Being Confident of This Very Thing

Being Confident of This Very Thing

Philippians 1:6 (NKJV) Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…

Walking into church, he stopped me to greet me along the way. “Hey, I have been reading your stuff and you should write a book!” Awkwardly, I laughed and thanked him for the kind words of encouragement making my way to a seat. Immediately, flushed I couldn’t help but think of how many books started and stopped in the files on my computer all the way back to the first time I thought about it. Just out of high school and the beginning of college, I worked in the preschool ministry of a large church. Putting together packets for the upcoming Sunday, the thought occurred to me that it would be neat to write curriculum for the teachers and volunteers to use with the children. It wouldn’t be long after that I would wander off in the wilderness for quite some time.

I assumed after living apart from the Lord for many years that the possibility of purpose in my life was over. To live for Jesus is a privilege considering my misuse and abuse of His Love and Grace all those years ago, why would God still want to use me? How could there be an ounce of purpose left and not drained by impatience and impulsivity over the years? I am thankful that Lord still loves me, hears me, speaks to me, and blesses me like He does. Religion bases God’s Promise, Purpose and Prosperity on our own ability which is not how it works at all. Relationship gives me full access to God’s Plan for my life. The same plan written beforehand. “And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”

Being confident of this very thing… Are you confident today? Confidence is a quality born of absolute trust. The enemy works every day to keep us from building trust and confidence in the Word of God for our life. He wants us to believe that our inability to perform will somehow change or eliminate God’s Power, Purpose and Potential in our life. That is a lie. There is simply no truth to it. If God knew our end from the beginning, then He had to know exactly how many times that I would fail, fall short, walk away and give up before finding my way back home.

He who has begun a good work in you will complete it… The good thing in me working its way out is all God and not me. He doesn’t take bits and pieces of my life for His Good. No, the Word of God explicitly states that “and we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God.” The only prerequisite to God’s Power fully working in our life is to love Him. Do you love God today? I do, too!

Until the day of Jesus Christ… This is probably the hardest part to figure out. The Good Work in us that God is working out through us is a complete work meaning it begins at birth and ends in Eternity. Salvation is always God’s Primary Objective in our life. The first work is the finished work that leads to God’s Grace, Goodness and Glory in our life. All the other details fall into place accordingly. Those who endure to the end will be saved. Therefore…

Zechariah 4:10 (NLT) Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

Do not despise small beginnings. We put too much pressure on ourselves to work God’s Plan for our life. The real work is submission. To humble our life before Jesus Christ, surrendering our way for Him to do what He will in us and through us. We do not really “do” anything other than submit and surrender our life for His Work. God does the rest using His Word, His Spirit and His Love to mold us and shape us into new creations and masterpieces just like He promised. The Lord rejoices at the beginning of this work. The moment that we give our whole heart to His Plan and embrace the future and hope set before us. But be forewarned…

Isaiah 55:9-12 (NKJV) “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

God doesn’t do things like we do things. His Thoughts and Ways are much higher than ours. His Perspective far greater than our current comfort and convenience or even discomfort and inconvenience. God’s Plan is not influenced in any way, shape or form by us. It is always working in us and through us for complete reconciliation and restoration whether we decide to receive it or not. His Word is seed. God’s Word is not barren – it is full of uncompromised potential for our life. Once planted deep in the folds of our heart, it will grow. His Power is in that seed and it is the very thing that leads to fulfillment. The only part I play in the whole plan is to humbly accept God’s Word (Jesus) in my heart and allow His Spirit to sow His Word in my heart to produce God Fruit in my life. It is all Him – I must decrease allowing Christ to increase in my life. It will happen. I must be patient and wait for it trusting the Lord.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NKJV) The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

We must not give in to impatience. Patience is a product of the Holy Spirit who produces longsuffering in us. (Galatians 5:22) We must learn to give God time to do what He has promised. What do I do in the meantime? Walk by faith not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) Walk worthy of your calling with which you were called. Walk humbly. Walk in gentleness and with longsuffering (patience). Love one another. (Ephesians 4:1-2) God is completing His Work in you. He promised not to quit, give up, give in or walk away no matter what you choose to do along the way. He is still working His Plan, Purpose, Future and Hope all around you. Like the father of the prodigal, the Lord waits and watches for our return. He celebrates our arrival. He embraces us. Fully restores us. Nothing changed at home – it changes in us.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV) Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I will write a book one day. I am confident not in my ability but the fact that the Lord has called me to do so. I will wait for Him to give me the words to complete it. I will carefully transcribe whatever He says. In the meantime, I must put aside every weight and sin that easily ensnares me such as the lie of the enemy that requires immediate gratification and insists on shortcuts marked by impatience. As I continue to sow my life into Christ and accept new seed of His Word in a soft heart, every good thing that He has ordained for my life will come to pass in His Timing which makes everything beautiful. I have no performance pressure other than to daily surrender and submit my life to Jesus and His Spirit working in me. Jesus is not only the Author of my faith but He is the Finisher. He will complete in me the good work that He began. Amen and Selah.

James 1:2-4 (NKJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 

Wrestling with God

Wrestling With God

Ephesians 5:21 (NLT) And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

The struggle is real. To learn to submit is a far greater discipline than most. I remember the first day I heard the word “submission”. Preparing for a women’s conference at church, in the copy room. My husband and I had a rift the night before and I was looking for support from a close friend. Expressing my frustration about the situation and, of course, HIS stubbornness causing me great aggravation, I didn’t hear her careful footsteps coming up behind me. Turning me mid-packet with her hands gently on my shoulders, she lovingly yet firmly looked me in the eye and said, “You must learn to submit to your husband.” Say what? My gaping jaw slammed shut and my mouth became dry. I know that there was fire in my eyes that gave away the fury in my belly about that time. Had she not been listening? How could she say such a thing? Like a basketball thorn unsuspectingly, her words hit me in the stomach and bounced on the ground at my feet. To be honest, I stewed for the rest of the day. I avoided conversation and contact with her immediately following that conversation. I had no response. Oh, I was reeling and ranting in my head and the filter right behind my mouth – but nothing.

The Word of God is clear. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Submit from its earliest Latin conception means to yield, lower, let down, put under or reduce. It means to yield to the power or authority of another. To be subject to certain influence. To present for approval or consideration of another. The Lord has spoken on submission and it remains clear that our reverence for Jesus Christ should promote such behavior. He is not asking us to become human doormats or accept abuse at the hands of an oppressor but rather to give up our way to embrace the humility demonstrated by Jesus for others. It means giving up our rightness to maintain righteousness according to the Grace of God given through the Love of Christ and the ability to effectively demonstrate unconditional love and overwhelming grace. It is forgiveness. Not once, but constantly forging deeper and stronger relationships through the release of self.

It is the “and further” moment in life when our soul longs for satisfaction. It is often representative of human interaction rather than any other opportunity. We are called to submit to others as a form of worshipping Christ. We wrestle with that. The struggle is real. To give up our way, wants, needs and desires to experience the fulfillment of Christ seems appealing on paper, but completely overbearing in life. It is, however, the beginning of the giving our life away described as acceptable offerings by the Lord.

Romans 12:1-2 (NLT) And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Sacrifice is against human nature. Our instinct is for survival. Our flesh rebels against daily crucifixion with Christ. It rebukes the nails that hold our passions and desires to the Cross. Yet, in our heart, we long to worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth. Therefore, something must give. Will it be my way or God’s Holy Highway? It is foolishness to think that going my way that I can have His Way. It is naturally impossible. Impatience and lack of endurance makes us think that we are capable of deriving God’s Best from our own perpetuated imperfect plan. We give up on waiting and watching while living a disciplined and purpose-filled life of faith, hope and trust in the Lord, but instead do our own thing and balk at the results. To be a living sacrifice requires giving up or it is only an offering. Such a giving limits the increase and abundance of God in our life by boundaries set by self.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. I know how you feel right now. I felt the same way when my dear friend introduced me to submission. I thought she was crazy to tell you the truth. I didn’t believe in the power of submission but could only see its weakness. I couldn’t perceive its reward just the risk associated with such behavior. To submit to the Lord by submitting to others is NOT what you may be thinking. It is to release yourself and humanity from your expectation and putting all our faith, hope and trust in the Love of God and His Caregiving of us. The world will tell you that submission is weakness. I will testify today that submission to the Lord is power. Submission to the Lord is to submit to all mankind.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NLT) So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

What if the very thing that you think God is using to break you is really an attempt to remake you? What if the giving up of your way is essential to claiming His Best for your life? Are you convinced now? Of course not. The risk seems to outweigh the reward. How many times have I heard I will forgive them but not forget what they did to me… Our stubbornness and unwillingness to submit certain areas of our life creates boundaries to God’s Grace reaching those areas. I must submit my life to grace in order to receive it. I must sacrifice my life by submitting it to the Lord through careful and complete submission of each area day by day.

Submission to God’s Way is all the way. When Samuel approached Saul about his disobedience, Saul insisted that he did obey God. The Lord told Saul to completely destroy the Amalekite nation including “men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels and donkeys.” They won the battle but Saul chose to spare the life of Agag the king, and some choice animals for sacrifice. Saul kept everything that appealed to him. When Samuel arrived, Saul boasted his obedience. The Lord pointed out the error in his way. “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” Partial obedience is disobedience. Deviance is rebellion. Submission is sacrifice anything less is an offering. If my desire is to sacrifice my life in obedience to Christ, it will require me to submit my way. Give up what I want and fully embrace the Lord’s Desires and Design for my life. The Lord is clear. His Word is the same today. Still true in every way…Obedience is better than sacrifice. Submission is better than an offering. To have God’s Plan means giving up our way to fully pursue Him.

Genesis 32:24-31 (NLT) This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” “What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.” “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said. “Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip.”

Are you wrestling with the Lord today? Jacob wrestled with the Lord. He left his home long before this night to save his life. He had stolen his brother’s birthright. He had manipulated his way to the firstborn position. He fled for his life. He served Laban well, marrying his two daughters, bearing eleven sons, and building a powerful estate. It was time to go home. I cannot imagine the conflict within him that night as his family waiting on the other side of the river. I think everyone comes to this point at some juncture of life. The turning point when control is surrendered to submission. It is a breaking process that releases the breakthrough promise. He had every right to march back into his homeland with his head high. He left with nothing and came back a successful man. He had been given the birthright. The land and honor belonged to him. He was right, but Jacob wanted God’s Blessing. He desired righteousness first.

The Lord gave Jacob a new name. He would no longer be the “supplanter” who had to overthrow others for his position in life. His new name would be “Israel” which means “triumphant with God.” No longer at odds with the Lord, Jacob now Israel had chosen the better way. He didn’t have to fight his way through life or struggle for success. God gave Him victory in his relenting to the Lord. Submission is always the best way. Note that as he left that place of victory, he was limping because of the injury to his hip. Submission marks a changed and transformed state to the believer. The transition point when all of me is given to all of Him through giving my life as a living sacrifice. It is not what I can or cannot do but my willingness to do it all for the Glory of God.

I cannot tell you the many blessings and benefits in my marriage as a result of submission to God first and then my husband. Giving up my strength and reveling in human weakness that allows the One who is greater to live through me. It is called submission and smacks of all things unpalatable to people. It is fragrant aromatic worship to the Lord. He desires it more than anything else. To give less to God who has given it all for us to live in His Love seems so senseless, yet we do it every day. God – teach me to submit to all people in reverence to You today. May I find the fullness of Christ in pouring out my life as a living sacrifice – the kind that is holy and acceptable to You, Lord!

Psalm 51:16-17 (NLT) You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

When I Am Weak

When I Am Weak

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

I am weary. Actually, I am exhausted. I feel like when I sleep each night that I am regaining just enough strength and energy to last through the next day. The empty light of my body is burning brightly. Going through the motions of life, I feel like I am living from to-do list to to-do list without enough time in a day to catch up. We moved out on Monday, closed on Tuesday, moved in the same day, unloaded and unpacked for two days until it was done. Wednesday was back to work along with five days of church/revival. Late nights and long days have taken a toll on my body and mind but not my spirit. Physically and mentally, I am worn slap out as they say in the South. Poke me with a fork…no please don’t…I am done.

Internet is out this morning with an error flashing on the modem. Add it to the list. My body needs rest. My mind needs quiet time. As I sit in my daily conversation with the Lord today, I cry out to Him from this place of sheer exhaustion. I need rest, Lord. As I read Matthew 11:28-30 again today, I try to tear it apart into bite size pieces that will nourish and replenish my weary soul. Come to me. Here I am, Lord! Yet in this place with you, Jesus, I am still tired, weary and exhausted. I need your rest. Where do I find it?

“I will give you rest.” It sounds so simple. We interrupt the elongated to-do list, overbearing schedule, ridiculous routine, and overwhelming responsibilities carried in life for this message from the Lord. Jesus wants to give us rest today. It is up to us if we will take this Gift from God just like every other blessing and promise that He offers. I am learning day by day that the inheritance of God with all of its favor and prosperity come to us as a Gift. A humble offering from the Hand of God offered to His People. It is up to us whether or not it is accepted and applied to our life. Many of the burdens carried by God’s People are not given by the Lord but self-assumed by an inability to trust and depend on Jesus.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” There are some key words in this verse that are often overlooked by overachievers. Those people who think that they serve a performance driven task master rather than a perfect Savior. I am not pointing at you because I am do busy self-identifying. The key words are “take”, “learn” and “will”. We must take His Yoke upon us. We must learn from the Lord. Those who do will find rest for their souls. As our soul prospers, so will we.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV) Therefore since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have on who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

“Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well.” (John 4:6) Jesus was tired. He was weary. He was thirsty. Jesus knows our weakness and limitations firsthand. He understands the weakness in our flesh that leads to weariness. The Lord ministers to the woman at the well despite his physical weakness and hunger. When the disciples arrive, they are concerned about their Master’s state. Jesus tells them, “My food is to do the Will of Him who sent me and to finish His Work.” (John 4:34) What feeds our soul? Serving the Lord in all humility with total and complete dedication. Is it enough to overcome human limitation and shortcomings? Absolutely.

In Deuteronomy 25:17-19 comes a warning for those who serve God. The enemy attacks us when we are weary and weak. We need Jesus more than ever during that time. The Amalekites seized the opportunity to attack and overtake those who lagged behind in weariness. The enemy watches and waits for the moment that we fall behind due to fatigue or exhaustion. He just has to catch us off guard or sleeping. We cannot allow such things to hinder us. When we are tired, it is not the time to sleep in but get up and press into the Word of God, His Presence, and pray until our burdens are once again yoked to Christ. Do not forsake your fellowship with other believers. Just as you push to make it to work even when you are tired and sick or sick and tired, it is important to gather with those who urge you, stir you and motivate you to a closer walk with Christ.

Matthew 26:40-41 (NIV) Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he said to Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Continuing to read this passage, it tell us that the disciples continued to sleep even as the Lord pleaded with them to watch and pray. In verse 43, it says, “When he came back, he again found the sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.” We have weak flesh. We need a willing spirit to overcome the insufficiencies of our flesh. Even in our willingness, it is hard to overcome our humanness some days but God offers a wonderful solution for us. It is called His Grace. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Nobody likes to admit weakness. But the Lord promises that those who rely on His Grace will find that it is enough for those times. In fact, “when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10) Could it be that we are allowed to reach our limit so that God can effectively apply more grace to our life?

In 1 Corinthians 9:22-23, Paul talks about becoming weak to win the weak and becoming all things to all people. It is time for the church to stop acting like they have it all together and live perfect lives. People need to see that our struggle is real. We get tired. We get weak. We have help. Jesus is the Word of God wrapped in flesh who came to live among us. We need the Word of God every day. The High Priest who overcame our weaknesses has given us His Spirit. (Romans 8:26-27) We must rely on the Holy Spirit in our life to help us in our weak moments. If the world does not see a human church overcoming weakness by God’s Word and His Spirit – they will never know true worship because neither do we.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV) Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

I encourage you to declare these words over your life if you are tired, weary and need rest. There is rest for the weary when they look for in the Presence of God. We can come boldly before the Lord today and He will give us more of His Wonderful Grace. Weakness is part of the process by which we discover the Power and Potential of God in us. Let Him be your strength today. It is not a sign of weakness but readiness to be filled with new life, new faith and new hope from the Lord. It is a readied state of receivership for those who know where to go to find rest and restoration. Let the Lord feed and nourish your soul today by doing the Father’s Will in spite of how you feel physically or even emotionally. As our soul prospers so do we.

Psalm34:8-10 (NIV) Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Contents under Pressure

Contents under Pressure

2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (NLT)  We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

Stubborn, obstinate, driven, hardheaded, or persevering – you take your pick. I have been called them all. Through the peaks and valley of life, I guess I would call it survival. With a fiercely competitive nature, there is a careful balance between being all those qualities. In the flesh, they produce things like pride, arrogance, and other self-driven motivators. But in our spiritual life, it can be used to develop endurance. I guess it all depends if you use your powers for good or evil. For many years, I never realized how overbearing and unyielding my personality was. The Lord has dealt with me severely to recognize that people are my process above anything else. To serve the Lord with my whole heart and seek Him completely, I must recognize every single body along the way and find a way to love and care for them. Like a bull in a china shop, most of my life has been spent wrecking everything in my path just to find my way through. Now the Lord is teaching me patience and perseverance as I slowly make my way through this world being conscious of others as I go.

Taught from the earliest age that persistence pays off, those who learn “good” habits and develop “strong” character will be successful in this life. However, success in God’s Kingdom is on much different terms. No it is not doctrine or the traditional beliefs of the church. God looks through everything we say and do to our heart. It is the motivation and intentions of the heart that dictate the outcomes in our life. The Lord is looking for those who love Him. They are the ones who trust Him with their life – all who are in it and everything that they have. How can I know if Jesus lives in my heart? You are not going to like the answer any more than I do. The human heart expresses its contents under pressure.

I wish I could count the number of times some days that I throw in the towel to give up or say that I am not doing something anymore, only to press even harder. As a fighter and doer by nature, there is something inside me that refuses to give up. The bigger they are the harder they fall. When the pressures of life reach a breaking point, it is ugly. Those who know me become suspect because I am usually the one pushing, pulling and dragging them through refusing to allow them to give up or give in. When I am deflated, running on empty, exhausted and ready to just walk away, I hear these words – “My Grace is enough for you. It works best in your weakness.”

We are pressed on every side by troubles yet have God’s Promises to give us release. God does not want to relieve us of pressure but force us to pursue a release. The Light that lives inside of us must find its way out so our life will be fulfilled. We have treasure locked in fragile humanity. God’s Great Power lives in us and is looking for ways to manifest His Presence in our life. His Presence brings light to the dark places. It elevates us to achieve our purpose by exalting His Great Name. Not when things are good, but in the midst of all hell breaking loose in our life when we run out of human strength, patience and tact. What comes out of our mouth? What is our next move? How will we react or do we respond? The pressure felt in us is God’s Purpose fighting to get out of us. Do we quit? Give up? Or wait to see what’s really in us?

Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT) “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

You are the Light of the World. Jesus did not fill you with the Light of His Love without purpose. Comfort and complacency is the fleshly response to pressure. Our stubborn heart digs in. It is relentless when it comes to change especially the kind that requires pushing and pressing or any exertion at all. Choosing not to read God’s Word or do things His Way, many so-called Christians grope in the dark calling out His Name without the slightest inclination to follow Jesus Christ. A city is on a hilltop. It is developed on a foundation. It is not a nomadic drift but a named place. A lamp is placed on a stand. It was never meant to be carried in one hand while traveling far from home. It is to be the center of our home. The Light in our life, Jesus, came to live in us so that we could live through Him. He said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me.”

Leviticus 24:1-3 (NLT) The Lord said to Moses, “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. This is the lampstand that stands in the Tabernacle, in front of the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant. Aaron must keep the lamps burning in the Lord’s presence all night. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation.

Command the people to bring pure oil of pressed olives for light. To keep the lamps burning continually. This was a commandment for the Tabernacle to be placed right in front of the curtain that shielded the Ark of the Covenant representing the Presence of God. Reading a little bit further it says, “This is a permanent law for you and it must be observed from generation to generation. Jesus Christ did not come to abolish the law or do away with the commandments of God but to fulfill them. Every time we fall short, He applies His Grace and Power so we can still pursue God’s Blessing as we follow His Son. Therefore, the law still remains in effect that we are to keep lamps burning in the Lord’s Presence even though the dynamics have changed.

We now house God’s Presence and the Light of His Love in our very human heart. The pressures of life expose the contents of the heart allowing us to deal with those areas of our life that lack the fruit of His Spirit. The oil that is requested is the oil that is pressed. Not the superficial undertakings and tasks of religious fellowship or striving to be a good person, but allowing the Living God to express His Glory from our life. This did not change because Jesus died but now is fulfilled as we are His Temple to be filled with His Light until no darkness remains.

Hosea 6:1-3 (NLT) “Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”

Though our relationship with God has dramatically changed since Jesus died on the Cross, it didn’t change His Mind about us, who we are and what we are called to do. The Lord invites us to return to Him. He wants to heal us. He wants to restore us. God can only take as much as we are willing to surrender. Submission to His Power and Authority is a personal choice lived day by day and moment by moment. I was sharing with a friend the other day that it had been one of those days. The kind of day that feels like exercise at that point when you cannot take another step or maybe lift another weight. The distance is too far but turning back is not an option. Broken and empty – you fight the urge to just sit down and cry. I have felt this way when exercising and pushed through. I have felt the same way right before delivering each one of my children. I actually told the midwife that fourth time around that I was done and leaving. She just laughed and waited for my tantrum and tirade to end. It was about that time my baby girl was born. My promise handed over to me. God is doing His Part to release His Blessing in our life. Are we doing our part?

Luke 8:44-46 (NLT) Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.”

“For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” (Mark 5:28) When I read this familiar story today, I cannot help but wonder, “Did Jesus really not know who touched Him?” I mean really. Of course, He did, but His Disciples missed it. I am just going to pause right here and let you think about that for a minute, too. (Selah)

Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.” Peter was trying to manage crowd control and keep His Lord from being crushed beneath the weight of the desperate and dying. Jesus was looking for faith in the heart of each one. The women had deliberate faith that when pressed produced determination in her heart. She would not stop until she found Jesus. She would not be dissuaded until she reached out and touched Him. She was convinced that Jesus had what she needed and would give it to her. Do you believe? Do you believe enough to be persistent under pressure? To ignore the insults and offenses of others to let the Light of His Love shine through you?

The disciples were more concerned with their mission and mandate rather than ministering to those around them. When pressed they conformed to natural thinking rather than supernatural believing. When Jesus’ Power left Him, He was consciously aware of its release. You have been called to be the Light of the world. The Light does not “do” anything other than to shine for all men to see. It is the city on a hill well-established by faith in the foundation of Jesus Christ. We can do nothing to earn God’s Love, Grace and Unmerited Favor other than to love Him enough to trust Him and never give up until we see His Glory come out. People will always be the priority in our life. What profits a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul? None.

The Lord knows you are pressed, but you will not be crushed. He sees the persecution coming at you from all sides, you must persevere. He knows life can be perplexing so God has given us the Mind of Christ and His Spirit lives in us. We are not abandoned but adopted. Though the enemy pursues us relentless, God is before us and behind us with His Hand of Blessing on our head. Every time God’s People are knocked down, grace meets them to help them up. His Glory is expressed when we decide to bring others with us.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NLT) Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

Freedom allows each “farmer” to decide how much seed will be put in the ground. From the days of Noah until Jesus returns, we live in the constant cycle of seedtime and harvest. You will reap what you sow. The amount of “seed” that you sow is decided completely by you. It only takes a spark to start a forest fire if the conditions are favorable. Just as the seeds we plant for produce to feed us naturally, the same is true spiritually. The Lord will never rip seed from your hand (or heart) forcing us to stick it in the ground.

The decision to give our life to Jesus is often facilitating by the pressure applied to our life. Many will not read the Word until they need something from it. They do not seek the Spirit of God for Instructions until they have completely lost their way. We do not go to church but we are the church. God expects us to sow and reap His Promises every day and provides them as such. We do not want the pressure. Well, I have news for you. You are contents under pressure and the Lord will not relent. He will not revoke His Command to bless you but freedom will not allow His Love to be forced. So there is pressure and more pressure until it can be expressed in our life.

Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT) I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

My life is a pressure cooker currently. Yesterday was especially difficult with family, work, church and moving next week. I went into overload. Family scattered for the moment. Work filled with deadlines. Church still an hour away. The Call of God constantly pressing on my heart. Add selling one house, buying another and moving to the mix and yes, I am physically and emotionally exhausted right now. So, when it was time to head out for the midweek service at church, I had a million excuses. The first and most pressing was packing. When I pulled into the parking lot and got out of the car, it was all I could do not to crawl through the doors down the hallway into the sanctuary.

When the first note of worship began, the weight of the world fell from my shoulders. It is not about me. It is all about Him. As I decrease, His Power increases to meet its full potential. Though the pressure did not change at all, the feeling that it’s going to be worth it all overshadowed any other human emotion. See God didn’t say that there would not be pressure in this life. In fact, He warned us that it would be the opposite. I will fall down, get knocked down and lay down many times in my lifetime. It is what I do when I get back up that matters. First that I choose to use His Grace and get back in the good fight of faith. It also matters that I am conscious of others and consciously bring them up with me win each ascent. The Lord promises that as the oil of our life is pressed out to Light the Word for Jesus that it will be worth it every single time.

Proverbs 24:10 (NLT) If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.

Fast Life

Fast Life

Isaiah 58:6-8 (NLT)

“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.

The day has finally come. The end of Daniel Fast 2016. Those who chose to participate forsaking meat, bread, sweets, and beloved caffeine are ready to get back to living again. Many congregations will break their corporate fast by taking communion together. There could be nothing more fitting. Though my body is relieved that the days of fasting are coming to a close, I am not sure my heart is as happy. The commitment of our church and family to this endeavor this year has yielded more than I can begin to explain in one blog. The Lord has poured out in response to our cry. Though my flesh is anticipating lunch without restrictions, my spirit is in mourning. I am torn between leaving this place in the Presence of God where 21 days of prayer and fasting takes you. Each step gained closer to Jesus is precious and few as the fight against our flesh, distractions, detours, schedules, routines, and busyness of life take over. I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to lose the place where this journey of 21 days have led me. Lord, I want to live a fasted lifestyle all the time. However, if I continue to serve meatless meals and bean filled dishes ever baking again, I do not think my family will oblige. In fact, I am quite sure there would be a rebellion. So, how do we maintain this ground gained in fasting in our everyday life.

To tell you that I was struggling with ending this time is really an understatement. It literally brought me to tears. Going to my prayer closet, I took my concerns to the Lord and He brought me right here to Isaiah 58. The heading in the New Living Translation is “True and False Worship”. The people in this chapter had been fasting and praying to the Lord. They came to the Temple every day and seemed excited to learn about the Lord. They acted religious and righteous as though they would never abandon the Law of God. They would try to get close to God so that He would do their bidding. They even pointed out their time of fasting before Him. Why wasn’t God impressed? “We have put ourselves through all this and you, God, have not even noticed???” These were their cries to the Lord.

God did not hold back and let them have it. “I will tell you why! It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves…” What? Fast to please ourselves…have I fasted for me? When I read this I was dissolved to tears. This one statement was my complete undoing. I would never want fasting to be about me. But sadly in all the years that I have done it, there have been many that were just that all about me. I will be transparent because I think we should all consider the motives of fasting and prayer as a unit. To corporately seek the Face of God in such a demonstration is definitely as step in the right direction unless it has become like so many other things a performance of religion that is false worship and from a heart of true worship.

Joel 2:12-13 (AMP)

“Even now,” says the Lord, “Turn and come to Me with all your heart [in genuine repentance], with fasting and weeping and mourning [until every barrier is removed and the broken fellowship is restored]; Rip your heart to pieces [in sorrow and contrition] and not your garments.” Now return [in repentance] to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness [faithful to His covenant with His people]; and He relents [His sentence of] evil [when His people genuinely repent].

When I really want to dissect the meaning of a verse, I like to read the Amplified version of God’s Word. Fasting without true repentance is nothing more than a religious act or worldly diet. The prayers offered during this time must begin with repentance and surrendering ourselves, once again, to the Word, Will and Way of God completely. While your stomach roars, mood swings, and weakness sets in, your flesh fights for control. It is hard to focus, but we must press in. The origin of the word “fasting” was “hold firmly” and the sense evolution via “firm control of oneself.” To hold in observance or to keep or observe. Fasting is restricting the flesh to release God’s Spirit in our life. If you do not want to follow the Lord completely giving one’s life to Him solely and surrendering all, then fasting is not for those individuals because it will do nothing in their life.

Fasting is accepting God’s Invitation to “turn” and come to Him with all your heart in genuine repentance until every barrier is removed and the broken fellowship restored. It is God’s Way of opening the door to His Presence so that you can come in closer than ever before. If it does not remove barriers, or break chains, it is not working like it is supposed to which usually means that we are not doing our part. Rip your hearts to pieces and not your garments. It means seek righteousness not religiosity. Return to the Lord your God. Discover His Grace and Compassion again. Let His Abounding and Unfailing Love overtake you in these moments that make your body weak so the Spirit can takeover. Fasting is all about removing me so that He can have His Way. The Lord promises that those who do will find that “it shall come about after this
that I shall pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29)

Isaiah 58:6-7 (NLT)

“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.”

 

To live the fast life. That is my goal today. I don’t want to leave this place of physically fasting with a plan to remain as close to the Lord as I am right now with every intention of moving in closer. I needed a plan. God gave me one. If fasting is meant to remove every barrier and restriction between God and me, I must fast my life every day. If fasting is not a food limitation but physical apprehension then it can be applied to every area of my natural life as I strive to do these things that God has asked of me – free the captive, lighten the burden, release the oppressed, break the chains, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, meet others needs and not hide from family who need help…naturally or spiritually. True repentance leads to the fast life which will always be experiencing the Love of God by stepping into His Presence and letting that Love pour Light into our world. If fasting is nothing more than gaining “firm control of oneself” – it is a daily fight not seasonal gesture.

Romans 12:1-2 (AMP)

Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

Could it be that this is how we actually achieve the position and posture of living sacrifice? Is it a fasted life lived in daily repentance with God? Is it forcing our flesh to be in firm control aided by the Spirit of God who bears the fruit of self-control? I think it just might be. It is by apprehending our flesh and forcing it to submit to the dedication of all of ourselves to Jesus – mind, soul and body. Living that way every day no matter what we eat or what day that it is. I just don’t understand the new age church philosophy that we can live the way that we did before we meet Jesus and experience His Love and Grace. I just can’t see that as logical or intelligent. That we can have God’s Best at our worst would mean that the Lord lowered His Standard of Glorious Living for us. I don’t want less than God’s Very Best. I am not satisfied with His Permissible Will. I want to be as close to Jesus as possible so I do not become mistaken or mislead into thinking sin is acceptable and less is more. This is my choice. Each is given the right to choose. In the end, the Truth will be revealed.

Do not be conformed to this world. The fasted life is not the popular life. It means that in true repentance one strives daily to turn more and more real estate of their life over to the Lord for His Plan and Purpose…not our own. I don’t want the Lord to make MY life better. I want to live the life that He wrote out before I was born. I must mature spiritually day by day and moment by moment seeking, searching and striving to know Him more and do what He asks. Fasting and prayer will only aid my cause as barriers fall, mountains move, and walls come crashing down before me as I make my way to the King.

Isaiah 58:9-12 (NLT)

Then when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!  Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.

The reward of a fasted lifestyle is not something God comes up with to pay us back for our efforts. It is accepting the life that He promised us from the very beginning. Each step closer yields a reward that most often is not a tangible blessing but inward maturity spiritually that produces the Gifts of His Spirit. To experience the perfect “love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” that comes from living in true repentance and fully in Covenant with God will never be explainable. It satisfies our soul and comforts our mind with a peace that passes all understanding so it really doesn’t matter what is going on around us. In exchange for our life as a living sacrifice, the Lord grants us salvation, healing, wisdom, protection, as He answers our every call. If your life is not experiencing such characteristics, just move in a little closer. Give just one more room in your heart to His Work until His Spirit makes its way all the way through.

Well, we made it. Or did we? Today as I prepare for church and to break our corporate fast, my heart and mind are searching for another area of surrender for the days ahead. I don’t want to stop pursuing the Lord like I have the last 21 days. I want more. I want my worship to be true. I want to be a living sacrifice. I want to live the fast life.

Psalm 27:4 (NIV)

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

My Worst Enemy – A Devotion

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Galatians 5:16-17 (NLT)

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

 

You are your own worst enemy and so am I. We think that the face of the adversary comes in the form of other people or terrible tragedy but none of these things can ever separate us from the Love of God. We choose to walk away and it is false to think that anyone can take us from Him. The devil cannot make you do anything that you do not want to do. The face of opposition in our life looks strangely familiar as it resembles our own image. Desperately we seek the Kingdom of God and cry out “unfair” when we miss the mark of the High Calling of Jesus Christ. Tripping and falling over our pride, we fail to gain wisdom from scraped knees and insulted dignity to get back up and runaway again. Looking at the rules and regulations of the Law, people pursue God by religion trying to overcome the flesh with human will power rather than surrender and submission to God. There is no so such thing as compromise or even a place called gray area or middle of the road. You either love God or hate Him altogether. It is human nature to find a safe place to entertain the world yet seek the Lord. Paul talks about our struggle with sin in Romans 7. It’s a good read. One that I wander back to time and time again especially when the way is not clear and my next step uncertain. It is the heart of the matter which has nothing to do with God’s Plan or Provision in my life but determines my final destination. God has a plan. (Jeremiah 29:11) It is a good one with a future and hope. God’s Word including His Law points the way to this future. (Romans 7:14) The problem is with me as I am a slave to sin. My deep desire to have my way is from a heart not fully yielded. It still craves the things of this world and has a secret agenda. But God did not leave us disabled with nothing to lean on. Jesus Christ gave us His Spirit. We are instructed to let the Spirit lead our lives. The Spirit lives in a very hard place. He rests in our heart. God has a plan that includes a future and hope but requires that we pursue Him wholeheartedly. This is our problem. We are our worst enemy.

 

Romans 7:21-25 (NLT)

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

 

The term “running around like a chicken with its head cut off” is true. Those who have ever had the “pleasure” of beheading a chicken will often tie their feet together because as soon as the head comes off – the body takes off running. Why? It is a futile effort as the bird is clearly dead. It is impulse. These are the final impulses of the brain being carried out before it falls dead. It sounds quite disgusting. However, I believe that it applies to human beings. The moment we attempt to surrender our heart, mind, body and soul to Jesus Christ, it is that very second that our sinful nature becomes our enemy. Our flesh becomes hostile to the Spirit of God that now lives in us and begins to fight for control. Even though our old way of life brought no satisfaction, we crave it all the more. Repentance is a change of direction as we turn our lives back to Heaven and pursue the Kingdom of God. Without a change of direction, there is no change in destination. We will chase after what we desire. To conquer the flesh means to change our heart, mind, body and spirit. It is the death of me in every sense of the word so my heart, mind, soul and body oppose the change that leads to death refusing to follow the Spirit to the Perfect Plan of God for our life. To change our direction in life requires a change of in our desires. We are completely incapable of doing so without the guidance of God’s Spirit living inside of us. Even with His Spirit, it is a full-on war!

 

James 1:13-15 (NLT)

And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong,and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

 

There are babies born every day. Each one is a precious person created by God with a purpose that leads to fulfillment. But many of those infants will be neglected and abused, so they will fail to thrive. There are some who will leave the earth today at the hands of the ones who God gave the privilege of parenting. We are born in our flesh. It is everything that is contradictory to God as it is unyielding and unruly. Stubbornly it seeks satisfaction in life caring nothing for the source. When a baby is born, if not nurtured it will die. If he is neglected, he will experience failure to thrive. But the baby who is well-cared for will grow, develop and prosper to a child, adolescent and adult. This is how it is with human desire. The desires that we nurture grow and develop but those we ignore or set ourselves apart from will die. God does not tempt people. He cares for them. He has given us His Spirit alive and breathing within us to change our heart. His Purpose is to place a longing and great desire within us to know Him more so we will desire the Lord and all that He has for us. It was never God’s Intention to live apart from His People – His People chose such a life when they wanted something more than God. Temptation comes from own desires seeking their own way according to our will with little or no interest in God’s Plan and Purpose for our life. God’s Spirit lives inside of us and is envious of everything that we have allowed to become a barrier between us the two of us. He wants it removed so He can come closer and we will cling tighter to the Lord. This is not an act of force but humility. As we surrender our body, soul and spirit – He changes the desire of our heart and we are able to turn things around and seek the Lord wholeheartedly. (James 4:5-10) Resisting the enemy begins with the one that lives inside of me as I daily surrender my way for His Way.

 

I Peter 4:1-2 (NLT)

So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.

 

Are you finished with sin? Good question and one that we should ask ourselves every single day. Sin is an acute condition. It is a terminal illness that creates unhealthy desires within us. The more sin allowed to remain in us the more likely we are to give in to our sinful nature and human desire which drags us from the Lord and right back where we came from. The Lord instructs us in His Word to “let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Sin keeps us from chasing after God. We carry it secretly hidden in our hearts denying it all the time. We are to strip off every weight that slows us down. Sin slows people down every time. Sin trips us up every time. It doesn’t take a lot just a little. Jesus Christ showed us how to overcome our sinful nature by a little thing that is called faith. It has great potential in the hands of the right people. Are you that person? Are you finished with sin and ready to run the race that God has put before you?

 

Psalm 51:16-17 (NLT)

You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

 

God does not require a sacrifice. Jesus Christ was more than enough to satisfy our sin debt and open the door to His Kingdom for all mankind. The Blood of Jesus Christ offers forgiveness for every sin that we are willing to surrender to its flow. Grace covers yielding sin. But sin that we continue to harbor, nurture and allow to exist will kill our progress and prosperity every single time. It takes the life right out of us if allowed to co-exist in our heart. A broken spirit is surrendered and submissive to the leading of God demonstrated by the Holy Spirit no longer hostile to His Word, Will and Way. A repentant heart becomes changed as it is yielded completely to the Lord. This takes time. It is going to requires endurance. You will have to wait on the Lord. As God continues to change our heart, He begins to put the pieces back together as His Plan and Purpose becomes our reality. He gave you enough faith to begin the process now it can grow and develop into the prosperous life that you are after. He put Eternity in our hearts so we would one day desire our destination according to His Promises. We have everything that we need to live out God’s Perfect Plan but are we willing to give it back to Him so He can do something with it? Human desire is never satisfied. (Proverbs 27:20-21) As we decide that what human nature desires is nothing compared what the Lord has planned for us, we repent and turn back to home. In doing so, our heart’s desires are granted and we can finally find satisfaction and contentment that once was elusive. (Psalm 21:1-4) We are driven by desire to seek fulfillment. (Isaiah 57:10) If we would just be honest with the Lord about our struggle with sin, He could meet us in that place with grace sufficient for the cause. This would allow us to finally find success! (Psalm 51:5-6)

 

Matthew 6:20-23 (NLT)

Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light.But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

 

What do you treasure the most in this life? It will be the object of your affection. It will be the picture of your success. It will be the substance of your satisfaction. You will exhaust yourself in this world trying to have it all and have it now. We born pursing satisfaction but grossly misled in its substance. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of the unseen. (Hebrews 11:1) This leads me to believe that if I can see it, it cannot bring me satisfaction. I must decide what real treasure is. Everything in this life is subject to death and destruction. The only thing worth saving is human beings according to God who will wipe this planet clean one day. If this is the case than the real treasure that we are after is not seen. Heaven is real although we cannot see it. The Kingdom of God is like a luxurious destination that we have only seen glimpses of in brochures. The devil wants you to question the picture painted in God’s Word and the faith that is trying to grow in our lives. How many times is the real thing less than the brochure? How many times does the product not meet the hype? Manufacturers sell lies every single day. People are not satisfied but settle for the immediate gratification rather than pursing full satisfaction. We change our appetite by changing our diet. You are what you eat physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When God’s Word falls on a heart crowded with the things of this world and pursuit of the American Dream, it is choked out because it cannot offer the immediate gratification that we are after. It is a process and nobody wants to wait anymore. (Mark 4:18-19) Hebrews 11 talks about men and women who died to hold on their faith but we are a world that has surrendered faith for fear and will actually pay for it if necessary. There is no appreciation for the vast potential found by faith in the Living God who is alive in us. We do not believe so our lives are impossible. (Matthew 17:14-20) We can’t because we do not believe giving our faith to a world that consumes us. Impossible becomes possible when we decide that our faith is more precious than any other commodity this world has to offer. When we seek it more than wealth, power and influence – we will succeed in becoming rich, powerful and influential all because of Jesus Christ.

 

Blessed

 

What are you after today? What do you desire above all else? Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied. It sounds so easy but it will be a fight for your life. Like battling a sinking ship with a teaspoon, you will feel the constant battle within to remain reconciled to Christ with a body in full rebellion. (I Timothy 2:1-6) Faith is worth fighting for even when the enemy is you. God give us that which we desire even when it is not good for us because He is always good and loves us enough to allow us to choose the life that we want to live. (Psalm 78:29) If you are not satisfied with your life, don’t blame God. It is your desires that are being fulfilled. His Plan and Purpose with every promise they contain are achieved from start to finish by faith in God allowed to prosper in the Grace given by Jesus Christ. Discernment allows us to separate the truth from a life. (I John 2:18-21) You must know the Word of God to rightly divide your life. (Hebrews 4:12-13) The message of the pulpits today is confusing and often contrary infused with manmade gospels that are not true. God has given us His Spirit. We must feed the Spirit the Word which He can use to change our mind. This will change our desires. He will become hungry for God. We will thirst for His Spirit. We will be satisfied now and forevermore. It is a battle worth winning even if it means total surrender and submission to the Lord (which it will)! ”For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:12) Help the Lord win the battle for your heart today by surrendering all that you are to all that He is! He has a good plan with a future and hope well worth having. Make today count. Stop being your own worst enemy – surrender your life to Jesus Christ!

 

Romans 8:28-29 (NKJV)

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.