“…since she considered Him faithful who had promised.” (11:11b)
Amen! Yes. By faith. By faith to trust You, O God, we please You. That faith that pleases You is settled on the Promise Keeper. Not the promise.
Father, we tend to view Your promises from a fleshly standpoint, aligning our hope with our own understanding and desire. We too readily fail to see with Your eyes and realize that You do far above all we can possibly think or ask.
When things don’t go the way we think it should, we believe You failed us and fall into despair. This is sure sign our faith is setting on the promise as we see it, not on trust in You who have the full answer, know the full truth, and always do what is best, accomplishing Your best good for all. Father, forgive me this, and grant me faith that is fully and truly based in You: Your who, Your do, Your will, way, plan, and purpose. In Jesus, amen.
Father, Your peace that passes understanding has walked me through many storms on the raging seas of life. I am so grateful to You for that peace, and I crave it in these troubled days in which we live.
The wind and waves of storms tend to catch our attention, distracting us from focus on being attentive to You – listening for You. Forgive us when distraction wins, leading us to fight the wind and waves from fleshly panic and prideful arrogance. Empower our hearts to turn to You with full focus. Grant us spiritual ear buds that cancel out the noise that leads to fleshly responses on storm tossed seas. Focus us on You, Your presence, Your wee small voice sounding, “This is the way. Walk in it.”
With focus on You, grant us to enter into and remain in Your rest. Empower us to hear and heed Your instruction and walk in Your Spirit to victory over the destructive forces around us. We need You, Father. Make us attuned to paths of righteousness where peace resides and rest rules; where we are made visible lights, drawing others to You. In Jesus, amen.
I was listening to a song, the words of which say “the cross has the final word.” Truly though, did it?
Before hanging me on one, please hear me out.
When Jesus was brought down off the cross, men had to carry him and bury him; and Satan – shouting “VICTORY!” – thought he won. But then…three days beyond the scenes of the cross, Jesus took a breath, sat up, cast off His burial clothes, and walked out of that grave, defeating sin’s death. With an undeniable shout of glory from Father’s mercy seat, the devil wept.
At the cross, the work was finished. At the now empty tomb, new life has come. The grave is where The Final Living Word spoke loud and clear.
In my Galatians 4 reading today, this stands out to me:
“Now Hagar is (stands for) Mount Sinai in Arabia and she corresponds to and belongs in the same category with the present Jerusalem, for she is in bondage together with her children. But the Jerusalem above (the Messianic kingdom of Christ) is free, and she is our mother.” – 4:25-26 AMPC
Living a Kingdom life now – realizing oneself as citizen and representative of the eternal Kingdom and behaving accordingly – is the walk of freedom that is found in Christ.
Adding to this thought as I pray over it, the fact that the eternal Kingdom “is our mother” fills me with joy. As we follow Mother in knowing how to live for and serve our Father and our King in the power and filling of His Spirit, we find true freedom. We can look at The Kingdom and know how to live on the earth.
The Kingdom is always full of light, for God is the Light, therefor, we are light in Him. Darkness is a facade. Trust God to light up life and make the path clear. He will.
As Jesus is always present in the Kingdom, so He is always with us. He, somehow, is with each of us individually, and all of us simultaneously, without having to divide Himself or His time among us. We are one with Him. Live that.
And as the Spirit fills all things and flows freely throughout life there, so He is in us who seek Him. Trust His flowing Presence, and release yourself to His rhythm.
As this Trinity is eternal and fills all things, so they fill us and make us one with the Eternal. Having our focus set here in God’s Kingdom, empowers our Kingdom life on earth. Walking out life here in this blessed estate, we walk free!
We are freed from fear, knowing death has no right over us, as we are already walking in Life: eternal, abundant, and full, settled in desire to truly trust God to accomplish His plan and purpose in and through us. Jesus had no fear of death, because He trusted God to fulfill His plan.
We are freed from the cares of this world, knowing the Father cares for us from Kingdom stores. He cares for us watchfully and affectionately, never leaving nor forsaking us.
We are freed from the opinion of fleshly beings knowing we walk as Kingdom citizens, pleasing the Lord.
Whatever comes to this life on earth, we know is temporary and it cannot truly harm us who are eternal with Christ. Jesus took our separation from God on Himself at the cross, so we will never have to be separated from Him again. He is with us through whatever comes. He will help us.
This world may kill our flesh, as it did Jesus, but the essence of all we are is already eternal – and safe with Him who gives us Life. We are one together with Him. Live FREE.
As I begin looking at this morning’s “Refresh” scripture, I am led to read it in context with the entire chapter. In Psalm 139 Father highlights this passage, causing me to pause and ponder.
“Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies.” – Psalms 139:21-22 NASB1995
This thought process reveals our human tendency to attach evil to the people who practice it. But is it true that God hates those who hate Him? I don’t believe so, and here is why.
One: God so loves the world that He willingly and freely gave His one true Son as propitiation for their sin. The world / worldly is defined by a mindset that is against God and God’s truth. In other words, the world / worldly moves in opposition to God, His will and His way, which is the defining character of that which hates God. But God doesn’t hate the people of the world. He loves the world and made the ultimate sacrifice to prove it.
Two: attaching sin to the sinner is to keep an account of wrongs suffered. God’s word tells us that love does not do that. God is love. He does not act in opposition to His own word and dictates. He is the perfect example of all He calls us to. Proof?
Jesus says of Himself that seeing Him, we have seen the Father. He is the personification of the Father for us. On the cross, He did not take the sin against Him into account, but instead prayed for God to forgive them, “for they know not what they do.” In this act on the cross, Jesus was exemplifying the Father’s example in Isaiah 43:25.
“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”
In the midst of Israel’s sin, God forgave them out of loving desire to fulfill His purpose of maintaining relationship with them. He says He did so for His own sake. He detaches us from our sin for His own sake so He can continue to love us and reach out a saving hand to us for His own sake, that His purpose and plan may be fulfilled, on earth as it is in heaven. We are called to do the same.
God hates sin, and sin cannot stand in His holy presence. When God turns His back, He is turning His back on sin, refusing it. Sin separates us from a right and good relationship with God, but it does not separate us from His love. He still loves us though our sin hinders our realization of that love. Sin is what God hates, not the sinner; He sent His Son to die for the sinner.
When we grab hold of God’s loving hand through Christ, the death of sin found in separation from God is immediately broken off of us. And as we begin to walk in Love relationship with God, He delivers us from that which leads us to sin. He engenders a hate for sin in us that causes us to turn from sin and walk with Him. But He also places His love in us, thus we hate sin while still loving the sinner; and we are able to forgive the sin in order to have a relationship with the sinner, making us useful to God in being the hand of Christ to a lost and dead world.
There is no sin God has not forgiven except the sin of refusing the work of God accomplished through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. So we who are God’s children through Christ are called to love as He loves. We hate sin, but we love the sinner. We do not walk with the sinner into sin, but we are ready to help them find the love of God for themselves. Holding hate toward the sinner because of their hate toward God revealed by their surrender to sin’s grip only hinders us being the picture of Christ to them, following His example as the image of God to the world.
I’ve been meditating on and praying through the “refresh” verse of the day meditation and prayer on the YouVersion Bible App each morning. Today went into following Jesus, which led my thoughts to “take up your cross daily.”
Usually in taking up the cross, most I know – including me – talk about taking our sin / sin nature up, or our sickness or whatever malady plagues us and hinders us: bearing up under it and pressing on despite it. Even just thinking about that is hard and heavy. So I asked God about that, and He brought to me a new understanding.
Jesus bore the hard and heavy of our sin, paying the penalty once and for all. He took that sin and shame to the depths of hell and left it there along with sin’s death. He now gives us freedom from it as a gift. All we need to do is receive it. We have no need to keep bearing that which is removed far from us in Christ. We need to take up our freedom in Christ and walk in it.
Jesus also bore our stripes for sin and sickness. By His stripes, we are healed. We don’t have to take that up and carry it. He bore that for us. And He helps us bear it now while we walk to full healing, whether that healing comes in this life or the next. Our health may prove a challenge, bringing opportunity to trust God and see all He will do in the midst of our struggle, but it can’t stop God’s purpose in us. There is always a way to serve and shine for Him when we seek His heart in every opportune moment.
Jesus also tells us that we should yoke ourselves with Him. Like Simon of Cyrene, Jesus is there to help bear our cross, but He does so willingly, not because He is required to by some enemy force. He says, “My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” (Matthew 11:30 AMPC)
As I think on that, I realize the view God has of the cross Jesus bore. That cross was not the sin and shame, sickness and death we look at. God sees freedom for His children. He sees the humility, selflessness, and obedient heart of Christ, which now lives in us. He sees mercy made new every morning, compassion that fails not, forgiveness made free and clear. He sees a willing heart made ready for God’s will. He sees Life, abundant and full.
Our cross to bear up under is yoked with Christ. It is freedom from sin and shame, sickness and death. It is one of willing surrender to the will of God, knowing that all He calls us to, He helps, provides for, and empowers us to do. It’s a cross set to please Him, honor Him, glorify Him. It’s a cross of eternal purpose that displays grace, mercy, forgiveness, love, selflessness, courage, strength, joy, contentment, assurance, power, and more.
The cross God left His children to take up daily and bear for all the world to see is light, easy, and an honor to His holy name. It has nothing to do with our physical strength, health, or struggles in this life. Those are simply opportunities to shine His Light and experience His power made perfect in us. Our cross has everything to do with our eternal perspective and assurance; with love for God and others that does hard things made easier in Christ.
Nothing can keep us back and hold us down when our heart is set on the eternal perspective of God’s purpose, plan, and provision. We experience God as we daily take up the heart of God, the mind of Christ, and the eternal perspective of a Life made new and easy in Him. By the understanding that God will complete and fulfill His purpose through our willing surrender, we partner in the cause of Christ to carry out our ministry to the glory of His name.
Seeking Holy Habitation, seated at God's feet (Exodus 15:13).