Tag Archives: battle array

“What are you trusting God for today?”

A friend, sensing God’s lead to do so, asked our group this question this morning: “What are you trusting God for today?”

God and I were talking about this very thing between 4:20 and 6:20 AM. After watching a video a friend sent, concern for my own living and breathing health came on me.

When I woke up at 4:20, a tune was tumbling through my brain that I didn’t recognize at that moment. Finally, after laying there awhile, just listening to the incessant tune, not really thinking about anything, I asked God what on earth was keeping me awake, and why this tune is flowing through me over and over. “What are You wanting me to realize?”

He helped me discern that I was worrying about my life because of the decision to take that vaccine I did not have peace about. I had peace in the decision to take it, once I truly asked God’s opinion-direction and knew I had it. I trust my God and His will for me, but I still don’t trust the vaccine, or more truly, the people leading us to it.

The video pointed out concerns about the vaccine, which I’ve heard before, but this one made a more clear case outlining the causes for concern. It made me distrust the vaccine and those making and pushing it still more, and that made me ask God to confirm the works of my hands in my truly hearing from and following Him in my decision.

Then I recognized the tune: that Big Daddy Weave version of Trust and Obey.

My God is trustworthy, despite the plots, plans, and fouled attempts of fleshly beings. What man intends for evil, God means for good. He will amaze us as we see how He uses our obedience to follow and trust Him.

So, I rest in His capable hands knowing that it is God who gives life, breath, and all things. He is the One who determines our appointed times (seasons, opportunities, epochs) and the boundaries of our habitation. We are not where we are by mistake. God has a purpose and plan, and He calls us to trust and obey Him who faithfully directs our steps and determines our paths. (Acts 17:24-28)

How about you? What are you trusting God for today?

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:5‬ ‭NASB

Fearless Ministers of Reconciliation

Yesterday’s post titled “Without Regret” ended with James 5:19-20:

“My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

As I reread that verse, my heart gasped with realization. What better way to stop people from understanding their absolute need of God than to make talk of sin irrelevant. Making sure everybody feels good about themselves to the point of their being unable to recognize or acknowledge their own sin, much less to know their need of God’s saving grace, is an enemy tactic: a lie to make people feel they are good enough, having no need of mercy.

In a world where it’s difficult to broach the subject of sin and the need of a Savior, how much more difficult is it in environs where sin is no longer acknowledged, and talk of the sin nature is considered a negative mindset and an insult to one’s character.

With that came thought of this scripture:
“When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.” Ezekiel‬ ‭33:8-9‬ ‭NASB

Old Testament, yes, but it still makes me cringe for the number of times I let fear stop me from speaking to someone regarding their need of the Savior. How many will God hold me responsible for in my failure to speak of sin and the saving grace available to us. Now, I don’t believe we lose our salvation, but we do put a rift in our relationship with God through disobedience, and we do lose rewards that would be credited to our treasure in Heaven.

In Christ, we are charged with the ministry of reconciliation. God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ, and through Him, escape the wrath of God’s death penalty to obtain eternal life in Christ. We cannot make that clear to people without there being an understanding of sin, what it is, and how it separates us from God.

“… Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. ….” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:1-6, 8-21‬ ‭NASB

Reconciliation requires us to receive forgiveness for sin, which requires admitting we are sinners in need of the covering of mercy’s grace found in Christ. The enemy of God blinds the eyes of people who refuse to address sin.

We are called of God through Christ to be His instrument for reconciliation, which requires us to address the sin nature and define sin for the sinner in need of the Savior. When we as Christians refuse to address sin issues, we prove ourselves to be sinners, condoning sin with our silence, and making self a stumbling block to those who follow our example, and to those who remain blinded to the reality of the sin nature.

We are called to make God known by lightning up the evil hidden in dark places and by being salt that permeates all we touch with all that God is: His righteousness alive in us; His love pouring through us; His merciful grace freeing us from old ways to the new He bears out in us; His truth separating fact from fiction.

Therefore, Beloved in Christ,
“Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:34‬ ‭NASB

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” Ephesians‬ ‭5:6-13‬ ‭NASB

Stand Firm

Jesus was not afraid to offend those leading others away from truth and righteousness. He, who is example to all who hear, stood firm on righteousness; He spoke truth out of love that desired to protect His own, and out of desire to win some snared by deception. He spoke with the authority that comes from assurance of His facts, and He did not apologize for the offense the hearer took from His words.

As we make sure we are standing on what is true and right and good, we, too, can love those around us enough to chance offending them for the protection of all, with hope of freeing some.

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭15:1-14‬ ‭NASB

Prep with Assurance

Luke‬ ‭16:13‬ ‭NASB

Some people believe prep practices point to ungodliness; that it is a sign of the love of money. Sometimes this is true. Realizing this, God calls me to check my motives. Am I after wealth and resource in a righteous, healthy way? Am I following Godly wisdom, trusting His lead and supply? Or am I after wealth and resource as an end to itself? Is my reliance on wealth and supply? Or is my reliance on God and His wise directives?

Chasing after wealth and supply as our hope for survival is a trap, a snare that enslaves. It will keep us running after it constantly, with ever growing fervency, while never quite being enough, effectively pulling us further away from the One True God who is our hope and help. That is the way of false gods.

But when we chase after God and His wise counsel, not only does He lead us to readiness for what is coming, but He frees us to realize that even if our storehouses fail, His will cover us. He who is with us and for us will be there to guide and direct us to His pastures of provision. He will supply strength, power, protection, and amaze us as He meets our need.

Don’t take my word for it. Look at Noah, who built a big boat and loaded it with supplies as God directed, providing for himself and all for whose care he was charged. And he did it even though his mind could not fully comprehend the coming storm or the full need.

And what about the Israelites? They left their captivity with all God charged them to collect. As their supply waned, God’s undeniable provision kicked in. For forty years in that wilderness, they did not fall to malnourishment; thirst did not kill them; and their shoes and clothing never wore out.

So don’t worry about tomorrow. If He is pointing you to the storm that’s raging and beaconing you to prepare for it, ask God’s direction for your path to readiness. Ask how much to store for the need. If you run out of space and He is still pressing your collection, ask wisdom and provision for its storage. He will make you ready for yourself and those charged to your care, even though you may not fully comprehend the scope of it all.

Enter His rest as you obey, knowing that He in whom You trust will not leave you alone in your need. He will help you just as He did those before us. And when scoffers scoff at you, smile as you remember, “… wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” (Matthew‬ ‭11:19‬ ‭NASB)

“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 He [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 nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]” (Hebrews‬ ‭13:5‬ ‭AMPC‬‬)

The Righteous Way of Anger

Anger is not sin, it’s an emotion. God’s Word says, “Be angry, and yet do not sin….” (Eph. 4:26)

In our pictured Mark 3 passage, we are told that Jesus was angry because of the hardheartedness of the Pharisees he was dealing with. He was angry because they held of higher value the keeping of the tradition of doing nothing they counted as work on the Sabbath, above the need of the people around them. He was angry at the distortion of God’s law for personal gain by those lording it over those they were called to minister to as servants in His name.

In other accounts of this work of Christ, He chides them for willingly helping one of their farm animals in need, while ignoring the need of the people they were to serve. They were hypocrites about the type of good work done on the sabbath and would condemn others for doing what they, themselves did when it was important to them. They were good about requiring others to do what they would not do. Their hypocrisy, hardheartedness, and ungodly arrogance toward others made Jesus angry.

Two things from this passage point to what changes anger from godly, to ungodly (sinful). One is the why of our anger. Selfish, self-centered anger does not please God. The Pharisees were angry with Jesus because He usurped their authority, taking away their power and influence over the people. They were jealous. Selfish anger, anger based on getting ones own way in a situation, or one showing carelessness for the need or problems of others, makes that anger sinful.

The second thing is what we do with that anger. Jesus chose to do what was pleasing to God and set a godly example for those watching in making the care of others a priority. He did not let the opinion of the leaders of that day keep Him from doing the good set before Him. And He spoke truth to them.

The full Ephesians verse says, “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” (4:26-27) We are to do what is right, take care of the issue in a godly manner out of loving care for God and man, and take care of it quickly. When we let anger hang around, coursing through our heart and soul, the devil uses it to get a stronghold in our lives as bitterness takes hold, rising with hate close behind it.

And here’s another thing to note. Jesus did not concern Himself with the Pharisees’ attitude toward Him, whether they liked him or accepted his instruction. He spoke truth to all, desiring that truth to influence their lives for good. But what they did with it was their responsibility. He dealt with it, and left it in their lap. He didn’t cling to the anger or carry it to the next encounter.

We are to do the same: speak truth out of love, desiring to influence the ones dealt with in ways that lead them closer to godliness; do what is right in God’s eyes, despite what others think; then release the outcome to God, not letting anger take hold in destructive ways, but trusting God to deal with the hearts of all involved.

“… If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the WRATH OF GOD, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:9-21‬ ‭‬‬

God, or Not God

“… Choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days.” – Read Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:1-20‬ ‭‬‬

When discussing sin issues as defined by the Word of God and Jesus in the Holy Bible, people often say, “but God gives me choice,” which is true. God does give us choice, but that fact does not mean that which we choose is alright with God. All choice is truly between God or not-God. We either seek Him and His ways, or we go the way of our fleshly desire, this world’s philosophy, or demonic influences.

In Deuteronomy, God gives us defining parameters to direct our choice. We are told to choose good or evil, life or death, blessing or curse, prosperity or adversity. And God’s Word defines each of these choices.

Good is who God is, what God does, and what He says. To choose good is to choose God and His ways. All else stands in opposition to Him, which is evil, bringing us into adversity with God. (1)

God is life, abundant and full. Divergence from Him and His ways is death. (2)

God is the blessing, and He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Anything not of God, anything that replaces our affection for Him is a curse, for it robs us of The Blessing. (3)

Following and possessing God and all He is as God is prosperity. He is our exceeding great reward, the supply for our every need. Following hard after Him, keeping Him of first, most vital need and necessity, opens His storehouses to meet our need. And, more importantly, choosing Him as the one and only God and Lord through His gift of Jesus Christ grants us assurance of His eternal Kingdom. (4)

It doesn’t matter how rich we get in this life, without God as our choice, we are destitute and adversity is guaranteed. God allows no other God before Him, nothing else can have His glory. With great wealth comes great responsibility, and one’s first responsibility is to choose God as one’s true treasure. Failing to possess Him, we take our stance against Him, all the way into eternal damnation.

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” ‭‭Joshua‬ ‭24:15‬

“Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:19-20

(1) Mark‬ ‭10:18‬ ‭
(2) ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:23‬; Colossians‬ ‭3:3‬; ‭‭I John‬ ‭5:12‬; I John‬ ‭5:11‬; ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:6‬; Romans‬ ‭6:23‬; John‬ ‭11:25‬; ‭‭John‬ ‭14:6‬
(3) ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭84:4‬; ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭84:5‬; ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭84:12‬; James‬ ‭1:17‬
‭‭ (4) Genesis‬ ‭15:1‬; ‭‭Malachi‬ ‭3:8-10‬

Follow God

His science is flawless.

I hear it every day, people boasting the science concerning COVID, both for and against the truths concerning the disease and the treatments, including the vaccine. Here’s what I know: no one fully knows. Science is a learning tool. It helps figure out truth, but until truth proves out through consistent, broad range, experience, science is theoretical. They don’t fully know one way or the other.

But GOD.

God fully knows, not only the disease and the treatments, but the reason and purpose behind its source: whether sent by an enemy intent on destruction, or brought about by God in fulfilling His plans and purposes. God fully knows my body and yours. He knows how the disease will effect each individual. He knows what each treatment will do and which my body will respond best to. He comprehensively understands the science behind the vaccine and the disease.

So, instead of looking at constantly changing scientific theory before it knows, ask the God-who-knows-all His opinion for your dealings with the disease and it’s potential remedies – healing aids. He promises to give needed wisdom to us when we ask with faith to follow His response. Once you get His response, trust Him for the outcome. Trust His purpose and plan. He is always working in and through us for eternal good.

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (Double-minded: tossed to and fro by the mind of one’s flesh arguing with the mind of Christ given in the power of God’s Spirit.)
— James 1:5-8

First Order of Preparedness

I am a member of a group of preppers, seeing the signs of the times and making ready for whatever may come. As a Christian, though I believe in practicing wisdom to be prepared for every kind of storm in life, ready to take care of mine and to help others, I know that all my preparations can be gone in an instant. Thus, it’s vital to remember that my hope is not in my supply, but my Supplier.

People say first priority for preparedness is water. I agree. And first priority in water supply is the Living Water, Jesus. I believe that Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. All our preparation and learning to live off the land will fail without God’s support, grace, and favor. He grants wisdom for life choices, direction for our feet, protection in the storm, and favor with Himself and with man. He gives supply that gives us safety into the eternal. And He promises that though money may fail us, He will never leave nor forsake us.

We can guess at what is coming and work to be ready, but He knows what is coming to each day and is already there making a way for us. However, there is one thing we know is coming to all of us: death of this shell. How sad it would be to prepare for storms of nature or man, but fail to be prepared for eternity.

God is my hope. He is my help in the day of trouble, my strength in the battle, my shelter in the storm, my Shepherd for the path, my Savior for all eternity. He gives me eyes to see, a mind to know, and a heart to understand; and He brings to my remembrance the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding stored in the banks of my mind at the moment of my need.

Make sure you are one with His vine and that your tendrils are attached to Him as first priority; that you are lapping freely of the Living, Life giving Water. Then make wise preparations with faith that He will be with you and guide you through every challenge until we meet Him in the air.

Robin Meadows says, “Just as tendrils are trained to hold to the fence for support, we need to train our hearts and minds to be entwined with Him and hold to Him. Dependent on Him, we gain supernatural strength to endure even the mightiest storms of life.

“Where does your strength come from? Are you attaching to people or things hoping to find fulfillment and security? Or are you training your heart to be connected to the One who is Strength?”

Enter this, your Rest, and get ready for all that is coming.

Lessons From My Garden: Day 6 • Devotional

God, or Not God

“For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load. … Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Galatians 6:3-5, 7-9

I deceive myself when I fail to take time to seek God for a right and true evaluation of self: where I am, where I need to be, why I should desire to be there, and what I need to do to progress forward.

You can try to encourage and help me, and I can do the same for you, but self determination is a gift from God that belongs to each of us. God made sure we have freedom of choice. I-👁 have to choose to progress forward. 👁 have to want it. 👁 have to make progressing forward a priority. 👁 have to choose life or death, good or evil, blessing or curse, prosperity or adversity, all of which equates to choosing God or not God.

No one else can make me do the good I need or desire. And no one else can do it for me. AND, if I am truly committed to God and working out of His supply in my journey, no one – and no thing – can truly hinder or stop my progress. Though life may hit a bump, it’s “choice” that will keep me moving to the finish line, or keep me from the prize.

Seed is sown into our lives, my life, whether or not I realize it. Like uncontrolled weeds, bad habits, untended, produce and sow bad seeds that reap a harvest of dandelions (false-gods). Satan constantly works to get us-me to feed the bad seed for his harvest of unrighteousness. With Spirit-eyes open, Good seed must be chosen, sown, and fed deliberately and liberally for a crop of good to come.

Self-deception and failure to realize the bad seed sown and fed gives the devil opportunity to sneer at God as he makes accusations against us-me. (“See! I told you she couldn’t follow the dictates of the Spirit for long. Your Spirit can’t control her! She doesn’t love or honor You enough”)

It is vital for me to seek God for true evaluation through His looking glass. I need to realize truth about self from His perspective, so I can make a right evaluation and choose right paths that honor God as God. I may deceive myself and others, but God knows the truth of my heart. I need Him if I am to see my true issues, needs, desires, and resources. Transformation is from Him.

Truly, there are only two choices: God or not God. To choose God is to choose the dictates of His Spirit that produce life, blessing, good, prosperity, and the Eternal. Choosing God builds a life of gold, silver, and precious stones that do not burn away in the fires of testing. …

Choosing “not God” is to choose the dictates of our old, dead flesh, which produces death, cursing, evil, adversity, and all that is temporary and worthless. Choosing flesh produces a life filled with wood, hay, and stubble, all of which will fail us and be burned away in the fires of testing.

Scripture tells us some will enter the eternal kingdom smelling like smoke (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). The implication is a life focused on fleshly desires and temporal pleasures rather than on the eternal. I don’t want to live a fleshly life, head hung in shame, that leaves nothing to show of God’s eternal glory when I stand before Him. I must choose the Spirit over my flesh.

God is not concerned about food, for example. But He is intent on my choosing Him. Food is the test. Choice is the proof. Proof of righteousness withstands the heat, bringing glory to God. Faithfulness for big things is built through fires of testing in the small, seemingly insignificant.

God, or not God. That’s my choice. God gave that right to me and to you. Gold, silver, and precious stones all require a lot of heat and patient time to develop. Growing weary on the journey leaves the produce immature and in a perishable state. Developing a healthy lifestyle dictated by the Spirit requires determination that perseveres despite the weeping desires of my flesh.

My determination of Spirit-control must outlast the pleas of my pitiful flesh. Like the parent (Spirit control) of a screeching two year old (demanding flesh), I must persevere to stand my ground and push through until flesh quiets and gives way to the Spirit with ever increasing ease.

Power in Suffering

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God” — 2 Timothy 1:8

People in China are reported to pray for the US to experience persecution. They believe we don’t know it, and, indeed, we do not know it as overtly as they know it. But I believe persecution is from Satan, and he is sly and cunning in his attacks.

We experience it every day as he assaults us through a society that denies Jesus in us; through worldly philosophy set to destabilize our faith and the practice of it; and through the battle waged in our own minds.

The overt persecution is, to me, easier to recognize the challenge of our need to stand against it, because it is “in your face” visible. You know it’s persecution requiring a determined response. The tactics used in America are covert. We don’t often realize it until we fall to it. Thus we pray for power to suffer for the gospel according to the Power of God.

In the Wait

I see the signs signaling the nearing of Christ’s return, but still all I see clearly, He called “birthing pains.” In history, we see that, to each generation, there have come times that made them sure the clouds would part “any day now.” And yet, we wait.

This is what I know. Until we see Him in the clouds and make that joyful flight, we must live lives made ready for Him, and we must be a voice warning against paths that lead away from Him. We must be His witnesses, His ambassadors, His light on the earth. We must speak the truth, the way, and the life; bear the fruit of His essence; stand firm fully clothed in Christ; and keep our lamps alight, seeking to walk and live in the fullness of His Spirit. We must BE as He is, doing the work of His Kingdom on earth until He calls us home.

Take courage. Jesus is near and will be right on time. Are we ready?

The Vital Need of the Rod of Discipline

“Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod And rescue his soul from Sheol.” ~ Proverbs‬ ‭23:13-14‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The word “rod” used here is an “offshoot”: a twig. My Aunt says it should be 6-8 inches long, no bigger around than your pinky finger. It is used on small children who have no concept of time and need immediate consequences; and is meant only to sting. As the child gets older, parents often graduate to wooden spoons. The rod grows with the child until the method of discipline changes to meet the child’s way of learning.

The point is, the rod is not a bat or something big enough to do mortal harm. It is strictly for discipline and training, and is vital for life worth living. Those who spare the rod, hate their child, showing lack of care for the type of person they become (Proverbs 13:24).

Another meaning for “rod” here is “authority“. I know many today who just want to be their child’s friend. A friend does not have the authority of a parent. They are equals, piers. They can influence, but have no real authority, so such parents wonder why, when the chips are down, their children do not possess respect for their parental role.

Training children to respect our authority as parents influences their respect for all other authority figures, even their ability to bow to God’s authority. Children need parents to be parents. Those who spare the rod, hate their child, showing lack of care for the type of person they become.

“He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” ~ ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭13:24‬ ‭NASB‬‬

That’s worth repeating!

“O Lord, our Lord, Your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. You have taught children and infants to tell of Your strength, silencing Your enemies and all who oppose You.” Psalms‬ ‭8:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Did you see it? Did your heart thrill? Like mine!

Look at the victory given to us here, through this truth about God’s victory that forms a weapon given our mouths. As we “tell of Your strength,” we silence “Your enemies and all who oppose You.”

God’s enemy attacks Him through his assault against God’s people and our faith to believe and trust Him. When we STAND, stubbornly set to trust God’s strength, speaking that believing faith from hearts set on Him, we enter His victory!

Praise the Lord!

Peace, Be Still.

In these days, so many are finding themselves struggling with worry, fretting, depression, fear, and so many emotional issues that hinder function and ability to know Wisdom. We need peace of mind, heart, soul. But if we keep looking at things outside ourselves to bring it, we will continue to miss it, thinking it something we must chase after when, truly, if we know The Christ and are home to His Spirit, Peace – True Peace is within us, ready to flow to us and through us as a fresh, spring flow of Living Water.

We don’t have to chase it, learn it, or grapple for it. We only have to be still, cease striving, let be and know God, and He will give it – His good gift, pressed down, shaken together, and running over for others to feed off of while in our presence.

We can’t give others what we, ourselves, do not have, and we can’t truly possess that which we fail to recognize as belonging to us. Love, joy, peace PATIENCE, and all the nine flavors of the Spirit are our personal possession because we are His and He is within us. Take a deep Breath of stillness, receive your Peace, and have a BLESSed day.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-25‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Choose Healthy Breeding Ground

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” James‬ ‭1:19-20‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I don’t know about you, but in this season of discord with riots, business closures with COVID, inconvenience of shut downs and lock ins, I have been tempted to anger more than ever, that I can remember. On FB, I was too often using this response to posts: 😡.

God reminded me that anger and it’s stress are breeding ground for all sorts of sickness. He instructed me to change 😡 to 😢, grieving my sin and the sin of our nation before Him, surrendering all to Him. Following that instruction has helped my stress level, stopping up the flow of unrighteous anger, and increasing trust in God. Refusing anger over things out of my control has increased umpire-peace in me.

If you are struggling as I have, join me in standing against unrighteous anger, resting by faith in God, and, with surrendered spirit, shining of His strength in our troubled society today. “Hangeth thou in there, O Baby,” and have a BLESSed day. (Kay Arthur)

Call Me “Sheep,” But Recognize My Shepherd.

Lately I have seen posts calling those in face mask compliance, “sheep”. To me that is a compliment, not by the way intended, but from the standing of my knowing Him Who is my Shepherd, God, King, Lord, and Savior.

When I choose to comply with national, state, and city leaders, it is because I TRUST MY GOD, taking Him at His Word. When I choose to wear a mask in public, I make that choice out of the love my God calls me to walk out in His name.

My God’s word tells me that He controls the heart of kings-governing officials as a river flows at His bidding, for His purpose. He tells me to obey the dictates of those leaders – as long as it does not go against the Law of God – and to pray for them in their oversight.

I hear people making their decisions from what they believe is the heart purpose of those they believe are pushing their will on us. I don’t know the hearts of any, not even my own fully, so I cannot judge the heart of another. But I KNOW my God is trustworthy, so I choose to believe Him, knowing that when it comes time to take a stand one way or the other, I will not be following the opinion of man, but the dictates of God, my Rock on whom I stand. Thus, I continually advise to prove truth. Do not be swayed by the he says-she says, conspiracy theorists that fail to produce undeniable proof of their truth.

I choose to wear a mask in close quarters because I choose to love my neighbor as my God loves me, to my own hurt. Wearing a mask actually puts the wearer at greater risk, unless they have sufficient supply to change them out every 30 minutes or so. The good of a mask is to slow a breath/sneeze/cough and lesson it’s trajectory, so those nearby will be less likely to be reached by my germs. Even still, while masked, I should sneeze/cough in my elbow. But if a sneeze catches me by surprise, a mask helps me love you. So when I wear one, I choose to wear it for you. I CHOOSE. It is my right to do so.

People are correct that we are under attack. We are being assaulted and effected by two spirits that come readily to mind.

One is a spirit of rebellion. It is what turns a peaceful protest into a deadly and destructive riot. That is the spirit that pits the “my rights” movement over that of obedience to God in trusting the heart of kings to Him and obedience to do what is best for those around me out of a love that flows from Him, for others. It is the sound of a spirit of rebellion that saddened me when a nearby sheriff-hopeful voiced refusal to comply with state regulations. A spirit of rebellion looks to be against man made rules, but it truly stands against our ability and willingness to trust God and His plan.

The other enemy spirit I see working in our lives is that of fear. Fear is the biggest enemy against faith that trusts God at all times. When fear grabs us, we lose sight of God, His will, and His way. All our desire turns to self-protection, “my rights,” and “my wants”.

I choose to follow the Spirit of peace. In the AMPC version of Colossians 3, we are told that peace from God is an umpire, leading us on the path of His desire. I trust God to direct the heart of our governing officials because His peace tells me I can. I trust God to protect me while I choose to love you to my own detriment, because He gives me peace to know that as His desire for me. Follow peace.

Yes! I am a sheep, resting peacefully at the foot of the throne of my Shepherd-King. Demanding your right of choice while belittling me for practice my right of choice is between you and God. May He bless and keep you as only He can.

Selah

Pause, Ponder, Pray, Praise, Practice His Presence

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalms 1:1-2 NASB

The Selah moments in scripture are calls to practice Psalm 1:2. It is opportunity to meditate on what one just read. Meditation is only truly effective when done so as to place within our hearts the truths of God for use in living Him out into our daily lives. If the Selah does not change us and direct us, it is wasted.

Psalms are chalked full of Selah pauses, but the Spirit of God also calls us to “Selah” – stopping us at some passage we need to understand in facing the day or a situation in life. We must be alert to God’s call to Selah: pause-ponder-pray-praise-practice so as to put on Christ.

One such moment happened to me while reading in Isaiah. In chapter 46, the Spirit of God tweaked my heart as I read verse 25. I recognized that sensation and noted the verse, but continued on. God’s Spirit wouldn’t have that. He kept drawing me back to it, 5 times, 6 times, until I finally stopped with a “What? What, Lord? What are you trying to show me?” That is the day I learned that forgiving as God forgives means forgiving “for my own sake,” so my effectiveness in fulfilling the purposes of God in relationships is not hindered or stopped by bitterness, anger, or such show-stopping issues as a desire for vengeance.

Selah moments are vital for spiritual growth and commitment to following God through life’s challenges. Selah moments grow us in areas significant for things coming into our lives. Selah moments empower knowledge of God and His ways, making us more like Him.

When God inspires a Selah moment: Pause and reread it; Ponder what is said; Pray for understanding of what God desires to teach you and how it fits in your day; Praise God for truths revealed and for His love in teaching you; Put on Christ by putting the truths revealed into Practice. Write it down or bookmark it to revisit it until satisfied that our Spirit-Teacher is finished instructing our hearts. This is Selah.

We are going to spend some time looking at the Selah moments in Psalms. And I may share some personal Selahs with you along the way. The goal is to fine tune our seeking after God through the ministry of The Teacher. God sent His inspired, Living, Life giving Word to teach us about Himself and His ways. Selah, pause and calmly think on that. Are you an effective student of God’s Word under the tutelage of His Holy Presence?

Join us on Facebook at Darlene’s Ponderings, Prayers, and Praises

God is Sovereign

He holds the hearts of kings.

“This is what the Lord says: “The people of Israel have sinned again and again, and I WILL NOT LET THEM GO UNPUNISHED! … Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has planned it?” (Amos 2:6a, 3:6 NLT)

We tend to forget that God is still Sovereign over all. We forget that He holds the hearts of kings in His hands to turn them the direction of His will for His purpose. An enemy attacked us on 911 and God sent us to fight that enemy. He used us to deliver a nation from an evil overlord. That is how He Works.

We are told that “God is patient toward us, not wishing any to perish, but all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). We see that fact in God’s words to Abraham as He tells them of Israel’s future slavery and their return to take the promised land. The Lord says, “After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction” (Genesis 15:16 NLT).

God gives the Amorites time to turn from evil, but knowing they won’t, He sets the day when their opportunity to repent is gone. We see God direct the heart of kings against a sinful, unrepentant people over and over in scripture. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We must take His sovereign rule to heart and recognize His hand in our day. And we, as a nation, must repent before God says, “Enough!”

Chosen For This Hour

Johnny and I went out yesterday for some needful shopping. I was struck by peoples expressions and demeanor. Many returned my smile, some returned my greeting, but most were somber, others obviously frightened, and one in particular looked a combination of these plus hopelessness. And, people, COVID hasn’t hit us here yet. We have no known cases in our county. What must it be like in areas of high impact?

My challenge to us, wherever we are, is be the light of hope: smile, speak greeting, behave as normal as possible. But also, watch expressions and demeanor. And pray as you passerby, stopping to pray, in social distancing manor, with those in need where opportunity presents itself.

We are chosen for this season. There is a purpose for us living in this time of history. There is something in us that God wants to use. He put it there. He planned it. This historic event is no surprise to Him, so He strategically placed each of us in positions of influence according to need. Be as He is: His image bearer. Be His representatives in this hour. “What would Jesus do?” is a good question to find answer for in our here and now living. Be Christlike. (Acts 17:24-28)

I ask You, Father, to inspire our fire for You, that we would shine in uplifting ways. Inspire our hearts to pray for those we pass. Grant courage to speak to needs we see. And place faces in our hearts for those we are assigned in prayer. Lift us up, Lord, and empower us to be uplifting. In Jesus, PEACE. Be still.

The Source of Bold

“… The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out BOLDLY. …” – ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:5-9‬ ‭NASB‬‬‬

God hardens Pharaoh to go after Israel just as He has successfully built them up in their faith and empowered them to go into their freedom BOLDLY. It is common for the enemy to attack us just as we get our BOLD going strong. Two things I see happening here:

One, God is not finished coming against the pride and arrogance of Pharaoh. God knows the heart of man and does all necessary to make Himself known in truth. Pharaoh was believed to be a god. He believed it of himself. The One and Only is making sure he and the people with him know that Pharaoh is not GOD.

Two, God is making sure His people know they can trust Him and warning them to not let their boldness become arrogance. We must be like Joshua and Caleb who put trust in God. Failing to do so, we will be like the other spies sent out by Moses. We will see the good of the land, but the formidable enemy will cause us to doubt God and be overcome by fear.

Arrogance has two sides. On the one it puts too much faith in self. On the other, it fails to know and trust God as the only sure source of bold victory. God chooses to use us to bring victory in life. But He expects us to realize it is Him by whom we are given every resource for victory.

Father, as we grow in our trust of You, we can stand and move with bold assurance of Your care and supply. Help us remember the foundation of our bold is You, in all Your glory and splendor. Like Your servants, Joshua and Caleb, may we be found in Your Presence, focused fully on You – Your power and supply, that we may walk boldly into the victory that is established by You. In Jesus, amen.

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭33:9-11‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Read Numbers 13-14, especially ‭‭Numbers‬ ‭14:5-9‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The Power of Owning One’s Identity

Are you a Treky? I am. I have seen every Star Trek Series to date, from start to finish, and I am excited to see the soon to begin Star Trek Picard on CBS All Access starting the 23rd.

Picard was captain of the Enterprise in Star Trek Next Generation and some of the funniest moments were his interactions with Lwaxana Troi, mother of his ships counselor, Deanna Troi. Lwaxana is a stand out character who knows who she is. Everything she does and all her roles in life are impacted and dictated by who she is. Her self-introduction makes sure all know who she is, not for the perceived purpose of bragging, but for the power, influence, and anointing her position holds.

Lwaxana was a Federation of Worlds Ambassador of Betazed, which holds its own power and authority, but her identity flowed from her Betazed BIRTHRIGHT, and she made sure all knew she had birthright authority, power, and anointing. When meeting Lwaxana, she boldly announced, “I am Lwaxana Troi, Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed.”

Her positional heritage was not something she earned. It was something she was born into. It was skin to put on, blood to give life, and understanding to empower living. This understanding of her identity and the prestigious authority it held coursed through her veins and dictated every role in life. She longed for Deanna to grasp hold of her heritage and own it as her own, so it flowed through Lwaxana’s motherly dealings. Her possession of who she was, at its core, is what propelled her into the role of Ambassador.

So, what does Lwaxana have to do with us? Her character has a lesson we need to embrace.

I awoke this morning, not thinking about a make believe Betazed, but with my own identity coursing through my veins. We, as born again children of God in Christ Jesus, have a prestigious and powerful heritage to possess and make our own. Ours is real and eternal – despite what many of this world will tell us.

Our identity also breeds power, authority, and anointing into us. That is the reason that we must own it and boldly proclaim our heritage, because this world, God’s enemy, and our own weak flesh, works hard to rob us of our ID, and make us impotent: useless to King and Kingdom. That said, Beloved, allow me the privilege of introducing myself to you.

I am Ruby Darlene Abigail Ingram Davis; Daughter of Jehovah Sabbaoth; Royal Priestess of the house of Judah through Jesus Christ, the High Priest of God in the order of Melchizedek, charged to proclaim the excellencies of Jehovah God; Princess Bride of the King of kings; Citizen of the Eternal Kingdom and Abbassador of The Kingdom of God to the world, empowered and anointed to represent King and Kingdom in the Earth; servant of God in Jesus Name; the very righteousness of God in Christ Jesus; and I am here to serve you in all the power, authority, and supply this truth affords me.

I may not look like much to you, and my roles here may seem as nothing. But, when I stand firm on all that I am in Christ, the enemies of God tremble before me and flee; angels position themselves to minister to my needs and Kingdom proclamations; and God’s hand is moved on my behalf as He causes all things to work together for good to me, as His daughter that loves Him, and shows it by walking and living according to His purpose. (Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭NASB‬‬).

Heads up, Beloved. Grasp your identity with all the power behind it. Let it course through your veins to influence and empower every role you have in the earth today, and all your relational interactions as you influence people and change lives. Then go forth to prosper our Father’s Kingdom and Crown. Blessings, beloved of God.

(Ruby Darlene Abigail Ingram Davis is chalked full of inspirational power for my life. It means: Ruby – the jewel or treasure of God; Darlene – beloved by God; Abigail (name given by God, a story in itself) – one whose heart rejoices in God and who brings rejoicing to the heart of God; of the house of Ingram, in the house of Davis.)

Making a God List

And checking it twice.

“Set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.” ~ Colossians‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

I read a devotional in one of my YouVersion’s Holy Bible App Christmas devotionals that suggested making a God List. The author, Samantha Hanni, defines a God list as follows:

“A God list is a list of qualities you’d like to develop or things you want to learn about the Lord. …If I were to make a God list right now, one of the things on there would be help in renewing my mind, resting in His love, and continued courage to wait on Him.“

This will go well with what God led me to do as my New Years resolve many years ago, so I’m excited to add this to my New Year’s preparations. For many years now, Father has led me to seek Him for a scripture to direct my focus for spiritual growth and maturity in the coming year. The last two years have focused on living the resurrected life: Galatians 2:20 (2018) and Galatians 5:24 (2019).

Today, in preparation to share these thoughts, Father highlighted my 2020 focus. As I looked up the verse Samantha used in her devotional, Colossians 3:2, 3:1-17 being one of me life passages, I was led to add verse 1 and use the Amplified Classic version of scripture. There it was, my verse for 2020:

“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.“ ~ Colossians‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

In 2018, I grew strength in realizing Christ, living through a more surrendered me. In 2019 I grew stronger resolve to surrender my passions and desires to His. And now, with Colossians 3:1 as my focus and Samantha’s encouragement under my belt, I will begin today to make a God list to aid my focus to “aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above”, available for those living a resurrected life.

Are you ready for Christmas? Are you ready for a New Year? More importantly, are you ready for the breath you breathe now. Our now-breath is all we can know as ours to live for sure. Enjoy this season as God gives breath for it. Plan for a new year that honors Him. And apply your resolve to each new breath so your life honors Him.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

GOD of ALL

“I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. …” (Jeremiah 32:27 NLT)

God: our God, is God of ALL humans everywhere, whether or not they acknowledge Him.

Look at all the chaos surrounding humankind, much of which appears an impossible situation. Now look at those impossible things nearest to where you call home and realize that, after God announces His Sovereignty, He asks, “… Is anything too hard for Me?”

Everything we see around us that tests our faith to believe God’s Sovereignty and care, calls on us to flex our TRUST IN GOD muscles. Do we TRULY trust that Jehovah is God? that He is working a good plan? that He is in control? that this thing in front of us is HIMpossible? that He wants to accomplish all that is truly good in our lives and the lives of those we love?

Do we trust His idea of the ideal good to accomplish?

Sometimes the only prayer we must pray is “Yes, Lord. This is HIMpossible for You, and I-I-I-I (crescendo) trust You. Have Your will on earth as it is in Heaven. AMEN – I bow down.”

“I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 NLT)

The Right Tools

This passage in Scripture spoke to me this morning:

“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. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:11-13 NASB)

Discipline. We tend to hate the word when hearing or reading it conjures up memories of spankings and other uncomfortable things we link to it. But discipline is so much more. Discipline is the fuel and determination needed for growth, maturity, attaining the goal and winning the prize. Discipline looks at the need, sees the tools available to meet the need, then deliberately and purposefully puts the tools to good use, winning the day.

Returning to SparkPeople and Grow Young Fitness in the past weeks, after a long time away from community life and use of resources found there, and determining to use the tools these provide us, I quickly learned I was eating way more than I realized. Through discipline I learned something about myself that I needed to know and found the resources to do something about it.

Discipline is good. It empowers us to live better lives and be our best self. Grasp hold of the tools you find for your need and, deliberately and purposefully making good use of them, have a great, victory day. I’m going to.

Grasp The New

“… At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. …”

When first converted, someone saying to me that I am now a new person brought the thought, “That’s nice.” Oh to fully realize the height, depth, width, and length of this truth. That we are in Christ and He is in us is our New Reality. That our surrender to Him brings true life to living, making us new from the inside out.

We are no longer trapped by this finite life and it’s self-centered, worldly philosophy, but we have already entered the new, eternal Kingdom, possessing through Christ His thoughts, purposes, desires, and understandings. How different life is. What a difference this truth makes for life.

Oh, to teach that to the very young in Christ, that though this shell will one day pass on, we are already eternal with Christ, charged and empowered by Him to pass these Kingdom truths and realities to others along the path of this world assignment. Missionaries of The Kingdom of God. All else pales when we begin to grip our New Reality.

“So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-21 NLT)

The Lord, Alone, Exalted

“The pride of man will be humbled And the loftiness of men will be abased; And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” ~ Isaiah 2:17.

Humility is when we fully realize it’s not about me, it’s all about God.

Humility bows to Him out of realization that it’s not about me, it’s all about Him.

That realization helps us evaluate every decision, every situation, every emotion and thought from His eternal perspective. That realization helps us overcome fear, embarrassment, pride, guilt, and shame, as it helps us die to self-interest that puts “me” on the throne, so I may truly die to self and fully live for Him. That realization ~ It’s not about me, it’s all about Him ~ empowers victory in a life that reveals “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” ~ Galatians 2:20.

This understanding hit my heart today as never before. I am bowed down and totally undone.

(2017)

Commended by God

“When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them.” (2 Corinthians 10:18 NLT)

As I read this today, the commendation first in my thoughts is God’s commendation of Job to Satan. I know! That doesn’t sound so good, does it? But listen to how proud God is.

“Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.”” (Job 1:8 NLT)

Wow! I can but only live with hope of catching God’s eye in such a way. But that’s not the ultimate proof of God’s pride toward Job. That which followed is the proof text.

“Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!”

“All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.”

“So Satan left the Lord’s presence.” (Job 1:9-12 NLT)

Note that God pointed Job out to Satan. The test coming is God’s idea. God knew the heart of Job toward Him would prevail. He knew that whatever Lucifer threw at him, Job’s heart would reach out in faith to His Father and proclaim truths like, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!”” (Job 1:21 NLT)

And then there’s the frustrated discourse with his heart broken wife:

“His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.” (Job 2:9-10 NLT)

I cannot think of one person in scripture, commended by God, who did not walk through trial and testing that proved not only the caliber of their character, but the faithfulness of their God as they continued in faith toward Him. Moses was tried, tested, and grown as he led the people he was charged to guide. Joseph faced trial and testing that grew him to be strong in the skill and character necessary to rule a kingdom. Jesus faced every trial and passed every test on His way to the throne of Glory.

Sweetheart, those God loves, He proves and prunes. Are you going through a hard time, seeing your faith and integrity tested at every turn? It’s not that God has left your side, but more likely that He has recommended you as His righteous child of faith and integrity. He will not leave your side through the journey. And we pass the test by making sure, with every challenge of our faith, that we refuse to walk away from Him.

Look again at the challenge from Satan regarding Job.

“Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” SO SATAN LEFT THE LORD’S PRESENCE.” (Job 1:9-12 NLT)

In order to do the evil Satan intended toward Job, Satan had to leave the Lord’s Presence. That is the test we all face, Beloved. Satan temps us to lose faith and leave the Lord’s Presence. Will we remain with Him, or will testing see us walk away.

Let’s turn now to Jesus:

“…As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” …” (John 6:52-71 NASB)

Difficulty coming into one’s life is not proof one is lost and failing to align with God. Difficulty in life is not necessarily an act of punishment from God. Difficulty can well mean we are commended by God for proving. And all through our test, Jesus asks us, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Those who pass the test are those who remain with Him despite the difficulty that comes to test and try our faith and character.

Stand firm, Beloved. God will not leave you alone in the fires or lion’s dens of life. He is forever with and for you. Your privilege is to stand firm with and for Him, so as to come out not only unscathed by the challenge, but stronger in character and skill for service and smelling like Jesus.

What Partnership

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? …” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NASB)

When we read in scripture about binding relationships, if you are like me, thought most often goes to marriage. However, this passage is not speaking of marriage, but of any relational allegiance: corruptible friendships, unrighteous business partnerships, etc. Any allegiance with those who deny God have the potential to serve our enemy as a source of temptation, leading us to dishonor God.

Are we to leave lost friends once we commit to Christ? Very possibly: weighing those relationships against the teaching that bad company corrupts good morals, we may have to stop running with friends who run swiftly into evil practices. Should we pass up big money opportunities that require us to partner with untrustworthy people with no moral scruples? “Surely God knows we will use the money wisely.” But at what cost to His Name, for which we are representative?

There is a lot to consider when binding ourselves with others. Will we live lives that lift them higher as we lead the relationship into righteous practices; or will we fall into a pit while trying to lift them up. These are important things to consider in relationships, old and new, as we commit to relationship with God, to honor Him with our all.

1 Corinthians 15:33

Residing as Aliens

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.” (1 Peter 1:1-2 NASB)

Peter addresses his audience as alien residents. These He addresses are physical aliens, scattered across foreign lands, away from their God-given homelands. But I believe he is also addressing them as Kingdom people, living as aliens in this world.

That being true, this letter is for us as well. We, too, are a peculiar people: being in the world, but not of it. We are strategically place in the earth, according to the foreknowledge of God, positioned for a work planned for each individual of us, prepared by Him before we were borne.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NASB)

We “are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood.”

The sprinkled blood both cleanses from sin and sets apart for special service, set apart and sanctified to God for His purposes: Chosen, for a sanctifying work of the Spirit. The Spirit of God in us is tasked with the work of sanctifying us to God, setting us apart to Him. This sanctification reveals itself as we grow in obedience in two ways: obedience that follows the dictates of Christ, who is The Word of God incarnate. An obedience that not only recognizes the authority of the Father behind the teachings of Jesus, but that recognizes Jesus as the example we are to follow in our acts of obedience. We obey best when we obey in the obedience OF Christ. Obedience done as Jesus would obey, in keeping with the image of God seen in Him, is our weapon of warfare.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NASB)

Learning to think as Christ thinks and take action in agreement with Him, chasing hard after God’s will and way, doing all as glorifies and honors the Father. This is the obedience of a sanctified life, proving the successful work of God’s Spirit in us, making us obvious aliens in this world, clearly defining us as Kingdom dwellers.

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 NASB)

Finding Who We Are: Part 10-C

Into the Holy of Holies

Read: Hebrews 9:1-28 NASB

“…Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant;” (Hebrews 9:2-4 NASB)

Lifting up the incense censor of personal relationship with Jesus, who has gone before us as a cloud to fill the mercy seat, we do something no ordinary, secondary priest has been allowed before. The old curtain torn away, we enter, having access through Christ to the Holy Presence of the Father, entering safely into the Holy of Holies, our sin covered: set free indeed.

I can sense the awe, the wonder, the reverential, holy fear and abandon that causes me to fall on my face in worship and surrender, acknowledging of His worthiness and sovereignty. Daring to lift eyes to look around, I see the Ark of covenant laid open before us, for our consideration. We are in the Presence of the Holy One. In this instant, nothing else matters as the glory of His Glory rises in us.

As I am there, I realize a familiar place I have been to and been touched by many times in my LifeWalk in Christ: an absolute, undeniable unity with this Holy.

Even now, Beloved, prostrate together with you, I realize that God has already answered the prayer of Jesus for us to be one with them as He and the Father are one. We just have to recognize, trust, and walk out this union. In these days of my life experience, I grow stronger daily in this realization. The rested assurance of being one in Christ: of being part of His very body. His very thought flowing to and through me as every neuron in me connects in surrender to my place in Christ.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not perfect at it yet, and I, too, frequently fight on the battlefield of the mind with the weapons of war that God provides. Taking every thought captive in likeness to the obedience of Christ, daily I grow stronger roots into my eternal reality. And I believe that every breath of this reality that I realize, makes up an undeniable experience of this Holy that will, on the day I fully stand before Him, make this familiar a true homecoming.

As I look at the Ark, open to view, I see the things of God that make this Holy our living reality today: the Ark of the covenant with its mercy seat and covering angels; the golden jar of manna; the budding rod; and the tables of the covenant.

The Ark of the covenant with its mercy seat and covering angels is full of symbolism, a reminder of truths we can still cling to, today. Because of Jesus, us being His body, and Him our covering, we see the faithfulness of God in the Ark before us. We know we can trust His mercy toward us because of Christ in us, the place where Jesus stands between our sin nature and God’s wrath, freeing us from the bonds of death.

The Ark is a visual for the faithful Presence of God, Who is with us and for us so that none can be successfully against us. As He went before the people of Israel, making a way for them, so He does for us who believe and trust His direction and protection.

The Golden jar of manna is assurance of God’s faithful provision. Reminder that we can trust Him with our physical need. No need we face in life is beyond God to meet according to His riches in glory.

The budding rod was proof and reminder to Aaron and God’s people that Aaron was the chosen high priest of there day. It ended all dispute for the people, and it squelched any insecurity in Aaron. He WAS chosen.

For us, Jesus is The Chosen and Eternal High Priest. We, too, are the chosen tribe of Jesus, representing His Priesthood before The Father and in the world. We are set apart in Christ, by God, as His Temple on Earth and in service to it for His glory.

We never have to question God’s calling and choosing us. As people of God in Christ, we simply must possess our position as Priest unto God, trust the sign of the budding rod before us, know our role in His Temple, and do our role. Because of Christ, our time with the Father in the secret place of His holiness provides that budding rod of assurance for us.

As for Israel, the tables of the covenant bear constant reminder to the people that God alone is God. There is no other. His ways are simple and straightforward, and we are to follow in His ways. The laws given provide the measuring rod that leads to repentance. Jesus is the embodiment of God’s Holy Word, making Him the measuring rod by which we are to live, breathe, and find our being, all of which we accomplish by the strength producing grace of God through Christ.

Beloved, as I think on these things, rejoicing in Christ, bowed here before my God and King, I realize that, in the new covenant of Christ, our procession through the temple worship starts and ends here. While Israel started at the door to the outer court and the sanctifying sacrifice at the Altar of Sacrifice, making atonement for themselves before continuing on through the temple service, being stopped at the door of the Holy of Holies, we begin and end our day in the Holy of Holies: in the very Presence of God in all His glory. Only as we start our day here can we press forward in full provision for service.

We start by remembering God’s law and the sacrifice of Jesus that sanctifies and sets us free. We praise God for His calling and choosing us in Christ, possessing and committing ourselves to that service. We entrust all our need to His provision and rest ourselves in His constant and sure Presence with us: in His faithfulness to lead us.

Stepping out in and through Christ, into the Holy Place, we light the incense altar from the fires of our Christ, filling the Holy of Holies with praise and gratitude for God’s loving care, lifting the known needs of others to Him. We stop at His Lampstand, check our Oil, and make sure we bear His Light. We feast ourselves at His table, filling ourselves with the milk, honey, bread, and meat of His Word.

Departing with Christ all over and in us, we enter outer court service. Stopping to check our face in the Laver of cleansing, we wash our feet and the feet of those with us. Prepared for service, we stand at the altar to await our first arrival. Busying ourselves with the good work and daily cares that God entrusts to us. We move freely throughout the rooms of the Temple as need and as opportunity presents itself to us, going in and out of the Holy of Holies as needed to replenish ourselves throughout the day.

At end of day, we reverse course, stopping at the cross to thank God for His sacrificial gift to us. Checking our face in the mirrors of God’s image, we take time needed to wash feet. Entering through the veil of the Holy Place, we feast from God’s table, trim the lamps and check our oil. We light the incense with gratitude for God’s work in our day, offering prayers for the needs before us. Then crossing that blessed threshold into the awe inspiring Presence of our God, King, and Father, we find our place of rest in Him and settle in where personal replenishing takes place, making us ready for the morrow.

Beloved, we are the Temple of our God, and we recognize that the new and vital Holy of Holies is our personal place of meeting with God: the secret place of communion where we fill up with Him. Enter into His service and glory in our God.

“In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father.” (John 16:26-27 NASB)