Pleasant Places

Pleasant Places

Psalm 16:5-6 (ESV) The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

As my nest begins to empty, there are two teenage girls in our home. They are sweet girls who love the Lord. Diligently trying to serve Him, the hard lesson of the hour is how to set proper boundaries without creating barriers. Relationships are a part of life and the binding force of Kingdom. Jesus has instructed us to love one another as He loved us even to lay down our life for each other. I guess if everyone was perfect – the task would be much easier. Maybe if experience had created trusting heart and bared souls it might be a way of life. There is a fine line between boundaries and barriers that must be clearly identified to maintain unity and security at the same time. Paul tells us that all things are permissible but not all things are beneficial. After five decades of breathing, I am still trying to distinguish clearly between the two. The enemy wants to create barriers among believers when the Lord only calls for careful and thoughtful boundaries.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup. You hold my lot. Before I can give myself away and engage in healthy relationships – I must know and understand who I am and more importantly WHOSE I am. I belong to Jesus. He is the Lover of my soul and keeper of my inheritance available only through Him. He maintains the relationship that I have with God the Father as an open gateway in and out of His Presence. It is not enough for God to choose me or Christ to die for me, but I must also choose the Lord and to crucify my flesh to become one with Him. It is the covenant of love between us that makes me His Bride. Not only must I choose Jesus, but I must put my full expectation in Him. I must allow Him to fill the voids and heal the wounds of my past and even present relationships in order to create healthy and whole hearted connections in the future. To love unconditionally and completely is the goal. It requires boundaries. Boundaries that determine the parts and portions of my life that belong to Christ and can only be fulfilled with intimacy through Him. Just as a marriage sets boundaries in all other relationships, so does our love affair with Christ. He gives His Love freely and unconditionally filling us to overflowing so that we can love others just the same without expectation or requirements.

Barriers are created where insecurity lingers. A lack of constancy in Christ will cause boundaries to become barriers in our relationships. Bitterness fortifies barriers when we allow insecurity to feed our hurts and betrayals when Jesus offers healing and wholeness instead. Barriers limit love that could be transcending. Sometimes boundaries are necessary – not to keep people out but to keep me secure.

Psalm 16:7-10 (ESV) I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.

Imperfect people cannot build perfect relationships. Perfect love casts out all fear. There is no greater love than to lay our life down for someone. We need God’s Counsel to love properly and set appropriate boundaries because of human inadequacy and weakness. God knows our heart. He instructs us through His Spirit and guides us along the way. He is the Gate. We come and go freely. However, if we do not set the Lord before us and let Him be the center of our world and focus of our affections – all other relationships will fall short.

We have not promoted “dating” in our home. I feel that it is important to know the Lord and ourselves before engaging in relationships. Early dating creates soul ties. It can produce a cycle that causes breaches in the innocent hearts of young people. I am not saying that my preference or approach is God’s or should be anyone else’s for that matter. What I am saying is that before my children give their heart to another, I want it to be firmly established in Christ so that they know their worth and value and do not give it away without careful consideration. The Lord holds us. He keeps us close to Him because we are His Treasure. My heart is glad. My whole being rejoices. He is at my right hand. He pursues me with unfailing love and overwhelming goodness. It is in this constant envelopment of security that I can love without limits from this place of completeness. When my heart is secure in Christ, loving others is not a risk.

Psalm 16:11 (ESV) You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

A boundary allows us to create an access point. A place of entrance and exit that is decided by God and His Plan for us. A barrier is a wall. Boundaries do not limit our accessibility but rather allow Christ to be the gateway. He will be the One who defines our relationships and gives us love, grace and mercy for others. He is our Security. He is the Keeper of our Heart. He is the Lover of the soul who will always protect us and keep us secure in Him. It is important as a parent to set boundaries for our children so they can learn while they are young how to manage their life and live in Christ. It is important as adults to constant inspect the borders and boundaries of our heart to ensure that hardness and unforgiveness has not made a barrier instead. I could spend my whole life continually inspecting my own heart and mind then never have time to judge others. Perhaps that is the path of life that the Lord is calling us to. He has placed us in pleasant places. It is our inheritance to live and love in Him because relationships are the Kingdom of God. To live in His Presence means we must learn to love the Lord and others the same way. He allows us proper boundaries to do so and even promises to be the Gate. Those who do will live in His Presence and experience pleasures forevermore.

John 10:7-10 (ESV) So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.


Soul Wellness

Soul Wellness

Psalm 131 (NKJV) Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me. Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever.

Psalm 131 describes the heart of one who fully and completely trusts the Lord. The words are not eloquent painting a picture of divine intervention and a perfect life. It is more a surrender and submission of the psalmist’s heart, mind and soul to the Sovereignty of God. It is simple truth about simple trust. My heart is not haughty or my eyes lofty. Pride crucified. Completely convicted of its own inadequacy and inability to be effective on its own. The first step to trusting the Lord is humility. Grace is accepted in our absolute weakness. It is the moment the Power of the Living God is manifested in us…not necessarily around us. The expectation that Jesus came to change our situation and save the earth is false. He came for one thing. He died for a single cause. It was for me. It was for you. His Desire for us so great that He set aside His Throne to come and live a humble life as our example and to be crucified as a sacrifice for us. My heart is humbled at such a thought. The idea that a perfect and sinless man would lay down his life for me is overwhelming in the first place, but to add that it is the deity of God who took my place is incomprehensible even to those who believe.

As I write these words today, there is a hurricane headed in our direction. The sky is growing darker and the wind beginning to pick up. It is midmorning and the neighborhood is eerily quiet as the community waits, watches and wonders what will happen next. Fully prepared with food and supplies, the unpredictability of nature and the weather is still unnerving. Standing outside it is clear even the birds, squirrels and animals that live in the trees around our house have gone into hiding. Vivid images being broadcast from the center of the hurricane make it clear things are destined to change. In the stillness, I am reminded – the will of God is stillness for our soul no matter what the situation. I do not understand the nature and condition of the world in which I live. I am not entirely sure why bad things happen to good people or why the innocent die young. The more I think I know the less I seem to understand many things. However, I have come to know a few simple things – God is good. He loves me. He is for me. Christ lives in me. His Spirit helps me. In the Lord, I will trust.

Psalm 46:1-3 (NKJV) God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

Yesterday, the wind began to pick up just a little bit. A tree fell in our yard. There was only a gentle breeze. How could it cause such damage? On closer inspection, I found that the tree was completely rooted on the inside. Though it looked fine from the exterior, the interior was fragmented and crumbling easily picked apart with my bare hands. It wasn’t the wind that knocked over the tree and caused it to fall but rather the tree was dying on the inside already. When the breeze came along it could not stand anymore. An object lesson for me, I believe. Maybe it Is not the problems in life that cause us to stumble or fall crying out to the Lord, but rather out inward condition of distrust and disbelief that push us over when things start moving and shaking around us. Rather than trusting our Good Father, Loving God, Savior, Redeemer, Protector and Friend, our inward condition causing outward consequences. I want to trust the Lord. I want to be welcomed into the Kingdom of God. I must be unshakable and immovable in my faith which is evidenced by trust.

What if the situations and circumstances that come with life are not the cause of our fall, fail or future? What if it is just the conduit that causes us to see our current condition? The tree was on the verge of falling already. It was deteriorating rapidly on the inside. The first brisk breeze that came along knocked it over. Could it be that it is not the things that happen to us that are the problem but rather reveal the contents of our heart? Psalm 131 says, “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul…” The security of our heart, mind and soul are manifested by trust. To trust the Lord making Him our refuge and strength. This means letting go of the three “C’s” (comfort, control and convenience) to fully embrace Christ in all things.

Psalm 46:10 (NKJV) Be still, and know that I am God…

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” God is our refuge. He is our strength. He is a very present help in trouble. The humble heart knows this and puts trust in the character and divine nature of our loving, faithful Father and Friend. We must trust the Lord. Trust is reliance on the integrity, strength, ability and surety of the Lord with full confidence. It is the confident expectation or hope given to us as an indication of faith in our life. Hope is futuristic. It is intact whether our natural circumstances or condition indicate its relevancy. God is God with or without our belief. Our belief does not fuel His Power but aligns us within it. Miracles are made up of impossibilities. It is such times that God becomes our hope and security. Without impossible situations there would be no signs, wonders or miracles. It is the shaking of our heart, mind and soul that reveal the contents of our heart and soundness of our trust. It is when we can be still in just knowing that He is God when simple trust becomes evident.

Psalm 62:1-2 (NKJV) Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.

There is a great deal of uncertainty in the city and surrounding area. Our lives may change dramatically in the next 24 hours depending on the intensity of the hurricane when it reaches our area. More than 20 people have died in its wake. We have prepared to the best of our ability for the storm. Our home is well-constructed and completely insured. There is a generator with a fresh supply of gasoline and plenty of food and water if needed. Now we wait… If tomorrow tragedy strikes what will be my response? Will I be able to say, “It is well with my soul”? Where we wait is the tell-tale sign of the outcome in moments such as these.

Triumph over tragedy is found in the Lord and in God alone. It is the peace that passes understanding that allows us to draw our next breath when it is all we have left. His Love is the place where shattered pieces of broken hearts find healing. The Refuge called Presence is the hiding place for God’s People. His Grace is our strength yet only evident in our complete and utter weakness that causes us to humble our heart before Him.

Today as I wait for the storm to pass, I am challenged to examine my heart and listen for the inner voice of my soul. Will I wait silently before the Lord knowing that He alone is my salvation? Will I be moved? Will I stay put in my faith and simple trust believing that no matter what tomorrow holds that He holds me firmly in place? We put so much emphasis on what we can see, feel, hold and touch in this life that sometimes it is the moving and shaking of those things that cause us to inspect the contents of our heart and soul. My deep desire is that when morning comes – the voice that I hear will say, “It is well with my soul!”

When peace like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well, with my soul”.

Romans 15:13 (NKJV) Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


When Mountains Move

When Mountains Move

Matthew 21:21-22 (NKJV) So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

When our youngest child was a toddler, she developed rapid onset asthma. It came on out of nowhere. She had not experienced any symptoms before the day of her first attack. Over the next several weeks, it grew worse and worse. We were at the doctor’s office every day to adjust medications and check for complications. She could not far from a nebulizer. Taking her anywhere was strongly discouraged as a secondary illness could compromise her life. Meanwhile, my husband and I were learning about faith. Tangible faith that changed things. Coincidental? I don’t believe in coincidences since meeting Jesus Christ and getting to know His Ways. I was perplexed that while serving God and seeking Him wholeheartedly, how could this be happening to us? Our mentors began to sow seeds of faith in us and teaching us how to pray believing that God would answer our prayers. We prayed often but now it was time to put our money where our mouth is. For weeks following medical advice and praying for our child, begin to build confidence. Unaware of its productivity, I sat in a doctor’s office awaiting yet another list of protocols. Of course, he delivered. And then he did something that changed everything, her doctor wrote “forever” on the prescription pad. The word was underlined. The medications had finally yielded a slightly positive result. Heaven and hell clashed all around us. I was infuriated that an unknown curse was leveled against my child. Walking to the car with her in one hand and the wretched piece of paper in the other, I began praying with angry words reciting laced with complete indignation. An absolute intrusion into God’s Territory opened an unseen doorway to the realm of hope called impossible. When I was done and out of breath from praying in known and unknown languages, a still small voice declared it finished and I was instructed to stop all medications by the Great Physician.

This is our testimony of the healing of our daughter. I do not in any way justify going against medical orders unless you hear the Voice of God spoken directly to you in an audible voice. God still talks to people – directly! I did not share this true story to incite you to spontaneous faith that jumps off mountains heedlessly. The real test came after I heard God tell me what to do. I did it. After months of life threatening situations, I had to decide whether or not to believe the Word of the Lord which meant stopping the medication she had survived on. I did it. Terrified and trembling, not sleeping for days, I did it. Our daughter has never had another asthma attack or any similar symptoms. In fact, she hardly ever even gets a cold. I am sharing this to say that faith is not easy. It is probably the hardest thing that we will ever do. To defy the logic innate and engrained in us to see the Glory of God. Jesus told his disciples that “whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” We must have faith that does not doubt when it comes to a place of action. Heavenly manifestations can be very vulnerable and scary transitions. When Heaven comes to earth, mountains begin to move, and pathways are made straight produces a physical reaction in the atmosphere that removes us from convenience, comfort and control to produce godly change. We want it. Now we must walk it.

Matthew 17:20 (NKJV) So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Faith is a seed that grows in our heart. It doesn’t stop in our heart but by believing pushes through conditions and circumstances to change an ordinary life to extraordinary. It defies the natural to produce supernatural results. The exhilarating rush of putting our faith and trust in the Lord is followed by moments of hesitation when change does not occur rapidly or the conditions only worsen. God works through the impossibilities of life to produce His Glory. If man can do it, there is no reason for hope. Confident trust in the Lord takes us to the edge of self and complete undoing of our mind, will and emotions to take one more step into the unknown place. It causes us to challenge everything known about God and decide if it is credible enough to take a chance.

Isaiah 54:10 (NIV) Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

When seeds of faith grow into fulfillment it produces movement and change in our life. It is not always a peaceful transition and never a comfortable change. Moving mountains shake the foundation of our life. Hills being removed present unforeseen challenges moving us from good to glory! The steadfast security in all transition and change is the unfailing love of God for us and His Covenant of Peace that keeps us. We must learn to trust God completely so that when nothing in life adds up to what He has shown us in His Word or spoken to our heart that we do not abandon our post of waiting and watching for His Arrival.

Psalm 46:1-3 (NIV) God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

His Thoughts are higher. His Ways are too. (Isaiah 55) We must learn to look at our life from a heavenly perspective found only in the Presence of God. His Spirit will tell us the secret things of God when we invest our life in living from God’s Account of how our life could be rather than the conditions around us. The transition is inviting but getting from here to there will take many steps that are not logical and demand us to make a choice between believing and doubting. Doubt immobilizes our faith but when we believe it mobilizes the impossible making all things possible. The movement of such shifting and changing produces unsettling shaking of our life that can cause us to become fearful. God has not given us the spirit of fear but confidence born of trusting and believing God at His Word.

God is our refuge. He is our strength. Hope is the anchor of our soul when the boat starts rocking and we are called to step out of it. (Hebrews 6:19) If your life is shaking right about now, the earth seems to be moving beneath your feet, and things are not going as expected – don’t stop believing! Just step into His Presence and let God be your peace! He will keep you safe in the storm. He is working His Plan to His Perfection not your preference. Discomfort, inconvenience and when things are beyond our control are all signs of something far greater working in us and through us – Christ Jesus! Moving mountains make a sound and cause a reverberation. It is our faith in God and belief in His Authority and Power over our life that keeps us steady in the process!

Hebrews 12:26-28 (NIV) At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,



Weight of the Anchor

weight of the anchor

Hebrews 6:17-20 (NIV) Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. 

What a week? It is only Wednesday. Halfway through and it has tossed me about pretty good. The pressures of life have created a fair share of waves and wakes that keep this little boat called life rocking pretty good. At sea a boat is carried on top of the water, the current, tide and waves move it all around. Every ship or even small fishing boat will have an anchor. I tried to see what the average weight of an anchor might be. They vary from about ten pounds to seventy-five tons depending on the vessel it is their duty to secure. However, what I found is it is not the anchor that is most important but the chain that attaches the boat or ship to it. If a chain is too short, it will cause the fluctuation of the water to beat the vessel rather than secure it causing great danger. The chain must be the proper length to allow the ebb and flow of the waves and wake surrounding it. It is better to have no attachment to the anchor at all rather than an improper connection that could end in the ultimate destruction of the vessel anyway.

The one who Christ sets free is free indeed. But sometimes it is the service and actions of self that overtake the Truth that when Jesus split the veil in two – He stepped into His Rightful Place and now He becomes our confident hope. Not the rules and regulations of religion or self-imposed restrictive convictions that lead to ritual and tradition, it is the knowledge of His Amazing Grace and our ability to flow with it, in it and let it move through is overflowing into life. We must learn more about the hope that is given to us in Christ and how to allow it become the anchor for our soul.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NIV) This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life…

Love the Lord your God. Listen to His Voice. It seems easier to listen to the do this and do that’s rather than the part that says, “Hold fast.” Submission and surrender are not terms of endearment in this world. They are considered strength to the enforcers but a weakness to everyone else. Comfortable in the service of God it is difficult to maintain our grip in the stillness of God. The part called trust. Yet it is in trusting the Lord, His Grace becomes most powerful. I know that this is for someone today. I know that it is for me. As I write it, my computer has shut down. Precious words sent from the Father erased in a technological glitch.

Even those closest to Jesus who walked with Him, talked with Him each day, communed and shared meals with Him struggled to maintain course in the storms of life. Uncertainty caused fear that confidence would never allow. Perfect love expels fear in our life. It doesn’t make the way easier but if our complete confidence in the Lord – our anchor called hope is firmly connected by a link of chains called faith. In the midst of a storm at sea or maybe just some high winds, the anchor at the bottom of the sea holding the great ship cannot be seen. It must be trusted to do its job. The sailors on the ship demonstrate the level of trust that they have in the anchor, its chain and even the sea-worthiness of the vessel. They are at the mercy of the sea. The wind will carry them. However, those who trust can safely sleep in the hull riding out the storm. Stillness in the Lord is not always stillness in life. We must learn to be the ones who hold fast.

Deuteronomy 11:22 and 13:4 tell us to observe God’s commands today. It is clear in the steps. Love God. Walk in obedience. Hold fast to Him. Too often love comes easy, and obedience such a struggle that it is hard to read any further. The hold fast is the ultimate and reserved for the end. It is the place called trust when we move past our superficial love and need to do something in order to rest in His Presence. When Jesus tore the veil, He became the High Priest. Confidence allows us to come boldly before Him with even the most seemingly insignificant detail in our life. Too often we try to love God in what we do rather than who He is. He is the anchor for my soul. As my soul becomes secure in Him, it will prosper becoming stronger and longer allowing us to endure those extended trials and deep hurts in order to remain steadfast holding fast to what we know is true.

Joshua 23:8 (NIV) But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.

These words are so important. Someone needs to hear them today. You are still on the watchtower. The Lord has given you the dream, desire or vision but it has taken some time. The thing you are holding onto like a Chinese fortune written on a tiny slip of paper that you have clutched so tightly now seems small and insignificant as doubt and disbelief weigh heavy on your heart. Endurance is expanded by our wait times and increase the weight of our anchor. Each moment given to trusting Jesus is one minute closer to the end and acquisition of that promise but we must not let go. To hold fast to the Lord was the Word of God to the Israelites. The Promised Land belonged to them. The battle was coming to an end and they would have the place God promised them. Holding fast in the hard times keep us focused on the Lord in the good times. We must learn to hold fast to the Lord on the way TO His Promise, so we will not forget Him IN the promise.

Revelation 3:2-3 (NIV) Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Jesus came to give us a rich, satisfying life that the enemy is hell-bent on taking from God’s Children. (John 10:10) Nothing gives the Lord more satisfaction than for His Children to reach their full potential and achieve the purpose of their creation. We are His Priceless Treasure no matter how flawed and imperfect we are. To allow those dreams and desires that were placed in our heart by God to die due to wavering faith and unconfident hope brings Him no honor or glory. To serve Him religiously and obediently will promote certain blessings bound by sowing and reaping or planting and harvest. God doesn’t want to just feed and clothe you but He has called you to prosper. Prosperity is the Promise of God for our life in all things in every season. It is accomplished by trust. Trust in the hope that keeps us weighted by faith no matter what happens in life. We have things to do that are not religions but relational. We have a purpose that is far greater than our human minds can comprehend must less accomplish. My absolute belief and total trust in the Love of God determines the weight of my anchor marked hope. To believe is to receive the blessings of God not because I was strong or finished every task but that my hope always remained secured to Jesus. Jesus is the weight that keeps me from drifting even when the boat of my life is rocking. He is the counter pressure to every pressure so my strength will never be too small. I must simply remain yoked to Him.

Matthew 11 tells us to come to Jesus with every weight and heavy burden. The misconception here is that the Lord removes them all from us and we skip happily through life. He could and would if He thought His People would still reach Heaven. The Word of God says that we are to be yoked with Him. He removed the barrier of sin that kept us from partnering together. However, when two animals are yoked, they must still walk together. Jesus promised to yoke with us. To connect Himself to us and carry the load, but we must continue to remain connected to Him. To watch yoked oxen plow a field does not sound exciting to me, but if I am the farmer and it is my land it may be. If I am expecting a harvest from this planting, it might give me peace despite the dirt on my hands and sweat on my brow. The hope that I have in Jesus Christ may not make the ground any softer, the job any easier, or the wait any shorter, but He always promises it will be worth it. He rewards those who seek Him. He promises success to those who seek Him wholeheartedly. The ones who despite the storms, waves and winds encountered let Him be the Anchor for their soul.

Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV) Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Perseverance and endurance are difficult processes in life. We must hold unswervingly or tightly or fast to the hope that we speak of and profess in our life. The enemy meets our confession with trials and trouble to see just how strong our hope in the Lord really is. To know God is not enough the demons know Him. We must trust the Lord far beyond that which we can see or do holding fast to the anchor called hope. You cannot see that which you hope for. If you can see it, it does not require faith at all because you can do it if you set your heart and mind to it. Those things pursued in simple agreement with others make us unstoppable. Consider the Tower of Babel. However, if a rich and satisfying life is what I desire. It cannot be accomplished outside of Christ. Faith and trust are born of perseverance and endurance. Those things that take us to the end of self to see what we find there. Those who find Jesus will never turn back or give up again. To experience His Faithfulness one time leads us to trust Him next time and the chain of our faith in Him adds another link. True freedom in Christ is to build a firm foundation of faith anchoring our soul with hope. It makes us untouchable and unconquerable and fearless in life because no matter what happens – our soul will prosper and remains secure.

It has already been “one of those weeks.” The pressures of life are weighing me down. Sensing human weakness the enemy is hot on my heels offering me subtle escapes like quitting, complaining or just sitting down refusing to move in overwhelming difficulties. I must hold fast to the hope that I have in Jesus. The Word in my heart fortifies my mind, will and emotions. It will not let them overtake me. Faith is the substance that holds our anchor in place. It is the thing that pleases God not what we do or say. The Fruit of the Spirit is prosperity to our soul. It is born of adversity. “The Broken Way” author Ann Voskamp said, “Growth often looks life total destruction.” I can identify with that on those days when my boat is getting rocked and my faith feels a little shaky. The times when I wonder God did I miss you? Am I still in step with You? This way seems dark and difficult. The wind is kicking up. The waves are rising higher. He is the Refuge I run to. He keeps me in place when all hell breaks loose around me. I must not let go. I will not give up.

Jesus, add weight to my anchor today! I know it may mean a storm, high wind or the unexpected. I trust You, Lord. I want to hold fast to You today! In all things, pulling You closer than ever before!

Isaiah 35:3-4 (NIV) Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

Run for Shelter – A Devotion

Proverbs 18:10 (NLT)

The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.


The perfect storm can create havoc in a person’s life. This is certainly the case for those who encounter the monster tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa, Alabama last April killing 180 people. A young man spared by the ravages of the devastation physically was a player for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. In the moments before the tornado would change his life forever, the robust athlete who was a “long snapper” center tried to perfect his girlfriend from the approaching danger by laying his much larger frame across hers while cowering in a closet. When he awoke 50 yards from his home in the midst of overwhelming destruction, in the silence of its aftermath, his life would never be the same. Though he survived, his girlfriend did not. In spite of our human nature to take every precaution possible, there are still moments in life that we lose control. This young man’s strength was no match for the powerful force of nature that would destroy many homes and lives of many people that day. There is only one strong fortress and refuge that can rescue people from the storms of life – He is Jesus Christ. This becomes evident when all physical, emotional and natural means of support are stripped away. Hope becomes the anchor of our soul when by faith people choose to trust the Word of God. Though geographically storms may not be a real threat or danger in our natural life, the enemy wages war in the supernatural. His primary goal is to destroy your faith in God. He is relentless in his effort. Even if things are going well today, there is no better time like the present to discover the strong tower of God which is available to all believers.


Psalm 61:2-4 (NLT)

From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!


Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. The Word of God indicates that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. No matter how “good” you try to be, it is inevitable that trials will come your way. It is unavoidable. I do not share this to discourage you, but rather encourage you! As Children of God, it is important to build our faith and trust in God and know His Word before devastation approaches for when it does it is too late to begin the building process. In these times, all we can do is run to our refuge. However, like the three little pigs found out during times of testing is a terrible time to discover that your choice of refuge is insufficient. No matter how much health insurance you may have, it doesn’t soften the blow of a devastating diagnosis. It doesn’t matter if your affairs are all in order when life takes a dramatic turn. As human beings, we are very vulnerable in the natural but can be strong spiritually by choosing to establish our refuge early on.


Psalm 46:1-3 (NLT)

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!


People find confidence in knowledge. When buying a home, one often gets a home inspection so that they know the strengths and weaknesses of the building that they are purchasing. It is a wise choice. However, salvation should not be a “sight-unseen” decision. Once we choose to follow Jesus, it is important to discover what we are getting into. It is important to study the structure of His Word, to know His Character, understand His Benefits and discover all that there is to know about the Lord. These things are essential in trusting God. Yet many people call God by His many Names but have no idea provisionally what it means. You would not run to a rickety shack in the midst of a torrential storm. Weak faith is no foundation for such an event either. Confidence is an important quality of faith. One must trust God to abide in Him during the trials, tribulations and attacks in life.


Psalm 91:9-11 (NLT)

If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.


Faith in God as our refuge opens the door to a 24-hour security escort. His Angels surround those who choose the Lord as their refuge. It means that when the storms come no matter how they rage, you will be protected. Your family will be safe. It does not exempt you from the situations of life but it certainly will protect you through them. You will make it to the other side not because of anything man can do but because of God’s Strength that is now yours. No matter how things look or what others may say even in the midst of the most devastating storm, God’s Hand will be upon you and as long as you stay put in His Presence. You will make it to the other side.


Hebrews 6:17-19 (NLT)

God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.


Salvation and righteousness are the best insurance in life. God’s Promises make you the beneficiary of all that His Kingdom has to offer. By choosing the Lord as your strong tower, refuge and dwelling place, it is a guarantee of what is to come. There is everlasting hope in the midst of great adversity. There is joy when the world expects mourning. There is peace in a raging storm for those who choose to put their trust in God before the storm arrives. It is unnatural. The world will stare and often scoff at a faith that ignores the storm trusting in Jesus Christ. They do not understand. But after the storm, God’s Promises still stand as a testimony to those who may doubt opening the door of salvation and rescue to them as well. God’s Promise for your life does not change when circumstances do. In fact, He has factored every single detail of your life into His Amazing Plan. His Word does not change. Every single word God has spoken as an oath to His People is a provision for your life. Wrap yourself in the refuge of His Presence. Dwell in the Sanctuary of His Love. The storms will continue to come and go but you will not be moved.


Psalm 62:6-8 (NLT)

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.


The sport of football is filled with many talented athletes. Young men who have proven their commitment to the game who spend their life in training and through discipline excel. However, there are games strictly determined by the team who puts their entire being mind, soul and body on the field and will gladly leave it for their team. They are victorious! This powerful commitment is an example to believers. God desires your life – heart, mind, soul and body. He promises to wrap you in His Protection and Love. Jesus declares victory for His People. He will be your refuge and strength but you must begin building now. Storms are coming. Some you can see in the distance and others will take you by surprise. But nothing catches the Lord off guard. He is a firm foundation. Immovable. Put your faith and trust in Jesus today. Even if your life is filled with clouds and sunshine, do not hesitate to dwell in the Presence of God. Run for Shelter today!

How to Build a Fence – A Devotion


Psalm 62:1-3 (NKJV)

Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. How long will you attack a man? You shall be slain, all of you, like a leaning wall and a tottering fence.


It’s funny how the image of the American dream is a house with a white picket fence. Why not just a big house with a giant oak tree in the front yard or maybe a nice porch swing, but why does this image include a fence? People innately desire security even though what one perceives as secure can be entirely different, everyone longs to have boundaries of control that keep their life together and their “stuff” intact while keeping uncertainty and danger safely outside of their perception of life. One would think that while pursing an amazing life, there would be no boundaries to contend with just endless opportunities. This is not the case. There is safety and security in knowing the boundaries. There is power in controlling what comes and goes from the life we furiously build and maintain. But physical fences that mark the boundaries of our personal property are not enough to sustain the human heart through eternity. These structures are built on what we can see and this temporary circumstance called life. We must carefully and diligently build a spiritual fence around our life to be powerful and effective for God’s Kingdom now. A consecrated life is one in which a believer builds a fence around their existence marking what is God’s. It is a stand that tells the world this is what is mine and who I am after. It is not made to keep everyone out but simply be prudent about who and what we allow to come in. It states that we are God’s property. God’s Word says that God is our defense. He is our refuge and strong tower. He is a rock meaning immovable and our salvation which means active on our behalf all at the same time. God is big. He is more capable than one could ever imagine. So why do we hurry and scurry to build a comfortable life and chase the American dream rather than begin to build a fence around our life that defines it as God’s? In an instant, natural disaster, economic devastation and life’s tragedies can rob us of the safe and secure environment our hands have constructed as a means of protection. But when God is our defense, we cannot be moved. It is important to know today how to build a fence.

Jesus be a fence all around me everyday…Jesus I want you to protect me as I travel along the way…I know you can(yes Lord)…I know you will (yes Lord)…Fight my battle(yes Lord)…If I just keep still (yes lord)…Lord be a fence all around me every day.

(Jesus Be A Fence Around Me by Fred Hammond)

How important is the Lord’s protection today? It is absolutely vital in the life of His Children. To build a successful Christian life one must clearly mark the borders of their life as God’s Property while guarding it from the enemy’s attack. The devil is not in favor of your construction. In fact, the enemy is constantly looking for weakness in the life that we build. If he can just get through your line of defense then he can disrupt the building process. If you are working in your own power, he will be quite successful. Many years ago, a friend in the Lord came to me with what he felt was God’s Word. Knowing that this person loved God and had an active, productive relationship with Him, I listened intently to what he had to share. He told me that God had given him the image of a post being planted in the ground. He went on to describe the brutal process that a post undergoes when being hammered into the ground. He landed the final blow with the revelation that I was the post and God was pounding me in the ground to make my life immovable and unshakable. Oh really! What kind of encouraging word was that? A bit disgruntled I weakly thanked him for his efforts and continued to ponder the image not just for a day for many years to come as God faithful to His Word has pushed me deeper in His Word, brought me to my knees in prayer, pulled me close to His Heart in His Presence until I have embraced the Word from my friend. Though sometimes building the boundaries of a consecrated life holy to God is tough, it has proven well worth the effort.

Posts are not enough. There has to be connecting boards and panels to make it secure. One can hardly protect their entire property with a single fence post in place. The Body of Christ must build connecting panels and boards to bond the posts together creating an impenetrable barrier. There is more to living a consecrated life than the process of planting poles of immovable and unshakable saints of God. It is important that they are connected to God AND each other to survive in this world. God created the church to foster these relationships. By worshiping, fasting, praying, praising, loving and living together, the Body of Christ builds a fence around their life through a sense of community that is strengthened by God and fortified by others. God did not intend for you to go it alone in this journey. He provided His Spirit. The Spirit of God lives in you as your constant companion and empowerment. But God knows His Children and our needs especially to “see” and be a part of something so He gave us other believers to come together with. Sadly, quite a few Christians have devalued the importance of such relationships altogether.

John 10:1-7 (NLT)

“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”  Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.”

Every proper fence has a gate. Jesus Christ is the gate for His People. There is no other way to enter a consecrated life than by Jesus Christ. There are many counterfeit gates out there today that boast entrance to God’s Kingdom but they are all lies. Without Jesus Christ it is impossible to enter God’s Kingdom. Love and deeds will never open the gate to all of God’s Glory without the Blood of Jesus Christ. Fence building is messy. It is hard work but when allow God to plant you firmly in His Word and finish the process of reconstructing your life beginning with a firm foundation it is worth the sweat and tears to see it complete. Interesting to note is that Jesus Christ is a gate for His Sheep which is plural further confirmation of the unity that Jesus desires for His People. Allow God to enrich your life through an intimate relationship with Him and healthy interactions with the Body of Christ. Your consecrated life was not meant for complete separation from mankind. It is simply marking your borders for God and only allowing the Lord to dictate who comes and goes and what impact they have on you. Let Jesus be the gateway to your success today. Skip the American dream and grab hold of the Vision of God for your life. Let God be your defender. Raise high the banner of His Love to let the whole world that your life belongs to Him. Declare that you are God’s Property. Ask Jesus to build a fence around you for His Glory!