No More Resolutions

No More Resolutions

2 Peter 1:4-5 (NLT) And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. 

Renew. Restore. Revive. Radical. Reckless. To respond. The “R”’s of my rambling for 2018. Tonight at sundown or a little after, our family will begin our annual fast for the New Year. For eleven days, through fasting and prayer, as a body of believers (yes, just the four of us), we will seek the Face of God for many areas of our life. To focus our family and life in one direction. The Way. To turn away from the worthless things that so easily captivate our attention and rob us of time. As I began to write in my journal today, I found these words forming from the ink of the pen. I am asking the Lord to renew me from the inside out. To restore me after a month of minor illness and inconvenience. To revive my passion and desire to pursue Him wholeheartedly leaving behind the distractions from 2017. To make my love for others radical in recognition of His Love for me. To be reckless in my pursuit of Christ making faith seem the only option. To respond to all of God’s Promises. To believe that God is doing exactly what He said and to let His Spirit fortify my fickle heart. I can make a list of habits to change, budgets to follow, and schedules to keep but if Christ is not the priority in all of them – what’s the point?

No more resolutions. The power to change is the Christ in me. It is not something I do but what He does in me. I am giving up on resolutions and instead this year I choose to respond to God’s Promises instead. Why? Because of His Glory and Excellence, He has given (me) great and precious promises. These promises enable (me) to share in His Divine Nature. A resolution is a firm decision on my part to do or not to do something any longer. It is the action of solving a problem, dispute or contentious matter. It is me. A resolution is self-resolve to fix something that appears to be broken or dysfunctional. Well…I have come to the conclusion after fifty-one years of life – I can’t fix it. I cannot make “me” a better person. I am going to fail. I will mess up. I will fall short. I will give up, give in and give out depending on the situation. The only good thing in me is Jesus Christ. The Power of Christ is manifested in my weakness. So this year, I no longer resolve to make me a better person but let Christ transform me into a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Titus 3:4-7 (NLT) But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

Jesus Christ revealed God’s Kindness and Love for us. When He saved us, it was finished. The process of redemption complete. The renewal process made available to all mankind. He washed our sin away. Gave us a new birth and new life through His Spirit. Generously His Spirit is on us identifying us as God’s Precious Children. It is said that you do not pick your parents which is absolutely true. In this case specifically, God chose you. He chose me. God, the Father, decided that He loved us and wanted us. His Reckless Love would stop at nothing to have us. I wonder what would happen if for just a moment, a single solitary second, we could completely wrap our head around the Truth that the entire process of salvation and redemption is a direct result of the Love of God. He had no other intention but to pour out unfailing love and unfathomable goodness on His Beloved. Would we respond differently? Absolutely. Religion would be crushed beneath the heaviness of unconditional love in the church and “whosoever come” would be plastered over the doors and altars while those who want to be loved would come pouring in.

Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. Grace is the reason that God loves me and is for me. It is the essence of relationship that if we could just wrap our heads tightly around it – faith would not be so hard and confident hope the common sense of our life. We can go into the world and try to share the love of Jesus Christ but until we understand that His Love, Grace and Kindness are for us and there is nothing further that we can do but receive it – our message is in vain. Perfect love casts out all fear. Fearless faith comes from a heart that comes to know God’s Unfailing Love and accepts it as a way of life. This will enable us to “respond” to God’s Promises rather than trying to earn them or deserve them which cannot be done.

Proverbs 3:3-4 (ESV) Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.

This year it is my deepest desire to live in God’s Steadfast Love and Faithfulness to the fullest. I must bind His Promises around my neck and continually inscribe them on my heart. My love is imperfect. It tends to be conditional. It has flaws and faults that the Lord continually works on. I will never love like Jesus unless I love through Jesus. The Christ in me must be given wide open space. The Spirit in me must be the ruler of my heart, mind, soul and body at all times. The Favor of God and Good Success that I believe God has promised us is not in my ability to do everything right this year, but to continually seek the Lord wholeheartedly. I must decrease so that He can increase.

I wonder what would happen in our natural life if we lived as though supernatural promises were inevitable. What if we decided that God is good, His Love unfailing, His Grace enough, and His Faithfulness forever? Would it change the potential of our life? Would it change us? We must invest our mind, soul, body and spirit into obtaining the promises of God which begins by believing that they actually exist and are obtainable rather than living a diversified life with one foot in the world and the other in the Kingdom. It is impossible to establish dual residency with God. He is not a wishy washy – halfhearted God. You love Him or you hate Him. There is no coexistence in the Kingdom. You embrace Christ or idols. See we live in a world of moving lines and shifting sand – it makes a completely constant God who is always good and always loving and always kind very hard to believe so we must not lean on our own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

2 Peter 1:5-7 (NLT) In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

Responding to the Promises of God. This is my resolve for this New Year. This is the year that I will allow God to be God and simply cling to Him. I must supplement faith with qualities and characteristics produced by God’s Spirit inside of me. I must embrace and acknowledge the Holy Spirit as He is my teacher, guide, counselor and even comforter in the process of becoming a new creation. Transformation is not comfortable. It is inconvenient. It is uncontrollable. It takes time that I don’t think I have. Yet, in the end, it will all be worth it. Forever is the past, present and future wrapped neatly into a package called life. God knows the beginning from the end. It is His Unfailing Love and Faithfulness that has brought you this far and will carry you through. You have done nothing to facilitate the process other than present your worthless life to Jesus Christ. Rather than making any more resolutions. This year I am changing my resolve. I want all that God has for me. I must submit my life to Christ all over again. All of it. Holding nothing back, making the decision that this life is not about me – nevertheless Christ is for me. His Promises are real. His Love is true. His Word lasts forever. He is faithful. To this I will respond…

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.


Blinded By the Light

Blinded By The Light

I John 2:9-11 (NLT) If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.

If faith shows the reality of what is hoped for and it is the evidence or substance of things that remain unseen, then how does one every overcome spiritual blindness? I wonder if rather than simply reciting God’s Word people began to really think about it what might happen. I believe that our inability to integrate our spiritual and natural life puts people at a huge disadvantage. Living a “church” life and a normal life are mutually exclusive rather than completely inclusive. If faith is evidence of what we hope for and that which is hoped for remains unseen – how do we overcome spiritual blindness? Lost in thought today about the things that I continue to hope for including the things I know the Lord has promised to do in the “land of the living” with nothing in sight. I cannot see how His Plan and Purpose are coming together so I must decide each day if I will trust and continue to believe that God is good and in complete control of the details of my life.

Acts 17:22-28 (NLT) So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

How ironic that Saul now Paul would be the one to so eloquently describe the Lord. The one who tortured and murdered countless Christians. He was a Jew and Child of God but did not recognize the Messiah. It was on the road to Damascus when a bright light surrounded him, overtaking him and even blinding him that he realized his mistake. (Acts 22:6-16) The Law of God demanded a life for a life. If God was who Saul thought he was, then he would have surely died that day in the Presence of the Living God. He did not die but was taken captive by unfailing love and overwhelming grace. Everything changed that day because Saul experienced the Love of God firsthand. However, he could not see God but rather was blinded for three days. Three dark days of being led by others. His whole life the only images portrayed in his mind. I can only imagine how he must have felt knowing the countless innocent people whose lives ended at his order. Everything Saul knew about God changed that day. Everything. The Word of God did not change but the Way of God turned Saul into Paul and the one of the greatest ministries of all time was birthed in the foreboding darkness of blindness.

What if the Lord is leading us into darkness to recognize the Light of His Love today? What if nothing makes sense to turn us back to the Word of God and seek the Way? What if life is pressing you to release the promise and purpose hidden inside of you? See I believe that when Jesus began healing blinded eyes it was not a natural change but a change of heart that He was after. The words of the prophet Isaiah read by Jesus that day rang true, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor…” Stopping here for just a moment, if the Spirit of the Lord lives inside of us, the purpose is anointing. You have been entrusted with the Good News that has a specific purpose which is to release captives, cause the blind to see, and the oppressed to be set free. The Favor of the Lord is for everyone. It is a product of God’s Love and Grace. Now that we are pumped up let’s get practical…

What if the healing does not come? What if the blinded eye does not see? What if the captive is not set free from their addiction or situation? What if the one who is oppressed remains in such conditions? What then? Is the Gospel invalid? Is it not true? Has God relinquished His Power? Has the enemy one? Am I the one who is overcome? Is God limited by my sin? Powerless in my rebellion? No, no, and no. What if all of this is with divine purpose? What if all of these situations are not physical possibilities but experiences designed for a change of heart? Here is what I am beginning to believe – the healing is in the heart change not the condition. Signs, wonders and miracles are awesome. I have experienced them firsthand. However, once the moment is over it becomes a memory memorialized in my testimony. What about the Living God? The One who lives in me. The one in who I am supposed to “live and move and exist” as His Offspring. Is He still good and still God in the waiting?

God miraculously healed our youngest daughter of severe and debilitating asthma. Not over the course of time or with medical intervention. He did it instantly. Here today gone tomorrow. Doctors scratching their heads wondering how in the world she required six medications and nebulization ever couple of hours to needing nothing at all the next. Crazy, huh? God did it just that way. Fast forward, our son is diagnosed with cancer. God gave me His Word that our son would live and not die so naturally I expected an immediate healing miraculously or medically. He relapsed four times. His bone marrow transplanted was denied by insurance. We had to fight for six long months. Ultimately – they said no. The next day – someone said, “Yes!” Nobody knows who did it or why or even how but we went with it and our son is alive today. However, his body continues to battle terrible side effects of five rounds of chemotherapy, maximum dose radiation, and the transplant. Where is God? Isn’t healing supposed to take care of all that? When will life be normal again? In this moment, I know that God is good. His Love is real. He is always faithful. Knowing is the sight that carries through the darkest days of life. The Light of God’s Love is His Favor that surrounds us in every situation even when the outcome doesn’t seem favorable to us. Faith must become our logic by which we see everyday life until the Saul in us sees life like Paul.

2 Peter 1:8-11 (NLT) The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In the passage right before this one (2 Peter 1:5) the Word of God tells us to “make every effort to respond to God’s Promises”. It goes on to talk about supplementing our faith with moral excellence and moral excellence with knowledge and knowledge with self-control and self-control with patient endurance and finally endurance with godliness so that in all things we demonstrate brotherly affection for everyone. “The more you grow like this…the more productive and useful you will be…” Failure to do so may result in shortsightedness or spiritual blindness. I believe with all of my heart that unwillingness to respond to God’s Promises with faith but maybe routine or service instead has created spiritual blindness in the Body of Christ. Faith is evidence that we have hope that cannot be seen. However, like Saul, the idea of rightness overtakes God’s Concept of righteousness which is obtained fully in the Person of Jesus Christ. This is the blindness that I believe Jesus came to heal. The blindness of a heart overtaken by fear and insecurity that is barely holding on to hope.

In John 5, Jesus encounters the man sitting by the pool of Bethesda. The porches were covered with sick people.  Blind, lame and paralyzed all around him. One of the men had been sick for 38 years. Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?” His response, “I can’t sir, for I have no one to put me in the water…” Hmmm. Do you want to get well? I guess it depends on your idea of wellness. Jesus ignored his excuse and told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat and walk!” The man was given a choice in that moment. Faith got up, picked up the mat and walked off that day. What about you? When Jesus passes by do you see Him, hear Him, feel Him or know Him? This man had a choice in that moment of infirmity and doubt to respond to the Word of God or remain in his current condition. The opportunity did not come when the water was stirring, people were moving, or church was hopping but in the Presence of the Lord. Could it be that our idea of salvation, healing and deliverance has caused us to turn a blind eye to the Light of His Love right before us?

John 9:2-5 (NLT) “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.”

God’s Light and His Love shine brightest through broken hearts and people. When we decide to give our heart to Jesus and let Him keep it – the Light of His Love will shine forth from it. Sin is rampant. Love is cold. This world is a dark place. The Light of the World lives in us. When we stop looking for why, the shame, regret and accusations are silenced and God’s Grace abounds in us and for others. What if the revival God is announcing is not about signs, miracles and wonders that produce it but hearts and minds set on finding the Light of His Love in every situation and giving it to every person. We are so set on perfect lives and certain expectations that cause us to turn a blind eye to God’s Will which is always to produce His Glory in our life while working things together for our good.

2 Corinthians 4:4-5 (NLT) Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in everything we think God hasn’t done and lose sight of all that He has done. Just the fact that I have a place in His Kingdom is enough to rejoice every day. It is not my job to have a perfect life or preferential outcomes in every situation. God did not promise a life free of problems or pressure. He promised to save, heal, deliver, provide, and prosper my life and asks only one thing of me – to love. To share this unconditional and unfailing love for Him with others. What if the miracle of revival is not birthed from God moving the water but moving our hearts? What if the Presence of God is before us but we keep looking for someone else to carry us in? What if the greatest revival of all time is waiting for us to love God wholeheartedly and people the same? Even Saul tried wholeheartedly to serve God and failed epically, that is until the Light of God’s Love surrounded him and overtook him in that moment when he became Paul. The rest of Paul’s natural life was spent for the most part in prison. He didn’t write like someone in captivity, blind or oppressed. His heart was finally free and filled with Jesus Christ. His faith no longer based on sight but full focused on faith. Lord, let that be me today.

Philippians 3:6-9 (NLT) I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

Holding Hope

Holding Hope

Psalm 43:3-5 (NLT) Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!

Hope deferred makes the heart sick. (Proverbs 13:12) Discouragement is a bummer. It is not the product of confident hope that is incapable of leading us to disappointment. God loves us. We know that but it is difficult to hold tightly without wavering to hope which cannot be seen or experienced right now. The absence of hope is discouragement. How can a believer be discouraged? Don’t beat yourself up too bad. We are all human beings comprised of dying flesh no matter how pretty the package or righteous one appears. Some days life is more than to be handled and burdens just too heavy to bear. If perfection were possible, grace wouldn’t be necessary. However, the Word of God is clear that grace is always enough. We need God’s Grace. No one can live beyond their last breath without it. In fact, no one can live a life of potential and purpose in the here and now without it.

Faith is the reality of what we hope for – it is the evidence of what cannot be seen but is relevant to our life. If you can see it, do it or produce it in your life – faith and hope are not necessary. It is impossible to please God without faith. Faith makes all things possible if one believes. Hope is the essence of what we believe and invest our faith in. Yet there are days when our heart, mind and soul can empathize with the psalmist. Our prayer to the Lord is one for help and rescue. “I am slipping!” (Psalm 94:18) The support that keeps us from going under in such times is the hope that anchors our soul. (Hebrews 6:19) Like the massive piece of metal resting on the bottom of the sea, it holds the ship safely. But still, the vessel moves up and down in the waves, feels the weight of the wind, and experiences the natural conditions of the atmosphere. Lord, help me to hold on to hope today even though I cannot see it – it is holding me in place. Let me feel its strength and security surround me and hold me even tighter than I cling to it.

Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me.” God’s Word is our Source of Hope. Spoiler alert – Jesus is the Word of God. (John 1:1-5; 14) He came wrapped in flesh to demonstrate God’s Love for us. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6) I need God’s Word in my life spiritually to survive beyond my last day. Even reading the Word of God can be difficult when the wet blanket of discouragement finds us. These are the days our prayer might be “send out your light and truth.” Obedience to God’s Word is nothing more than accepting His Guidance from Glory to Glory as one lives in the Presence of God. We need His Presence to comprehend illogical faith that makes no sense outside of the Word of God. God’s Word gives us knowledge and understanding that allows us to hold to our hope. It gives it substance. Psalm 119:105 calls the Word a light and lamp that helps us find our way. Proverbs 24:13-14 compares it to honey that is sweet to taste. Nothing will overcome bitterness like the sweetness of the promises found for us in God’s Word. We must always use God’s Word to anchor our heart and mind to the reality of faith and hope that is to be clung to. Life is hard. The struggle is real. Our anchor is secure.

“Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy.” The Presence of God is the place of restoration, renewal and revival of the weary and fallen who are righteous. Just because you are down doesn’t mean you have fallen. Just because you are discouraged doesn’t mean that you have lost your hope. It just means you need more Light and Love found in His Presence to drive the darkness away. Some people make Presence about manifestation. I say that sometimes the greatest miracle that can happen is to find peace in the storm and joy in the midst of great sorrow. It produces satisfaction and contentment that God is enough. He is no bigger than when His Love surrounds us and His Goodness overtakes us. To sit in the Presence of God and decide not to move until He comes will allow you to experience the faithfulness of God in the absence of doing, moving or even speaking. It is to allow Him to be God and in control at least for those few moments. God is the God of perfect peace and inexpressible joy. He is the One who promised to do more than we can think or imagine to ask for. Jesus promised a rich and satisfying life that can only be discovered in His Presence. Stop worrying about what you can do for God and let God do what He wants to do for you today. “The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads. The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it. When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.” Psalm 145:14-16) Too many times we put certain conditions on our life that Jesus never mandated or authorized. Our feeble attempt to somehow earn what has already been given makes us think there is something of worth in our actions that Christ did not already complete on the Cross. This burden is not one that I am called to carry so the weight overwhelms me until I realize again that Christ is enough. He is all that I need. He is my hope. His Name is hope. (Matthew 12:21) I must put all my faith, hope and trust in the Lord to avoid discouragement in life. I will fall. I will fail. I will be discouraged. The Lord promises to be my refuge. I must go to Him.

Hebrews 10:20-23 (NLT) By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.

My hope is in Christ alone. Period. God’s Plan for my life comes with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) God doesn’t say, “Now go make it happen.” No, the Word of God goes on to say that those who seek Him wholeheartedly will find it. (Jeremiah 29:13) Maybe I am discouraged because I somehow took parts of my heart, mind or life back? It’s possible. Romans 8 is not for babies. It is not spiritual milk. No friend, Romans 8, is the reality of hope. There is no condemnation in Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:1) Therefore, I have absolutely nothing to fear or be sad about. It doesn’t matter what other people think or how harshly I may be judged. There is no condemnation in Jesus because His Grace is enough. If I continue in His Word to build a new knowledge base for faith to become wisdom and I invite the Holy Spirit to live, breathe, move and have His Way in my life – I will not be led to disappointment. If I find myself discouraged, I have everything I need inside of me to be encouraged by hope yet again. I am not in this alone. The entire body of Christ longs for and groans for completion in the Lord. “We were given this hope when we were saved.” (Romans 8:24) Since we do not have it yet, we must wait patiently and confidently in it. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. He will even pray for us. (Romans 8:26) God promises that He is working together every detail of my life for my good and His Glory. (Romans 8:28) Things are looking up. Finally, the greatest detail of hope is that no matter what I have overwhelming victory in Jesus Christ and absolutely nothing can separate me from His Love…not even me or my bad attitude or inability to hold “tightly” to hope. He still is holding on to me no matter what! (Romans 8:35-39) I didn’t learn these truths in the last couple of hours but have invested and reinvested my life in believing, trusting and living in God’s Word and His Presence. He is my hope when everything is hopeless. Jesus makes all things possible when life is impossible. This is what I believe and today what God is reminding me of.

Lamentations 3:20-24 (NLT) I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

Could it be that God uses discouragement to reproduce faith and confident hope in us? Those times when our burdens overwhelm us push us into His Presence. When the details of life just don’t make sense, it forces us to find the reality of our faith in the Truth concerning us (the Word). Sin is rampant. Love is cold. Bad things happen to good people every day yet still God’s Mercy is new every morning. Day after day an opportunity to experience new faith and confident hope that fills our life with His Glory and Goodness. It is time to reinvest faith in hope. It doesn’t matter how far you have fallen – the Lord can still reach you with His Love. He is strong enough to rip bitterness from its root and restore the soul drowning in doubt. The anchor of hope may be unseen but rest assured it is secure, unmovable and unshakeable in the foundation of faith who is Jesus Christ.

Psalm 94:18-19 (NLT) I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

I have to laugh a little today even feeling a bit overwhelmed and slightly discouraged at the irony of Christ. I cry out to the Lord, “I am slipping!” But the reality of it is I am secure! His Unfailing Love is holding me tight. He is supporting me in this time of weakness of spirit and feebleness of heart offering me time, grace and mercy to get over it and keep walking with Him. Isn’t this what being yoked to Jesus Christ is all about? (Matthew 11:28-30) He says, “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens…” Is that you today? “Take my yoke upon you…” Jesus is inviting us yet again to partner our faith and hope with Him, it’s called trust. The Lord offers to teach us His Way. He will give us a new heart that is gentle and submissive to His Way that never leads to disappointment but victory to victory and glory to glory. The promise is that we will find rest for our souls. Hope gives us peace so that we can rest on God’s Promise even in the midst of a storm. His Yoke is easy and burden is light because Jesus will do just as He promised. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He completed His Work on the Cross and released His Spirit to live in us. Our hope is secure. Faith attaches us to hope. It doesn’t have to be “big” faith just enough to truly believe. Lord, as I read your Word and enter Your Presence, I ask you Jesus to bring me comfort, renew a right spirit in me, and give me the inexpressible joy and cheer that is only found in You! Teach me to hold on to hope as tightly as You are holding me!

Romans 15:13 (NLT) I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Take Cover


Philippians 2:1-5 (NLT) Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

One might think that after five years, it would be like any other day. Countless doctor’s appointments and random testing would make it a scheduled event. It should come as no surprise yet it still produces the same punch in the gut reaction it did ever since the first blow. Scan day should be a day of celebration. The “look-what-the-Lord” has done moment when once again – I can share the wonderful news of our son’s victory over cancer. It’s not. Scan day is like a clock set to see how long I can hold my breath under water. The moment the test is completed until he gets the good report. During his treatment, the doctor would call me later that day or by the next morning. However, after two years of remission, it is generally within the week. This time it will be eight days. I cannot explain the emotion. It is not fear. It is not really anticipation. Just a waiting period that has its own place. Like a room in mind where I sit with thick walls to shut out the enemy’s voice and songs of the Spirit being pumped in – repeating every promise I have recorded in pursuit of life over death.

The text was brief. “Btw I have scans today. About to get my barium breakfast shake now.” That kid. I know he blames chemo brain for the lack of proper notice. He really doesn’t think much about it. He never worries about the outcome. Just arrives at the appropriate time, endure the nasty beverage and long scan, and then heads off to class or whatever his college schedule requires. Time stops for mom. He is the comforter who continues to persuade me everything is fine. My response is on guard. The wall goes up. The Spirit begins telling me the Truth. All my flesh wants to do is run home and crawl in bed pulling the mound of covers over my head. Are you ready to take cover? Has the last straw hit the camel’s back? Is your last nerve tweaked? Is frustration mounting? Fear knocking? The Comforter is calling and I don’t mean the bed.

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Yes, there is encouragement from belonging to Christ. He will absolutely comfort you with His Love. There is fellowship with His Spirit that will fortify our heart and weigh down confident hope. Is your heart tender and compassionate? How did God flip the script like that? I thought this was about me. I thought I was the one who needed encouragement, comfort, and fellowship with Him. Why must my heart be tender and compassionate? I am the one who is uncertain and must fully rely on Christ. Wait! There are others?

Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. We must have the same attitude as Jesus Christ did. He did not think twice about laying His Life down for others. In fact, that is exactly how He demonstrated unfailing love to us. Releasing His Spirit, I now have the Great Comforter to assist me through trials, troubles, hardship and heartbreak in life. These tests produce a soft heart in me for the Lord but should also mold me and shape me to give from this great resource that I have received. We must agree wholeheartedly with each other. Some people right? Not all people? There are some pretty awful, wicked, evil and rebellious people out there. Yep, it is our job to be agreeable with them as well. We must love one another. Not everyone though…yes, everyone even those perceived to be our enemy. Oh come on! We are to work together with one mind and purpose. Many Christians will limit this statement to the church but I believe that the Lord is working to expand our thinking concerning this passage to include all people. Religion will exclude one. Our relationship with Christ depends on including everyone.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. When scan day comes, I am challenged to maintain good graces. I don’t want to be short-tempered. I want to remain calm, cool and collected. I don’t want others to see my weakness and perceive it as a lack of faith. It’s not. No matter what the outcome is I know that God loves our son and will take care of him in all things. It doesn’t matter what the test reveals, we have a good report.

I need to exercise. I have considered a gym membership again. I have even been looking to purchase an elliptical to use at home. I have begun drinking more water and eating better. Yet, I still hate to exercise, but I like the results. Endurance is not the fun part of our relationship with Jesus but it is necessary for a healthy relationship and the ability to persevere to the end. Those who do will be saved. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life waiting on scan results to breathe again. The Lord teaches me to endure in each wait time. I am learning patience. I am beginning to understand (not necessarily like) God’s timing. There are so many variables in fighting the good fight of faith that have nothing to do with me. It is kind of ironic that my foray into the gym in the first place was to work out the stress in my mind when our son was in the midst of his cancer fight. After long visits to the hospital, I would hit the gym to work out my mind more than my body. However, my whole being benefited. This is truly the nature of God in our circumstances. He takes that thing with which we struggle that is deemed weakness. The Lord allows His Grace to empower us the moment it is surrendered to Him. My fat gives way to muscle in the gym just as my Spirit gives way to grace in weakness.

What in the world does this have to do with others? Well, it is hyped to be strong. I don’t believe that God gives His Toughest Battles to His Strongest Warriors. I believe there are battles for our faith each day and in every moment. The longer it is held the harder one must fight to maintain it. God doesn’t want us to be strong. It is weakness that His Power is perfect. When Christians project the façade of personal strength and the ability to overcome sin all by themselves, others are lost in the lie of perfection. It is not until we are willing to admit fault, falling and failure that our testimony can be of the unfailing love and amazing grace that was sufficient in picking us up again. It is at the end of self that Jesus shines in my life. I am weak. I am tired. I worry. I don’t always get it right. In fact, the more I know of Christ – the less I really know Him so the more I must seek Him. Everything and anything good gleaned of my life is Christ alone because I am just not that strong, good or right. It is in the moment of pure honesty, true repentance, crucified pride, total weakness and absolute failure that Christ shines through us as the One who is our Comforter. It is His Faithfulness that others need not my façade.

God operates in weakness. Christ comes to the broken. His Spirit comforts us and confirms His Love for us in such times and becomes the testimony that will comfort and encourage others. I don’t need the advice or opinion of those who claim to be strong. Give me the Truth that pulled the weakest through to victory. I need that Word in my life. It overcomes every lie. Lord, help us to be honest and humble before the watching world.

Matthew 26:38-41 (NLT) He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

As Jesus prayed pouring out His Heart to His Father, it is clear the anguish in His Words. He knew what must be done to secure us. He understood exactly what must be endured. He did it anyway. I share this passage today because I feel the weight of His Confession. “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.” In Psalm 94, the psalmist admits, “I am slipping…” I wonder if any of us would be so honest today. It doesn’t matter the condition, situation or circumstance that is producing the crushing weight upon you. What matters is that you trust the Lord even when you are “pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned” or even “struck down but not destroyed.” Allowing the Lord to be your comforter, it is one quality that is promised in Isaiah 61. He will be our Comforter. He comes with purpose to encourage and empower us to comfort others. The beauty from our ashes is a tree of life to others. The ones who cannot see the Light of His Love at the end of the long hopeless tunnel they are journeying. The ones who need the hope that anchored our soul. The ones who need a mustard seed of faith to plant in their own life or even some respite according to the faith growing in you. We are to share His Unfailing Love that met us when we cried out to Him in weakness. Only the weak know the power provided in grace when we could do no more and He did it all in a moment. The ones who finally came to the place of “your will be done, not mine” and found inexpressible joy and perfect peace in surrender.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NLT) All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.

There are days when I need to take cover. To wrap myself in the Promises of God and retreat to a quiet place for His Confirmation and Comfort. (Psalm 119:49-52) But in no way, shape or form should I ever go into hiding. It is not God’s Will for me to hide my scars, weaknesses or shortcomings but celebrate each victory when I overcome them with others. People don’t need know-it-alls, holier-than-thou’s, so-called-perfect people because they see right through the lie. People need the honest message of unfailing love and overcoming grace that meets us in our failures and brokenness. Unconditional love that really has no condition other than whosoever will let them come. Love covers a multitude of sin. The Lord really does heal our broken hearts. He gives us inexpressible joy in mourning and sadness. You cannot lead another to a place you have never been. You cannot offer them something you do not have. You cannot have God’s Grace in your own strength. You cannot discover unfailing love outside of total surrender. Let God use you. He doesn’t need you to repackage His Word or resell the Gospel. Just to live it. For real. Be real. Be honest. Be authentic. Really love others. Let God use every weakness today for His Glory. People need you. They are watching you. They are waiting for you. Whatever you are going through today in which you choose to trust the Lord and endure will provide the very thing you need to encourage and empower someone else in the next season of life. Share God’s Comfort today with someone else.

1 Corinthians 14:1-3 (NLT) Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy. For if you have the ability to speak in tongues, you will be talking only to God, since people won’t be able to understand you. You will be speaking by the power of the Spirit, but it will all be mysterious. But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.

What Is Revival?


Psalm 85: 4-7 (NLT) Now restore us again, O God of our salvation. Put aside your anger against us once more. Will you be angry with us always? Will you prolong your wrath to all generations? Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you? Show us your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.

Driving home from church last night, my husband and I began talking about the coming New Year. In the midst of our conversation, it turned to revival. The cry of the church seems to be revival. Everyone is preaching it. People are praying for it. The united cry of the church is for God to send revival to us now. But my husband asked a question that cranked the motor of my brain, when he simply inquired…”what is revival?” It is obviously noted in history as Great Movements of God in churches and communities with many names associated with it. However, if we as a church corporately have finally joined our voices in one accord, it would seem that it is important to know what we are asking for so that it will be recognized when it comes. So I ask you today the same question for careful consideration, what is revival?

Going straight to the Word for an accurate description as the only credible source, I find only this passage and one other in the Old Testament that refers to the revival of God’s People. This leads me to believe that revival is a manmade term. It is not actually an “event” to be planned and executed but an experience that carries over somehow. God of our salvation. The cry for revival is an invitation for God to restore us. It is a personal plea for the God of the Universe to come down and touch me. Me, first which will ignite passion to overflow into my family and church. As the Light of His Love spreads among us, it builds momentum. The momentum of the church is unity. Unity is selfless harmony that burns away flesh and pride to expose our heart and mind to more of God’s Spirit than ever before. Let us not be confused. To experience true revival requires true repentance and complete forfeiture of self to be fully consumed by the Lord for His Service and Use in a collective community called the Body of Christ.

Put aside your anger from us once more? Have I drifted? Has the church strayed? Yes and yes. God has put the spark of desire in us for revival BECAUSE He wants grace to cover our fickle heart and wandering mind to be one with Him again. Revival is to desire the Presence of the Living God to come down in our midst. To save, heal and deliver everyone who dares to come near. However, if I think that revival will come to change other but not to do the same for me, I am merely delusional. Revival begins in me and overflows from me. I cannot offer what I have not experienced. I cannot introduce anyone to someone I have not encountered and become acquainted with myself. My message is less than convincing until it radically changes my life.

Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in You? I have attended many churches over the course of my lifetime. I have met many believers, professing Christians, pastors, teachers and leaders. I have served many positions in the church enough to see the business in the building. However, I have rarely experienced such great moves of God that I can recount them to you now. I have experienced the Lord personally but corporately I have not seen the Glory of God called revival in our midst. Why? We cry out for something but not make any attempt to find it within ourselves. People need Jesus. But if I do realize my own desperation and depth of longing for my Savior, Messiah and Lord – I will never be able to meet the need of another by offering them something I do not know. So many starts and stops, makes it apparent that we are missing something along the way.

The woman at the well had a personal experience with Jesus Christ so radical that she had to run back and tell everyone. (John 4) Come and see this man that told me everything… She forgot her guilt and shame including all those things that had isolated her and kept her from the company of others. She didn’t have time for pride, guilt and regret to hold her bondage any longer. No, they had to come and see. There was no other alternative than to come to the well with her to taste and see. When was the last time, your experience with Jesus Christ moved you to push, pull and drag people to church? How many times do you miss meeting together with other believers because there is something, anything more important to do? The want, need and desire for revival from the Lord must begin in each one of us to become the next great move of God. Going into the New Year doing the same thing but expecting different results is deemed insanity. You know the routine. The New Year comes and the church calls for a corporate fast. Everyone becomes focused on new menus, renewed prayers, shaking off the old, and embracing the new. Then by February, it is the same old thing all over again. If I truly want revival, I must decide that in the coming year that I will let God restore, renew and revive me first. I must submit my life including my mind, will and emotions to Jesus Christ to change me from the inside out. Revival did not come this year or the year before despite my cries and pleas. I do not believe that it is because of God’s Timing but the condition of God’s People that has kept it elusive for this long.

Ezra 9:7-9 (NKJV Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been very guilty, and for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to humiliation, as it is this day. And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage. For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.

“And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant of escape, to give us a peg in His Holy Place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage.” Pride has driven the church back into bondage. Preaching for profit has cluttered our storehouses with lesser things. The modern day church is big business. Don’t get mad at me. I am not judging preachers who live in million dollar mansions. Things are not the problem. Purpose and drive are what is missing. Passion for Jesus turned into passion for other things. Pride of life that has caused us to deviate from building God’s Kingdom to prosper in this world. God is showing us grace. He is positioning our heart for a radical change from idolatry and worldly pursuits to a passion and drive for Jesus Christ that forces a choice to make a decision that is really not that difficult in the Presence of One’s Savior.

Revival is the remnant’s escape. Revival is the doorway that leads from self to selflessness. It is the moment that all I want is Jesus Christ. It is when He truly becomes all that I need to live, breathe and thrive in this lifetime. It is such a radical connection with the Lord that it creates an opening between heaven and earth that when two or more are gathered in the same spirit – His Glory overtakes them all. This is revival. We are not ready. Yet from our bondage and captivity – the church cries out for Him. “To give us a peg in His Holy Place” – I need to study this some more. Many years ago, someone spoke a word over me that God was driving me into the ground like a peg or stake. This passage made it come to my mind again. What if the next great move of God is not random or released on a whim? What if revival is not what we thought it might be but something more overpowering and overwhelming than we have every experienced? What if it changes my lifelong pursuits? What if it takes up too much of my time? What if it means being at church more than I care to? What if? What if revival is not about others but God releasing me first?

Psalm 85:8-9 (NLT) I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people. But let them not return to their foolish ways. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, so our land will be filled with his glory.

Do I really want revival? Do I want God to restore and revive me which will always roost me from my comfort and convenience right into fiery refinement? Do I want His Glory to fill my life completely? Revival is for the remnant for a reason. Small pockets of people throughout the history of time who dared be pegs driven into His Presence. Refusing to move until He comes near to them. Those who, like Jacob, will wrestle with God until the new man (or woman) and new life emerges. It took a lot for me to forsake myself. I am not the same person with the same beliefs that I had five years ago. The price paid for such revelation is one I would not have paid knowingly or willingly. Everyone talks a good talk. However, when it is our life to be laid on the line everything changes…trust me. When it is time to totally trust the Lord for survival or even your next breath, this is the moment of truth and when only a remnant remains.

The Lord used my husband in a mighty way last night. I am blessed to be partnered with a godly man. I cannot shake the question now. “What is revival?” From now until the New Year comes, I am going to continue to ask this question of God and dig into His Word until I find that one thing I am not doing or surrendering that will allow His Glory to fill me and overflow from my life into my home into my church and into my community. I cannot participate in a move of God until I am moved by God. To cry out for revival is noble, but God knows our heart. He knows who is not serious enough to give their all. No one knows your heart but you. We can all put on our game face when need be, but who is willing to be driven in the ground like a peg to seek and stay in His Presence until His Glory comes. To be uncomfortable. To be inconvenienced. To wait, tarry and stay right here until He comes.

According to man’s interpretation, the dictionary defines revival as restoration to life, consciousness, vigor or strength. It is to restore to use, acceptability and currency (or worth). It is an awakening of interest in and care for matters of religion. God is ready to breathe life back into the Body of Christ which is gasping for air. He longs to restore the joy of salvation so that our hearts and minds will be one with the Lord and passion will produce a persistent pursuit of God and His Ways. Revival will not be the result around us until it is the change in us. If at the end of 2017, I am the same as I am right now, again I have failed. If there is no change in the atmosphere around me as God moves closer and His Glory fills the space around me, He did not fail – I did. There is a reason that revival only comes to the remnant. It is not a manmade feeling or controlled spiritual encounter, revival is to allow God to completely overtake us body, mind and spirit and then letting Him flow out of us to change the surrounding environment. Revival is not an elevated position but a prone posture as pride and self are sacrificed to make room for more of Jesus. It is not fashionable but definitely favorable.

Psalm 85:10-13 (NLT) Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven. Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings. Our land will yield its bountiful harvest. Righteousness goes as a herald before him, preparing the way for his steps.

Many have seen the movie or at least heard the clip of Jack Nicholson yelling to the crowded courtroom, “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth.” Maybe just maybe this is what the Lord is whispering to us today. When His Unfailing Love and truth meet together righteousness and peace kiss and truth springs up from the careful consummation. Intimacy with the Father through the Son is at the complete forsaking of self. We must give up our way, wants, whims and wanderings to find our way into His Presence. A total commitment of mind, soul and body is required for God’s Fulfillment to begin restoration, renewal and revival to take place. All that we hold precious and dear in this life is at stake to be burned up with God’s Passion for us and ignite our heart with the Light of His Unfailing Love to be the torch for others. This is when the windows of Heaven will open allowing His Blessings to finally reach us not the meager provision experienced now but an outpouring like never before. Our land will yield a bountiful harvest of souls set free if believers and Christians would just do their part now. Righteousness is the herald before Him. Jesus is coming back. We are not ready. Revival must come. It must begin in me. What is revival? I am not completely sure right now. I intend to find out. I don’t want to waste another year doing the same things hoping for something new and different to emerge. Lord, take this time to start a fire in me.

Psalm 119:37-40 (NLT) Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.



Matthew 16:24-26 (NLT) Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

I love praise and worship. To begin with a simple song, and get lost in His Presence erases the burdens of the day filling the heart and mind with freedom all over again. A room full of people evaporate into a moment of just us – the Lord and I. If you haven’t experienced such a time in the Presence of God – I highly recommend it. With my eyes closed lost in His Love, the worship leader made a statement something like, “When you woke up this morning, the Lord was there with you, but what if He wasn’t?” My heart stopped. I couldn’t find another breath. It was unthinkable to comprehend a morning without Him let alone a whole day. I am too far gone in this thing called faith. Somewhere in the last few years, my life has become unmanageable without the Holy Spirit in me, filling me, holding me and keeping me. It was a defining moment. Just an ordinary midweek service in a little church in the woods, but nevertheless no less motivating than that which thrust Peter from a boat in the midst of the storm. Maybe this is what it means the deep cries out to deep.

If you want to be my follower…Jesus didn’t force us to go after Him. He invites us into His Presence but does not push or shove us to go. He just tells how to do it, and makes the way clear with unconditional love, overwhelming grace and new mercy each day to accompany us on our journey. We must decide to start. The steps are clear and uncomplicated. You must give up your own way. Take up your cross. Follow me. We are the ones who make it more difficult than it really is. With fancy religion, outdated tradition, and overrated opinions creating methods that do not lead us into the Presence of God or create a lasting relationship with Jesus Christ. In the end, there is nothing. A fathomless void of empty promises sealed with regret.

To save our life, we must lose it. What does it benefit me if I gain the whole world, but lose my soul? Is anything worth more than my soul? Not to Jesus. He died to rescue our soul, the essence of our being that makes it to eternity. My body will die. Everything I own turn to rubble. It is my soul that must prosper. As He breathes new life in me day by day, I find that I am no longer breathing on my own.

John 14:6 (NLT) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 

I have a friend who grew up in the Greek Orthodox. She knew of God. Heavily immersed in the teachings of her church, it was something she did not about someone she knew. It was when the Lord heard her cries and answered, “No one can come to the Father except through me” that she finally accepted the grace that is sufficient to allow us access into God’s Presence again. The doorway opened by faith and maintained by hope can never be closed again by anyone but those who possess it. Jesus is the Way. He is the Truth (Word of God). He is the life (His Spirit). All these qualities wrapped in a love so great and inconceivable even those who receive it seldom know what to do with it.

Repentance is truly the giving up of our way to walk through life the Lord’s Way. I cannot step into right standing with God or come to Him boldly outside the covering of grace given to me by Jesus. I cannot follow another without surrendering my way. People are not given to surrender or submission. It is a sign of weakness in society but God uses such things to confuse the enemy. Jesus is the only way. I was talking to a very nice gentleman who belongs to a certain fellowship that believes that life is a journey to God. It doesn’t matter what path you choose – you will get there. Believing only that one must be a good person and give their life to others it leads to Heaven. That is not what God’s Word says, and you cannot change it without nullifying the whole thing as tainted to truth which becomes a fallacy. He missed it. They all missed it. Studying the Bible yet not surrendering one’s way leads to darkness. Compromise is of this world, a new life in Christ is bound by commitment. It is the only way that our faith become the key that unlocks His Kingdom for us.

John MacArthur defined the first step of discipleship as self-denial. He said, “Discipleship is on God’s Terms, just as coming to Him is on His Terms. The Lord here reminds us that the key discipleship principle of wining by losing involves self-denial, cross-bearing, and loyal obedience.” The word “deny” is from aparneomai which means to completely disown, to utterly separate oneself from someone. This is the kind of denial a believer is to make regarding self. To utterly disown and refuse to acknowledge one’s old self. Arthur Pink wrote, “Growth in grace is growth downward; it is the forming of a lower estimate of ourselves; it is a deepening realization of our nothingness; it is a heartfelt recognition that we are not worthy of the least of God’s mercies.” It is in the midst of such revelation that one can move on to take up our cross.

Galatians 2:20-21(NLT)My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

How do I take up my cross? John MacArthur relate that this “is simply to be willing to pay any price for Christ’s sake. It is the willingness to endure shame, embarrassment, reproach, rejection, persecution, and even martyrdom for His Sake.” Early followers understood the concept of the cross because they watched people carry the load of it all the way to their death naturally, physically and visually daily. During the lifetime of Christ alone, it is estimated that there were about 30,000 crucifixions that took place. MacArthur goes on to share to take up our cross for the Lord as His Disciple is to begin a death march through this world. In fact he sums it up quite nicely as “To come to Jesus Christ for salvation is not to raise a hand or sign a card, although such things may sometimes play a part. To come to Jesus Christ is to come to the end of self and sin and to become so desirous of Christ and His righteousness that one will make any sacrifice for Him.”

My old self is crucified with Christ. The process is complete but my transformation is not. Each day the Lord reveals more and more to be sacrificed and surrendered to His Love, Grace and Mercy. To complete this journey of genuine faith and confident hope means that I must continue to follow Christ with my cross by my side to nail every passion, desire and intent outside of His Way and keep moving as instructed. The cross represents the suffering I will face in my pursuit of Christ. Christ does not call us to His Side to make life easy and prosperous but to make us holy and productive. This will result in complete peace and satisfaction in our acquisition of the life that He planned for us.

Matthew 10:37-38 (NLT) “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.

In the children’s movie, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”, the character known as Winter Warlock wants to leave his evil ways behind but cannot seem to find his way. Kris Kringle attempts to help him with the song, “Put One Foot in Front of the Other.” It goes like this – Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the floor. Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking out the door.” One step turns into another and another. Change of direction is formed one footstep at a time. I hope you are not offended by this analogy. But rather than making following Christ so difficult, why not keep it simple? It truly is basic. Deciding with a single footstep and continuing with each footfall to follow Jesus. That’s really all there is to it. Change is always overwhelming. Comfort is compromised when our Call is Christ. I didn’t say it wasn’t hard. In fact, it challenges me every single day in each choice I make to choose Christ, His Way and His Word. But it is worth it…oh so worth it.

To follow Christ may mean leaving others behind. It is a radical transition from death to life that some people will not embrace. Love them. Lead them. Pray for them. You have to keep moving closer in obedience each and every day to reach the full potential God placed in your life and achieve the purpose for which He has called you. So what does this have to do with anything from the worship experience? It means everything and here’s why.

Ephesians 3:17-20 (NLT) Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

About halfway through our son’s battle with cancer, I think around the third and most heavily involved relapse, I reached the end of me. The distance between God and man became too wide to live on both sides any longer. Each conversation laced in pity. The treatment plan now involved the word “death”. In our faith and medically, just about the time it looked like we had won only to discover it was fighting back harder and stronger almost smarter each time. Just about the time, a glimmer of hope began to shine it was threatened by insurance. I don’t know what happened or exactly how it did or the precise moment of transition but somewhere in the mix of chaotic details, I detached from reality and grabbed faith with both hands. I couldn’t straddle the fence, I was forced to choose who to believe and to follow. I think we all come to that inevitable moment when we can no longer serve God and this world. In that moment a choice is made that will change our life forever…at least it did mine.

The moment of truth comes when we must answer the call to deeper things of God. Not the occasion run for the altar or shedding of some tears, but the moment that we finally disconnect from faith in anything or anyone other than Jesus. It is a traumatic event to completely surrender one’s faith and life to the Lord. However, what I found in that moment when I could not bear the details of my life any longer that His Response was unfathomable and endless love for me. He filled all the empty spaces and cavernous voids left in the process of refinement when all the worthless things in my life were burned away to reveal fresh ground for new faith.

How did it begin? Not the moment my heart was shattered along with every sense of security I had when they told me that he had cancer. It was not in the complete undoing of my perception of life to accept the reality of Christ found in our crisis. It began when I made the commitment to give up my life, take up my cross and follow Him. It was not spectacular in production just the simple choice to put one foot in front of the other again and again. When I came to the end of myself, Jesus was waiting. Diving into the depths of His Love, I still struggle to fully understand this encounter. When Christ completes us, it leaves us breathless to try imagine life without Him immersed in His Love. He wants you to experience the width, length, height, and depth of His Love for you. You must come to Jesus. Do things His Way. Take up your cross laying down your life and decide to follow Him no matter what the cost. Nothing more or less will do. In exchange for your life, He gives us His Glory. Through His Mighty Power at work in us, the Lord will accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. This is His Promise to me. This is His Promise for you. Yes, it leaves me breathless.

Job 33:4 (NLT) For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

This is the air I breathe, this is the air I breathe, Your Holy Presence living in me. This is my daily bread. This is my daily bread. Your very Word spoken to me. And I’m desperate for you, and I’m lost without you! – Breathe by Michael W. Smith



Psalm 51:10-12 (NLT) Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.


My husband has been traveling for more than a week now. He arrives home today. This is not a new thing. Over the years, he has been away on business many times. I am not sure why this time was a little different. Perhaps, it was a little longer than usual. Things were a busier, chaotic and more hectic. Our routine disturbed for more than a day or two. We talk and text every day. If I need him, he is available. What is missing? His presence is missing in our home. Our daughters each have indicated that they are ready for Dad to come home. When he is here, they don’t seem to pay attention. As teenagers, self-gratification generally keeps them from human appreciation for as long as there is data on the cellphone, Wi-Fi in the house, and food in the pantry – life is good and it happens that we are overlooked or ignored. On the phone with my husband even knowing that he would arrive home today, I still became a little teary. This is not my nature. He instantly could hear the catch in my voice. I know my husband loves me. I know that he misses me. Even though we communicate every day, it is not the same as communion together. I desire his presence in my life. I have come to appreciate it. I need it. We are life partners. We live in covenant. If his presence is gone, I long for it which leads me to wonder about the Lord.


This morning when I woke up rather than arguing with the alarm, I felt urgency to get into the Presence of the Lord. Not just a quiet time with prayer and Bible study, but to sit in His Presence and feel His Closeness. I want to hear His Voice. I want to know His Comfort and abiding peace today. I wonder if sometimes our time with the Lord becomes as practiced as our worship in church. Are there times that we take for granted that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords chooses to live in us and abide in our life? Could it be that we feel entitled to the new life because we forget about the undeserved grace that we have been given? In some cases, it is not entirely God’s People’s fault. Preachers from perfect pulpits teach of a love that comes without a price for there is no sacrifice, no blood, no cross and free grace. Without repentance or a change of heart, I cannot live in the Presence of God. The Lord will not live in my sin. It is in the separation from the world and stepping out of the darkness into the Light of His Love that I have this profound privilege of Presence in my life.


Ephesians 2:10-12 (NLT) God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.


The promise of His Presence was completed when Jesus died on the Cross and released His Spirit to live among us and more importantly inside of us. This would be the moment that all things became possible to those who believe. Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. The day we celebrate the impartation of God’s Spirit to all mankind. This was the moment everything changed for us. The Spirit of God that lives in us seals the promise of redemption. He makes every promise possible and probable to those who choose to believe. He is our guide and teacher. The Holy Spirit gives knowledge, understanding, discernment, wisdom and conviction that allows us to live above our means according to the riches of His Glory. Because of Jesus Christ and our faith invested in Him, not just verbally but actively, we have been given the privilege to come boldly and confidently into God’s Presence. I can walk right in without knocking demanding an audience with the Lord and it is perfectly acceptable.


In the Old Testament, people desired the Presence of God but when He arrived they scattered. Moses knew the importance and relevance of God’s Presence. He considered it an absolute necessity. (Exodus 33:15-18) Moses was required to “go into” the Lord’s Presence. The Israelites had the Lord’s Presence and undivided attention yet chose to ignore Him and consistently rebelled against the One True God. (Numbers 14:21-23) The entire book of Leviticus is about preparing a place for the Presence of God and maintaining it. It is instructions on entertaining the God’s Presence in their midst. Finally, Deuteronomy 29:15 is clear that God’s Presence was not just for them, but for us too as the future generations expressed in this text. God desires an ongoing audience with His People. The only difference from the Old Testament to the New is that the Presence of God moved from external to internal. In 1 Corinthians 6:19 it is duly noted that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Everything changes now for those who allow the Holy Spirit to live and breathe inside of them.


Psalm 139:7-12 (NLT) I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.


Our oldest son was the kind of kid who from the earliest age was going to grow up, move away and conquer the world. From the age of probably eight or nine, his sense of adventure made him express a constant desire to be free of the boundaries set forth by his parents. Just after high school, he deployed for a year to Kuwait. Once he returned for a few years, he followed his wanderlust. Venturing out on his own, he decided to move to Texas to pursue a job opportunity. During that time, we didn’t hear from him much. From the time this young man was born until today at 26 years of age, he is my precious first born child. I love him fiercely. I still long to protect him though he is grown and a master at arms. The love of a parent reaches beyond touching and doing to a deep sense of longing that keeps our heart and mind set on our children when they are with us and even when they grow up and move away. God instills this in us because it is the way He sees us.


When God created us inside our mother’s womb, His Full Intent was for us to be His Children. So when we are born into natural living, He begins to pursue us relentlessly with His Goodness and Unfailing Love. (Psalm 23:6) But just as quickly as our birth is noted by the Lord, the enemy notices it too. In the wild, predators will wait for pregnant animals to give birth to either attack in their weakness or eat the young. Think about that for a moment. Is God birthing a promise in your life? Are you laboring in purpose on the verge of breakthrough? The pressure you feel are forces colliding as the enemy tries to take when the Lord intended for you. Stay in the Presence of the Lord and He will protect you, your promise, and every bit of your newfound potential. God’s Presence in our life does not exempt us from heartache or hard times. It is the Presence of God that sees us through until the trial or test has past and God’s Glory is poured out in our life. (Job 1)


God’s Presence surrounds us long before we choose to accept Him as our Savior and Lord. It is not a matter of entering the Presence of God but allowing His Presence to live in us by creating a life that is conducive to Him. We can walk in the Presence of the Lord each day. (Psalm 56:13) It was His Longing for it to be that way all the way back to the first two people in the Garden of Eden. The promise of presence fills our life with joy no matter what circumstance or situation we are in. (Psalm 16:9-11) His Presence is our shelter and safety in the midst of the storm or any other day that we see fit to remain there. (Psalm 16:19-20) Without His Presence, church is just a building. (2 Chronicles 7:1-3) God’s Presence interrupts religion to produce a relationship with Jesus in our heart and mind. (I Kings 8:10-11) The invitation of presence allows us to live in His Righteousness rather than rebelling in wrongdoing. (2 Chronicles 29:10-11) To those who choose righteousness will find that their religious duties are replaced by radical obedience in the areas of love, faith and hope. All things will be possible for those who decide to live in the Presence of God each day.


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


My relationship with Jesus Christ has produced a desire to avoid sin at all costs. Yet, still thanks to my flesh, I sin every day more than once, of course. When I come to the Lord and repent of my sin even the hidden ones, He swings wide the door of His Presence and my life is better because of it. Presence is intimacy with God. When we repent and the Blood of Jesus covers our sin, we also can clothe ourselves in Christ just as God covered Adam and Eve in the Garden. (Romans 13:13-14) It is yielding our entire being to the Great I Am and inviting Him to live inside of us as a welcomed guest not a tolerated intruder. I can be myself. In fact, the Lord desires our honesty. He knows everything already so why lie? Repentance makes way for refreshment in our life. (Acts 3:19-21) It is to humble ourselves to a greater power at work in us. (I Corinthians 1:28-30) When my husband arrives home tonight, we will all be overjoyed. Yet today just knowing He is coming home is enough! Is it enough for us to love the Lord and seek His Presence just knowing that He is coming back? To allow His Presence to work in us and through us today means that we must put on Christ. When we desire His Presence enough to seek it, it is to achieve a new direction and excellent destination compared to our own way. The Lord promises to make good of every detail of a true believers life who has answered His Call. (Romans 8:28) I desire this to be a reality in my life but can only achieve it living, breathing, walking and staying in the Presence of God today so that He can have His Way in me.


Psalm 89:14-18 (NLT) Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants. Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness. You are their glorious strength. It pleases you to make us strong. Yes, our protection comes from the Lord, and he, the Holy One of Israel, has given us our king.


Today as I stand in the Presence of God, I must repent. Many times, I make more of this thing called righteousness and justice by adding the components that I feel are necessary to get there. Jesus just says, “Come.” God is pursing us today with unfailing love and truth…nothing more or less. To accept these two things means taking hold of the grace we have been given, putting our faith in it and holding tight to the anchor of hope enduring until the end. What have we made of it? Where is the Presence of God? Why is not in our churches? Why has He left our homes? Can we get Him back? Of course, we can. Mercy is new every morning so that we can be refilled, refueled, restored and renewed by this Gift that yields a heavenly supply. Do not allow the enemy to trick you into thinking you have to change a thing…Jesus will do it for anyone who gives their life to Him. He will make us strong when we finally succumb to and admit our weakness thereby accepting fully His Grace as enough.


Yesterday, we had a prospective buyer come to look at our house for a second time. They are making a decision between two houses before writing a sales contract for one. I got a call at work for a last minute showing. I was telling our oldest daughter good-bye as she would soon be heading back to New Hampshire. Work was a bit overwhelming. Not to mention, I am volunteering and coordinating a Grand Opening for our church that is this weekend. On top of all this, I need my husband to come home. Rushing home to prepare, I just needed Jesus to come and cover me. I have prayed over our house before showings. I have walked the perimeter of our property anointing it also and praying. I have scrubbed, cleaned and organized to be sure our house shows well. On my way out, I laid my hand on the doorpost ready to pray like every other time. Nothing. Seriously…I bowed my head begging my spirit girl to rise up. Nothing again. Finally, I heard a still small whisper and the words, “Let Your Will be done…” So I spoke the same adding only – “In Jesus Name, Amen.” I think that we have to run out of reserves, become a bit overwhelmed, and even highly emotional so that the Lord can move us out of the way and penetrate our life with more of His Presence. After all, it is His Unfailing Love and Kindness that makes Him want to move in closer. Our flesh will not allow it but in the stillness of brokenness – we wait for Him. (Psalm 37:7) I need His Presence to take over my life. I get in the way. He allows me to run dry so that He can fill me again. Absence indeed makes the heart grow fonder. Lord, I miss your presence and long for more of it today. Thank you Jesus for Your Presence.


Psalm 26:8 (NLT) I love your sanctuary, Lord, the place where your glorious presence dwells.

Tender Mercies

Tender Mercies

Mathew 20:29-34 (NIV)

As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

During the Daniel Fast, the Lord has really been speaking to my heart about my love for others. Our family has recently experienced a revival that has been too wonderful not to share. The Lord is doing many “new” things in us and around us. With exhilaration, there is a bit of anxiousness as I know change is often uncomfortable no matter how positive it may be. These new ideas and thoughts have been totally confirmed in my spirit, but as always my flesh is weak. There are certain aspects of His Calling that force me to abandon my feelings and emotions to step out on faith if obedience is my desire. I want to obey the Lord in all things. I want His Presence in my life completely and fully every day which requires that I follow Him.

I love people. I enjoy being around others and sharing life with them. On the other hand, I do not like drama. As a woman, this puts me in a precarious position most of the time. Over the years, I have shirked away from all television shows that are about conflict and drama. I hate soap operas. I have lived by the philosophy if you do not like the way your life is than change it. In the beginning of my life there was quite a bit of drama which creates insecurity and opposition. The truth remains that as there is human interaction there will be some drama. Christians are no different. I think churches get mixed up in it even more because it is one more social circle for it to churn in. So as you can see, I have a problem in this area. I do not keep up with the Kardashians. I don’t care about the housewives in all the other counties. In fact, I avoid it at all costs.

This has been a challenge in relating to other woman who often thrive on such things. Cultivating conflict is not the purpose but result. I think it is born of a need to connect and relate on a deeper level. Like the “breakup and makeup” syndrome of many couples today who cannot relate with the “monotony” of daily living so fight to create the opportunity for “honeymoon” phases. Love is commitment. Love is constant. To those who do not know any better, this is boring and unexciting. The world feeds these desires making a commitment to love like marriage a thing of the past. Even the concept of marriage has become convoluted in this age. One of my goals during the Daniel Fast is not to learn to tolerate drama, but to love others in spite of it. While I may still love the other person, once unnecessary highly emotional conflict comes into play – I am out. This is not what Jesus wants from me. I am to be His Light in a dark world. The very thing I despise is captivating the hearts of many people who I love. God gives me new mercy each day. Am I hoarding for myself? Am I only sharing with those I find deserving? Lord, help me to see beyond myself and personal comfort today to those who are hurting and need Your Love to permeate their life.

Do you struggle with dramatic and highly emotional relationships? The cry for mercy is a call for compassion rising up from inside the human heart. People do not intentionally stir up conflict. It is the need for love which stirs the atmosphere looking for change. Rather than offering it up freely, the church has kept it in for too long. Needy people are pushed aside and cast away. I am not talking about those who seek benevolence, handouts or money, but those who need unconditional love and constant attention to promote the Light making its way through the darkest part of their soul. In my journey to understand mercy and compassion, the Lord has brought me here to stand on the side of the road with the gathered crowd. Two men who are blind, which I believe represents spiritual darkness of a soul covered in sin, sit on the side of the road who have heard that Jesus is coming begin to shout for the Lord to have mercy on them. The crowd rebukes them telling them to be quiet stop making a scene. The two men shout louder and louder until Jesus asks what they would have from Him. “We want our sight.” What happens next is important. Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. What did they see? They saw Jesus. They saw His Lordship. They got up and followed Him. Isn’t this what our life as believers is all about? Helping the spiritually blind to see the Light of God’s Love and follow Jesus Christ?

Luke 1:76-79 (NIV)

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

You and I are called to be prophets to the nations. Maybe you are thinking, I am not a prophet. Well, I am pleased to inform you that you absolutely are a prophet of God if you believe in Jesus Christ, have called on His Name for salvation, made Him Lord of your life and are filled with His Spirit. You have a mission. A prophet is a person who speaks for God. If you hear the Voice of God, know His Word, and live His Way than you will have more than enough to share with others. God puts crazy, messed up, and overbearing people around you because you have light for their darkness. They are not trying to suck the life out of you but after the Light that lives in you.


Zechariah spoke these words over his son, John the Baptist. You will be a prophet. You will prepare the way of the Lord. You will give others knowledge of salvation through forgiveness of sins because of God’s Tender Mercy. This mercy is what those living in darkness are after. The mercy that we are provided day after day. God gives us new mercy each day. Do you live in the mercy of God? Do you graciously accept His Compassion and live in it?

Psalm 119:129-136 (NIV)

Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands. Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Redeem me from human oppression, that I may obey your precepts. Make your face shine on your servant and teach me your decrees. Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.

“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6) Jesus references this verse in the New Testament twice. Once in Matthew 9:13 when He was condemned by the Pharisees for eating with tax collectors and the second time in Matthew 12:7 when his hungry disciples began plucking heads of grain to eat them on the Sabbath and again the Pharisees pointed out they were doing something unlawful. As believers, mercy should be a mainstay in our life. When religion compromises our compassion for others, we have crossed the line back into sinful disobedience. God has shown us great mercy and compassion that is a gift to be shared with the world. Are we doing it? Do we pick and choose who we will show it to according to their worthiness? Do we withhold love and compassion from those who stir up drama, conflict or trouble in our life? See the only thing that Jesus requires of us is to love one another. In that one commandment alone the entire Law is fulfilled because if we choose to love others (ALL others) we will not conflict with any of the commandments. Love covers a multitude of sin. When we fail to love and it is an act of condemnation that completely conflicts with God’s Instruction.

Mercy is given to those who love His Name. (Period) You have the Mercy of God if you love His Name and the Name of His Son – Jesus. How do I know? Those who love the Lord will do the following: 1) Delight in God’s Word; 2) Desire spiritual understanding as a guide to life: 3) Hunger and thirst for right standing with God; 4) Direct each footstep according to God’s Commands alone; 5) Demand control of one’s flesh (self-control); and 6) Despair over sin…all sin and transgressions of any kind. (Proverbs 28:13) Mercy is given to those who call on the Name of Jesus to be saved and make Him the Lord of their life. Otherwise, one does not live in the Light of His Love. A constant need for affirmation, approval and acceptance of other people to maintain peace and happiness in life is a lack of faith and confident hope in the Righteousness of God. Continued sin with the intent of pulling the grace card will never achieve complete and total satisfaction in the Grace and Mercy of God that allows us to give freely and unconditionally to others. Sadly, the church of today has embraced compromise. It entertains sin. It shirks full obedience which makes it disobedience to God. It is time to erase the gray line because it simply does not exist. To follow Christ is an “all in” concept – you are or you are not. If you are all in, you have God’s Mercy as a gift given to you each day.

Lamentations 3:21-26 (NIV)

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (NKJV) As the Lord is reminding me today of His Tender Mercies given to me each day, it is with new understanding of what is required of me in our relationship. I love the Lord. I am committed to serving Him openly and unashamedly. This requires that I show new mercy for others each and that my compassion for the lost, hurting, annoying and even dramatic people around me continue without ceasing until the Light of His Amazing Love permeates the darkness that is driving them to reach out, call out, cry out and strain to find. We have it. It is with purpose. We are on a mission to share God’s Love with the world – all of it and everyone in it. Once our life is established on faith and confident hope, we must learn to give it away as freely as it is given. When the Lord is our portion, we have a limitless supply. Lord, teach me to love others as unconditionally as you do, give them mercy as freely as it has been given to me, and to extend the compassion I live in. Amen.

Matthew 5:6-8 (NIV) Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.

Restore Us Again – A Devotion


Psalm 126:4-6 (NLT)

Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.


It popped up on my timeline and at first, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Sometimes God moves our mountains and sometimes God says, “Take another lap.” Credit for that little nugget goes to Nicki Koziarz. This sentiment did not get the usual likes from all my friends like some of the others I have shared and rightfully so. Endurance is not as popular as “look what the Lord has done.” We want all that the Lord has promised us but the process we could do without. The mountain in our life has been standing by our son as he valiantly, bravely and faithfully has battled cancer. I hate that disease with every fiber of my being. It is from satan because it most certain meets his purpose to “steal, kill and destroy.” Throughout this journey, many times I have watched hoping and praying that this “mountain” would finely make a resounding splash in the sea of forgetfulness. But as we are now entering our fourth year of battle, the quote set well with me knowing that God has not forgotten His Promise to our family. We are just taking another lap. He is with us. Looking to the day when this is all over and a distant memory, I wonder how much of our life will be fully restored. That is the Lord’s Promise and answer to what has been taken from us, right? We all want to take back what the enemy has stolen from us. It belongs to us. While the enemy is intent on stealing, killing and destroying God’s Children, Jesus is diligent in the details as He gives us an abundant life.

“Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the deserts.” The stream renews the desert by watering the seeds that are already in the ground to reproduce life and vitality again. Those who continue to plant through the droughts of life watering their surroundings with tears will see the harvest and experience joy again. The weep as they sow and shout when they return with the harvest. I wonder if in our attempt to “take back” what the enemy has “stolen” from us maybe we should evaluate what we have lost. Is it worth having again? Not everything we lost is meant to be returned or restored. Some of it was seed that went in the ground and will not come back as it was but what it was meant to be. Some of it was not good for you so it really wasn’t the enemy that took it from you but rather the Lord who delivered you from it (or maybe him or her). The Lord is intent on giving us an abundant life that is rich and satisfying. Do you want to be rich? Satisfied?

Luke 12:33-34 (NLT)

“Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.


“Restore our fortunes.” The enemy is not responsible for all the losses in our life. It is important to know this but understand the reason we cannot seem to hold on to anything of value and worth in our life beginning with money. It is the obvious pink elephant in the room. Everyone wants more money. Thinking that financial security will bring them peace and joy as they can stop worrying and relax to enjoy life. I used to think the very same thing. However, if you look into the life of those who win the lotteries offered in various states, you will find most are broke again just a few years later. Money is a magnifier allowing a person to fulfill the desires of their heart. Jesus said to place our treasure in Heaven. The “purses of Heaven never get old or develop holes.”

For years, I have struggled with budgeting not like you may think. I over evaluate my budget and watch every penny in fear of lack. As we have had to address the needs of our son, I overbought for our girls in a vain attempt to make up for the fact that I could not be here like I usually am. At the beginning of this year, enough was enough. I have decided to test God. I can do that because we have committed our finances to the Lord by faithfully tithing. He promises to provide all that we need. I proclaimed “No Buy” January and for the entire month bought nothing new instead going through every nook and cranny of our house discovering a surplus of items we no longer use, want or need. So I began selling these things online and giving stuff away. Amazingly, I will be doing this for some time as I have discovered a lot of stuff. Rather than making more money, I am learning to be a better steward of what we have and determining money’s role in our family. When we worry and stress about our finances, it is because we have an emotional attachment to them. I have decided in my heart that money offers what I need to feel peaceful and secure in this life rather than total trust and reliance on God. We pray for the Lord to restore our finances. Perhaps, He is pouring more money in our life but we have not learned anything in our passionate pursuit of more. Principles like contentment and satisfaction with what we have will change our hearts. God is our Provider. He is good one. We must be good stewards of everything God has given us.

“Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” What would happen if you lost your job today? Would it be devastating? Would it produce chaos in your life? There have been many things that I have learned through the process of seeking care for our son. This form of cancer is very aggressive. Only the first round of treatment was considered routine. After that, the doctors had to look all over the world for modalities. By the time, we got to round four it was time to get strategic and try something radical. Insurance companies do not like radical and in fact, usually bow out about that time. Hospitals like insurance and tend to forget your long term relationship with the first denial. The minimum cost for a bone marrow transplant is $350,000. Needless to say, this was not something that we had been saving up for a rainy day. We fought the insurance company desperately for six months. Talk about lapping the mountain, I definitely felt like we were getting the run around. We begged the hospital to help us. Kept running around the mountain. Finally, we had exhausted all efforts. I remember the day – moment that I prayed, “Lord, if this is your Will it’s gonna be all You! To God be the Glory!” The next day, the insurance company approved treatment. To this day, no one knows how or why except me. God showed me something in that moment that is bearing new fruit each day. Money and people cannot give me the desires of my heart like the Lord can and will when I put my trust in Him. When our heart desires and trusts the Lord more than anything else, it doesn’t matter what the enemy takes away – He gives us something better!

Leviticus 24:19-21 (NLT)

“Anyone who injures another person must be dealt with according to the injury inflicted— a fracture for a fracture, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Whatever anyone does to injure another person must be paid back in kind. Whoever kills an animal must pay for it in full, but whoever kills another person must be put to death.

The elements of the Law were no joke. Like for like. “Whatever anyone does to injure another person must be paid back in kind.” But grace gives us better than we deserve. Whatever the thief takes must be repaid double. (Exodus 22:7) But what if that which he took was not what the Lord had for you making it less than God’s Best? Do you want it back double or do you want what God intended for you to have in the first place? Think about Job. In the midst of his trauma, he believed that the Lord gives and takes away – blessed be the Name of the Lord. He did not ask for what was taken to be restored. (Job 42:10-12) If you want double for your trouble, you must live in faithful obedience in the midst of your struggle. Planting seeds of righteousness (or right standing with God) in every step even if the only thing you can water them with are your tears. Examine the contents of your heart. What do you value and treasure most? When the fulfillment of our heart is in alignment with God’s Will for us, we stand under the dispensation of Grace that doesn’t give us back what we lost but better than we deserve.

James 1:2-8 (NLT)

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

The greatest and most worthwhile abundance in our life is faith. Faith makes every single impossible totally possible. With this in mind, we know that while all things are possible not everything is good and beneficial. The Lord will not give you anything back that will “steal, rob, or kill” your faith because it is our source of life. Before you call back those things that you think the enemy may or may not have taken from you, ask for Godly Wisdom. He will answer those who listen with open ears and a ready heart. Such discernment may keep you from running in circles chasing yesterday’s substitutions and compromises to find completeness, wholeness, contentment, love, joy and peace in Jesus Christ. Your life could change forever in a moment without a single situation or circumstance changing. That’s what faith can do restore us in a moment and prepare us for an abundant lifetime of faith making possibilities from all our impositions and impossibilities. We will become “fully developed, perfect, complete, needing nothing.” I believe that this is the meaning of being restored! God’s Way! Forever! Lord, restore our fortunes.

Psalm 36:7-9 (NLT)

How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.


Oh My Goodness – A Devotion

Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT)

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

How do I know that God is good? I do believe that He is good but how do I believe that His Goodness is for me? Especially when thrust into diverse circumstances with surrounding fear and imminent danger, how can I be completely certain that God is Good all the time and His Goodness is always for me? I better figure it out pretty quick if I am going to make it through the next few months of my life. The wet blanket of worry is hanging precariously over my head as my heart battles to keep doubt from penetrating is soft walls. This is not a battle of mind over matter or surely my stubbornness would win. This is faith and flesh warring within me. God is good! His Goodness fills His Presence with full perfection. I am not good. My flesh rebels every single day against the Holy Spirit in my life. How can I be confident that His Goodness can be mine in the land of the living? Why should I wait patiently for the Lord when I am not sure that He is coming? How can I be brave and courageous when all the odds and statistics are stacked high against me? It is a choice. A decision made in the heart and mind that can change my life forever.


Exodus 33:16-19 (NLT)
How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.” The Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.” Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.” The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh,before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.


Moses was struggling with the plan that God had laid out before him. Fear was overwhelming the man yet his heart cried out to follow the Lord. So Moses said, “Then show me your glorious presence.” Moses needed to see that God was in this. He needed tangible proof of the invisible God. The Lord replied, “I will make all My Goodness pass before you.” This was not some fancy light show or a display of bravado and beauty. This was God, Creator of the Universe and everything in it stepping out of His Kingdom to reveal Himself to mankind. One day the Lord God would do this again – wrapping His Word in flesh to reveal His Constant Pursuit of people. The Goodness of God is for you. He covers it in mercy and compassion. There is goodness to be found in the Presence of God – Lord, show us how to get there.

Psalm 23:6 (NLT)

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the House of the Lord forever.

The Lord is constantly pursuing us with His Goodness and Unfailing Love. The problem is we don’t turn around to find it. To live in the House of God means separating ourselves from sin. We cannot do this. God does this part too through His Son, Jesus Christ. Fear of death may lead many to the Cross, but only those who truly experience the Goodness of God found in repentance, salvation and holiness will never turn away. (Hebrews 6:4-6) It is impossible. The Lord withholds no good thing from the righteous. (Psalm 84:11-12) He especially likes to bless us in front of our enemies. (Psalm 23:5) When we make Jesus Christ the Lord of our life, He constantly blesses us before the “watching world”. (Psalm 31:19-20) Who is eligible for such goodness? Everyone! God always leaves behind evidence of who He is and how good He is to show others the Way. (Acts 14:16-17) We must learn to live in our Promised Land without defiling it and completely take possession without compromise. (Jeremiah 2:-10) What’s the problem? We want God’s Goodness but not His Way, Will or Word. These are inseparable. The only thing that we must give up to have more of God’s Goodness is sin.


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


God’s Will for my life is good, pleasing and perfect whether I believe it or choose to receive it or not. His Plan holds a future and hope that is for my good. (Jeremiah 29:11) To have it, all I must do is wholeheartedly seek the Lord. (Jeremiah 29:13) There is a false definition of grace that is telling people that willful sin is allowable under some provision of God’s Mercy and Compassion. This is a lie. It is a lie that robs men and women, as well as their children of God’s Goodness. The Truth is that God’s Goodness is for you. It is accessible by His Grace as we enter His Presence. Sin is never allowed in the Presence of God. (Period) His Justice will not allow it. Everything God created is good. (I Timothy 4:4-5) Every good and perfect gift comes directly from the Lord and is not the result of fate or coincidence. (James 1:17-18) It is never by chance when something good comes our way but evidence that somehow we opened a window and let it come in. God’s Goodness renews us from the inside out. (Psalm 119:40)


Knowing all this – here are the basics of living in the Goodness of God. Repentance turns us from sin so we see His Goodness. Salvation separates us from our sin so that now we can have His Goodness. Holiness sets us apart from sin so that we can live in His Goodness. It really is that simple. The farther apart from sin we remain the more of God’s Goodness that makes it to us. It was there all along just waiting for the Word to work in us and His Spirit to revive us. The Holy Spirit is continually producing goodness inside of us to meet with God in His Presence. (Galatians 5:22-23) He takes God’s Word that we eat as daily bread and nourishes our soul with it until we begin to prosper. As our soul prospers, good things begin to happen as the Favor of God overtakes our life that is sacrificed to Jesus and moved far from sin. The only thing that can stop God’s Goodness is a lack of repentance, refusal of salvation, or ignorance of holiness that leads to uncompromising obedience to God, His Word and His Spirit. Otherwise, it is all systems go. Goodness belongs to you. It has pursuing you all the days of your life and will continue to do so until you draw your final breath. Why not advantage of it?


Psalm 145 (NLT)

I will exalt you, my God and King and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness. Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. I will meditateon your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles. Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue; I will proclaim your greatness. Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness. The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation. All of your works will thank you, Lord, and your faithful followers will praise you. They will speak of the glory of your kingdom; they will give examples of your power. They will tell about your mighty deeds and about the majesty and glory of your reign. For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. The Lord always keeps his promises; He is gracious in all he does.The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads. The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it. When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in everything he does; He is filled with kindness. The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth. He grants the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them. The Lord protects all those who love him, but he destroys the wicked. I will praise the Lord, and may everyone on earth bless his holy name forever and ever.


What a great reminder of God’s Goodness in Psalm 145. When I cannot see His Goodness and become blinded by fear and doubt, His Word will wash over me. When I first began writing Pure Devotion detailing my daily encounters with God, I was criticized by people who wanted me to reduce the content. One person actually suggested that I make it fit on their Smartphone screen so it would be a quick read. This person was a pastor. There are others who ask why I include so much scripture. The truth is if I didn’t not many would take the time to look it up. I have struggled to meet the recommendations and requests of people or do what the Lord impresses on my heart. The Word of God is absolutely essential in discovering His Goodness for our life. It is the Light for our feet as we walk this journey called life. His Goodness sometimes takes a little while to discover. Think of Paul’s message to his fellow shipmates. Listen, God is good! We are going to live through this shipwreck after all. (Acts 27:23-25) Life is rough sometimes. Didn’t the Lord say it would be? It should come as no surprise IF you have spent some time in His Word. The Spirit of God is our God from our old life of sin to our new life in His Glorious Presence. We need to remind ourselves constantly of the Goodness of God through His Word and by His Spirit. We must wrap our heart and mind in the Truth and refuse to compromise in it. We accept lesser things unable to believe that God is that good and His Goodness is for us. I know that God is good but there are still times that I need a reminder that His Goodness is for me.


I Peter 2:9 (NLT)

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests,a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.


God is good! Oh my, His Goodness is for me. Like refreshing water on a hot summer day, it renew my mind as faith flourishes and confident hope is revived. But it is not my job only to receive the Goodness of God, but to reflect in to others. We are the Light of the World. We are His City on the hill both set in place to shine His Love, Mercy, Compassion and Goodness to a dark, dying world. We will never be able to express God’s Goodness effectively until we actually experience His Goodness firsthand. God is pursuing you today with His Unfailing Love and Goodness. If you want it, just turnaround and pursue it. It will begin to seep from your life into the lives of others because it is more than you can contain. God will be glorified and more of His Goodness comes pouring out. It is a process that will bless your broken heart and promises to complete you both now and forever. Show us your Glorious Presence today! I know you are good! I know that Your Goodness is for me! Help me to find it today. Lord, rest on me so I can find rest within me.


Psalm 116:5-7 (NLT)

How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.