Tag Archives: Humility

Power to Enjoy

“Every man to whom God has given riches and possessions, and the power to enjoy them and to accept his appointed lot and to rejoice in his toil – this is the gift of God to him. For he shall not much remember seriously the days of his life, because God, Himself, answers and corresponds to the joy of his heart – the tranquillity of God is mirrored in him.” Ecclesiastes 5:19-20 AMPC

I see this truth in Johnny as he works and puts energy into his life’s calling. He has done what God placed in him to do, and the joy of his labors outweighs any challenges those labors bring. And I experience this truth myself, as I find joy and contentment in caring for him, in being his wife and helpmeet.

Thinking back on my life, on both the good and the difficult, the joys far out-way the sorrows, the good memories dimming and deadening the hardship. And in each season of my life, the labors there, the work I found for my hands to do, made much of the joy of my days, each in its season.

What better legacy to leave our children than our exemplary life of serving our God out of His provision of our Power to enjoy our labors with love for Him and each other.

“TO EVERYTHING there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven…

“I have seen the painful labor and exertion and miserable business which God has given to the sons of men with which to exercise and busy themselves. He has made everything beautiful in its time.

“He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds, a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages, which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy, yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be glad and to get and do good as long as they live; And also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 10-13 AMPC)

Fit – IN Christ

“And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”” (Mark 1:7-8 NASB – http://bible.com/100/mrk.1.7-8.nasb)

Boy! What a statement, Beloved. John, the baptist, understanding the person and purpose of the coming Christ, overwhelmed by his own flesh nature before Him, pronounces himself unfit to even minister to Jesus’s feet.

The lowest of servants were given the nasty task of cleaning feet at the end of the day. The feet were covered by whatever muck and mire walked through that day. It was a dirty job, cleaning people’s stinky feet. So when John says he is unfit to even unlace the shoes of the Christ, he is referring to himself as being lower in worth than the slave charged with feet cleaning.

Then Jesus came: The Propitiation for our sin, and by that gracious love, He pronounces the true believer, “Fit!”

After reading this passage the morning I wrote this blog, I was still thinking about it when I sat on my stool before my husband to put his socks and shoes on for him. Since his hip replacement surgery, years ago, it has been my joyful task to help him dress his feet. As I bent over to kiss the tops of his beautiful, hard working feet, BLESSing them for this day, thought hit me, “What we do to the least of these, we do to Christ.”

Since Johnny’s cancer entered our journey in life, the weight gain from the treatments makes it hard for him to clip his nails. To me, clipping another’s toenails is the worst of jobs. I hate doing it, but willingly do the best I can out of love for him. With this revelation of Johnny’s feet being the feet of Christ to me, the task is much more palatable to my soul.

Thank you, Father, for opportunity to bless Jesus and serve You through our care for one another. In Christ, Amen!

Inhale Life

“The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NASB)

“For the word of God is living and all-efficient, and much sharper than a double edged sword, and it pierces to the separation of soul and spirit and of joints, marrow and of bones, and judges the reasoning and conscience of the heart.” (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

The Word of God is truth that is described as a double edged sword. It is said to separate joint and bone from marrow.

Bone is a stabilizing foundation. It holds the body together and aides one to stand and sit, their joints allow ease of movement; but bone is also a type of dead, petrified material. The marrow, which is housed inside the tube of hollow bones, is the source of blood cells that enable us to utilize oxygen and other nutrients, thus giving us life. Out of death comes life!

The Sword of the Word separates or reveals in us that which brings, gives, and aides life, from that which is or produces death. That process, Beloved, often hurts, because it requires us to die to our mortal self, so we can live eternally in Him. God’s Word works God’s good in us by increasing, stabilizing, and vitalizing Life in us.

The Word of God is His Breath of Life to our mortal souls. Inhale often

A Focus On Light: The Qualified Heir

“… joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. …” (Colossians 1:9-14 NASB)

Here’s the Good News, Beloved. If you and I are sincerely and wholeheartedly walking with God in His Light as brought to us in Christ, we are saints in Light, and through that walk, we are qualified as joint heirs with Christ – qualified to receive our part of the inheritance that is set up for the children of God.

Often, we as mere mortals hear the word “inheritance,” and we think possessions and position. That is part of it, Scripture tells us so. Jesus has gone before us to prepare for us a place in which to dwell forever more. There we will have no more darkness. The gold, silver, and precious stones we value highly now will pave the streets and make up the walls and doorways. We will no longer hunger, thirst, get sick, cry sad tears, or die. We will dawn the riches of God and rule with Christ. That’s an inheritance beyond belief. But our inheritance is MORE THAN THAT. It is “PERSON” – PRESENCE.

God is our first, most vital need and necessity. We were made for Him to love and enjoy forever; and we were made to love and enjoy Him. In Him we are perfected, made complete as our person and purpose are fulfilled, finished, made whole in the fulfillment of His desired end. So our greatest inheritance is our forever union with the Triune: made One, complete in Him.

What is it that God says we can’t see or have in this life? We’ve covered it before: probably many times. In Exodus 33, Moses asked God to show him His glory. God agreed, telling him what to watch for: His goodness, His Names proclaimed before him, His graciousness and compassions, all of these reveal His Glory. Then He allows Moses to see His haunches once He passed by him, while he was carefully tucked into a crevice behind the Master’s hand, for he could not look Him face to face and live.

I believe that, for us to see God’s face is to see Him as He is, full strength, and our flesh senses would be overwhelmed by His pure, full-on glory. Seeing God as He is in our flesh bodies would cause such a rush of adrenaline, it would overwhelm our delicate chemistry, killing us instantly. Thus God holds us back until we are as He is, enabling us to handle that excitement.

Right now, we see God as if “in a mirror, dimly” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NASB). We know Him from afar with a finite mind that struggles to comprehend the incomprehensible. But one day, Father will lift His Holy hand, and we will see Him face to face, just as He is. That is the inheritance I look forward too.

Beloved, God is our fulfillment. All we long for is realized in Him. Hungry for love? No need to look for it in all the wrong places. God is Love. Draw near to Him with all that longing, and see your need met as never before – and know we see but a fraction, imperfectly in this life. The full, comprehensive, understanding of His love awaits the heirs arrival Home.

“I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time-He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and DWELLS IN UNAPPROACHABLE LIGHT, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:13-16 NASB)

Feel impoverished and in need. God is our greatest riches, and we are heir. If we have Him, we have our NEED. One day, that unapproachable Light will open up to us who are practicing now to be children of Light -children of righteousness.

“So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. HE HAS ENABLED YOU TO SHARE IN THE INHERITANCE THAT BELONGS TO HIS PEOPLE, WHO LIVE IN THE LIGHT. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son,” (Colossians 1:9-13 NLT)

Thus concludes our study on this subject. I pray we each go forth and prosper in the Kingdom of His true, pure, and glorious Light.

A Focus On Light: The Holy Lamp

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5 NASB)

One final, extremely vital point from this 1 John 1:5-7 passage that links with today’s Matthew 6:22-23 passage: God has no partnership with darkness.

When we receive Christ as Savior, committing to follow Him as Lord, the Spirit brings the Light of God’s Presence to live in us. We become the Temple of the Living God, sanctified and set apart to Him. There, the Spirit Light dispels the dark within us, making us fully righteous: the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

Eternally, this happens instantly, but mortally, there can be and usually are areas of our lives that take longer than others giving way to the Light. This scripture teaches that our journey to the Kingdom takes us through fire that burns away wood, hay, and stubble, leaving the precious unsinged. (I.e.: our impatience will give way to the godly fruit of patience, but may have to take us through the fires of testing to get there.) God patiently works with us in these areas, but His work requires our cooperation. That cooperation begins with recognition of the entry point darkness uses to gain access to our lives.

“”The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23 NASB)

Our eyes are the entry point for light and dark. Scripture tells us that the world caters to our lustful desires, seeking entry into our lives with its darkness.

“…all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. ….” (1 John 2:15-17 NASB)

The darkness of this world gains place in us because of our flesh, eyes, and pride, but the access point is the eyes. We see something appealing, our flesh immediately wants it and our pride has to have it. The desire enters through our physical and spiritual eyes.

At times, our fleshly mind will think of some desire as seen by our internal eyes, and our physical eyes will start looking for it, while our pride eggs it on. (I’ve got to have it! I deserve it!)

To clarify our eyes, clearing them of lustful desires, we must seek first the righteousness of God and His Kingdom purpose. Trading our desires in so we can possess His protects us from every lust.

Now note Matthew 6:23.

“If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

This reminds us to beware the false light. Our flesh, eyes, and pride can be tricked into believing a lie to be true. Thus, we see that it is vital for us to draw near to God, so that His Light in us can reveal and dispel the dark that is disguised as something that looks right and good, but falls short of God. God can and will grant us discernment so we can know the difference, but we must get our eyes on Him and draw near.

Keeping our eyes on God as our top priority and first, most vital need and necessity, is vital to our possession of His Light. This requires that we remember that we are the Temple of God, Holy and set apart as His place of residence. Every time we give in to sin, refusing God and His Light, we treat the holy as inconsequential. (“…the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” 1 Corinthians 3:17)

Through our eye that sees the Holy as insignificant, a darkness enters that can quench the Spirit of God. We can push the Spirit back, out of the way, to have our will. It’s called “choice”, the right of which is a gift from God. We are free to choose good or evil, blessing or curse, His Light and Truth, or the world’s dark and falsehood.

It is vital in this moment, and with every breath hereafter, that we learn to seek God for His true Light, so we can see clearly to evaluate the light that is in us, knowing that if the light in us is dark, proving to be false, that light is indeed dark. I believe the reason for this is because a truth is more difficult to receive when a falsehood must first be rejected and cast away. Pride and flesh will fight it. Therefore we must be diligent and determined.

A few questions to aid our evaluation of the Light that is is in us: What is your eye set on? Does that stir the fires of your flesh, or the Spirit of God within you? Is your pride lifted up and made haughty? Or are you awestruck and humbled before The Father? Do the work, Beloved, and SHINE!

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.”

The Surrendered Mind

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a DOUBLE-MINDED man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:2-8 NASB

One with thoughts being tossed by the wind, causing one to struggle with doubt and fear, is said to be “double minded”. This struggle of faith to follow the wisdom God sends for our need comes when our fleshly mind argues against the very mind of Christ indwelling us.

“For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16 NASB

The mind of flesh is haughty, daring even to argue with God. The mind of Christ receives and surrenders to the higher thoughts of the wisdom of The Father-head. The mind of Christ ALWAYS cries out, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Like 21:42

The mind of Christ in us empowers our surrendered living. Bow down, Beloved.

Only Fear Falling Short of Rest

“…Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.” Hebrews 3:18-19, 4:1 NASB

Entering God’s rest: it is a vital posture for us to obtain if we are to move safely through the harsh environs of this world. Two things hinder us from entering the rest God has for us to possess:

One is disobedience. When we fail to obey God, we are constantly fretting because of the hurt and turmoil that comes as a consequence of sin.

The second hindrance to entering God’s rest is failure to truly trust God; which, in itself, is sin. Symptoms that tell all we are not truly trusting God include:

⁃ An ungodly fear, that denies the goodness of God’s Sovereignty and unfathomable wisdom, failing to acknowledge His vision for things we can’t know or truly understand. Fearing the unknown, instead of trusting the God who knows all.

⁃ Anger, as in a temper tantrum over not getting our way: thinking we know best how a situation should go and not trusting God’s better judgment from His station of all knowing wisdom.

⁃ A hopelessness that says we or the situation are beyond God’s power to help, protect or to work good in it.

⁃ Depression that traps us in said hopelessness.

⁃ Trying to fix what we feel God failed to accomplish, as if we know better than He what is good, right, and needful for eternal purpose.

These are but a few symptoms of failure to truly trust, thus failing to enter God’s rest.

The greatest hindrance to entering God’s rest is failure to believe His promises and the truth of His self-revelation to us found in His Word.

By God’s Word, I know that God is good, He works for my good, and He is always faithful. I know that truth about Him, but when I fail to believe and trust these truths, I go my own way and try to fix things I only think I fully see and know the truth of.

Taking God at His Word and trusting His promises are vital to our obedience and trust. Without these foundational blocks seated firmly under our feet, we stumble and fall more readily into the things that keep us from His rest.

Faith that God can do what needs done often sees what we believe is the best solution or what we desire most to happen and seeks Him for that. There is nothing wrong with seeking God in this way. The only wrong is when we do so without complete trust in Him.

Trust in God recognizes His Sovereignty, with faith in Him to work a good I may not understand in the moment. Trust knows God is faithful, loving, caring, and working our destiny for eternal purpose. Even when things don’t go the way we hoped, trust remains strong in the Lord, and His rest is our waiting room while we watch with earnest expectation and hope of seeing His good bring all into His glory.

Trust rests in God being God and working His good, not in our idea of what “good” should look like. No one and no thing can disturb the rest of one whose trust is securely set in God and His righteousness.

Enter His rest, Beloved, and be at peace beyond the comprehension of a world in turmoil. Like Paul, May our only fear be in failure to please God, thus missing the rest He has for us.

A Place of Refreshing

“so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:32‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Good morning, Beloved.

One of our greatest privileges as a part of the Christian fellowship is for each of us to be a place of refreshing for others. It can be a challenge to achieve that, but it is a goal worth striving for.

I see this as our being a safe place where godly love and acceptance is found; where people can be real with us while knowing they can find encouragement, rest, and wise counsel. Even as I type this out, I know that I still have some work to accomplish in being this for those I love and spend time with. How about you?

Father, grant us wisdom and Spirt-power to be found in Christ, knowing how and when love produces a safe place of refreshing, and when love needs to flip tables.

A Transforming Trip Through 2 Timothy – Part 6

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21

I don’t know about you, Beloved, but I believe that the goal of life on earth for the Christian should be to be this “vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” According to the scripture, attaining that goal requires we be “cleansed of these things.”

Paul begins in verse 14 with the charge for Timothy to remind those he is ministering to of the truths found in verses 1-13. I recommend reviewing those encouraging words. Then verse 14 begins a list of specifics we must seek God’s cleansing from, things that determine whether we are vessels for honor or dishonor.

1. Don’t wrangle about words. Some beliefs in the Christian faith are not worth fighting about, only serving to cause dissension and separation in the Family of God, leading “to the ruin of the hearers”. (I.e.: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 and Romans 14) Instead we are to behave in a manner approved by God, accurately handling His Word.

2. Next we are warned to “avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,” which spreads like gangrene. A hot topic I believe fits here is to speak against our national leaders, as if God had nothing to do with their appointment, having no purpose for their appointment. We go against God when we assault their character and purpose, as it is God who raises up one and brings down another for His purpose. Such rhetoric can upset the faith of the immature in Christ, causing them to stumble or fall away.

3. Then Paul advises that “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” Wickedness is any word or deed that goes against God, refusing His Lordship, or setting a bad example, thus defaming His Name through rebellion against His will and way.

4. Paul concludes chapter 2 with the encouragement to “flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.“ We are to “refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.”

The goal of the vessel of honor is to be filled up with and to spill out the Spirit of God, so that God may grant to those receiving our witness repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth. The hope is that others “may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

Beloved, our own freedom from sin and liberty in righteousness frees others who watch with desire for the same. “Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. …”

2 Timothy 2:14-26 NASB

What to Do in the Long Night

First Timothy 4:12 is vital instruction at any age, especially in a Long Night Season. A long night can leave a person feeling lost and without direction, not knowing what to do in the situation or in life. This is the answer! Pray these things.

“Let no one look down on you.” Job made it known to his friends that their opinion had no basis in truth. We must know ourselves before God, keeping His opinion in mind when accusation comes.

Continue to be a godly example in speech (the way we talk), conduct, LOVE, faith, and purity. When we don’t know what to do, do these things and we will come through shining like gold.

Believe! Cling to faith in Father. Know Him, trust His promises, take Him at His Word despite what eyes see, emotions say, and the deceptive heart feels.

Seven Healing Balms for Exhaustion: Part 1

This morning God led me to Jericho our town, praying for myself and others who are in a very deep seated exhaustion. As I did, He gave me thought for 7 areas of focus to empower rest and heal energy. Thus, the first of what will likely be seven posts outlining these things that are necessary for a life of strength.

SURRENDER!

First and foremost, I must live a surrendered life. Specific areas He pointed out include:

Concern for family and friends.

We have many family issues that are outside the realm of my control; and I am walking with several friends who are in the same boat. Only God can do anything about these things.

Worry and fretting drains energy. Though I don’t perceive worry and fret very often, my grief for loved ones is deep. I must take care to watch against enemy incursion, bringing these things up in ways that hinder surrender.

Diet! “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

I’ve been really working to surrender myself to the Lordship of the Father, bowing to His will and influence on my appetite and eating habits. He tells us through Paul’s experience that He desires to perfect His power by that power finding it’s place in our weak areas, thus doing its work in strengthening us. Power that sits, doing nothing, is wasted energy, unable to complete its course.

I am learning this surrender. It is a hard lesson, realizing that my greatest strength is truly my weakest vulnerability without surrender to God’s power perfected in me.

Wise use of time and energy.

I can’t stand seeing things around my home so neglected. It really bothers me. It’s oppressive, robbing of joy, which robs of strength. This is another area in which I simply must surrender to God, trusting my times and epochs to Him (Acts 17:24-28).

Right now my time and energy is needfully focused elsewhere as I take care of my husband, whose greatest desire is for me to take care of me. I simply must surrender the dust to God, knowing He empowers time and energy for all things in due season. Stressing it only wears me out and robs of true rest, the joy of the Lord, and enjoyment of my husband in these days.

Next post, part 2, Diet.

Surrounded

A Day of Prayer in April post

PRAISE THE LORD, BELOVED! We are coming against the strongholds of long night stressors that challenge our faith, working with the intent of preventing us knowing, trusting, and following our God as a people at rest in His hands, even in the darkest, most fierce storms.

This song, “Surrounded,” by Michael W. Smith, is the perfect starting place for our battle against the long night in our lives and the lives of those we love. The prayer thoughts for this song include:

⁃ the importance of praise.

Praising Father God, our Triune Deity, is our first, most vital weapon in any battle. God is enthroned upon the praises of His people. Praise expresses understanding of His sovereignty, His might, His greatness, and our recognition of our dire need of Him: our love for and reliance on Him. We are more apt to rest the need in His capable hands – surrendering all to Him, from a position of worship.

⁃ the importance of trusting His Presence.

Remembering God’s faithfulness to His promises that tell us He is always with us, fighting for us, and He will never – NO NEVER – leave nor forsake us, this is our second, most vital weapon in the long night season. Our strength, courage, and perseverance flow out of this trust.

⁃ the importance of realizing where He is standing.

We acknowledge that, though we feel the pressure of the enemy around us, we are first and foremost surrounded by God, even though we may not see Him. He promises to be beside us, grabbing us by the hand to protect and empower us. But also, like Elisha’s servant, we need eyes to see the army of God that surrounds the enemy surrounding us (2 Kings 6).

Think about this position, Beloved, us being in the center with God, Who is also surrounding us with His hedge of protection, as well as Him standing with His army to surround the enemy attacking us. That enemy is trapped between our faith in God and His faithfulness to us. An enemy cannot escape their loss that comes from this glorious combination: faith in God’s faithfulness. I believe that’s the reason Elisha prayed his servant’s eyes open: to strengthen his faith in the battle, that the barricade of faith not be weakened by unbelief and fear.

Thus we begin…

Surrounded: Michael W. Smith

Join our event on FB at Day of Prayer in April.

Better to Go Willingly

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.

The radical God-centeredness of the Lord’s Model Prayer

“The radical God-centeredness of the Lord’s Model Prayer teaches us that man’s pride has no place before the throne of God.” (Dr. Albert Mahler, The Prayer That Turns The World Upside Down)

I have a decorative plate, given to me by my son, that misquotes the verse, “Give us this day our daily bread.” It says, “Give us this day THY daily bread.”

I’ve searched many translations, even looking through the oldest versions available to me, and none translate it that way, but I love the plate, not only because my son gave it to me, but because of the truth it reminds me to realize.

I, too often, fail to truly know what is best for me. I need the Father to instruct and form right desires and healthy appetites within me, leading me to seek after, recognize, and receive His best for me.

Pride hinders our ability to trust God for His best.

“”Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]” Matthew 6:9-13 NASB

Note: when struggling to pray, break down the outline of the Lord’s Model Prayer into its parts. Beginning with realizing that He is FATHER, who loves you and gave His all for you, let each part soak into your hurting soul to direct your heart in prayer for the trouble before you. Add to your praying the heart of Jesus that cried out in His time of agony, “Yet not my will, but THY will be done,” and you have a heart attitude God hears and responds to in amazing ways.

Better to Stand Alone

““And you will, even of yourself, let go of your inheritance That I gave you; And I will make you serve your enemies In the land which you do not know; For you have kindled a fire in My anger which will burn forever.”

“Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD. For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant. 

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit. 

“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.” Jeremiah‬ ‭17:4-10‬ ‭NASB‬

After this revelation from God, Jeremiah cried out in verse 14, “Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; Save me and I will be saved, For You are my praise.”

God’s wrath remains kindled against sin: all that stands against God, denying His Lordship, and refusing His way, which is found in relationship with Jesus, who is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Each person is judged by God’s standard, according as He sees to be their individual heart toward Him. A nation is judged according to the culmination of the judgment against its people. Thus it is better to stand alone with a right and true heart before God, than to follow the crowd into chaos. Seek the Lord through the saving grace of Jesus, the Christ, and let your heart be healed.

Not About Me

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

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

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

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

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

The Heart-Song of Godly Promotion: Humility of Mind

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” ~ Philippians 2:4-6.

Humility of mind is vital to one’s ability to empty oneself and obey God at all cost. By implication, I see that failing to humble self before God stems from the prideful desire to be God. It sets our desire over His, failing to surrender to His right over us as Creator-God, Savior, Lord, and King. Humility is a major issue in the human condition, being difficult for us to truly achieve apart from the work of the Spirit of God within us: leastwise, that is my experience. Even in times of appearing most humble, there is too often a self-centered motive involved:

False humility says, “If I allow them to lead (humility to consider the interests of others as more important), perhaps they will like me (self-centered motive).”

God-centered humility says, “I must allow them to lead (humility to consider the interests of others as more important), because that is God’s will in this situation (God-centered motive).”

False humility says, “I must surrender to their ideal (humility to consider the interests of others as more important), because I want the managerial position opening up (self-centered motive).”

God-centered humility says, “I must surrender to their ideal (humility to consider the interests of others as more important), because I appreciate God giving me this job and I serve in this position, doing my best as unto the Lord (God-centered motive).”

True humility of mind forgets self, thinking only of God. It asks, “What is God’s heart desire? What is His will and way in this particular situation?” Note in our focal passage that, though humility “regards the interests of others as more important” than one’s own interests, that practice does not rule out times of one’s own interests taking precedence, as it says, “do not MERELY look out for your own interests.” This tells me that true humility of mind allows God to inspire a right system of prioritizing, so we know when to meet the need or desire of others, and when it is important to follow our own heart desire.

Following the lead of the Spirit to know the will and purpose and pleasure of God is the key to true humility. This humility before God is the ingredient that enables a wife to know when it is important to give self to a friend for the day despite the dishes in need of attention, and when it is important to remain faithful to the duties of homemaking so the needs of the family are met. Humility that allows God to be God is the practice that helps us to discern when our mate’s or child’s need for our undivided attention trumps our desire to read or to watch a favorite TV program, or when our physical need of destressing takes priority so we can have a right attitude toward meeting their need. Our humility is toward God, and that humility has a vital purpose in life:

“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 4:5-10.

Promotion03The Spirit of God empowers true humility; therefore, God is jealous to find His Spirit active and effective within us. The benefits of this humility toward God that surrenders quickly and completely to the leading of His Spirit, allowing Him to be God in our lives, include:

  • The Spirit of God increased and effective in our lives.
  • Increased work of God’s grace in our lives.
  • Automatic resistance and victory over the devil / demonic / evil.
  • Greater nearness to God, increased experience of relationship with Him.
  • Deliverance from habits and acts of sin.
  • Singleness of mind, settled on eternal purpose, having one heart with God.
  • Possession of God’s heart: rejoicing in the things that cause God’s heart to rejoice; weeping over that which brings Him to tears.
  • Exaltation / promotion by God as part of the royal court of God’s Kingdom.

Humility before God removes the joy that our sin once brought – sin being anything that goes against Him as Lord and His desire and purpose for our lives. With this heart toward God, we grow to desire the experience of God in every area of life. Anything that pushes away from Him brings remorse and bitter weeping. Growing to love God more than any other selfish desire produces ever-increasing love and desire for more of Him. When we reach this point in our love relationship with God, we grow stronger in our ability to obey at all cost, desiring that nothing come between our God and us. Beloved, as the day of evil increases in the world, it is vital that we develop this humility so our love of God protects us.

~*~

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. …The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who really loves Me; and whoever really loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him” ~ John 14:15, 21, AMP.  (See also John 3:36; 1 Peter 4:17; 1 John 2:3-5 and Romans 6-8)

The Heart-Song of Godly Promotion: The Reason

“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” ~ Philippians 2:9-11.

On our journey to discover the pathway to godly promotion, the words, “this reason,” beacon us to discern the reason mentioned for Christ’s promotion to the Name above all. Finding the answer and discovering the pathway to our own promotion requires we go backward in the passage from here. Doing so, first we look at the example of Christ that is the reason for His promotion.

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” ~ 2:5-8.

Jesus had it all. He was in the Eternal, the Omnipotent, Omnipresent God, with full authority as God. He chose to leave the Eternal, coming into the limits of a flesh being so-as-to set the example and live the life that led to sacrifice for the eternal hope of all humankind. That journey led Him back to the eternal for all time, imparting to Him as Christ, the Son of God and man, the Name above every name as King of kings and Lord of lords. Simultaneous with Jesus’ promotion, God imparted to us the Way to Truth and Life Eternal in Christ.

Jesus began where He wanted to be, came willingly to where we are, then returned to the throne that was His all along, making a path for us to follow. Christ’s example points us to two things necessary for godly promotion:

  1. The emptying of self.
  2. The humbling of self to the point of obedience.

Jesus left His high position, emptying Himself of all He had and was, to come on our behalf as Christ, Savior and King. He calls we who are in this Beloved union through Christ to the same. “Emptying self” is the call of Christ found in Luke 9:23:

“And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me’” ~ NASB.

We must do as Jesus did, denying self-interest in order to take up the cross of self-denial as exemplified in Christ. The Amplified version of this verse tells us that to deny oneself means to disown oneself by losing sight of self-interest and concern, laying down one’s own interests, to refuse and give up self-centered purposes. Denying oneself takes up God’s purpose, plan, will, and way as one’s own.

Then the Amplified Bible explains that we take up our cross as we follow Jesus, cleaving steadfastly to Him, conforming wholly to His example “in living and, if need be, in dying also.” To empty self is the mindset expressed by Paul in Galatians 2:20:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

The Persona of Pre-Jesus, described in our Philippians passage as One existing in the form of God, willingly chose to relinquish who He was and all He had in order to walk in human flesh as the promised Messiah—fully man, while rightly God. We follow His example by emptying self of our flesh man to take up His likeness in Spirit and in Truth. Emptying oneself lays down the person we think we are and desire to be in order to discover the person He destined us to be. It lays down our individual, selfish want and any claim on one’s own life in order to take up Jesus, give Him full reign, and allow Him to complete His work on earth through us. In so doing, we become the body of Christ. This is the humbling of self before Him to the point of obedience at any cost.

Promotion03God “WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation” ~ Romans 2:6-8.

Godly promotion requires dying to self-interest, humbling self to obey God, trusting Him to be God, lifting us up and taking us to higher ground in His way and on His timetable. He knows what our promotion in life looks like and what it will take on our part for us to get there. Note that Jesus received a type of promotion through a degree of renown in the earth that led to thousands following to see what he would do next. However, even the closest of His followers scattered and denied Him when He was taken into custody and only a little over 100 followers of Christ remained in that upper room after He bore His cross. The true promotion of Christ came to Him as He took His seat at the right hand of the Father in the Eternal.

We too readily work for a promotion we can see here and now, failing to focus on the treasure of Heaven. If our promotion is not what we expect, bringing hardship and challenge to us as it did to Jesus, Paul, and others of Bible times, we too readily fall away and quit working for the things of God. The heart of Jesus often hurt over those who turned away, but He did not view His success from a worldview. He saw with eternal eyes and trusted the will and way of God. God’s idea of promotion and prosperity is not worldly, but eternal.

Jesus set the example to show us the way to godly promotion through emptying of self and living humbly as servant of God, trusting all to Him. Next post we look at what God expects of us who would receive promotion.

~*~

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” ~ Matthew 6:19-21 (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

“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” ~ Colossians 3:1-2, AMP.