Make A Choice

Make A Choice

Isaiah 1:18-20 (NIV) “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Come now, let us settle the matter. In the course of a single day, people make more choices than they realize. Before arriving at work, there are more than a handful of decisions that must be made. Habits and routine take over so it becomes a ritualistic lifestyle. Like cattle through a turnstile going out to pasture in the morning, and coming back to the barn at night. Sounds monotonous doesn’t it? Well, how about getting up, head to work, stop for coffee, clock in, make eight, punch out, sit in traffic, cook dinner, do laundry, help with homework, and collapse in bed times five days a week. Where is the extraordinary in the midst of ordinary? How does one find the supernatural surrounded in the natural? It begins with a choice.

Psalm 27:13 (NIV) I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

When our son was diagnosed with cancer the first time, God asked me to trust Him and I did. The Lord promised me that our boy would live and not die to declare His Works. (God’s Promises do not change – He repeats them often.) Then our son was diagnosed again, and again multiple times. The third discovery was the most invasive covering most of body from neck to torso. The reality that God’s Healing might not be as I expected was weighing heavy on my mind. The Lord brought me to this verse. I must remain confident that God’s Goodness is for the land of the living. How quickly we dismiss God’s Promise for the future when things don’t turn out the way we expected? How often do we give up on faith when it doesn’t yield the return in the right time as our plans indicated? It was only when I had absolutely no control over our son’s life that I had to truly learn to trust the Lord from beginning to end. I had to make a choice. I had to settle it in my heart and soul to keep breathing. It was at that point in my life, I trusted God for Who He was rather than the outcome I expected. In total weakness, His Grace and Power flooded my life.

Free will can be difficult when one comes to the understanding that the Lord gives us the right to choose. Jesus chose to die for our sins and hand us the Keys to His Kingdom. He loves us. Therefore, love cannot force us to do anything and be love. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. It doesn’t boast. It is not proud. It honors others and is not ever self-seeking. It doesn’t get angry. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Love never ever fails. For Jesus to force us to do anything would be contrary to His Own Definition of love found in the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God. So with this in mind, the Lord will not make us do anything that we do not want to do. It is important to note that the Christ in you sets you free from sinful captivity which means the devil can’t make you do anything either. You have a choice to make. Who will you serve today?

Joshua 24:14-15 (NIV) “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

All the time in the wilderness, God did everything in His Power to show the Children of Israel a better way. His Way. The way of blessing and prosperity. (Deuteronomy 28) It is now time to enter the Promised Land. “Fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness”. This was the intention of Joshua for his household. It was settled with in his heart and soul. However, listen to the Word of the Lord to the people, “if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” God wants us to choose. Why? Half-hearted service to the Lord will only produce disappointment and discouragement in our life. It is only when we seek Him wholeheartedly that His Plan for our future unfolds. It is our willingness to serve Jesus with our life body, mind and spirit that our life will prosper as our soul does. The Lord detests “dishonest scales”. Sin is abhorrent to the Lord. Grace is provided because despite our best effort to remain sinless – our sinful nature will get the best of us sometimes but the Lord looks deeper than that to the intent of our heart. Who are you serving? The outcome of our life is directly connected to the master we serve.

John 15:15-16 (NIV) I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

Bear with me as I try to work this out in my own heart and mind, but God has called me and chosen me to prosper in all things. He appointed me that I might go and bear fruit. Fruit that will last. Whatever I ask in the Name of my Father it should be given. After our son went into remission, I was completely awestruck by God. At that moment, God did not have to do anything else for me for the rest of my life. Jesus saved me. He created a beautiful family out of all the pieces I brought to Him. Our children all love the Lord. The one on the verge of death with only a 2% chance of survival was back in school living his life. One would think it to be the greatest spiritual high of my life. It was not. The new normal was a difficult adjustment. The enemy came and somehow convinced me that I had reached the limit of expectancy. After all, God had granted life to our child. What greater gift could there ever be? I was so underserving of the new life that I have in Christ – it would be selfish to ask for anything else…right? Wrong! God’s Plan for my life is not finished or complete until I breathe my last breath, endure to the end and reach eternity with Him.

I am a friend of God. My relationship with Jesus Christ is a friendship with benefits. Do you have any friends in “high places”? Influential or powerful people who the Lord has placed in your life. A friend who favors you? God operates in relationships. Friendships are important to our reproductive growth in the Spirit. Fruit of the Spirit is cultivated in our fellowship with other people. The first commandment is to love God but the second cannot be fulfilled outside of relationships. God has called us to cultivate fruit. In Genesis 1:27-28 – He calls us blessed. Not you might be, could be or possibly will happen – God specifically blessed mankind. He also ordained them for certain things – be fruitful (purpose), increase (prosper), fill the earth (generosity), and subdue it (rule and reign over ever earthly thing). Sin separated us from God but did not end stop the blessing or calling of our life. Jesus came and His Blood eliminated the debt of sin so that now all mankind is free to walk out the ordination of God for their life. Purpose is both earthly and heavenly. Prosperity is earthly and heavenly. Generosity is earthly and heavenly. God’s Power is for the earth just like heaven. It is time for believers to stop segregating their life into earthly and heavenly things. Our existence in Christ makes the unification of earth and heaven complete. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)

Psalm 65:4 (NLT) Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.

We must choose who to serve each day. James 4 is a firm and true commentary on submission to God. God waits for us to surrender our life to Him. This is not an act of authoritative force meant to make us miserable but instead to entrust with everything He promised because we know what do with it. Most lottery winners lose their fortune in the first three years. Why? Having money doesn’t change our life and habits. If the winner could not manage the resources at hand previously more money is not going to change their behavior. God has power to release in you when you are ready to receive it. He will not let a thief in the Kingdom. If you are only after God’s Hand with no intention of knowing His Heart, the door will remain closed to God’s Promises and Prosperity. Those are obtained only in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

In Isaiah, the Lord says, “Come let us settle the matter…” Do you want God’s Promises and Prosperity in life? To settle means to appoint, fix, and resolve definitely and conclusively in agreement. It means that our life must agree with God’s Will, His Way and His Word. It is to place our life in a desired state of order pursuing the pathway of life. We must decide to agree with God concerning our life. Those who do will apply God’s Word to their life more and more each day which produces the good things He has promised. (Proverbs 8:8-11) We will speak God’s Word over our life and not man’s predictions. We will listen to the Lord and His Still Small Voice over the roar of the crowd and opinions of people and we will prosper! (Psalm 25:12-13) I must believe that God’s Goodness is for the land of the living enough to live for the Lord right now.

Revelation 3:15-17 (NIV) “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Life is limited in lukewarm living. The entire planet is subject to sowing and reaping or planting and harvest. It is natural productivity. When we choose to invest our life into something wholeheartedly, there is generally a substantial return. Why? God honors a choice. However, for those who choose to remain lukewarm – their life is equated to vomit. Is the yield of your life satisfying? Sometimes we may have more than we ever thought possible yet have no peace or rest. I cannot live in close friendship and fellowship with Jesus Christ and be yoked to anything else. (Matthew 11:28-30) I must surrender my life to His Will, His Word and His Way to have the Way, the Truth and the Life that is rich and satisfying. Prosperity in heaven does not mean I must live an impoverished life – nothing could be further from the truth. Who wants that kind of parent? The one who gives stones to hungry children rather than bread. Nobody! He is a Good Father. God’s Plan contains a future and hope secured when I pursue Him wholeheartedly. I must choose today who I will serve. I cannot serve two masters for I will love one and hate the other. To choose Jesus as not only my Savior but my Lord leads me to discover the goodness here in the land of the living. It will bring heaven to earth.

Psalm 25:12-13 (NIV) Who, then, are those who fear the Lord? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose. They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land.

Restore Me Lord

restore-me-lord

Psalm 51:10-12 (NIV) Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

“There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.” – Eldridge Cleaver

It has been a long and exhausting week. My mom had open heart surgery a couple of weeks ago. Our state was deluged in rain and wind by a hurricane. After working for a week, I came to help care for her and assist my parents during the recovery process. My routine is disrupted. My schedule out of order. I am not really sure what day it is or what it will hold. A trip to the radiologist confirmed that my sweet mama had the beginnings of pneumonia. I had the best of intentions and expected to work but this task had taken more time and nights are long when your patient cannot sleep. The couch is comfortable but I am a little older than before. In the midst of exhaustion and concern for my ailing parent, my daughter called crushed by a friend. It was just too much. I called one parent and then another attempting to put out the fire before it turned into a firestorm. It didn’t work. Falling asleep last night after turning off an embarrassing debate with two candidates clearly not fit to be our country’s next president, far from home, missing my family, concerned for my people, staring in the dark – I just began to talk to Jesus. Our time has been limited. I have tried multiple times. We get brief and quick conversations but hardly the hours that are usually set aside of us. I believe there are seasons when that happens. It is during those times that we live on what His Word for yesterday was because He never lies or changes His Mind. So what He told me yesterday I can trust for today and build on for tomorrow! Thank you Lord for being constant.

One thing I know in the midst of all the chaos. God is constant. He is the One who I can fully trust and lean on when all hell breaks loose as the conditions around me currently indicate. When I opened my eyes this morning ready to meet the day, I heard my heart say, “Restore me, Lord.” I need restoration. I need to be refilled. So many details have added to this emptiness as my life has been poured out over the last few weeks. This is a test. I know that it is only a test. One thing I have learned if I do not what to do, where to go or how to do something it usually is a call to wait and watch for the Lord. So here I am. I am shifting my weight from foot to foot because the faith that we stand on as believers is not always a wide base. What do you do when nothing adds up? In the world – it is time to refigure and regroup. In the realm of hope, it is time to ask for renewal and restoration. This is not the process that we have made it. It is not opening our hands asking God to pour in us just as we are. It is surrendering ourselves to be restored, renewed and recreated by the Lord. Something has to be given in order to receive. We must make room for the Lord. New wine will never be given to old wineskins.

Eldridge Cleaver is a controversial figure who offered infinite wisdom. “There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.” If the common goal of Christianity is to share the Good News of God’s Love and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ – it will never be about me. It was always be about others. Every attitude and action must be given to changing hearts and minds so they are able to experience the Love of God. There is no neutrality in the world. I am certain that he did not mean this as I hear it today, but I believe that there is no neutrality in this world. God designed the world we live in definitively. There are those who love Him and many who don’t. There are those who serve the Lord – and those who don’t. The Kingdom of God is clearly defined with no median. You are for Him or against Him. We are love. Or we are not.

This idea leads to the next part of this vital revelation…” You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.” Am I part of the solution? Or am I part of the problem? I have previously misquoted this a bit but the concept is the same. When I decide that there is nothing I can do to provide a solution, then I am immediately part of the problem. Change is absolutely essential to problem solving. To do the same thing over and over expecting a change is labeled insanity. We have been faced with a situation with one of our children. Searching for a solution, communicating with all involved, even choosing not to explain or defend ourselves in the midst of lies and accusations – it only got worse. We removed ourselves from the situation. This eliminated a part of the problem so hopefully there will be a solution now.

Create in me a clean heart. Renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restoration begins with me. It begins by emptying my heart before the Lord and carefully examining the contents. It means taking out those things that clutter the space reserved for Jesus. Repentance is a daily process. It is an unavoidable me thing. God is not going to take my sin but will gladly wash away anything given freely. Do not cast me from your Presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. I need Jesus all the time. Every single day. He must be the lead in all things concerning me and my life. He is my existence. Restore to me the joy of “YOUR” salvation. Wait a minute. I thought this was about me… My joy is contingent on my salvation. The grace I have is from Jesus – I get new mercy from the Lord every day when I make my heart, mind and soul available. And finally, grant me a willing spirit. I must be willing to allow the Lord to restore me and put my expectation in Him alone. So here I sit asking the Lord to restore me…

I Peter 5:8-11(NIV) Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord is ready to restore you. He longs to renew us day by day. During times like this when our life is chaotic and things out of sort. We must come to the Lord as an active participant. To be restored means letting go of that which burdens us. Restoration is only possible through release. I must let go of my sin so my heart is soft. I must let go of my pride and stubbornness so I will be humble and steadfast. I must position myself in His Presence and push through each prayer. I think what is interesting is that it says, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation…” We have salvation through our relationship with Jesus Christ. However, it is the joy that is often missing because it is overshadowed by sin and mess that builds up. My joy is and always will be Jesus. I lose my joy when I expect it from any other source than my salvation. My willingness to walk by faith not by sight and trust the Lord makes all the difference. We have joy provided in our salvation. It is up to us to surrender all for Him to fill us with it.

Romans 15:13 (NIV) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I Will

I Will

Mark 14:37-38 (NLT)

Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

 

The thought has occurred to me that I would rather deal with what I cannot do than try to overcome not wanting to – my spirit is willing and my flesh is weak. I have found the barrier of stubbornness around my heart to be insurmountable sometimes. Submission does not come easy to people like me and is a daily struggle to maintain. I want to be obedient in all things, but that requires sacrifice of self that is difficult to make. I can put aside my wants and desires. When it comes to my family and close friends, I will even put my own basic needs second to them. However, I want to live a life completely surrendered to Jesus Christ which means that I must not give into the temptation to be unwilling when I don’t “want” to do something or allow human weakness to be my excuse. I really have no excuse.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (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. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

When I am weak, then I am strong through the Power of Christ hidden inside me. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13) Greater is He who lives in me then He that is in the world. (I John 4:4) We are more than conquerors through the love that He has given us. (Romans 8:37-38) Within these power verses of God’s Word, every excuse to fail or give up dissolves in the Glory of God invested in the lives of His People. We have the strength to overcome any and all adversity, trial and tribulation simply because God loves us and Jesus lives in us. So now what? Why do we not live from glory to glory as promised? Why can’t we see the good in every detail just as He promised? (Romans 8:28) Weakness does not stop us it is willingness that does. We are weak but have the Power of God to overcome our weaknesses. It is unwillingness to follow Christ beyond our ability and attitude that interrupts the blessing intended for our life.

Mark 1:40-42 (NLT)

A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!”  Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.

The man with leprosy came to Jesus. I am sure many tried to keep him from the Lord due to his physical condition. But the man would not be stopped and knelt before the Lord… Stop right there. Hang on! There is something in this passage that I never noticed until now. The man came and knelt before Jesus… and then said, “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” He knelt before Jesus an act of surrender before He asked the Lord for a thing. Even in the midst of surrendering self, he told the Lord “if you are willing.” Jesus was moved with compassion. The Lord’s Heart is moved by our willingness. When we decide to surrender our life to Him even before He “does” anything for us, I believe it moves the Hand of God to action in that moment. The angel told Daniel that the “moment” he prayed that a command was released in Heaven. (Daniel 9:23) It is the moment that pride does not matter when we see the force of God’s Power manifested in our life. When “I” move out of the way to allow the “willingness” of God make its way into my life. Jesus said without hesitation, “I am willing. Be healed!” I wonder if in our weakness we allow unwillingness to hinder us sometimes as pride rises up to protect self. It is a natural instinct that can only be overcome by supernatural love.

Psalm 51:12 (NLT) Restore to me the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey you.

 

There are a lot of things that I can do. There are also many things that I want to do. But it has taken half of my life to figure out that it is better to not do that thing at all then to do it begrudgingly. For example, I hate getting up early each day. I wake up around 5:00 AM but do not usually make it out of the bed until around 5:15 or 5:30 AM. I do it to spend time with the Lord before everyone else gets up. It is a time set aside to bask in the Presence of God. However, if I get up angry about getting up where is the blessing. If I am awful to my husband and the dogs on my way to my prayer closet, who wins? Where is the victory in making our life in Christ a chore, something we do because we have to? I would be better off staying in bed and sleeping it off. Willingness means to be cheerfully consenting, ready and inclined to do something. It is with a joyful spirit that I come to this place each day. On those days that it is s struggle it is not human weakness but stubborn willfulness that I must overcome to get here and get something in the Presence of my God.

Colossians 3:23-24 (NLT)

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.

 

Every time that we overcome our flesh and give way to His Spirit living inside of us, God blesses our life. There is a reward for those who work willingly at everything they do as working unto the Lord. If you plastered the image of Jesus on every face you see today, would you do things differently? Would you treat those people around you differently? Would you work harder if it was for the Lord? The Lord rewards us with an inheritance we serve the world as if we are serving Jesus himself. Our willingness moves people and works in our favor. (I Peter 5:2) Our circumstances should not determine our willingness but our love for Jesus should promote willingness in our life.

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.

 

Lord, make me willing to serve you in all things. Show me the areas of my life that are being hindered by my unwillingness and soften my heart to those things. Let the joy of my salvation rule my life and Your Love for me determine each outcome. I surrender my life to you again today and ask you to break my stony heart for the things that move your heart with such compassion. I want to love like you Lord and be willing just as you are to serve others. Thank you for the wisdom you give us in Your Word and by Your Spirit. Lord, let me be peace loving, gentle at all times and willing to yield to others in all things every day. Thank you for the peace that is planted in my life when I am willing to serve you! It is in your Name that I ask these things and know that they will be! Amen!

Time for a Change – A Devotion

Time for a Change

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.

 

A close friend expecting her third grandchild went to the hospital in the early evening ready to meet the little man. As the morning sun crept into the November sky, still no baby. Usually with subsequent deliveries, the sibling finds their way a little faster than the first but not him. He is stubbornly still waiting to make his grand arrival. So this morning, I woke up to a message to pray for change. It is time for the labor to become progressive for the safety of the mother and child. Stalled in the birth canal, his little heart is taxed by all the effort to make his first appearance. It is time for a change. We are praying for change. In fact, I have been praying for change for quite some time now. Not for this certain situation but in my own life. I know that this season is ending. It is as evident as the leaves falling from the trees that surround my house. Some days I embrace the thought, ready to make the leap of faith that will be required. On other days, I wonder if it will be worth the effort. By faith, I know that it is the Lord who is pressing my heart and making a way for the change that is coming. What must I do to be ready for a change?

Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is – there is freedom. Freedom to be all that God has preordained us to be. Freedom to live in the abundant provision of the One who supplies all of our needs with enough to share. Freedom from the oppressive weights called fear, worry, stress and anxiety. We were created to reflect the Glory f God. God makes the necessary changes in us so that we can do just that without changing a thing. We must only be willing to change. Willingness sounds so easy until it pushes us out of our comfort zone, pressing us to do more and persisting in eliminating compromise. The Spirit of the Lord is in us and He is intent on changing our life from the inside out. It is time for a change.

Romans 2:28-29 (NLT)

For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.

 

Religion produces an outward change that is manmade. A relationship with God through Jesus Christ produces a change of heart. God wants to give us the desires of our heart which will be consistent with His Word and Will concerning us because He will give His Children nothing less than the best. The Spirit of God living inside of us is a gift from Jesus Christ. It is the Spirit who takes the Word of God and cuts through the thickness and hardness imparted by the world to expose the things that were hidden there from creation. God created you with a good plan. It contains a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) He also planted Eternity in our heart which connects us to Him making us desire to be where God is. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) The only requirement is a change of heart. This is the most painful of all. We are stubborn and rebellious people bent on having our own way. So God in His Infinite Wisdom and Jesus in His Divine Grace have given us the Holy Spirit to work on changing us from the inside out.

Malachi 3:6-10 (NLT)

“I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed. Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

“But you ask, ‘How can we return when we have never gone away?’ “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’

“You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!

 

The greatest characteristic of God that is most easily forgotten is the fact that He does not change. God is Sovereign. Stop and think about that for a moment. We are raised to believe that everything is subject to change. This is a true statement with God being the constant variable. Everything in our life will change except for God. God is perfect and so He is incapable of lying or changing His Mind. (Numbers 23:19) So why have I referenced Malachi 3 today? Isn’t it about tithes and offerings? Yes, it is. Human beings make the tithe about money. God makes the tithe and offering about our entire life. We cheat God in our promise to give Him our life even a tenth of it. But the Lord is challenging us to test Him today and submit our whole life as a tithe and offering including treasure, time and talent to see what He has planned for us. He promises to open the window of Heaven and pour out His Blessing in our life. All because we repented and stopped withholding our life from Him. Change comes with submission to God. As He changes the desires of our heart, the Lord will position us in our willing obedience to have all that He promised. Grace did not change the fact that God wants all of us, it enabled us to give Him what He wants.

I Peter 1:3-5 (NLT)

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

What if we dared believed enough in the Lord to allow Him to change our life even if it had nothing to do with our lifestyle? Would you be willing to accept the changes that the Lord is making in your life to receive a priceless inheritance rather than a healthy bank account? Would you be just as happy if it resulted in complete joy and peace with little monetary return? God is changing our heart to desire things that are beyond the reach of change and decay. He wants the Fruit of His Spirit to remain a constant in our life. God wants us to be saved. His Spirit works in us to make us strong enough to endure to the end. The Lord is not concerned with our finances. He gives us everything we need in abundance. Sometimes God will withhold finances from us, if He thinks it will hinder our process. If there is the slightest possibility it will take His Place then why would He give it? I believe that just as the Lord motivates us – He can manipulate the situation to keep us close to Him. For example, people around us may change. (Genesis 31:1-3), a battle may ensure (Exodus 13:17-18), our pattern of worship may change (Deuteronomy 12:8-11) and most of the time it is our attitude that must change from stubbornness to willingness (Jonah 4:1-3) It is seldom a surprise what God is doing. We have His Spirit who shares God’s Heart and Mind with us freely. (I Samuel 10:5-7) Change requires God’s Spirits so we know it is coming but are we ready for it to get here?

I Thessalonians 5:2-4 (NLT)

For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape. But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief.”

What changes are you experiencing in your life? What changes do you desire today? What is the Lord attempting to do that you may be squelching by unwillingness to change? If you were pregnant, would you stop the labor process when it is time for the baby to come? No, of course not. You welcome it along with the pain because you desire the promise attached. Willingly you will deliver that gift that has been given to you. I know, I have been there five times. I would not change the pain for a second because the promise was worth it. God is changing us to reflect His Image. It is a process that often is uncomfortable and even downright painful as we allow Him to change us from the inside out. It is worth it but as a reminder. In the third and final phase of labor called transition, it is not uncommon for a woman to decide that she is done, forget about it, the baby can stay forever because she is over it. Are you feeling that way today about your dreams and desires? Good! It means that you are closer than you think to fulfillment and soon the Lord will deliver that which you have been expecting! Don’t give up. It is time for a change.

Hebrews 13:8 (NLT) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.