Live Free

Live Free

I Corinthians 1:7-9 (NLT) Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:36) Free indeed. Unrestricted. Unbound. Unhindered. Unrestrained. The life of the believer is completely free in every possible way. The debt in life that kept us from living as sons and daughters of God was sin. Jesus paid the price in full and gave us the key that unlocks every door that keeps us from what the Lord has promised us. “Now” we have every spiritual gift needed to eagerly anticipate and wait for Christ’s Return. No longer are we subject to eternal judgment for there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:1) It is up to us to learn to live free.

“Freedom always comes with a price.” (C.S. Lewis) Jesus paid for our future. It is ours to embrace by faith in the One who secured it for us and released it to us. There is nothing I can do to earn freedom only live in it. I do not deserve the Gift of Grace that I have been given. However, to fully utilize it may very well be the best response to the Giver of Life. The new life given to us in Jesus Christ is without limit. It is abundant. It is extravagant. It is priceless. Always good and futuristic. Freedom is to be cherished and valued. To exercise our freedom in becoming the masterpiece that God designed is to live a life of liberty in His Spirit. How is it even possible? How do I engage in freedom when the Law seems so strict? How does one overcome religious doctrine to live openly in a loving and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ? It is really quite simple. It begins with “yes”.

Galatians 4:28-31 (NLT) And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit. But what do the Scriptures say about that? “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.

God made a promise to Abraham. A promise that could only be delivered by faith in the Living God. Like many of us, Abraham and Sarah grew tired of waiting on the Lord and doubt caused them to try to help God fulfill His Promise. Abraham would have two sons – one born to a slave wife and one from his freeborn wife. The son of Hagar represents a human attempt to fulfill the promise of God. This is also the representative of the Law. The Law kept us bound until Jesus came to set us free. Sarah was a free woman. She is figuratively a spiritual mother of those who live by faith. There are promises born by human effort and then there are those birthed by the power of the Spirit. We are called to be the sons and daughters of the Living God who have been given every spiritual blessing. Too often waiting on God’s Word, His Will or His Way to come to pass produces bondage again to negative thoughts, shortcuts and substitutions that are not the product of freedom.

Luke 1:34-38 (NLT) Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

Freedom always says, “Yes!” To live in complete and absolute freedom according to God’s Holy Spirit is to say, “Yes!” The greatest conviction of a free man or woman in Christ is that nothing is impossible for God. To believe that the Word of God will never fail. Mary would become the mother of our Savior and Lord – Jesus Christ. She was a teenage virgin when the angel of the Lord came bearing wonderful news that might prove catastrophic to her social circle and religious beliefs. Her response the example for us all – “I am the Lord’s Servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Yes! Mary said, “Yes!” What is your response to God’s Promise today? How will you respond to His Word, Will and Way for you? The freedom of potential and purpose is subject to our response to God’s Promises. Will it be yes? No? Maybe? To live in complete freedom is to let go of the things of this world including time to allow God to have His Will and Way for us.

Proverbs 10:22 (NLT) The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich and he adds no sorrow with it.

By way of His Son, Jesus Christ, God has given us freedom. The freedom given is not true liberty if it cannot be used as we choose to use it. Think about it for a moment. You are free. The Son has set you free. You have the right to choose how to live and the fruit produced in your careful cultivation. You can try human effort to respond to God’s Promises or simply live by faith. It is up to you because who the Son set free is truly free. It is up to me. The choices made produce consequences. The consequences are directly related to our freedom. How will you use your freedom today?

The blessing of the Lord makes us rich. Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life. Such a life is not of wealth as the world sees it but of a prospering soul. If our freedom is used properly, the blessings and promises of God will not add sorrow to our life but produce wonderful things like love, joy and peace that passes all understanding. This is the life I want. To live free. The Lord has opened doors that no one can shut. I must look for them. He has closed those that are not for me. I must stop trying to reopen them. To live free means to lay my life at the feet of Christ and accept the new covenant. I can’t do it. He must increase and I must decrease. This is how I find true freedom.

2 Corinthians 3:17 (NLT) For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

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Wild Horses

Wild Horses

2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

If I had a dime for every time I have recited this verse to my rambling mind, rebellious thoughts and overwrought emotions. God did not give me the spirit of fear but there are days I completely own it myself. Stress and anxiety fuel doubt and disbelief. The enemy whispers, “But…” Lies that get me all hot and bothered as I try to wrestle in my flesh and take captive those thoughts that so easily distract me. God did not give me the spirit of fear or timidity. He didn’t give it to you either. Anything contrary to God in our life must go in order for us to fully embody Christ and experience freedom that is given through Him.

Yesterday was one of those days, after a week of fighting the good fight, it seemed like it was going to be a good day. I got out of the house on time – major victory for the time challenged. I had an awesome worship, praise and prayer time on the way to work. Two major victories before the morning meeting at work had me feeling pretty confident that it was going to be a great close to the long week. Well then the enemy lobbed a bomb over the fence and immediately I was on the run. I was angry, mad, stressed, worried and anxious all at the same time all of a sudden. Caught off guard, I was unsuccessful at pulling in the wild horses dragging me off fast and furiously. It’s hard to remember to never let your guard down especially on the “good” days. To think that the enemy is not lurking in the darkness just looking for a foothold. For me it came as a “misunderstanding” mixed with some “confusion” all the enemy’s tactics waging war against a confident heart and made up mind. “Are you sure? What if? Or else?” Subtle attacks that lead to devastating results if not handled immediately.

So this morning, I am going to share three tips for reining in “wild horses”? Those thoughts and notions that there is a limit to God’s Love, Power and Faithfulness in our life. I hope they help you. They are not quick fixes. It will take a lot of time and practice to instill them as habits in an emotional world that has decided God is not who He claims to be and tries to rob the finished work of Christ on the Cross. So here goes…

Power

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT) Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Matthew 19:26 (NLT) Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.

Luke 1:37 (NLT) For the Word of God will never fail.

Grace is available in our weakness. Power comes when we relinquish control of our life to the Power of God promised by Jesus and the Word of God. The problem is that our world is D-I-Y obsessed even the church. “Well, if I don’t do it – who will?” The one called and commissioned to. Giving up control is what crucifying the flesh is all about. To decide that you will fully invest your life in God’s Way through the Way – Jesus Christ means giving up your power to fully embrace His Power. How do you do that? Repentance. Obedience. Trust. Key components to full embracing God’s Power is at the end of self. We cry out for God’s Intervention asking Him to open the windows of Heaven over us and fill our life with the abundance that is promised but never really understanding the change that comes with it. We cannot live in the Presence of God unchanged. We cannot reach the depths offered without giving up our current position. There is no way to discover the vastness and limitless boundaries of His Love and Grace for us without accepting His Grace fully.

Love

Romans 8:37-39 (NLT) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I John 4:18 (NLT) Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

There is no limit on God’s Love. He pursues us with unfailing love. (Psalm 23) It is endless reaching from creation, through life and into eternity. God demonstrated His Love by giving us amazing grace. The kind of grace that works best in our weakness. Christ was the example who was crucified in weakness to give way to resurrection power and new life. We have overwhelming victory in Jesus Christ who loved us. His Spirit lives in us as evidence of adoption. No longer are we exiled from God but through Christ reconciled as sons and daughters of God. Do you love your children? How much? Too much sometimes, right? How much more does God love us? Do you believe that God loves you today? Are you convinced? Love is the conviction of God’s Faithfulness to us outside of our ability to remain pure and blameless. His Love came down and rescued us in our weakness and gave us victory. We do not deserve it. We cannot earn it. We can do nothing to repay God for His Gift. The only thing we can do is believe it and live in that love fearlessly.

Fear is evidence that there is doubt or disbelief in the fulfillment of God given through Jesus Christ. It does not fully embrace the finished work on the Cross or grab hold of the “overwhelming victory” promised in God’s Word. The only hope that you and I have of living a courageous life is in our ability to completely and confidently receive God’s Love. To allow His Love to change our heart, soul and mind until it is completely convinced that there is nothing that can separate us from His Love. His Faithfulness is not contingent on anything we do other than to believe it enough to embrace it and stop running from Him.

In fact, the Word of God says those that believe in the perfect love of God live fearlessly. Perfect love expels fear. The solution to the problem does not end fear. Fear continually sows seeds when not eradicated. It is in the constant sowing of God’s Love in our life that fear has no place to grow, mature or develop into worries, cares, stress or burdens. The conviction of God’s Love is the birthplace of freedom. It is the place where ordinary life takes on an extraordinary existence. Right where you are even if nothing changes. Perfect peace takes over until God delivers.

Self-Discipline or Self-Control

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT) We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

Proverbs 25:28 (NLT) A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.

I Peter 1:13 (NLT) So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Each week I make a grocery list and menu for the upcoming week. I have the best intentions of making delicious meals for my family that are often upended by busyness. Just because I have all the ingredients doesn’t mean I will follow through with my original plan. The Holy Spirit produces all the good fruit for an amazing life – but self-control is what we must use to make it all work together. My thoughts are pivotal in execution of God’s Plan. I must rein in every thought contrary to Christ and adverse to God’s Word. I cannot allow myself the opportunity to worry, stress or fear what is to come. God promised to work every detail of my life for His Good and Glory. Do I believe Him? My response to lies and taunts of the enemy will reveal the content and true conviction of my heart. Consumed by worry, I must decide to worship. I cannot give lies permission to remain but must pray and praise my way through it. I must give up every other conviction than the one that says, “God loves me and He is for me – I cannot fail!”

When I was much younger, I had a good friend who owned horses. We could go riding on Saturdays. There was one particular horse that I was riding which was a bit skittish. My friend who was a confident equestrian asked as we were headed home, “Would you like to change horses because the one that I was on was “barn sour”? I had no idea what that meant and later wish I did. Coming out of the woods when she saw the pens and barn just past it – she took off running out-of-control. I pulled the reins with all my might but she was not having it. All I could do was hang on and pray I didn’t fall off in her haste.

A “barn sour” or “herd bound” behavior is produced by anxiety. Fear of separation from the herd or physical location which it deems secure such as a pasture or barn. It is a dangerous behavior as the rider loses all control of the animal. There is no threat except the stress of the animal. The basis for this equine problem is one that many humans suffer from, too. Insecurity. According to experts, the insecurity caused by this instinct in horses is exacerbated by a lack of training which is easily overcome.  You must teach the horse to be responsive to your clues. It is the same with people who want to live a fearless life embracing fully the freedom given to us by Jesus.

Father, I ask you to flood our hearts with light today. Expose every lie that the enemy has sown in us that it may be uprooted and replanted with faith. I rebuke fear, stress, anxiety, worries and care commanding them to go in Jesus Name. Lord, I trust you. Help any disbelief in me to give way to resurrection power and life. I believe that You love me. I am convinced that nothing can separate me from Your Love even my fears, doubts and insecurities that you are removing right now. Lord, let your Spirit complete His Work in me. I give you permission to permeate every part of my life for my good and Your Glory! In the Name above all names – Jesus!

Ephesians 1:18-23 (NLT)  I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

 

Time For A Change

Time For A Change

Mark 9:21-24 (NLT) “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

What did people do before they had Pinterest? I could pour through the pages for days finding new projects to try and the confidence to do them with step-by-step instructions. Spring is in the air along with a blizzard of pollen. Cleaning overtures take over. Today’s project – our dining room. Probably the least used room in our house, it is used as a pass-through more than for meals. When we first moved into the house, we added wainscoting. After recently painting the majority of the living area, I found that I had purchased too much paint. For the last two weeks, I have been gearing up to make the change. Pinning ideas. Taking full inventory of supplies. Portioning out some time. No more excuses. Today is the day.

One of the things I have been contemplating is taking the leaf out of the massive square table. Since the table has been used a only handful of times in the last decade, there seems to be no point in keeping it in. It will open up the room to take it out and make the space look bigger. While our fur babies ate their breakfast, I opened the table to take out the leaf and immediately cut my finger which began to bleed profusely. Looking at the wound, I couldn’t help but think so this is how things will go today. How many times do we embark on the journey of change only to be detoured or discouraged by setbacks?

His son had been demon possessed throughout his childhood. The father was desperate to see his son set free. The father says to Jesus in dire need, “Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” Of course, Jesus replied, “If I can? Anything is possible if a person believes.” Every impossibility in our life remains so locked in unbelief. The only hindrance in the life of a believer is the inability to believe that anything is possible with the Lord. Locked in doubt and imprisoned by insecurity yet all the while having a free spirit inside of us ready to bust us loose to change. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom!

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NLT) For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

I was raised by a do-it-yourself dad. He never told us that we couldn’t do something and always encouraged us to try even if unwilling to pay attention and learn. As an adult, I identify the spirit of my natural father in me as I am not afraid to attempt to do new things especially when it comes to home improvement. I have the Holy Spirit inside me thanks to Jesus Christ. He gave me access to my heavenly father and given me the Spirit of Adoption releasing a full inheritance from the Heavenlies. Blessings and benefits that I am learning to tap into. For the Lord is a spirit. Wherever His Spirit is there is freedom. Yes, even in me.

Do I live in freedom? When Jesus died on the Cross, He released His Spirit. One of the first things the Spirit did was rip the veil in the Temple from top to bottom. This signified our access to the Father. Now we could come boldly and confidently to the Father through the Son. Immediately the dead were raised with resurrection power and life. The same Spirit now lives in you and me thanks to Jesus. (Acts 2) We have the power and authority to experience and exist in a miraculous life. The only hindrance is disbelief. Do you believe that “greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world?” Where do you reside? In doubt, worry, fear, anxiety and discouragement? Or have you been set free…really free to experience the life giving power and full transformation offered in Christ?

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NLT) We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient.

What if it’s all in your head? What if it is unbelief keeping you from living a victorious, overcoming life that is promised in Christ? What if it is you holding the prison door of your mind shut when the Spirit of the Living God already unlocked it? It is our rebellious thoughts that keep us from experiencing everlasting life today. Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life. He promises to do more exceedingly and abundantly more than we think, ask or imagine. What if the only barrier between you and God’s Blessing is disbelief? What if the only obstacle to overcoming is doubt? What if your worries and cares really are a web of lies weaved by the dream killer and confidence stealing enemy of our soul? What if? Well there is only one way to find out.

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. (2 Corinthians 10:4-6) The Lord wants to change your mind today. We must have the mind of Christ allowing Him to be the Author and Finisher of our faith. The one who takes every detail of our life and makes good out of it. Anything is possible with God. It takes impossibility to reveal the miraculous. It takes bondage to produce deliverance. It takes faith that becomes confident hope which is to believe that God will do the impossible in you and for you.

Remember Noah, the guy who built the ark, and spent 40 days and nights living with every living breathing creature and his in-laws – just saying this was probably a difficult journey. When the Lord spoke to Noah, he was alone. The things that God told him frightening and overwhelming. Yet Noah picked up a wood, hammer and nails to build a boat for a storm (never happened before) and total destruction of the world in which he lived. Noah did exactly as the Lord told him to saving his family from destruction. (Genesis 6:22) What has the Lord told you to do? What is the dream, desire or vision that He placed in your heart? Do you think it is impossible? Never going to happen? Too late? The Word of God says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” God doesn’t lie or change His Mind. If He said it, “It will be done!” You just have to believe. Belief is demonstrated in our attitude and actions before the dream becomes a reality or the miracle happens. Blessed are those who believe without seeing.

The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

John 11:26-28 (NLT)  Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.”

I used to be like Martha. I believed that Jesus was the Messiah. He became my Savior and I even served Him as Lord. But I didn’t believe in miracles or at the very least would call myself skeptical. I began to challenge my own heart for faith. Even though I loved the Lord and served Him, I felt that faith was not working in my life. Our daughter developed rapid onset asthma. We were literally on a breathing machine constantly and at the doctor every day. I followed the doctor’s orders but began to seek the Lord on my faith. If healing is real, I wanted to know it. If faith really could do a miracle in our life, I wanted to see it. Our daughter was miraculously healed instantaneously of asthma. The doctor could only declare it a miracle a year later when no symptoms were evident in her body.

Martha’s brother, Lazarus, was dead. Not just died, but four days in the grave gone. Martha and Jesus were talking. Her faith in the Lord limited to His Presence. The Lord had come to do the miraculous. Martha was limited in her belief. Jesus came to raise her brother from the dead right then and there. She put him off until eternity. How many Martha’s are reading this today? How many times have you given up when things seemed impossible? How many bad reports have caused weeds to smother the seed of God’s Word trying to grow new faith and life in you? And the hits just keep on coming…Martha left the conversation and went to her daydreaming sister, Mary – “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” Notice she did not call Jesus the Messiah…

John 11:38-40 (NLT)  Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.” Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 

The setup for every miracle is the impossible. When you can’t do it, and only the Lord can get glory for it. Jesus was angry. When he finally made it to Lazarus’ tomb, he told them “roll the stone aside.” But Martha…protested…God save us from our disbelief. Help us overcome our doubts that keep us locked in earthly graves. Hidden in darkness rather than living in the Light of Your Love. How many times is our rebellious, anxious, insecure, doubting and disbelieving thoughts that keep the stone in place over dead dreams and miraculous opportunities when the Spirit of the Lord is ready to save, heal, transform and give new life?

God is ready to do exactly what He promised to do in our life. He prerecorded it all before we were born and prescribed it in this plan of His Making for a future of life and power. Jesus lives in you. His Spirit is unlocking doors that disbelief is trying to hold shut. We limit the Lord with our stinking thinking just like Martha. Why all the excuses? A lack of expectation is the fruit of disbelief. It is doubt existing in the heart where faith is trying to grow. We must overcome our disbelief. The Lord has given us a Helper to continually expose these areas and do away with them. We must do our part. Our part is to daily allow the Holy Spirit to transform our thoughts and mind to take captive fear, doubt, anxiety, worry, and every thought that contradicts the Word of God for your life…today. Change is today. Every day holds the possibility of the miraculous for the believer. If your life is not fully satisfied and exceedingly abundantly more than you imagined – it is time to take inventory of your thoughts and push open the stronghold in your mind. Doubt cannot hold you captive. You can open the door to believing anytime. The Spirit has set your free. You can experience freedom today when you set your heart and mind on Jesus!

Today as I gather supplies to paint our dining room, I will clear the room of all the furniture and pictures. As I begin the change in that room, I will inspect my heart for hidden possibilities. I love to paint. It gives me time to contemplate and pray in the mindless strokes of application. Lord, show me the areas of my life in need of change, ready for transformation, open doors ready to give way to new freedom, and dead dreams that are in need of new life. In Jesus Name! Amen!

“I will dare to believe that anything is possible. I throw caution to the wind, it’s time to risk again. I will dare to believe that anything is possible with Jesus…my Jesus!”

Free Indeed

Free Indeed

John 8:36 (NKJV) Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Happy Independence Day! The Fourth of July is a day of celebration. People gather to cook out, go to the beach, watch fireworks and enjoy the freedom men and women literally died to attain and maintain for us in America.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (Preamble of the Constitution)

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (Preamble of the Declaration of Independence)

A preamble is an introductory statement of a contract stating the purpose, aims and justifications of the document or contract it prefaces. It is a summary of purpose. Clearly it was the purpose and aim of our forefathers to establish “a more perfect union”. In doing so, they determined the presiding factors of such a place to be “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” To insure domestic tranquility, provide a secure place for families to prosper, to promote the welfare of all people, and secure the “blessings of liberty for ourselves” and “posterity” meaning future generations. They believed that these truths were self-evident. All men are created equal and they are “endowed” meaning provided these rights by Creator. This country was founded by people who believed in God. They served God. They established these historical documents including the Bill of Rights with the prosperity of God in mind whether anyone likes it or not. The freedom described in these articles also give people the right to choose not to acknowledge God without forsaking their freedom.

Enough of the history lesson for today – my son is a history buff but did not get if from his mother. Last night and into this morning, John 8:36 played over and over in my thoughts and dreams until I finally had to seek it out in a quiet place. The Lord promises us freedom. The Sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ is all about freedom. Liberty to choose who to serve in our natural life. I know that when I see someone desecrate the American Flag anger rises inside of me. My first thought is not Christ-like at all, but rather if they don’t like it here then why don’t they choose a country more to their liking and belief system. But the soldier on the battlefield fighting for my rights as an American is fighting for freedom not legality. The person who decides to burn the flag is given that right by the very same servant giving up their time and risking their life for me. It is hard to wrap one’s mind around it. The same applies to the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ for me. Jesus Christ died for every person ever created by God. The freedom of choice gives each person the right to decide if Jesus will be their personal Savior and Lord. Just the same, they have the right to reject Him. Love demands a choice. If there is no choice, there is no love.

Romans 8:2 (NKJV) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

“Made free” comes from the word “eleuthero” which means to liberate, acquit, set free, and deliver. In the New Testament, it is used exclusively to describe freedom attained through Jesus Christ. Jesus has set us free from sin and death. But are we pursuing and exercising our rights of freedom according to His Word, Will, Nature and Holiness? Freedom in Christ is not a “get out of hell free” card to be used when meeting the Lord face-to-face. There are rights and responsibilities of freedom in the way we live each day. I was born in the United States. I have only known a lifestyle of freedom given by the laws and bylaws of this nation. It is not foreign to me. I was taught all about this country’s history and heritage from grade school to college. Freedom is comfortable to me because it is all that I have known. But to reborn in Jesus Christ introduces a new way of life. I am a new creation. I must learn what freedom in Jesus is all about because it is contradictory to my nature and the place I live now.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NKJV) Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The word “liberty” used in this passage comes from a variation of the same word as “made free”. “Elutheria” means freedom from slavery, independence, absence of external restraint, a negation of control or domination, and freedom of access. The Lord is a Spirit. The Spirit who lives in you and me is none other than the Spirit of the Lord, Jesus Christ. We have access to all of His Power and Strength to attain every promise He has made. We have the freedom to pursue and attain all things given to us as an inheritance. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. I ask you today – are you exercising your liberty today? Do you feel free in Jesus Christ? There is a distinct difference between knowing something and believing it. It is called trust. Given access to God by the Blood of Jesus Christ, we can come boldly before His Throne and achieve all of His Plan and Purpose walking daily in freedom. The Glory of the Lord is evidence of transformation in our life. Is your life glorious today? If you are like me, just knowing Jesus has made my life radically different for the better. But in those times that I was able to apply my mustard seed of faith to trust Him, I have seen supernatural and miraculous results.

Today we celebrate liberty as American citizens, but what about our citizenship in Heaven? The founding fathers of this great country believed in a Creator who endowed His People with blessings and prosperity. Do you believe that today? Take some time, just a few minutes from all the festivities, and thank God for your freedom as His Child. I encourage you to ask the Lord to show you the way to greater freedom and liberty in His Son Jesus Christ. To step out of bondage. To claim your blessings. To walk in victory. To live the life that Jesus died for you to have. I have a taste of freedom in Christ, but today I want more. I want to know the glorious existence found in full transformation into the Image of God through Christ. I want to know what it means to be free indeed. Free from fear, worry, stress and anxiety. Delivered from every shackle and chain that tries to bind me to the past and keep me from my future. To live in the abundance and prosperity promised in the rich and satisfying life promised by the Lord to us.

Galatians 5:1 (NKJV) Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty…I wonder if that is the missing link to our spiritual success. The bridge that takes us to transformation marked by trust. It is easy to claim our natural rights according to the law of the land. Today, make a commitment to claim every spiritual blessing offered in Christ. It is our rights as Christians but we must be believers. Joseph Prince said, “You fight from victory ground by standing. You don’t fight for victory.” Jesus secured the win for us. We have been given freedom and liberty to walk in His Love. He promises to work all the details for our good and His Glory. We must stand. Standing is tough. We must make faith logical by studying God’s Word, communicating with Him and partnering with His Spirit for freedom’s sake. There is a whole new life full of new possibilities as a new creation only when we choose freedom!

Psalm 119:45 (NKJV) And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts.

Disappear

disappear

Genesis 5:21-24 (NLT) When Enoch was 65 years old, he became the father of Methuselah. After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.

I am completely enthralled and intrigued by the life of Enoch. So little is said about him in the Word of God yet it says…walking in close fellowship with God, then one day he disappeared because God took him.” End of story. Disappearing in the Lord surrounded by His Glory so close that He just sweeps you away. It says that Enoch “disappeared”. How does one achieve such close fellowship with God that their entire life is summed up in walking so close with God that one day he just disappears? I want that life. Such unity with God through Jesus Christ, that my life no longer as important as the Presence of God that overtakes me. To live by faith to the point that no one really knows where I ended and Christ took over. To be one with Jesus Christ that is my goal and aspiration.

Hebrews 11:5-6 (NLT) It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Enoch’s life earned him a place in God’s Hall of Faith – Hebrews 11. Enoch’s faith was the thing that united him to God the Father. A bond so tight that when it came time to leave this earth – he would be the only man spared a natural death. His Partnership with God so involved and consuming that there was no definite mark where Enoch’s life on earth ended and forever began. How is that even possible? It was by faith. Enoch lived by faith. He pleased God. It is impossible to please God without faith. Trust is evidence of faith.

Jude 14-15 (NLT) Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

How could Enoch have the kind of faith that leads to salvation before Jesus Christ? Well, Jesus Christ was in Enoch. Enoch is the seventh generation of Adam but the genealogy of Adam ends in Jesus Christ. Enoch was a man of God. He was a prophet. His example is noted in Jude’s letter that was intended to share the Good News yet again and encourage the recipients. However, Jude changed the content because “some ungodly people (had) wormed their way into your churches, saying God’s Marvelous Grace allows us to live immoral lives.” Such was the time when Enoch lived and prophesied. So it is even today within the four walls of the church…

I Corinthians 1:8-9 (NLT) He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Oh Enoch, I hear you. I see your example. I am convicted to my core. I must decrease, Christ must increase. (John 3:30) I must become so wrapped up in the robe of righteousness that I disappear and Jesus is the Shining Light that resonates. I must live in partnership with Jesus Christ. I must be yoked to Him at all times. My relationship with Christ must dissolve into oneness. I must disappear to have the life that I am after.

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. (Period) We must believe that faith is our potential in life and make our purpose to attain it at all cost. We have fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard of Living and must strive to achieve it again. God decided in advance and made a plan called grace for us to achieve it. Grace is not accomplished by my power but my weakness. It is total surrender of my entire life to live in Jesus Christ. In Him, literally not figuratively. To establish my whole personality and lifestyle including every goal and dream in the Person of Jesus Christ. The trouble is that my flesh wars against such measures. (Romans 7:21-25) I must fight the battle each day to avoid sin and be overtaken by God’s Mercy and Grace. This requires discipline. It will mean going against the flow and defying society’s norm. I know that the struggle is real but so is the Love of God manifested in Jesus Christ.

He is offering a partnership that raises my standard of living even if not evident in this life and its conditions. The purpose of our life is to become so united in faith with Jesus and others that our life measures up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Do you have faith? Do you trust the Lord? Can you find the places in your life where Christ is and is not?

It is time to erase the gray area and middle of the roads until the only thing evident in us and around us is Jesus Christ. This will produce the Fruit of God’s Spirit in us as an offering to the world. This offering is the first fruits of trust birthed in us. Without faith it is impossible to please God. We must desire such unity with Jesus Christ and completely consummated partnership so there is no longer evidence of where I end and Christ begins. We must become one.

Philippians 3:7-11 (NLT) 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. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

We have made something so simple quite complicated with our rules, religion and doctrine. The world has created grace to be a doormat to which all are invited. My life is not dependent on what other people think of me. It doesn’t matter if I attend church, tithe, and serve in ministry every single day for the rest of my life. If I do not have faith and walk in close fellowship with the Lord my life is still compromised. My relationship and proximity to Jesus Christ is up to me. I have eternity in my heart so I have the potential to become a Child of God. I am set to inherit every spiritual blessing in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the only way that I can live, walk, breathe and be united with my Father God. There is no other way. Grace is sufficient in my weakness when I surrender my life to the Lord choosing to walk in close fellowship. This is the place where new life begins. This is the place where I disappear and Christ takes over. I cannot maintain my pride, my rights or my natural inclinations but fully surrender my way, submit to the Word in order to have God’s Standard of Living. The Kingdom door is open for those who will trust Him. Do you have faith in God today? Do you trust Him? Nothing can separate us from His Love but sin will always get in the way of our fellowship and communion with Him.

I want to know Christ today. I want to be found in Him. The only way to do this is by giving Him my all. My everything. I cannot walk in close fellowship any other way but to disappear in His Presence and His Person until all they see is Jesus. Lord, examine my life. Reveal any hidden sin, compromised faith or delayed trust in me. Have your way Jesus. I don’t want my way but to walk in close fellowship with you until I completely disappear and all they see is YOU!

Philippians 1:11 (NLT) May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ[a]—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

Intentional Planting

intentional-planting

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.

The seeds planted in our life today yield the harvest of tomorrow. Intentional planting of the proper seeds will give us the things desired in the future. In the natural, people prepare for the future. Carefully considering investments, retirement accounts and even creating a will to divide their assets once departed. No matter how carefully I plot out the rest of my life, there is always uncertainty. Even those who plan and prepare for the future seldom are completely satisfied with the results. Seeds planted in this life for daily provision that provide a sense of control will never satisfy the longing in our heart for eternity. We can strive for a comfortable life with careful planting and planning for the future. However, human beings were created to thrive. If there is no planting in us for our spiritual future, the things of this world will fall far short of meeting our expectation.

I know that my heart’s desire is to be a living sacrifice. What about you? However, to do so requires a transformation. This can only be achieved by depositing all that I am into all of who Jesus Christ is. I must be found in Christ to enter heaven. Jesus is my righteousness. Religion does not produce rightness with God, but is through the Grace given to me by Son that gives me the privilege of peace with the Father. The fine line between sacrifice and offering are confusing. In a world full of compromise, it is hard to comprehend God who does not accept such a thing. It is by transitioning one’s life from this world into the Kingdom that residency is established in Eternity.

John 15:1-5 (NLT) “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

What if the problem is not our action but attitude? What if the lack of abundance in our life is a disconnection from the Source of life? We cannot produce good fruit or godly character apart from Jesus Christ. In fact, apart from Him there is nothing we can do to change the sowing and reaping productivity in our life because it is directly connected to the world. When I place all of my life in Christ sacrificially which is ALL OF ME versus an offering of my life in service and partial commitment – complete alignment produces abundance. I must be intentional.

I was visiting my parents when I noticed a stick sitting by the back door. It was a limb barren of leaves and slumped over leaning. I inquired as to its purpose. He encouraged me to take it home and plant it. I couldn’t help but laugh kind of like Sarah laughed when God promised her a son at 99 years old. He continued to press me to take it home so I finally relented. If you know my father, you know the source of my pushiness. When I got home, I couldn’t just throw it away as was my original intent but decided to test my dad’s word. The more I considered putting the dead limb in the ground rather than carelessly sticking it somewhere, I decided to choose the proper place for it in the event it did actually grow into the crepe myrtle it came from. There was a place by the deck in our backyard that could use some privacy and shade. I watched and watered it without real hope anything would happen just doing what my father said. Well, low and behold the little twig became the mighty tree that dad promised it would. It grew so big in fact you can see it over the privacy fence from the road next to the house. The roots so deep and vast that when I wanted to replant it at our new house, it was impossible. I wonder how many blessings we miss out on because we refuse to believe and take our Father at His Word. In Christ is new life, a life marked by abundance. Abundance is released when our life is in alignment with the Word. When the Word begins to work in our life, it is clear that God is the One doing it.

Ezekiel 36:25-30 (NLT) “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God. I will cleanse you of your filthy behavior. I will give you good crops of grain, and I will send no more famines on the land. I will give you great harvests from your fruit trees and fields, and never again will the surrounding nations be able to scoff at your land for its famines.

God’s Grace given to us by Jesus Christ erased the bloodlines of Jew and Gentile. Every promise given to Israel is now available to all God’s Children. As I studied changes in human behavior and its direct connection to sowing and reaping, I came across Ezekiel 36:29-30 which promises good crops and great harvests when He becomes our God. It is to choose the Light of His Love over the darkness of this world that facilitates such a change. But when I read the reference, I immediately realized that one of my favorite promises was just a few scriptures above.

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender responsive heart.” I cannot produce the fertile ground for God’s Word- His Seed – to grow in me. He has to give me the heart, mind and spirit to produce an abundance in my life. I must give Him my heart. All of it. I must give Him my mind including every wayward thought. My spirit of pride and selfishness must give way to His Spirit in order to produce the kind of life that satisfies our soul and secures our future. We must sow seeds of righteousness. I don’t know if the church will ever fully understand that this has nothing to do with religion but everything to do with one’s relationship with Jesus Christ.

Hosea 10:12 (NLT) I said, “Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.”

Plant good seeds of righteousness and you will harvest a crop of love. Rightness is the law of God. No one is righteous. Our righteousness is in Christ alone. His Love produces seeds of love in us worthy of planting in others. Religion is about being right. Religion can change a person’s behavior and perhaps improve an attitude, but it cannot and will not ever produce the seeds of righteousness that only Christ can give. His Spirit cultivates the crop worth sharing in us including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Intentional planting requires directing our efforts in life to spiritual cultivation and not natural acquisition.

Jesus did not come to make this world a better place but to draw a line in the sand. He did not come to make peace but war against sin and darkness. He came to provide the way for all humanity to come back home and live with the Father forever. It is all about a Kingdom not this world in which we live. If you are after God’s Hand, you don’t need to waste your time for every good and perfect gift already in your life is from Him. If you desire His Kingdom, it is found in His Heart. Jesus Christ is the fullness of God’s Heart and the place where our life must be planted to be transformed from a lifeless limb into a tree of life. Doing God’s Word will produce good things in our life. Every act of obedience will yield the connected promise. Is that enough for you? It will change your life today and even make tomorrow a little easier. However, it will not afford you the peace with God necessary to secure faith, hope and love forever. Do you want a good life? Do you want a God life? It’s completely up to you – who the Son sets free is free indeed – to choose the abundance of their life. You will reap what you sow. You will harvest where you plant.

Colossians 3:1-4 (NLT) Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your  life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

When my dad told me to plant the dead stick in my yard, I did not believe that anything would grow out of it. I planted the twig because I trusted my father. Knowing him, I decided in my heart to be obedient and see what happened. God has given us His Word. It is filled with opportunities to take something from it and apply it by faith. Not just throw it on the ground, but intentionally plant it in our life. Trust is essential in our relationship with the Lord. We must trust His Word. We must believe His Word. We must follow His Way. Salvation is choosing the Light of His Love over the darkness in this world. Jesus did not come to condemn anyone but that everyone might know Him and be saved. This is very different from making Him our Lord. The Lordship of Christ is established through obedience. To do what the Word of God tells us to do makes Jesus the Master of our life. This allows me to tap in to the resources of His Household – the Kingdom. I benefit from every bit of the abundance because of our union.

The truth is that by faith in Jesus Christ and acceptance of His Grace – I am a Child of God. No longer a slave to sin or just a hired servant – I am His Child. Do I act like a Child of God? I have shared this many times. Three of our children have entered adulthood and live their own life. Two still live at home. The ones who remain in our house have access to everything. We care for them completely. They do not worry or fret about their next meal, clothing or having shelter. All that we have benefits them right down to money. When they grow up and leave the house, they must care for themselves. Provide the things that are needed. While they live under this roof, there is no need to do anything but maintain our relationship. When our children buck the house rules or demand certain rights – I gently but firmly (okay maybe a bit sarcastically) remind them that if such is coveted it must be accompanied by a lease or mortgage but in our home this is the requirement. We want heaven on earth. We desire the abundance of the Kingdom. We must abide by the house rules to have them.

Set your sights on the reality of heaven. If Heaven is real, it is worth living for. Think about the things of Heaven…not the things of the earth. Jesus gives us a new heart and new spirit for the asking. We decide how to respond. Wholeheartedly, half-heartedly or not at all. The life worth having is hidden in Jesus Christ. I must be in Him to find it and yield the harvest that is found only in the grace that empowers me through weakness. I must exchange being right for being righteous. I must live as though Christ is all that matters. (Colossians 3:11) Before I can share anything of worth with the world, God must produce an abundance of His Love, Joy and Peace along with all the other fruits of His Spirit to share with others.

Galatians 6:14-16 (NLT) As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.

Through Jesus Christ, I am a new creation. Before I anything worthwhile can be produced in my life, I must plant all that I am in the Person of Jesus Christ completely. All that I am for all that He is. This means that I must not conform to this world but be transformed. Transformation is only possible if I commit to the process. It is a sacrifice not an offering. Christ becomes my example. (Ephesians 4:21) Behaviors have to change. I must not continue to react to the conditions, circumstances or situations that I face but to Christ who lives in me. It doesn’t matter how thinks look. Dead things must give way to the resurrection power inside of me. Without faith, I will never trust the reality of heaven enough to put my whole life in the pursuit of it. There are certain behavioral patterns that I must work diligently to change in partnership with the Holy Spirit. Pride fortifies our right to be right. Acceptance of God’s Grace no longer allows it. Now I live to sow seeds of peace with God and every other person I come in contact with. I must check my attitude. Evaluate my actions. Not by religious practices but relational values such are listed in Ephesians 4, Colossians 3 and 2 Timothy 2. I don’t need to fix others, I need the Lord to continue to transform me. Intentional planting of our life in Christ, growing deep roots in His Love, trusting Him in all things and producing even the smallest seed of faith will create an abundance in our life that satisfies our soul, strengthens our heart, enlightens our mind, and nourishes His Spirit. The best is yet to come for those who choose to respond to God’s Love by sowing seeds of righteousness.

James 3:17-18 (NLT) But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

 

To Be Willing

To Be Willing

Isaiah 1:18-20 (NKJV)

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword”; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

 

Faith is illogical to the human mind. To be completely honest, I have heard the conversations in my head when I take a step of faith and venture beyond the now, seen or even slightly reasonable. The human mind and will always grapples with the Reality of God because if He is real, it will mean the end of self. The authenticity and relevance of God in our life is not based on what we believe but who He is. Whether one chooses to believe in the Lord, put trust in Him or even chase after Him does not change who He is or what He will do in our life. Our actions do not in any way influence His Goodness, Grace or Judgment toward us. Grace is the application of the Blood of Jesus Christ to our life enabling us to enter in to a relationship with God willingly. We must be willing.

 

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Salvation is none negotiable. It is available only one way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life – no one can come to the Father except through the Blood of Jesus. Note: the Blood of Jesus. He died for you. You cannot ignore the sacrifice made for us and still experience the fulfillment of God in your life. There are many who do not talk about the Cross or bother with the Blood who will be sadly mistaken when they meet Him face-to-face. We must be ready to fully accept the grounds of redemption offered by the nail-scarred Hands of our Savior. But how?

 

The great thing about God is that He never leaves us hanging. He always has a Word that is relevant and true for us. “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.” There only two choices for believers today. One is either willing and obedient or rebellious. Take out a giant pink eraser to eliminate the gray area and middle-of-the-road because it is a lie of the enemy that somehow implies that the Lord will accept sin of any kind. God hates sin. He hates all sin. If He calls it sin in His Word, He abhors it. There is no such thing as permissible sin. Grace did not provide any clause to God’s Word that indicates that He is okay with those things in our life that are directly in contempt or conflict with His Law. Sin never became acceptable to God. My heart longs today to shake the cages of congregations who remain in bondage to sin and darkness because the pulpit they sit in front cares more about their bank account and popularity then the people the Lord has given them to serve. It is not a popular message but He is a perfect God. Jealous for our love and affection. He desires us in His Presence and has already provided an inheritance of provision, blessing and abundance for those who are willing to choose obedience. Are you willing today?

 

Matthew 26:40-41 (NKJV)

Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

In the hours proceeding the Cross, Jesus asked His Disciples to watch and pray. They fell asleep. He kept coming back to find them sleeping. It is important to read what Jesus tells Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?” Here it is: “Watch and pray, lest YOU enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.” Jesus wasn’t asking them to watch and pray for His Own Wellbeing. The Lord was ready and willing to fulfill God’s Plan. He was intent on the Cross. In these final hours, He was concerned for us. He was concerned for Peter.

 

The spirit is willing. We have been given the Holy Spirit as our constant companion. He is always willing. However, we are made of flesh that is usually unwilling to be inconvenienced, uncomfortable or sacrificial in any way. Concerned with the here and now, our humanness does not want to venture beyond that because the price is self. We must be willing to become uncomfortable. We must be willing to be inconvenienced. We must be willing.

 

James 3:16-18 (NKJV)

For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

 

Salvation is available through repentance. Repentance turns from sin to accept God’s Grace. There is a 180 degree turn to be made from our way to God’s Way. We must be willing because God does not use His Spirit to physically drag people to Him. We must be willing to go. Willingness is to cheerfully consenting and ready. It means to make a personal choice. Willingness produces eager compliance to the Word, Will and Way of God. When we repent and turn to Jesus, it is only step one. It is entrance to the process of redemption. To say, “Yes!” to Jesus is to say, “No!” to sin because you are willing to do whatever it takes to know Him more.

 

To be willing is to submit my will and fully accept God’s Will for us. Our will is our personal “I am”. It is our disposition and drive in life. It produces our passion. To be willing to surrender our own will or “I am” and accept God’s Will and His “I AM” moves us from the possible to impossible realm of His Presence.

 

Luke 13:34-35 (NKJV)

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”

 

Need I remind you today that you are His Beloved? His Love for each of us proven in His Death and Beautiful Resurrection when He handed us the Keys to His Kingdom. We must be willing to walk in and remain there. Jesus wants to gather us all together. Yet we continue to divide and conquer imploding from within under the heaviness of unwillingness to come to Jesus even after we are saved.

 

John 5:39-40 (NKJV)

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

Willingness is the key to obedience. Obedience allows us to live in partnership with Jesus, filled with His Spirit, as one of God’s Beloved and Precious Children. A lack of willingness and obedience does not change His Position. God loves us no matter what. Jesus longs for us to draw near and come closer. His Spirit waits within us to find a way out. In 2 Corinthians 8, the church of Macedonia is applauded for its abundance in affliction, liberality in deep poverty, and the fact that they were “freely willing” beyond their natural ability. Times were tough. They were tested. They remained willing. How about you? Are you being tried today or even tested? Or maybe you like your comfort zone and are unwilling to leave it to take up your cross and follow Christ? Well, there is a message in His Word for those today that are unwilling.

 

And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.” (2 Corinthians 8: 10-12)  It is time to become willing again. The first act of willingness is salvation. It is not the end of willingness but just the beginning as we turn our life over to the Lord. The moment we become unwilling to do the Will of God – we become disobedient. The Lord is encouraging us today to leave our comfort zone. To move out of complacency to a place of willing obedience again. When we give our free will to Jesus look what is promised…”it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.”

 

Willingness avails God’s Hand to us. The contents always there but unwillingness blinds us to it. For example, the Children of Israel left Egypt in a rush. They were slaves there yet when asked for offerings to build the Tabernacle, the gifts came pouring out of their tents. Exiles hoarding opulence and wealth. (Exodus 35:29) How is that possible? They had an abundance because in Exodus 36:6-7 Moses gives a commandment for them to stop giving because they had given too much. Is it possible that we have all we need to live and prosper in the Abundance of God but because we are unwilling it remains hidden in our life? Yep.

 

Philippians 4:8-9 (NKJV)

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

 

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord. We must stop rationalizing sin. We can no longer live the lie that grace allows us to live in sin and darkness reaping God’s Rewards. It is just not true. God blesses our obedience not by producing it on demand. Everything we need for life and godliness has already been provided for in our life, we find it through willing obedience to the Lord born of our love for Him. The more I obey God the more I discover His Goodness and Grace hidden in my life. Thankfully none of this is dependent on my ability to perform but I must only submit my will to God’s Will letting my “I am” die and become taken over by the Great I AM.

 

We must think about our faith daily. It is the submission of our mind, will and emotions fully accepting by faith and confident hope in the life that He has prepared for us, the purpose for which we are created and the divine potential locked within a hard heart and tossed about in our wavering. When I decide to become rooted and grounded in His Love, I do so by turning from all sin and darkness to pursue the Lord completely, fully and most of all willingly. We must think about our belief in God immersing ourselves in His Truth, relying on His Spirit and daily crucifying the ugliness of flesh that controls our strong will. It is only then we will be truly free to enjoy the benefits of His Kingdom forever.

 

Psalm 51:10-13 (NKJV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your Presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your Salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your Ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.

You Are A Soul

You Are A Soul

I Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV)

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 

You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body. (C.S. Lewis) I love words. The difference in just a single three-letter word changes everything. You are a soul. I know, I know really what’s the difference? It makes all the difference in the world. Our body is dying. We are born with time ticking off the clock from the first breath that is ever taken outside the womb. No one wants to think about that when handed a tiny, perfect, precious being but it’s true. In the same regard, that same infant is filled with purpose and potential bulging within their soul. Every need already met. Enough grace sufficiently provided. They are more than conquerors deep within them. All that power wrapped in flesh. Therein lies the problem. We are born in bondage to our body. Overpowered by our feelings, gripped by emotion, and with an underdeveloped mind in need of knowledge. It is such as state that the Lord provides Eternity deep within us – to drive us, motivate us to reach for something more than our five senses. Our heart longs for more because our soul is connected to it.

You are a soul. You have a body. If you are a soul and have a body, it means that your soul should be in complete control of your body because it is superior while flesh is superficial. What or who you are can never be taken from you. What you have can be by that which is stronger, mightier or more powerful. Sometimes when the Lord shares a deeply philosophical truth, I feel like a cow standing in a field slowly chewing cud. I know it is not glamourous but as I read the statement by C.S. Lewis today, I felt compelled to let it marinate in my mind. I am not a body, I am a soul. My soul should be the driving force of motivation and the head of my life rather than my physical or emotional being which is dying as we speak.

Natural death is unavoidable (Hebrews 9:27) but not terminal for those who choose to nourish and grow their soul, empowering it with the Word of God and His Holy Spirit to overcome every obstacle of the natural man puts up to self-preserve and maintain control. Our soul must find the strength in Jesus Christ to take over before it is too late.

James 2:26 (NKJV)

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Does this verse back up the claim of C.S. Lewis? Maybe. For me it definitely does, as I think of the struggle within me. (Romans 7:22-25) I can identify with Paul who loved God’s Law and desired to maintain it, yet fell short in his humanness. I do, too. It is frustrating. Yet, as I learn recognize and utilize that Christ lives within me and His Grace is enough, I also am discovering that my soul is not as strong as it needs to be. Tests, trials, and troubles all force my flesh out in the open as it objects to its discomfort and imminent death. Our body is dead when our spirit or soul leaves us making it inferior. Our soul is saved by faith in God through Jesus Christ alone. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. I want to please God. He is not looking at what I do because my arms and hands “do”. He doesn’t necessarily dictate where I go, my feet carry me. He doesn’t even really care about how I feel as that is an emotional state driven by one’s mental state. He looks to see if my soul is prospering in faith. As my soul prospers…

3 John 1:2 (NKJV)

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

Oh how I wish God’s Whispers were His Shouts. I wonder if I would hear Him more distinctly and see Him more clearly in my life. Religion is the action of those who wish to prosper of their own accord. I am not at all criticizing the church just making a point that our body “does” but it is our soul that “is”. If we do not prosper in our soul, nothing else matters. We will not prosper in God’s Blessings and Promises in all things and be in health until our soul becomes more powerful and unaffected by what we see, hear and feel. It must be firm and confident in faith to grow, develop and mature impacting our natural life and physical body.

Romans 4:16-20 (NKJV)

Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God…”

Abraham is the father of many nations. He had only one son. How is this even possible? By faith. Faith is the salvation of our soul. Abraham demonstrated the utmost faith in God. How? Abraham believed in the God who gives life to the dead and who calls those things which do not exist as though they did. God it. Abraham believed God. (Period) Yes, but there was more to it. Contrary to hope which means the impossible. He still had hope. His faith was not weakened by his own body which was considered already dead. He did not waver. A prospering soul that is greater than our physical being is not moved by natural things. Unbelief keeps our soul in bondage to what our feelings and physical limitations not allowing us to move our life into the Presence of God completely so that we can prosper as our soul prospers.

Matthew 6:25-30 (NKJV)

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

I ashamed to admit that on the day our son was diagnosed with cancer, I burst into God’s Presence with a long list of “things” that I had done “for” the Lord as my reasoning as to why He could not allow our son to die. I was mad. I was crushed. My physical body completely overwhelmed by physical outbursts from sobbing to shortness of breath to nausea. It was as though my brain stopped working and every part of my natural body went into immediate distress. My emotions ran the gambit, too. I have never felt so out of control in my life and my flesh reacted to it. I will never forget that day. It was the day I changed forever. It was the death of me. I will forever be thankful for that moment.

Obviously, I am not thankful for the terrible ordeal our child suffered due to a horrible disease. I will forever be thankful for the moment that began the process of my complete and total undoing. I lost control that I never really had. My faith in God was not based on total trust but my ability to perform up until that moment. When rendered utterly and completely helpless, I had one choice give up or trust God. Now as a parent, what option did I have but to pick up that sword of faith and fight even unto death? Statistically, we spent three years on the wrong side of odds. However, God is faithful and healed our son just as promised.

It is human nature to worry and stress over life. We worry about money. We worry about bills. We worry about other people. We stress about all these things that do not really matter driven by our physical needs. We allow that which is a have to control who we are. We do not have a soul. We have a body. We are a soul. The Peace of God may look like insanity if you do not have the faith to perceive it, but those who live by faith are at peace with the Living God so as their soul prospers it will be the same in real life. The problem is that our life, like our soul, becomes so wrapped up in the flesh it forsakes our freedom to live.

I Corinthians 9:26-27 (NKJV)

Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

I must discipline my body to remain subject to my soul. The prosperity of our soul must be our priority. We have God’s Word. He has filled us with His Spirit. Not to make this life better or save our body from death, but to grow, develop and mature our soul to take over. It is a fight. You will do battle every day as your flesh fights back. Your mind rallies for logic when faith becomes illogical. There are days that I think maybe, for a moment, that I have lost my mind. When this pursuit of God makes me act irrationally or do crazy things, when it really is not that at all just one step of faith successfully achieved. When we make radical steps of obedience, it seems a little crazy especially when accomplished with perfect peace. But rest assured, God’s Plan is working in us to achieve all that He has set forth to do just keep walking by faith and not by sight. God’s got you!

Philippians 3:20-21 (NKJV)

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

By reconciling our life to Christ, including how we feeling and emotion, it comes at the price of self. The soul is judged according to its actions “in the body”. (2 Corinthians 5:9-10) Our soul is not free to engage in a relationship with Christ if in bondage to the body. We cannot give freely what is not our own. (I Corinthians 12:12-14) To be one heart and one mind is a relationship; not a religion. Our flesh must be put to death to allow our soul to be free. (Romans 6:11-13) We were created to be the Temples of the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 6:19-20) All things are lawful under God’s Dispensation of Grace but not all things are helpful.

If I decide to plant a garden, I will head to Lowe’s or maybe Home Depot to gather supplies from the Garden Center making a monetary investment. Once back home, I will till the ground and do the laborious part of clearing the area for my garden meticulously removing all the rocks and weeds until there is nothing but fine rich soil. Taking each seed, I will carefully push it into a neat and perfect row. Fertilizer will follow with lots of fresh water to saturate the ground as I nurture what I hope will produce something. After all my hard work is done, I must wait for God to give the increase. Too many times, when we do not see immediate results in the natural, it is human nature to give up what the Lord is supernaturally doing in our soul to complete our life. If I do not continue to tend my little garden as the seed dies in the ground and is resurrected to new life, I will never reap the harvest of all my hard work or return on my investment. What if I do not continue to care for it? I will never see the maturation process complete or purpose fulfilled. How many gardens have we abandoned because our flesh is weary or tired of waiting?

Colossians 1:19-23 (NKJV)

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard…

I am challenged today to release my soul from any control my flesh may have on it. I am the one who allows it when I do not allow faith in God to dictate my attitude and actions but rely on my physical feelings to dictate my reaction when God calls for a response. Are you responding to God’s Promises today by engaging in faith and confident hope? Am I? We react in our flesh to its complaints, groanings and impatience. We must look to great men of God such as Abraham who did not allow his faith in God to be weakened by his body and never wavered in belief. Lord, I ask you to help my unbelief. Holy Spirit, make me conscious of all areas of my life controlled by my flesh and not by You! Jesus give me the Grace to overcome my flesh and live freely in You in all things today that I may prosper as my soul does reconciled to You!

I Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NKJV)

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

Make Up Your Mind

Make Up Your Mind

Colossians 3:1-3 (NKJV)

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Every morning my husband and I make our bed before heading out for the day. We were taught as children to do so and it has carried over into adulthood. According to Hunch.com, in a survey of 68.000 people – 59% of people do not make their beds and only 27% do. About 12% pay a housekeeper to make it…lucky them. Of those who made their bed, 71% considered themselves happy but 62% of non-bed makers admit being unhappy. Bed makers were found more likely to like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly and fell well rested, but those who did not make their bed indicated that they hated their jobs, rent apartments, avoid the gym, and wake up tired each day. Overall those who took the time to make their bed each day were happier and more successful overall.

 

How does making your bed improve your life? Apparently, it gives you a feeling of accomplishment, it creates a positive state of mind, lowers stress, prevents embarrassment and leads to other good habits. Who knew? I made my bed as a child because my mother asked me to. I make it now because it is a habit. According to Time magazine, it is one of the top 12 things extremely successful people do along with waking up early, exercise, spending quality time with family, connect with spouses, and pursue passion. Success is a mindset. We develop the habits and routines that define our ability to be productive in life. How can something as simple as making your bed better your life? It has nothing to do with a piece of furniture covered in sheets sitting in the center of your bedroom. It is all about that much smaller space located in between our ears and the lobe of thinking mass called our brain.

I believe the secret to success in the natural and spiritual realm is achieved by having a made up mind every single day. When we awaken in the morning after hitting the snooze button one, two, three or more times, precious time is lost in our morning that could be committed to a made up mind. It sets the course of our day. I am not a morning person. I try not to speak that in the natural anymore because I know now that my words hold power. I use them here simply so one may relate. I find sleep deprivation to be the biggest challenge for me at times. I require a certain amount of sleep to function properly. However, I used to be a night owl staying up all hours of the night to early morning. I had to begin going to bed at 10:00 PM disregarding if I was tired or not, but just doing it so that I could get up earlier and spend time with the Lord each day. I get up around 4:45 AM on the average during the week and around 7:30 AM on the weekends. It is my routine. When I get up, I head straight to my prayer closet and spend time with the Lord. I want Him to tell me something new about Him. I want Him to reveal something in me. Anything is fine. It can be something good or something I need to work on. It really doesn’t matter just as long as He is here.

 

What I have noticed over the years is that as I have taken control of my schedule, established a new routine, and developed better habits – my life is more successful. My flesh still fights some of the changes even though my mind is aware of the benefit. I must make up my mind each day who is in control. It begins by reconciling my thoughts to Jesus Christ. I must set my mind on things above, not on things on the earth. My life is hidden in Christ. I must make up my mind to find my life in Jesus.

Hebrews 10:23 (NKJV)

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

This morning when I woke up, this verse was circulating in my mind. The Holy Spirit was clearing up and running before I opened my eyes. It is not unusual to be stirred by the Lord in our sleep. I think God wakes us up at 3:00 AM sometimes because it is the only time that He is able to get undivided attention. If we give Him time in each day, maybe there would be fewer times that we cannot sleep at night. Hold fast the confession of hope without wavering. The Lord is clearly telling me that I must make up my mind about something. I am pretty sure what that is but maybe you have something you are wavering about?

To waver means to sway to and fro. It is to become unstable. To begin to fail or give way. To shake. It is to feel or show doubt. We must have a made up mind in Jesus Christ. Every day there is a battle in our mind for control. Will we give in to our flesh or maintain our new life according to the Spirit of God within us? It really is up to the individual. You control who or what has power and authority in your life. It is all part of the freedom given to us in our new life in Christ. The devil cannot make you do anything. He only has dominion over you to the extent allowed by you. No weapon against you can prosper. Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. Jesus overcame the world. Do you believe it? This is the presiding question in each new day.

The Power of God and His Promises are not dictated by our faith in Him but His Faithfulness alone. When we come to the Lord by faith with confidence in the hope, it will produce success in our life simply because we trust the Lord. Trust is destroyed the moment doubt is present. Doubt is a detriment to our life and sin that requires repentance. (James 4:8) James 1:6-7 tells us that a doubleminded man is unstable. Doubt represents a lack of faith. Faith is required to please God. Are you holding fast today? I am getting a grip for sure.

Romans 4:19-21 (NKJV)

And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

Around this time two years ago, our son was still battling cancer. The “experimental” treatment had been denied and I was waiting on their final answer. When it came back as “no”, I was absolutely rocked to my core. The world had decided the price of life too high at roughly $350K. It is a great deal of money. My son is priceless. I remember thinking and praying during that time envisioning Abraham going up the mountain with Isaac. His son, his promise, his future determined to give the Lord exactly what He asked. I kept recalling God’s Word that our boy would live and not die. I dissected His Word over and over. Finally, I could see my feet digging into the side of the mountain as I made my ascent dragging our son with me. I had decided that God would do a miracle if we made it to the top. If I had to drag his lifeless body all the way up Mount Zion, God would do what He said. Giving up and giving in was not an option. God said it. I believe it. That settled it. No matter what the world said, I would have to hear God tell me different to stop me.

 

Many are in the valley of decision today. In Joel 3:14, it declares that “multitudes” upon multitudes are in such a place as the Day of the Lord draws near. Are you? Am I? It is a place of indecision when we do not have a made up mind. When anyone or anything can dissuade us from our faith in God and trust in His Ability, we are in the valley again.

Romans 8:5-8 (NKJV)

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Just as it is proven in many studies that successful people demonstrate certain habits and behaviors consistently, so it is with successful believers. The secret to spiritual success is not habitual although changing our habits will aid in the process. It begins with a choice. Will I serve my flesh today or will I walk in the Spirit? Will I be carnally minded believing what I see and reacting to it? Or will I walk by faith not by sight and respond to the Love of God that I have found? These are two profoundly different pursuits. It requires a choice. We decide who we live for today. There are only two choices. We live for the Kingdom of God or this world. There is no gray area so we must make up our mind.

Jesus has given us the freedom to choose. (Romans 1:28-32) If we do not choose to follow Jesus, there is only one other choice left. You cannot come to the Lord halfheartedly and completion. It is with our whole heart that we experience His Love firsthand. We must steady our anxious thoughts. Stop worrying about what God has already provided. He has supplied all our needs according to His Riches in Glory. He is doing more than we could even think to ask for. We only have to make up our mind and live pursuing Jesus wholeheartedly. Our mind must be continually renewed day by day to have a transformed life. (Romans 12:2) We must have a willing heart and mind committed to finishing every good work that the Lord begins in us seeing it through to fulfilment because God is faithful to finish what He starts. (2 Corinthians 8:10-12) We should be committed to doing the same. Every thought, idea, emotion and feeling must be made up into a sound mind as we reconcile our entire existence to Christ. (Colossians 1:19-23)

Philippians 3:12-16 (NKJV)

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.

I have made my bed for many, many years now. I have instructed my children to do the same. It was only recently that I discovered it to be psychologically beneficial in the studies I found on line. I had no idea that it might potentially lead to other successful habits and routines in life. It is discipline. I began doing it because my mother made me. I continued to do it because it is a habit. It is only now that I realize it potentially has led to my success through discipline. See the Word of God doesn’t always make sense, but when we are obedient – it leads to success. As we praise God in His Faithfulness, looking back we can see how it all worked together for our good but during the process many times it seemed like failure was imminent. God’s Ways are not like our ways. There are many things that we are instructed to do in the Word of God AND from the pulpits in this world. I encourage you today to allow Jesus to renew your mind with His Word and His Spirit until it is set on the mark of your high calling. So that you can safely discern if the word you are being fed by mankind is in alignment with that Calling according to Jesus Christ. We must know. We live in a day and age of mixed religion, diluted doctrine, convoluted grace and inaccurate portrayals of God’s Kingdom, His Truth and His Way. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4) Without a deliberately and disciplined made up mind…one might be deceived and risk everything on a lie.

We have the Mind of Christ. (I Corinthians 2:13-16) Jesus is the Word of God wrapped in flesh who gives us His Spirit to help us understand and guide us through this life safely into Eternity. Any thought or idea contrary to God’s Word, Will or Way is enmity against God. It is literally hostile to the Lord and His Purpose in our life. Doubt is a faith killer. Negativity is a dream crusher. The thoughts in our head produce the words that come out of our mouth that hold life-giving power or doom and despair. We must make up our mind today…while it still is today who we will serve body, mind and spirit which is to the benefit of our soul. We do not know what today holds. God does and He prepared everything we need to be successful and prosper. God is good. He is for me never against me. He will never leave me or forsake me. He pursues me with His Unfailing Love from which nothing can separate me. All these thoughts and ideas are true and must become the foundation of my life and faith in Christ.

Am I willing to make up my mind each day? To sacrifice my mind, thoughts, ideas and emotions to the Lord as a living sacrifice? Do I want what He wants for me? A doubleminded man or woman is unstable. Those who waver do not get the promise. We must make the decision each day as we make up our bed to make up our mind. Be strong in our commitment to follow Jesus and trust His Way. Lord, help me have a made up mind today. I give every thought and idea to you for spiritual filtration and fulfillment in Jesus Name.

Psalm 26:1-2 (NKJV)

Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the Lord; I shall not slip. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart.

Closing Doors

Closing Doors

Matthew 6:22-23 (NLT)

Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

Each day when I leave for work I walk around the house and close the door to every room to keep our little dogs out of until we are home. I deny them access to certain rooms to remove little temptations especially from our puppy who tends to find mischief when unattended. But even our old dog has maintained some old tricks like rummaging through waste baskets looking for a discarded wrapper or tidbit of food. So every day on my way out the door, I make it a habit to walk around closing doors. Not only do I secure the inside of the house from welcomed ones, but I make sure the front door and back door are locked to keep out unwanted guests and set the security alarm shutting the door tightly behind me. Several years ago, we arrived home to find that someone had treated themselves to the contents of our home. When I get to work, I lock the doors to my car before heading in to insure that it is still there when I am ready to go home. Even taking certain measures to ensure the safety of my family and security of my home, there is no guarantee that if someone really wants in that they cannot make it so. However, I have done everything in my power to stop it.

My motivation in this is not fear but rather caution. I am not afraid and have still found that I leave the doors unlocked unintentionally. But there is a door that I should put a higher precedent on than my house and my car. It is the door to my mind. My eyes are an access point to my mind and so are my ears. There are many different ways that the enemy can infiltrate my thinking and change my mind, spirit and heart with regards to Christ. It is when I am not careful to secure my thoughts and govern these points of access that my faith is chipped away at and my confident hope dissolves in things like fear, discontentment and stress. As Children of God, we must learn to become more protective of our mind in order to win every victory in life. For if we can maintain the Mind of Christ, faith in God and live in confident hope, it is then that we win every single victory and live triumphantly.

Matthew 6:21 (NLT) Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

 

We must put the Word of God in context to discover its true meaning. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be is followed by the warning to be conscious of the potential of our eyes. Why? You will carefully watch and maintain what is important to you. Many will head off to church today and set the security alarm in their home, while their mind is filled to the max with the things of this world. Sin will be dominant in their heart and mind as in maintaining life in this world, they have forgotten to fortify their mind and soul against the enemy all week long. Worship will be uncomfortable. The Word will bring conviction but no deliverance. They will leave the same way that they came and when they arrive home battle weary it will be time to fight for love, joy and peace all over again. Where is your treasure today? Are you working to maintain it?

I Peter 5:6-9 (NLT)

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith…

Humility is not fashionable in the world in which we live. Total surrender to the Power of God challenges human thinking and rationale. People like the idea of a God who offers unconditional love but fail to take Him up on His Opportunity to fully take advantage of amazing grace because it is accepted through humble obedience to God’s Word, Will and Way. It demands our total concentration forsaking the things of this world to accept all that He offers. We do not want to give God all of our worries and cares quite frankly because we do not believe in Him. If we truly accepted that God is alive today and His Spirit lives in us it would change how we think and engage in living. If we truly understood that we have the Keys to the Kingdom and that Christ is a firm foundation then we would move our life into His Presence fully. The enemy preys on weak faith and disbelief to create havoc in our life. He is constantly prowling looking for the weak ones with unsettled hearts and uncertain minds to “devour” them. We must stand firm. We must have made up minds and confident hearts to overcome the enemy in our everyday life and live the life promised in God’s Word. Anything less than the truth is a total lie. We must know who God is and what He requires. We must decide whether we believe it or not. We must choose to live what we believe to be successful.

Isaiah 28:16-17 (NLT)

Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken. I will test you with the measuring line of justice and the plumb line of righteousness. Since your refuge is made of lies, a hailstorm will knock it down. Since it is made of deception, a flood will sweep it away.

 

We must know what we believe. We must have faith in Jesus Christ. Active faith that gives Him every single burden and is confident in what we believe. We cannot say that we believe and live according the world. It is insanity to do the same thing over and over expecting different results. Yet that is exactly what Christians do every single day. They keep praying and asking God to come and help but keep the door to their heart and mind closed by ignoring His Word and avoiding a single conversation. This would cause any relationship to falter but is completely detrimental in a long distance relationship. We cannot see Him but we can hear the Lord and know He is there through active engagement every single day of our life. His Spirit is our life partner. When I leave after locking the doors and barring the windows to my natural home, I ask the Holy Spirit to remain their securing the hearts and lives of those who are precious to me. I invite Him to clean house while I am gone. I want the Lord to live in my home for without Him it is nothing but a deteriorating building that will one day fall apart. Confident hope is based on what we believe – not what we see. To have it requires faith in a God who we cannot see to live in us and with us now. We must learn to close every door that the enemy may access. He does not care about our stuff what he wants is our soul.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT)

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

 

Believers must regain control of all access points to their mind. It has a heavy influence over our spirit and soul. Paul admitted that it is a constant battling ongoing inside of us. I agree. I wake up sometimes in the middle of the night thinking about work or some other natural thing sensing that I am beginning to stress and worry. I have learned to immediately begin to pray in its place taking strict authority over my mind, will and emotions. It is a struggle. Daily engagement that requires prayer, the Word of God, obedience and changing old habits to make new changes. We are human. The mind will work against us because it is driven by our sinful nature that must die for us to live in Christ. It is fighting its own demise so it works overtime to maintain control. People think that they can watch whatever they want or do whatever they feel like and God’s Grace will be sufficient… and it will BUT for those who want to walk in victory and those who desire the Promises of God to become a reality in life – it is time to secure the parameters of our mind, will and emotions. We must cast down every single thought contrary to God’s Word, Will and Way. We must live what we believe in order to walk out of darkness and live in the Light of His Love. We must take every single rebellious thought and make it obey Jesus Christ. You don’t have to do any of this unless of course you desire to live in the total freedom of a rich and satisfying life that Jesus offers.

 

John 10:10 (NLT)

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

 

I no longer watch horror movies or psychological thrillers. They are just not for me. I was not given the spirit of fear and will no longer invite it in my home or mind for that matter. I am just not interested but to each their own. That being said – I remember in many of them when someone is being pursued by an attacker or enemy of some sort that just as they find shelter and slam the door shut suddenly without warning a foot stops it from closing all the way. (Insert deep intake of breath followed by scream for effect.) This is EXACTLY how the enemy works in the mind of God’s People. If he can get the tiniest foothold in our life even with a fleeting thought, he will soon take over. I can lock every door in my home but if I leave a window open an intruder can get in. We have to close the door of our mind and protect it with the same due diligence that makes us lock our doors and windows. We must set an alarm that when a rebellious thought or bad attitude challenge the Mind of Christ working in us that we immediately submit it to the Power of God living in us. Every single time without a commitment to subject our mind, soul and body to Jesus Christ.

Revelation 3:20-21 (NLT)

 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.”

 

Jesus wants to maintain a relationship with each and every person ever created. Some will invite Him in and others will continually put Him off hoping that one day the Lord will force His Way into first place. Jesus is not like that – He just keeps knocking. But if the enemy is in control of our heart and mind, Jesus cannot enter. We must make room for Him in our heart and mind. Faith is the very thing that is His Platform. Our faint puts the Lord above every problem, fear and doubt we have. It keeps our eyes on Jesus. Without such a platform, He has not place to reside. We must make that place ready and available by removing every offensive thing we can think of to make more room for His Presence. He is asking for an invitation to come in and stay awhile. The Lord longs to linger in our life. He is not a thief and will not sneak in. As we surrender our heart and mind to Him, He will beautifully and completely makeover our life into something more wonderful than we could even think to ask for. It begins with me. I must open the door to my heart by removing those things that are contrary to His Kingdom. I want God’s Power in my life. I will secure my heart and mind to have it.

Luke 11:9-10 (NLT)

 And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.