Tag Archives: Contentment

Those Who Trust the Lord Lack No Good Thing

13 Days of Trust in the Lord and do good. Day 4.

“Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.” Psalm 34:10

True trust learns contentment where one is, while waiting with hope in God for that which comes next.

I learned years ago that God wants us to be grateful for what we have – whether fancy or meager, unashamed to use our little for His glory, being good stewards of His supply, giving out of that to help others in true need.

True contentment recognizes the sufficiency trusted to us. And when God’s supply exceeds our need, trust-filled gratitude seeks His wisdom in the use of that supply for the glory of God, the furtherance of His Kingdom purpose, and the aid of those in any need.

Today, as I go to prepare this post, I am led to look at the passage in context and find that there’s more to see about this trust that finds its need met.

“Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear Him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.” (Vs. 9-10)

This trust is sister to the fear of the Lord. This trust that brings us to lack nothing, being content with God’s provision, does not question God out of a heart of discontent. It does not look at others and accuse God of lack of provision because we “don’t have what they have.”

Discontent disrespects God as Lord. Such discontent, which is a lack of gratitude, says to God that He and His provision are not good enough. It is the heart attitude that kept Israel in that wilderness.

I read something today that grabbed my attention, giving light to this subject.

“It is on account of these [very sins] that the [holy] anger of God is ever coming upon the sons of disobedience (those who are obstinately opposed to the divine will), Among whom you also once walked, when you were living in and ADDICTED to [such practices].” (Colossians 3:6-7)

Sins that oppose the Divine will are an addiction to having one’s own will and way. An addict is never satisfied for long. There is always a greater fix to be had. Discontent, dissatisfaction with God and His provision, feeds into our sin addiction, whatever it is. The solution?

“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. For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory. So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God).” (Colossians 3:1-5, AMPC)

For [ALL] of that (sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness) is idolatry – the deifying of self and other created things instead of God.

Father, show me the things in my life that are there because I am addicted to the deifying of self and other created things. Forgive my idolatry and discontent that fails to trust and fear You alone as God and Lord. Empower me to kill, deaden, deprive of power, the evil desire lurking within my flesh. Grant me a heart that seeks after You and the rich, eternal treasures that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Increase in me the possession of the very mind of Christ and fill me to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit so that I may set my mind and keep it set on what is above, the higher things of Your will and way. In Jesus’ Holy and beloved Name above all names, amen.

Greetings, Mighty Warrior of God

“…The LORD is with you, mighty warrior…. Go in the strength you have…” – Judges 6:12-14.

“The Lord with you” is the strength of the mighty. Nothing will be impossible with God. Even contentment in every circumstance is empowered in those who remember “the Lord is with you”. He will get you to His plan for you as you trust in the Lord and do the good He strengthens you to do. So press forward, Mighty Warrior, and have a BLESSed day!

Capturing Stinking Thinking: Part 5

Considering the wisdom of Philippians 4:4-13 in our focus to follow the dictates of 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, which instructs us to take every thought captive, we finish up our arsenal from this Philippians passage. Beginning with joy in the Lord that brings strength, to it Paul adds the godly attitudes and temperaments of gentleness, an unselfish consideration, with forbearance, restraint, tolerance, and patience. To this Paul adds trust in God that produces peace of mind and heart, protecting against anxious thoughts. Last post Paul’s instruction added the need to make sure our thoughts dwell with God, letting His truth and perspective dictate so that we turn to thoughts that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely; thoughts of good repute, excellence, and praiseworthiness. Dwelling with such thinking causes those characteristics to work their way out in our life practices. Today we add what may well be the most needful and effective weapon for our arsenal against stinking thinking:

“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 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” ~ Verses 10-13.

Trust in God that empowers us to be content despite life’s circumstance is one of our greatest tools against skunk-thoughts. This contentment is not that fed by discouragement, but by hope. True contentment is not the passivity, apathy, or indifference that leads to us lying down to die in defeatism, instead of getting up to move forward in faith. This contentment Paul speaks of requires us to enter into the rest of God: a rest fed by faith to trust Him, leading to those actions of obedience required of us wherever we are in life; trust filled action flowing from those right and true thought processes. This active-rest holds us in God’s sure peace while believing with assurance of heart that He is in control and will get us safely to wherever He is taking us through the situation at hand (consider Hebrews 3:12-19; Philippians 3:1-14).

As I think on these things, I realize that contentment is greatly dependent on our ability to place our joy in the Lord Himself, instead of in His gifts or provision, or in our wants and desires. When we let our joy fall on what God does for us instead of realizing Him as our exceeding great reward, we will fall easily to discontent when a desire or even a perceived need goes unmet. Thus, we come full circle, beloved.

Where are you in your life journey today? Do you readily rest things in God’s capable hands, following His instruction in obedience as you walk through life’s challenges? Or do you kick against the goads of thoughts not settled and secure in God’s will and way? Let’s close with God’s words to us through James:

“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel.

“You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose:

“‘He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us’?

“But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.’

“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” ~ James 4:1-10 (consider the Amplified version of this passage).

Contentment in whatever circumstance life brings us begins with God being our first, most needful joy, knowing Him to be our exceeding great reward. No other perceived need or want truly sustains us.

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.

Walk the Word, Receive the Promise

“For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, And it will be a memorial to the Lord, For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off” ~ Isaiah 55:12-13.

Continuing with yesterday’s focus, this promise is awesome as well. Yesterday we saw that, as we practice walking the word out into life, God’s promise instructs us that in seeking His Word, opinion, perspective on our journey and walking His instruction out, His Word lived in and through us will fulfill its purpose. Reading on in the Isaiah 55 passage God promises in today’s passage that we will go out with joy, and be led by peace as we trust His Word (Colossians 3:15-17, See in AMPC). True joy and peace are intimately linked to trust in, faith in, reliance on, and confidence in God, who always does what He says He will do. He fulfills His word.

God also promises in this passage that all of creation will rejoice over our obedience to live God’s word out. That tells me that, when we are truly and fully following God and all others shun us for it or try to discourage our course, we have a cheering section in God and all of His creation. (Luke 19:37-40)

Finally, our passage today bears a promise that took a little research to fully understand: We will see the thorn bush replaced by the cypress, and the nettle replaced by the myrtle.

Thorn bush is easy. Get pricked by a thorn, and we move away from that place in a hurry.  It is a deterrent from drawing near. Sin is thorn bushes that hinder our drawing near to God. As God removes sin from us, He is removing the thorn bush that is standing between us and the intimacy He desires for our relationship with Him.

Replacing the thorn bush with Cypress: the Cypress most often mentioned in scripture is a tree. It is open, inviting one to draw near, and it provides shade for comfort, enticing us to sit and rest under its branches for a while. It pictures a close, welcoming relationship with God.

Nettle has leaves with prickly hairs that cause an allergic sting. The sting of sin hinders our relationship with God, inflaming God against us. Sin inflames our relationships with others. Trouble and fear increases with the sting of the nettle. The allergic sting of sin comes to those who fail to align with God’s Word.

Replacing the nettle with Myrtle speaks of healing: Myrtle is one of the first NSAIDs, a pain reliever that aids against inflammation. Healing comes to hearts, relationships are restored, and strength increases for a life abundant and full. Myrtle can be used as a tea. I see a seeker of God, sipping that healing cup of tea, while enjoying the presence of Jesus in intimate relationship.

The promise of God for us who actively seek to walk in His word, is that we will find welcome as we draw near, receiving comfort and respit under the shade of His provision and healing from the pain and inflammation caused by sin: one’s own, or that of this world.

“… Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. … Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” ~ James 4:1-10.

Ever Present Peace

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!” ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16.

Paul often opened and closed his letters with a blessing of peace and hope of the realization of God’s presence for the reader. He knew it was vital for the heart of the person to trust the presence of the Lord in life and circumstance so they would walk in the peace of God.

Peace disturbed signals that the mind’s eyes shifted focal point, turning from trust in God and His presence in life to the problems inherent in life’s difficulties. Peter sank when his eyes shifted from Jesus to the enormous waves coming at them, faith disturbed by his eye’s understanding of the situation. As a baby learning to walk, falls when looking away from the outstretched arms of the parent, so we find ourselves stumbling through life when we fail to fix our eyes on Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Trouble in life is often overwhelming, for when in the midst of it, it is difficult to see the path through it. Turning eyes to God, knowing He sees and knows all fully, while trusting His greatness that far exceeds any trouble, quiets the soul. Realizing His closeness to us, His presence in our day-to-day lives, His trustworthiness toward us who look to Him, brings His gift of peace and the assurance of His hand made ready to move on our behalf. Looking to Him stills us so that we may know God and receive from Him the wisdom needed to face the storm. With eyes on Him, we hear the voice of the Lord speak to our storm, “Peace! Be still” (Mark 4:35-41, KJV).

~*~

“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen” ~ Hebrews 13:20-21.

See also John 14:1; 23-27; Hebrews 13: 5, AMPC; Psalm 37:3-9; Psalm 46.

Is God Stirring Your Nest?

“Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions. The Lord alone guided him, and there was no foreign god with him” ~ Deuteronomy 32:11-12.

God stirs the nest of His child when He is ready for them to move to a new phase of growth and maturity. God stirs the nest, bringing discomfort to our comfort zones. He stirs a nest of our own making when we are in bad company, heading to a temptation that will catch us unawares if we fail to move with His stirring. He stirs the nest of those who settle into a comfort zone that we feel insecure and inadequate to leave; or one we feel accomplished in, not being ready to stop what we are doing. God forces us to leave a nest in order to teach us to fly in new directions, soaring to ever-greater heights of faith and effective ministry. He stirs the nest to wake us to ever-increasing depths of His love and faithfulness.

As we cooperate with God, we grow to lean on, trusteaglenest02 in, and be confident in the Lord with all our heart and mind, not relying on our own insight and understanding, but fully trusting Him alone as God. We grow in faith so that in all our ways we come to know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, believing fervently and fully that He will direct and make straight and plain our paths.

He stirred my nest several times, moving me to a position where He used me for some work He wanted accomplished, amazing me with His majesty in each situation. Every experience of God forcing me out of my comfy, little, just my size nest, I found God faithful and grew to know Him and His ways as I never knew Him before.

In one such experience, in a church I loved and served in for 20 years, I was serving the Lord in leadership areas I long wanted to participate in, thriving beyond my imaginings. Suddenly a sense that I was out of place hit me. It often knocked me off my proverbial feet, as I found my heart sitting before God, wondering what was going on. “Why is my soul disturbed within me” was my frequent cry.

During that time, another church kept coming to my heart. Finally, one day, asking the Lord to direct me, I visited the church, seeking the Lord for confirmation the stirring of unsettledness within me was Him. That led to my change in church just before my beloved Pastor1 in the church of 20 years moved at God’s direction to a new place of service. Trusting God’s stirring of my nest put me in position to jump on board in a leadership role for a city wide, ministerial alliance coordination, gearing for a cooperative evangelistic focus, to get The Jesus Video into every household in our three town/community complex.

As we prepared for the day of distribution, that stirring returned, pushing me back to the previous church for some reason I did not understand. I liked my new church and my Pastor2, and I was enjoying the doors of ministry that swung open for me there. What was up?

Once back in the church of 20 years with its new Pastor3, I discovered that none of the membership knew anything about the Jesus Video project. Our previous Pastor1 started the ministerial alliance in the direction for that Jesus Video Project. The new leadership knew of it, but they were not promoting it to the church for their participation. Realizing the membership knew nothing about the project, when I learned that the ministerial alliance was lowering their aim, planning to get the video out in segments instead of covering the entire area, being unable to afford to do the entire area without the largest church in town helping with it, I made a phone call to the new Pastor3. Visiting with him, I discovered why the video was not on their radar.

Because God unsettled me and moved me back, I was in a position to act as go between. Informing Pastor2, the then-leader of the ministerial alliance, telling him of my findings in my conversation with Pastor3, he was able to address the issue and gain the support of the new leadership. The biggest church in town jumped on board and we covered the entire area with the Jesus Video.

God mightily moved on our behalf, leading us to fully complete the work as He intended when He laid it on the heart of our Pastor1 who moved to his new assignment. That Pastor1 and his wife are still very good friends of mine. I am greatly honored that God chose to unsettle me and allow me such an integral role in His plan for our city, placed in the heart of the Pastor1 I love.

Feeling restless and unsettled? Trust in the Lord and make the leap He sets before you, doing the good He prepared for you to accomplish. It may not be easy, but you can know that He will carry You through to the finish line like a momma eagle looking after her young.

(Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 37:3-8)

Recognizing and Defeating a Factious Spirit ~ Part 7

“These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit” ~ Jude 1:19.

Who are “these” our author refers to? Verse 18 says these are “mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” Verse 16 defines those ungodly attributes that produce division:

“These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.”

Here we find warning, alerting us to watch against grumbling, fault-finding, feeding one’s own lusts, speaking arrogantly, and speaking to flatter with hope of gaining an advantage. Acting out of these worldly-minded habits that are not Spirit led and fed, we cause division. Taking action to avert these habits protects unity and heals relationships.

Grumbling and fault-finding

If we learn little else in the books of Moses, we learn how destructive grumbling, complaining, and fault-finding are to ones relationship with God and other people. These habits fail to see what God can and will do in our situation; they refuse to appreciate the good He does and accomplishes for us; and they deny any good in those around us. A focus on the negatives seen in grumbling, complaining, and fault-finding robs us of the ability to find, know, and appreciate what we have in front of us.

During a time of difficulty in our marriage following the death of his mother, the negatives my husband exhibited snared my mind. I learned later the things he was doing are commonly seen in men grieving the loss of a mother. God gradually revealed how my grumbling mind and mouth were hurting the situation. One day, He clearly led me to purchase one of those two-year pocket calendars. He instructed my heart to write in each day something I saw to appreciate in my husband. By the end of a year, I had a new appreciation for my husband, my thoughts focused on his good attributes. Reading the year’s entries, I found 365 different positives about my man. God inspired me to give the calendar for him to use the second year. He told me later that he made his entries keeping his time in his calendar section, and then he read what I wrote on that date the previous year. During that year, he determined to major on those things I appreciated in him. That calendar remained in his lunch box, safely kept in a Ziplock bag, for five years of daily reading. God restored our relationship by changing my focus, and I found my faith in God strengthened by the experience.

When we fall to the habits of grumbling, complaining, and fault-finding, we leave our First Love, failing to trust God and the good He works through our days of struggle. In our complaint, we become part of the problem instead of the solution, pushing people away or causing factions to form a line of dissenters with us that dishonor God. Making the choice to focus one’s mind and heart to discover the good God has hidden within our situations and the people around us equips us to serve as His instrument for healing, unity, and peace.

Path to Greatness: One Name

Reading Genesis 11, the story of Babel, I note anew the reasoning of the people as they plan to build and the rebellion against God found there. In verse 4, the people proclaim:

“Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

Here they are talking about pooling their resources together to build a permanent residence where they can dwell under one name and stop roaming over the earth. They refused to scatter over the whole earth, choosing instead to become great as one people under one name. This is rebellion against God who told Adam, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]…” ~ Genesis 1:28, AMP.

God repeated this command with Noah, “And GOD pronounced a blessing upon Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth’” ~ Genesis 9:1.

These people refused the will of God, deciding instead to set themselves up in one place, become great in stature together, and stand deliberately against the call to scatter over the earth, subduing it and making full use of its resources. In God’s response to this rebellion, we see Him doing what it takes to force the hand of the people and set them back on the path He laid out for them.

“And the Lord said, ‘Behold, they are one people and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do, and now nothing they have imagined they can do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord scattered them abroad from that place upon the face of the whole earth, and they gave up building the city. Therefore the name of it was called Babel—because there the Lord confounded the language of all the earth; and from that place the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” ~ Genesis 11:6-9, AMP.

Beloved, God has a plan and a purpose for each of us on the path of life. Part of that plan, the key piece, is that we rely on and seek after Him and His will first, desiring Him above all, and fulfilling His purpose. Anytime we choose self-reliance over trust in Him, we leave the path of God’s desire for us, and fail to fulfill His purpose. God cannot let that stand. He must act as God and be God in the situation; and He is not above doing whatever it takes to set our feet on the path of His choosing.

Is there a difficulty in your life that has you stumbling about in confusion, frustrating your efforts to do what you want? Stop and seek the Lord to discern where you are on the path of life. Are you with the Lord on the path of His choosing? Then fear not. The trouble has a purpose and God has a plan and provision for dealing with it. Have you deliberately walked away from God, going your own way in your own strength to do your own thing? God does not leave us, but we can walk away from Him through rebellion that sets us on a path He cannot allow to succeed.

Holy Habitation with God requires that we get our bearings lined up with His as His people, called by His name, so we are on the path to fulfilling His purpose for us. Take a moment right now to check your position. Are you with God on the path, or have you slipped away?

“He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” ~ James 4:6-10.

Listening Prayer (Part 4-A) ~ The Way of It

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Recall from previous posts in this series that listening prayer is two-way communication.

We speak: God hears and responds. When He responds with words in the Spirit, whether through scripture, the encouragement of other believers, or that gentle inner voice, the work of the Spirit is to grant us understanding of the voice of the Lord. Our work is to hear with the listening ears of a disciple possessing a heart to obey. When God speaks to us in the work of His Spirit in us to encourage our wait for His action, we know the word is from the Lord as it happens in the earth.

He speaks: by faith, we listen and hear with understanding ears open to the Spirit of God who brings knowledge and remembrance of things we need to know so that we can follow through to accomplish the will of God in every situation. The Spirit gives wisdom with understanding comprehension. Listen! And give Him glory.

In today’s focal passage, we see that the will of God for us is that, in every situation of life, we rejoice in Him, praying without ceasing, possessing a grateful heart that expresses itself in us.

Note the “pray without ceasing”: How do we possess a ceaseless prayer life? We accomplish this as we realize that listening prayer begins with communion – friends, walking together in the partnership of life, and it culminates in action. We seek the Lord. He instructs us. We follow His instruction, doing what He equips us to accomplish. Meanwhile, we watch to see Him do what only He can do through our situations and in response to our obedience. We praise the Lord for His work in and through us all along the way. The topper? He rejoices over us who walk so closely with Him.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy” ~ Zephaniah 3:17.

Now, what of the “Rejoice ALWAYS…in EVERYTHING give thanks”? That appears easiest to do when things are good—or is it? However, things are not always good. When things are bad, it is definitely difficult to always rejoice and give thanks in everything—isn’t it? Difficulty being part of our always and everything, how do we continue to rejoice and be thankful?

It should be easiest to rejoice in the Lord with grateful heart when things are good; however, that is too often not the case. When God brings us out of a season of difficult and delivers us into the good land, we rejoice in recognizing His work on our behalf. However, when we neglect to realize God moved on our behalf, or when we are long in the good land, we too easily take for granted that goodness and neglect to rejoice and give Him thanks as we should.

Listening prayer maintains constant communion with God, being always aware of the good He does for us, and being faithful to this call in our rejoicing over Him with thankfulness. The stronger we grow in this practice of prayer, the more ceaseless our walk in this will of God for us. Be alert in the good days that you fulfill the will of God in listening communion with Him, laying claim to no good thing as if of your own making, taking nothing for granted.

What about the difficult days, how do we rejoice and give thanks when we see nothing to rejoice over and definitely are not thankful for what is going on? The answer is in our focus during such times, and in our understanding of what this passage teaches us.

Rejoice always: in what? Certainly not in our situations: good or bad. Rejoicing in our situations or in the provision God makes for our life circumstances and possessions He provides for us makes these an idol in our eyes. Rejoicing is always to be in our God – who He is in all seasons, His faithfulness, His help toward us, His presence, etc.

Scripture tells us, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of Your heart.” When our greatest desire is God, we will find Him in every situation, good or bad, and we will be satiated, strengthened, and helped. The scripture says, “The joy of the Lord is my strength”. Growing strong in our ability to find joy in the Presence of our Lord, whatever is going on in life, is what brings us strength to be able to face all that comes to our day. (Psalm 37:3-6; Nehemiah 8:10)

Focus in rejoicing is always in the Lord. When our lives focus on delighting in Him, thankfulness comes easy as we note His work and provision more readily, seeing Him move in to help us, in good days, and in difficult ones.

~*~

“Rejoice in the Lord always – delight, gladden yourselves in Him; again I say, Rejoice! Let all men know, perceive and recognize your unselfishness, your considerateness, your forbearing spirit. The Lord is near…” ~ Philippians 4:4-5, AMPC.

Standing on the Promises

“By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence. And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” ~ 2 Peter 1:3-4, NLT.

The promises of God my King, Savior, Champion, Companion. We are in a season that has me leaning heavily on God and His faithfulness.

It has been a couple of weeks since my last post. In that time, we busy ourselves with life as we go through the beginning of what may bring us to a long medical challenge in my sweet hubby’s life. He has a biopsy coming up to determine if his issue is cancerous, so we stand, waiting, to see what the Lord will do. (Prayers appreciated)

That said, I am so grateful that, though this life has its twists and turns that can throw us for a loop, we stand fixed and stable because of God’s faithfulness. Here in our focal passage, the author instructs us that we can share the divine nature of God as His image bearers and escape the world’s corruption caused by fleshly desires, by standing, firm in faith, on the promises of God.

God’s promises come to us by His grace alone, but most all we enter into by way of some act of obedience. Jesus promised us His Spirit to guide and equip us for life abundant and full in Him, but that Spirit comes only as we choose to believe the truth of Christ and His life, work, and sacrificial death. Most promises have something we must do to take our stance on that Rock.

This week, as I contemplate what life holds for us in these days of 102facing whatever we may face with Hubby’s health issues, God speaks to me through 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12. Through this passage, God reminds me that His promise to reveal Himself through me comes to pass as I go about my daily life, keeping my hands busy with the tasks at hand. Through this season of unknown challenges ahead of us, standing firm on God means doing what comes next with hope in Him to accomplish His will through even the most mundane of tasks.

God promises strength in our weakest hours as we make Him our greatest joy and song (2 Corinthians 12:7-10; 13:4; 1 Corinthians 1:27; Hebrews 12:13; Nehemiah 8:10). Knowing God’s promises, receiving His instruction, we take our stance on the Rock of our salvation, fully trusting that God will reveal Himself to and through us in this season we enter in to possess for His glory.

~*~

“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” ~ 2 Peter 1:5-8, NASB.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” ~ Hebrews 10:23, NASB.

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 Daily Portion

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction’” ~ Exodus 16:4.

Today, as I seek the Lord to make Himself known and to minister to the need He sees in me, He begins by speaking to me concerning the habit of fretting tomorrows issues and needs. Fretting wastes time, energy, and supply meant for use in this day’s need, giving it to things that have not and may never come to our lives. Praying about where to begin on our journey to holy habitation with God, He reminds me of the next portion of the Lord’s Model Prayer, and through that, He leads me to the verse above.

In the Lord’s Model Prayer, we looked at the need to begin every prayer with realization of God: who He is, how He works, His might and power and supply available to us, surrendering to His sovereignty. Next Jesus instructs we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:9-13).

Remember, Jesus, in His Model Prayer is giving the people an outline to help their understanding of how to properly approach God’s throne of grace. He begins with leading the people to realize and acknowledge all the glory of God, His power and sovereignty, so they realize that He is the one able to respond to their every need. Then He says, “Now, with this understanding, pray for your daily bread.” Bread / food is a need common to all. Here Jesus is saying to trust God for our daily food supply, but it is more than that. He is more fully instructing us to “trust God for Your daily supply to meet your every need.”

God-Jehovah, in ministering to His people, Israel, promises them His supply to meet their daily need of bread. The daily manna is a symbol of God’s supply for what He sees as our daily need. Whether it is food, finances, strength, grace, wisdom, instruction, or whatever the need, God is the source of our supply, and He sends it to each day as needed. The example found in Exodus tells us that God often only sends what we need for each day with His instruction for its proper use, and He does so for the purpose of revealing whether or not we will follow His instruction.

Fretting and worrying misappropriate God’s supply given for our today. Fretting and worrying tends to miss the opportunity before us in this moment. Fretting and worrying shows lack of faith to trust God’s daily, moment of need, supply. Fretting and worrying denies God’s sovereignty in life and puts us in danger of running rogue. Fretting and worrying too easily leads to our taking things in our own hands, denying the sovereignty of God, and His supply for life’s challenges and opportunities.

God is telling me today to realize His presence with me, leading, Jesus003guiding, supplying my need moment by moment, and empowering me for this day. He is reminding me to trust Him for each day yet to be and to partner with Him in the now as His child, ready to walk with Him in accomplishing His purpose in this day. He reminds me that He knows me and my need better than I know myself. He is my first most vital need and necessity in this life. He is my portion. I cannot make it through a day without Him. In holy habitation with Him, He gives me my true need.

(Numbers 18:20; Psalm 16:5; 73:26; 119:57; Ecclesiastes 3:22; 5:19; Isaiah 61; Lamentations 3:20-25)

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 ~ The Shepherd’s Crook, Part 1

“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.

When life gets hard and my body wants to hide under a rock, denying all that is coming at me, The Lord comes to me as a Shepherd, reminding me of His sure presence and instructing my heart anew that I can follow Him, step by step and breath by breath, through each day. Jehovah-Raah, The Lord my Shepherd, calls me to follow Him so I do not fall away in the storm and lose my way in life, trying to do for myself what only He can do. The Amplified version of Psalm 23 further increases hope for the help of my God in difficult days.

“THE LORD is my Shepherd to feed, guide, and shield me, I shall not lack”

When the waters get rough, the first thing I too easily strive for is to try to fix things. I run around like the proverbial headless chicken, wearing myself to a frazzle, trying to do what is only God’s to handle. Too often I do this without first seeking Him and His ways.

The best thing for me to remember in any situation is my need to follow my Shepherd, trusting His provision for all the need I see before me. This trust calls me quickly to seek Him and His righteousness first before taking any action. Often He uses the Shepherd’s Crook of His Spirit, urging me forward or pulling back to right paths. Through His Word and the Spirit’s lead, He lets us know when there is something to do. Following God’s Spirit, I learn the benefit found as I walk where He walks, feast on His supply, and find my rest under His Fatherly wings. Doing so…

“He makes me lie down in fresh, tender, green pastures”

In “fix-it” mode, I too easily miss the good God has for me in life. “Fresh, tender, green pastures” speak two things to me:

†   This is a place where I can find food and God’s resource meant to nourish, grow, and change me to be all He intended when He planned me.

†   This is a place of opportunity where, with reliance upon God, He can use me in right ways that accomplish His purpose.

I don’t have to be the “fixer”. I can trust God to take care of all I entrust to Him.

God often takes us through seasons that are too hard for us to faceJesus005 without Him. He uses these things to make us “lie down”, a position of complete surrender to His will, trusting Him, placing all reliance upon Him. When we lie down in His pastures, we find ourselves in a place that requires our full trust in His protection, provision, and direction.

In the pastures of our Good Shepherd, Jehovah-Raah, we learn to know God. God is in the business of creating for Himself a people after His own heart, readied for His Kingdom. Life’s storms are part of that work of God, revealing areas of needed change, growing our faith, changing our hearts and our nature to the image of God. Here God, feeds, guides, and shields us so that we have no lack of any true need in life. He is our only true need, and He gives Himself to us as we walk in the pastures in which He places us, trusting Him to be the Good Shepherd over all we find there. The things He allows us to experience on the paths of His pastures causes us to lie down in surrendered trust of Him, believing with faith in His supply for our ability to discover and accomplish His purpose for life.

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 6

“When the people heard this sad word, they went into mourning, and none of them put on his ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, ‘Say to the sons of Israel, “You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. Now therefore, put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I shall do with you.”’ So the sons of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward” ~ Exodus 33:4-6.

Longing for the Lord this morning as I lift each difficult thing to Him who is the answer for each one, I long for His glory. In that longing, I turn to Exodus 33 anew and begin reading from verse one. There I see the removing of the ornaments that signify the repentance of the people who became discontented with God and His way, leading to their using their ornaments to create a god of their choosing.

Discontent produces every kind of covetousness in us, leading us to diverse fruits of sin’s seed. Discontent that leads us away from longing after God produces in us every kind of unrest. Longing for God and His presence, seeing Him as the answer in all things, leads us to cry out as Moses did, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, 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.

Recognizing one’s first and foremost need to be a real and true relationship with Father-God, totally dependent upon Him, is the only way to remove the ornaments of sin.

God promised to send His angel with the people in His stead and that He would give the Promised Land to the people through the angel. This still required trust in God to fulfill His promise, but it removed personal relationship. Moses knew that was not good enough. He knew their one true need was God. Only He was big enough to tend to the need of the people and make them stand out as belonging to this God he served. So he cried out, “Tell me that You will go with us, and not another. I need You! And this people needs You.” To which God responded, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”

The Presence of God with all His manifest glory is rest that delivers from discontent, fear, uncertainty, hopelessness, helplessness, and a slew of other tiring maladies ~ THE PRESENCE. When unrest, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty come, beloved, who or what do you seek?

“Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually, longing to be in His presence” ~ 1 Chronicles 16:11, AMP.

“We should be able to perceive that the crucifixion of self is going on and that the opposite most desirable grace, that of humble dependence and universal submission to Christ is increasing” (Sarah Hawkes)

(See also Isaiah 55:6; Hosea 10:12; Amos 5:6; Zephaniah 2:3)

A Good Thing

I awoke yesterday and headed to the kitchen to make coffee. Preparing myself to get ready for church, it was my day at the East door, so I was up earlier than normal for a Sunday. Heading up the hall, I heard it: water running. I thought, “Did I forget to turn the dishwasher on and Johnny get up in the night and, seeing it, start it for me? … No. I remember starting it. Why is it still running?”

Getting closer to the kitchen door, I feel the water on my feet. Turning the light on, I see it: water gushing out from under the sink. What a mess! Running back to the bedroom, I wake Johnny with, “We’ve got a problem!” That was the start of our beautiful Sunday, experiencing God’s provision.

flood002As quick as possible, Johnny gets into the kitchen and shuts off the water (I need to learn how to do that, by the way). As he heads for the shop vac, I am already pulling the carpet shampooer out of the closet, and off we go, 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM, ten hours of sucking up water. I pushed the heavy Hoover, Johnny used the shop vac. By noon, I was hurting and spent. Johnny sent me to the grandkids guest room to rest while he finished up. It was a long day, and I am full of gratitude for God’s obvious and awesome provision. Gratitude for…

  • My sweet husband, who, during our coffee break, said, “Well, at least we won’t have to run the humidifier for a few days.” His attitude was so great during the entire ordeal that it helped mine and, hopefully, mine helped his.
  • God’s provision of equipment, readily available, and the strength to persevere.
  • Peace and rest in the turmoil.

I am forever grateful for an attitude of gratitude and the ability to deal with the spills and gushes of life. Over many years of dealing with such trouble, I find that a right attitude and gratitude is a necessity to us as we go through our days in an uncertain world. Stuff happens, and it is there to test and prove or improve our character.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” ~ Romans 5:1-5.

It is in those moments when unexpected life issues interrupt our plans that we learn who we are. Either we add to the turmoil with a bad attitude and failure to realize God and His provision for handling the problem, or we make it a memorable part of our journey through life that adds strength and resource for future upsets to our days. Hopefully, in so doing, we help others along the way.

Disappointment is God’s appointment. It is opportunity for God’s people to shine with the glory of the Lord that makes us an asset in helping others weather the storms of life. Faith in God expresses itself during times of disappointment to reveal the hope and the help we have in the One who cares for us. Whatever comes your way today, Beloved, may you shine with the glory of God found in a proven character of hope in God that trusts in His loving provision.

~*~

“May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!” ~ Psalm 20:1.

“For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock” ~ Psalm 27:5.

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me” ~ Psalm 50:15.

“Lord, you are my strength and fortress, my refuge in the day of trouble! …” ~ Jeremiah 16:19, NLT.

“The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him” ~ Nahum 1:7.

The Heart-Song of Godly Promotion: Intent on One Purpose

“…Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose…” ~ Philippians 1:18-2:8.

Intent on one purpose, what should that be?

As I consider that question, I know my heart’s cry is to be like Jesus, who sought the Father and His purpose in all things, desiring the Father’s glory above all. My determined purpose cries out with Paul’s heart to know God intimately, being as one with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Philippians 3:8-11, AMP). The only way I see to godly promotion is found in unity with God and His purposes, which are not always easy or convenient, pleasant or desirable to the flesh.

According to this mandate from Paul, standing firm in this fellowship of the Spirit, we find unity of faith that whole-heartedly loves God and one another. That mutual, wholehearted love and unity of purpose makes one willing to deny oneself for the cause of Christ in loving God and others as Jesus exemplified through the power and leading of the Spirit of God.

With like-mindedness, having the same love one for the other, our unity comes in realizing that each of our purpose is to glorify God as God while helping one another to progress forward with joy in this faith, standing firm in it. Having this unity of heart with understanding of this love and humility exemplified in Christ, the only pride of our confidence found within is Christ and Him crucified: we boast in none else. Trusting His sacrifice, we live our lives with the realization of our need of Him, alive within us, uniting us as one in love of God. If you have ever met only briefly another person, and instantly known this unity of the Spirit with him or her, you know what I am talking about.

I read an inspirational quote recently that I cannot seem to find again, but the premise of it rolls around in my head a lot of late. Essentially, it said that in knowing who we are with realization of our purpose, our life choices would follow that path. Knowing who we are as believers of God in Christ does not only mean a realization of our fleshly being. It requires us to know who we are as God sees us, coming to realize His design and purpose in our being in this life at this time. When we know ourselves as God knows us and we know Him in ever-growing intimacy, that understanding dictates our priorities, empowering us to reach our desired end.

As we surrender ourselves fully to God, dying to our own interests that are dictated by our flesh-being trying to resurrect itself, Promotion03having God’s purpose and priorities as our directive, we possess His heart for our own lives and for those in it with us. This mindset and this fellowship of the Spirit remove all distinctions between us. Always desiring God’s best plan for each individual, we no longer compete against each other. This desire removes all jealousy, each of us living for the other as people, living to please God alone. In so doing, we inspire one another to higher ground on our journey to a humility that leads surely to the exaltation that comes from God.

Each of us surrendering to be one with the Father through Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, finding His purpose for our own lives and trusting His purpose for those among us, we come into unity together in the fellowship of His Spirit. In this unity, jealousy that covets what another person has that we admire dies, for our focus is on God and His glory through our being all and only as He is, just as He created us to be. In this unity, the victories we each possess in life bring rejoicing to all, as our hearts bow to the glory of God found in each individual rather than in the exaltation of self.

Jesus set the example as He left the comforts of heaven to come to the cross for our benefit. He set the example through His desire for God’s priorities, purposes, and plans over that of His own or any other person’s desire for Him. Knowing and trusting God’s will made Jesus bold to stand firm in faith and to choose the path ahead in life (John 4:34; 5:20, 30, 43; 6:38; Luke 4:14-30; John 6:1-15). The King of kings set the example as He stepped into the lowliest of jobs saved for the least of the household slaves during that last supper with His beloveds (John 13:1-20). Taking towel and basin to wash their filthy feet, spending precious time in intimate communion with each individual one of them, He instructed us to do for one another as He just did for each of them.

Godly promotion comes to those who fully discover and understand humility that bows to God alone, taking a backseat to others out of faith in God who sees the heart of our surrendered-humiliation. One of the greatest things we can do is to deny self, even stepping into the lowliest of positions for the benefit of others who need the touch of God through us to the glory of God and the good of His Kingdom. Meeting the needs of others as God leads should be our only competition.

Beloved, sometimes bowing to God can mean being humble enough to allow another to wash our filthy feet, just as Peter learned while his Lord bowed to wash his. God knows our heart. He knows who needs the humility of serving others for a while and who needs that of being the one served. Both positions require surrender to God’s will and way, the emptying of ourselves through self-denial, and humility to submit. Following Jesus in surrendered service to God as both one who serves and one who receives the benefit of service is the pathway to promotion in God’s Kingdom.

hardest road

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor” ~ 1 Peter 5:6, NLT (see verse 1-11, noting especially verses 4-5 and 10).

“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal” ~ John 6:27.

“Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege, the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ, and that I may actually be found and known as in Him, not having any self-achieved righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that genuine righteousness which comes through faith in Christ, the truly right standing with God, which comes from God by saving faith….” ~ Philippians 3:8-11, AMP.

“If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself” ~ John 7:17.

The Heart-Song of Godly Promotion: Realizing Opportunity

“I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” ~ Philippians 1:19-20.

The Apostle Paul was, and still is, a big man in Christendom. He is the example of one who follows hard the example found in Christ, taking every opportunity to glorify the Lord, “whether by life or by death.” As we begin our study to find the heart-song of godly promotion, what better place to begin than with Paul. Promoted by God as the best-known apostle of Jesus Christ, his road to fame was full of opportunity, but not of ease.

Paul wrote 2/3s of what biblical scholars deemed worthy books to include in the New Testament portion of the most published historic chronicle of our day. The Holy Bible is the go to authority for those desiring to follow Christ Jesus as Lord; and Paul was the number one, exemplary leader in teaching the way of following Jesus.

Because of his heart for God, Paul was highly promoted by God, but not in the way that we too readily tend to look for it. Paul often wrote from a jail cell or while in chains as a prisoner awaiting trial. He often relied on financial supply from those supporting his work and never, to our knowledge, had great, earthly wealth. Not much of a promotion in this worlds standard of measure, is it? Yet even here, in this letter written during one of those imprisonments, we hear his heart as he speaks of seeing the place he was in as an opportunity to accomplish God’s purpose and plan. Later in Philippians, Paul writes of learning the secret of being content. The secret he professes is that of seeing every situation in life as opportunity to trust in, rely upon, and glorify the Lord as his source of strength and supply (Philippians 4).

Paul was so successful as a follower of Christ, taking every opportunity to bear witness of Him, that people were jealous of his success as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We see that in his testimony in chapter 1:12-15.

“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will.”

Others, seeing Paul’s example of faith in God despite circumstance, received inspiration to take every opportunity to share their own testimony of faith in God through Christ. Paul tells us that some preached Christ out of envy, hoping to cause trouble for him, but that did not bother him as long as Christ received glory in their sharing (1:16-18). These preaching out of envy are a picture for us of those who desire promotion with an ungodly mindset. They do not have as their greatest desire the promotion of the cause of Christ. Instead, their greatest desire is to achieve the prestige they see in others. These may have made a name for themselves in the earth; we don’t know for sure as they are not named, but these are an example to us of promotion sought after from a wrong mindset and heart-song. These desire prestige for self rather than the furtherance of Christ.

On this journey we walk in Christ, our promotion may not look like a good thing when viewed from a world viewpoint. Promotion as the people of God’s Kingdom, stationed in this world as ambassadors of Christ, God’s Holy Priesthood, truly effects our Kingdom position and eternal reward. Promotion from God’s viewpoint requires that we recognize every opportunity to take a step up for the glory of God, even when it may lead to our own momentary discomfort. The promoted and successful in Christ follow God and His will, accomplishing Kingdom purpose at all cost, knowing He is our supply, being content where we are, with faith that God is working His plan in and through our lives.

Each step toward higher ground with God only goes up when taken with a right and true heart attitude. Success on the Promotion03journey requires we have a mind set to please God alone with a right heart attitude, so we successfully participate in His fulfilling eternal, Kingdom purpose.

Next post we begin the journey of discovering the reasons for Christ’s promotion and the instruction God gives us who are the called, equipped by Him to come up higher as His Kingdom representatives.

~*~

“Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves” ~ AMP.

The Heart-Song of Godly Promotion: Introduction

“There is no security on this earth, only opportunity” ~ Neal Caffrey character on the TV program, White Collar.

Several weeks ago, reading Philippians, I noticed something that caught my attention in a deeper way. I noticed the example of Christ with new understanding. Mulling over these passages in these weeks, while finishing the study of life at God’s side, asking Father the direction He desires we go as we look at these verses, my heart landed on one word: Promotion.

“For this reason also, GOD HIGHLY EXALTED HIM, and BESTOWED ON HIM THE NAME which is above every name” ~ Philippians 2:9 (read Philippians 1-2).

Promotion has long been a big word in this world. Many people desire to come up higher in life, be a recognizable Promotion03somebody, do something big, and find security in the journey. More and more in the Christian community that one word rises up within bodies of believers. Many Christians watch for their promotion to higher ground in every area of life. They work toward it, long for it, some with undying resolve, others stumbling away from faith when their expectations go unfulfilled.

As I look at the example of Christ and think of the example of Paul, the author who penned the Philippians letter, I wonder if we are looking for promotion in all the wrong places and all the wrong faces. In light of the understanding flowing to me as I ponder these truths, “There is no security on this earth, only opportunity,” resounds with a wisdom that humbles me.

As I consider this saying from a secular crime show in light of the spiritual wisdom unfolding to my heart from God’s word, I can only hope and pray to write these thoughts with a clarity that helps us all to know the true prosperity God desires for us. As we share together this journey to discovering “this reason” that brings promotion, feasting on these words we will cover in Philippians, I pray we each desire and find the promotions in life that come from God alone.

In the Light ~ Step by Step

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life’” ~ John 8:12, NASB.

Each year God gives me a focal scripture to meditate on and grow in throughout the year. John 8:12 is the verse for this year, and, wow, what freedom is coming to me that is so very badly needed in this season of my life.

Not only is my life not exactly what I pictured it being when I was younger and thinking forward to my elder years, but there are constant challenges coming at me to hinder plans made in each day. Here, in this verse, God instructs me to trust Him to light each step before me and not fret the paths that do not light up and make themselves accessible to me the way I think they should.

That brings to heart another scripture that says, “The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

Here is something I am learning: disappointment, discouragement, and depression that comes when life gets in the way of our plans comes from failure to trust God, who directs our steps. God never promised a perfect life here in this world. Stuff happens, trouble comes, just as promised by Jesus, and the storms of life throw us off the course we lay out for ourselves (John 16:33).

God is never surprised or disturbed by the storms. He knows what is coming and why He allowed it. He has plans and purposes in 082all things. The true question is do I trust GOD to know the plan, lead the way, and work His purpose out in me, especially when the seas around me rage? Do I believe His presence and power to work the good He desires when the path around me is dark, shadowed, and gloomy, and all I can see is the Light that brightens my next footfall?

This is one thing I am learning as I focus my heart on the wisdom of John 8:12: Walking in light! What freedom that brings to my heart. It is the next well-lit step that I am to take. Whatever is out there…in the shadows, belongs to God. I don’t have to fret it. All I have to do is take each step as He lights it up before me, knowing with sincerity of trust’s faith that He is working His purpose into my life. As I follow His footsteps lighting the way before me, I see in each day His glory working the good in and through me that He has planned and purposed for my life. The path may lead to a cross for me to bear, laying down my will for His, but that cross will bring forth His glory, shining a light for others to step into His footfalls laid out for them. Thank You, Lord.

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We Thrive at God’s Side ~ Part 8: Blind-sided

King David is described as, “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22, *AMP) He sought the Lord earnestly, desiring Him, His purpose and plan, and His supply. He sought to possess the very heart of God. Therefore he tells us, “I saw the Lord always in my presence, for He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken” ~ Acts 2:25-28 (Psalm 16:8-11).

DavidGoliath2David defeated lions and bears as he performed his duties as shepherd to the glory of God. He built of historical account in life that proved the hand of God with him in his battles. As a result, when Goliath came out to taunt the people of God, David did not have to think twice about taking the challenge with faith in the God he knew always in his presence. “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted” ~ 1 Samuel 17:45.

This same David, known as a man after God’s own heart, had his moments of forgetting God’s presence as we all do; thus, he fell to lust for Bathsheba, and killed her husband, Uriah, in an attempt to cover up his sin (2 Samuel 11-12; 1 Kings 15:4-5). Like David, who fell to the lusts of the flesh when he forgot God’s presence as he looked on Bathsheba, life’s challenges blind-side us, bringing defeat, when we forget the presence of God with us. The question we must ask is, “Are we remembering whose side we are on?”

Failure to understand the side

Failing to understand the principles of life at the side of God, His Presence with us always, Him faithfully standing for us and not against us, we find ourselves suffering a:

  1. Wasted Supply
  2. Fleeing Heart
  3. Deceived Heart
  4. Divided Heart

Wasted Supply

“They slice off what is on the right hand but still are hungry, And they eat what is on the left hand but they are not satisfied; Each of them eats the flesh of his own arm” ~ Isaiah 9:20 (see AMP also).

In the scriptures studied that reveal the normal flow of God to and through us, that which comes through the right hand reveals the fruit of our lives and the manifestation of God through us in ministry to one another. The moving of God’s right hand, flowing through us to move our right hand, is God’s power at work, affecting the world around us. The left hand is the hand that holds the provision of God. We stand at His left, blocking our right hand movement, when we are completely dependent on God for what He alone can and will do. We stand at His right, His supply flowing to our left hand, through us, to move our right hand, when He desires we join Him as His instrument for ministering His will and purpose in the place where He stations us for service. Beloved, failure to realize God’s work, provision, and power flowing to us for our use in any given moment of life leads us to blind-sided, defeat.

Falling to dissatisfaction in or failure to realize and rightly use God’s provision and calling, leads us to wasting His provision. When we fail to see the provision and power of God to and through us, it is as one who wastefully devours their own flesh without realization of the glory of God’s provision and the opportunity at hand. Failing to consider the worth and significance of all God’s supply, we eat up what He gives with dissatisfaction because its purpose goes unfulfilled.

It is vital that we understand the importance and supply that flows from the side of God and use His supply as people after God’s heart. We must be seekers and possessors of God’s desire, plan, and purpose so we use His supply with integrity that fulfills our purpose in life. Every step of experience we see at God’s side builds a history with Him that inspires our progress to greater strides in believing-faith. We face every challenge this life brings when we know God is with us.

Fleeing Heart

“Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?” ~ Jonah 4:11.

Jonah ran from God because he failed to possess the heart of God for the people of Nineveh. Rather than get someone else to go to Nineveh, I believe God chased after Jonah until he surrendered to God because God knew he was not opposed to sharing the message. He had a heart for God and wanted to do His will, but he was only opposed to sharing God’s word of grace and salvation with this particular people group. Seeing things through his own understanding, he failed to know the purpose of God for the people He sent Jonah to warn. His hate for the people of that city caused him to fail to stand at God’s side and possess His heart for the people.

In the instant of his flight, Jonah failed to know the right from the left. Instead of trusting God, receiving the provision,FaithMountain1 and fulfilling the assignment, he tried to dictate from his own heart supply and understanding. He tried to reverse the flow and wound up on the run.

What situation are you facing that you cannot fathom as God’s will for you? Sometimes the trouble we experience is God, chasing us, desiring that we stand at His side and receive His heart as our own possession, so we have His supply for fulfilling His purpose in a place we would rather not go. He wants us to know Him, have His heart, and make a history that reveals His power at work to, in, and through us. He says to our fleeing hearts, “Choose today whom you will serve.”

Deceived Heart

“He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, ‘Is there not a lie in my right hand?’” ~ Isaiah 44:20.

Failure to recognize and fully comprehend God’s presence at our right hand leads to our believing a lie. “I can’t” is a common lie we believe when we fail to weigh God and His supply into the equations of life’s choices. “I CAN, you watch me” is a lie we believe when pitting our will against God’s better judgment. The potential of the HIMpossible becomes the IMpossible when a lie is in our right hand. We feed on ashes when we believe the lies of the world, the flesh, and demons over the truth of God, when we fail to trust that God knows best.

Divided Heart

“‘As I live,’ declares the Lord, ‘even though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were a signet ring on My right hand, yet I would pull you off’” ~ Jeremiah 22:24.

At the right side of God, we have His authority and power for every challenge this life presents us. Our heart united as one with His, we are victorious in Christ when we possess His power that flows to us for our success in fulfilling the purpose for our being in such a time as this.

Here, Jehoiakim obviously failed to recognize God and take his stand at His side to get the heart of God for his service as king of Judah. When we stand on the right of God with His authority for life flowing through us, it is as if we are His signet ring, stamped with His Name, sealing the deal so all may know God in and through us. When we fail to realize God’s authority for life, we fail the purpose He planned for us, being of a divided heart. Pulled in every direction by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the boastful pride of life, easily dictated by the wisdom of the flesh, the world, and the demonic, we find ourselves separated from God.

No matter where God has us in life, there is an eternal purpose for our being there. If our life choices lead to our suffering consequences we would rather not have to face, even there God has purpose. Ask Jonah, who wound up in the belly of a whale before following God to Nineveh, where hundreds came to saving knowledge of God through the message he professed. Ask David, who sat in sackcloth and ashes, seeking the heart of God while awaiting the fulfillment of consequences for bad choices. He knew that God could change His mind and spare him the suffering he faced, but when the decision was clear, he rose from his bed of pain to serve the Lord with renewed fervor, receiving well the Lord’s decision. His example continues to influence us when we fall, helping us know the grace of God that puts us back on our feet at His side.

God’s plans for us are good, to give us a hope and a future. In every experience with Him, good or hard, there is a lessonatside1 to learn that helps us firm up our need to remain at God’s side. There is always opportunity to bear witness of God’s work in our lives that will draw others alongside Him with us. God wastes nothing. When we falter and fail, even there, God will stand beside us to supply us for fulfilling His purpose and plan.

David was victorious king, known as a man after God’s own heart, because he proclaimed the truth of his success as, “I saw the Lord always in my presence; He is at my right hand!” He knew from Whom his supply came and the purpose for its provision. He trusted God’s heart desire and used well the gifts of God’s supply, giving God all the glory due His name. When he faltered and failed, through repentance he returned quickly to faith in God, remaining at the side of Him who’s Presence he knew and loved. It is vital we come to the same understanding if we want to succeed in our journey to thrive at God’s side.

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” ~ Psalm 16:11.

We Thrive at God’s Side ~ Part 4: Stability

“You have a strong arm; Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted” ~ Psalm 89:13.

As I look at verses describing God’s arms and hands, I note that the right hand of God makes His strength and stability available to us. We are strong and stable at the right side of God.

“My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me” ~ Psalm 63:8 See Psalm 37:24.

God orders His creation. There is order found to the right and to the left side of God. He determines at any given moment the side on which we stand according to His purposed plan, our need, and His authority over our lives. He is the creator God who is Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end, the first and the last. All provision is in His hand and He teaches us to prosper at His right side.

Jesus-Bride006At His right side, as we learn of Him, we gain strength of body, character, soul, and mind. As we grow strong in knowing our God and trusting in Him, we grow stable, able to stand firm in Him even when the earth quakes beneath us, shaking up our lives, and tempting us to question and doubt our God, His faithfulness, His love, His power. Knowing God as an apprentice at His right side, He equips our…

Stability ~ Empowering Strength

“Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself” ~ Psalm 80:17.

In my dream shared in the introduction to this series, revealing the place of God’s positioning for me to possess, He has me at His right hand side, facing Him, having a throne of authority and responsibility that is just my size. All my concerns are before Him, all the people and things I seem impotent to influence in life. His positioning my throne to face His, Jesus makes it clear that there are things I must trust Him to deal with, trusting His “I’ve got this”. As I trust Him with all the things that concern me and rob of strength, keeping my focus on Him as my throne faces His, He empowers me to know the things for which I do have authority to influence, strengthening my stability and stance as partner with Him in His Royal Court. At His right hand, we learn to know our part and the power and authority He grants for doing our part in His will and way.

“Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together” ~ Isaiah 48:12-22.

God is the Perfect Coordinator of all things. He placed the planets in their orbit. He gave the birds their distinctive song. He knows the plans He has for us; plans for good and not for evil, to give us hope and future (Jeremiah 29:9-14). Trusting God’s direction equips us to stand with those who stand firm in Him, accomplishing His purpose and plan in our day. Trusting Him and following His instruction for life enables us to live eternity now as we prepare to enter His eternal Kingdom for all time. Trusting God stabilizes us while we walk in this world as people of His Kingdom, representing Him and His interests for eternity.

“…behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst. …the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” ~ Luke 17:21; Romans 14:17.

We Thrive at God’s Side ~ Introduction

“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand has held me up; Your gentleness and condescension have made me great” ~ Psalm 18:35, AMP.

Upon waking on the day I write this, grieving over so many family issues, I saw myself standing in a desert place, crying out with arms outstretched to God. Immediately the Spirit exclaimed, “That’s not where you are!” In that instant God reminded me of another dream, shared with you before, and again here and now.

The Dream

Jesus, sitting on his huge throne leans over the arm to His right hand side where He has me sitting on a just-my-size throne, like His own but much smaller and turned facing His right hand side. As I weep before Him, He leans over the arm and says, “You rest here. I’ve got this.” Looking up at Him, I scan to my right and see all those I love and weep for standing as brilliant, gold light before Him. Realizing they are His and He has this in His righteous and holy Right Hand, weeping fills with hope.

~*~

Today as I realize He continues to seat me at His side where His authority in all things great and small is made sure to me for areas of concern, I also understand that He has me sitting on a throne of my own, smaller – just my size. God grants us authority and choice in life. We have a throne of authority gifted to us by Him. He expects us to be responsible stewards of all He grants us authority to handle. The challenge comes in realizing what we are empowered to do as opposed to those things we must know is His to handle.

WALK-WITH-GODThe things going on in my family and in the world around me are too big for me and they are out of my control. As the Spirit asked my heart upon waking recently, so I recall to mind now, “Why are you fretting over things you can do nothing about?” These things I must entrust to my Lord, who has “got this”. Otherwise, I have no strength and focus for handling the things He gives me authority to possess.

As I consider these truths on this day of God reminding me where He positions me, I find myself wondering what I can learn about those positioned by God on His right hand side. Researching that, I find several things that help us understand not only what it means when we are on the right of the Lord, but also what is means when He positions us on His left. Thus begins a study to know how we can thrive as we learn how to function to the right or the left hand side of God.

Beloved, we thrive at God’s side.

 

Things Leading to Perfect Peace and More!

Other produce of the “These things” spoken by Christ:

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have perfect peace and confidence. …” ~ John 16:33, AMP.

In this series, we looked at the “these things” referenced by Christ, teachings given to us so that we may have perfect peace and confidence. In looking at the teachings of Christ in this message found in John 14-16, we found these ingredients to a life of perfect peace and confidence:

  1. True and abiding belief in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit: knowing who this Triune God is and the truth of His existence and work brings assurance that this world’s challenges to Life in Christ cannot destroy.
  2. Kingdom reality: knowing that we are here with a purpose as God’s representatives in the earth, being in the world but not of it, working to be His light that draws many to His Kingdom, fills us with purpose that is undaunted by life’s struggle.
  3. Fruitful living: As Kingdom representatives, we are to produce fruit in keeping with a true and abiding relationship with God and His Kingdom purpose that bears the image and glory of God in the earth, thus fulfilling our purpose and strengthening our resolve.
  4. Love: as Kingdom people of God, we are image bearers, His producing within us the character and nature that shows us to be His children. As such we are not only to know His love for us, but knowing that He loves because He is love and He cannot deny Himself, we are to love in kind, having love as an attribute from the core of our existence. Love is who we are. Therefore, love done well to His glory produces fruit that strengthens peace and confidence.
  5. Called Friend: As people of Kingdom purpose who bear the image of God, our relationship with Him grows ever stronger as we become more than slaves forced to obey. As friends of God in Christ, we choose relationship with Him, obeying out of faith in Him despite the challenges living in the world brings our way. That abiding relationship with God brings us from slave status, to Friend of God in Christ, a bondslave by choice of love’s friendship and desire to be in His service and under His protective care by choice.

All these things, alive and growing in us, bring us to hearts of perfect peace and confidence in God through Christ, empowered by the Spirit-bond we possess and live out into the world. In studying this out, I found other things that “these things” taught by God-Christ produce. Before we close out this series, let us look at the produce found in “these things”.

Bible001“These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me” ~ John 16:1-3.

Jesus knows what it is to be outcast because of faith, belief, and its practice. Living in the world brings challenge that can lead to conflict. Being Kingdom people in a world of opposition against God and godly principles is difficult. Jesus instructs us that true understanding of the things spoken by God and becoming as He is so we are at our best as His representatives protects us from stumbling in a world of obstacles.

“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. …It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” ~ John 15:3; John 6:63.

Remembering these things spoken by Christ helps us to trust His cleansing power and to live the life He gives us in the power of the Spirit. When caught off guard in the world and found stumbling over some obstacle, our peace and confidence remains strong as we remember the things we know of God, the things that make us who we are as His Kingdom people. We are already clean because we trust Him and all He says of Himself and of us. All we need when stumbling comes is to let Him wash our injured and muddied feet by trusting His word to us.

“But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. …These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father” ~ John 16:4, 25.

Jesus purposed two things in all the things He taught us: to warn us of the things of this world and the flesh that lead to eventual destruction; and to tell us plainly of the Father so we have what we need to overcome evil and be His image bearers.

“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” ~ John 14:25-26.

I lean heavily on this one in these days of my life, when memory of things spoken to me through God’s word is challenged by my weak ability to recall. Jesus speaks wisdom and instruction in abiding moments with Him and the Holy Spirit brings all to my remembrance when life’s stressors and health issues challenge my mind’s ability to retain His instruction. I trust God to help me recall His instruction, and He faithfully does so through this work of His Spirit in me. We will cover this one in greater detail in our last post for this series. For now, I want to end this post with the following final, awesome promise produced in us through “these things” taught by Christ.

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. …Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full” ~ John 15:11; 16:24.

Following “these things” taught us by Christ produces true and abiding joy in us. We too easily fall to looking for joy in our situations and circumstances, only to find disappointment. We expect joy to come through those we love, too often being let down in our expectations, thus being robbed of a false joy that is fleeting. However, when we get our joy from faithfulness to trust, believe in, rely on with confidence and practice “these things” taught by Christ, our joy remains with us because of Him fulfilling the promise found in “these things” that produce joy, peace and confidence.

Life circumstances and flawed people cannot rob of joy that abides in us through our thriving relationship with God as Kingdom people who are set to represent Him to those we love and accomplish His purpose in our circumstances. When our joy comes from our relationship with Him and our understanding of and commitment to Him as His ambassadors in this life, we will ask according to His heart desire and He will faithfully meet our desires with “Yes” and “Amen”, thus bringing us to fullness of joy found in unity with Him.

God speaks with purpose in mind, and that purpose produces good things in and through us as we remember His teachings and become as He is, representative of Him and His Kingdom in our here and now lives. Remember these things of God, beloved, and go forth to prosper as Royal Ambassadors of His Kingdom purpose.

Things Leading to Perfect Peace ~ Part 4

Love’s Abiding

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have perfect peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer ~ yes, take courage; BE CONFIDENT, CERTAIN, UNDAUNTED! For I have overcome the world: depriving it of power to harm you, having conquered it for you.” ~ John 16:33, AMP.

These past few years have been hard, wrought with one difficult situation after another. I am sure you know from experience that this world can be difficult to live in as one assault comes too quickly on the heels of the next. As we walked through our troubled waters, God used the time and experience to solidify in me a deep and abiding assurance of His love. It is this deepening understanding of my God that fulfilled this promise of God: “I have overcome the world: depriving it of power to harm you, having conquered it for you.”

Did we suffer loss in some of our troubles? Yes. Did that loss bring us to destructive harm, robbing us of hope in God and the ability to get up and press forward? No. Why can I say that? Galatians 1 begins with a greeting Paul often used that describes this peace I learned of, the peace we have when we fully trust God’s love for us that deprives the world of it power to harm us.

“Grace and spiritual blessing be to you and SOUL PEACE from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ” ~ Galatians 1:3, AMP.

As we face each new assault of trouble in this life with understanding of God’s love that is for us and not against us, a love that never allows anything to take us from His hand of care, we find a “soul peace” that is not shaken by rough seas. The soul is our mind (thoughts, beliefs, understanding), our will (decisive choice and sense of purpose), and our emotions. Our soul that makes us who we are as individuals, remains stable and secure, able to function despite rough waters in life, when we know and trust the love of God.

“God is love.” This is what His author tells us in 1 John 4:8. Love is not just an emotional high for God. It is not just something He does when He feels like it. It is who He is. Love flows from Him because it is His nature and He cannot deny Himself ~ He must be who He is: no guile, no façade. That adds deeper dimension to the fact that He calls us to love as He loves.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” ~ 1 John 4:7-8.

This call to love means that love has to indwell our very nature and flow from us out of who we are rather than from emotional highs. Our next abiding place that assures us of “perfect peace” is this deep understanding that God is love, He loves us despite flaws and failures, and His love will not allow ultimate harm to win when trouble comes; it will accomplish His purpose in us. That understanding equips us for a lifestyle love that helps us to cope with and face life issues with a love flowing to us and through us that overcomes the darkest night.

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” ~ John 15:9-10.

Abiding love, living constantly and consistently in this understanding of God as Love, having His love living and active in us equips us to abide in the love Jesus calls us to possess. It is the love and loyalty of a child to a respectable parent or of a soldier to an honorable General and Chief. No matter the trouble faced, when we know God’s love for us and have love for Him, we easily and readily follow His instruction.

Love always has a good, right, and true purpose in the things it allows. Though the things God allows to touch our lives may be difficult, they possess great worth as each challenge provides us with opportunity for growth. Trouble provides a chance to experience God and grow in greater depth in understanding His nature, how He thinks and functions. Through such challenge, God provides doors of divinely appointed ministry to help others know His love that flows through His people as He grows us to possess the image of God, having His nature living and active in us.

Just as Jesus came to do the will of the Father, knowing that hard times would come as allowed by God for Christ’s fulfillment of His purpose, so we must realize that same love brings doors of opportunity for us to fulfill the purpose God planned for our lives. No trouble comes to us without the love of God toward us purposing good to come out of that trouble. It is through loving obedience to follow God’s will in God’s way that we come to the other side of trouble with overcoming power and success.

“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him” ~ John 15:21.

Spirit-fruit2Love’s abiding assures our ability to grow in our knowledge and understanding of God. With increased understanding of God as Love, I no longer question God’s love for me when trouble comes, and I am more deliberate in my desire to emulate that love to others. I realize more readily God’s good purpose granting me opportunity to make a difference in this life, thus glorifying Him through cooperation that accomplishes the good He intends. Love’s abiding produces peace that prevails within my soul, helping me to see the path ahead and choose the good God desires for a life that honors Him and that reveals His overcoming power in me. This is His desire for each of us who call on His name with faith and hope for eternity with Him. Enter love’s abiding and find soul peace to help in times of trouble.

(Note: Reading Matthew 5:1-12, especially considering the meaning of the word “blessed” given in the Amplified version of these verses, I see Love’s abiding working to produce the good in each situation addressed. I believe this is the blessing that comes to those who know and trust this loving nature of God. Our lives will bear the fruit of those so blessed despite the trouble faced.)

Things Leading to Perfect Peace ~ Part 2

Kingdom Perspective

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” ~ John 16:33, AMP.

Yesterday we saw that the first “thing” Jesus spoke of that empowers His gift of perfect peace and confidence to work in our lives is our trust in the reality, personality, and work of God the Father and Jesus the Christ. Our Triune God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is faithful because He cannot deny Himself by failing to be who He is. We can have peace in knowing God and trusting His faithfulness.

The second thing I see follows and is attached to the first. That key to peace is our Kingdom or Eternal Perspective.

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” ~ John 14:1-3.

075This is not our home, People of the Living God. If we are His, He has a Kingdom in which we will dwell with Him in Eternity, and to which we already belong. The circumstances in which we find ourselves are training ground. Some of you will say, “Again with the continuum!”, but it is a truth worth repeating. We cannot truly know with appreciation love, hope, faith, truth, etc., until we have experienced hate, despair, doubt, lie, etc. The only way to do that is to dwell in places that contrast God, who is love, the source of hope, our object of faith, because He is truth and truthful, etc. Therefore, we are in the world for a purpose: to learn that we are not of the world. Only as we enter into and have this hope of the eternal purpose can we face today’s trouble with hope’s peace.

In addition, Beloved, as I have told you before, now I tell you again: this eternity is not just something we look forward to entering when our life on earth is finished. Otherwise, why leave us to life’s difficulties? If there is no eternal purpose for leaving us in this life, why give opportunity for us to walk the continuum of peace vs. turmoil? God would just take us home where Perfect Peace resides. If we could fully know His Peace without understanding of its opposition, God would remove us from this place as soon as the “I do” was done.

The eternity we look forward to truly begins for each of us the instant we say, “I do” to Jesus, the Bridegroom. In that 076breath, we become the Bride, members of the Royal Court of God’s Kingdom: day one of our journey to eternal destiny. As we go through life here, learning to discern the godly end of the continuums of life, we discover who we are in Christ. Taking on our role as Ambassador of the eternal Kingdom of God, being in the world but not of it, we live His Kingdom reality into the earth by living at the godly end of the continuums of life, being of His Kingdom while not in it.

I hear of people, thrown in prison for their faith, who have peace in that season of hardship because they realize God has Kingdom business for them to do while there. Trusting God, they weather that storm in the Eye of His presence. The eternal perspective of being of God’s Kingdom, part of His Royal Court, while being His ambassador in the place He sets them, helps them face their time in prison with a perspective that brings peace found in purpose.

We may not all wind up in prison, but we all face the ungodly end of life’s continuums every day. Trouble comes to tempt us to despair, hate, unforgiveness, self-preservation, etc. Tucking self into one’s understanding of God and His Kingdom purpose, we find peace to persevere with faith and hope. That perseverance leads us to the godly responses that produce Kingdom fruit into the earth. Our fruitful lives then bear a testimony in the world that highlights the Kingdom of God. Others, seeing the product of His eternal purpose in us, receive the testimony of our lives in Christ and join us on the journey. This is the Kingdom perspective that produces peace from God that is unhindered by life’s trouble.

Beloved, if you are in a hard place in life, realize that God allowed it for a Kingdom purpose. God never takes us to places where His grace cannot keep us, because He always takes us where His purpose has need of us as His Royal Ambassador. We are always either on training ground, and / or in fields, white for harvest. He is either working to grow us on some continuum meant to help us understand the godly, and / or He desires to use us to help others on their journey. Wherever you find yourself today: wherever tomorrow leads you, take hope and enter into His peace. We can be in any hardship and produce fruit in keeping with righteousness when we have that perfect peace empowered by Kingdom purpose.