Live Free

Live Free

Galatians 5:1 (ESV) For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

My father is a Vietnam War veteran. He served multiple tours of duty when I was very young. I remember my mother putting me in pretty little dresses and fixing my hair in little pony tails while she got all fancied up to go meet him at the airport for furlough. I also remember the rainy morning before sun rise when my son after a swift hug and smile hopped on a bus full of soldiers to spend a year in the Middle East. A child missing her daddy and then a mother whose heart was stretched halfway around the world – a price paid for freedom. I was watching television with my dad many years ago when the news covered protestors burning the American Flag all the while calling those who defend us horrible names. He told me not to worry about it. He was defending their freedom, too. It was thanks to the men and women who sacrifice that afford them the right to state their opinion. I was appalled to think of all those who do not come home or come home changed that must endure the attacks of those whose rights they were upholding.

We hold these truths self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Today is Independence Day. The word “liberty” is important. Liberty is freedom from arbitrary government or control. It is freedom from external rule. It means independence. Liberty is freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction or hampering conditions. It is the right to do, think, or speak according to personal choice. It means freedom from captivity, confinement or physical restraint. We are set free through the Blood of Jesus Christ. For freedom Christ has set us free but we must be careful not to fall back into bondage. To pursue life, liberty and happiness are set forth in the Declaration of Independence which is our right as Americans. To pursue life, liberty and happiness as set forth by the Word of God is truly our freedom to prosper as Children of God and residents of His Kingdom.

James 1:22-25 (ESV) But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

In John 8, it tells us that “so if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Let’s talk for a minute about freedom in Christ. Some may say that it is not freedom at all but more stringent and restrictive. We are instructed to be doers of the Word. There is no penalty imposed or restriction placed on us by God if we choose to use our freedom to pursue other things. Born into the slavery of sin, it is Christ who frees us. My grandson is only five months old. When he doesn’t get his way, he pitches a fit. His mom and dad didn’t teach him to be impatient. Neither one demonstrated what exactly to do when one does not get their way or get it fast enough. No, the little man came prewired and predisposed to sin. As a baby, it is kind of funny when he insists on his way because he such a little human. However, when he is fifteen doing the same thing it won’t be quite as enamoring nor if he carries such behavior into adulthood. We are born slaves to sin and self. Jesus Christ sets us free. We must secure our freedom by doing what the Word says. This is not to complete the work of the Cross – it is finished. The keys to death and the grave belong to us along with the keys to the kingdom. We choose the doors opened and pathways chosen in our life because Christ has set us free and we are free.

To live a life of liberty and true freedom means we have the right to choose how to live our life. God created the world and everything in it then He placed mankind here. He proclaimed it to be good and that was that. People were here a very short time and gave up freedom for a lie. They chose something other than what God instructed. Immediately, they were removed from the garden. Separated from God by choice. This incurred a debt. The debt had to be paid for freedom to be secured. Jesus came and paid our sin debt in full giving us back our freedom to choose. One may decide to use that freedom to build a life of complete unity with Christ, a fully restored relationship with Father God and to attain the Kingdom OR something else. In no way does our choice nullify the price paid for our freedom to choose or evoke God’s Punishment in any way otherwise declaring His Grace insufficient and not enough.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (ESV) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

We have been set completely free by Jesus Christ. According to God, there is no longer such a thing as impossibility in our life. Every door is open to us. Freedom withholds nothing from us. Liberty allows us to anything. The bottom line is choice. How do we choose to use our freedom? God created you with a plan, gave you a purpose, marked out a pathway, and filled your life with promises. In fact, every spiritual promise is already released to you in Christ. You are free to live in complete freedom and enjoy the benefits of the Kingdom. Or you can decide that this world is what you want and use your freedom to invest in this life rather than eternity. You cannot get mad at God or call Him a liar because you did not choose wisely. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We are the variable in our success or failure to achieve a rich and satisfying life. Fulfillment is already prescribed for us – we must only choose it.

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” (I Corinthians 2:12) God has given us His Spirit. Where His Spirit is there is liberty. Freedom to know and understand the terms of our covenant and all the benefits of relationship. Faith will open every door in God’s Kingdom. Grace gives us power to overcome our weaknesses. We have the power of life and death in our tongue. The keys to death and the grave as well. There is nothing withheld from those who love God and pursue Him. We are set free to do just that. We must choose wisely when it comes to liberty. To use our freedom to continue to open the doors of purpose, promise and prosperity. God will not force His Unfailing Love and Goodness on us but rather gives us the freedom to choose the life so desired. Live free. Live well.

John 8:31-32 (ESV) So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

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No Longer Orphans

No Longer Orphans

John 14:18 (ESV) “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

On this Father’s Day, many will celebrate the men in their life who have filled the prestigious role of dad. Dad comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The natural father given the title by sheer contribution would be the likely candidate for celebration. However, there are guardians, grandfathers and step-fathers that have become the bonus dad for many. Men who stepped up to fill the void or simply added to the enrichment of children who were not their biological children but their kids just the same. Some may even honor the spiritual fathers and mentors who have guided each one with love and divine discipline along the way. Dads will be honored on earth and in heaven today. Today is all about dad!

I am quite certain the song, “Good Father” will resonate in our churches in honor of God our Father. Sons and daughters of God will sing it out among those who remain orphans. Those who have not met the Father in person or allowed Him to manifest in their heart and mind will not understand the grace and goodness of unconditional love from our Father in Heaven who came to us in His Son. We can relate to the story of the prodigal son because most of us identify with his person. It is difficult to understand the heart of the father who loves without consequence or condition but welcome his son home with open arms and full reconciliation. Oh that we could know the Father’s Love today as it is not as one may perceive it.

John 14:8-11 (ESV) Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

Philip thought his request reasonable in his misconception of Christ. He wanted to identify with the Son but needed to “see” the Father to bring it all together. Faith does not come by sight but by hearing. The Word stood right in front of him, but because Jesus did not meet Philip’s earthly expectation – he questioned the identity of Christ. The prodigal was in a pig pen eating with swine when the thought of being a servant in his father’s house seemed like a logical solution to his impending starvation. I will return home and ask my father to allow me to be his slave. He was looking for a consequence. He was convinced there would be a condition. Philip didn’t see the Father in the Son so he doubted. It didn’t matter how much love Jesus demonstrated or how many miracles that He performed. Philip did not believe. The prodigal did not believe that he was worthy of his father’s love so he sought his compassion instead. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to release the Spirit of Adoption for us. The Holy Spirit in us identifies us as sons and daughters of God. He is a good father. We are no longer orphans. The question is – do you believe?

John 14:12-14 (ESV) “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

The Spirit of Adoption gives us the right of receivership. Jesus Christ gave us His Spirit when we first believed. This is the Way Maker that restores a right relationship between God the Father and His Precious Children. Done. Complete. Powerful. Life. See there is nothing in heaven or the earth withheld from us as His Children but we do not live in freedom as His Children when locked in our identity as orphans. The prodigal spirit is that of an orphan.

Romans 8:14-17 (ESV)  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

You have received the Spirit of God. You do not have the spirit of slavery or fear for these are products of sin. You now have been saved from these terrible reminders of your past. The Spirit of Adoption given to us by Christ FULLY RESTORES our relationship with God the Father. Complete. Lacking nothing. You are a Child of the Living God with full access and benefits. We must learn to identify with the Spirit within that bears witness to our true identity. The One that reminds us in the midst of the storm or struggle that we are Children of God. The One who whispers the truth when the enemy is pummeling us with lies. The One who is always ready to receive us because He pursues us each day with unfailing love and goodness. His Goodness is for the land of the living. You are no longer left to feed on the crumbs under the table but have been given a seat AT the table. God will not force you to be His Child or live as part of His Kingdom. He simply has given us access. The rest, my dear friend, is up to you and me.

Ephesians 1:3-6 (ESV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Your natural father is only a man. Any other father figure, like the one who partnered in your existence, is a human given to faults and failures just like everyone else. As we celebrate dad today, it is important to understand that although the one who is called father in your life may have disappointed you – there is one father who never disappoints. He will meet and exceed the expectation of His Children. Children exercise the rights of relationship. There is no prerequisite for a father’s love. As Children of God, our acceptance or denial of God’s Love does not change the fact that He is love and has chosen to adopt us as His Children. He has given us every spiritual blessing in Christ withholding nothing from us that was given to His Son – Jesus. It is easy to judge God by our human parental experience, but so errant and remiss. God is not an earthly father but our Father in Heaven. Nothing can separate us from His Love. He is constantly pursuing us and waiting for us to return to Him without reservation. He is ready to respond to our acceptance of His Spirit of Adoption today and every day!

You are not an orphan. You are not alone. God has not left you to fend for yourself. He is a Good Father.  He loves you and has wonderful promises hidden away just for you. It is discovered by accepting Him as our Father. The Perfect Father. We access Him through His Son – Jesus Christ. He gives us His Spirit which seals our adoption as sons and daughters of the living God. Every day is Father’s Day for those who believe. We celebrate adoption today because we are no longer orphans.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (ESV) And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Just Plowing

Hand to the Plow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Water on a Rock

Water on a rock

John 7:37-38 (NLT) On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

“I am like a drop of water on a rock. After drip, drip, dripping in the same place, I begin to leave a mark and I leave my mark in many people’s hearts.” These are the words of Guatemalan Human Rights Activist and 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu. It is a declaration of persistence. A canyon is not formed by the hands of man but by persistence water flowing through it. What mark am I leaving on the hearts around me? Do I speak life to them consistently? Do I use word to confirm God’s Love and Affirmation of them in order to show them the Light? What is my impact on others?

The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and 18 miles wide and about a mile deep. It is the result of the Colorado River running through it. Man did not design it or carve it from the rock masses but a constant flow of water slowly and persistently eroding the hard surface. It is majestic. It is flocked to by many visitors each year attracting tourists to Arizona just to behold its breathtaking beauty. A national attraction of unintentional creation by the Hand of God carved from rocks with a simple flow of water.

Do you feel like the Word you share with others is like water on a rock? You try to share the Love of God through His Word and according to His Spirit, but you are just not seeing any results. Jesus told those celebrating that day, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me. Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! And, “Rivers of Living Water will flow from their heart!” The power of God’s Word is not by force but by persistence. God does not force us to accept His Love and Grace but offers it daily. In the morning, there is new mercies not according to our faithfulness but the Lord’s Faithfulness. Every promise is “yes” and “amen” for us and His Unfailing Love and Goodness pursue us no matter where our feet may wander. His Grace is enough. Always sufficient. Christ gives me overwhelming victory just because He loves me so. Calling me “more than a conqueror” as He completes the good work started in me. He manages to use every detail of my life for good and His Glory. It just doesn’t make sense and it is very simple. Maybe that is why people have a hard time accepting it.

2 Timothy 4:1-2 (NLT) I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

“Dripping water hollows out a stone, not by force but persistence. (Ovid) Some translations of this passage say, “Be ready in season and out of season” to speak the Word of God. It seems that in times of drought and famine in our life that the highest platform is given. What will flow from me when my feelings take over? When pressed? When angry, sad, hurt, betrayed or offended? What will be the words that flow from the depths of my heart? It is from the abundance of the heart our mouth forms thoughts, ideas and words.

We must carefully consider the contents of our conversation. The Word of God is the water and the Spirit gives it life. In John 7, the rivers of living water are a mixture of Word and Spirit that will flow from the heart through the mouth making our witness productive in promoting the Kingdom. We must find truth in the Word and allow the Spirit to teach us God’s Wisdom to share His Love effectively and communicate it to the world. Jesus told the woman at the well about living water. He encouraged her to worship in Spirit and in Truth. In that moment, she forget those she was avoiding and the people who shunned her with boldness she went to them and shared her encounter with the Messiah.

Our message to the world will never be effective if put on reserve. Waiting for the right moment to sow seeds is not advantageous. We sow seeds in every season so there will be a harvest for the next. Withholding God’s Word and His Love from others promotes seasons of drought and famine. God will prosper those who continuously sow in season and out of season including the seeds of His Word into others. Husbands are encouraged to love their wives as Christ loved the church even “having cleansed her (His Bride) with the washing of water with the word.” I wonder what would happen if rather than forcing our convictions on others and withholding the grace given to us by Christ – we chose to carefully bathe and dress the wounds of the broken and lost what might happen? If our vocabulary was a constant drip of God’s Love, Grace and Mercy for us to others who need it as much as we do. Sin becomes less palatable when love is properly seasoned.

Proverbs 18:4 (NLT) The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.

There is life and death in our words. The depth of our soul is revealed in our daily conversation. The Fruit of God’s Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness AND self-control. Our words should bear heavy fruit of the Spirit’s cultivation in our heart and mind. Such words end famine in human hearts and begin spiritual reproduction in others. The first fruit is love. The Word defines love as patient and kind. It says that love is not jealous or boastful never rude or demanding its own way. Love is not irritable and always forgiving while not keeping record of any wrongs. Love rejoices in the Truth. The Truth concerning us is the Word. The Word is Jesus. Love does not desire vengeance but thrives on mercy. Love never ever gives up. It never loses faith. Always hopeful, it endures through every circumstance. Without love, I have nothing to offer and nothing to gain.

Luke 6:45 (NLT) A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

Jesus didn’t change the world standing on a platform. He did not do it through a megaphone. He did it by walking, talking, living and breathing God’s Love. Jesus did not come to do His Will. He came to express the Father’s Love to us and make a way for us to come back into the family. It worked. Our heart is the treasury that contains His Word and His Spirit. A hard heart cannot flow living water. A stony exterior will stop its overflow. Our words hold the secret of what the contents of our heart may be. To express Christ’s Love effectively our heart must not only contain the Word and His Spirit but be soft enough to let it flow from our lips. We cannot give what has not been received. What are the words of my mouth today? Do they express God’s Love? Are they full of His Fruit? Do they satisfy those who hunger, thirst and desire a better way? Are they light that draw others from darkness? Are they salty enough to add flavor but not ruin the whole meal?

There is an urgency in our collection of water from the Word. Amos 8 warns that the Word of God will not be found in the future. Men will look for it and it will not be found. We must hide God’s Word in our heart so He is with us always. Moses experienced heartbreak when God told him to speak to the rock so water might flow from it, but he decided to strike the rock twice instead. The Word of God is to make a way from death to life and darkness to light. I must always use the Word of God and His Spirit according to His Purpose – not my own agenda. God’s Word is the water that washes away sin and heals broken hearts. His Spirit is the Living Flow that finishes the Good Work God has begun in us. Persistence is my pleasure. Not that I would see immediate results but that the constant drip of obedience to the Lord will make it through my stony exterior to the depths of my heart.

John 4:10 (NLT)  Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

Are You Listening?

Are You Listening

Proverbs 8:32-35 (NIV) “Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it. Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.

My husband and I were having a normal conversation on an ordinary day. He kept saying, “What?” I would repeat the previous statement. This continued until I insisted on a visit to the doctor and hearing test concerned that he may have hearing issue. He laughed and said, “Or at least they can tell me if it is selective hearing loss!” Oh my goodness! Always the jokester. I read on social media recently that a husband told his wife that scientists have found that men say about 10,000 words a day while women say about 20,000. His wife shouts back from the kitchen, “It’s because we have to repeat everything twice to you blockheads.” The husband responds, “What?” And there you have it, what science deems a response to “higher level of protein” is really just a need to be heard…

Psalm 50 tells us that “the Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets.” Who is He speaking to? You. Me. All of us. God still speaks today. Whispering to those He calls beloved in an effort to illicit a response and release the instruction that leads to abundance in all things as God has ordained and predestined for us. Are you listening? Am I listening? When we hear His Voice is it easily recognized and discerned from all the other influences in our life? The Lord has called the listeners “blessed”. Those who watch and wait at His Doorway. Those who do will find life everlasting and overflowing with His Abundance.

Psalm 78:1-3 (NIV) My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.

God speaks to us. The truth is that He speaks to us every day from the rising of the sun until it sets. God is encouraging us, teaching us, leading us, and guiding us to better things by better ways. We choose the voice who guides us each day. However, His Thoughts are not my (natural) thoughts and inclinations. (Isaiah 55:8) His Ways are not my instinctual ways, attitude or actions but much higher altogether. God leads us to the narrow road less followed and the higher way not always perceived in our humanity. There are two keys things necessary to discern God’s Voice from the other influences.

John 14:26 (NIV)  But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

We absolutely need the Holy Spirit to discern the Voice of God. The Advocate who weighs earthly logic and Heavenly Knowledge to give us the upper hand. Faith is not logical in our present state of mind. It is only by continually allowing His Spirit to mold and shape us that we adopt the mindset of Christ that allows us to follow through with His Actions.

Matthew 4:4 (NIV) Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

The Word of God is essential. If I may paint a picture, the Holy Spirit lives in you and me. He is the advocate and our personal warrior who enables us to overcome the enemy. The only weapon the enemy can use against us is the lie. The Shield of Faith protects us from those fiery darts. The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit that cuts to the Truth. When you know the Truth, you will not accept the lie. Matthew 4:4 is the response of Jesus to the lie of the enemy. What is yours?

I have been to many churches and found them all unique. There are churches that emphasis the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. However, the Word is often overlooked. I grew up in a Bible-based church that focused solely on studying scripture and silenced the Holy Spirit. The church I believe that will be the “remnant” church of the end times will worship in Spirit and Truth just as Jesus tells the woman at the well in the Book of John. We must be filled by the Spirit and the Word in order to rightly divide the Truth from the lie even in our churches and small groups.

Proverbs 1:20-23 (NIV) Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech: “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.

The Lord is relentless in His Pursuit of us. Psalm 23 tells us that His Goodness and Unfailing Love follow us all the days of our lives. God desires us to dwell in His Presence. He wants to communicate with us. Commune with us. He lives inside of us as a holy consummation of the covenant of love that He has made with us. He wants to pour His Thoughts in us so we will overcome the lie of the enemy and stop living in lack. Lack comes in many forms. It is not a material or monetary term. The Fruit of God’s Spirit grows in the vacated spaces occupied by substitutions and compromise. As our soul prospers in Spirit and Truth, so will we. We must be listening for God’s Voice in every moment of every day to have all that He has promised and ordained to bless us with in this life leading to eternity.

I Kings 19:11-13 (NIV) The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Elijah left Mount Carmel victorious over the prophets of Baal. God accepted his sacrifice proving their religion a farce and 450 were killed that day. Jezebel was infuriated and in her rage leveled a death threat against God’s Man, Elijah. He fled to a cave high atop a mountain. It’s funny how easy a lie can ensnare us. Just when everything seemed to be going so well, and then our feet get tangled in a half-truth or subtle suggestion. The enemy of our soul knows the Word of God personally. Jesus is the Word of God. He saw satan fall from Heaven. Who better to twist and taint the Truth but one who knows it intimately inside and out? With this in mind, the best defense is a good offense. You can prepare for the lie of the enemy by engaging in the Truth. Faith is credible and logical when rooted and grounded in the Word of God.

God did not yell at His Servant or berate him for falling for the oldest trick in the Book. No, he came to him in a gentle whisper and called him by name. “What are you doing here, Elijah?” God is intent on the one. He will leave the 99 just to find you in the midst of delays, detours or distractions. He understands our vulnerability when it comes to believing the lie. He has empowered us to overcome yet in our weakness – His Grace is always enough.

Have you fallen for the lie of the enemy? Have you stopped listening? There is a difference between ignoring God and ignorance. If you know the Word and are filled by the Spirit and choose to do what you want to do – there is a sin problem in your heart today. Repent and let Him lead to the better way. The problem is most likely fostered by a faith plagued by fear, doubt and insecurity creating disbelief. He is not mad at you but still insists on communicating His Love to you one-on-one.

If you have never heard the Voice of God, you are in for a real treat. There is nothing more relevant in your life than to hear the Words of the One who created you. Your Father in Heaven who loves you perfectly and completely. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Word of God hidden in our heart begins to cut through the lie to expose the Truth. The Holy Spirit holds firmly the Shield of Faith to protect the tender, broken heart that has repented and presented itself to the Lord. God is speaking to you today. He has secrets just for you. Thoughts that will blow your mind with possibility. He desires a personal relationship with you that will bring you together as one. God is speaking to you. Are you listening?

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

Arm Yourself

Arm Yourself

Matthew 10:34 (NIV) “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) I am a truth seeker. Are you? My trust issues and insecurities demand truth. To be transparent, when betrayed by a lie, it is very difficult for me to establish trust again. If I trust you, it is rock solid. Hidden deception will destroy that in an instant. Forgiveness is a learned behavior for me through years of living in Christ. Childhood and youthful hurts and disappointments led to a do-it-yourselfer who was self-reliant. A faulty and broken marriage led to a bitter and distant person who decided never to love again. Well, God had other plans for the hard-hearted wanderer.

When I met my husband, I wasn’t looking to love or be loved. A conversation over a friendly meal changed my life. He mentioned God. We were not seeking the Lord or even remotely living a life worthy of the love, grace and mercy the Lord was about to pour out in us through the partnership and unity of marriage, but He did it anyway. Loving the Lord is the easy part, however; just like any other relationship it is the commitment of love that can be challenging. The only difference between a natural union and supernatural communion with Jesus is that He is perfect. Always right. Never gives up His Way for our less than perfect wants or desires. He does not give up. He is Perfect Love that drives out all fear.

As one who relies heavily on truth and concrete information, trust is based on the reality of my belief. Growing up in a faith that was Word-based should have been enough to establish firm faith in a Sovereign God but it wasn’t. Jesus told the woman at the well that true worshippers do so in Spirit and Truth. The two are partners. They go together. Both are essential to a long-term partnership with Christ. For example, I told my husband I love you on the day of our marriage. I gave him my “word” that I would live in covenant with him for the rest of my natural life. But if I do not engage my heart (or spirit) into loving him then there is nothing but a contract. We do not have a contract with the Lord but a covenant. We must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. An imbalance creates a problem in our spiritual life.

Jesus did not come to give us peace on earth. He came to overcome the sin debt owed by mankind and reestablish a relationship between God and His People. The Creator desired intimacy with His Creation and union again. Jesus came to put a sword in our hand. To equip us in our battle against the enemy and our flesh. Are you armed today? You are an overcomer. You have been given authority and power to be victorious in every situation. Are you winning today?

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

The Word of God is alive. It is powerful. It is sharper than any double-edged sword which matches the description of Christ in Revelation 1. “It penetrates even dividing soul and spirit.” Show me a church that is Word strong and Spirit weak and in most cases it will be legalist. The Word with binds but the Spirit is freedom. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17) If a church is Spirit strong but Word weak it is more than likely a based on emotionalism and constantly swayed by feelings not based on Truth. There must be Spirit and Truth to be true worship. The Word of God penetrates our flesh in order to expose faith. Faith thrives on Spirit and Truth. It grows and comes alive. Developing and maturing into the good fruit, good deeds and good works that God has already ordained for us becoming the abundant life that Jesus promised full of satisfaction.

John 1:1-5; 14 (NIV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus is the Word. It is impossible to have a thriving relationship with God outside of the Word. Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life and no one gets to the Father except through the Son. The Spirit of God is unarmed when there is no Word in us. Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the Word is the Sword of the Spirit. The only weapon the enemy has to use against us is a lie. He takes the Word of God and twists it into a half-truth. Ignorance causes people to perish. The Bible says clearly that God’s People perish due to a lack of knowledge. If you read Genesis 3:23-24 it was a flaming sword that kept Adam and Eve from entering the garden and eating of the tree of life. It would have been eternal death. Hope was kept alive as the “flaming sword” kept them from it. The Word was with God and the Word was God. Everything created through Him and under His Power and Authority. God sent the Word to us. He made a way for us through the Word and it is our privilege to know the Word.

Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV) Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Are you fully armed today? The shield of faith must be partnered with the sword of the Spirit or the Word to be ready to battle the enemy today. The only weapon that is in his arsenal is a lie. The only way to overcome rebellious thoughts and random wanderings is to know the Truth. The terms and conditions of our covenant carefully scripted by divine inspiration to reveal the heart of God and His Great Love for us. Truth will help your trust issues. The more you know the more you grow deep roots in the Love and Grace of God that allows His Goodness to captivate us. When the enemy tells you a lie, you will know what the Truth says and be able to ignore his taunts and temptations. God always has something better for you. His Way is always the best. Pick up your sword. Read it. Practice it. Memorize it. Don’t leave home without it. Strengthen the Spirit today and crucify your flesh. The Word will cut away the things binding and restricting growth and prosperity and give way to new life as a new creation becoming the masterpiece that God promised you would become in Christ who is the Word. Arm yourself today.

John 4:23-24 (NIV) Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Break the Cycle

Break the Cycle

2 Corinthians 5:16-18 (NLT) So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.

Just about every morning, I start a load of wash to start the day. This house produces mounds of laundry at an alarming rate. It is my personal ongoing challenge to find the bottom of the hamper though only able to glory in it shortly before it fills back up. The washer has different cycles according to that which I am cleaning. There is a delicate cycle for those things that are fragile or nice. There is a normal setting for all the average materials. Then there is a heavy duty one for those big loads like towels or really dirty loads. There is a plethora of other choices in between so many options just to get your items clean. When I visited Africa as a missionary, there were two sweet ladies that would gather up the laundry and in the sunshine of the day with a couple buckets of water work through all of it until it was pristine. No fancy machine with a bunch of buttons just two hardworking women beating the clothes on rocks, scrubbing with brushes, rubbing with lemon and hanging the product of the labor to dry. They were scheduled for twice a week to come to the missionary’s home. They were part of a cycle, too.

Are you living in a cycle? Or are you living in seasons? To live life making the same choices and expecting different outcomes is thought to be insanity. I don’t know if that’s the case, but it certainly is sad. I wonder if sometimes as believers the mistake is made to think we are living in seasons but only an ongoing cycle. Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. Am I a new person? Or am I the same person just doing different things? Hmmm… I was listening to my daughters talk about a situation with some friends. Teenage drama. The same scenario played out not too long ago. Hopeful that the cycle of hurt feelings was over yet clearly not. And that’s when it hit me…my own thoughts were filled with disappointment that was creeping in as frustration, bitterness and discord. Is Christ a concept in my life or is Christ my life? I am a new creation. I am a new person. I have a new life. It is not because of conditions or circumstances and certainly not dictated by people. It is up to me to break the cycle of sin and continually sow seeds in seasons including those intangible seeds that grow into the Fruit of God’s Spirit. One day my girls will mature into adults (I hope) that can see past immaturity and temporary circumstances. As Christians, it is our privilege in Christ to grow, mature and develop our character in every season. Too often, we fall prey to cycles.

A cycle is a sequence of changing states that, upon completion, produces a final state identical to the original one. Like my washing machine, I can operate in cycles that do nothing to grow, develop or mature my character and produce a harvest but yields the same results over and over again. If I do not break such sequences in my life and determine to plant the Word, pray in the Spirit and do something different – I run the risk of becoming like the fig tree which could produce beautiful leaves but could bear no fruit. It did not make it past an encounter with Christ. Is your life producing fruit? Are you doing all the “right” things but not experiencing the associated blessing? Are you living in a cycle? Religion often creates cycles in life. Repetitious rules and rituals that without true repentance and real righteousness will bear no harvest in us.

Romans 7:18-20 (NLT) And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

Galatians 4:9-11 (NLT) So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing.

Unproductive seasons are nothing more than cycles. I am now convinced that the derailment of a season turns it into a cycle. If we do not plant seeds of faith, trust and confidence and allow them to grow, develop and mature there will be no harvest. There will only be disappointment and discouragement when no blessing comes. We can endure seasons, but to get a harvest something must be sown. To reap a harvest there must be a spiritual investment. A seed in the ground must die to produce the potential within it. I wonder today if some of us have fallen into dangerous cycles rather than living from season to season. We can break these dangerous cycles by choosing to live according to the seasons.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 11 (NLT) For everything there is a season a time for every activity under heaven. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 

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

James 1:21-22 (NLT)  So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

Who the Son sets free is free indeed. We get to choose how we live even after coming to Christ. It doesn’t mean that our lives will produce harvests of blessing and abundance no matter how we live but that His Mercy and Grace is always enough to save us. We must only endure to the end to be saved. Some Christians will live in cycles from here to eternity and walk right in. That’s not enough for me. I believe that Christ died to give me an abundant life and do exceedingly abundantly more than I can think or ask according to His Word. I believe that His Promise to make good of every detail of my life also is true and valid. Every spiritual blessing is given to me right along with everything I need. I am marked for success. I am prospering from the inside out. However, believing all these things are not enough. I must live according to the seasons and break every fruitless cycle that I once engaged in.

God promised that the seasons of our life would produce a harvest…if I carefully obey His Commands. (Deuteronomy 11:13-15) His Desire is for His People to thrive and produce good and lasting fruit in EVERY season even in drought or famine. (Psalm 1:1-3) Obedience will break cycles and turn them into seasons. Our heart must be broken, fertile and ready to receive that seed by faith and allow it to reach its full potential which means I cannot live by what I see but by faith as the Word prescribes. God is more concerned with the life produced inside of me than a tangible harvest. When my heart and soul prosper it will overflow into abundant life around me.

I Corinthians 13:11-12 (NLT) When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

James 1:23-25 (NLT) For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

The beauty of our walk with Christ is that it is individual and personal. He longs to walk with us and talk with us every day. To be yoked together as one. He knocks awaiting a personal invitation and always comes when called. He offers to be the vine with a place for branches to become engrafted and bear fruit in all seasons according to the resurrection power and life that is in Him. We have been given the opportunity as Children of the Living God filled with His Life Giving Spirit to produce good fruit. Lasting fruit. Abundant fruit. We must live each season through Christ and refuse to settle for cycles.

We must look into the mirror, not at our appearance. It is our reflection that must be determined. Sin leads to death a vicious and endless cycle. Life begets life – new life in each season. Sin is anything that is contrary to His Word, His Will or His Way. Hope never leads to disappointment. True repentance produces a love affair with Jesus so special that there is nothing of more value or worth to compare it to. It is the sweetest love that produces a desire in us for more of Him. It is produced by the seed of faith committed in trust and confident that it will be worth the wait. Are you in a cycle today? Good news! New life belongs to you. You are a new creation. You are more than a conqueror through Christ. You always win. You live from glory to glory. Anytime you would like to break an unproductive cycle – you can! Is it time to put away some childish things? Maybe it is time just to believe again. Whatever the season of your life make it productive. Find your promise. Plant God’s Word. Speak life over it every day. Wait until He comes with the harvest He promised. He will come. Will you be ready?

Isaiah 55:10-13 (NLT) “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up. These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name; they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

Where’s My Blessing?

Wheres My Blessing

Ephesians 1:3-5 (NLT) All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

God has blessed me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. I am united with Christ. Where is it? Where is the “every spiritual blessing” that is clearly indicated in the Word of God? Why don’t I see it manifested in my everyday life? His Word says also that the Lord’s Goodness is for the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13) Confidence plays a key role in accepting every spiritual blessing that is in the heavenly realms. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6) The access point to reestablishing a relationship with God the Father. He is the only way to the Father who has our inheritance. An access point is only as relevant as our ability to enter it. To walk through it and move in the appropriate direction. In order to receive spiritual blessing, there must be a turnaround and movement in the appropriate pathway to have what is beyond this point. Many will open the doorway to heaven, but few will enter it.

The first step of the journey is faith and confidence is the momentum that keeps us going in the right direction. Believing is not enough if trust never produces movement toward that which is desired. Demons believe in God and His Son, Jesus. They tremble at the mention of His Name. If only God’s People might do the same, given a free will – obedience is the response to such revelation. Those who choose to obey will step into every spiritual blessing reserved for them in Heaven before stepping into eternity.

Numbers 20:9-12 (NLT) So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the Lord. Then he and Aaron summoned the people to come and gather at the rock. “Listen, you rebels!” he shouted. “Must we bring you water from this rock?” Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!”

“Because you did not trust me enough…” I am convinced this is the limitation in our natural life. We do not trust God enough. Partial obedience demonstrates a lack of trust in God. God tells us to do something so controversial to what He has done in the past or that which has ever been done so we cut corners or compromise on His Word. To review, the people were complaining to Moses and Aaron (as usual) this time about their lack of water. They were thirsty. They approached the men with their complaints, whining, moaning and groaning so the two retreated to the tabernacle to seek God on the matter. The Lord gave Moses and Aaron explicit instructions to satisfy the people and demonstrate His Glory. Everything seems good so far…right? We pray to the Lord and He answers with careful instruction. The Spirit of God convicts us with nudging and urgings to trust the Lord and do what He says.

Moses went before the people just like the Lord said to do. But rather than raising His Voice which God told him to do, Moses struck the rock as he had done in the past. Ugh! Water came gushing out. Yay, God! Wait hold on! The people were satisfied. Everyone was happy. However, God was not pleased. Moses did not obey the Word of the Lord completely. He did what he had done before. He relied on his previous experience rather than stepping out in faith. He kept control and did what he was comfortable doing and God delivered to the people but Moses would pay a terrible price. The Lord told his servant, “You will not lead them into the land I am giving them.”

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NLT) “But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) From glory to glory – God changes us to be more like Christ through radical faith, constant confidence and absolute obedience. The Glory in us is the Light of the World – Jesus Christ. As we submit our way to Him and yoke our life to Him – His Glory resonates through us and around us including the windows of Heaven opening and pouring out spiritual blessing. He will not do anything in our life without doing something in us first. I was made for the Glory of God. I was made to give glory to God through His Son, Jesus. My life should point to God’s Grace and Goodness and nothing I do. With this in mind, the error of Moses serves as revelation to us. We can reach heaven and still miss heaven on earth.

Moses did not enter the Promised Land for which he labored in leading the people. Why? He did not obey God fully. It did not exempt him from eternity but robbed him of success on the earth in this area. God made water flow from a rock in Exodus 17. When it came time to go before the people again, Moses reverted to experience rather than the new way God had instructed. Comfort over confidence – it happens all the time. The three C’s that threaten our confidence in God and ability to trust Him are comfort, convenience and control. God is going to move you out of your comfort to experience His Glory. Faith is often inconvenient. His Glory is beyond our control. You must decide that you will obey God to the very end and in every detail to have the fulfillment attached. The promise is accepted when faith and trust overcome fear and doubt.

“For I am about to do something new.” To walk by faith and not by sight means God’s Way is not always clearly visible or humanly logical. That’s why it requires faith. We are becoming a new creation. God is always doing new things. Miracles require the impossible. God gets the Glory completely when we lose all control. When there is nothing left to do but trust the Lord – His Light shines from our life. Obedience connects us to every spiritual blessing. Why? God doesn’t lie or change His Mind. His Word cannot return to Him void or without doing exactly as He said. It will not change course or redirect for you. Therefore God’s Mind is made up long before the trial or trouble comes our way. He already made a way. We just have to trust Him enough to do what He says completely.

Deuteronomy 28:1-8 (NLT) “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God: Your towns and your fields will be blessed. Your children and your crops will be blessed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be blessed. Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed.  “The Lord will conquer your enemies when they attack you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will scatter from you in seven!  “The Lord will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands… What if we made this the mandate of our life? God has given us this Book of Instructions like a cookbook of delicious recipes. Each one leads to spiritual blessing, increase, favor and abundance. We want the outcome but chose partial obedience. Picking and choosing those things that do not compromise our comfort, convenience and/or control but then wonder why we are not experiencing the success and prosperity promised. If you pick and choose to obey some of the steps in a recipe or substitute the ingredients you will alter the outcome. You may like what you get or maybe throw it in the garbage as inedible. The moment you decide to compromise is the same time when you decide for a differing result. A pilot must set the coordinates of the airplane with precision or risk reaching the destination. Obedience is not forced upon us, but a God-given choice every day. I don’t understand why one would pray for financial provision from God when they do not obey the Biblical mandate to tithe. That’s like going to a bank I do not have an account in and asking for my money. If you pick and choose obedience, you pick and choose your blessing right along with it.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NLT) For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

Who doesn’t want the blessing of the Lord on their life? Who would shun God’s Favor? Everyone wants to prosper in their home, church and business? Those who are serious about basking in the Glory of God will seek Him wholeheartedly which includes obedience in all things. God has promised every spiritual blessing. He is our Provider. We have an ample supply of whatever we need and the means to do it for His Kingdom. Like the widow woman, we must act obediently first with finding what we have and then using it for the Glory of God. Her supply did not run out until her jars did. Our faith is the conduit of blessing in our life. To believe will lead to obedience. Obedience always releases the full blessing of God when it is wholehearted and uncompromised. So try something new today? Go to the Lord. Seek Him in His Word. Do exactly what it says. Spiritual blessing, prosperity and abundance will follow when we take Him at His Word.

Psalm 84:11 (NLT) For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.

The Doorkeepers

Doorkeepers

John 10:9-10 (NKJV) I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

It’s the end of summer. Almost time for the kids to head back to school, praise the Lord! My power bill welcomes the relief. It has been steadily climbing. Partly due to the television, lights, and ceiling fans constantly burning up precious kilowatts. However, I could not figure out why it was higher than normal. We have had children in school for more than 20 years now. Down to just two girls at home, I was a bit perplexed. Did I mention that we also acquired a new family member in the form of a fur baby? She is in the midst of housebreaking. She also must be defective because she has a hole in her lip that causes her to slop water all over the place. What does this have to do with my power bill? Well, when our girls take the dog out or to the porch for water, they were leaving the backdoor open. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. The point is that our air conditioner has been servicing the entire neighborhood. Ugh! How many times have I asked, pleaded and even shouted – “Shut the door!” Can anyone else relate? It’s like money flying out the backdoor and floating in the sky.

An open door is an access point. It allows things to come in and go out like the air conditioning of our house. We decide what gains access or is shut out. With heavy locks and deadbolts to keep those unwanted to enter for our protection. I am terrible at locking doors by the way. I am learning to be more diligent about what I allow to have access in my life. It is important that believers become doorkeepers who are diligent, determined and disciplined when it comes to granting access to our life. Jesus declared Himself to be the door! Anyone who enters by me will be saved. He offers freedom to those who enter salvation through Him. He is the Way, Truth and Life who gives us access to the Father. The door that He offers also is the way to have life more abundantly. The threshold is two-fold. Not only does it grant us access but it gives Jesus access to our natural life.

Matthew 16:19 (NKJV) “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Faith is the key that opens the door to Heaven for us. Faith in Jesus Christ (who is the door) opens all of God’s Kingdom to the believer. I can have keys to many places, but if I don’t use them keys are useless. Faith in action creates an access point to the Father through Jesus His Son. We must enter into the place it provides called Presence to have the abundant life that is offered. Jesus has given us the Keys to the Kingdom. What are we doing with them today?

Revelation 3:20 (NKJV) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

The first door to be opened is the one to our heart. Jesus is gently knocking and asking for entrance to us. He promises that if I just open the door that He will come in and live with me. The intimacy of relationship cannot be established with barriers between us. We must give the Lord access to our heart, mind, body and soul. He does not change. He will change us. When the Lord enters – He brings with Him things like Resurrection Power and Life. He is a very attentive lover who always brings good things to His Beloved. His Spirit produces good and lasting fruit that provides fullness of life and true satisfaction. He gives us the knowledge and wisdom. His Favor is full of opportunity and new life that does more than we can think or ask. All this because we chose to open the door and let His Unconditional Love and Overwhelming Grace flood our life. We could stop here but there is so much more to our life with Christ and in Him…why would we?

Revelation 4:1 (NKJV) After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

There is a whole lot of life to live in the dash between the dates on the birth certificate to the one on our death certificate. To live in abundance, favor, and victory requires a new perspective. To expand our perception of life from the natural to the supernatural. The Lord wants us to “come up” higher and see our life and ourselves as He does. To fully embrace the new thing that He is doing and become the new creation that is promised. I cannot live in the fulfillment of God in the midst of human logic and rationalization. I need the Spirit and Truth to produce new understanding that becomes knowledge to apply as wisdom. The kind of Truth that steps out of fear, worry, anxiety and insecurity to walk by faith and total trust that produces confidence in the hope I have in Jesus Christ.

Psalm 78:23-24 (NKJV) Yet He had commanded the clouds above, and opened the doors of heaven, had rained down manna on them to eat, and given them of the bread of heaven.

When the doors to Heaven open, something is released. Always. It is by faith that a foundation of expectation is built beneath us. It keeps us focused on the door with expectancy. To believe that there is something behind the door that I need keeps me every before it. Expectancy in God turns our timid knocking praying and hoping that He will answer into a mighty pounding on it knowing the One behind it is faithful and true. Do you believe that Jesus has something behind the door? Is there something in the Presence of God you need? Are you willing to come boldly before His Throne and beat on that door until it opens? Urgency produces expectancy that becomes boldness. How important is the thing you are trusting and believing the Lord for? Is it your health or maybe deliverance? Is it for a loved one? Anything wanted, needed or desired by us according to His Perfect Plan and Divine Fulfillment is behind that door and when we knock He has promised to open it :– something will come rushing out when He does open it so in the meantime…

Proverbs 8:34-35 (NKJV) “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord…”

Thank goodness the Spirit of the Lord produces patience and longsuffering in us because it certainly did not come with this package. We will watch at His Gates and wait at the door when what is behind it is worth having. When Jesus becomes that which is desired most, our willingness to wait is expanded. Whoever finds Jesus finds life and obtains the favor of God. I want eternal life. Isn’t that the whole point? Sometimes we forget when impatience overtakes us and the enemy offers immediate gratification in the form of substitution. I want life AND God’s Favor. The Favor of God will work in our life now. I cannot have His Favor outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the vine and I am a branch unable to produce anything good outside of our connection. Opening the door to my heart and inviting Him will be my salvation. But God doesn’t want to stop with just saving us but He has a plan and purpose to prosper us, to make us successful, and give us abundance in life to fuel generosity and give even more credibility to the Goodness of God, His Grace and for His Glory.

Psalm 84:10-11 (NKJV) For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Are you a doorkeeper in the House of God? The Presence of God is available to all of us thanks to His Son, Jesus Christ. The temporary trials and momentary problems of today do not block us from the Kingdom and its power. We have been given the keys to the Kingdom. Am I using them today? Shaking those keys at the enemy does nothing but make a lot of noise? The devil is not afraid of the keys but that you will use them to open the door to Heaven. It is the job of the doorkeeper to open the door. To use the key marked faith and open the door of Presence is to allow all of God’s Grace, Goodness and Glory to permeate our life. He becomes our sun and shield as His Presence surrounds us, provides for us, empowers us and protects us. He is the Light that leads to all wisdom and truth so we are not tangled in lies or trapped in walls of untruth. He wants to give us more grace and more glory every day. He will withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly in His Presence. We have the keys. He has already told us in His Word that He will come in. The real question is not whether He is faithful but will I be faith full? When God opens the door to Presence will I step in? His Presence is unsettling and produces change. It makes us uncomfortable. It is often inconvenient. It requires us to relinquish control. Am I willing to live undone in the Presence of God? Yes, I am. There is something I want that is found only in His Presence. I must make the conscious choice to live ever before the door to Heaven knocking and when He opens the door – I must be willing to rush in.

John 10:1-4 (NKJV) “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.  But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

Abounding in Abundance

Abounding in Abundance

Colossians 2:6-10 (NKJV) As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Our walk with Christ should lead to abundance. Jesus came to give us life and that it would be abundant. I believe that our idea of abundance changes as our heart and mind become new. The new creation gives ways to revolutionized thought and radical ideas defined by faith. Faith is not logical to the world but relates specifically to the Word of God and is heavily influenced by His Spirit inside of us. A life yielded to Christ makes room for the transformation of the way we live, breathe, move and exist in this life as residents of the Kingdom of God. However, the mind is a force to be reckoned with. It is set in its ways. Certain images cannot be so easily erased. The renewing of our mind is essential to live in the abundance of God. Our life must abound in Christ to enter the abundance He offers. Abundance in our life is defined by the prosperity of our heart. We can have it all and have nothing at all. We can have nothing at all and be fully complete in Jesus lacking no good thing. The contents of our heart determines the fruitfulness in our life. Prosperity is a heart condition beginning with a transfer from earthly provision to Kingdom Providence.

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith…

As you therefore…as a result of…have received Christ Jesus the Lord…accepting not only His Saving Grace but also His Authority and Power… so walk in Him. Have do I take an ordinary life and make it extraordinary? By full submission to Jesus Christ, the words seem so straightforward but it’s a fight to the finish. To establish every movement and all my thoughts according to the Word of God, Way of God and Will of God…every day. The Lord provided a measure of faith. He knew it would be impossible for us to please Him without it. Jesus came and supplied the grace needed to overcome sin, death and the grave. I am free to live the life I choose. However, my heart and mind were held captive so long it will take Resurrection Power and Life to keep me from returning to the bondages of life.

To become rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ and established in the faith means being uprooted from the life that is our basis and foundation. John 10:10 is two-fold. It tells us that Jesus Christ came to give us life and have it abundantly. It also warns us that there is a thief among us. He is a con artist of sorts. Luring God’s People into the dark shadows, offering subtle substitutions, and cunning compromise. The enemy’s greatest weapon is a lie. Truly it is the only thing that he can use against us to convince us to move from God’s Presence into bondage. We have the power to live in super abundance which is a byproduct of freedom unless we choose the way of the beggar eating crumbs under His Table rather than dining with King Jesus. Do you see the place of God’s Table? He prepares “a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” We want the abundance of God that abounds in His Presence but are we willing to fight for it?

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NKJV) For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

Our life can be filled with mentors, teachers and others who teach us ways to improve our life. The power of change is faithful obedience. If I believe the person who is instructing me, I will do what they say. To change requires belief and confidence in the source. There are many voices in our life that can be influential. The prevailing voice will be the one that one can relate to. Philosophy is the rational investigation of truth and principles of being that govern the choices made about life. It is the basis of most ethical and moral concepts. The Lord offers to renew our mind. In doing so, by changing the way we think, our life becomes influenced by Kingdom principles rather than earthly opinions also known as philosophies.

Knowledge of God is found in Spirit and in Truth. It is a product of worshipping God with our life and not just our words. It means daily digging up the “strongholds and arguments” against faith and planting God’s Word in the voids and vacancies left behind. It requires effort. Feelings and emotions must be replaced by faith and confident hope in God’s Word. Otherwise, our life will continue to be barren. To abound requires seeds of abundance being planted in our heart and mind, watered by the Word, fed by His Spirit and given time to grow in protected fields. To have abundance means abounding in seasons of fruitlessness. We must learn to take captive every thought and idea that is contrary to God’s Word and His Promise for our life. To become bold in our faith and relentless in our pursuit of confident hope which anchors our soul until the harvest comes. It will come. It just needs some time and space to grow without the overcrowding and choking of weeds and vines of meaningless ides, thoughts and notions.

Ephesians 3:19-20 (NKJV) To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…

Ephesians 3:20 has been my verse for 2017. To Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to His Power that works in us. I desire abundance. Abundance has taken on a new meaning for me. It used to mean stuff. Can we be honest? The world is an economy of stuff. It is how success and failure are generally determined on the earth. But it is not God’s Economy. Walking the dog with my husband on a hot, humid evening, we started sharing the moments in our day and it became a discussion about our place in life. Deep philosophic stuff. I am content with my life. I have more stuff than I need or want. I have way more than I ever thought possible from my humble upbringing. When I was a kid, I thought if I could just have a home on wheels that no one could come and just roll away – I would consider my life successful. Well, I live in house built on a concrete foundation. If I look at my life in a non-tangible sense, God has given me a beautiful family. A loving husband and five beautiful children who are now adding to it with spouses and one day grandchildren. I have way more than I deserve. I am content but dissatisfied. There is a place of abounding that gives way to abundance when in our complete satisfaction with God’s Provision – our heart decides to seek Him fully. The final thoughts on our walk that night concluded – we are blessed and thankful and even content in our natural life but there still has to be more. God widens the space in our heart and makes room for us to move from abounding to abundance by filling our life with His Love, Grace and Goodness.

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. The dissatisfaction of most long time believers is not in any way associated with God or even Christ but the lack of completion. It is by design. As faith grows in us what was tiny and small presses against our captive thoughts and the boundaries of our mind to see if there is room for growth and expansion. God knows that there is because He has already ordained every blessing and promise for our life and is waiting for us to prosper in Christ to make what already abounds in us to overflow as abundance out of us.

I Thessalonians 4:1 (NKJV) Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God…

The Lord invites you and me to a place of abundance. Obedience takes us there. You may think of it as bondage but that is not the case at all. Jesus Christ has set us free indeed. Now we choose who we serve, how we serve and the magnitude of blessing according to such choices. The prodigal son exercised his right to freedom. His father gave him the inheritance and he left his childhood home convinced that he desired freedom. He quickly exhausted his resources and found himself fighting pigs for scraps of food. His thoughts turned to the hired servants at home who would eat a good meal and sleep in a warm bed. The young man decided being a servant was better than being his own man and humbly went home to serve the father. He was greeted by the father who restored him as son and welcomed him home. This was the same child who left home. The same kid who wasted his entire inheritance. The one who left his position. He was the one who rebelled against his father causing him tremendous heartache. The only thing that changed was his heart. His pride crushed by failure – the prodigal son successfully returned home in humility to find that he had lost nothing at all. To give up my way to follow the Lord is an act of humility. The only thing sacrificed in that moment is my flesh and limited life. What’s keeping you from abundance today? Is it pride? Rebellion? Radical thoughts? Empty philosophies? Religious tradition? Corrupted culture? You have not missed a thing. The Father will restore you when you humbly return home. His Presence is always open thanks to Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:7-12 (NKJV)  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

I love these verses. God has given us riches of His Grace. He causes us to abound in all wisdom. It is His Good Pleasure and His Purpose to dispense His Fullness to us. He has provided an inheritance. He has predestined all things to work according to His Will which includes all these abundant and abounding words. Fullness. Completion. Success. God is good. He is for me. Jesus Christ promised you us a rich and satisfied life. A life of abounding abundance. What is abundance? It is overflowing fullness. To abound means to occur or exist in great quantities; to be rich and well supplied; and to be filled and fulfilled. Do these qualities define your life today? If not, I challenge your mindset. We are no longer subjected to the limitations of this life. (Colossians 2:20) If our life is limited it is because there is something blocking the overflow of abundance. Nothing is impossible for those who believe. Do you believe? God’s Grace is the opportunity to abound in abundance beginning with the Fruit of God’s Spirit. This is the supply from which we find satisfaction in the rest of our life. To overflow in this areas feeds hungry and thirsty souls around us which motivates them to being the journey to fulfillment. I can live by the basic principles of the world and even in accordance with church doctrine, but true abundance is found by planting my faith in Jesus Christ and submitting my life to His Growth and Development. It means changing the way I think by the renewing of my mind in Spirit and in Truth. Humbly returning to His Presence day after day waiting for godly instruction and wisdom to guide me along the way. I must examine my heart daily for those negative and rebellious thoughts contrary to what Jesus says about my life. Making a way for His Abundance to abound in my life. Spiritual success and maturity produce abundance in our life by moving deeper in Christ – all He is must complete us as He promised.

Ephesians 4:13-16 (NKJV) till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;  that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.