Tag Archives: armor

Zeal of the Lord

“The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform (accomplishes) this” – Isaiah 9:7 (AMPC).

I love that we can trust our God. Reading this focal passage in a devotional today has me wondering what scripture has to say about God’s zeal, so I did a little research, and here’s what I found:

God is zealous:

1. For His people (Isaiah 26:11; 37:32).

2. For the establishment of His King – Kingdom (Isaiah 9:7).

3. In His battle against enemy forces (Isaiah 42:13).

4. For the fulfillment of His purposes (Isaiah 9:7; Zephaniah 3:8; & all the above).

Another thing I noticed is the frequency with which His zeal is linked with Him being the Lord of Hosts. That says to me that God is not sitting back, waiting for things to happen. Zeal requires action, and He is actively involved in making sure His desire toward His people and purpose gets done.

We desperately need to see the zeal of the Lord in our day. We can do nothing apart from Him. We need His zeal for a Life that honors Him, fulfills His purpose, and walks in His victory.

Here am I, O God. Let Your zeal prevail and perform Your purposes in and through and around me and mine. Reveal Your zeal for all that concerns us. Pour forth Your zeal against the enemy that prowls around like a lion, set to devour. We look to You, O God, and are helped.

Thank You that You are for us and not against us who are of Your household; that You never leave nor forsake us; and that You are faithful, for You cannot deny Yourself by failing to fulfill Your word or by denying Your Son, Christ in us. We give all glory to You, realizing that Your zeal is our hope and help. In Jesus. Amen.

The Subtle Nuances of Persecution

People have said in my presence many times that we in America don’t know what persecution is. That very statement proves it – especially of the one speaking. What they are saying is we have not had our lives threatened by people wanting us to openly denounce our God. With that definition of persecution in mind, they are correct. We do not often see that in the USA, though, in recent days, we are seeing a rise in that type of attack. But that narrow definition of the parameters of persecution causes a failure to recognize that all face persecution in some way every day.

“How is that?” you may ask. To respond fully to the how, the question we have to answer is, what is persecution? What is its purpose? What is its underlying resource? One of the oldest texts in scripture answers all these questions and gives them definition through the more subtle attacks we see there, and in our land.

What is persecution and its resource?

We find this answered in Job 1, in the discourse between God and Satan. God points out Job, his righteous life and careful care of his relationship with God, seeking always to please God. Satan questions that loyalty, accusing God of having Job so protected and cared for that he only sought to please God for what it brought to his life. He goaded God, “Remove all his blessings from You and let me at him, and he will curse You” (Darlene’s paraphrase).

Persecution, whether that seen in the life of Job, or that intended when people say we, in America, do not truly know persecution, comes through the resource of Satan, who hates God. It is his attack against God, his attempt to destroy all that God holds dear. Some is the obvious persecution we recognize as we see those who refuse to deny God having their heads removed by those through whom Satan sends his attack.

Thus, in response to the third question, what is its purpose, we see that best defined by the words spoken through Job’s wife in chapter 2:10, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!”

Satan’s whole desire is to get us to curse God, deny Him as God and Lord, and to enter the death that comes when we refuse to fully trust Him.

That brings us to the subtle aspects of persecution that we too often fail to recognize as that. The things Satan did to Job to try to get him to fall away from his “integrity” by cursing God and turning from faith in Him came in the following ways:

  1. The death of loved ones.
  2. The removal of wealth, bringing him to poverty.
  3. Assault against his health, threatening his life.
  4. The voice of a wife who fell, in her grief, to give voice to his persecutor, Satan, goading him to curse God too.
  5. The accusations of friends, convinced that some hidden sin and failure to repent was the cause of all his trouble, thus attempting to lead him to doubt his assurance in God.

Any of this sound familiar? I see it every day in our land. In fact, my thoughts today flow to this long understood truth, not only because of my husband’s battle with cancer, but also because of learning of a young, dearly loved woman who is fighting stage 4 colon cancer. She is still raising her children, two of them young teens. Her battle against this unseen enemy that wants not only to steal her life, but hopes to steal her faith in God, is well under way. My prayer for her and for her family today is for faith to trust God more. As Job said to his wayward, grief stricken wife, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”

Trusting God for me in my husband’s battle means trusting God’s hand of healing, whether it is experienced in this life or the next. It means trusting that God will continue to minister to my needs even if He takes my husband, who is our bread winner. It means trusting that He will help me face the days ahead with strength of faith and assurance of hope.

For my young friend, it means trusting that God has a purpose in all this. That He will help her face these days with courage and peace, joy and hope. That, if He takes her home, He will remain with her family to help them. That He will take up with her children where she leaves off, to help them be the men of God she desires. That He will help her husband stand firm of faith and be the daddy her kids need; and that God will meet him at his greatest needs.

We all hope healing in the here and now for her and for my husband. But true trust acknowledges that we cannot know all God sees in what He is doing and allowing. Trust knows that His purpose is eternal good, and His plan will succeed in accomplishing what is best for all concerned.

Our journey, whatever the struggle that comes, is made easier when faith stands firm on trust in God. That trust wins the battle against all the enemy can throw at us. That trust is what our loved ones need to see most of all, so whichever way God’s plan takes us, they are helped to have the resource of our example to help them carry on. May we be found faithfully trusting God.

Believe God

‬ “And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He went His way.” Luke‬ ‭4:28-30‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The faith of Jesus seen in his journey to the cross, refusing the crown of man and the fear of every threat, because He knew the promise of God and trusted His provision on the course set before Him, amazes and inspires my own faith, as does the faith of the apostles. To believe God for each step taken in obedience to Him is my heart’s cry. I see it in those who have gone before us. I saw it lived out in my friend, Steve and in many others who set a good example through faith. I pray to walk out that faith daily as I seek the Father to trust Him more. I choose to believe God, that it will turn out exactly as He tells us it will. 
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭NASB‬

Fast and Pray

A friend of mine wrote a beautiful FB post on the benefits of fasting prayer. It is linked below, but not sure it will open. I, too, have practiced fasting prayer many times for many reasons, and have experienced what Becky speaks of here. In fact, I have been doing some short fasts and praying, even Jerichoing our city as I pray for the desperate needs of family and friends. 

I fasted a day last week for these things, plus for God to strengthen my resolve to eat right and do what is needful to take care of me in this season with my husband’s health and other family issues. 
I am a stress eater by habit and have been so out of control, it is hurting me. My husband had me promise that I would take care of me and not let all this get me down physically from the lack of self care. Failing at that, I took a day to seek the Lord’s strength and resolve: and I believe I will keep doing so at least weekly through this season. It’s the only way I see of keeping my promise, by seeking Him who is my First, Most Vital, Need and Necessity. Without God, I can do nothing. 

Since starting this routine in praying for family and friends, and now for myself, my strength and good appetite is returning, and I see the signs of God moving on behalf of family and friends. In fact, a “son” returned to his family the other day. Now for him to return to his God. 

Keep praying! And as the Spirit leads, do fast before the Lord and be strengthened.

Becky’s post

Capturing Stinking Thinking: Part 3

In our consideration of the truths found in Philippians 4:4-13, we find instruction to help us take every thought captive to obey God in Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).

Rejoicing in the Lord despite circumstance strengthens us for a life that honors God as God, even when the road before us is rough. Finding our joy in God protects our way of viewing the situations we face, thus protecting our way of thinking about life’s challenges. Our thoughts then flow from this joy in God that trusts in Him, bringing us to respond in gentle ways that bear up under the pressure with patients, realizing the Lord’s nearness and trusting Him to guide us as He works in our lives.

Knowing that the Lord is near strengthens us when difficulty threatens our faith. God’s word reveals two ways we are to know His nearness. One is realizing that the Lord is returning and we must be ready for Him as His servants by following His will and way in our day. This understanding empowers us to keep moving forward, having minds set on our eternal relationship with Him, destined to live with Him forever. The second way we know His nearness is in trusting that He has given us His Spirit to be with us, instruct us, and empower / equip us for each challenge faced. This faith in God’s provision helps us to obey as His representatives, fulfilling His purpose, seeing challenge as opportunity to please Him. We patiently endure every difficulty as we take up the next spiritual weapon against stinking thinking that brings a fall:

“…Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. …” ~ Vs. 6-7.

Besides robbing us of our joy, leading us to respond in self-protective and hurtful ways, bringing us to forget the nearness of our God, the enemy of God loves when he can tickle our minds with anxious thoughts that raise up doubt toward God and fear of the things we see in front of us. In today’s scripture, God’s Word gives instruction regarding ways of dealing with anxiety.

First, the word “be” implies that we have a choice. We do not have to be anxious people. We can choose to be people who trust in God, thus overcoming the anxious thoughts through faith. That trust reveals itself as we seek His answers regarding the path ahead through prayer. God’s word teaches us to seek Him in faith, believing He will answer (James 1:5-8, 5:13-18; Hebrews 11:1, 6).

Trust also reveals itself in our ability to choose to be thankful people. We may not feel thankful for the situation we are in, but we can be thankful for God and all we know of Him that will have an effect on our outcome. We can be thankful for His presence and supply that will be there for us as we walk the path ahead of us. We can be thankful for the words of wisdom He gives our hearts that overcome the anxiety threatening our ability to face the day. And we can be thankful for all we will learn about Him through our journey of faith, and all He will do in growing us to be strong as people of God.

As we choose in this way to be people of faith, not given over to anxiety, God’s word promises that He will respond with an outpouring of His peace. He gives more than just a little peace. He pours it out to and through us in ways that surpass our comprehension. That peace envelops our hearts and minds, protecting us from the anxiety and fear that seeks to defeat us by making us feel weak and worthless. Choosing to push anxiety and fear away with trust in God that seeks Him and rejoices in Him empowers us to have right thoughts within, leading to right actions, flowing out of the strength of God’s sure supply.

Capturing Stinking Thinking: Part 2

On this journey to consider truths we need to practice, as we work to take every thought captive and bring them in line with the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-6), our first divinely, powerful spiritual weapon is the possession of true joy that rests securely in the Lord. Joy in the Lord protects us from walking contrary to Him. It is not dependent on circumstance; and nothing can steal that joy away from us when we work with God in taking every thought captive to follow the example of Christ in obedience to Him, and in the likeness of His. Continuing to consider the wisdom of Philippians 4:4-13, we come to verse 5:

“…Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. …”

I see two truths here necessary to our arsenal of weapons equipping us to bring our thoughts in line with God’s ways. One is our attitude or temperament in life situations, addressed here in the call to work out of a “gentle spirit”. The classic Amplified translation defines a gentle spirit, giving other words used in translating that phrase:

“Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon].”

Walking in a gentle spirit requires us to be unselfish. Consider the impact selfishness has on our thought processes. We cannot accomplish the will of God or work well with others when we care more about our own desires, needs, and comfort than we do theirs. Being unselfish equips us to work with others in harmony, as it leads us to be considerate of them, their needs, and their opinions, while bowing to the will of God.

Walking in gentleness also requires us to be forbearing. Forbearance means tolerance and restraint in the face of provocation, bearing the fruit of patience toward others. It realizes that no one is perfect, and we all have habits and ways of doing things that differ. Gentleness practices understanding patience in our ability to let others be who they are without constantly insisting we have things done our way. Forbearance is self-controlled, knowing how to motivate and influence others without belittling them.

Our ability to control our attitude and temperament greatly affects the way we think in a situation and toward others. The second thing Paul adds here to motivate us, is that we are to remember that the Lord is near. There are two potential interpretations of that. One shared in the Amplified version is that we must realize that the Lord is returning, thus, we must take care to live in a way where we are ready for Him when He gets here.

Another interpretation of the Lord’s nearness is the realization that God causes His Spirit to dwell in us, to teach us and help us live in that readiness for the soon returning Christ. Wherever we are, in whatever situation we are in, recognizing the presence of God with us and His work in us, and surrendering to that, equips our representation of Him and His interests. We bear the fruit of gentleness when we relate with others out of this realization of His presence in us through the Spirit, living in ways that reveal understanding that Jesus is returning.

People are watching, beloved. They need to see us responding to life situations in line with the nature of God at work in us through the Spirit that indwells us. Our thought life very often affects our attitude and temperament. Surrendering to the Spirit’s nudge to remember gentleness, being unselfish and considerate, while practicing forbearance toward one another, strengthens our arsenal against bad attitudes and temper flares. In this way, remembering we are His representatives, we live in readiness for His return.

Capturing Stinking Thinking: Part 1

In 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, God’s word instructs us on the weapons of our warfare, telling us they are “divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses”. Following that, verse 5 points to a particular battlefield that, left unchecked, is the opening through which enemy forces can strike in gaining access into areas of our lives where they can set up strongholds of sin and oppression. That area of battle is in our thoughts. Verse 5 instructs us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

One frequent stronghold in my life is in my eating and health practices. Realizing that I am too quick to run to food in certain situations, I focus this month to put a check on my stinking thinking, realizing that taking stress filled thoughts captive and making them bow to the Sovereign and His opinion is the pathway leading to overcoming such strongholds.

As I seek the Father to adjust my thought life, bringing all in agreement with His teachings, following the example we have in Christ, my heart turns to the teachings of Paul found in Philippians 4. There I find a treasure-trove of wisdom to help me on my journey of capturing stinking thinking that hinders my Life practices. Beginning with verse 4, I will spend several days considering the truths found here and how they apply to my journey of capturing wrong thinking and bringing it into agreement with Scriptural principles.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! …” ~ Philippians 4:4-14.

As I begin looking at this focal passage, I see several areas of life-practices that can influence our way of thinking and, when we fail to practice these truths, it makes us vulnerable to thought processes leading to a downfall. The first is this need to find our joy in the Lord. Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that the joy we find in God – in who He is, in our relationship with Him, and our following after Him – is what gives us strength for life.

“Then he said to them, ‘Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’”

The enemy of God loves when he can rob us of this true joy because it weakens us. It is easiest for him to do that when our joy is misplaced. Finding our joy in the things of this life is easily disturbed when those things that bring us joy become difficult, are out of our reach, or fail us. Placing our joy in God protects us, as our ability to face hardship abounds in Him who is our source of true strength and security. Nothing in this life can overcome our joy when it is set securely in Him who is trustworthy and faithful. Such trust in our God and the joy of relationship that trust brings to us empowers us to face difficulty with the strength of two, as He faithfully helps us surpass our weakness.

Rejoicing in the Lord despite circumstances greatly helps our perseverance. A heart attitude of joy in the Lord is a weapon against the doubt and fear set to take our thoughts captive and lead us to a fall that rises up as a stronghold in our lives. Rejoicing in all we know of our God breaks that cycle of doubt and fear.

When your thoughts are disturbed within you, the first thing to do is rejoice in the Lord. Let all that He is and the benefit He provides be your focus, beloved, and rejoice. Again I say, “Rejoice!” and find your Strength.

Pray For Those Who Hurt You

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you” ~ Luke 6:27-28, NLT.

God speaks this passage as reminder to me today, especially the command to “Pray FOR those who hurt you. Check how you are praying, Darlene.”

People hurt people. There are many causes that lead people to hurt one another, some malicious, some incidental and unintended. Some hurt comes with the best of intentions. We all struggle in various ways that can lead us to carry our feelings as on our shoulders, where the actions and words of others easily knock us around: fear of rejection and other such insecurities. Some carry their “feelings” on their shoulders because they are walking in an ungodly lifestyle, they know it, and they don’t want anyone telling them about it. People who struggle in any of the above tend to hurt those around them out of their own struggle and insecurities. Those trapped in the common sins of our day tend to hurt those around them in the very practice of their lifestyles: drug addicts steal from those they love most; adulterers destroy their own families; etc. We hurt each other, and praying properly for those who hurt us is often a challenge.

What does it mean to pray for those who hurt us? Too often, in praying for someone who hurt me, I find myself truly praying for me: praying selfishly.

“Lord, they falsely accused me. Make them know the truth and apologize.”

“Lord, they stole from me. Make them repent and pay it back.”

Problem is that their heart intent may be nowhere near my comprehension of the truth of their heart. I may have misunderstood their words. I may be reading between the lines and comprehending an accusation they never meant. I may receive insult from actions that truly were not aimed at me as I stepped between them and their target. Praying for others out of our hurt can lead to selfish requests that God cannot answer. Our best, most effective praying seeks the heart of God for His truth regarding the need of the one whose actions / reactions hurt our feelings or did harm to our life, reputation, or sense of security.

We can learn a lot from how Jesus prayed FOR those hurting Him. He cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Praying for others realizes truth: Jesus proclaiming “they know not what they do”. Praying for others refuses to give preference for one’s own desire, right, or recompense. Praying for others seeks God and His desire for them. Praying for others focuses on their deepest, truest needs. We all need God’s grace sufficient for us. We all need truth that sets us free from any lie. We all need repentant hearts that seek wholeheartedly after God.

Until we can pray for others, our own heart toward them will fall short of truly loving and caring for their need. Until we can pray for God to forgive them, just as Jesus did, and mean it, our own ability to forgive will fall short. Until we can pray for them to know His love, our ability to love those who hurt us truly will suffer loss. Until we can pray for eyes that see as God sees, compassion will fail us, transforming-truth will escape us, and love will find no roost for new growth.

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good…” ~ Romans 12:9-13 (Philippians 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a; Romans 13:7-14).

Recognizing and Defeating a Factious Spirit ~ Part 3

Thus far, we covered that a factious spirit that gets hold of our mind and emotions is one that says, “I need someone to agree with me.” It is a spirit that fails and often refuses to open itself to seeking and finding the full truth of a situation. Defeating this tendency requires us to realize that the only one we need in agreement with us is God. He knows our hearts and if He does not convict or condemn us, then we stand righteous before Him.

Overcoming discord requires us to seek to understand our own thoughts and feelings, and to know that we stand pure of heart before God. Restoration requires us to seek to understand the thoughts and feelings of the others involved in the conflict. Today we discover that successful effort in this accomplishes the main work of a peacemaker.

Reading on from yesterday’s scripture:

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” ~ 1 John 1:5-7.

As I read this passage, God’s Spirit reminds me of something He recently inspired me to understand about the true role of a peacemaker. The number one characteristic of a peacemaker, in the way God intends it, is being a person who can walk in the light of truth, and help others do the same. These seek and find the truth of a situation, seek and find the truth of God’s will and way, and bringing all under that light, they seek to lead all parties to find the unity and fellowship we have in Christ and His truth. The true peacemaker seeks after and leads those around them to come to The Light, making amends wherever truth reveals the need, thus restoring fellowship with God first, and then with man.

1 John 2:7-11 says, “Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

Fleshly indulgences, worldly ways, and Satanic influence is darkness that seeks to separate us from God, His Light, and those we love, especially from other believers. When we set our minds and hearts on our own version of truth, refusing to seek to understand others and bring a situation into God’s Light, Satan attacks our minds and hearts with thoughts that feed our false understanding, giving approval to fleshly indulgence and worldly ways. He takes us ever deeper into his pit of despair and discord.

We cannot develop a true and lasting fellowship with others unless we are willing to comecomfort002 into God’s Light with them. When we sit together, with ears attuned to hear their heart, eyes focused on seeing their situation and need, and hands ready and willing to give that healing touch of love, we get to the heart of our issues. There we find that any problem between us is seldom a one-sided problem, and often we find the truth of it to be not what we thought it was.

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned” ~ Luke 6:36-37.

Difficult Things 1 ~ To Truly Trust: Side 2

Last post we began looking at the difficulty of truly trusting in God. We saw the seed of faith that leads us to seek the Father with trust that He who can, if willing, sees no impossible task and is able to respond to our need.

The problem is that we too often put God in a box of our making. We see a need, and, from our limited understanding, we see a potential solution. Working out of our finite mind, we too readily demand that God work in the way we perceive is best. We often fail to understand that God has the greater plan in heart, the eternal good of all concerned.

God always responds with the purpose of fulfilling the ultimate good. That understanding leads us to the flip side of our trust coin, and our greatest picture of this trust is found in Christ as He poured out His heart to God that last night in the garden He loved.

“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done’” ~ Luke 22:41-42.

“Yet not my will, but Yours be done” is the flip side of the trust coin that we too easily miss out on. Jesus, in this day of His life, sought the Father knowing that if willingness to do so was there, the Father had power to remove the cup He was about to drink.

God’s ability was not in question. Truly, even His willingness was not the issue, for Jesus later tells Peter, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? HOW THEN WILL THE SCRIPTURES BE FULFILLED, WHICH SAY THAT IT MUST HAPPEN THIS WAY?” (see Matthew 26, especially verses 46-54).

Jesus knew that God had a greater purpose in the cup sitting before Him and this was the plan from the beginning. Yes, in the stress of facing the pain and suffering that cup meant for Him, He asked for the cup to be removed, and He asked in faith, knowing God could do what He asked if willing. However, in that faith and belief, He asked with a willingness to drink the cup for the sake of fulfilling the eternal purpose of God. True trust in God overcomes the stress hormones of our flesh and the desire of our limited understanding to desire God’s will above our own.

Jesus knew that Father God is the perfect Father, having the perfect plan for the perfecting work of humankind and the completion of His eternal Kingdom. He knew this God is all-powerful and can do anything He has a mind to do. That included the power to equip this Son of His to face the pain of 40 lashes and the nail scarred hands and feet of one placed on a cross. He knew the suffering He walked toward included the moment in time when the whole of the sin of humankind would go on His crucified shoulders and the Father He loved would turn His back on the Lamb bearing the sin. He knew, as hard as it was to face that pain and the separation it would bring for that brief moment of His life, the Father is trustworthy. He trusted God to do all He promised by the best means, working the greatest glory, and He trusted Him even in death.

This trust in God on the flip side is the meaning of the second, seemingly repeated trust found in our Jeremiah passage:

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord” ~ Jeremiah 17:7.

What if Jesus failed to trust God to be God? What if He let fear and dread of the pain cause Him to be unwilling for God’s will? What if He ran from that cross, refusing to bear it; where would we be? This passage, more than any other, helps me to understand that the body’s natural response to such, with hormones surging and leading us to question the sanity of such a time as this, is not sin. The sin is in giving ourselves to it and letting it destroy our willingness for God’s will.

When we only want what God can do without trusting that He knows and does what is best for the situation so that it works His purpose, we place ourselves in a position to fall away from true faith if His greater purpose refuses us our desire. Trust in what God can do must ultimately flow from trust in who God is and the understanding that He who sees all will most assuredly see more than we can fathom. He, knowing more than we do about any given situation, always does what is best for our here and now, for that of those we entrust to Him, and for the eternal destiny before us.

Back to my husband’s situation. Do I believe my God can heal Him? You better believe I do, and I am praying with faith for that outcome. Not only do I believe God can heal him, I believe He is willing. The question is, what does God’s idea of healing look like for my husband? Do I trust God enough to surrender my husband to God, trusting His best for all concerned, even if that means his healing is for God to take this mate I love to his eternity? Yes, I do. Do I know that God will be my help to face the days without this man I have spent over 2/3s of my life with, when I cannot fathom life apart from him? I know I can trust my God.

Beloved, we put those we love and all we want in danger if we cannot truly and earnestly say, “Yet not my will, but Thy will be done.” To fail full trust in God, surrendering this one to Him, is to hold my husband as an idol, desiring him above my God. I will not put my husband in that dangerous place, for God says, “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another” ~ Isaiah 48:11.

That said, my prayer becomes, Father, I know You can heal my husband. I know You can help us through these days we face. I long to face these days with Your strength that brings You glory. I believe You are willing to heal my husband and my hope is for more time together here, this is my prayer and desire. But I also know that You know what is best for all concerned. So let Your will be done, on earth and in us, as it is in heaven. I receive every word of hope You highlight for me in this hour, and I stand on You who speak Your will into existence according to Your way and for Your glory. In Jesus, amen.

Oh! Yeah. What about the disciples in the healing they could not perform? I believe there were two problems that hindered their ability: 1) the desire of their affection; and 2) the authority in their desire. See you next post for Difficult Things 2, when I will endeavor to explain.

Listening Prayer (Part 5) ~ The Purpose

Listening prayer is a lifestyle of ceaseless communication with God; making every step and every breath an act of obedience flowing from a living and active relationship with Him as our Lord, our very breath of life. This lifestyle is vital to our function in this age in which we live and to our ability to overcome the challenges of a world that is daily moving farther from Him. In closing out this focus today, I am reminded of the purpose and goal of such a vital, God-breathed lifestyle of prayer.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6.

The goal and purpose of listening prayer is to make all our being and all we do and think acknowledge God as Lord, knowing that He is our first and most vital need. He is our Treasure: our eternal Inheritance. To be still within, lifting every breath to Him, the One in whom we place our trust, acknowledges His right as God over us, and our need of Him in all our ways. Here in Proverbs, God promises that, as we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will make our paths straight.

As I read this proverbs passage today, I found myself praying for God to reveal anything at the heart of my life that fails to acknowledge Him as Lord; anything hindering my seeking first His Kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Shortly after that prayer, a book I am reading led me to Deuteronomy:

“The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live” ~ Deuteronomy 30:6.

Circumcising the heart is the removal of all that separates us from complete allegiance to and relationship with God. God reveals the things we lean on or want more than we do Him, and He begins the work of removing from our lives all that hinders our relationship with Him. Some things God graciously removes with hardly any notice of it or work on our part. We just suddenly lose all desire for that thing that interfered with our communion with our Beloved. However, there are some things where God will reveal the interfering offender and then tell us, “Circumcise your heart” (Deuteronomy 10:12-21 *vs. 16). Some things God requires us to do the work; He wants us to choose Him as much as He chooses us.

God holds us as the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8). He loves us so much that He made a way for us to have relationship with Him by sacrificing His Son on our behalf (John 3:16). God’s desire is for us, not wanting ANY to perish, but ALL to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Repentance means to let go of one’s own way, aligning self with God and His ways, so that we walk beside Him in unity of mind and heart, fulfilling His purpose and plan. That requires us to love and desire Him as He does us.

The question is, do we hold Him as the apple of our eye – the center, most prominent treasure we seek to obtain and hold dearest to our heart when possessed? Do we desire relationship with Him so much that we willingly deny ourselves, and, taking up our cross of self-sacrifice daily, determine to follow Him at all cost (Luke 9:23, see AMPC)? Do we truly see God in all His triune essence as our first, most vital need and necessity, so that we choose Him above all else?

The goal and purpose of this call of God for us is that we may grow to love Him and desire Him above all else, fully possessing the eternal relationship He purchased for us. The love He calls us to grow in our possession of as we practice a living, life-giving, listening-prayer life that fully relates with and works alongside Him is best expressed in these words of Paul:

“Grace (God’s undeserved favor) be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with undying and INCORRUPTIBLE LOVE” ~ Ephesians 6:24, AMPC.

Loving God with a love so strong and sure, eternally binds us to Him. Nothing can draw us away from relationship with Him, corrupting our walk, when we come fully into this living, breathing walk of love with Him.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.

Jesus, Our Example in Representing God’s Interests

“All whom My Father gives (entrusts) to Me will come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out [I will never, no never, reject one of them who comes to Me]. For I have come down from heaven not to do My own will and purpose but to do the will and purpose of Him Who sent Me. And this is the will of Him Who sent Me, that I should not lose any of all that He has given Me, but that I should give new life and raise [them all] up at the last day. For this is My Father’s will and His purpose, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up [from the dead] at the last day” ~ John 6:37-40, AMP.

This really speaks a truth to me this morning that I need to possess and walk out into my daily life. I am really bad to not answer the phone or the door if I do not know who it is and feel like dealing with others. This practice is not expressive of God’s way, nor does it fulfill His purpose. He does not cast out or reject those seeking Him. He is THE LIGHT of the World. I am a part of His light on a hill, a lamp set in a place where darkness needs dispelling (Matthew 5:14-16; Matthew 10:27; Romans 13:12-14; 2 Corinthians 4:5-7; Ephesians 5).

Jesus constantly remembered His purpose. Jesus kept at heart the truth that God sent Him to do His will and fulfill the Father’s purpose. Therefore, He turned none away without seeing what the Lord would do through Him in the lives of those He met. His purpose was to be the Savior, granting eternal life to all who sought Him, and lifting them to their eternal dwelling with God. He also possessed the purpose of making the Father and the truth of His Word known to all. He embodied the essence of God’s image, bearing forth the fruit of His presence, power, and love into every situation.

God speaks to me this day, reminding me that, like Jesus, it is vital to remember that we are here in this life at this time with a purpose. Jesus alone is Savior. We are Light to draw others to Him, representing Him and His interests in the world. As He did, trusting God to use Him in the lives of those seeking Him, we must do the same.

Now, not all who came to Jesus were truly seeking Him. Some came to oppose Him or to try to expose Him as a fraud. Others came out of curiosity. Many came to see what He could do for them in the physical. Whoever came, He did not turn away, but dealt with them where they were in life. Many, once touched by His love, grace, wisdom, and power, returned to truly and sincerely seek Him. Others never did. With all who came, Jesus fulfilled His purpose in dealing with each, individually or corporately, shining the Light of truth, lovingkindness, hope, and righteousness into their reality. This is Jesus’ example to us, and it is our call in Christ.

God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever: His purpose unchanging. Thus, this remains the Father’s will and His purpose: that everyone who sees the Son in us, those who, through our testimony, He leads to believe in and cleave to and trust in and rely on Him, these too should have eternal life. By following Christ’s example to us, loving on all who come near, shining the light of truth to them, we can take part in the work of God in the lives others with hope of His raising them up at the last day.

~*~

“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” ~ 2 Timothy 4:1-5.

“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

(See also Matthew 10:16-20; John 3:33; Acts 4:33; 1 Corinthians 1:4-9; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:9-12; 2 Timothy 1:7-11; Hebrews 10:14-25; Hebrews 12:1-3; 1 John 5:9-12; Revelation 12:10-12)

Convinced of This: I Can Do All Things Through Christ!

“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” ~ Philippians 4:12-13.

Beloved, I ask you, have you come to the place in your relationship with God where you truly and fully know that you “can”? No matter the storm; no matter the hardship; no matter the challenge; no matter the duty; no matter the appearance of weakness and insufficiency: do you knowingly proclaim in full assurance “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”?

God grows me daily to understand that “I can.” Is it always easy? Is it always pleasant? Is it always with courage? Is it never accompanied by struggle or pain? Of course the answer to all is a resounding “no!” However, God continues to teach me truths that make the struggle worth the growth pains. Today I share one with you that only recently formed in me. Before I do, let me preface this word with one truth you must understand. I am NOT, in what I am about to tell you, saying that we can be God or take His place in any way. Know now that is not what I am telling you, or you will miss what I am saying and the power for life it gives to fully believe, “I CAN do ALL things through Christ!”

Reading John 5:16-18, these words grab me: “(Jesus) calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” The Scribes and Pharisees raged at Jesus, angered by this connection, but this is true of Christ like it can never be for us. Jesus is God incarnate. Jesus came to show us the Father and make Him known to us. Jesus came with the calling and equipping of God to make us one with Him in Christ. Now bear with me.

As I contemplated that thought, “Making Himself equal with God”, asking Jesus what He wanted me to see, He spoke, “Our Father, who art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). Instantly I realized Jesus, instructing my heart that our ability to know “I can do all things through Christ” requires we find this same expression of unity with the Father for a life of power. He must be “FATHER” to ME. The thing the Pharisees accused Jesus of, He instructs us to seek the Father from that very stance: we are the image of God.

Jesus, our example, tells us in John 14:7-15, “…He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?” Jesus, in John 17, prays that we will be one with Him and the Father as He and the Father are one (vs. 22). If Jesus prayed it, it must not only be possible, but expected. We are the people called of God, equipped through Christ, beloved, to be one with the Father, expressive of His glory in Christlikeness. This is our position in Christ.

“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” ~ John 14:11-12.

Jesus calls and equips us for greater works, beloved. He empowers us to express the reality of the Father: His person, character, nature, and power in the earth. That comes with authority and full provision for the task. When we grasp hold of our unity with Father through Christ and fully possess it as our own reality, knowing He plans for our success in fully accomplishing His good will in His good way, pouring Himself through us to do so, then we will know beyond doubt the “I can do all things” that God holds out to us in Christ.

Meet Neil Vermillion: Find God’s Faithfulness

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I am only now getting acquainted with the writings of Neil Vermillion. He writes as a prophet of God to encourage the people of God. Some do not believe in such, but I do. I believe that any word we speak to encourage others in Christ better be from the heart of God, for only there is truth found for any situation, and that, beloved, is the heart of prophesy.

True prophesy is always linked to the character, sovereignty and truth of God and His Word, for prophet and prophesy cannot stand apart from Him. True prophesy always leads the hearer to faith in God alone. Neil Vermillion ministers a heart of faith in his posts, and in the few days of my time with him, God has helped me through his words.

Through Neil today, God reminds my heart that He’s got this! Whatever mess we are in today, God’s got it covered. He has a plan. He has a purpose. There is no being and no power big enough to thwart God’s will. On this difficult day, I needed that word. Perhaps you do as well, so let me introduce you to Neil Vermillion through his post, “My Plans For You Will Be Accomplished.”

Meet Neil at  Daily Prophetic Word.

Convinced of This: I Can Believe God

“The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering Life He brings into Light. He was in the world, the world was there through Him, and yet the world didn’t even notice. He came to His own people, but they didn’t want Him. But whoever did want Him, who believed He was who He claimed and would do what He said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. These are the God-begotten, not blood-begotten, not flesh-begotten, not sex-begotten” ~ John 1:9-13, MSG.

God leads me to John 1:9 often, especially when things in life look dark and grim. Sometimes my heart wants to just say, “Yes, Lord, I know You are The Light and You enlighten the heart of every person seeking You.” Then I pause, knowing God ALWAYS has something to say to my heart when I obediently and expectantly revisit such familiar passages. Lately God uses the wording of The Message to inspire greater depth of understanding with greater breadth of hope. Today is one such day.

Someone I love greatly; someone we trusted with others we love; he made choices that did great harm to our beloveds and put himself into the legal system of our nation, sanctioned by God. After five long years, he faced his days in court and lost the battle. Yesterday our little ones said goodbye to their dad. Today he goes into his confinement. My heart breaks for all concerned. My cry goes to God for each. He leads me to His promises, and through this passage reminds me to “only believe!”

My heart is especially with this man who I still love despite his sin and the consequences it brought to all. I cry out to God for his protection and for his strength in this new journey he is on. I believe God, who tells my heart that He is with him to protect Him and I cry out for his faith to know this as well. And I believe this promise that through this difficult season, God will use all to make this man into the true self God planned for him.

only believe1Faith often grows strongest in the winds of adversity. God takes us to greater depths of understanding His faithfulness through the challenges this life presents us. The darker the hour, the closer to the heart of Christ it requires us to come, so His light can shine on the truth of God’s faithfulness toward us. God assures my heart today that through faith, He is making each of us into our true, Child-of-God selves. The requirement: see the Light of God shining on His promises and only believe. Trust His hand in the journey, and cling to His word.

Whatever difficulty you are in today, beloved, I pray the promises of God for you. I pray you will only believe that God is who He says He is, and that He will do all He says He will do. I pray that He enlightens your heart, your day, your path, your experience, leading you surely to become the true, Child-of-God person He planned from before time began.

~*~

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn entirely away from evil. It shall be health to your nerves and sinews, and marrow and moistening to your bones” ~ Proverbs 3:5-8, AMP.

Convinced of This: God is With Me

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” ~ Isaiah 41:10.

As I have my time with the Lord each day, it is amazing how much of His Word is set in place for our benefit, to lead us surly to Holy Habitation with God. None more vital than this promise expressed in Isaiah 41:10. For personal and full assurance that no matter what comes into our lives in this earth, whether through persecution or penance, we must fully believe that God is with “ME”! He is with ME to help ME.

None of the other promises I can think of, that assure our hearts, can stand-alone. They are dependent on this one fact, sealed and secure in our hearts. We cannot believe that God will truly help us if we fail to know that He is with us. We cannot hope for His deliverance or protection if our hearts tell us He is nowhere around.

Say it aloud, beloved, “God is with ‘ME’, working ALL THINGS for my good and His eternal glory!” Say it over-and-over, throughout your days, until it is settled and unstoppable in your spirit. Only with this sure knowledge are our fears, qualms, and uncertainty assuaged. Only with this sure understanding can we face even the best of days with the victory God desires and designs for us as His Holy Children.

Realize that God is our single greatest possession: no one or thing can snatch us from His hand. Only if we let this truth go without care can we fall away from Him. He is our inheritance: our exceeding, great reward. Only as we possess fully the relationship that knows God’s presence is with us can we overcome the flesh, stand in the midst of trouble, or live free in the challenges of this fallen world.

Put God’s word in your heart, beloved, where no thief can steel and no rust rot it away. Remind yourself continually of this vital truth, “No matter where I am, God is with me, and His heart desire and design is for my good.”

~*~

“Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money, including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions, and be satisfied with your present circumstances and with what you have; for God Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake you, nor let you down or relax My hold on you! Assuredly not!” ~ Hebrews 13:5, AMP.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you” ~ John 14:16. 

Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet ~ My Stronghold

“Because of his strength I will watch for You, for God is my stronghold. My God in His lovingkindness will meet me; God will let me look triumphantly upon my foes. …They wander about for food and growl if they are not satisfied. But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, for You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my strength, I will sing praises to You; for God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.” ~ Psalm 59:9-10, 15-17, NASB.

I love when my heart discerns a name of God in His word that I have not realized before. Any place that tells us “the Lord / God IS” generally translates from Jehovah (I AM). The word following “is” describes a character trait found in our faithful Creator-God that we can bank on. Here, “God is my stronghold (defense in KJV)” translates “stronghold / defense” from the Hebrew word Misgâb (mis-gawb), giving me a new-to-me name for God: Jehovah- Misgâb.

Misgâb means cliff or other lofty or inaccessible place. Translated to refuge, defense, high / strong fort / tower, or stronghold, Misgâb is the place of safety upon which a soldier is safe from enemy fire.

David faced many enemies in his life and he always ran to his Jehovah- Misgâb, the place where he found strength and wisdom for the battle, comfort in time of trouble, and rest for his war-wearied soul. In Psalm 59, David faces an enemy force that is coming against him for no cause; he had done nothing to them that should bring such an assault. The NASB describes his assailant as dogs, searching for food, dissatisfied with any they find. David finds his High Tower by determining within himself “But as for me”, despite the trouble, “I will….”

Stronghold-3The only doorway into the tower of God’s protection that is a stronghold of refuge and rest for a war-wearied soul is through faith that trusts God despite what the war looks like to our finite vision. The key to that door is a heart that praises God even when the war gets long and looks to be lost. That heart of praise and worship that fully trusts God realizes that He alone can give strength needed to continue fighting the good fight of faith while waiting for the Defender of our lives to deliver from the evil coming at us. Despite the exhaustion our tired souls feel, the heart that runs hard after Jehovah- Misgâb sings this song of faith and hope with David:

“But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress” ~ Psalm 59:16, NLT.

Sometimes, beloved, the trouble God allows to chaise us down has but one purpose ~ to drive us to trust more fully in God’s faithfulness, relying only on Him, finding our Resting Place there.

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Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet ~ The Shepherd’s Crook, Part 2

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. …” ~ Psalm 23, NASB.

Following the Good Shepherd, Jehovah-Raah, requires complete surrender that trusts Him to be God and Father, leading us to the place of His desire, designed for the glory of His name. Faith in God to be the Good Shepherd for a life of abundance despite the issues of life in this world realizes that He has a purpose in all things. Resting with surrender that trusts His purpose equips us to find in His pastures the resources He provides for our growth and maturity as His children, made in His image. Equipped to trust in the Lord and do good, in His pastures, we find opportunity to make a difference in the situations of life. With heart attuned to Him…

“He leads me beside the still and restful waters”

Surrender to trust in the Lord to do the good He has for us produces a faith toward Him that equips us to find His rest in the midst of difficult experiences. Jesus exemplified this when He slept in the bow of a boat while His disciples panicked (Matthew 8:18-27). Jesus fully trusted His destiny to God, knowing God would fulfill His good word to Him; so much so that He was able to rest in the midst of life’s literal storm.

Temptation to panic is a sign of one’s need to be still and know God. Seeking Him to reveal the faith we must possess in Him concerning our situations will find Him responding to lead us to the place of still and restful waters in the midst of hardship. Hope filled with earnest expectation that God will be God even in the storm, is the ingredient of His Spirit at work in us that leads us to His rest. This restfulness of Spirit resides in us even though we often see the rushing waves of the river nearby and feel the winds of life’s storms around us. Despite such torrents, God faithfully provides a place of safety and security. Finding us completely reliant upon Him…

“He refreshes and restores my soul – my life”

When storms come to life, they tend to change the dynamics of the life we know. Those times can make it difficult to press forward. The solution is to find His hand and trust The Good Shepherd, who faithfully leads to green pastures and quiet waters. Refreshed in His presence, restoration comes as …

“He leads me in the paths of righteousness…not for my earning it, but for His name’s sake.”

Following the Lord requires faith to trust Him to get us to the place He has for us in life’s situations. Scripture tells us that, “A man’s mind plans his way as he journeys through life, But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them” (Proverbs 16:9, AMP). When we are truly following the Lord, He establishes our steps, making them effective.

There is always eternal purpose for the paths upon which God puts our feet. Trusting and following Him step by blessed step, with faith that knows His sovereignty that works good things out of all we face, will lead to the glory of His name and fulfillment of His purpose and plan.100

Trust in Jehovah-Raah, Beloved. He will bring you through this life with a testimony of your experience of His peaceful pastures. He, whose thoughts are higher than our own and whose ways are beyond our comprehension, faithfully astounds us as we see His glory come out of experiences that are unfathomable to our finite minds.

Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet ~ Hallowed the Name

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven’”  ~ Matthew 6:9-10.

There are seasons and situations in this life that are just hard, and that can be stating it lightly. Can I get an “amen”!

In such times, it can be difficult to know even how to pray. That is when God most often leads me to the Model Prayer outlined for us by Jesus. Today, as He leads me anew to this format, I note that the first three parts of our outline all point us to realize who God is: His attributes, nature, reality, faithfulness, and sovereignty. Just as the names of God point us to all we can know true of Him, Jesus reminds us to remember these things ~ first and foremost ~ before ever considering our daily need.

Holy habitation remembers:

God is our Father ~ Jesus tells us that He is a Father we can trust to give us that which is best for us (Matthew 6:25-7:11). Believing this true, I know that when hard times come to our lives, there is a purpose from Father that we may not understand until we come through the fires to see His glory. I also believe the author of Hebrew, who tells us in chapter 12, verse 10, that our Heavenly Father disciplines our lives “for our good, so that we may share His holiness.”

The scriptures are one source of God’s discipline, being “inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Discerning the truth of His word is vital to our ability to walk through life and weather its storms.

“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11). God is Father, doing what is best for His children, so that we are not condemned with the world (1 Corinthians 11:32).

God is in heaven above ~ This truth reminds us that as we enter into the intimacy of relationship with God as Father, we must always remember that He is Sovereign, Lord of all. Nothing in life happens without His notice, and all that happens He works to fulfill His purpose (Romans 8:28-39). When things get rough, it is not the time to fall short in our faith that God is Sovereign above all, working in and through our lives to bring us to His holiness. That is when we most need to look to Him for discernment of the work His hand is producing in our lives.

Hallowed be Your name ~ No matter the trouble we face in this life, we can trust God to be holy: to be who He says He is, doing all He says He will do. In times of trouble, I too easily see the trouble and think God is somehow losing the war. Yet true faith to believe God “is” and that He is the reward for those who seek Him, continues to trust, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.”

God is working an eternal purpose. He has more than the fleeting time we have in this life at heart. We may not fully understand His purpose for allowing the fires of testing or our times in the lion’s den, but He has eternal purpose with eternal perspective that is working for our good, not our harm. Failing to believe and trust Him when things get hard is to fail to know God.

“Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own” ~ Philippians 3:12, AMP.

Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet ~ Under Kingdom Banner

“… So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. … Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner. …” ~ Exodus 17:8-16.

Over every nation I know of flies a flag representing that country. That flag flies over capitals and government buildings. Displayed during special events or during governmental addresses, it inspires national unity. It goes with that nation into battle: whether in war or in sporting competitions. Everyone, from governing officials to the people of the land, desiring to show their allegiance, displays the flag of their nation. Often the displaying of it speaks hope of all the good that nation desires coming to completion.

The same is true for the Kingdom of God and in Exodus 17 we see that the Lord is that banner. Here in this account where Moses reveals a new name to memorialize God and the victory He brought to Israel, Moses uses the words “Jehovah-Nissi”: the Lord our Banner. When we lift God High for all to see His sovereignty in our lives, we align ourselves with His Kingdom and purpose and see His hand move, leading us to experience His victory. In Holy Habitation with God, we acknowledge His right to reign over us and we align ourselves with His desires, goals, and purposes, to accomplish His plans that build for Him a Nation of glory. Under the Banner of God’s Kingdom, we find inspiration to represent His interests as ambassadors of Christ. Inspired when looking upon our Banner, we find strength to trust His supply.

We lift Him up as our banner when we bring every thought to Jesus-Bride006obedience in Christ, take every step at His command, breathe the breath of His presence and glory into our daily lives and encounters, acknowledging our need of Him first and foremost with assurance of His supply for every need and good deed. Through Jehovah-Nissi, The Lord who says to us, “I AM your Banner”, we walk continually in Holy Habitation with God, bringing a glory to His name that He uses to inspire others to come in under our Banner with us.

Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet ~ Day 14

“…Then the Lord said, ‘Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen’” ~ Exodus 33:18-23, NASB.

Have you ever been through a season of trouble where, though your mind may run crazy with all that the storm is tossing around before you, your heart remains stable, held by the peace of God? I am in such a season even now, and as in many times before, my heart is at rest. Though my eyes see the trouble and begin to ask those “why” questions of turmoil and confusion, God steadies my heart to know that He is in control. In that, He begins the work of setting me securely in the cleft of The Rock: the Holy Habitation of God’s protective cover.

Like Moses, I cry out, “Lord, I need to see You. Show me Your glory in this situation, that You are indeed with us and working on our behalf to bring good out of this trouble.” God graciously begins by placing me in the cleft of The Rock.

Think of this scene portrayed in our Exodus passage today, beloved. Realize that sitting in the cleft of a rock blocks our view. Add to that, God, covering our ability to see still further by putting His hand over us, protectively, and the ability to see what is going on becomes impossible. Until God removes His hand and we see the backside of Glory, faith to trust Him is required.

Realize also that being in the cleft of a rock blocks an enemy’s ability to get at us. Add to that ~ God. Blocking the one way in with His mighty hand, we come to know the protection of God for us. No enemy can prevail when God places us in The Cleft and covers us with His hand.

Trouble in life often requires faith to sit in the spot in which God places us and wait until He passes by. He often will do all He wills to do before He allows us to see the glory worked by His presence. During our time in that cleft, faith requires us to practice Psalm 37:

“…Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and [knowing] He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. …” [author’s thought]

In our family’s current trouble, we wait to see the Lord. Though we do what we are equipped to do to help as God leads, we trust God to fulfill His will in all the details – especially in that which is beyond our ability. We watch with earnest expectation for those tossed about in the storm to land securely in the hand of God.

The purpose of every trouble life brings to our table is God – working to make Himself known as He brings us to Himself. In the process, He fulfills His purpose of making us lights that draw others to increased faith.

“…He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord …Wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land…” (vs. 3-8, 34a).

Where does God have you in a cleft, beloved? Are you cooperating with hope of the Backside of Glory; or are you fighting against the work of God in the situation? Choose the cleft, beloved, and get ready for His glory.

(Note: we will break here for the Christmas season, returning to continue this focus by January 15. May God bless you to know His presence and may you have a very Merry Christmas and a happy new beginning to a glorious New Year.)

Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet ~ Day 12

“Then Moses said, ‘I pray You, show me Your glory!’ And He said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.’ …’”  ~ Exodus 33:18-20, NASB.

God’s goodness toward us, His giving to us a personal and intimate knowledge of Him, and His grace that meets our need: all are aspects of God’s glory-revelation. Last on this list of visual representations of God’s glory is His compassion toward us.

“…and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion. …”

Compassion ~ Deep awareness of the suffering of another accompanied by the wish to relieve it. God does not like to see our suffering, and so, He is compassionate toward us.

Trouble is part of living in this world that is most often in stark contrast to God and His ways. As long as we live this earthly existence, trouble will touch our lives; and more so as the day of Christ draws near.

Evil increasing and people’s hearts growing cold toward any aspect of God’s reality is what ushers in the coming Christ. As people wax cold toward God, closing their hearts to Him, Christ will come to remove those who are His from this mess, and apocalypse will have its way. Until then, trouble will increase, touching us more frequently and with greater devastation as this world decays and the day of Christ’s return for us draws near. That said, how is God’s compassion revealed?

“It is of the Lord’s mercies (lovingkindnesses) that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” ~ Lamentations 3:22-23, KJV (NASB).

The Lord’s compassions toward us keep us from being consumed by the trouble found in this world. Instead, He uses such to strengthen our faith to trust Him more; leading us to greater depths of repentance and surrender to more of Him, strengthening our resolve as He grows our likeness to Him. God’s compassion produces heart-peace in us when life’s storms hit, that peace that passes understanding, amazing the heart of the recipient. Father’s compassions equip us with wisdom to weather every wave and stand firm in the harshest winds.

We are in this life with a purpose set by God: to partner with Him in making His glory known. Therefore, God does not always remove trouble from us, but His compassion helps us to stand so that we fulfill His purpose in allowing the trouble to touch us. Light shines brightest when contrasting the dark.

No matter how bad the waves of trouble may rise above us, we can trust God’s faithful compassions to protect us from the destruction difficulties seek to bring to us. This world of trouble will not consume us as long as we rest securely in His grace that works His good for us out of every wave on the tossing sea of this life.

Whatever storm you are in, beloved, watch for God’s provision: not 089putting Him in a box of what you think He is doing and should do, but trusting His will, His way. His lovingkindness is with you to provide for your every need out of His compassionate mercies that fail not. He amazes the heart and mind of those who sincerely wait upon and watch for Him in earnest expectation and hope of the glory He will reveal.

Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet ~ Day 7

“… You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people” ~ Exodus 33:12-14, AMP.

Looking at the passage covered in yesterday’s devotional thought, I notice that those who abide in God, remaining with Him in Holy Habitation, can still have their lives touched by the consequences of the sins of others.

God told Moses that He knows him by name and that He finds favor in him, yet still, Moses, along with Joshua and others who did not follow the sin of the people, were to go into Canaan without God’s presence with them, just as those who sinned.

I know you have seen this truth for yourself, as I have. We can suffer hardship because of the sins of those near us. This fact is part of our participation in the suffering of Christ that God’s word warns us we will bear in this life (Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 1:5; Philippians 1:29-30; Colossians 1:24; see also 2 Peter 2:4-10). Jesus’ entire journey to the cross was because of sin not His own.

As people in Holy Habitation with God, it is vital when hardship comes that we get God’s perspective regarding its source and cause. If we find conviction of sin from Him, repent so-as-to remain with Him in righteousness. If it is not our sin revealed as the cause, hunker under His wings for His protective cover in that area of life. Also, realize that there is another truth seen in this discourse between God and Moses that we are to practice when a storm is not of our own making:

Those in Holy Habitation with God receive the consequences of a righteous life that is blessed by God, and that blessing can reach beyond us as grace toward those struggling in sin.

When God threatened to destroy the nation of Israel for their sin and begin anew with Moses, Moses jumped into the breech, begging for God’s mercy to save the people (Exodus 32:7-14). Now, as God threatens to remove His presence from their journey, Moses again steps into the breech to pray for mercy. God’s response to Moses translated into His doing good toward those who fell in sin, though they deserved the consequences of His holy discipline.

Holy habitation with God owns one’s own sin and seeks quickly the restoration of relationship with God. Holy habitation with God also realizes the effect our ability to commune with Him can have for the benefit of those we love. Realize, beloved, the heart of God toward you that longs to meet your every need, for yourself and for those you love and desire to see in Holy Habitation with Him.

“And He said, ‘My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.’” ~ vs. 14.

Grateful Fellowship ~ Faithful God

“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:4-9, NASB.

I don’t know if you have noticed – LOL, but there is much hardship in the world today. On the news of late, we see stories of ISIS movements and war that touches the entire world, a scaffold collapse in Texas, mudslides in California, and fires in forests across the nation. On Christian circles, Prophets of the day predict major disasters in nature and in our economy. I, too, see these things, and heart quakes.

InGodsHandssmeFor several years now, God warns my heart that a major earthquake is coming. It will stem from a major fault line in the North West and will trigger smaller fault lines that will hit our nation from there “toward, but not reaching to this daughter of God.” I also see with this the triggering of volcanic activity. It is coming and earth scientists know it. Those who watch such things have developed technology meant to help them warn when it is about to happen so people can have a chance to get out of harm’s way. Likewise, as we watch the news and hear the warning call of the prophets, we must receive the warning so we can be prepared; but we must also take care how we respond, lest we move in ways that are self-fulfilling actions.

For example, many warn of economic collapse in America. If this happens, let it be in God’s hands, not by our own. If we, out of fear, sell all our stocks and bonds to get what we can and try to protect and provide for ourselves, failing to trust God who is our provider and protector, we can cause the very thing we fear. Therefore, we must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves as we see the signs of the times and hear the prophetic warnings and decide the course of life. God does not send such warnings to bring panic to the heart of His people, beloved. God means them to call His people back to Him and lead the world to the knowledge of Him.

How did I get here from the focal scriptures? I don’t know, except that as I prayed about where to take the thought God inspired through the passage to the point He would make, this is where He told me to start. We are in hard times and these days require sound wisdom if we are to be part of the solution and not the cause of the problem. These hard days also require that we come together to encourage one another.

Consider today, beloved, the people around you. Are you surrounded by voices of God that encourage and help you to wise choices, peace of mind and heartfelt hope, or are they voices of panic, fear, and foolish instructions? If the latter is true for you, find better associates so-as-to surround yourself with godly voices. If the former, give thanks to God for the good support you have in His people.

How are you using the gifts of God given to you during these days? Are you one who encourages and helps others to wise choices,Bigger God peace and hope? Or do you fall into the rut with others to add your voice to the panic, fear, and foolishness of our day? Beloved, no matter how bad things get in our lives, God is the same at all times and we can trust in Him. He is our hope in the day of trouble and our boast in the day of plenty. As long as we are seekers of His face, working to be the people of God, He will be with us to help us weather the storms of this life.

We need God, godly voices in one another, and peace, faith and hope if we are to weather the storms of this world. Decide today the voices you will listen to and the voice you will add to the lives of those around you. Let us help one another to find firm stance on the solid Rock and to know wisdom so we can face the day of trouble with the strength of God’s supply. Jesus prophesied trouble in this world, devoid of hope in God, but with that, He promised peace that passes understanding to those who trust in God through Jesus, Christ, our Lord. And wisdom for every trouble is promised those who seek the Lord for it with unwavering faith.

The days are filled with trouble, but our God is the Rock beneath our feet. Let us stand together on Him and face each day with strength.

~*~

“By His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, ‘LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE Lord’” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:31, NASB.

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord” ~ Jeremiah 9:23-24, NASB.

God Purposed Justice

Looking at several scripture passages today I ran across Isaiah 30:15-18 where God enlightened my heart regarding His idea of justice.

“For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.’ But you were not willing, And you said, ‘No, for we will flee on horses,’ Therefore you shall flee! ‘And we will ride on swift horses,’ Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift. One thousand will flee at the threat of one man; You will flee at the threat of five, Until you are left as a flag on a mountain top And as a signal on a hill. Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him” ~ NASB.

Wow. God desires us and wants to provide for and protect us, but He will not force himself on us. God’s justice is this, if we choose to flee His will and purpose for us, He allows us to experience life without His presence and care, suffering all the consequences of running from Him, His will, and His way. When we trust Him, desire and seek Him, following His lead, His justice is that we have Him, His presence, His provision, His power, His protection. All that He is He justly gives to those who seek Him.

Beloved, every storm tossed moment in life is opportunity to choose. Will we seek and follow God, or will we run our own way and leave the path He has for us? Every road upon which He leads us to traverse has one purpose, that we may know Him. As we discover Him on the road, we learn of His ways for us. He leads us safely through every storm when we trust Him and choose to follow His instruction to us.

“Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left” ~ Isaiah 30:21.

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, “No, that’s not the road we want!”’” ~ Jeremiah 6:16, NLT

Do you fully believe and trust that God is with us and for us at all times, in all seasons, and in every place upon which we put our feet, having a good purpose in all things we walk through in this life? Do you know that He desires us and His greatest desire for us is Himself? Is God your greatest desire, keeping Him of first, most vital need and necessity, so much so that you will trust Him in the fire, knowing that as long as you have Him, all is good and very good? These are vital questions we must answer and make firm within self today, for the days are storm-tossed and we will be lost at sea if we are not standing with Him. Say “Yes” to God and see what the Lord will do.

Thank You Father. We need YOU. Instruct our hearts and help us to follow Your instruction. In Jesus, amen.

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification… that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5.

We Thrive at God’s Side ~ Conclusion

“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” ~ Colossians 3:1, NLT.

This series has been a challenge to write, with the busyness of life making it difficult to press forward from one post to the next. I wonder of the need of concluding thoughts, but desiring to bring full closure, we press to the finish line together, realizing that God honors us with the privilege of His right hand.

Today, as we close this series, let us rejoice with the realization that, because of Christ, we have the privilege of life lived with God, Thriving at His Side. Today, we take one final look at the life available for those with…

Sights Set and Kept Steady

As we set our minds and keep them set on the things above where Christ is (AMP version of Colossians 3:1), we take our stance as the people of God’s Own possession. We stand at His left in complete dependence on Him for what He will do. We stand at His right in complete reliance upon Him, made ready for what He would do through us. Knowing we already are the eternally established people of God’s Kingdom, representing Him and His interests in the world as God’s royal priesthood, ambassadors of Christ in the world, we draw near to His side for…

Abundant Life

“…13 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. 14 For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. 15 She (Wisdom) is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast…” ~ Proverbs 3.

It is wisdom to us when we learn to live life to the full at God’s side. Wisdom is vital to life with God, discerning His will and way for life abundant and full. To His right is longevity of life, for we can trust His care and provision to establish us on the path He designed us to walk. To His left is provision and the protection of those honored to set securely in His presence. There is abundance of life that supersedes every hardship for those who learn to grasp hold of godly wisdom that brings the good fruit of wisdom’s abundance to us (James 3:13-18). Of this wisdom, we are advised, “Happy (blessed, fortunate, to be envied) is everyone who holds her fast” ~ Proverbs 3:18, AMP.

Powerful Life

“Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and braced himself against them, the one with his right hand and the other with his left” ~ Judges 16:29.

As I read of Samson’s final triumph, his use of both arms, strategically placed for one last victory, I realize the true source of Samson’s strength and supply. His ability to rely fully on God for all he needed and to apply God’s provision wisely is a picture for us of a powerful life in God. When we face life with faith in God and reliance upon Him, realizing where our strength comes from, we too have power for a life that accomplishes God’s purpose.

Another beautiful picture as we consider the life of Samson is that no matter the pit of despair our unwise choices put us in, we can finish strong when we set our sights on Him and learn to thrive at God’s side.

Protected Life

“Be very firm, then, to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you may not turn asideJesus-Bride006 from it to the right hand or to the left” ~ Joshua 33:6.

As I read this use of the right and the left hand, I see the protection available to us when we choose to walk the path of God, each step taken at His side. This passage warns us to take care not to turn to going in one’s own way or to surrendering self to other gods. There is protection at the side of God that keeps us from personal harm and from harming others. A stance that keeps God as God, trusting, relying upon, and being well established in Him, equips and enables us to fulfill His purpose in life.

Refusing to turn to the right says to me that we do not fall to trusting our own strength and ways over God’s. Refusing to turn to the left says that we know from Whom our supply comes and do not trust our own or give credit to the conduit of God’s flow. Example: we know that though our job provides money for living (job = conduit of supply), God provides our job and our ability to work (God = Source of supply).

God receiving the glory due His name provides us with His protection, for it is He we rely upon and His name is on the line. He will not fail to do all His says He will. He is faithful to respond to even our mustard seed of faith in His good word and promise.

Embraced Life

Jesus-Bride008“Let his left hand be under my head and his right hand embrace me” ~ Song Of Solomon / Song of Songs 2:6 & 8:3.

All of this teaching on thriving at God’s side has my heart throbbing, so it speaks of intimacy in our relationship with God. It speaks of the journey of a couple who truly enjoy their companionship. God desires relationship with us. Thriving at God’s side happens as we love Him above all and, desiring to please Him, we stick close on His heels, ready on the spot to move at His command for the accomplishing of His purpose, fully trusting Him who is faithful in all things, being faithful to Him as He is to us. Intimacy comes to us as we walk at His side and rest in His arms.

“The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms; And He drove out the enemy from before you, And said, ‘Destroy!’” ~ Deuteronomy 33:27.

Father, I pray for all reading this series to be established by You as Your beloved, adequately equipped to Thrive at Your Side. In Jesus, amen.

We Thrive at God’s Side ~ Part 5: Victory!

God seats us on His left in areas where complete reliance upon and trust in Him and His supply is our need. On His left side, we are dependent on God for all our need with nothing we can do to affect the outcome. However, when God seats us to His right, we become His instruments and partners in all He does. There, we not only have supply from His right hand, but we become an extension of His holy arm. Discerning the difference that signals which side God has us on in any given moment and learning how to rest at God’s side is the journey we are on as we consider God seating us at His side.

“O sing to the Lord a new song, For He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him” ~ Psalm 98:1.

Today we see that God’s victory comes at the move of His right hand. When God seats us to His right, it is so that we can participate in and enjoy victory with Him. At the right hand of God, we have…

Victory’s Assurance

“The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet’” ~ Psalm 110:1.

Beloved, as I read this verse in light of considering all it means to be at God’s right hand, I realize that He speaks this Jesus-Bride007-bword to us through Christ, when He sits us to His right side. God calls us to trust Him for victory over our enemies, just as Jesus did and does. As seen in the life of Christ, a part of the battle is ours to win through the authority we have in God through Christ. As we stand firm with God in this life, He uses us in His work of delivering us to victory over our enemies.

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me” ~ Psalm 138:7.

Note the Psalmist says he walks in the midst of trouble. Jesus warned that trouble will come to us as part of our experience in this life because we are not home with God yet. I don’t know about you, but too often, when trouble comes to me, having eyes on the trouble knocks me for a loop and hinders my ability to keep walking through it. Such fear and stagnation do not accomplish the work of God. God has a work for us to do here, victories for us to win, and a witness for us to bear forth so that others may join us on our Kingdom journey. One thing that equips us to walk with God is the realization that He walks beside us in the trouble, fighting for us, bringing us into victory with Him. As we keep eyes of faith on God, we can walk forth to accomplish all He calls us to as partner with Him in His work.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” ~ Isaiah 41:10.

In order to realize victory in Christ, realizing God’s presence with us, it is vital that we keep focus on Him, trusting His hand to uphold, strengthen and help us. “Do not anxiously look about you” is the key to our recognizing and participating in victory.

Think of Peter, taking that step of faith to get out of the boat and walk with Jesus on that storm tossed sea. He was fine until he took his focus off Jesus and put it on the crashing waves. When we are anxious, feeling defeated and impotent, it is because we are looking at the waves of life’s storm tossed seas. Refusing fear, realizing and trusting God’s presence, keeping eyes on God so as to overcome anxiety, and resting in His right hand that reveals to us the way of righteousness that works victory is our pathway to hope’s assurance and help in the battle.

In addition, God promises in the Amplified version of Isaiah 41:10, “I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties.” Jesus-Bride009Since trouble is a natural part of living in a world dictated by fleshly, worldly, and demonic wisdom, persecution and difficulty comes swiftly against those of godly wisdom who walk in ways that differ from this world. That makes it vital that we trust God to use the trouble to harden us against its assault. The closer we walk to the side of God, seeing victory at His right side, the more difficult it is for the trouble that comes at us to make a dent in our armor. Our faith stands firm and sure with greater strength as we grow in our ability to keep eyes on God, having a trust that is secure in Him, hardened against trouble.

“The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm, ‘I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies; Nor will foreigners drink your new wine for which you have labored’” ~ Isaiah 62:8.

The promises of God come to us by the power and might of the strong arm of His right hand. It is the right hand of God that moves on our behalf, saving and protecting us, fulfilling His every good word to us. His right hand holds us up so we may stand firm of faith while we participate with Him as partner-instruments in His victory. Thus, we praise Him, because we know His presence with us, we trust His promises, and we understand that any good accomplished by us flows to us from His right-hand supply.

“The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly” ~ Psalm 118:15.

We Thrive at God’s Side ~ Part 2: Dependence

Left Sided Stance: The Position of the Dependent

“That Your beloved may be delivered, Save with Your right hand, and answer us! …For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you’” ~ Psalm 60:5; Isaiah 41:13. See also Psalm 20:6.

The Knight in shining armor, charged with the care of the Princess Bride, fills the screen as a battle rages around them. Watching, we see the Good Knight position the Princess to his left.

There is purpose in this position. Her stance to his left places her in the place where he can shield her against the enemies blows. It also keeps her out of the way of his own efforts to defend her as he wields his sword, held in his right hand. This beloved, is part of the picture we see as we consider God placing us at His left hand side. Any passage that speaks of God grabbing our right hand places us to His left hand side, a picture of dependence on Him for His care, protection, leading, direction, and provision.

“For by their own sword they did not possess the land, And their own arm did not save them, But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, For You favored them” ~ Psalm 44:3.

Teacher-TestScripture teaches that we can do nothing apart from Him; that all we have truly comes from His hand. Left sided stance is realization of our dependence on God as a child depends on her Father; as a charge depends on her Protector. In all things we do in life, though charged with a task, given authority and responsibility to carry it out, all we do has a left sided aspect to it. We are always dependent on God for His provision and care.

“I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken” ~ Psalm 16:8.

When God is at our right hand, that puts us on His left. Dependence on God keeps us from feeling shaken by things in life that threaten our security. For example, scripture teaches that God is our defender (Proverbs 22:23; Isaiah 51:22; Matthew 10:19). Second Corinthians 6:7 tells us that God placed the weapons of righteousness that are for our defense in our left hand, the picture of our dependence upon Him who is our shield of defense.

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, And He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread” ~ Psalm 37:23-25.

“Nevertheless I am continually with YOU; YOU have taken hold of my right hand” ~ Psalm 73:23.

Left handed positioning remembers that God is always with us and never leaves us. Though our choices, that of others around us, or God’s placement for ministry may lead us to places we would prefer not to go, God is with us even there.

Left handed positioning in scripture is always a picture of our dependence on God for His protection and provision; wisdom, direction, and leading. This understanding is the heart of David when he prayed in Psalm 20:

Knight9“May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high! May He send you help from the sanctuary And support you from Zion! May He remember all your meal offerings And find your burnt offering acceptable! Selah.

“May He grant you your heart’s desire And fulfill all your counsel! We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

“Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand. Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God. They have bowed down and fallen, But we have risen and stood upright. Save, O Lord; May the King answer us in the day we call” ~ Vs. 1-9.

We stand upright and strong at His left hand with hearts fully surrendered to and trusting in God.

We Thrive at God’s Side ~ Part 1: Positioned

Positioning the Bride

Read Psalm 45

“Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies; At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir” ~ Psalm 45:9.

Before looking at what all is going on when God positions us at His right or at His left, we first need to realize that we who are His through Christ are the Bride of Christ, the queen at His side. Endued with power and authority as the queen Bride of Christ, we work Kingdom purpose at His side. This study is to help us understand what it means for us to stand beside our King-Ishi (Husband).

“Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies; at Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir. Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house; then the King will desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him. …” ~ Psalm 45:9-13.

Jesus-Bride005First, we stand beside the King in gold from Ophir. We are not an ornament on His arm, with no intrinsic worth besides that of belonging to Him. We are the apple of His eye, valued as worth the price of relationship. He cherishes us and He nourishes us, not only meeting us at our need, but enriching our lives, empowering us to become all He designed us to be. He not only stands us beside Him as a show of ownership, belonging to Him as His wife, but He nurtures the good He places within us, equipping us to use the gifts and abilities He supplies with the authority we hold as ours to possess at His side.

Nurtured and empowered as we listen to Him; inclining our ear to receive instruction from His teachings and authority from His commands and promises, we live as His companion and helpmeet for Kingdom building.

“The Lord God has given Me the tongue of a disciple and of one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He wakens Me morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as a disciple [as one who is taught]” (Isaiah 50:4, AMP).

As queen at the side of Christ, we work with Him to accomplish His Kingdom purpose in life here and now. We accomplish this best as we learn to not only listen, but to bow down to Him alone. We honor our parents as commanded by God, but there comes a time when the bride leaves the home of her father to join her husband in making a new home. We must leave our child-like submission to our parents and the authority they have, the opinions of other companions and the pull they have, to surrender ourselves fully to our King-Ishi. Our beliefs and practices no longer come from desire to please others, but we grow to develop our own beliefs and the practice of His ways based on personal relationship and surrender to Him.

God can use other relationships to instruct and teach and help us become His bride with strength, but we bow to the King at work through them, not allowing other relationships to have greater authority and power over us than He holds. No relationship should lead us away from bowing to His right of authority as King-Ishi. As we bow to Him, receiving His teachings and instruction, we join in agreement with Him to do our part as His companion in building the new home He desires to have with us.

“…The daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; the rich among the people will seek your favor. The King’s daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is interwoven with gold” ~ Psalm 45:9-13.

As we, the people of God, bow down and surrender to the Lordship of the King, recognizing Him as Husband, and receiving the WOWauthority He gives for us to stand at His side and help Him in His work, God gives us favor with others. The more we grow in likeness to His heart desire, the more others seek us out in their journey to become His bride, partners with Him in the building of the Kingdom in which to dwell.

Jesus makes us all glorious within, able to bear His image as our outer adornment, representing Him and His interests in the world so that we become lights to draw others into the Kingdom with us. This understanding and surrender to Him as King is the first step in our journey to understand what it means to stand side by side with Him.

We thrive at God’s side as we bow down to the King, working with Him as queen Bride, having His heart desire as our own, accomplishing His desires in the authority He gives.

These Things ~ Miracle ME!

The Greater Works

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” ~ John 14:12.

In our study of the produce and reasons for the “These Things” teachings of Christ, I found as I typed the last post a WOW thought that produced in me one final pondering on the subject. It came from the following thought quoted from the previous These Things Series post:

“As we said, life is hard. It can be hard some days simply to get out of the bed. The works we do are the greater works because we are not God. We are men and women of God, empowered by the Spirit, yes; and every good work we do and accomplish in that Spirit power is nothing short of a miracle. …”

That “Wow!” moment set my heart to realize that every good thing God accomplishes through us is a miracle that fulfills the promise of Christ found in the “greater works than these” we do in His name.

Now I don’t know about you, but I do not see “greater works” than those of Christ coming out of my life. So how is it true that all God accomplishes in me is a miracle that fulfills this promise of God? Here is what God is showing me as I ponder these things: NOTE the difference between Jesus and us.

Jesus

Jesus came into the world being One IN the flesh, but OF the Spirit. He came being IN the world, but OF the Kingdom of God. He came to a realm influenced by demonic wisdom, but He was OF godly wisdom and purpose. Jesus overcame the unnatural of His flesh man existence to live fully His natural estate of the godly as example to us. He did not have to overcome His true nature to be godly. God is His true nature.

Us

We came into the world being OF the flesh, living worldly purpose, too easily driven by demonic influence. It is a miracle of God when we fully realize and possess Him, walking in the new nature we have through Christ to overcoming our natural estate so that we can be people OF God, influenced by Him, being OF the Spirit, and OF His Kingdom, living lives OF godly purpose.

God’s work of deadening our natural flesh being is miraculous.

OF

That word courses through me as I type. John shares in John 17 the prayer of Jesus for His disciples, of which we are if we truly believe and follow Him. In His prayer, Jesus revealed this miraculous work of God in us.

“I have MANIFESTED Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not OF the world, even as I am not OF the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth” ~ vs. 6-19.

Beloved, through Christ, as we live in the sanctifying power of that name, we are no longer of this world, the flesh or the demonic. We are in the world but not OF it. We are OF the Kingdom of God. We are in fleshly bodies, but we are OF the Spirit of God. While surrounded by demonic influences, through Christ we are OF the will, way and purpose OF God. In the name of Christ as representatives of God’s image and nature, WE ARE OF GOD, sanctified – set apart to Him and made complete as His image bearers through Christ.

Of: Expressing the relationship as part of a whole.

We are of the Kingdom of God, expressive of that Kingdom. We are of the Spirit of God, expressive of God, bearing forth His image. We are of the purpose of God, working His will and way in the earth. We are no longer of the flesh, the world, and the demonic influence. WE ARE OF GOD, made whole and complete in Him. The work God does through us is greater works because we are overcoming our natural state in the power He supplies, by His power in us, becoming wholly that which is unnatural to our life experience.

Jesus came as the God who was man. His natural estate helped His unnatural condition: He fully possessed who He was in the name of God. We are man, made into God’s image. Only as we realize who we now are in Christ can we fully overcome our natural state as man to be helped by the unnatural state we are now in through Christ, in that power of His Spirit at work in us. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20). As I find that place of the overcoming power of God at work in my reality, making this unnatural my daily norm, the greater works of God is accomplished; all that He is becomes real and alive in me; the possession of my true estate in Christ.

Last post for this series, in covering John 10’s teaching that we follow the voice of the Good Shepherd because the other voices are strange, I said, “Jesus still calls out and speaks to His Sheep today, and those who know His voice follow Him. They will not follow a stranger because they do not know the voice of the stranger.” God’s voice is strange to the flesh, the world, and the demonic. We have to overcome the voices that we have known all our lives, so that those become strange and His becomes the voice well known.

Beloved, we struggle with our fleshly nature because we refuse to let that voice become strange to us. We struggle, too easily falling to the wisdom of the world because that voice is agreeable to our fleshly desires. We struggle, influenced by the demonic because we fail to realize and stand firm on the fact that we no longer belong to that purposed influence. We struggle because we fail to understand fully that we are no longer OF the fleshly nature, the world economy, or demonic purpose.

We are OF God, His Kingdom, and the Spirit that indwells us. Thus, we must…

COME OUT AND BE SANCTIFIED.

Colossians 3:1-2 in the Amplified advises us.

“IF THEN you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.”

Bigger GodI read a devotional called “S.O.A.P” today, titled “You Need A Higher View”, written by Rich Wilkerson. Based on this Colossians passage, He advises, “Too often, believers operate from a ‘Buried in Sin and Shame’ position rather than a ‘Raised Into Heavenly Places With Christ Jesus’ position. We have direct access to the Father through Jesus Christ, who is seated at God’s right hand in Heaven. That is where the Apostle Paul commands us to set our affection and attention. Elevate your viewpoint. Instead of ‘Looking Up’ from your problems, ‘Look Down’ on your problems with your ‘Problem Solver,’ JESUS.”

We are OF God, Beloved. Come up higher in Christ

“…Every day that we overcome the flesh, the world, and the demonic is because we possess the Spirit that possesses us and works this miracle of God in His overcoming power. Wow. That is awesome to my heart and inspires me to realize the miracle worked when I hear His voice and simply follow Him.” (see yesterday’s Ponderings)

~*~

Cliff Note: Tending roses after typing this, I reach down to smell one just opening up to the fullness of its beauty. As I smell its wonderful fragrance, God reminds me that the minute a rose comes into its beauty, it begins to die. It is in dying that its glorious fragrance springs forth.

Likewise, as we die to the old nature, the beauty of our new nature in Christ ignites. In death of the old, the birthing of the new brings forth the fragrance of God that is His miracle in us, fulfilling the word of “greater works” promised in Christ. The Spirit overcomes the natural we know in our flesh experience, birthing forth the image and fragrance of God in all His glory. Sanctified and made complete, we bear forth the greater works fruit and fragrance Jesus calls us to in His “These things” teachings.

Go forth into this new life, Beloved, and fill the air with His fragrance and glory.