Tag Archives: faithfulness

Chosen For This Hour

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

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

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

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

Trust in The Lord

And Do Good

Do you truly trust God as Lord of all, Beloved? It is times like these days in which we live that truly test the caliber of our faith, belief, and trust in God and His word to us.

In these days, the questions we must personally ask ourselves are these:

* Do I truly believe that God is working an eternal plan that includes me? …and that even things meant for evil against me, and bad things that come at me are sifted through God’s capable hands for His purposes in my life and ministry to the glory of His beautiful Name?

* Do I truly believe that God knows what He is doing, and that He has a good plan that includes me, personally and intimately?

* Do I truly believe God’s promises and that they are for me, personally: that He is with ME and for ME; that He never leaves nor forsakes ME; that He cares for ME affectionately and cares about ME watchfully, looking after every minute detail of His good plan for ME; that every challenge He allows to touch MY life carries opportunity for ME to be His witness, His ambassador in the World – His Light, shining in the darkness around ME?

* Do I trust, as Jesus did, that not one breath will leave MY earthly body before the time He has set for ME?

* Do I believe that not one enemy, even a viral one, can have its way in MY life, apart from God’s watchful care as the Potter who forms ME and the Goldsmith who tends the heat and clears the dross from MY life and being?

* Beloved, do you believe and trust God’s Love for you through Jesus Christ, our Lord, and that He is preparing an eternal dwelling where you – personally – will join Him for all eternity? Do you trust that God sees and honors the righteousness of Christ imputed to you? Have you possessed that blessed sacrifice as your own gift from God Almighty who loves you that much?

If you can answer “yes” to all these truths from and about our Holy Father, Jehovah-Ishi (The Lord our Husband), then enter His rest and face this day with the strength of His supply to you for such a time as this. If you cannot answer yes to any of these facts, I recommend a visit with a godly, Christian friend you trust to help you receive and grow your faith in God during these days.

“Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; Do not fret ….” ~ Psalms 37:7 AMPC, NASB

“Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and Stronghold). Selah [pause {Rest yourself in Him, acknowledging and trusting His care for you}, and calmly think of that]!” ~ Psalm 46:10-11 AMPC {Darlene’s understanding}

The Source of Bold

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

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

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

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

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

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

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭33:9-11‬ ‭NASB‬‬

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

Prophets Still Today?

“Indeed, the Sovereign Lord NEVER does anything until he reveals His plans to His servants the prophets.” (Amos‬ ‭3:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

There are many who believe that God no longer has prophets today. They believe the prophet made law and are no longer needed as God’s law is complete.

What I see is that the prophet was used of God to REMIND people of law and warn them when they are living contrary to it. They warned the people of things coming to them because of sin: their own or that of others. And they instructed them in the righteous path.

I believe that still is God’s way today, not only because I believe His Word and that “never” as used in our focal verse means “NEVER”. I also believe because God has told me what was coming our way more than once, and it came. I believe because He also used me to warn others, instruct their response, and lead them in prayer, thus strengthening them to face the day of the fulfillment of God’s Word.

One of my first experiences was warning for my husband and his friend he carpooled with to work. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but I knew something really bad was coming to them and I tried to get them to stay home. Of course, being the faithful worker he is, my husband went to work with the warning to be alert and warn his friend as well. By 10:00 AM, hubby called. A piece of heavy equipment dropped its load, knocking his friend from his perch, breaking his back, and plummeting him to the ground many feet below.

Two weeks before the Oklahoma City bombing, knowing devastation was coming, God had me calling people to pray, telling them that the Spirit in me was weeping, bitterly. These experiences grew me to discern and trust God’s Spirit, instructing me. Then His instruction became more clear. I.e.:

Before 911, God told me a disaster would hit the US, reaching from New York City to Washington DC. It would devastate this nation and, indeed, the world. And that the damage would be likened to an earthquake (which I heard a reporter, standing on the rubble, liken it to). When He led me to warn people and call them to prayer, I experienced His truth that, “The lion has roared—so who isn’t frightened? The Sovereign Lord has spoken—so WHO CAN REFUSE TO PROCLAIM HIS MESSAGE?” (Amos‬ ‭3:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬). We prayed for two years.

I have had other such experiences since 911, but not as big.

I was raised in a religion that believes God no longer has prophets. God patiently worked with me to trust His Spirit’s instruction and warning of things to come. He taught me to know that when He tells me to speak, it is on Him to prove my words. But if I refuse obedience and fail to warn those He sends me to, their harm is on me. I dare not refuse to proclaim God’s warning and instruct God’s people when He calls me to do so.

Beloved, God still works as He did in Holy Writ. That is what our Bible is, the story that teaches us who our God is and the way of God with those who believe. It is up to us to decide whether we believe and trust His ways, and whether we will obey Him when He warns us. To refuse to believe God still has prophets is to slam the door in His face and fall to sin. We, as His warriors, must be ready to be His voice of warning, instruction, prayer, trust, and truth.

“Then (Jesus) said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.”” (Luke‬ ‭10:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

Always Remember Me

“I appreciate and commend you because you always remember me in everything and keep firm possession of the traditions (the substance of my instructions), just as I have [verbally] passed them on to you.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:2‬ ‭AMPC‬‬)

Our 1 Corinthians verse is Paul, speaking of his appreciation for the Corinthians church and their respect for him as a leader in the church. They always think of him and his teachings so as to give honor to him as their leading model by following his instruction and example.

The verses before this one reveal this truth:

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I DON’T JUST DO WHAT IS BEST FOR ME; I DO WHAT IS BEST FOR OTHERS SO THAT many may be saved. And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:31-34‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

The hierarchy of the church and the hierarchy of the family are alike. The heads of each are supposed to be leading examples of Christlikeness. They set the tone and give direction to the rest of the body.

As I read the words of Paul in chapter 11, verse two, I thought, “That is the desire of every man and woman in their mate. They want to be appreciated. They want the things that are important to them to be in the considerations of the other.”

I.e.: a husband who sees as important their preparation for the future, such as saving for retirement, appreciate’s when his wife is frugal and thoughtful in the way she handles household finances because she understands his need and desire and has adopted it as her own. At the same time, the wife appreciates when her husband remembers their now needs and does not focus so much on future planning that he cuts them short on their needs or does away with all present life comforts.

Just as the church should be unified in working together toward common goals, so should the family. It requires that we always keep each other in mind and heart so our decisions help the function of the whole. Each realizes that what one does effects the reputation and life journey of all others in that family body. For this to occur, communication is vital. Look at Paul’s words again.

“I appreciate and commend you because you ALWAYS REMEMBER ME in everything and KEEP FIRM POSSESSION OF the traditions (THE SUBSTANCE OF MY INSTRUCTIONS), just AS I HAVE [VERBALLY] PASSED THEM ON TO YOU.”

In the family, this communication is not just statements that proclaim my way as law. It is a discussion that comes to common understanding. In the example above, the husband instructs the wife on his intent to make sure they have a retirement portfolio that will provide for their elder years. The wife agrees with her husband’s lead and intent, but should feel free to express her concern that present life needs and reasonable comforts not be neglected. Together they come to an understanding of the plan and the need to work together toward a common goal: they possess the goal, each considering the sensibilities of the other, consulting together often on big needs and changes made, as they do their part in bringing their goals to pass.

When we achieve such unity of heart, mind, and purpose, what joy it is as we walk it out together.

Also read 1 Corinthians 10:1-11:2.

Great is Your Faithfulness

“The LORD ’ S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-23‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

As God is with us, so we are to be with our mates. Trust is vital to this BLESSed union.

Faithfulness begins with our thoughts toward each other. I have found with my husband that his every decision considers its effect on my life and future. He has long worked to set things up so that, if he goes Home to our Lord first, I am provided for and protected. I try to do the same for him.

Directing our thoughts to keep our mates in their rightful position in our lives and to establish and secure their futures is vital. It goes beyond keeping ourselves for them, alone. It considers their every need and our role in meeting it. This goes for you who are single, awaiting the revelation of your life partner from God. Your faithfulness to that mate starts now as you keep yourself for your future mate and do all you can to prepare a place and a future for that union.

Do an inventory of your faithfulness toward your mate, Love. Where do you need to adjust your thoughts and actions so as to increase faithfulness to them?

Value Your Mate

“For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.” (1 Peter 3:5-6 NASB)

It has long been recognized that a man’s greatest need from wife and children is respect and honor. A woman’s greatest need is affectionate love and a sense of security. And both need a sense of value. I believe that is why Peter calls women to an attitude of submission that trusts God’s use of her husband in his care for wife and family, not giving herself to fear, but praying for him. And, men, your wife’s need is why Paul speaks his instruction to you in Ephesians 5.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her…. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but NOURISHES and CHERISHES it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.” (Ephesians 5:25-30 NASB)

To cherish your wife is to value her. One very important way you value her is by listening to her counsel and considering her opinions. It is much easier for a woman to respect and follow the lead of her man when he helps her know her opinion is important, valued, and added to the basis for important decisions.

I cannot tell you the times my husband has let me know that my opinion helped him adjust course to a better decision. And there have been times he has changed my understanding or took a course of action I quickly saw was the better path choice. We work as one with God leading the way and it has grown a strong trust between us.

So, wives, we walk without fear by trusting God to direct our husbands, even if that direction goes against our opinion. Remember, your faith is in God, trusting Him to lead your man; and your prayers and encouragement should resource his success as a spiritual leader of your family.

A nurturing husband not only feeds his wife the affection, love, and appreciation she needs, but it also means to help your wife become her best and most productive self: helping her achieve goals that grow strength and ability in her, making her a capable person, secure and equipped for life. It does not keep her out of the loop, but makes sure she knows what is going on and why, so if anything happens to you, she can carry on in confidence.

In reality – though true, godly love flows unconditionally from who we are and respect is expected to be given as unto the Lord, these must flow freely both directions to work properly. The wife is not commanded to love her husband because the act of love comes easier to the female species. A man is not commanded to respect the wife, because respect is more readily expected and given as protocol by the male species. But both male and female need and desire love, respect, security, and to be valued.

Determine today, Beloved, to lift one another up through these practices toward each other and enjoy a strong marriage that will last forever and glorify God. If, however, your mate is not as God intends toward you, your concern is to be the mate God wants you to be while praying for your mate to be His ideal toward you. Don’t set your sites on your ideal (what you think that should look like), but God’s, asking Him for eyes to recognize His answers to your relational needs. Like me, you may well be amazed at the glory you find in your mate.

(1 Peter 3:1-2, 7-9 NASB)

Perfect Love

“… We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. …” (‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:14-21‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

Perfect love casts out fear. My God loves me so much, He made The Way for me to come to Him boldly, as a child bursts through to reach her daddy. Through Christ, this sinner made clean can approach His throne and touch the Holy of Holies. I am safe in God’s love.

In like fashion, my husband has loved me so much that he has put me at ease with him. I don’t fear coming to him with anything, because his love for me has proven me safe with him over and over again. I never had to hide clothing purchases, fear telling him of things going on in my life, or feel he would stay mad at me forever, because he made his love safe for me. And I believe he feels the same safety net in my love for him.

Love. God is love; and marriage is the first place where that image of God should be visible in life.

Our Mission is Freedom

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and speak to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, “LET MY PEOPLE GO, THAT THEY MAY SERVE ME.” (Exodus 9:1 NASB)

We who truly and fully profess and possess Christ are already saved by grace through faith. It’s not a result of working to please God and each arn salvation. If someone is telling you that you must work to earn salvation, and work to keep salvation, they are a false teacher. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Him. Thus, we don’t have to work and keep working to get and keep saving GRACE. It’s a gift freely given us because Jesus paid the price. Once we truly receive it as ours to fully possess, it is forever.

Now our salvation is worked out for all to see by walking in the gift of freedom to serve and please God, living as His righteous and true representatives, loving God and others in Jesus Name. We are set free to serve Him alone as our one true and only God of gods, Lord of lords, and King of kings.

It is not a hard work we do, for God has put His Spirit in us to make us as He is, living out of who we now are in the power of His supply. I,e.:

  • God is good, and all true goodness seen is Him expressing Himself to the observant. By His gracious supply, we are freed to be and do good in serving and living for Him.
  • God is Love. He loves out of who He is, thus our “do” or “not do” does not stop His love. All true love coming to us and pouring from us is Him. As He lovingly transforms us, He restores us to His likeness so that we are free to love as people who are love as He is Love. Thus, we prove ourselves to be His.

By His grace, as we trust Him, we work out our salvation by walking in the freedom to be as He is and do as He does, free to serve God in the power of His supply. And we have the mission to help others receive and possess this freedom as their own. So go forth in faith, believing, and prosper this day as you carry out your mission for King and Kingdom. As we get into marriage and family through February and our role as God’s Warriors through March, remember that OUR MISSION IS FREEDOM!

Ephesians 2:8-10; John 14:6; Philippians 2:12-13; Romans 5-6.

Deuteronomy 30:11; Romans 12:1-3; Galatians 5:18-25; 1 John 4:7-21.

Life is Too Busy

My Sis made it over last evening for a weekend visit. We are so greatly enjoying seeing her.

It is awful in this age how we can live so close to people we love and seldom see each other. That is one of the saddest things about this era in time. One of my grandkids called last night to see if they could hand deliver a baby shower invitation. I started to say that we got the online one, but decided against it because I wanted the short, but too rare visit.

Life is too busy. I have children I haven’t talked to in months because of their too busy lives. I understand they are busy, but I miss them. It makes me sad.

When I was growing up, my daddy called his momma every Sunday at 1:00. You could set your clock by it. He had to work one Sunday and by 1:30, Grandma called to be sure we were all ok.

When our kids were growing up, we lived close to both sets of parents. I still made sure to see and / or call each of them weekly. Seldom did we go two weeks without some sort of contact with them. That was not the same as when we called my Grandma as a kid and everyone took turns talking with her. Our check in was so commonplace and subtle, I’m sure our kids didn’t even realize we did it.

My kids lives are so busy, I feel like I am an intrusion if I call them. I text one daughter and ask her to call when she has opportunity, and it is never an opportune time. She’ll text when something is going on and say she will call “as soon as…”. “As soon as” doesn’t come. I’m sure she also has the same problem I have.

Me? What’s my excuse? My brain is funky. I’ll think of calling someone at a time when I can’t call, like at 12:30 at night as I’m climbing into bed or when I’m in the middle of cooking a meal. Then when it is a convenient time, 🧠zzzzz: brain-Zs. Our other daughter has the same issue, so there’s that one. I’ve tried setting an alarm, but seems every time it goes off is at one of those inconvenient times when I cannot stop what I’m doing. So the alarm gets hurriedly shut off with note-to-self to remember to call as soon as I finish what I’m doing. 🧠zzzzz

When our son is living and working nearby, we see him pretty frequently. That is the case for now. Eventually work will carry him off again and, with his work hours, we will be missing him too. For now, I am enjoying his presence and grateful to God for it.

Did I say that life is too busy? 😢 Make time to call those you love while you can, before you really can’t and it becomes a regret. This is speaking to me, too. 😢

The Power of Owning One’s Identity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mighty Mustard Seed

“When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They *said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.”” Matthew 9:28-29 NASB

“It shall be done to you according to your faith” is not talking about the degree of faith, but the presence and focus of faith. Jesus also said that the smallest seed of faith can move mountains (Matthew 17:20).

When people try to convince us that God didn’t answer the way we wanted because our faith is too small, they don’t understand the scriptures. Such a focus makes “faith” a little-g god and our will the master.

Faith that believes says, “LORD, if You are WILLING, I know You CAN …” (Matthew 8:2; Mark9:22-23). The mustard seed of faith to believe clings to His Lordship and trusts His will. Those with believing trust will not be disappointed (Romans 10:11), whatever the answer, for trust knows His Love does what is best.

Do you believe God can do what you ask. Then whatever amount of faith that comes with belief is enough. God responds to all that is within His will for us. Only believe and let faith grow strong.

Father, I believe! Help my unbelief. In Jesus, amen.

Linking Word to Action

My Aunt Edna shared about training their baby bird to talk. Repeat a phrase often enough and they will begin to try saying it. As they continue speaking it, their words get more and more clear. She also shared a story that told me the use of the phrase at appropriate times, linking action with word, helps the bird link words to actions, helping them learn the appropriate use of the words spoken.

As I read her story, it made me realize how true that is for us, listening to the word of God. The more we hear and see it appropriately used, the more we begin to speak it appropriately. The more we hear and speak it truly, the more our minds and hearts soak it up by believing faith that produces appropriate actions. The stronger our faith to believe the word received, the stronger our walk in living it out, bearing the fruit it produces in us.

Hummmm…. perhaps having child like faith means – in part – to have hearts and minds constantly ready to hear and receive God’s Word to us, never getting so big for our britches that we are unable to learn of Him and grow stronger in living the Word He gives.

“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Matthew‬ ‭7:17-21‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Written December 8, 2017

Receive it!

“If, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who RECEIVE God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” – Romans‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

By our RECEIVING, so as to possess as our own, God’s GIFT of abundant grace and His Righteousness to us in Christ, we possess the ability to rule by the power and leading of God’s Spirit in us. Possessing as our own these grace gifts from God, we receive authority over our sin nature and power to rule in this life, adding victory to God through Christ. What better gift to give our King who won eternity for us than a victorious life lived in His name, as good stewards of His supply. (#thinkonthat, #ambassadorarise)

Father, we praise and thank You for Your gifts of grace and righteousness. As for Paul, Your grace is sufficient for us, for Your power is perfected as it accomplishes it’s purpose through our weakness. Amaze us by Your work in and through us. By the power of Your grace and the righteousness You supply, grant us victory over our fleshly impulses and authority to overcome life’s challenges. May we be found as good stewards of this supply of grace sufficient, equipping us to shine forth our righteousness in Christ. In Jesus and to Your glory, amen.

Know He is Lord!

Reading through Ezekiel, I’ve noted over and over where God pronounces that those He is addressing will know that He is Lord because of His hand toward them. Most of the book pronounces judgment against Israel and Judah for sin, sending other nations to enact His judgment. At the end of their sentence, God begins pronouncing judgment against the offending nations and restoration for Israel and Judah. At the conclusion of each proclamation, He announces, “They will know I am Lord.”

Conclusion: I would much rather know His Lordship by the good He does toward me, than by His discipline for sin. That said, live each day as if He is Lord, for He is! Reap the reward of righteousness, rather than the consequences of sin.

Father, in Ezekiel 36 You proclaim Israel’s restoration as Your faithful people, practicing faithfulness to You by Your power at work in them, doing so for Your name’s sake. I pray, Lord, empower faithfulness in us so Your Name is honored in our lives. We desire to know You are Lord by living like it. Make it so, O God, to the glory of Your Name. Amen.

BLESSings, Beloved.

Proclaiming the Power of Unity

Proclaiming the Power of Unity

December 1, 2019 through January 20, 2021

Ezekiel‬ ‭37:15-28‬ ‭NLT‬‬

https://www.bible.com/116/ezk.37.15-28.nlt

As I read this passage this morning, I see clearly, God’s heart for these United States. He proclaims to my heart…

PEACE, UNITY, and WISDOM are POWER in GOD’S HANDS.

I see the pieces of wood and hear His call to place the words on the wood: 1 – “This represents Democrats and their allies.” And 2 – “This represents Republicans and their allies.” I hear the Lord proclaiming: “These United States in My hands: peaceful, unified, and powerful, with Me as their One Wisdom.”

I see the people of God throughout these United States, making their wood pieces with these markings, holding them up as one piece, proclaiming God’s sovereignty in our unity from now through the 2020 Vote, all the way to Inauguration Day (January 20, 2021).

Who will share this vision and answer the call to proclaim God’s power over all? Who will make their wooden pieces and hold them up as one with me?

Get your wood ready by December 1. Snap pics of each, and then as one. Post them as commitment to the call and begin lifting them up and proclaiming our unity, praying as God leads throughout this year of election. Get your church family, Bible study groups, and praying friends involved. Let’s see what our Lord will do.

PEACE, UNITY, and WISDOM are POWER, and it begins with God’s people placing all in GOD’S CAPABLE HANDS. Let’s do it as ONE PEOPLE UNDER GOD.

The Right Tools

This passage in Scripture spoke to me this morning:

“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:11-13 NASB)

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

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

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

Grasp The New

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

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

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

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

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

Forgiveness or Consequence

I heard it said recently that God does not forgive the unrepentant. There are two reasons that come quickly to mind that tells my heart that such a statement is a false understanding. One is found in Jesus. The second is found in God’s relationship with Israel as expressed in Isaiah 43.

First, Jesus. Scripture tells us, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us ALL TO FALL ON HIM.” (Isaiah 53:6 NASB)

Jesus paid the price for our forgiveness before we could repent, and He paid it for ALL. I don’t know about you, but in my understanding, all means ALL. All mankind goes astray from God and His way. Jesus took ALL of our sin to the cross and paid the price of sin for ALL, purchasing God’s forgiveness from sin.

God’s forgiveness stands ready to receive by each of us because of Jesus. God’s forgiveness has nothing to do with us. We cannot earn it or buy it. Though repentance is required, our repentance does not buy God’s forgiveness. Our repentance simply reaches out like a hand ready to receive that which is already ours in Christ. It is ready and available for us before we seek it when we bow to the Lordship of Christ, admit we are sinners, and commit ourselves to following God in Christ’s likeness. Failure to seek it through repentance is failure to possess that which is ready and waiting for us.

Point 1: God has already forgiven ALL HUMANKIND because of Jesus.

My second reason for belief in God’s forgiveness even toward the unrepentant is found in Isaiah 43 as recorded in the NASB. Here we find Israel in the throws of rebellious sin. As God calls their sin against them, he proclaims His heart over them, forgiveness issued despite unrepentant sin.

“You have bought Me not sweet cane with money, Nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices; Rather you have burdened Me with your sins, You have wearied Me with your iniquities. I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I WILL not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:24-25)

This is the very definition of forgiveness. “I wipe out your transgressions (erasing the record of them) and I will not remember your sins (holding them in account against you)” was a present tense promise to Israel. Forgiveness was already there for them, in the midst of sin. God is proclaiming here, “Though I am wearied by your constant sin, I forgive you for My own sake.”

When God pointed this out to me, I asked Him why He chose to forgive for His own sake. Clearly to my heart came this understanding, “Darlene, if I had not chosen to forgive in the midst of sin, I never would have put My Son on a cruel cross for such a wretch as you.” I’m so grateful God forgave all, and held it out for me to receive.

Point 2: God’s forgiveness is for His own sake, that love may reach out to the unlovable.

God’s forgiveness is already there for hands of repentance to receive. Repentance is the hand that possesses God’s merciful forgiveness. But consequences can still come even though we are forgiven. We must not confuse consequences in this life as unforgiveness.

In our Isaiah passage, God proclaims, “… I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I WILL not remember your sins. Put Me in remembrance, let us argue our case together; State your cause, that you may be proved right. Your first forefather sinned, And your spokesmen have transgressed against Me. So I will pollute the princes of the sanctuary, And I will consign Jacob to the ban and Israel to revilement.” (Isaiah 43:24-28 NASB)

God forgave Israel’s sin for His own sake, but the consequences of sin were not stopped.

God has warned us from heaven’s throne, giving us the laws that teach us how to keep His way. With those laws God set the consequences that come to sin, not the least of which is the consequence of failure to acknowledge Christ and receive Mercy’s forgiveness. That consequence is eternal separation from God. Though God has already forgiven, failure to receive it requires the consequence for that sin.

Despite God’s forgiveness that is ready for receipt, we can refuse the gift and suffer the consequence. But God’s forgiveness remains intact. It honors the price Jesus paid. And we, who have received God’s gift of eternal mercy through Christ, may still have to deal with consequences for choices in this life. Sex out of marriage, though repented of, can still lead to pregnancy. Your consequence does not mean God has failed to forgive. Consequence is the law of life in a fallen world. But God, out of love and grace, will walk with us as we deal with the results of wrong choices.

Now here is the thing, Love. We are instructed in Ephesians 4:32, that we ought to “forgive others, just as God in Christ also has forgiven us.” God’s forgiveness in Christ was before creation and continues to us post Christ’s fulfillment. It stands at the ready for our reception. Our forgiveness must do the same. We forgive in Christ for our own sake, making forgiveness a gift made ready in likeness to our God.

Who are you holding unforgiveness toward? Jesus paid the price so you, who are forgiven, can escape the shackles of unforgiveness and walk free from sin. Get a box and wrapping paper and make your forgiveness ready for that one to receive when the hand of repentance reaches out to you.

Born to Parents

I believe God created children with ready-made, able to grow, called and equipped PARENTS instead of friends, because parenting is what a child needs.

A committed and caring parent loves the child enough to set an example that shows the child how to be. A child wants instant gratification, because they do not understand time or limits: they only know what they want. For those same reasons, they need instant consequences so they can grow to understand what they just did is unacceptable behavior, and what they do has an effect, good or bad, according to their behavior.

Discipline takes many forms, including training that helps them learn a better way of dealing with wants, desires, and emotions, but always gets to the root of the problem. It separates good from evil, right from wrong. It is not harsh, hard, and pressing; but works out of love and for the good of the child; not breaking the spirit, but lifting the soul to reach greater heights in becoming their best self.

A Christian parent, in the power and equipping of God’s Holy Spirit, is called and equipped to teach godly righteousness, respect for elders, the law and those who make and enforce it. Without raising children to first know and respect us as parents, following our godly teachings, and practicing obedience, they will have no understanding of authority or respect for government or government leaders and the laws made and enforced.

When we have no respect for parents, bosses, the leaders and law enforcement we see and live among, it is practically impossible to comprehend Him, the unseen One who is God, Father, Master, Lord, King, Judge, and Advocate. He may seem like a distant, uncaring, entity, that causes them to doubt He even exists.

Time comes for a healthy friendship with our grown children, but never at the expense of their need for a parent. To me, the greatest form of child abuse is to grow up never knowing the loving care and discipline of a committed mother and father, unafraid to parent their child. And the greatest travesty is to see a parent, overwhelmed by demanding, untrained, undisciplined, spoiled children, unable to tolerate being around them, and unashamed to unleash them on the world at large.

“Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 AMPC)

“But as for you, continue to hold to the things that you have learned and of which you are convinced, knowing from whom you learned [them], And how from your childhood you have had a knowledge of and been acquainted with the sacred Writings, which are able to instruct you and give you the understanding for salvation which comes through faith in Christ Jesus [through the leaning of the entire human personality on God in Christ Jesus in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]. Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17 AMPC)

“Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 AMPC)

The Vital Practice of Pondering

“But again the magicians of Egypt used their magic, and they, too, turned water into blood. So Pharaoh’s heart remained hard. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had predicted. Pharaoh returned to his palace and put the whole thing out of his mind.” (Exodus 7:22-23 NLT)

I believe learning to ponder things is vital to the life of abundance. Mary, mother of Jesus, appears to have this same belief as she practiced pondering things in her life experience.

Pondering is not worrying. To truly ponder, from my experience, requires a sense of wonder: a watchfulness that expects to see God / God’s way. It looks to God for comprehensive understanding of situations and experiences in search of truth and the righteous way. It seeks God to know His opinion and align self with Him. In my opinion, to fail to ponder life before our Holy God is dangerous for us and those around us.

However, there are three things we as humans tend to do instead of pondering: we worry, fear, and fret; we fume, plot, and plan; or we put it out of sight, out of mind, and ignore it. Here, we see Pharoah doing the latter of those three things. The hand of God against him is deemed insignificant and unworthy of his attention.

Beloved, I believe that scripture reveals to us that nothing is allowed into our lives without first being sifted through God’s righteous fingers, and set forth for His Holy purpose. Instead of fretting and fearing, pondering watches for God’s trustworthy Hand, ready to glorify and praise Him. Instead of fighting and fuming against what God is doing, pondering brings us to align and ally with Him in the work He is doing. Pondering never assumes God is not trying to tell us something, teach us something, or use us in some way. Righteous pondering always sets its sites on God, to know truth that leads to godliness, that we may walk with Him in accomplishing His purpose and glory in His reality.

Stolen Profit

“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, and for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMPC

Most of us have times of struggle to be in the Word of God, to even read it comprehensively, much less to have any depth of personal study in it. Why is that?

Scripture tells us that the Word of God is profitable to us. God’s word is the seed of God’s Kingdom, sent to establish us as His people (Luke 8:4-15). God’s Word is a mirror, helping us to look more like our Father (2 Corinthians 3:18, AMPC). God’s word is a sword, useful for defeating enemy assaults, and faithfully used by God in separating old man mentality and fleshly desire from the eternal purpose of making us the new creation we are in Christ (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12-13). And, as Paul tells us in 2 Timothy, God’s Word has purpose for us, instructing in the ways and will of God, convicting of sin, correcting error, disciplining us in obedience, and for training in righteousness (in holy living; in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action).

All of this has the purpose of making us complete and proficient, being adequately equipped for the good work that God planned for us to accomplish. So, yes, our flesh, the world’s demands, and demonic influence (all being the false wisdoms of this life) is going to fight against our time in God’s Word. God’s enemy, Satan, does not want this profit produced in us. He does not want to admit his defeat.

Scripture is vital food for fruitful lives God can use. Think for a minute, asking the Father for inspired insight. What most often hinders you having time every day in God’s Word? Is there something you can do to thwart that enemy assault on your God given treasure?

Even a few minutes to grasp a portion of scripture to carry with you throughout your day, meditating on it, digesting every morsel of nourishment from it, will be life changing: increasing profit for the need of your life. Refuse to let the enemies of godly wisdom to steal one more seed of profit from you (James 3:13-18).

Forward Goes the Row

God showed me long ago the dangers of looking back, but it is probably one of my biggest battle grounds in this season. In plowing, looking back often leads to crooked rows. We are charged to walk the straight and narrow. It requires focus on our here and now steps into the opportunities of the day.

I think we all know that it is dangerous to look back to days of sin and failure, letting guilt and shame for our past grab hold to stop, hinder, and deaden us. Through life experience, I have learned that the most dangerous thing to do is look back to when things seemed better, easier, more vital. We invite discouragement, dissatisfaction, discontent, when we fail to be where we are, giving attention to the challenges and opportunities in front of us. We miss out on better, easier, and more vital before us when longing for what used to be. Our ability to appreciate what we have is easily dammed up by yesteryear’s bygone-victories.

Keeping focus on next step challenges seems especially difficult in seasons of life when health issues and discerning the path of retirement are the tasks before us. Discerning the significance of daily care of a mate or child can be hard to appreciate. Seeing the path of retirement as vital to eternity is challenging, especially in light of debilitating health issues. The same is true in the slumps of daily life and changing paths of younger years. The subject is ageless and timeless.

The thing I see, as my husband and I go through this time of life, is that others are watching how we face the life challenges that come to each day. They look at our faith and trust in God and His Word. They watch our peace and contentment barometers.

Our biggest prayer right now is that we will maintain stable and loving relationship with each other now that we will be together more. We’ve seen couples in this season get on each other’s nerves and become soil for constant bickering, gripping, and complaining. We have never been that way before, and we don’t want to be that now. So we cry out to the One who makes us one.

Beloved, people watch us as we go through life. Even when we are not in ministry, our way of life, our doing and being, impact those watching. We are of a Holy Priesthood, charged to represent Christ as priests unto God. What is it Jesus said?

“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’” (Matthew 25:40 NASB)

The way we treat one another is important. It is our greatest ministry to God, when we care for one another. Even the smallest graces have huge rewards potential that may not be evident until we stand before our God and King. The things we deem great in ministry likely count for nothing if we fail to minister grace, love, and light to those with us.

The older I get, the more I believe that this is true because we are one in Christ. When we fail to set a godly example in our care for each other, we break unity and look more like the worldly, rather than the godly.

Beloved, keep eyes forward, on the row ahead, making it straight and ready for a harvest, fed and watered by faithfulness to God and each other. Learn from the past and bear the fruit of it into the present, but don’t let what was dictate what is to come.

The way we are in each mundane day makes a difference in the fruit born out of it. It requires focus on where we are and where our next action step falls. It requires us to keep our hands on the plow, pushing forward to the end of the straight and narrow row. And it requires us to remember that our attitudes and care for others top the charts of importance where successful ministry to God is concerned.

These late years for us are not a time to slow down, but a time to lean in on the plow. It’s the smallest of kindnesses that can reap the greatest harvest. Our work has only just begun.

Understanding God’s Perspective

Reading the plagues God sent against Egypt, seeing God harden Pharoah’s heart over and over, it would all seem mean spirited and vengeful. When we don’t realize all the issues involved, we miss the point. God always has good reason and purpose for all He does and allows. In Exodus 14:4, God makes that purpose very clear.

“And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display My glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. AFTER THIS THE EGYPTIANS WILL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD!” So the Israelites camped there as they were told.” (Exodus 14:4 NLT)

You see, Egyptians of the day worshipped many “gods”, including believing the one in the role of Pharoah to be a god. Each plague God sent was not to be mean to the people, but to bring down strongholds of demonic activity behind the false gods.

First Corinthians 10 makes it clear that the power behind false gods, power that makes the false believable, is demonic. Demons give life to the gods. They are bred and fed by demons. The blessings Egypt experienced were credited to one or more of these false gods. Demons don’t mind doing good to the people, giving them what they will, as long as it tricks them into following the false and missing the TRUE, hindering them from wanting The True God and His will.

Our finite minds see the plagues we read of or experience, and deem God to be harsh, hard, and pressing – or absent. We don’t see with understanding eyes the enemy of God and the battle raging between them and the army of God, a battle we are affected by. We don’t realize that God is in the storm and the storm has a purpose of eternal proportions.

Beloved, what is going on in your midst today? Could it be that God is kicking in doors and bringing down strongholds? Is it revealing issues you need to surrender to God’s Lordship? What will be your choice? Will you choose Him, or walk on the side of the hardened heart?

It wasn’t just the Egyptians that needed to recognize their false gods as counterfeits. Israel grew up in that society, and even as God delivered them, many still carried these falsehoods with them.

Like with Moses, God will make His purpose clear. The question is, will we be listening with hearts open and pliable to His will and purpose? Will we honor God as the One True God and Lord of all?

Read: Against the Gods of Egypt – The Invisible War: by Chuck Missler • July 1, 2000

At All Times, Pray

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. ….”. (Ephesians 6:18-20 NLT)

Prayer. Communing with God. Seeking Him in relationship. Searching His wisdom and direction. Turning to Him who is ready to give, assist, empower, direct, instruct, comfort, ease, know and be known.

Prayer is a lifestyle of companionship with the one Who gave His Son so we may be sons and daughters. Prayer is with and through Him who died that we may be companion, helpmeet, ambassador, priests unto God. Prayer is a lifestyle of companionship empowered by God’s Spirit, His Presence with us, enabling our hearts to meet God’s, our minds to comprehend His, our souls to mate with Him as fellow member or joint occupant of this body He claims as Temple.

We’re instructed be alert, persistent, and pray without ceasing. Lifestyle companionship is the only way I see of doing that. Through lifestyle prayer, this three in one God of ours unites with us, effecting a four in one unity, the answer to the prayer of Jesus in John 17.

When we walk with a companion, we talk about life situations along the way. We point to things seen and discus it’s beauty, placing, need, reasoning. We share opinions and work to achieve unity and understanding. We “Life” together. And we love and encourage one another.

I believe walking in persistent, constant, companionship with God requires alertness to His Presence, having comprehensive understanding of His watchful care and real interest in us and our lives. It requires a parent-child, teacher-student, Master-servant, companion-helpmeet attitude that humbly surrenders to His greatness and superiority. It receives encouragement from Him that empowers us to live life well, and it encourages Him to have full sway and access to us and our lives.

God knows prayer is vital for true Life to be lived. Walking with Father God, through Christ, in the power and equipping of His Holy Presence with us, we successfully pray at all times, in all occasions, with every petition, and without ceasing.

“Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”” (Matthew 26:40-41 NLT)

God had Abraham’s Heart

“God wanted to know He had Abraham’s heart. That got my attention.“ ~Audra Blake, filmmaker at Life.Church

Isn’t it funny how our thinking brings God down to our level. I know what Audra means and where she’s coming from, having experience of that place and of that same thinking; and I know God used this thought in her life. But as I read her words today, truth hits me and lifts me higher.

God knows that “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick”. It’s the person of that heart who doesn’t understand it. (Jeremiah 17:9 NASB)

God is not man, having to test us to see where our hearts are. He knows our hearts like we never will. God tests us to PROVE our hearts, not for His sake, but for ours! He wants us to realize where our hearts are so we can: one – align our hearts with His, and two – come up higher in our trust of God.

Abraham had grown a lot through his experience of God. We see that in the fact that, as he charged his young men servants to wait for them, he told them, “I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship AND RETURN TO YOU.” (Genesis 22:5 NASB). And again, as he walked with his son to the place of sacrifice, he is credited with the words, “God will provide a sacrifice for Himself” (Genesis 22:8). Testimony in the faith hall of fame says of Abraham that “He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.” (Hebrews 11:17-19 NASB)

Abraham had great faith when he headed up that hill with his son. But how much greater trust do you think he possessed on the way down, still having his son at his side because of faith rewarded and declaration fulfilled?

God didn’t need to know Abraham any better than he already did, but Abraham needed to know God better and increase his heart toward God’s own heart. Like Job, it took trial to help Abraham grow strong of heart in his trust of God.

What trial are you in today? Could it be that God wants you to know the truth of your own heart and to give you opportunity to come up higher with Him?

Audra continues, “As I dealt with this story, it was like God whispered to my heart, “Lay your dreams, your future on the altar. They’re nothing compared to eternity with Me.””

Run, or Trust

Today is Missy’s bath day. She is too big to bathe in the sink, and too heavy for me, getting her out of the tub: plus, my knees don’t handle that well any more, so off she goes to the vet for a spa day every 2 weeks.

Getting her ready to go is not a problem. She hears her leash come off it’s hook, and the excitement is on. She loves a good road trip and pulls me readily to the car. Seated happily in Johnny’s lap, she eyes every site and takes in all the smells.

This morning, as I pull into a parking spot, she starts sniffing the air vent like crazy. Obvious recognition in her eyes, her happy face drooping with every breath, she glares at me, “I don’t like where you parked!” I know that’s what she said.

Getting her reluctant body out of the car, I sit her down and the battle is on. She wants back in the car immediately! When that doesn’t happen, her goal becomes that of getting me to change course. Fighting her over the threshold, she wearily follows me to the desk. While I take care of business, she stands like a pointer, leash taught, making sure I know where the door is and begging, “Please! Help me.” Little does she know that she stinks, and my nose keeps me pointed toward her bath.

This morning, as our ritual dance at the desk plays out, she suddenly grabs my attention with some extra exuberant tugs on the line. Looking back, she points intently at the door. A woman, just stepping to the door, reaches the handle and pulls. Missy’s excited eyes and joyful tug scream, “Hurry! The door is open. Now’s our chance.” 😂

Missy is a lot of laughs for us. She is so expressive and so smart. But there are times when we know what is best for her, so we fight to get her where she needs to be. It is the same with God and us mere mortals. We so often tug against something God is leading us to, not liking the discomfort of getting there. I wonder if He laughs at us like we do Missy.

Jeremiah 29:10-11 “For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'”

I don’t know if you have ever read Jeremiah. It is worth the read, if not. In it, God calls His people to willingly go into captivity, promising those who do will find His faithful presence and provision while going through a designated timeout from their destiny because of corporate sin. Many, the prophet Daniel being one, went willingly and found God’s faithfulness. Others, like the King of the day, refused to willingly follow God’s path. Most of them lost their lives. The King lost his eyes, his freedom, and his throne. Kicking against goads God sets in our path only hurts our feet. And, as Missy will tell you, fighting the Master’s pull only chokes us down. Better we go willingly into the Father’s plan.

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

That’s a promise. God is faithful to His Word. Question is, do we believe and trust Him, even when the road gets rough? If we choose faith and a willingness to walk His way, we will find ourselves shining like gold and smelling like a rose on the other side of the difficulty we dread.

Written by Darlene I. Davis (c)

April 20,2017

For Joy, Endure

Written by me on April 3, 2017.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” ~ Hebrews 12:1-2, NASB.

Reading this passage, the fact the Jesus endured the cross “for the joy set before Him” grabs my attention, as it has grabbed me many times before. Jesus took up a cross that truly belongs to such a wretch as I, for the joy it would lead to. As I read this today, three questions come to heart for me to ponder:

1. What “joys” might have been on the heart of Jesus as He took up that cross?

2. What life challenge or sin that so easily entangles am I in that requires me to take a stand of endurance against it?

3. What joys lie before me that, fixing my eyes on them, will strengthen my endurance?

In this passage alone, I see hint of several things that may form some of the joys Jesus looked to.

1. Joy in the cloud of witnesses that would come forth because of His endurance.

2. Joy in the victory His endurance would produce in us as we overcome the cumbersome trouble this life too often holds.

3. Joy in the deliverance from sin His endurance would provide us.

4. Joy in the endurance we would possess as we set our eyes on His example to us.

5. Joy in the relationship with each of us that would come to Him and the Father because of His endurance.

6. Joy in the gift of grace available to us because He despised the shame and bore the cross in our place.

7. Joy in the fulfilling of the Father’s purpose, leading to His privileged position at God’s side.

There is much more we can add to this list of joys that had the focus of Jesus, strengthening His endurance. I don’t know about you, but there are many troubling situations and temptations to sin that I need this walk of endurance for, if I am to overcome and press through them in fulfilling God’s purpose and accomplishing His desire for me. Today, following Christ’s example, I set my sights on the joy before me that will strengthen my endurance, to the glory of His Name and the fulfilling of His purpose.

Assignment: Reading through Proverbs this month, I turn to chapter 3 and find there the call to persevere in several areas, followed by promised joy for successful endurance. Read Proverbs 3 and note there the call to stand firm. What “joy” do you see as a focus to aid endurance in the successful practice for each area of instruction? Now do this with your own life: List areas where your endurance is challenged. Next, list benefits of endurance that you can look forward to attaining as the joy set before you.

Short of Glory

“… we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:12-18 NASB)

Sin is defined as anything that falls short of the glory of God. All that God created and set in motion was good, possessing intent and purpose. The God-ordained good, intent, and purpose of all things were set to rightly and truly represent Him, His good, His reality, His will and way. Anything that falls short of His glory (His good, purpose, and intent) is sin.

There is an issue in Christian news today concerning a very popular female worship leader and singer who refused to name homosexuality as sin, reportedly for fear of upsetting friends and family in that lifestyle, and supposedly out of fear of losing her fan base.

First off, her failure proves Romans 3:23. When we fail to connect with God’s good, His purpose, and His intent with the goal of giving expression to His glory, we chance actions or words that offend those who are committed to His glory. And, worse still, we chance offending God.

We are to be people of truth, speaking and living truth AS GOD DEFINES IT. Truth is that which rightly represents God’s evaluation of life issues. He tells us in His Word of the morality we are to possess, standing in agreement with His good, His purpose, and His intent. We cannot call what God deems to be evil, good, and good, evil and be true to God. Anything not true to God is a lie.

When we set our eyes on pleasing man instead of God, we tend to turn from the good and correct purpose and intent of God proving ourselves to be sinners. Guess what. She is one, and so are you and I. We sin daily, every time we take our eyes off of Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith.

Second, she denied the truth of God’s Word which clearly reveals the sexual sins humans fall into, including homosexuality. To discern what makes homosexuality, adultery, and fornication sin, we must look at the clearly defined good, intent, and purpose God laid out for sexual relations.

God created mankind beginning with the male of the species. Looking at him, God proclaims man’s need of a helpmeet, thus, God created for that purpose the woman. These two genders have different anatomy that equips them to have sexual relations with the purpose defined through God’s instruction to populate the earth through the bearing of children.

A man and a woman are to come together in COMMITTED UNION (monogamy), and out of that union, they are to make children in the way provided by God; thus making clearly defined family units that spread across the face of the earth.

Homosexuality diverts from the glory of God as they cannot unite as couples and make their own babies. Yes, there are ways to get babies, but not in the way prescribed by God at creation. That being the case, the homosexual lifestyle falls short of God’s glory.

Other sexual sins include fornication: two people who are not married to each other or anyone else, having sexual relations. Some people say, “Well, in the eyes of God, when we have sex, we are married.” The problem is that there are clear indicators in scripture of the rituals or ingredients that make the couple wedded partners. It does not start with sex, but is consummated by sex.

True, God honoring marriage begins as a commitment between the bride and groom to be and their parents, guardians, or the head of the family group, coming into agreement in their union. Most cultures have laws for the legalized, setting apart of that BLESSed union, and we are instructed in scripture to obey the laws of God and the laws of man.

We see in scripture from early days the various ceremonies that set a couple apart in marriage. Though the man and woman were considered set apart to each other from the point a marriage agreement (engagement) was made, they were not to have intimate relationships until after the marriage ceremony.

God fathered both Adam and Eve through creation. Then He, as Father, committed them to each other and gave them to each other in holy matrimony that met the requirements of maintaining His glory. Then sex consummated their marriage. To have sex outside of the order that practices God’s glory, fulfilling His good, intent, and purpose is the sin of fornication. Fornication breaks God’s law of purity in commitment.

Adultery is when two people come together in sexual relations with at least one being married to a third party. This breaks the law of purity in commitment to one partner, and it tends to destroy family units.

Failure to keep commitment often leads to the permanent separation of divorce, which God hates. When a divorced person remarries, this, too, is deemed an adultery. Remarriage flows from the broken commitment to one’s first love, aligning itself with another lover. Thus, God’s Word warns:

“I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.” (Matthew 5:32 NLT)

God is ONE Being who represents Himself to us in three entities: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. These three rightly and truly represent God, standing together as One being, fully committed to one another, working together in unity to accomplish all God’s righteous good, intent, and purpose. It was intended that God’s created beings enter into this same commitment and become One in Union with THE ONE.

True commitment requires choice, the opportunity for which God provided in two trees with rules to keep. As we know, Adam and Eve chose death’s separation from God, instead of Life in Union as part of His ONEness. Thus, sin entered the world through sinful flesh that perpetuates itself from generation to generation.

Unity with God requires full commitment to all righteousness, which always moves with Him to accomplish His good, intent, and purpose, out of a trusting relationship with unbreakable bonds. Marriage is to mirror the commitment and unity that is God toward Himself and His creation. Anything that goes outside of God’s design for the bonds of matrimony destroys the image, falsely representing God. So, though divorce was allowed by Moses because of the hard heart of mankind that fails to maintain this unity, divorce is not God’s will. In fact, scripture warns us that God hates divorce.

When we divorce, severing our commitment to be one with our first love, remarriage produces an image of one who leaves the ONE and true God to unite itself to a false god. It pictures the fall of humankind as it chose to leave God and align itself with the intent and purpose of Satan.

Marriage done well pictures the oneness of the ONE God; and Family the oneness of God with His created beings. Divorce distorts both, and remarriage pictures changing alliances from one’s First Love.

Thus we see why God hates divorce. And we see why sexual vice outside of God’s plan is a major focus in scriptural warnings, telling us that those practicing these sins will not enter through the gates of Heaven. Only the righteous get through. And there is the Good News, we will cover in the next post.

Receiving God’s Promise

“For I will restore you to health And I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the LORD, ‘BECAUSE they have called you an outcast, saying: “It is Zion; NO ONE CARES FOR HER.” ’” (Jeremiah 30:17 NASB)

This is a promise from God to Israel at a time when their enemies noticed God’s judgement against them and began to say of them that they were outcasts because “no one cares for them,” which was and still is a lie. God cares for His people, including us. The Amplified classic version says He cares about us watchfully and cares for us affectionately (1 Peter 5:7). God will not let the enemy speak such blasphemy concerning His care for us, so for Israel, even in the midst of their sin state, God assured them of His healing.

I saw this Promise today as a stand alone truth the person was leaning on for their little one. As I read it, “I will restore you to health And I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the LORD.” It spoke clearly to me for my husband. What tells me I have the right to trust this as truth from God for Johnny. The assurance that our God cares for us and that He is the One who determines our lifespan and the boundaries of our habitation (Acts 17:22-28).

Casting the whole of our care on You Lord, all our anxieties, all our worries, all our concerns, once and for all on You, we trust You to bring Johnny back to health of body, mind, soul, strength, and spirit, and to heal this wound that refuses healing. We trust You to respond all because You care for us affectionately and You care about us watchfully. This is our hope and cry in Jesus Holy Name, who imparts righteousness to us by the power of Your grace sufficient, amen.

1 Peter 5:7 AMPC

ACTS 17:23-28 NASB

Psalm 55:22 AMPC