The Power of Discernment

The Power of Discernment

Romans 12:1-2 (ESV) I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

To be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God. What is good? What is acceptable? What is perfect? Here’s a hint. People will never lead you to perfection. It is impossible for the imperfect to go where they have not been. Maturity in Christ is an independent mission of finding completion in Him. Discernment takes knowledge of God and as it becomes our understanding it will begin to produce wisdom in our life. Wisdom is nothing more than applied knowledge. To be wise is to make choices based on sound knowledge and good understanding allowing it to change the way we think, live and speak.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6) A lack of knowledge in our natural life can cause unwanted consequences. For example, if you are not instructed that if you touch a hot stovetop that you will be burned, then when you come in contact with one that you will likely touch it and pay the consequences. Spiritual instruction is absolutely necessary to change our life from natural to supernatural outcomes. We can present ourselves as “living sacrifices” but it is discernment that keeps us aligned with God and following Jesus Christ. We need knowledge. We need understanding. We need wisdom. We need discernment. What if we have it but are not using it? Well, according to Hosea, people are destroyed because they lack…or reject godly knowledge.

I Kings 3:10-14 (ESV) It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”

Solomon was the beloved son of David. David was a man after God’s Heart. Solomon following the footsteps of his father offered a sacrifice pleasing to the Lord. God came to King Solomon in a dream and asked, “What shall I give you?” The king could have asked for anything. He could have asked for riches and honor or a variety of natural desires. Solomon asked for wisdom or more importantly “understanding to discern what is right”. His request pleased the Lord and it was granted to him.

Godly wisdom and good discernment does not make us perfect. It is simply good judgment that readily discerns between good and evil. Good people are not always godly. Religious folks aren’t always godly. We are quick to follow preachers and teachers but reluctant to strike out and follow Jesus especially when He leads us out on our own. People are people. God is looking for those who desire Him above all things.

Remember when Jesus met the rich young man. (Mark 10) He called Jesus “Good Teacher” and quickly the Lord replied, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” Discernment. Jesus was questioning the man’s knowledge and wisdom. He knew the commandments and religious rules and regulations. But did this rich young man have a relationship with God? Did he know God? Did he love Him? Did he recognize the Son of God standing before him? Well…when asked to leave this world behind, sell all his possessions and give everything away to follow Christ…he walked away. There are many people with a whole lot of head knowledge about the Lord. We need heart knowledge called discernment to change us and transform us.

I Corinthians 2:14-16 (ESV) The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

We have the Mind of Christ. We must decide to adopt His Mindset and gain knowledge of who He is from God’s Word. In fact, John 1:14 tells us that Jesus is the Word of God who came to us wrapped in flesh. Without a personal working knowledge, there is no wisdom. Without wisdom, it is impossible to discern between good and evil. God is good! He is always good! His Way is always the best. To know His Way, we must know His Word and allow His Spirit to guide us.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)  Jesus is the Word. He is the only Way to God. We cannot access God through man anymore but must personally enter His Presence. To read the Word is to actively engage in the process of spiritual circumcision as the Lord removes the callous hardness applied by life to break our heart and fill it with the Light of His Love. If Jesus is your Savior and Lord, you have been given His Spirit. The Holy Spirit as you will see in the next scripture is called our “Helper”. He takes the Word of God like a surgeon to cut away the worthless and fruitless desires to give us a new life and make us a new creation just like the Lord promised to do.

John 14:25-27 (ESV) “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

The Holy Spirit is our guide. He teaches us the meaning of God’s Word. He shows us how to apply it in our life through His Gentle Nudging or not-so-easy conviction. We are free to choose our way but in order to choose THE Way – reliance on the Spirit of God in us is important. The Spirit of God aligns our heart and mind with Him. In doing so, it creates inner peace as our heart is no longer in conflict with eternity. It is in this place that God changes us and transforms us. You were not created to be like anybody. God created you to be you. There is no one else that has your potential. There is no one else that can fulfill your purpose. To know Him is to love Him but aside from His Word (Truth) and His Spirit it is not possible to be a true worshipper. Our faith is planted solely in Christ to harvest the confident hoped needed to endure to the end.

Psalm 119:65-68 (ESV) You have dealt well with your servant, O Lord, according to your word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.

I will be the first to admit that I have asked the Lord for specific “things” and detailed outcomes more than I care to mention. All those prayers “instructing” God on what I needed, wanted, desired or thought that He should do. God’s Word tells us to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name. Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” But then, I have had many pastors and teachers instruct me to tell God exactly what I want and to pray in specifics. This is where the power of discernment works in our life.

I find that when I pray for “God’s Will” to be done – I have greater success in accomplishing peace in my life. Thinking of all those times I thought I knew what was best, but the Lord had something better in mind. There is nothing wrong with praying for specific things but it is better to seek the Will and Way of God. His Hope never leads to disappointment. His Way never comes up short. His Promises always produce fulfillment and full satisfaction. His Economy is abundance. God is good. His Love unfailing. His Goodness always pursuing me. I must simply know Him and love Him to have it all.

Today, my prayer is simple. “Lord, teach me good judgment and knowledge. I desire discernment. To see people, situations, and opportunities through Your Eyes and consider each with the Mind of Christ. This is my heart’s desire to be a living sacrifice and live a life acceptable to You, Lord.”

Proverbs 16:20-22 (ESV) Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.

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Treasures in Heaven

Treasures in Heave

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Do you have a treasured possession? My grandmother’s china is very special to me. She kept it in her china cabinet only bringing it out at certain times. I remember looking through the glass at them and how they shown in the golden light of her dining room. Funny, that in the same cabinet, in the midst of all the good stuff, grandma had a plastic salt and pepper shaker in the shape of two hanging grape clusters. These were a gift from me to her. She treasured the artwork and tiny trinkets given to her by her grandchildren. They took a place of honor in her home. My birth mother passed away a few years ago. We had been estranged due to addiction for many years. When her death certificate arrived, it contained two gumball machine rings that belonged to her. Little pieces of cheap metal crafted in to plain bands that were gifts from her grandson. I have tucked them away. Tiny treasures with great significance.

We all have treasures. People or things highly valued and greatly prized in our life. Some of those things may actually be of monetary worth while others provoke precious memories. If a thief were to break in, would he be able to steal your treasure? Could moths or rusts destroy that which is most precious to you? Treasure is defined by the value or worth placed on something. It is the desired content of it that makes it so special and sought after. What do you spend your time pursuing these days? The pursuits in which our time and talent are invested generally will reveal our treasure. Priorities produce busyness but what is the purpose and motivation behind all the rushing back and forth? Where is my treasure? Where is my heart?

It would be quick to interpret this passage to dissuade us from loving things and money too much. While looking ahead, the perception of worth and wealth is based on the perspective of what we see. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. The kind of faith that sees the Kingdom must turn its face from worthless substitutions to obtain the treasure stored for them in heaven. No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Drives and desires become our masters. To have money, possessions and things is not bad. To love money, possessions and things allowing them to become the master of our life and that which defines our pursuits is the real trouble for believers.

Proverbs 2:1-5 (ESV) My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

The hidden treasure of heaven belongs to you and me. We have the Word of God to invest in our life like good seed planted deep in fertile soil. The act of sowing God’s Word in our lie turns knowledge into understanding and wisdom. We must “receive“ His Word. We must “treasure” His Commands. We must be “attentive” to His Voice. We must “incline” our heart to understanding. Treasure is defined by human desire. The thing desired most defines the idea of “treasure” in our life. Who or what gets your time? Who or what gets your talent? Who or what gets your treasure? This is the person or thing valued most in your life. It will show you who or what the desire of the heart is.

Matthew 13:44 (ESV) “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

The Kingdom of Heaven is hidden treasure. It is found when Jesus Christ is discovered. The potential of the Kingdom is in us. He has placed eternity in each heart and a measure of faith to cultivate the purpose placed within us. In order to have it, we must pursue it wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) The man found treasure and covered it up. We invite Jesus to come live in our heart. What we do with our salvation is completely up to each one of us? To participate in a building a relationship with Jesus Christ means that we must go and “sell” this life to obtain the Kingdom. The man sold everything for “joy”. Less is more in the Kingdom. I must decrease so Christ can increase.

What if this passage represents moving our life from the planet to His Presence? To begin getting rid of lesser things to make room for His Abundance. To work the fields of our heart rather than toiling with our hands all the time. To build a life on faith rather than worrying about the world and its future. We are temporary residents of this place, the Kingdom of God is our forever home.

Matthew 13:45-46 (ESV) “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Reading these verses today, I am wondering if there is a message here. The “man” moved his life and existence on the field. He sold everything to dwell in it. Live in it. Take ownership of it. What if these verses represent our personal life with Christ and the next ones our professional life? The merchant bought and sold pearls for a living. But when he found the pearl of great price, he sold all to have it. The treasure of my life is Christ. To have the Kingdom – I must have faith in Christ. Faith in Christ is not futuristic. He invites me to open the windows of Heaven and bring it down to the earth.

The deal breaker, game changer is my participation. Will I sell out for the Kingdom? Will I place the highest priority on heaven rather than earthly pursuits? It doesn’t say that they gave everything up for the Lord. They sold everything to acquire the Kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven offers abundance, full satisfaction and complete contentment. It is not to accept a life of poverty, but to prosper from the inside out. I find that as I continually invest more and more of my time, talent and treasure into the Kingdom – things begin to change as I do. The struggle is real. Faith relies on that which it cannot see as the vivid reality of what is true in our life. There was a rich young ruler who came to Jesus in Mark 10. He was rich. He was a ruler. He was religious. He was the total package according to the world’s economy. Jesus instructed him to sell all of his possessions, give the proceeds to the poor and to follow Him. To exchange all of his things for righteousness. To have a constant and abiding relationship with the Living God. The man walked away “disheartened” for he had many possessions.

Luke 12:32-34 (ESV) “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

If the world didn’t give it to you, then the world cannot take it away. The Treasure of Heaven is Jesus Christ. The Presence of God that wants to dwell in us, live with us, save us, heal us, and deliver us. The Prosperity of God that wants to increase us from the inside out. To create such contentment and godliness that the conditions, circumstances and situations of life cannot impact the love, joy and peace overflowing from us. It says, “it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” We cannot earn the Kingdom with all of its blessings and benefits. We certainly do not deserve it yet each day His Unfailing Love and Goodness pursues us. “Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail.” God is asking His People simply to prepare a place for the Treasure of Heaven and He will gladly do the rest. What do you treasure? Where is your treasure? Can anyone take it away from you?

God is good! He is an excellent provider. He only gives us good things. He is perfect in all of His Ways. To connect with God’s Economy – one must move into His Presence and learn to operate in godly prosperity. It doesn’t work like the world does. It operates by unconditional love, unending grace and overflowing blessing from the inside out. Tap into the hidden treasures of heaven. Reinvest your life into the potential of faith living in confident hope. He will never ever let you down. It is His GOOD PLEASURE to give us the Kingdom!

Matthew 19:21 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Beautiful Crown

Beautiful Crown

Proverbs 4:7-9 (ESV) The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.

We made it just in time to see the sun inches above the ocean, a stellar sunrise on a clear morning. The beach was full of other folks who had the same idea. She wanted to see the sunrise. Our littlest princess was in awe of the glorious sun. Lingering along the surf, I gathered shells while she walked in the water. Casual conversation turned to a serious discussion very quickly. This one is our thinker. She contemplates life on a regular and ongoing basis rather than the carefree spirit of other young teens. The mystery of life is not good enough for her. She wants all the details now. The unknown does not appeal to her. I assure her that the Lord knows exactly what He is doing in her life and as long as she loves and trusts Him it will work out just fine. Well, that’s not good enough for her…

How many times has an adult said, “If I had known then what I know now…” Would it have made a difference? Considering the details of life and weighing all the good and bad, what would you have done differently? The bad marriage wouldn’t have produced the blessing of your children if it had never happened. The poor choices and challenging consequences may not have given you the sound wisdom you have today. God promises to work every detail of our life for our good and His Glory when we answer His Call. There is no depth too deep or place too dark that His Light will not come to our rescue. Regret does not exist in the one who is fully redeemed. Fear and anxiety are the enemy’s tools to steal, kill and destroy the knowledge and understanding that will soon become confident hope that leads to fulfillment. Is there more to life than this? Absolutely. We must desire it to have it. Pursue it to find it. Believe it for the reality to manifest in our life.

Our little girl doesn’t want to miss what God has for her. She struggles with the uncertainty of not knowing what the Lord is doing and desiring it just the same. Don’t we all yet unwilling to admit it with childlike faith to the listening Father. God has put it in my heart that He is doing a new thing. Looking around at my life, I am pleased with the way things are turning out. God is good. He is giving me the desires of my heart. There is more to this thing called life. I must go after it. Forgoing my comfort, complacency, convenience and control – I want the complete package labeled fulfillment. As we walked on the beach, I did my best to calm the concerns of my little one. She is not so little anymore. Her questions about her future valid. Trust is new to her. She only knows it in a limited sense. But I believe the Lord is calling her deeper. He is asking her to step closer. She is answering His Call and I am challenged to continue to answer mine. Whatever it is? Whatever it looks like? Even if it feels a bit uncertain, uncomfortable, inconvenient, and illogical, faith makes all these things unacceptable.

The wisdom of God is found in His Word. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh to portray the Father’s Love and Desire for His Children. He desires us. He wants us. He made the Way for us. Righteousness is the right path in every situation. It requires wisdom. Knowledge and understanding applied to our daily life not once or twice a week. It is not religious but relational. Instruction is the Gift of the Father to His Children. He longs for us to choose the better way and walk in the blessings and promises that He has already prescribed for our life. He doesn’t force us to choose His Path but offers it to us as a precious and valuable gift. Righteousness is only possible through Jesus Christ. The sacrifice of His Life is the only possible way for God’s Word, His Way and His Will for us to be fully accessed and completed in us. Confident hope is discovered by faith in God’s Word completely.

In the handful of children the Lord has given us, we have both impulsive and intellectual individuals. The spectrum of personalities is uncanny considering they are all from the same brood. Being the mom of such diversity, each one has been raised with a slightly different approach according to their personality. I have some that come directly to me when in need of advice or an opinion. There are others who call in the time of need. The cautious generally communicate more openly in contrast to the reckless for whom I am still here. God is a Good Father. He is pouring His Unconditional Love on the just and unjust. If only all of His Children would take some time to discover the vast potential of limitless love, it would change the church forever. It would bring the Body of Jesus Christ together into a blameless and unblemished bride once and for all. We don’t understand such a concept therefore cannot live in it completely.

Proverbs 4:10-13 (ESV) Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble. Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.

Wisdom in our life is the result of knowledge applied in our life. Many receive instructions every day and ignore them. For example, the speed limit posted on the side of the road is not a suggestion but the law. If an officer catches me speeding, do I really have a right to get mad about it? Choosing to ignore the law creates a consequence. When I was an offender a couple of years ago, I was given a ticket that carried a hefty fine. I was required to pay the fine, but also given the opportunity to attend online traffic school to waive the points which would have resulted in higher insurance rates for the next several years. I chose to attend the class.

Sin is an offense to God. He hates sin. It separates us from him. Given the opportunity of grace, it is hard to say no. But there is more to God’s Divine Character than just getting by. The Lord offers us full restoration. Welcoming us home as the prodigal son is received upon his return, the Father desires to guide us along the right paths that lead to full satisfaction and fulfillment. I choose whether or not I will follow Him. Wisdom is offered to me. Instruction given. Understanding in every word, precept, scripture and verse. Will it be the valuable commodity that I live by? Will I remain under God’s Table scrambling for crumbs? Will I sit at His Table and feast before my enemies? It is all up to me.

Wisdom is a “graceful garland” or a “beautiful crown.” It represents a life lived in the Presence of God – triumphant in Christ and fully redeemed as a Child of God. In order to live such a life requires pursuing knowledge, instruction, and understanding found only in God and His Word then choosing to apply it to our everyday life. Faith only becomes practical when fully exposed to God’s Word. It is illogical compared to human intellect and rationalized by average thoughts. We have been given a precious gift to unwrap, open and use in our life. It begins in His Word and allows us to live in Christ who is the Word.

Psalm 23:1-6 (ESV) The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Walking with my daughter on the beach contemplating the rest of her life, our conversation grew quiet and in my heart I longed to be able to tell her every detail of the fairytale written for her. I don’t know what her life will be like. I pray for her every day. God loves her more than I do yet I still cannot comprehend such a thing. I know that God has a plan for her. I know it contains a future and hope. I know that she loves the Lord. She will not live on mountaintops but journey through the valley of the shadow of death as we all do. I know that every day will not be a good day. She will need to learn to trust and depend on Jesus just like I have had to. No one could tell me how to do or when it would happen. Everyone needs the rod of discipline and staff of instruction in their life. They need these two valuable things so that knowledge and understanding will one day be wisdom even our little princess. God is good! His Goodness and Mercy follow us all every day of life just waiting for understanding to kick in and wisdom to be set forth. It is in that moment when we respond to the Lord that the garland of grace and crown of redemption are fully put in place.

I can give my children instruction. I can encourage understanding. I can continually pour the knowledge of my life into them. Wisdom is something that is discovered individually when truth is applied personally to our life. Our life in Christ will begin to prosper by taking the Word of God and applying it daily, step by step and breath by breath to our life. I cannot do it for my own children. God cannot do it for you. Those who choose to do so will be crowned Sons and Daughters of the King.

James 1:12 (ESV) Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

I Peter 5:4 (ESV) And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Secrets of the Deep

Secrets of the Deep

Psalm 42:7-9 (ESV) Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”

Life is crazy. Change is inevitable. Becoming a Christian, inviting Jesus to live in our life doesn’t exempt us from such extremes but rather invites us to a place of utter chaos. Religion is man’s attempt to string together all the details and bring people to some form of order. The truth of the matter is that God comes to each of us on an individual basis – Jesus invites us to live in love with Him – the consummation of such an experience is the Holy Spirit. After that buckle your seatbelts as your existence is completely undone. Believers who act like that have it all together project a farce. It is not in the doing that God accomplishes great things but in our undoing. It is not when we have it all together that His Light shines through us but through our broken heart. It is not because He is cruel or controlling but rather because God created us with a plan much bigger than our finite thinking and prepared us for much more than perceived by limited sight. It is in those moments that lack understanding or make no sense at all – our inability to cope or control – that the deep surrounds us.

My husband and I were walking and talking. It would begin like most other nights. Going over the events of the days, activities of children and sharing life experiences. But last night, he dared enter the unknown. Asking the complicated question that most men would avoid – “What are you really thinking about?” I hesitated. The thoughts circulating in my head and swirling through my mind were questioning. Wondering. Contemplating. The details of life overwhelming and chaotic churning through my thoughts. The last week or so an emotional roller coaster of high highs and low lows. I feel like the toy our puppy plays with that has been shaken and pulled apart even frayed. I lay it all before my husband and become only more convinced that God has to be in all these deep places. He is ready to fill voids, level mountains and make a clear path. I have walked through deep waters before and always prevailed by His Mighty Hand and Loving Heart. I hear deep calling again. My spirit says, “Yes!” but my flesh begs “Lord, not again!”

Isaiah 35:3-8 (ESV) Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.

I believe that God is good. I know that His Plan for my life contains a future and hope beyond my comprehension. His Thoughts are higher than my own and so therefore His Ways must be also. It is in my lack of knowledge and understanding that challenge me. The deep is God’s Invitation to grow in these areas. It is not in knowing what or how God works that builds faith and hope but in knowing God that makes all things possible. Faith is what pleases the Lord. Faith is not living by what we see but rather living in constant knowledge of who God is and how much He loves us. It is to put our trust in His Character and not life’s conditions or circumstances but to become fully enveloped in His Love and Grace each day. Strength, courage and fearlessness are not achieved by human sufficiency but when our confidence is completely invested in the Lord and His Process.

The Highway to Holiness unfolding before us is the pathway to victory. Holiness is not anything we do but rather what happens as one becomes the much coveted new creation Christ promised to make us. Religion has attempted to change our appearance but the Lord promises a new heart. A heart set on a pilgrimage to where He is, to do what He is doing, and make the commitment to remain in the deep as long as it takes to enter the Light of His Love.

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.” What if the deeper things of God are entered into not by our own strength or willpower but rather the moment of letting go and allowing the Lord to do it all. Weak hands let go relinquishing to His Power and Control. Feeble knees stopping trying to do it all and walk it out allowing the Lord to carry us through. Dependency on the Lord is established in the deep when we cannot see or do what we used to. Maybe this is what it means “then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.”

Daniel 2:20-22 (ESV) Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.

The Lord gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and hidden things. He knows what is in the darkness of the depths and the Light dwells in Him. In Genesis 1:1-3, the whole love story of God begins with the Spirit of the Lord hovering over the deep. Read it. The earth is formless and void and then God spoke. Life perpetuated life from that moment forward. God and His Spirit were there. Jesus is the Word. When God spoke – Jesus was and is and is to come. Knowledge of God is found in the Word which is the story of Jesus Christ wrapped in flesh who came to give us life just like in the beginning. (John 1:14) The Word is our wisdom for life. We read it. Apply it. In that moment, God’s Wisdom becomes power in our life. Our words begin to line up with His and there is agreement. (Proverbs 18:4) Understanding extracts the secrets of the deep hidden there for human discovery. (Proverbs 20:5) Where can wisdom be found? It is not in the deep but the One who keeps us in the deep. (Job 28:12-14) God has had complete control over the deep forever. Darkness runs from the Light so even in the lowest valley or deepest sea the Light of His Love will surrounds those who are His Children.

It may be dark all around you today. No relief in sight. The wait may be one minute longer than you can do it. The pressure overwhelming. The pain beyond enduring. The night won’t last forever. Joy comes with new mercy each morning. God is not calling you to drown you but to drench and saturate our life in His Goodness. It is the opportunity of obedience to walk by faith and not what you see. But you know what I have found to be the greatest blessing of the deep…

Romans 8:26-28 (ESV) Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 

When I venture into the deep, ready to obey, willing to trust and thrust my heart in God’s Hands – He is always faithful. His Spirit, the same one who was with Him in the beginning, helps me. When I am at a loss for words or strength to move, His Spirit takes over. The Lord searches my heart removing weights and hindrances until the only thing holding me is hope that strong anchor. Somehow and some way – everything keeps working together for my good and His Glory despite my weakness and whining. I find that as I surface again – His Purpose is clear…

Romans 8:36-39 (ESV) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Through all the peaks and valleys and even in the deepest depths of life – God’s Love has never let me go. I am more than a conqueror – an embattled and scarred warrior for sure – but I refuse to put my sword down. I will fight to the end to maintain this faith I have been entrusted with and keep my deep abiding affection and trust in the Lord. It is a fight when the deep closes in around me. I feel panic and distress where peace once abounds. Then I am reminded of all the times before when His Love rushes in and He breathes new life in me. When His Perfect Love has expelled my fear – so I keep going.

Ephesians 3:14-19 (ESV) For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

The details of my life are stretch from elation to exhaustion. I cannot put into words how I feel or the emotions running through me. It really doesn’t matter how I feel now does it. My success today is based on my ability to enter the deep based on what I know. I know God loves me. I know that He has victory in store for me. I know that He is blessing me but it is only the beginning of the abundance growing in my life. One day it will be increase that will only be attributable to the faithfulness of God. Until then, I will continue to plunge in the deep when I am called. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain in obedience and trust. The deep exposes us in our weakness and insecurity to God’s Love. The width, length, height and depth of His Fathomless Love for us is evident when we can do nothing but must rely on the Lord for everything. These are the times when faith are rooted and grounded in a hard heart now broken and fertile. The Lord is letting us know that His Love surpasses our knowledge and ability to understand. He is filling our voids with the Fullness of God. The opportunity of the deep is simple. It is to invest our life and all that we believe in the Lord who desires to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think according to His Power at work in us! Welcome to the deep! It is full of God’s Secrets and Hidden Opportunities of blessing and prosperity for those who decide to enter in.

Ephesians 3:20 (ESV) Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Raise the Bar

raise-the-bar

Ephesians 4:13-16 (NLT) This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

To raise the bar means to make something better. Raising standards and expectations especially by creating something better than previously known or experienced. It connotes a challenge to improve beyond what was thought possible before and make a mark for others to follow. More than a personal endeavor, it is a pursuit of excellence which is the unprecedented example for the benefit of all. It is believed that those who reach such a level will be successful and satisfied with life. The problem is that in this world the “bar” goes up and down each day randomly in accordance with the fickleness of mankind and their perception of perfection. Emotions and feelings along with the peaks and valleys of life cause us to question if setting a high standard and raising the bar of our life is worth the struggle, pressure and pain of endurance. Is the commitment to change worth the tragedy of transition because we must leave some things behind to have all that is promised?

I have seen the impact of the “millennial” generation in my own home. Having three twenty-something kids and two teenagers – there is a dynamic shift occurring that must be battled every day. The sense of entitlement in our next generation is startling. Thankfulness is giving way to “I can have what I want when I want it because I am me” which comes (in my opinion) from never giving them anything to strive for. Comfort has given way to compromise. Settlement to substitutions. There is no drive for betterment just simple pass the test and get by. My concern for this generation is that they are also the end times Christians who prepare the way of Christ’s Return. They are subject to the greatest deceptions that believers have ever experienced because the enemy is desperate to steal their souls. We must become intent that I can have all that Christ said I could have, be all that He said that I could be, do everything that He empowers me to do, and live with Him forever not because of who I am but based solely on Who He is and What He has done for me.

To raise the bar of our life means setting a new standard of living. One based on perfection not perception and making the commitment to stay focused on the unseen and not the world crashing down and hell breaking loose around me. There are days I feel like an unarmed civilian in my pajamas with absolutely no defense at all walking through a war zone with grenades blowing up, bullets flying overhead, fights breaking out all around me, tanks rolling by and the Spirit of the Lord says, “Just keep walking, it’s all going to be okay.” Whether you know it or not, there is a battle all around you as the Lord protects you from the enemy’s fiery darts, wicked assignments, and plots to destroy you. God is fighting for us! His angels surround us as a constant guard. The pressure you feel is real. The perception is valid though you cannot fully perceive it. Winston Churchill said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.” I couldn’t agree with him more. If you find all hell is breaking loose around you, it could be because you are finally getting it right and walking in the right direction. You must go through it to make it to it!

Romans 3:22-24 (NLT) We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

My sister is an esthetician. She is a skincare professional who offers a wide variety of treatments and beauty services. Several years ago, she received a call from the personal assistant of a very famous Christian speaker. You would instantly know her but I am not going to name her. The woman called to book an appointment. After securing a date and time, she informed my sister that her employer was coming in on her personal time and not to be bothered. She was not “ministering” so please refrain from asking her any questions, autographing or anything pertaining to the ministry. (Insert shocked face emoji here followed by a GIF with someone smacking their head with the palm of their hand.) I didn’t know what to say then and still don’t know what to say now. When did ministry become a profession and not a passionate pursuit of lost souls, to whom much is given much is required. I understand that people need down time. I also get that such a personality probably doesn’t get it very much. I do. I am not judging this person or any other mega ministry pastor. People are not a profession. They are God’s Passion. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, when you encounter a lost, dying, hurt, or wandering soul, there is no such thing as a better time than the one you are living in to reach out to them, share God’s Love, tell them your story and interact with them. What if my sister was lost? What is she were sick, hurting or dying? What it that appointment was divine not decided? Hmmm…

I apologize in advance if you are offended or upset by my ideology that ministry is not a job it’s a mission that all of those who love Jesus have been called to. It is 24/7. It is all about what I say, do, and how I live every moment of every day. There is no downtime. For everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard of Living. Even those who seem to have their spiritual junk altogether still have sin to be dealt with in their life every day. Everyone. You do. I do. We all do. Though some make it appear that they have achieved higher levels in God – need I remind you the only level of achievement in Jesus Christ is grace. Grace is the only way to achieve righteousness again. It doesn’t matter if you have only committed one sin in your whole life – you are sinner who needs just as much grace as the person who sins every single second.

Romans 9:30-32 (NLT) What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path.

Are you trying to follow God’s Standards in your own power today? Let me just be real with you. I see it in every church that I have ever attended and have been in positions that made me feel the same way. The more I know Christ and attempt to follow Him, the better my life gets. Our family is committed to tithing, our financial life has prospered over the last decade or more. Every part of my life sown by faith into God’s Promises are yielding just the same harvest. However, in all of the blessings, sometimes it is possible to forget WHO is the one prospering our life because we are living it. We are doing what God’s Word says, but we do not increase our life – He does. Before you say, I know that peek into your heart and look for any insecurity lurking there. It is the one hidden behind pride that says, “I will make my own way. I have to do it myself.”

His Grace is enough to pick you up out of your mess, dust you off, wash you in His Word, wrap you in righteousness and open the door to God’s Presence again. Just His Grace. The Grace of Jesus Christ was absolutely enough to raise the bar of our life and make God’s Glorious Standard available to us again. We can do nothing to earn it. Nothing at all. Therefore any exaltation above another person or idea that I am somehow better because I have achieved a higher standard of living is to say that it was not the Lord but me who made the difference and His Grace is not enough for me.

I Peter 2:21-25 (NLT) For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.

From His Birth to His Death and Resurrection, Jesus was always about His Father’s Business. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords did not think twice about laying down His Life to come and give us access to the Kingdom once again. But have we created our own kingdoms called church and small group creating services and experiences that are manmade and not spirit led. Are sinners uncomfortable in our churches not because the Holy Spirit is convicting them but because God’s People are condemning them? Do we believe in taking days off? Jesus is our example. Christ alone allows us to have a higher standard of living called God’s Glorious Standard. Are we using it to build His Kingdom or our own?

The Word of Christ is complete. When Jesus said, it is finished releasing His Spirit to us – the job was done – our debt paid in full. Now what? We live for Him. We love Him. We follow Him. We become about our Father’s Business, too. I can do nothing apart from Him. The goodness in my life is all a gift from God and nothing I have earned or created for myself. I must humble myself to the Lord. I must decrease and He must increase in my life so that I can raise the bar so that others will seek Him, know Him and love Him, too.

Hebrews 6:12 (NLT) Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.

I must not become spiritually dull or indifferent taking for granted the Unfailing Love that I have been given and Grace that I have received for a substandard way of life. I must follow the example of Christ and the men and women who laid down their life to inherit the promises of God. Lord, keep me humbly at Your Feet so that I may know you more. So let’s go back to the beginning…

Ephesians 4:13-16 (NLT) This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

We must get this engrained in us. To achieve the Glorious Standard of Living and raise the bar to the level God intended, I must be complete in Christ. The continuation of “church” is to perpetuate growth in the Body of Christ which means my completion in Christ is dependent on my willingness to yield my life, gifts and abilities to the entire organization called His Body. It requires knowledge, understanding and wisdom that moves past human ideology and is based on faith in Christ. As Christ begins to take over my mind, body, soul and heart, it is the Truth that begins to impact and influence our lives rather than the conditions and circumstances of this life. My life is nothing without Christ. The parts and pieces of my life withheld from the Lord lack His Power and do not benefit the Body of Christ. I am a Kingdom Builder or at least I should be. I do this by using the gifts, talents and abilities God has given me to share the Gospel with others. My complete satisfaction in life is achieved when I place all my faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Withholding nothing, even my pride, say it all belongs to you, Jesus! He is the more excellent way! Christ is my example! Raise the bar today! Find that one place, the hidden place, the harbored fugitive in your heart and give it to the Lord to be revived, restored and released as you achieve excellence.

John 3:30 (NLT) He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

Depth Perception

Depth Perception

I John 2:26-28 (NLT) I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray. But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.

Who’s right? In world with a wide range of religions and opinions, how do I know that the God I serve is the one true God? How do I know that Jesus Christ is the only way? What a person believes dictates how they live? They can say anything they like freely but it is in our behavior, attitude and actions that our true colors shine through. Jeremiah 13:23 asks “can an Ethiopian change the color of his skin? Can a leopard take away its spots?” What is he saying? No they cannot and “neither can you start doing good, for you have always done evil.”  Oh please don’t be offended. I am in no way implying that you or yours are evil. I am just examining my own heart for relevance today. My life has physical implications. However, unless I develop an understanding of the spiritual implications that impact my life, I can do nothing of importance or significance for the Lord.

As believers, we are given God’s Holy Spirit to live in us and promote spiritual understanding that becomes knowledge and once applied the wisdom that guides our life in righteousness. How we see the world is reflected by one’s depth perception in life. Do we see things only in the natural? Have we dared to peer into our physical state? Do we long for the eyes of our heart to be opened? Light that shines in the darkness reveals the secrets hidden there. Once a lie is exposed to truth it can no longer be entertained as anything else. So we tiptoe as far across the line of fear into faith possible while still maintaining our ignorance and naivety when God has given us the ability to see well beyond the natural into the supernatural realm.

Ephesians 1:7-9 (NLT) He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan.

God in His Rich and Loving Kindness maximized by His Grace purchased our freedom with the Blood of His Son Jesus. He forgave our sins – past, present and future – in that moment. How? God is omnipresent meaning everywhere at once, omniscient meaning He knows everything and His Omnipotent meaning all powerful. It is in His Absolute Sovereignty as God alone that He is able to determine the Sacrifice of Christ acceptable and apply it to our life. He bestowed this gift to humanity. Limited in perception beyond what the five senses, the Lord is determined to connect with us. He not only showered us in loving kindness but gave us ALL wisdom and understanding. God revealed His Mysterious Plan to us. No He didn’t? Yes, He did!

We have the Holy Spirit. He is our guide. He is our teacher. He is significant in establishing depth perception in life that sees beyond the natural to embrace the supernatural. His Understanding reaches past the physical things to take hold of spiritual confidence. We are told to walk by faith and not by sight in a world that defines seeing as believing. Lord help us. Open our eyes to Your Glory, God.

Depth perception is the ability to perceive spatial relationships. It is the ability to determine the potions of objects in association with one another. This is heavily influenced by the development of the human brain and how it sees distance etc. It is also decided by experience. If an animal is exposed to a glass floor, it struggles to walk on it because it challenges their depth perception. If a person who is afraid of heights is given the opportunity to cross the same floor, they may be unable to do so because fear cannot see the floor just the distance between their feet and the ground. The distance between mankind and God is not as far as we think. In fact, it is not far at all because Jesus Christ lives inside of us. He has given us His Spirit to open our spiritual eyes, increase supernatural understanding, and prosper us from the inside out. However, human logic often talks us out of faith. Natural understanding defies the existence of God to the extent of its intelligence. It is because of ignorance that God’s People perish every day many thinking that they know a God that they have yet to see.

John 9:1-5 (NLT) As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Jesus is the Light of the world. Light is the very thing that allows the eye to see. Without light, there is no sight. Light has a complex interaction with our eyes and brain that illuminate our world. Light reaches the eye and signals are sent to our brain. Our brain deciphers the information in order to detect appearance, location and movement of objects. When considering Jesus in such context, He is spiritual light. He shines brightly inside of us shedding light on our heart and soul giving us an opportunity to apply His Love, Grace and Power to all aspects of our natural life.

When Jesus saw the man blind from birth, the man was not crying out to the Lord. He was just sitting there. The disciples asked Jesus, “Why was this man born blind?” We are all born blind due to sin. We have the opportunity to have our eyes opened if we are willing to believe. The Lord used this man as an example. Note the reason that Jesus gave them, “This happened so the Power of God could be seen in him.” Well then… God will use whatever means possible to open the eyes of our mind, and the recesses of our heart, so the Light of His Love can expose anything that is keeping us from God’s Very Best.

A miracle happened that day. Now one might think this would be a happy ending to a life of disappointment. You know everyone would celebrate wildly and declare Jesus as Lord. Not exactly. One man’s healing sent a spiritual wave moving through the synagogue that day. The man’s friends questioned his miracle. Some discredited it as a mistake and that this was not the man they knew. They couldn’t comprehend such a miracle. It made its way to his parents who are called before the Pharisees. They agree that they have no idea what happened. They tell the religious leaders to ask their son essentially telling them to leave them alone. This miracle was quickly becoming their misfortune as their religion was now compromised. The Pharisees asked the man over and over again who repeated the same story. The man was ultimately thrown out of the synagogue.

Jesus met the man just outside of religion and other relationships. He asked the man, “Do you believe in the Son of God? The man answered the Lord, “I want to believe in him.” The man accepted Jesus in that moment. I believe that this occurs regularly in the modern day church when the miraculous overtakes our natural understanding. When Knowledge of God becomes too incredible to accept and His Doing too much to absorb, do we discredit the Lord among people unknowingly. The Lord is doing more than we can ask or think. We must think differently to make revival a reality or miracles will be dismissed by mindsets.

I Corinthians 2:13-15 (NLT) When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.

We must gain depth perception in Jesus Christ. We must understand the spiritual implications in our life. The Light of His Love shows us the areas of our life that are working with God’s Plan and sabotaging it as well. It is through knowledge and understanding that the opportunity for true wisdom to arise. The rippling effect of the blind man’s healing that day is no different than that which occurs in the modern day church every day. God moves and does the miraculous which is quickly shutdown. We overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony. Is anyone talking about the Blood? Where are all the testimonies?

Growing up Southern Baptist, I was inundated with the Word of God, scripture memorization and constant Bible study. However, the Holy Spirit was assigned the title of silent partner and the Book of Acts kept safely shut. It was quite frustrating to spend all that time in God’s Word but remaining powerless in life. Like a tiny boat tossed in a raging storm, my faith was weak and hope nearly gone. When I became filled with the Holy Spirit almost twenty years ago, something changed in me. Suddenly the Word of God began to make sense and became instantly applicable to my life. The more I read the more I wanted to know. The more I prayed the more I listened for His Voice. My life in Christ came together when His Spirit and His Truth began to commune in my life. All word and no Spirit sets up rules and regulations unattainable because there is no evidence of grace other than implied. All Spirit and no word is a highly emotional relationship status that will not be consistent or fulfilling because it lacks promise. The Word is the promises God keeps. We must live with a healthy balance of both to know and understand what the Lord would like to do in us and for us.

Colossians 2:7-9 (NLT) Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.  For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.

If our spiritual life has no depth and is not applicable to our natural life, miracles can happen in us, through us and around us that will go unnoticed. Explained away by chance, fate or misperception and we will miss the fullness of God living in us working its way out of us. Religion must give way to an intimate relationship taking God’s Word applying it to our life liberally and allowing His Spirit to have the freedom to work it through our life unrestricted. Our life cannot be supernaturally inclined without Spirit and Truth. Our life will not worship God without these two key ingredients either. Our perception of God must gain depth in our soul. Roots must grow in us connecting our heart and mind with Christ and His Kingdom rather than trying to make our life in Christ purely natural. If you do what the Word of God says, your life will prosper naturally. If you allow His Spirit to move you along there will be blessing apparent in your life as well. But if what we desire is the truly miraculous when all impossibilities become possible in Christ, we must gain depth perception that allows us to walk by faith and not sight. It will free us from human thinking and release us from bondage to empty philosophies as the Fullness of His Love reaches the inner most hidden places of our heart.

Philippians 1:9-10 (NLT) I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.

Lord, give us greater depth perception of Your Love today. Life our tired hands to praise You and all wonderful things you are doing that we cannot comprehend but hold fast to in the Word. Strengthen our weak knees by Your Grace to stand in faith guarding our hearts and mind until You make it come to pass. Lord, may your Spirit mark out a straight path for my feet so I will not walk lame or limping again. Give me the courage to walk boldly in the Light of Your Amazing Love. To know You more and make You know throughout my realm of influence today Lord. Let me press harder to know how wide, long, high and deep that Your Love truly is. Let me see my life as You see it, live as You designed it and be fulfilled. Open the eyes of my heart Lord that I may live according to Your Word and Your Spirit. I give you the Glory for taking me deeper Jesus.

I John 5:20-21 (NLT) And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life. Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.

 

To Experience

To Experience

I Corinthians 2:9-12 (NKJV)

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

Albert Einstein said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” I tend to agree with this brilliant man. He obviously had intelligence deeper than the natural scientific and mathematical ability the world knew him for. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French philosopher and Jesuit priest said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Experience is the knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed, encountered or undergone. We must live to have experiences. The philosophical realm defines experience as the totality of the cognitions given by perception; all that is perceived, understood and remembered. What we perceive must be understood, and what we understand must be remembered to become knowledge that will be the wisdom exercised in life. Deep waters today. Deep, deep wells of understanding as the Lord invites us to see our life through His Eyes and hear His Word as spoken not from His Mouth but rather His Heart. God reveals His Word to us and His Spirit helps us discern what the Lord is saying and how to experience His Love. I Corinthians 2:16 tell us that we as believers have been given the Mind of Christ. Without experience, it will never make any sense.

When I first met my husband, he immediately grabbed my attention. The more the thought of him captivated my thoughts and encircled my mind, I knew that I had to know him. I told a friend that I was going to marry this guy who was a stranger to me. She laughed it off completely saying, “No you’re not!” Logically, I did not even know anything about him. But deep down inside, I just knew that there was more to him that I needed to discover. After a few dates and a conversation that could have been about anything, but instead turned to our love and desire for meaningful relationships with God, that my heart was forever bound to this man. Though only human, he answered the call in my heart to return to the Lord, love the Lord and live for Him. It has been almost two decades since that moment of revelation. I have experienced the potential come to life as I have partnered, parented and passionately loved this man. It began with a thought. A whim. A butterfly in the pit of my stomach. It became a commitment that would be tested by fire, and tried many times. What do I have now? Experience that makes my perception true knowledge. I know that my husband loves me. I trust him completely. This process of experience is not limited to natural life but begins in our spiritual life. I like what de Chardin said, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” If we could only tap in to the fact that we are spiritual by birth and live that way. What a difference it would make! When our life becomes more than two dates on a headstone, it is then that we discover how to live and love.

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” What a wonderful promise with great potential! We cannot even begin to fathom the capacity of God’s Love for us. (Ephesians 3:18-19) His Love causes Him to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20) All of this is according to His Power at work in us. I think this is where we lose it sometimes. We want to know this love that is unfathomable. We want to experience those things that are exceedingly abundant, but we cannot because our knowledge never becomes experience.

Isaiah 55:8-11 (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 does not lie or change His Mind. Do you believe that today? No. Do you really believe that today? Like with all your heart and mind. Our actions betray us. If we really did believe that the Word of God was 100% true, then we would do what it said completely and implicitly. There would be no room for compromise. If I told you that I was giving you a brand new car, it would take four weeks to arrive from the maker. If you believed me, you would wait for it. If not, you would go to Clyde’s Auto to buy a clunker at a super high interest rate which would breakdown on your way out of the lot. When it did, you could not blame me for your misfortune just because you didn’t want to wait on the new car to arrive. Perhaps, you desire a husband or wife. Do you really think that God’s Best is going to approach you as long as you are holding hands and exchanging glances with Mr. Wrong and Miss So-So. The constancy and commitment of God’s Word is not based on who we are or what we do. It is based on Who He is and what He will never do. God will never lie or change His Mind. He has a perfect plan for your life. Freedom allows for His Permissible Will offered by His Grace and Mercy. The one chosen is completely up to you and me.

My Thoughts are not your thoughts…God is whispering this to us today. My Ways are higher than your ways. We must listen to His Voice and commit this thought to our mind for careful consideration until it becomes knowledge that will become our experience. I have known the Lord for many, many years. It has been 38 years since I asked Jesus to be my Savior. It would take several attempts and many, many years for Him to become my Lord. The Word of God invites us to taste and see that the Lord is good. This is where what we think can become a reality in our spiritual live resulting in supernatural outcomes that have encircled us all along.

James 1:22-25 (NKJV)

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 observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

Jesus told the woman at the well, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth.” What did the Lord mean “Spirit and Truth”? Jesus died and went away so that His Spirit could move from outside and around us to inside of us instilling all of His Power and Ability into us. Truth is the Word of God that helps us change our mind about the Lord using His Word to bring down every stronghold rising up against the Lord’s Power and Authority in our life. (Hebrews 4:11-13) It is diligence is following His Spirit and knowing God’s Word that fortifies our mind allowing us to test the Lord. Yes, test Him. Try Him. Believe by faith. Wait for the answer. Rejoice when it comes because with it comes experience. Now what you believe is credible, so you will do it again. Not only will you do it again, but like an awesome product, great movie, good restaurant or amazing deal – you will have something to share with others.

In church as the Spirit of God stirs us, we begin to see our life through God’s Eyes if only a glimpse. We take that image and leave to be pounded by the world as the enemy pounces to destroy that tiny seed of faith planted in our heart. He seethes at us until fear takes us over and doubt clouds our judgment. It is in that moment, we forget the person and plan that we found in God’s Presence. The secret to living a successful life as a believer is to take that godly knowledge and allow His Spirit to turn into wisdom which is applied knowledge. This will create meaningful and mind blowing experiences with God that will far exceed anything you could have ever done with the hours, days, months and years that comprise this life. You were created with Eternity in your heart. You are a spiritual being, a Child of the Living God who can have His Kingdom come and invade your life now, today, and this very moment. You were made for such a time as this. His Word for your life circles round about you. He will not relent from giving you His Best. The rest, my friend, is up to us. To live in the Presence of God moment by moment allows us to live in His Perception according to His Perspective.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NKJV)

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

My husband and I are very human beings. There are days when we wake up with bad attitudes and do things that are really just too petty to report. It is on those days that we rely on what we know about the other person, not the activities of the day. I know from experience that when the dust settles – apologies will be exchanged. I am absolutely convinced of his love for me and he feels the same. It is our spiritual connection as evidenced by our covenant to each other before the Living God that makes the difference in our marriage. I warn people all the time – marriage is impossible outside of God’s Love. I cannot emphasize this enough. Two people sharing life sounds like a fairytale – humans have painted this image in our head from childhood. But the reality is meshing of two lives into one is messy.

If we ever were truly convinced that God loves us more than anyone else, it would change our life forever. Why? Because we would begin to think like Him. We would have peaceful satisfaction abandoning self-seeking, selfish, and self-destructive ways. We live by faith and confident hope that yielded results rather than more questions. It would mean that when we called on the Lord, we would hear His Voice rather than talking over Him all of the time. It would mean that when we prayed – His Presence would meet us right where we are. Seeking Him would also result in finding right where He is. All of this comes to those who seek the Lord with their whole heart. Giving their entire life just to know Him more.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NKJV)

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 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.

Though we walk in the flesh, we do not have to live there. We have been given the privilege of higher learning and greater knowledge to know God’s Love and live in it. Will we? It begins by pulling down every stronghold that our mind has built up and fortified to experience God’s Love that comes from knowing Him and following Him each day. I am made of flesh, but I am a spiritual being. The presence of a soul indicates that there is more to me than what this life has to offer. When the men purposed to get their friend to Jesus, the Lord did not mistake their true intentions. First, He told the man that his sins were forgiven. Then, he told him to, “Rise up and walk.” (Luke 5:20-25) Repentance is the starting point of godly knowledge. It is in the going and doing that it becomes wisdom that yields experience. There is no better teacher. As the Spirit leads us to do what His Word instructs, we enter the Presence of God no matter where we live, work or play. It is in this place of undeserved privilege that the depth of God’s Love is revealed. It begins with the forgiveness of sin and leads to avoiding it. Too often we forget that repentance is a daily posture not a one-time position.

Religion thrives on repentance but has problems with the supernatural and divine order of God. People kept at the altar and not empowered to go feeds the church business. The church is starving today because there is no harvest. Like begets like. Giant nurseries of crying, hungry babies are never developed and nurtured into thriving believers. Why? They draw never to God with their mouth for natural satisfaction, but hearts remain far away. Sin will always distance us from the Lord. Two very prominent pastors crossed the line in the last couple of weeks which I find devastating. If I told you their names, you would know them instantly. Embracing and tolerating sin in their churches will never allow the Spirit of God to come and change the hearts and minds of the people. It will now be up to them to feed all these babies alone and without a harvest to sustain them. The Pharisees were offended…again. Jesus asked Peter, “Are you also still without understanding?” (Matthew 15) To experience the Lord, to know Him, understand Him and follow Him, we must seek such things over all other pursuits. Without an experience, there is no knowledge. Knowledge is a commitment to seeking the Truth. His Name is Jesus.

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.

 

 

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou My Vision

Habakkuk 2:1-4 (NIV)

I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness—

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art –
thou my best thought, by day or by night;
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father; thine own may I be,
thou in me dwelling and I one with thee.

The coming of the New Year has introduced many changes to our family. Changes never anticipated but moving like pages in the wind. As this chapter of life becomes something new, I am challenged in the natural by the things that the Lord is showing me in the supernatural realm. Things tucked away and hidden long forgotten. Words written on my heart are now being repeated in my head. Sometimes in the waiting rooms of life, we forget the very thing that put us there. Dreams and visions are very much a part of God’s Communication to His People. He speaks to us in them. It is up to us to live such a life that one might discern between godly vision and “pizza-and-chocolate” dreams. You know? When you eat certain things before bed that give you weird images and strange thoughts as you sleep, waking up like where did that come from? Not everyone is comfortable with such things, as the Lord draws near to us. His Influence makes us uncomfortable in our natural surroundings leading us to deeper faith and more confident hope. For the first time in a long time, I have been open to the Lord’s Images and Ideas invading my thoughts. Naturally, I am reminded of the words in Habakkuk instructing on this very thing.

Habakkuk 2:1 (NIV)

I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me and what answer I am to give to this complaint.

The things we want and desire in life are the very things that we will watch and wait for. If our deepest desire is Jesus, He will be the One who we watch and wait for. Most of the time, our longing is not for the Lord but what He holds in His Hand. We want things to make life better or relief from the worries and cares in each day. Sadly, these things do not lead to satisfaction or a cry for more. But when we identify that the Source of Life is Jesus Christ alone, the watching and waiting change into an intense search for more of God, His Son and Spirit. I have stood on the watchtower a long time. I have waited for many things. He has answered every complaint with a promise. He has blessed me beyond anything imaginable. But now as I haul myself up again, this time I have but one thing on my mind. The one thing that I seek is to dwell in the House of the Lord forever with Him.

Habakkuk 2:2 (NIV)

Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.”

I journal every single day. I write down even the smallest detail of what the Lord is saying to me. There are times when I don’t like what I hear and it challenges me to move closer so there is clarity and confirmation. Sometimes I think people don’t hear the Lord because they are not listening and do not want to hear what He is saying. They just want God to say what they want to hear. There are enough preachers doing that today. Empty words of empty gospels not full of truth but the very thing that strokes the heart and puffs up the ego. A blindness to the dark that prevents those involved to truly experience the Light of His Amazing Love. God is speaking. His Word never changed. His Way is still the same. Jesus will be the same yesterday, today and forever. It is the position of our life and openness of our heart, mind and spirit that allows Him to give us dreams and visions of what comes next and how to accomplish that very thing. When the Lord speaks, do you write it down? If not, you should. It is important. Maybe not for now, but it may be one day. To know the Word, Will and Way of the Lord is the only way to successfully navigate life into Eternity. I have also found it to be true that those open to receiving insight, direction, visions and dreams that lead to soulful prosperity, will be asked to share it. Write it down. Write it all down.

Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV)

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

Godly revelation has a specific time frame. God makes everything beautiful in its time based on the Eternity in our heart. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) He is working every detail of our life for our good. (Romans 8:28) He perfects that which concerns me. (Psalm 138:8) These three key verses are all promises that God things come to the righteous and faithful who wait on the Lord. He promises them strength and renewal so they will rise up like eagles who soar effortlessly through the air. (Isaiah 40:31) When God fills our heart and head with dreams and visions, it is for the benefit of the Kingdom first. This life has an appointed end, but the Kingdom of God is forever. His Sole Desire and Purpose is salvation. When God gives us revelation, though it seems personal, it will always lead to faith, hope and love – the three things that are eternal. It will always benefit the Kingdom. It would only seem logical that those who do not care about the future, forever or the Kingdom might night hear the Voice of God like others do. We must desire the Kingdom of God to receive insight regarding it. We must want more of Jesus to gain access to the Throne.

Habakkuk 2:4 (NIV)

“See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness.”

The Word of God is a comprehensive collection of words to live by. To pick and choose is to invalidate the whole book. It is all or nothing. You cannot add to it and more importantly – you must not disregard any of it. All of it is important to this life. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. (Romans 10:17) The Holy Spirit is our Advocate who teaches us all things and reminds us of everything that Jesus said. (John 14:26) With these two things in mind, it is clear that in order to remain faithful to God that we need His Word and His Spirit to be successful. The enemy comes seeking to destroy the good work of salvation that the Lord has promised to complete in us. (John 10:10; Philippians 1:6)

Joel 2:28-29 (NIV)

“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”

Acts 2:16-21 (NIV)

No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:  “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”

I remember my first experience in a full gospel church. The move of the Holy Spirit in that place was exhilarating and even a bit scary to me. I was raised Southern Baptist and the Pentecostal change was a big one. I can only imagine that those who experienced the earliest outpouring of God’s Spirit felt the same way. As we engage one-on-one with the Lord, He begins to speak to us. No one else can hear what the Lord whispers to you His Beloved. He does confirm things to others that are shocking when they recite our thoughts and sometimes fears to us. He tells us first, though. In Joel, the prophet spoke of the outpouring of God’s Spirit on everyone to dream dreams and see visions of great things concerning His Kingdom. It says that we will prophesy. Out of our bellies should flow living water from our innermost beings. (John 7:38) Why are we living in an age of regurgitation? Why do we love little and sin more? God is speaking to us because the return of Jesus is imminent and we must get our affairs in order. Those loved ones and friends who need salvation must become a priority. He is filling our hearts with a deep desire for revival and true repentance. This is an uncomfortable thought that many will avoid. Is that you? I know for a long time it was me. The price of following Jesus is very high. It is a complete surrender of our life. We must consider the cost to become an expert builder or there really is no point. We have to decide if we desire Jesus or will settle for this life as the extent of our existence.

Daniel 1:12-17 (NIV)

“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.”

We are entering the final week of our annual Daniel’s Fast for 2016. The Lord is desperate to speak to our hearts during this final push. We must press in deeper than ever before. It is easy to get caught up in the “diet” of the fast. We have observed a 21 day fast. It really doesn’t matter how long but where is your heart and head right now? In this moment, if it is on natural hunger and bodily desires – it is time to push in deeper and press a little farther. Our flesh is a worthy adversary. If you cannot hear the Voice of God and feel the Presence of His Spirit lingering over you right now – I encourage you to push and press harder in your spirit and deny your body more. Daniel ate nothing but vegetables and drank nothing but water for ten days. At the end of it, they looked healthier and better nourished. How about you? Do you feel better? Or are you wallowing in what you cannot have rather than soaking in the Bread of Life and Living Water? See to those who have never had a vision or dreamed a dream, they are focused on surviving in the flesh but I want His Spirit more and more. I want to do the Will of God. Just a few short months ago, I laid down my sword and slowly began backing a way. The cost of faith and confident hope seemed too high. Thank you God for never relenting. He continued to call me, woo me and invite me close again. It was because of the visions that God gave Paul which led to 2 Corinthians 12:9 when he uttered the words we live by – when I am weak, He is strong. The Lord wants to be strong in us again. It is in our weakness that this is possible. For some this fast has taken you to the end of yourself, your tired and sick. The Lord is speaking to you. He wants to bust through your physical weakness and empower you with His Strength. We have been given the opportunity to increase our understanding and knowledge of God during this fast…have we taken full advantage of this blessing?

Acts 10:9-16 (NIV)

About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

 

Peter saw a vision of God in his hunger that defied his tradition and religion. The same religion that he observed with Jesus Christ. Now, he was told to kill and eat that nothing is impure or unclean. The challenge of change has been issued. Revival will never come in our tradition or religion. To some even fasting is traditional, we do it each year. Without fasting and seeking God with the purpose and desire to know Him more, there really is no point to it. It is a challenge to allow the Lord through our physical submission and weakness, to be fed spiritually and grow supernaturally. God can and will overcome your physical problems and meet those needs when you transition from trusting routine, religion and tradition and become radically faithful instead. Those dreams and visions of renewal, revival and restoration that will start the next great revival is completely available if it is truly what we seek and desire. Peter had to change. It was a natural change in order to place him among those that the Lord would save. Jew and Gentile were now alike. The veil was torn as the Spirit broke the heavy chains of religion to release freedom. Those who the Son sets free are free indeed to enter His Courts with thanksgiving and praise and take away a revelation of what is next. The Lord has a plan. He has purpose for your life. It is revealed by dreams and visions. These are only possible when we live for the Kingdom rather than today. When we seek Jesus above our personal wants and needs trusting the Lord with our life. I want Jesus to be my vision today. I want His Way. I will finish this year’s fast with a desire only to know Him more. “Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart… Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word; I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord.”

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.

Carefully

Carefully

Psalm 85:8-13 (TLB)

I am listening carefully to all the Lord is saying—for he speaks peace to his people, his saints, if they will only stop their sinning. Surely his salvation is near to those who reverence him; our land will be filled with his glory. Mercy and truth have met together. Grim justice and peace have kissed! Truth rises from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven. Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings on the land, and it yields its bountiful crops. Justice goes before him to make a pathway for his steps.

Locked in a mind game of sorts, I often get lost in the definition of words. The importance and relevance in each meaning is vital especially when it comes to the Word of God. Communication in all forms depend heavily on common terms. Relationships thrive and prosper in good understanding. Not everyone agrees on the implication in each statement, and human beings are not known as good listeners. Today the word circling in my mind is careful. What does it mean to be careful? The Word of God tells us not to worry and give all of our “cares” to the Lord but then what does it mean to be careful? What should I be concerned with? I have a thousand things in my head that I could worry about or be concerned over but what is the Lord allowing me to hold on to today. What are those things that He desires me to hand over?

The word “careful” means to be cautious in one’s actions. How does that relate when God has not given me the spirit of fear? (2Timothy 1:7) I need to understand the difference. To be careful means taking pains in one’s work; exact; and thorough. Ugh, that sounds a little more like it but now it’s becoming a chore. By being careful, it means doing something with accuracy and completing it. When we are careful, it means diligence unto completion. We must become finishers which sounds like marathon running which is no fun at all. To be solicitously mindful…now what is that? To be concerned and concentrated. When we are careful, we think about that thing and our desire to do it. These all comprise a wonderful definition, but is it possible to live carefully and still surrender all over our burdens, worries and cares to Christ? I need to know because as of late I have cares and concerns that I am not sure what to do about.

I am listening carefully to all the Lord is saying. He is a still small voice. Jesus is not going to argue His Point. He never has and He never will. His Love should be convincing enough. His Power is evident in all creation right down to each human being. So we must learn to be careful about the right things. Grace doesn’t mean throwing our hands up and doing whatever just to get by although our freedom in Christ allows such a choice. There are consequences that come in doing so not because God is punishing us but that is the course one has chosen. Freedom allows consequences when we choose anything contradictory to the Will and Way of God so we must be “careful”. Careful to remember things like our salvation, truth, mercy, righteousness, and peace and working in life to carefully and solicitously maintain these things in our life.

I Peter 5:6-9 (TLB)

If you will humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, in his good time he will lift you up. Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart. Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too.

Let Him (Jesus) have all your worries and cares for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. To truly get to this point of surrendering everything that we once worried about to the Lord, one must humble themselves to the Lord. We love the idea of a Savior riding in on a white horse, sweeping us off up from our impoverished life and whisking us away to happily ever after in a kingdom and castle without a care another care in the world. Don’t worry He’s coming! But in the waiting for our Prince to come, have we humbled our life to waiting on His Arrival? Are we following His Instructions to make it to that point? Are we living for that “happily ever after” or living for this day? We will make Jesus Lord when and only when we believe He is coming and when He does it is to carry us away from this meaningless life into Eternity. Not only that, when we become more concerned with our future than the ordinary struggles of today which are already well provided for then and only then will we give up worrying and caring about the incidentals of life to embrace the future hope we have in the Lord.

To be careful in the Lord means that we have humbled ourselves under the Mighty Hand of God handing our existence over to Him completely. It is a daily act. We wait knowing that our destiny unfolds in His Timing. It cannot be rushed which will lead to abortion. We must let Him have all our cares and worries so we can focus on remaining faithful to His Love, staying on course to and preparing for our wedding. We must be careful as the enemy tries to lead us off by distractions, detours and discontentment as we think we are not well cared for by his constant goading and substitutions. God’s Best is reserved for those who live in a humbled state more concerned about being prepared for the Kingdom that what will happen today or tomorrow in this life. Trusting the Lord is not always easy but absolutely essential in the waiting until He comes. We must remain focused on this one thing. The thing that really matters faithfulness and obedience to God and let Him handle the rest.

Romans 8:35-39 (TLB)

Who then can ever keep Christ’s love from us? When we have trouble or calamity, when we are hunted down or destroyed, is it because he doesn’t love us anymore? And if we are hungry or penniless or in danger or threatened with death, has God deserted us? No, for the Scriptures tell us that for his sake we must be ready to face death at every moment of the day—we are like sheep awaiting slaughter; but despite all this, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us enough to die for us. For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels won’t, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are—high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us.

When I struggle in my faithfulness and ability to trust the Lord, I am steadily reminded of His Great and Abiding Love for me. Who can ever keep Christ’s Love from us? No one can. Nothing can. It is a proven fact that His Love as ascertained Overwhelming Victory for us. We can live in total and complete triumph by carefully remaining locked in and overtaken by His Love in humility before the Lord. I cannot fix all my problems. I am going to struggle sometimes. I will let worries about tomorrow become mixed with fears for today from time to time. But the bottom line with no way around it is that NOTHING will ever be able to separate us (me) from the Love of God demonstrated by our (my) Lord Jesus Christ when He died for us (ME). He died for ME. Yes, it was in His Death that salvation was released to all mankind but what matters most on a personal level and the promise that I personally hold on to is that HE DID IT JUST FOR ME. We forget. Overtaken by our cares, heavily burdened in shame, regret and fear, and overwrought with life in general, the enemy blinds us to the fact that by faith our hope is always intact. What we see and experience in this moment of this day is subject to change by the Power of God’s Love for us in a single second! I have seen it happen over and over again yet I still become overly concerned and excessively careful about things that are not as important as His Love is for me.

I Chronicles 22:11-13 (TLB)

“So now, my son, may the Lord be with you and prosper you as you do what he told you to do and build the Temple of the Lord. And may the Lord give you the good judgment to follow all his laws when he makes you king of Israel. For if you carefully obey the rules and regulations that he gave to Israel through Moses, you will prosper. Be strong and courageous, fearless and enthusiastic!”

Daily the enemy takes our fears for today and worries about tomorrow like heavy ropes and tries to bind us in a place of anxiety and care. He tries to convince us that his power is greater than the One who lives in us which is simply not true. We have all power and authority over every situation and circumstance that we face in live. God is in control of every aspect of our life day in and day out. He goes before us and follows close behind with His Hand of Blessing on our head. If we will walk humbly with Him day in and day out, it is all that we have to do to have His Power surround us and His Goodness overtake us.

As Solomon embarked in achieving his purpose of building the Lord’s Temple, his father David offered these words of encouragement. If you carefully obey the rules and regulations that He gave to Israel through Moses, you will prosper. Be strong and courageous, fearless and enthusiastic! About what? Doing what the Lord says. Obedience. Faithfulness to the Lord grants us good judgment that allows us to discern between those things worth worrying about like following Jesus and the rest of the mess circling in our head each day. Lord, grant me the wisdom today to care and be careful about what is most important remembering that nothing can separate me from Your Love.

Micah 6:8 (TLB)

No, he has told you what he wants, and this is all it is: to be fair, just, merciful, and to walk humbly with your God.

Am I Losing My Mind?

Head in Hands

Proverbs 3:5 (NLT) Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 

Is faith logical? Of course, it is. Not really. If you think about it, faith is based on trust. But when compared to what can be perceived naturally it is incomprehensible. We are wading deep right now…better put on some waders. When met with a spiritual wall that seems insurmountable, it is at that point trust has reached its limit. It is in that moment one must decide will I continue to press on and find a way over it, under it, around it, thru it, or will I just quit. Giving up is not a quality that faith and trust in God allows. There will be many days that our faith is testing and trust measured by our ability to understand what it is that we are truly after. To trust the Lord with all of our heart requires continually pursuing knowledge and understanding from His Word and consistently applying it until it changes our mind set – our thought process. Faith is actually quite logical to those who possess the Wisdom of God. But without such a skill set, it remains illogical and therefore an unacceptable answer to the solutions one seeks.

Faith is a cerebral process. It must be well thought out. This does not mean, however, that God’s People will always understand what the Lord is doing, how He is doing it or when it will be complete. The foundation of our faith becomes trust in the Character of God, His Faithfulness and His Ability to do everything that He says in our life. Proverbs 3:5 says to trust the Lord, and then goes on to say “do not depend on your own understanding.” Human reasoning is contrary to godly wisdom and knowledge because it is based on self. It takes our natural ability and comprehension to determine the best course of action in life. To trust the Lord is to abandon such thinking and become immersed in God’s Word, Will and Way for our life. The more I seek the Lord the crazier I feel some days. It is almost like I have lost my mind. Maybe that’s the point. To exchange human thoughts and aspirations for Godly Wisdom that will empower my natural pursuits.

Isaiah 55:8-11 (NLT)

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. 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.”

“But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?” So faith comes from hearing that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” (Romans 10:16-17) Again, I wonder is faith logical? Logic is clear and valid reasoning. Such logic leads to understanding. Understanding that is accepted by our mind becomes discernment. Those who have good discernment possess a gift that will lead them through life. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God. God has promised that once His Word is released that it will not return to Him until it accomplishes all that it set out to do. The problem is not on God’s side but it is our inability to believe that His Word is not a credible resource for life.

God’s thoughts are nothing like our own therefore defying fundamental principles, secular education and societal influence. It just doesn’t make sense. Deemed old fashioned – people take the Word of God as a historical reference rather than a plan for life. Faith is comes from hearing the Word of God but hope is when we believe it enough to change the way we think and let it impact the way life is lived. His Ways are not the same everyone else’s. In fact, there really is only one way to discover this faith and allow it to become the hope that carries us through life – His Name is Jesus. He is the “way, truth and life.” No one can stand before God and live except through Jesus. (John 14:6) How do we make faith logical? We must change the way that we think. The Lord is not asking for blind faith, but that we accelerate our thought process committing to learn a new way of thinking, apply this understanding to our life so it will become godly wisdom providing good discernment in life. Discernment is to recognize and perceive clearly what faith makes seem elusive. Discernment allows hope to become more than a dream but the very anchor for our soul. (Hebrews 6:19)

John 4:23-24 (NLT)

“But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

Jesus shared this new thought process with the woman at the well. He told her that the time was coming when people would worship God in Spirit and Truth. Truth is the Word of God. it is the written and spoken word that is given to us as we study God’s Word and converse in a life committed to prayer, praise and worship. The Lord speaks truth to us as we communicate with Him. But the Word was clearly not enough – reference the Old Testament – to change the heart and mind of God’s People so He took His Word wrapped it in flesh and sent His Only Son Jesus to a world lost and dying without true and valid knowledge of God. When Jesus died, He released His Spirit to live in the heart of every man and woman who chooses to accept Him. This was a huge advancement for humanity though greatly neglected in today’s day and age. I just don’t understand. Men and women will go to psychics for advice and palm readers. They will watch horror movies based on vampires, demons and ghosts even zombies. But when you talk about the living, breathing, life-giving, wisdom-bringing Holy Spirit, everyone thinks you’re crazy. Half the church is disabled because it has made the Holy Spirit the silent partner rather than allowing Him to move through our congregations and become the valuable resource that He was sent to be. We have the Truth. We must utilize the Spirit to change the way we think and finally understand that faith is logical. Once we do, trust will become a valid response to the hope we have been given.

John 14:16-17 (NLT)

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

My husband has a garage full of power tools that he uses to maintain our household. He is very careful to keep all the manuals as a reference to operate each one properly. Now if all he ever did was read the manual, but never turned one on to cut the grass, trim the hedges, drill something or whatever man-device he chooses to use might do, what good is the tool? Each one has a purpose other than to sit on a shelf or live in the corner of the garage. The manual shows him how to use the power tool. God’s Word and His Spirit work together just like that. It is clear that we cannot follow every rule in the book. The Holy Spirit is our advocate in the journey of faith showing us what to do and how to do it. He produces those things in our life that are not natural. He leads us in all truth. Who is supposed to lead us if we choose to ignore the Holy Spirit? If we truly want credible and logical faith – we must go to the Source. God filled us with His Spirit for a reason. He is the Power to activate God’s Word in our life. I have tried being a Christian both ways. No fruit really came of my life nor roots in the foundation of faith until the Word of God and His Spirit became life partners. But look at what is hidden in these verses, Jesus said, “The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him.” Have you invited the Holy Spirit to be your partner on your faith quest? He will explain the mysteries of God to you and lead you straight to the things God has placed in your life for you.

Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Am I losing my mind? Gosh, I sure hope so! I don’t want to live by faith and confident hope in Jesus Christ every single day of my life without one wasted minute. By filling our heart with His Spirit and our mind with His Word, our thought pattern is changed slowly but surely. It is a daily process that requires moment by moment commitment each thought to know Him more. Understanding without His Spirit makes us helpless against the lie of the enemy. The Holy Spirit is our power to have and do all that God’s Word has purposed in our life. The enemy knows the Word and can stealthily use our lack of knowledge against us as he twists and distorts the truth until we buckle under pressure and make a compromise or substitution for the great things God has for us rather than waiting and standing on His Word.

Doubt is a dream killer. Fear is a faith sucker. Anxiety is a hope crusher. We must fix our thoughts. Like tying balloons, if we take God’s Word and attach it to those things we don’t understand and that cause us distress soon it will be carried to a higher level of thinking when it becomes logical that God is working out all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) enough to maintain our joy in the process and be thankful until it comes. It is going to take practice to change the way we think. It is not a one and done scenario but the moment those things begin to come to pass – you will be hooked.

Faith is a constant pursuit. Trust is a battle for our mind each and every simply because we serve an incomprehensible God with invincible power and unfailing love too great to be understood by finite human thinking. His Love is not logical. His Grace is misunderstood. It requires faith in His Word and reliance on His Spirit to change the way we think. The Peace of God is found in the Mind of Christ. The place where faith is born and hope fortified. It is a place of satisfaction before fulfillment comes where we can rejoice in the Lord just because He is.

Lord, You know my heart today. There are some things I just don’t understand. I will not worry and fret about them anymore but simply put my trust in You! I will dig in Your Word to find out what you have to say about it. I will rely on Your Spirit to reveal it to me day by day! My goal is to worry about nothing and pray about everything until His Peace reigns in my life. Faith becomes logical when peace arrives and our heart is once again settled on Jesus!

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.