Christ offers openly to become our life partner. To shoulder the weight and carry the burdens of our life, but to give it all to Jesus means giving up the right to complain. It means reaching when others just stand there. It means stretching even in our discomfort to access the divine. The yoking of our life with Christ is a covenant relationship of continual exchange. He asks us to come to him. Take my yoke and learn from me. You will find rest for your souls. My yoke is easy. My burden is light. We must simply come.

Psalm 143:5-6 (ESV) I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.  I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

To be completely honest, I don’t mind bringing my kids some meds and a glass of water. I love to take care of them. If I were to wait on them hand and foot, they would never understand what is required of them in life. Sometimes you have to reach for things even when it’s a stretch. I can give them what they need but it is up to them to heed my instructions and take what is given. God is a good father. Jesus is a faithful Savior and Lord. The Holy Spirit is constantly cultivating God’s Fruit within us by faith. The trouble is that if we stop reaching – we will never take hold of what faith has in store for us. We drag our baggage into church and lug it right back out because we identify with the weight of it. To release it all to Jesus is an act of total trust. What if He doesn’t do anything? Oh, my friend, what if He does?

Psalm 84:11 (ESV) For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Make the Investment

Make the Investment

Colossians 2:9-10 (NLT) For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

Complete lacking nothing. Fulfillment. Abundance. Oneness. The purpose of Christ in us is to give us new life as Children of God. We make excuses for the “lack” in our life to accommodate the real problem. Those areas of life not meeting our expectation are not fully given to God in our covenant with Him. People live diversified lives. Christians are people. Rather than putting all our proverbial eggs in one basket, but choosing to invest time and energy in multiple endeavors. Kingdom potential requires a Kingdom commitment. Our covenant with Christ is made complete as we learn to live in union and communion with Him forming one body, mind and spirit. It is truly a spiritual marriage and relationship that requires all of our physical, emotional, and spiritual effort to form and maintain. It is not different in the natural realm. If I half-heartedly approach my marriage, I will not have one for long. I will not reap the benefits and blessings of living a lifetime with my soul mate if I choose to share my life, mind, soul and body with someone else. It is easy to commit spiritual adultery and it be socially acceptable to the world when in fact it limits our potential relationship with Christ.

I am in this world but not of this world. Where is my investment? Where is my interest? Am I really living a Kingdom life or just merely imitating a commitment that really has not been established on a covenant level? All in. That is the commitment demonstrated by Jesus Christ on the Cross when He died for us. He gave everything to have a forever relationship with us. To give us a new life. To hand over the keys to His Kingdom giving us full dominion in this life traveling to eternity.

Matthew 6:20 (NLT) Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

How important is unity with Jesus Christ in your life? On a personal level, how much time, talent and treasure are invested in pursuing the Lover of your soul on a daily basis? Do you treasure your relationship with Jesus Christ? Do you value His Words, His Way and His Work? Where is your treasure today? If everything was taken from you, would you still say, “It is well with my soul”? My prayer for you is that you never dip to that level of abasement like Job to lose it all just to find his soul. Usually, it is the harrowing edge of life and death that call our attention beyond the daily struggles and daydreaming to the reality that this life is short. It is futile. We are merely traveling through to eternity which is far more important in the grand scheme of things called life.

Jesus hinted to the level of investment required when He shared two short parables in Matthew 13. The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl give us insight to the level of commitment required to obtain the Kingdom and God’s Standard of Living. Once you discover the Kingdom, it must become your passionate pursuit to possess it such as the man who sold everything to own the field with hidden treasure or the merchant who found a pearl of great value and also sold everything to obtain it. Kingdom life will cost us every second of every day until our last breath is exhaled. It must be the thing that we desire the most. It must be our life’s mission to find it and own it.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

What are you settling for today? Trust is the union that produces Kingdom life for ordinary people. To have faith in Christ that supersedes what we see and decide to trust Him right there at His Word. Faith is not logical apart from the Word who is Jesus. Jesus is the Word of God who came wrapped in flesh to demonstrate God’s Unconditional Love and desire for us. To trust Him with our heart. Our broken and jaded wavering heart is to believe that no matter what happens God loves us and intends to welcome us into His Kingdom. The secret is simple. Seek His Will in all you do. He will show you the path to take. It means developing a relationship with the Lord that becomes a strong union so that He becomes a viable partner in our life. Someone we confide in. Converse with. Listen to. Take instruction and guidance from. Wait for. Believe in. Trust implicitly with our life.

I Thessalonians 5:14-22 (NLT)  Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.

When Jesus died for you, He did not claim you a prize or reward. He has given you and me the freedom to choose how to live life. You are free to choose the Lord or reject Him. It is really that simple. It does not change who God is or the identity of His Son or the Presence of His Spirit – the decision belongs to you. It defines you. Kingdom living is not some intricate and detailed rules and regulations set forth by doctrine or theology of great churches. It is not that “old time” religion. The Kingdom is the community formed by the Body of Christ. In other words, there is a place for you in the Kingdom. You belong there. Your new life has benefits and blessings – intangible and tangible – that are waiting for you and can be claimed by no one but you. Our covenant with Christ has given us an inheritance whether claimed or forsaken it is still designated for you. The over complication of Kingdom principles have been set forth by the church to explain the lack of consummation. In other words, if there is no open heaven – it is not our fault.

Jesus Christ offers a place for us to abide in His Love and live in unity with Him. Like God, He doesn’t lie or change His Mind but simply waits for us to respond to His Love. Grace is always enough to open the doorway to your residence in the Kingdom of God. All you must do is walk in. Moving our life into the Kingdom works just like moving to a new city, home or location. The greater the baggage the longer the process. When our family recently moved, I spent months going through our old house getting rid of all the stuff accumulated over the years. Closets were cleaned. Items sold. Many things given away. When it came time to leave, it was all packed in a moving truck, trailers and several cars to be moved to the new house. Box by box. Piece by piece. Everything found a place in our new home or was discarded. We must do the same in our spiritual life. We are not homeless. There is a place in God’s Kingdom for each of us. An open invitation to come and live that life now. It is not just an eternal promise but daily offering to taste and see that the Lord is good.

The simple steps set forth in I Thessalonians show just how easy it is to begin to plant our life in the Kingdom of new beginnings. Daily choices to seek Jesus and live in communion with Him. These are the steps of completion that lead to success and prosperity that produce natural, physical and spiritual abundance. The giving of our life to Christ is a sacrifice of this life and common practices to live in partnership with Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less. I must decrease to allow Christ to increase in my life and spill forth as He promised. Evaluate your life. How do you spend your time? Living in the rat race or fighting the good fight of faith? Working 9 to 5 or pursuing the Lord 24/7. When we acknowledge Jesus in any area of our life, abundance and blessing will follow. When we give Him our problems, Jesus has the solution. Our pain is exchanged for healing. We are Kingdom people who have real estate unspoken for that will only be claimed by commitment to become one with Christ.

John 17:22-24 (NLT)  “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!”

Undeserved

Undeserved

Romans 5:1-2 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

I do not deserve the grace and kindness given to me through Jesus Christ. It is completely undeserved and therefore quite difficult to take hold of. It has not been justly or rightly earned. It is unmerited favor which in my sinful state cannot ever be acquired by human acts or abilities. Like a prickly cactus in a hot desert filled with life giving and sustaining water, how does one fully embrace a love so pure and untainted? Barbs of self-recognition lead to doubt and distress. Such revelation pierces the skin and penetrates the heart with the simple truth that I can do absolutely nothing to earn or repay God for the extravagant gift of His Love.

In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6) Too often those “fiery arrows” are self-inflicted when the lie of the enemy is allowed to penetrate the soft and broken heart. It is truth by the world’s standard but nullified by the Kingdom principle that God is love. His Love for us is giving freely and undeserved. We are saved by grace through faith. The route is simple but pathway diverse. The struggle to accept the simplicity of the Gospel that is the covenant of relationship often leads right back to captivity by doctrinal law and religious overtures meant to buffer our pride so there will be no suffering. The suffering that leads to repentance is the revelation of who Christ is and the fact that we will never be able to offer anything in return to reciprocate His Generosity in giving up His Life to give us a new and everlasting place with Him forever.

Salvation is a heart change. However, if there is not a mindset associated with it there is no chance of survival for the new believer. The enemy comes in with lies. He attacks us with truthful accusations. None of this changes the fact that Christ died for you and me giving us the opportunity for full restoration and active relationships with God the Father again. The helmet of salvation is confidence in the hope give to us through faith in Christ alone. Uncertainty is slain with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Unarmed with faith and confident hope fortified and forged by God’s Word, there is nothing to defend our belief that God is who He says that He is and Christ has given us the Gift that is promised. Faith and trust in God is irrational and illogical outside of God’s Word and Truth that by His Grace I am saved through this process.

Romans 5:3-5 (NLT) We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

To fully accept the gift of new life given to us by Jesus Christ, means that I must allow Him to change my character. The hope that I have comes through my utter helplessness. It is in all the things that I cannot do that the Power of Christ prevails because I succumb to weakness. Grace works best in human weakness. (2 Corinthians 12) Happiness is a temporary feeling. A conditional emotion based on the evident outcomes in life. The cause and effect of the natural occurrences in life. An immediate reaction to our current condition. The Lord has a different plan for us. It is not emotionally driven.

We can rejoice, too…when we run into problems and trials. God is building our character each day. The character of Christ was always in His Identity as the Son of God. Peter made the revelation in Matthew 16 when asked by Jesus, “But who do YOU say I am?” Peter’s response, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” This is the declaration of those who have a change of heart and mind. The ones who dare to step over pride and past self to fully embrace the Undeserved Love of God the Father for us – the prodigals. The strength of character is to fully know and believe that in Christ our relationship with God the Father is fully restored regardless of where we are now, how we feel, or our strength and ability. Character is built on the foundation of Christ alone. The kind of character that allows us to be confident in our salvation and to follow a hope that will not lead to disappointment. We must know that God loves us as undeserving as we all are.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT) God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

What to do when the masterpiece looks like a mess? I often joke with people that I have a black thumb. A notorious plant killer by reputation with a heart that longs to nurture and grow little plants. When I was preparing for Mother’s Day in our church, I ordered fifty tiny succulent plants. Knowing of my own inability, I waited until the last minute to order them. When the ten day shipping really was only a couple of days, I was in trouble. For about a week, I worried over my tiny wards. These little cacti are made to live in diverse conditions. Yet, I fully believed in my heart that they had met their match. When the day finally arrived for them to go their new home, they were all alive. I celebrated. I still have a handful of them in my dining room facing the morning sun. I do not worry about them just tend to them every so often. They are alive. Just outside the dining room window are two hydrangeas that are flourishing after a year of my care. Miracles do happen.

I wonder how many times God is working in us and developing our character and new nature but we still wear the titles of our past life. Apparently, I am a reformed plant killer. If the enemy can keep our eyes on the mess, we may very well miss the message. If we give up in the test, there will be no testimony. Quitters never win. If the only thing good in me is Christ – then why do I expect greater things from me than the Lord? Christ gives us new life and calls us a new creation. The Character Changer is making a masterpiece because that was His Plan all along. The nature of God does not change to accommodate my feelings or emotions. He does not lie or change His Mind. What He says will be done for no word that comes from Him will ever return void of accomplishment.

Romans 5:10-11 (NLT) For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

No one deserves a right relationship with God. Jesus gave us the relationship out of His Goodness, His Grace and His Unfathomable Unconditional Love. It doesn’t make any sense. Outside of faith, it is completely unattainable. Abraham was called a friend of God because he dared to believe in God who “brings the dead back to life and creates new things out of nothing.” (Romans 4) Do you know that God? Do you believe that He will do what He says? You can say that you do but does your life show that you are absolutely certain of His Love. Certainly in Christ is evident when our character is built on humble acceptance of a love incomprehensible and undeserved. You are a friend of God by faith, friend. Your ability to be perfect melts in His Perfection and gives way to promises too great to pass by. Will you accept Him today? Get over the prickly human qualities that buffer pride constantly telling us that there must be repayment and recompense. There is nothing you can do to earn or deserve God’s Love – you must simply live in it.

James 4:5-7 (NLT) Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Our Approach

Our Approach

John 1:1-4 (NLT) In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.

“The Word of God is quick and powerful. In the beginning He spoke to nothing, and it became something. Chaos heard it and became order, darkness heard it and became light. “And God said – and it was so.” (AW Tozer – The Pursuit of God)

The importance of God’s Word in our life is indisputable. The Word is not irrelevant. It is not out of date or old fashioned as some might want to think. God created everything with His Word. Through His Voice – His Mighty Breath formed a world and produced light and life. The Sovereignty of God makes His Word powerful. The potency of His Vocabulary tears down strongholds beginning in our mind, wrangling our thoughts, breaking our heart and somehow producing a new and better life from the pieces left behind. God is the Creator of Life.

I think it valid to point out that babies are born every day. Life is perpetuated throughout the planet so therefore it only credible to think that God’s Word is still circulating the earth to accomplish its tasks. I set out on this journey of writing each day to prove that God still speaks to people. Ordinary people like you and me with all our faults and failures fueled by faith to have an ongoing conversation with the Life Giver – Life Changer – Jesus Christ. So it has been for almost a decade now, I get up early each morning to read the Word and listen for His Voice. He does not disappoint. It would seem that God does want to speak to us, converse with us, and abide with us in a place of intimacy meant for just the two of us.

While taking a few days off to rest and rejuvenate at the beach, I have been reading AW Tozer’s classic – The Pursuit of God. Tearing off chunks of meat each day – it has been a hearty diet of spiritual food for the hungry soul. Our soul and spirit must live in expectancy. Spiritual receptivity is essential to experience the life of a new creation. To live in God’s Abundance with a life overflowing in good fruit. The Word of God fills us with the Bread of Life. HE is the Living Water needed to satisfy our thirst for more. How many times does the busyness of life distract us? How often does the time in His Presence, reading His Word and listening for His Voice get cut short in the chaos of routines, schedules, and more? We want God’s Best. Crying out for an Open Heaven, but what if the Heavens are open but it is our eyes and ears that are closed? God is here. He is speaking to us.

John 1:14 (NLT) So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

I am quite certain that if I asked about your prayer life – there would be a list of things that you petition the Lord for each day. Conversations with God become egocentric. Often, one-sided in nature as there is nothing I can offer Him but He has a Kingdom for me. Entitlement is a dangerous venture. To come boldly before the Throne of God is not an act of entitlement but to trust Him in our approach and surrender. Jesus Christ lives in each one of us.

Hebrews 4:12 (NLT) For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

The Word of God is alive today. It is still powerful. Jesus Christ is the Word who came wrapped in flesh to demonstrate God’s Love for us and allow us to live as part of the Kingdom. He opened our communication with God the Father once again. God is always listening. He continually speaks. Now we have an ongoing conversation with the Lord that produces new life in us and through us. The Word of God will always change us. It begins in us before working its way out to our surroundings. The Lord will never go against His Word. He does not lie or change His Mind. He will not contradict the Word in you and for you by giving in to our whims and complaints. The communication between us must be intimate and personal. Too often we come to the Lord with about as much respect as the waitress at Chick-fil-a. We bark our order and expect it fast. All the condiments must be in the bag and don’t forget to say, “My pleasure.” Right? Come on… let’s be honest. It’s just us.

God has a plan for your life. He will give you the future and hope that is promised. He will lead, guide and direct you by His Word and with His Spirit. It is up to us if we will listen. To engage in an ongoing conversation rather than barking orders and outlining our demands to the Sovereign God. He knows exactly what is needed to produce a rich and satisfying life. He is ready to do more than you can think, ask or imagine. The limits on our life may be in our approach. It could very well be that our spiritual receptivity is hindered by a lack of focus or heartfelt sincerity. Do you want God’s Heart today? Or are you good with just what’s in His Hand?

I Peter 1:23 (NLT) For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.

My husband and I have been together for almost 20 years. Two decades is a long time. Not many friendships last that long let alone marriages, but I have been blessed with both. God has given us a love story for which I am thankful. In Psalm 139, it tells us that all the days of our life have been prerecorded by God. He has written a love story spanning the course of a lifetime overflowing into eternity. A small fraction of that timeline will involve the things associated with this life. Those things that we think will make us happy, satisfied and complete yet now much time do we spend talking to God about worthless things rather than communicating with Him on an intimate and personal level reserved for lovers and best friends.

God has given you a new life that will last forever. It comes from the eternal and living Word of God. It is important to embrace His Word each day and engage in conversations with the Lord. My daughter is a new mother. I strongly encourage her to schedule routine date nights with her husband. She gives me a long list of instructions on how to care for my grandson, and I give her but one… don’t talk about him during the date. We can get lost in the busyness of life and lose touch with intimacy with the Lord if not careful. We must pay careful attention to our partnership with Jesus to make sure it is bound by love and devotion not laws and duty. He has such a wonderful plan for us. The Word lives in you. It is our connection with the Word and communication that new life is born. God’s Glory is looking for a way out of you. It is an overwhelming glory that no man can produce but is possible only when we respond to the Word of God and obey His Voice. Are you running into dead ends? Living under a closed ceiling rather than open heaven? Are you satisfied? Are you content? Is your life prospering as your soul does? If not, it may be in your approach or lack of it. God is always speaking, whispering, encouraging and longing for a closer walk with me and it is up to me if I will walk with Him! Just a closer walk with thee…that dear Jesus is my plea… daily walking close to thee…let it be…dear Lord… let it be!

2 Corinthians 3:7-10 (NLT) The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way.

Finding My Purpose

Finding My Purpse

Jeremiah 32:38-40 (NLT) They will be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me.

What is my purpose? Why do I exist? What am I supposed to be doing? Why was I made? How can I be used by God? I have a purpose. God designed humanity to have one heart and one purpose. To be His People and that He would be our God. Sin shattered our relationship with God. He was not satisfied with judgement and predestined to give us mercy that would lead us to His Grace. In a way that only an omnipotent and omniscient Creator could, the Lord intentionally takes all those broken pieces determined to make a masterpiece once again. He desires us to become the Body of Christ. There very thing for which His Son died put rebuilt from a new foundation. Salvation provides an everlasting covenant. He will never stop doing good for us. He desires a heart of worship and will give those who seek Him that very thing.

Sometimes it is difficult to see ourselves individually within a corporate people. To know and understand the importance of our purpose in the expansive and comprehensive plan of the Living God. I have a purpose. He created me fearfully considering each step that would lead me to righteousness. He did so wonderfully giving me value and worth that only He can bring forth. I am a marvelous work though still in process. In pursuit of purpose, it is of the utmost importance to know God’s Primary Plan. Above all other things – the Lord desires to have a relationship with you and me. To live in love for the rest of our lives until one day it is only eternity that we see.

Isn’t it funny how when you think you have it all together, the next minute reveals that is not the case? I am finding my purpose in this place called life all over again. I know that I am called. I know that I am anointed simply because Christ lives in me. I have no idea what is next. In a state of transition in more ways than one, I have my feet planted in Christ my firm foundation of faith yet my head is in the clouds. My children are reaching adulthood. Our full nest down to just one. In the busyness of raising our children, it is often easy to forget that this too shall pass and one day there will no longer be the weight of responsibility that governs us now. The mounds of laundry are gone and with it our children venture off into life. This is God’s Plan. It is a good one. My job is to raise tiny disciples into fisher of people then set them off to fulfill the Lord’s Plans for them, but I don’t have to like it. What transition are you in today? New job. Unexpected life change. The ending of an old season often gives way to new faith and new trust on the faithfulness of God. We become comfortable and complacent in the current condition. God is faithful in pursuing us with unfailing love and kindness. He is always working good in us and through us even when we do not want to change.

Ecclesiastes 3:14-15 (NLT) And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.

The finality of God is sometimes the hardest obstacle to overcome. We all like options. When God shows us a glimpse of His Plan and Purpose, it is human nature to run off and complete the picture like Harold with the purple crayon. He only gives us a peek but we make it our plan or maybe I am the only one with the propensity to run ahead and work it out myself before God makes His Way clear. What if I don’t like God’s Plan? What if I am not happy with His Purpose? What if it is not as I expected or conducive to my plans?

The power of purpose in my life is not based on my abilities but God’s Faithfulness. These verses do not portray a power hungry being who needs to assert dictatorship over us. The Lord already has all the power. God is Sovereign and confident in it. When we someone can make our heart sure that God’s Purpose is good and way better than we could think, ask or imagine – faith grows from that place that connects with God’s Faithfulness giving Him permission to give us His Best.

Isaiah 44:6-8 (NLT) This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: “I am the First and the Last; there is no other God. Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future. Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one!”

The Lord says to us today, “I am the First and the Last there is no other God.” This is vitally important to understanding the power of purpose in our life. The Plan of God is comprehensive taking in every detail of our life and turning it for our good. (Romans 8:28) Only an Alpha and Omega God could transverse time to take into account everything and work it all together for our good. He gives us the grace needed for His Power to overtake us and produce purpose while prospering our heart to spill over into our life.

Do not tremble. Do not be afraid. God did not give us the spirit of fear, anxiety, worry, stress or any other byproduct of doubt. The Lord has given us a measure of faith. Faith is cultivated in the goodness given to us called power, love and self-discipline. Use them well. The fear of the Lord is an awesome respect that is demonstrated in devotion and a covenant of love like marriage. Such fear becomes trust and total dependence as we learn to lean on the Lord and live in His Love.

Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? The knowledge of God’s Pervasive Presence and Persistent Pursuit of me – a sinner saved by grace – is my complete undoing. I have lived more than 50 years and I am still discovering the depths of God’s Grace, Love and Faithfulness to me. The hopes and dreams that I put in the grave because of my own weaknesses are not dead to God just deferred until their appointed time. The vault marked faults and failures do not hold His Riches or Glory designated for my life, I do when I hold my heart hostage with guilt, shame or regret. The faithfulness of God has followed me through life ushering me toward the things that He already prepared for me before I drew my first breath. It will be complete when I breathe my last. I must rely on His Faithfulness to produce the fruitfulness of purpose in me and not pluck unripe fruit from the vine. It is only when I abide in Christ that the growth I desire is produced. I must abide in His Love even though I have no idea what’s next, where I am going, how I will get there or when I will arrive. God knows and that’s gotta be enough for me.

I have a purpose. It belongs to me. No one can fulfill it. Only I can do it. Prosperity is a heart condition. God has promised to give me a new heart in place of the stony one within. As my soul prospers so will my life in the purpose already designated for me by the Living God. I must only trust Him to find my purpose.

Psalm 139:16-18 (NLT) You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up, you are still with me!

More Grace

More Grace

I Timothy 1:14-15 (NIV) The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

I wasn’t going to do this. I had already decided that my quiet time would be my own today. Not to be shared in the transparency of my need for God’s Grace today. I have over committed…again. My perfectionism is overriding peace within me. I have to-do list with to-do list. Heart racing to meet the expectation of many especially myself – I am begging the Lord Jesus for more grace today. I need grace. Grace wrecks perfectionism. It destroys arrogance in the moment that I realize I can’t do it all. Only one person that gets caught up in tasks who doesn’t always realize my mistake until at the edge of breakdown.

God gives grace to us in abundance. In this passage, it says that He gives grace in abundance along with faith and love as though secondary. Many that’s the problem, we try to have faith and love outside of God’s Grace. We have faith that can move mountains but cannot even step over a tiny offense. There is love for others but no love for our self. I am the world’s worst sinner who needs every bit of God’s Grace to make through one day let alone to eternity one day. Yet as many others just like me – sometimes I get the order wrong. I live by faith. Try to love. Work to produce godly fruit only attainable in my utter weakness as a part of grace. A seed placed in the ground does not do anything other than become what it is purposed and called to be. The potential of a seed is on the inside and must work its way out. The death of one form to give way to new glory. The acceptance of God’s Grace completely gives way to the life of faith and living in the Love of Jesus. Lord, I need more grace today.

Romans11:5-6 (NIV) So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

I am chosen by God’s Grace. There is nothing I can do to earn it. I will never deserve it. I cannot work to make myself worth. I am not able to transform my life. Grace is given as a gift. It can only be accepted by a fully engaged love relationship or covenant with Jesus Christ. We are vulnerable. Faith gives us the capacity to believe that a perfect God could love imperfect people. Grace is no longer grace if religion takes over with all its dos and don’ts. Yet the enemy willingly offers excuses to the logic of such by inferring that God’s Grace is limited when the Truth is that God’s Grace is enough.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

His Grace is enough for me. It is sufficient for you. His Power is made perfect in weakness. Our pride hates the idea of surrender and submission to the Lord but grace demands it. We must use our faith in its primary state to stand on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Not because we can do anything but because He did it all. When we are weak, we seek grace. The good news for us today is that it is always available and brings power to our life.

In Ephesians 4, it tells us the God’s Grace is apportioned for us. The word “apportioned” means that the Lord has already designated all the grace that I need for this life. He has distributed proportionally to me. It belongs to me. I must do nothing more than relinquish my weakness and claim His Strength which is administered by grace. His Grace is enough because it is already assigned to me. When Christ said, “It is finished” on the Cross that included the proper portion of grace needed to save me and initiate the faith needed to achieve my purpose, overcome life’s problems, receive full provision and live in prosperity. I have all the grace I need – I must only ask for it.

Romans 5:20-21 (NIV) The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Law had a purpose. It showed humanity that it was flawed. The sin obvious in each trespass and the penalty far more than anyone could bar. Jesus Christ came with a sin solution. Grace. Where sin abounded, grace abounded more. The power of Grace is not defined by one’s capacity to ever overcome sin. It is defined as the only thing that can break sin’s debt off our life. It doesn’t matter how well we clean up or if we change every bad habit to make better choices. Religious behavior will never take the place of righteousness which can only be achieved by God’s Grace through faith in Jesus Christ. What does that mean? It doesn’t matter how hard I work – my efforts cannot produce perfection. It doesn’t matter how well I do – sin will always be an issue. It doesn’t matter how strong of a Christian I become – His Grace will only work by concession. I must give up my need to be perfect and desire to be good in order to fully accept the kind of grace that grows strong faith producing complete confidence in the Love of God. It is my acceptance of every weakness, fault, failure, mistake and shortcoming and giving it over to the Lord that His Strength and Power become my own.

Galatians 2:21 (NIV) I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

When my need to do something overshadows my need to allow Christ to complete His Work in me – I have set aside the Grace of God to maintain my pride and position. Righteousness is the place I want to be living in the Presence of God forever. It means I must set aside self on a daily if not momentary basis to fully embrace what Christ is doing inside of me. The revelation of weakness must come for the sufficiency of Christ to be received. I cannot be the person who has it all together and still be becoming the masterpiece of God’s Design. It is in the messy surrender and submission of my life piece by piece that the fullness of grace is obtained. Christ didn’t die for nothing. He died for me. His Grace is enough.

Jesus, I recognize that You are the only good and perfect gift in me. You have given your life to free me from the bondage of performance and perfection. I receive it in my weakness today.  Forgive me for trying to take the throne and ask you for more grace! I want it all! I need it today! We have nothing if first we do not accept Your Grace!

James 4:6 (NIV) But He gives us more grace…

John 1:16-17 (NIV) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 

Powerful Encounters

Powerful Encounters

James 5:13-15 (NLT) Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

Our oldest daughter is a hairdresser. She has shared how many times people would come for a cut or color and once in her chair begin to pour out their stories to her. Intimate and detailed explanations of their problems, heartaches and frustrations. The salon service somehow transformed into a therapy session. She would feel compelled to listen, offer encouragement, sympathize or empathize if she could. She was incredulous to the fact that complete strangers would offer up every sordid detail to someone they didn’t know at all. Has it ever happened to you? You meet someone and immediately they begin to pour out their heart to you. It can be awkward. Perhaps, a bit uncomfortable. I believe there is a reason.

Many years ago, the Lord laid someone on my heart to pray for. I did not like this person. This individual had caused me much heartache and many offenses had built up over time. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be saved and share eternity. I know that’s harsh but totally transparent. I was struggling with myself. How can I pray for someone who I did care for and it be earnest? I felt the Holy Spirit press in on my hard heart. His Word unraveling my selfish and stubborn thoughts with one simple utterance. What if you are the only one? Ugh! Come on Jesus there has to be someone else to do it. Not me. As I began to think of the other persons acquaintances, friends and family members – I began to realize that I may very well be the only one.

No one is exempt from hardships, sickness, distress, doubt, discouragement, fault, or failure. The Work of Jesus Christ was finished and supplied enough grace to overcome in every situation by faith and trust in Him. As a teenager decades ago, we used to fill old school buses with our youth group setting out to share Jesus Christ with people by knocking on doors and canvasing neighborhoods. Talk about rejection. People were somewhat put off, openly offended and very negative about our intrusion unless, of course, they were already Christians patting us on the back as they inwardly sang, “Onward Christian soldiers…” I vowed never to do it again. We do not serve an awkward or out-of-touch God but one who orders our steps and puts purpose in us to carry everywhere we go. What if we are taking the Gospel to the world but Jesus is bringing them straight to us within our sphere of influence?

Prayer is not a public service but a product of an inward relationship with the Lord. The intimacy of communication with the Lover of our Soul and power that is within us. This is not to negate corporate prayer or the power in a praying church but rather to help you understand that every encounter in life has the potential to be powerful. How many times does the Holy Spirit prod us to pray for one when they are standing in front of us so we write their name on our heart for our prayer closet? I am beginning to understand that this powerful anointing inside of me is more about life than Christian service in a church. I am the church and a vital part of the functioning Body of Jesus Christ. My effectiveness in righteousness is not demonstrated as greatly in the House of God as it is when I carry it out to be the light of the world, city on a hill and salt of the earth. There are opportunities to share this light, influence and salt with people every single day as they approach us pouring out their needs, wants and desires. Maybe the Lord is bringing them into our sphere of influence rather than pushing us into their personal space.

Based on the passage today, I believe there are two things vitally important to becoming sensitive in our heart to the leading of the Spirit in bringing the Gospel to others. The first is in our own homes and houses of worship. There is an inclination toward old school religion that makes people think that there are certain requirements to God’s Acceptance and Outpouring in our life. The only thing I know for sure that is needed to access God is His Son – Jesus Christ. Coming to the Lord for our needs, wants and desires is not qualified by one’s position in the community, church or even social circle, it is available through humility. Our altars are empty. The call of God is not being answered on an individual level because people feel the burden of corporate expectation. We must take the veil down in our temple because Jesus ripped it in half from top to bottom. If you are sick, seek prayer. If you are happy, sing praise. If you are in need, pursue the saints of God to pray for you. Easier said than done, right? “To give and not receive is a form of arrogance.” (Michael Jr.)

If my people will humble themselves and pray. The dysfunctional bodies called church can limit the effectiveness of prayer by become a religious organization. If I ask for prayer, will you pray for me? If I share my heart, will you give it away as gossip? If I come to the altar again, will you judge me just the same? We must humble ourselves and repent for how we treat the needs of others because truthfully we all sin and fall short of God’s Glorious Standard every day. One sin would have cost Jesus the entirety of his life right down to his very last breath. One sin. There is no unpardonable sin except to reject the Lord Jesus Christ. To decide that He is not enough and choose another way. We all have different convictions on acceptable living. It is not my place to judge anyone. When I share my convictions, it is based on the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. I offer it to them in love. If they choose another way, that is their right to choose given by freedom in Jesus Christ. I still am to love them and pray for them not talk about them and shun them for religious preference.

James 5:16-18 (NLT) Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

I believe that if the Holy Spirit lives in you then He will draw out the needs of others for you to be obedient in praying for them. We must believe. Believe that there is power in the prayer of righteous people. Have the strongest of convictions that nothing is impossible with God! The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and produces wonderful results. Have we stopped praying for every little thing because we do not believe that God takes every detail of our life working it for good? (Romans 8:28) Has our timer run out and our blessing still cooking so we try something else to fill our void and meet the need? I cannot share a faith or truth that I do not believe in. God’s Greatness and Power never goes bankrupt. Not every investment yields an immediate return but it always produces a dividend.

I Peter 4:7-10 (NLT) The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

God has given us a great variety of spiritual gifts and fruit to share with each other. All others including family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, strangers and even our perceived rivals or enemies. Each encounter comes with the opportunity to be powerful. To encourage, exhort or even just listen to the heartfelt longings of another. When people come to lay the contents of their life before us, what we do with it makes the difference. You may never see the person again but did you deposit Christ in them. It can be as simple as a smile that produces conversation. We must show deep love and compassion for others that takes us out of our routine, schedule and timeline in order to become that which Christ has called and equipped us to be. To pray for someone else often refocuses us personally as well. It is easy to get caught up in life and miss many opportunities for breakthrough based on our own agendas. Lord, make us sensitive to the leading of your Spirit in every encounter. Teach us to be disciplined and discerning when opportunities arise to be shine Your Light of Love to the world. Father, keep the salt on our lips. Fill and seal our heart so it is a safe place for the secrets of others given to us for prayerful consideration. Thank you for choosing us to be Your Hands, Feet, Mouth and Heart to the world. Let us be ever aware of Your Presence and constantly led by Your Spirit – in Jesus Name!

I Thessalonians 5:14-22 (NLT) Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.

Amplified Trust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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