Tag Archives: Kingdom Living

In Jesus Name: a Look at John 17 ~ Part 3

Read John 17

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.” ~ vs. 6-10.

Manifested Ownership

From the Name of God, to the Words He sent and the people He provided opportunity to share with, and I would add to the worlds goods provided for use in the ministry given Him, Jesus recognized that all was God’s and was given Him by God for His use in manifesting the name, will, way and glory of God. All belonged to God. It was given to Christ for Him to possess, manifest through His own life and ministry, and use as a gift to those in His sphere of influence.

Jesus’ realization of ownership began with self: “for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.” He believed that He Himself belonged to God for His purpose, sent into the world to accomplish God’s will in God’s way.

Jesus is our example for life. We manifest Him in the same way He shared God with us, as people of God’s own possession, sent for a purpose. That begins with ownership. Jesus received the Name of God as His own. Salvation comes from God through Christ. Father is Immanuel, the Christ, Savior, Lord, Master. He gave rights to Jesus for Him to possess and manifest these characteristics in the world, thus being God with us, fulfilling His purpose as Christ, the Savior made Lord and Master as King of kings under God’s authority.

Jesus, in turn, puts His name on us as followers of Christ, and we are responsible to manifest His character, word, will, way, and stewardship in this age God birthed us to. We are under His authority, given authority with responsibility as stewards of all He gives for our use in living and being His representatives where we are living and breathing.

All that we have belongs to God. Our reputation, our words, our funds, every opportunity for good, our time, this day, our now moments, and every breath we breathe is His. We do well to realize all we have first belongs to God. Then we must realize that all He gives us is ours to possess and use in manifesting Him name and His glory in the earth. When we say we are “Christian”, people look to us to discover what that means. Represent God with every breath.

Beloved, when we frown at tithing, it is because we fail to believe and own the truth that “all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine,” given us for the purpose of this ministry of manifestation. When the need of others becomes inconvenience InGodsHandssmeinstead of opportunity, we forget whose Name and glory we possess. When anger, depression and other emotional issues take hold, leading us to say things that do more harm than good, we forget the Word gifted us for use in producing His glory and work in the world. When we waste our days and resources on menial things, we forget whose purpose we are to fulfill and the fruit we are to bear. He gives all to us for us to own in His name and use to His glory.

“So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [morally] to all people [not only being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers]” ~ Galatians 6:10, AMP.

In Jesus Name: a Look at John 17 ~ Part 2

Read John 17

“Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” ~ vs. 1-5.

Father, The Hour Has Come!

Beloved, realize today that every breath you breathe as one who believes in God through Jesus the Christ means that your hour has come. Like Christ, our being born to this age of humanity’s history is no accident; nor are we a “plan B”. From before time began, God planned us.

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

There is purpose for our breath in this age. With that purpose comes authority and Spirit-power to fulfill all His good will and way for us in this age.

“Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

The main purpose we have in our life is to make the Father and the Son known to those around us. We accomplish this purpose not only by word of mouth, but, more importantly, by our being as He is. Every characteristic we know of God should express itself through our character in the power of the Spirit. We love as He loves. We forgive as He forgives. We humble ourselves to accomplish the Father’s purpose just as Jesus did. And on we go, glorifying God the Father and Jesus the Son by representing all we know of them to those around us.

InGodsHandssmeBeloved, pray today to grow up into all the glory of God so that you are His representative, accomplishing the purpose of making Him known and fulfilling the good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. In this way, we become the answer to the prayer of Christ, glorifying God in all things, and manifesting His glory as one with Him, empowered and useful in accomplishing His purpose in our days.

May we each be able to say, as Jesus did, “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

In Jesus Name: a Look at John 17 ~ Part 1

Read John 17

“Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life” ~ vs. 1-2.

Humbled and in awe of God, I bow.

Beloved, do you realize that if we are one with God in Christ, an answer from God to Jesus’ prayer here in John 17, we should have this prayer resonating within us? As I read this prayer this morning for the 100th plus time, it no longer belongs to Christ alone. This prayer became my prayer, rejoicing my heart at the thought of God answering this prayer in my life.

Beginning today with these 2 verses, let’s look at how we can continue this prayer in Jesus name.

InGodsHandssmeFirst, by way of reminder, Jesus instructed us to petition the Father in the name of the Son. “In Jesus name” is more than words we tack to the end of our want list. “In Jesus name” means that all we ask of God should represent Christ’s interests and heart desires. We are to grow past being children, crying out for everything that catches the attention of our childish – fleshly desire on the toy shelves or through worldly commercials. We are to understand God’s will and way and align our desires with His; most importantly, being as one with Him, God’s fulfillment of the John 17 prayer of Jesus’ heart cry.

If we are walking as God’s response to Jesus, beloved, we can join the heart of Jesus to pray this prayer as our own. Thus begins: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your daughter in Christ, that this daughter may glorify You, even as You gave me authority in Christ over all flesh, that to all whom You have given me in my sphere of influence, I may give eternal life by the testimony of Christ at work through me in the power of Your Spirit.”

In Jesus, we begin. And what a great beginning it is: to pray to glorify God to all He places within our sphere of influence, being an example of His glorious image, helping others to saving grace in Christ. May God so move in us, beloved.

Parent with Discipline and Instruction

Today’s Bible Gateway scripture grabbed me with a different-than-usual understanding.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord” Ephesians 6:4, NLT.

Reading that well-known verse, just as I started to delete it, a different instruction from it grabbed my heart and stopped my hand as pondering began.

Usually this verse says to me the truths commonly taught by others: that the father, or parent, is to train the child in the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord; to teach them the word and ways of God. This is true, but today it grabs me with understanding that Paul is teaching the way of disciplining the child so-as-to not provoke anger. He is telling the parent to develop within themselves the disciplines of God, receiving His instruction on how to be a parent to their particular child, so that child can grow strong in a teachable spirit.

This scripture specifically singles out Fathers, but we should receive it as good instruction for both parents. Usually in a family, there is a main caregiver and disciplinarian; and that is not always the dad. It is often the mom. Moreover, in today’s society, single parenting is too common. Therefore, I write this with parents in mind, not just the dad.

The first instruction given a parent in this passage is to train up the child in ways that do not breed anger in them. Anger produces bitterness and resentment that makes a child grow into a hard-hearted, unteachable adult. Such a heart attitude makes it difficult for a person to be open to God’s instruction and training in life. They often develop the traits found in their parent that produce the anger, and thus become a parent like their own, producing anger in the next generation. Resist the urge to be a hot-tempered parent.

“Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself” ~ Proverbs 22:24-25

A child cannot easily leave the company of a hot-tempered parent. They quickly learn to give themselves over to angry outbursts of their own, carrying on the tradition when they become parents who are harsh, hard, sharp and pressing. We can learn a lot as parents, following the example of Christ in Matthew 11:25-30:

“Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne” ~ AMP.

As parents following the example of God in discipline and instruction, we yoke with our children, being an example to them, training them up in godliness to be the people God created them to be. We set an example that trains them to realize they have purpose and skill as people of His Kingdom, able to make this world community a better place for those around them.

“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute” ~ Proverbs 15:18.

Controlling one’s temper as a parent instructing the child is a vital discipline to develop, benefitting both the relationship of parent to child and setting an example that trains the children in the way and importance of controlling their own emotions. It is vital that a parent learn to take a time out when angered, giving themselves time to get their temper in check and decide on a godly course of action in training the child out of a place of wisdom, love and spiritual discernment.

Parent, it is never too late to apologize for being hot-tempered and to make the adjustments that calm the heart of dispute and set a better example, bearing the fruit of the Spirit into that relationship (Galatians 5:22-23). Though it may take time for the adult-child to believe, receive the apology as sincere, and realize the change in example, it will take hold and bring healing as you persevere in walking out your change of temperament.

A second parenting instruction comes to mind, found in the Amplified version of Proverbs 22:6:

“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.”

This instructs in several important parenting skills to develop. One is to realize how each child best receives instruction. Some children are rigid and require a more firm hand; while others are easily bruised and require a gentler tactic. It is vital to learn the type of discipline the individual child responds to best. Whatever works best, all need discipline that is free of anger. Never discipline when angry. Send the child to the bed until a clear and cool head prevails in the discipline given.

Another instruction found in this wording of Proverbs 22:6, training according to the child’s “bent”, is to realize the gifts, talents, skills and abilities of each child and train them up in a way that helps them develop, becoming strong in the good things that make up who they are as people created by God for a purpose. It also means to recognize their individual temperament and help them know how to use the good qualities they have for benefit. They also need training in how to cope rightly with the more negative aspects of their personalities.

For some of us, our parents did not train us with our gifts and bent in mind, so we may have to seek God’s instruction for how to train ourselves up in these areas so we can better help our children develop their gift and personalities. God is the ultimate Father and He is always ready to help us grow strong as the people He planned us to be. His word teaches that His work of developing and perfecting and bringing us to full completion is a continual work that only ends when Jesus takes us home (Philippians 1:6). Realizing this for ourselves as we grow to be the parents God desires of us will help our patience with self in the process. It is also a vital truth to teach the child, helping them to cooperate with God and know how to work with Him in developing stronger skill and character throughout life.

A third instruction I think of concerning discipline and instruction to us as parents comes from the description of the Proverbs 31 wife:

“She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks. …She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction]. She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat. Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her, [saying], ‘Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all’” ~ vs. 15, 26-29.

Training our children in the word of God is not the responsibility of the Sunday School teacher alone. They should be additive to the teaching the child receives at home. Realize that children learn more from actions than words, so make sure you practice the things taught them from God’s word, training by example as well as word.

This entire discourse in Proverbs 31:10-31 is that of a Mother setting a good example of how to be a godly wife – woman. The same is true for the husband, setting the example of a godly man. Our exemplary life is vital training for the child. Thus, we must know how to be godly people ourselves if we are to pass that quality on to our children.

Here the mother “assigns her maids their tasks.” Children need to learn how to function as vital participants in community life. They need to know how to keep their area of responsibility in good order. They need financial and economic training. Children learn how to be good citizens of the Kingdom – nation – community – by first learning how to be good family members as stewards of all the good gifts of God. We must not neglect to give our children a sense of responsibility as citizens in life.

Note also that this mother, in her parenting example to us, “opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law (teaching) of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].” Not only is the parent to give the child wise counsel and training in kindness, but she is to do so by practicing wisdom with kindness. A godly parent sets the good example, looking well to the ways of the home and family, not feasting through thought and actions on “the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity)”. Such a parent earns the reward of children who bear the testimony of having praiseworthy parents.

Parents, “do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” Grow strong parenting skills, learning the discipline of character God instructs us to possess.

This article barely touches on the things we can learn from God’s instruction to us that will make us noteworthy parents that produce godly children who will make the world a better place as they grow to be good citizens, skilled as good stewards in community life. Insights of this article are good starting points for growth as parents to children, but God waits at the ready to help each of us in our areas of specific growth needs. He promises, “‘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. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart’” (Jeremiah 29:11-13).

No matter how old our kids grow to be, as long as we live there will be opportunity to yoke with them in their journey to becoming all God planned. Once we are one, though the nature of our role may change, we never stop being parents. Choose today to be a parent of noteworthy character, an example worth following, yoking with God in readiness to learn good parenting skills that allows you to yoke as partner-teacher on your child’s journey through life.

These Things ~ Miracle ME!

The Greater Works

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus

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

Us

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

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

OF

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

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

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

Of: Expressing the relationship as part of a whole.

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

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

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

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

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

COME OUT AND BE SANCTIFIED.

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

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

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

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

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

~*~

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

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

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

These Things Revealed

Pulling it together

John 16:1-15

These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them.

These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”

Life is hard. Have you figured out that, too often, life is hard? When we seek to follow the Father and live the life He desires, there are a hundred different things that vie for our attention and seek to pull us from the path He designed us to walk. Therefore, Jesus spoke with purpose.

He spoke so that we may have peace in knowing Him, realizing His great love for us and growing to be His friend who walks with Him to accomplish His purpose. He spoke so we can possess the Kingdom purpose He has for us, bearing the fruit that works that purpose in the world around us, making this a better place to be and shining a light that draws others to join our journey on the straight and narrow path of God’s making.

Jesus spoke so that we may truly and fully believe, receiving all that He has for us.

Top of the list of His desire for us to possess is His indwelling Spirit, for He still has “many more things” to say to us today. Jesus still calls out and speaks to His Sheep today, and those who know His voice follow Him. They will not follow a stranger because they do not know the voice of the stranger. God gives His Spirit to every believer, and He speaks clearly, telling us of God and His purpose and plan, so that we have all we need to walk the straight and narrow path of His eternal purpose for each individual of us. (John 10)

In our focal passage, the work of the Spirit that Jesus tells us will come to help us is this: that we may understand sin, righteousness and judgment.

The Spirit instructs our heart to know sin, wrong paths, all that goes against the ways of God. In addition, Jesus tells us that sin reveals lack of believing-faith in God, His word, His ways, and His promises. His Spirit is here to help our understanding so that we may have faith to believe.

The Spirit instructs our heart to know righteousness, right paths, all that accomplishes the will, way and purpose of God.

This work of the Spirit fulfills the promise of Christ that He revealed when He instructed us through John 14:12, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.”

When we learn the voice of God that comes to us in the power of the Spirit, we accomplish the purpose of God who created us for good works. We do so knowing that “nothing shall be impossible for us who believe, for all things are possible with God and I can do all things through Christ, my Lord.”

As we said, life is hard. It can be hard some days simply to get out of the bed. The works we do are the greater works because we are not God. We who believe are men and women of God, empowered by the Spirit, yes; and every good work we do and accomplish in that Spirit power is nothing short of a miracle. Every day that we overcome the flesh, the world, and the demonic is because we possess the Spirit that possesses us and works this miracle of God’s overcoming power in us. Wow. That is awesome to my heart and inspires me to realize the miracle worked when I hear His voice and simply follow Him.

This faith to trust the Spirit to lead us to the will, way, and purpose of God, thus doing His work, accomplishes the great things of God in our day to day living. Representing Him in all we do, fills up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions (Colossians 1:24). The work of Christ in the earth continues in us as we become His lights in the world, glorifying Him in all we do – great and small, as good stewards of all He supplies. The Spirit helps us to realize that all we have in this life, all we go through whether good or difficult, all things are ours to possess and use for His Kingdom purpose: nothing wasted.

Lastly, Jesus tells us of the promised work of the Spirit in us so that we can know judgment, consequences, and potential outcomes.

This understanding of judgment He gives to us leads to good judgment for living. He gives understanding of His judgment in the power of the Spirit in order for us to know that there are two kingdoms at work in the earth and our actions and choices accomplish the purpose of one or the other.

As believers in God through Christ, the godly Kingdom is the one we seek to represent as we follow the dictates of the Spirit to fulfill the good works God created us to accomplish in such a time as this (Ephesians 2:10; Esther 4:14). The ungodly kingdom is the one dictated by the evil spirit of Satan, and its desire is to destroy the work of God in the earth. Thus, it is vital that we learn wisdom ~ the ability to have functional understanding of sin, righteousness and judgment that helps us to make right decisions so that we fulfill Kingdom purpose in all we choose to do.

In verse 25 of John 16, Jesus adds, “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father.”

We have the whole of scripture and the power of the Spirit so that we can understand the plain and simple truth of God and His eternal purpose. Jesus gives us the Spirit of God so that we can understand, believe, receive His truths, and walk the path He has for us to walk.

Beloved, we too often try to make this plain and simple truth harder than it is, seeking to find some magical ingredient that will make life here easy. The fact is that life here is hard because there are two kingdoms vying for our affections, and we have four sources of wisdom seeking to influence our decisions. The plain and simple is this: “Choose today whom you will serve”. Which spirit will you possess and follow? Which voice guides you? “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

“…this we also pray for, that you be made complete. …rejoice, BE made complete, BE comforted, BE like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will BE with you” ~ 2 Corinthians 13:9-11.

~*~

I thought I was finished with this series, but the “Wow” moment is coursing through me with greater depth of understanding that we will cover in the next post of Ponderings. Thank you for your faithfulness as patrons of this blog spot.

Things Leading to Perfect Peace and More!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Praise the Lord! For June 10, 2015

A Life Of Abundance

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” ~ John 10:10.

What do you think of when you consider a life of abundance? I know of few people who think of poverty, depravity, struggle and hardship when they consider the abundant life. I think we all fall into the pit of thinking that things being less than perfect is a sign that we do not have this promise fulfilled in our reality.

The other day, while rolling around in my head those storm tossed situations that seem unending, God spoke to my heart, “Abundance is unhindered by circumstance. And circumstance is opportunity for abundance.”

Immediately I understood that God’s abundance promised to us is not that we will be rich in earthly wealth. It is not that trouble will never touch us. Always in this life, we will have opportunity to find things rolling around in our troubled minds.

Despite our circumstances right now, beloved ~ poverty, trouble, discord, want, need, desires unfulfilled, loneliness, uncertain futures, etc. ~ despite these things we can have the abundance of life in God. Those near to Him in faith and hope do have that abundance despite troubled lives. We find God’s abundance in the assurance of His love and care for us, knowing He will help us through each storm and meet our need with eternal purpose, realizing we are never truly alone and we can trust Him despite our earthly situations. Beloved, we find that abundance in faith that fully trusts God.

Greater still is the understanding that our abundance is God. He is our shield and our very great reward. The footnote for Genesis 15:1 says that “your reward shall be very great” is more truly translated “I AM your very great reward.” When we have God ~ a vitally growing, trusting, loving, functional relationship with God, we have our abundance. He will never fail nor forsake those whose heart is set firm to trust in Him.

So praise the Lord in times of struggle, looking surely to Him who is faithful. Remember that He is faithful and He will provide the need of those who seek Him with whole heart. Find your security, assurance, and satisfaction in Him. When we fail to realize that He is our abundance, a challenge in life that runs for a long time will bring us to a defeated spirit that does not work the will of God in the situation. In realizing that every challenge in life is opportunity to trust God’s abundance, that abundance becomes our The_Comforter2help to weather every storm. So, beloved, only believe in God’s faithful love that never leaves nor forsakes us and have a blessed day.

“I saw the Lord always in my presence; For He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; Moreover my flesh also will live in hope; Because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence” ~ Acts 2:25-28.

Things Leading to Perfect Peace ~ Part 5

Called Friend ~ Deepening Relationship

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another” ~ John 15:12-17.

Hear these words of Jesus, beloved. “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

What did the disciples have that made them friends instead of slaves? They possessed a vitally growing relationship with Christ. This reality of growing in relationship with God that makes us friends He shares His life with is ours to have and possess in Christ by the power of His Holy Spirit working in and through us. That reality begins with understanding this love that God has for us, a love that lays down His life on our behalf. That love is the perfect love that casts out all fear.

Think about your most trusted friend. What is it about your relationship with that friend that helps you know that wherever you go, whatever you do, that relationship will always be there? For me that ingredient that makes for true and lasting friendship is trust in the love they have for me and me for them.

walking-with-godI have three friends who moved off many years ago. These friends stay in touch through our marvelous technologies that span space and time to bring us closer together. I can be who I am with these friends and know they love me as I am, even when I am not my best self. We may not see each other often, but when we do, it is as if we never parted company. We may not always like what the other does, but we love each other anyway. And we know that when we struggle, there is always the other to reach out a loving hand to help us to come up higher in life as God’s chosen friend.

That is another thing I look for in a human friendship. I look for a growing relationship with God. I want people around me who know Him and are able to encourage my walk with Him. One reason for that is not only that these friends have a growing relationship with God that makes them ably equipped to counsel me from His perspective, but they possess His abiding presence, being available instruments to Him, allowing Him to reach out and touch me through their lives: and me to them. Just now I received a text from one of them that I do not hear from often, but she knows when she is in need, I am here for her, just as she is for me.

Beloved, that is what God wants with us. This desire for a relationship that is vitally growing and available, able to encourage and help to rise up to greater heights is not foreign to God. It is His image at work in us. God is love. Love’s most vital need is someone to give itself to and for; and its greatest desire is to find that love returned in kind.

When we have this growing reality at work in us, knowing God and being known by Him, mutually loving and giving self to bring the other higher, Him lifting us to higher ground as we lift Him to greater glory, shining ever brighter, we have friendship with God and a love that casts out fear.

Fear cannot reside where true love’s trust abides. God loves you. You can trust that even when you are in a pit of despair because of poor decisions that caused you to fall away for a time. He reaches out in love, desiring to grab your right hand and help you to higher ground. When we move away from Him, He is still there, waiting to hear from us andJesus 01 - water walk reach out His hand of love, help and companionship.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing means NOTHING! Not even the bad decisions we make in falling away from Him can remove His love from us. His sacrifice of love remains even in our darkest days. Though He hates where we are and what was done to put us in such a state of affairs, He still loves us and longs for our presence. So reach up and trust His love to grab you and help you be your best self to the glory of Him who loves you more than life itself.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another” ~ John 15:12-17.

Oh, beloved. What great peace it is that comes to the heart of the one who truly understands, receives, believes, trusts and grows strong in this friendship found in a deep and abiding love relationship with God the Father through Jesus the Son in the power of the Spirit abiding within us. And we know this love abides in us as we come to desire His will over our own, laying down our lives by picking up His desire for us and making that our possession for a life of abundance with Him.

Praise the Lord! For June 9, 2015

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights ~ Habakkuk 3:19, NLT.

The NLT drew me here, but the Amplified truly encourages me as it adds deeper understanding to this already encouraging truth.

“The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk, not to stand still in terror, but to walk and make spiritual progress upon my high places of trouble, suffering, or responsibility!” ~ Habakkuk 3:19, AMP.

There are many times in my day when I have to seek the Lord for strength of body, mind and character in order to press forward in dealing with some trouble or responsibility that is hard for me in that moment. God is always faithful to move on my behalf so that I can move on His behalf to accomplish His purpose. Even something as small as showing affection to someone I love dearly in times when I feel awful can be overwhelming. One cry to my Lord for His supply, and the difficult becomes a victory won to His glory, praise and honor.

As I read the word “suffering” in this passage, I think of times I called out for God’s protection, trusting Psalm 91 to be true. He gives His angels charge concerning us. I recall one such time when a dog coming at me with malicious intent had me calling God to charge His angels. That dog literally skidded to a stop and looked with stunned expression up higher than my head and back down to the ground beside me. He was not looking at me, but looked obviously as if there was something between us. Then he turned, eyes still turned back at that angel, and left with tail tucked while giving one more quivering bark.

So praise the Lord with faith to trust Him today, being assured that He is with us and for us, equipping us to stand and to walk forward to progress. Praise God that He gives His angels charge concerning us. Remember that God is for us and not against us; He never leaves nor forsakes us; and He is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

Yes, Praise the Lord, trust in Him, seek Him in every moment of need, and have a blessed day.

Praise the Lord! For June 8, 2015

We have just come through a very busy three weeks, chocked full of challenge, stress, joy and peace. Good things and not so good; easy things and things that took energy; it was all good because:

“Before the mountains were born, before You gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, You are God” ~ Psalm 90:2, NLT.

From the beginning to the end, God is still God. He is in control of all things. He has purpose and plan to get us safely from point A to point Z, whole, complete, and continually perfected in our work as His image bearers. We can trust our God who is still God no matter the challenge this life brings to us. So praise the Lord in the good and the not so. Remember that God is still God with a purpose and opportunity central in every thing that comes to us in our day. And have a blessed day.

~*~

NOTE: I hope to press forward soon to finish the last two blogs for our series on peace.

 

Things Leading to Perfect Peace ~ Part 4

Love’s Abiding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things Leading to Perfect Peace ~ Part 3

Fruitful Abiding

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

In our busy couple of weeks, we saw friends come in for a visit, followed by traveling on a rush weekend trip to see family. Busy lives: all revealing issues difficult to deal with, threatening to rob of peace. Even preparing for company and to travel became a threat against peace. BUT GOD! He used the situations faced to reveal Himself as He responded faithfully to each need, accomplishing great things in and through us and on our behalf.

In our time with friends and family, the opportunity revealed the hand of God at work: bringing healing to some past issues; providing opportunity to bear fruit into the lives of those we love and care for as we ministered His comfort into current situations. We overcame all the threat against our ability to live in that place of perfect peace provided by God by believing in Him and walking with Kingdom perspective. Through that we were able to bear fruit in keeping with righteousness into each situation.

That is the next thing taught by Jesus that helps us abide in the place of His peace:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” ~ John 15:1-8.

Spirit-fruit-bOur abiding in Him is the ingredient necessary for our bearing fruit for His Kingdom. Here I just noticed that Jesus referred the disciples back to their feet washing session. It is constantly letting the Lord our Savior wash our feet that secures us as a fruitful branch on His vine. When we spend time with the Lord, allowing Him to speak into our lives and train us up in righteousness, rebirthing in us the image of God He intended we possess, we live in vital connection with God. That connection feeds us and grows us to be strong fruit-bearing branches.

In Matthew 12, Jesus makes an important point that tells us why fruit bearing is important:

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit” ~ verse 33.

The fruit we bear into life, whether good or bad, godly or worldly, reveals the tree from which we receive our nourishment. James speaks of this as he talks about our wisdom for life. Our wisdom for decision-making and action-taking either comes from our fleshly nature, worldly philosophy, demonic influences, or God and His truth. Wisdom from the first three sources mentioned produce bitterness, jealousy, selfish ambition, arrogance, falsehood, disorder, etc.: producing every kind of evil. Wisdom that is from God produces purity, peacefulness, gentleness, ability to yield that makes one reasonable, being merciful and able to bear good fruits which are unwavering and without hypocrisy. Then James adds:

“And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” ~ James 3:13-18.

When we see our ability to bear fruit in keeping with righteousness, thus producing godliness into our daily lives, we have peace of knowing that we abide in the true vine of God’s supply.

Things Leading to Perfect Peace ~ Part 2

Kingdom Perspective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GET UP!

“So that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here” ~ John 14:31.

My heart leaps every time I read this verse. “Get up, let us go from here.”

Jesus and the disciples are going from the upper room where their last supper together was eaten, heading into the Garden where they will pray together for the final hours of Christ’s life and ministry.

Again, as I read this, the Spirit of God instructs me of its importance to me in my days of walking with Christ. He says to my heart even now, “The world knows your love of the Father in the same way as you follow Christ in doing ‘exactly as the Father commanded.’ Yesterday is gone. Its successes will meet you in glory as reward. Its failures, covered by Christ, He carried to the underworld for all eternity. Today is a new day. Do not let yesterday’s failures hinder your walk of faith-filled obedience today. Do not even allow your last failed breath hinder and rob you of the glory to be had with the next breath you take. Forgetting what lies behind and pressing forward to what lies ahead, get up, and let us go from here.”  (Philippians 3:8-16, *13)

walking-with-godConfess yesterday’s sins and repent of them, yes; but do not let those things define you or hold you captive. It is a new day with new mercy and loving-kindness from God who, because of Jesus, pours forth strength and power for us to overcome our flesh, the world, and the demonic wisdom that tempt us. Show the Love you have for the Lord by following in likeness to Christ’s obedience, and have a BLESSed day in the Lord as you see His purpose for you being in this day unfolding before you to the glory of His Holy Name.

Father, I am confident of this very thing, that YOU who began a good work in me, will perfect it from now until the day of Christ’s return. Grant me faith to believe and receive Your transforming, enabling, perfecting and equipping power for life more abundant and full, proving Your will made sure, complete and accomplished in me. In Jesus, amen.

(Philippians 1:6; Romans 12:1-2)

The Nature of Light

“All things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light” ~ Ephesians 5:13.

Ponder the nature of light for a moment. What does light do? We use light to penetrate darkness and expose things hidden there. Light helps us walk through dark places without stubbing our toe, caught unaware by dangers lurking in the shadows. Light is the exposer of dangers in the night. That is a good thing, right? Then why, when God, the true Light, exposes something hidden in our dark places, do we run from the truth revealed as if that exposure is the thing that will hurt us?

My experience of the nature of God’s Light revealing a dark corner of my life, is this: that revelation exposes something that puts me or others in danger of falling away from the path God sits before us. God’s revelation of the dark place presents me with opportunity to clear out the things that cause the darkness, bringing the full splendor of Light’s glory to my living places, and setting me free from harm’s way.

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

Every dark dwelling exposed by the light makes that place light when we address the issue as children of Light. Seeing the things hidden in the dark is opportunity to choose goodness, righteousness and truth. Light’s revelation is opportunity to own our sin and walk free of it. However, what is it that too often happens?

Instead of seeing the opportunity God is giving us to come clean and walk free of our sin, we get self-protective and try to turn the spotlight on contributing factors. We return to the root of sin found in Adam and Eve, who, instead of saying, “Yes, Lord. That is what I did.” They said, “Yes, I did it, but that woman YOU gave me tempted me and, therefore, made me do it.” Or, “That serpent, the devil YOU allowed to enter my garden area beguiled me.”

Too often, when sin is exposed, the offender becomes defensive, putting the offended on offense, drawing the battle lines. Relationship destroyed, the true issue goes unchecked; that true issue being the thing in each individual that opens them to temptation’s snare. God reveals things hidden in the dark for a purpose: to deliver those snared from the thing within them that makes them a target for temptation. Delivering us from the root of sin, sins death no longer has hold on us, bringing glory to Himself and to His children as they follow Him in bearing the fruit of the Light.

When we become defensive, pointing fingers at contributing factors, laying blame anywhere but with our own choice made, refusing to work to recognize the thing within that snared us, we fail to own up to our responsibility. True repentance cannot come when we hold to blaming others. We may not even own our tendency to blame another, but that tendency reveals itself every time we choose to site their part in our excuse.

Blame hinders our ability to discern the pain of the one we blame. Often the things we point out as “cause” of our choice have an underlying factor to it that makes the offence we feel unreasonable. Blinders on, we fail to see the pain of the one who caused us pain. Example:

A husband, looking for an occupation he will enjoy and want to stay with, refuses to get a job digging ditches so he can provide for his family in the interim of finding that perfect position he longs to have for himself. The wife, needing security, increases her workload trying to fill in where hubby is failing. The scenario and frustration of financial issues increasing stress on the wife, she loses faith to trust hubby, no longer respecting him as head of family. Failing to meet her need for security, the husband’s need for respect goes unmet.

Worn out from work and family life, struggling to meet her family’s need, having to get up early to do all again the next day, wife goes to bed, a stress headache and exhaustion destroying libido. Hubby, frustrated at his intimacy needs going unmet, turns to pornography for his gratification. Then one day God shines His Revelation Light, unshrouding the pornography. Wife, trust and her sense of security further assaulted, tries to address the issue without the respect needed to aid her attempts. Hubby blames wife for his addiction, citing her failure to meet his need. Further attack on her sense of security, destructive words fly to ears that cannot hear, as he feels no love or respect. With one storming out the door, clothes in hand, a marriage lies dead in the dust.

Add to that a common scenario in our day: a woman in a second marriage, whose first husband hurt the children because of his addiction to porn. Fear and anger take hold, turning wife into a protective momma-bear. Only perfect love can overcome such fear. Do they have it?

Light shines in the dark places of our lives to reveal a problem. That revelation is our opportunity to own our sin and repent of it, not leaning on any crutch of blame or expectation of the other person involved seeing their part in it. True repentance is between self and God alone. It is saying, “I did it. I chose wrong and sinned against my Holy God and those I love. Forgive me and help me enter into restoration, never to turn that way again.” We will not have the right attitude of heart to repent to those we harmed or address issues with them until we first come into a right relationship with God. Only then can repentance do the things needed to correct the course.

The husband realizes he failed to meet the wife’s need, having put her into a stress that she was ill equipped to handle. He gets a job and corrects his error. The wife, trust and her sense of security growing, gets back to a work and home lifestyle that is manageable. Her security growing, respect starts the trek to full restoration with each day the hubby proves faithful. Next thing he knows, she is the one pursuing intimacy.

The Light has purpose. It is never for harm, but is always set to produce righteousness, goodness, and truth. In order to get the full benefit of God taking the time to shine a light of revelation into our darkness, we must realize the purpose of His Light.

Light protects from dark things overtaking our lives and leading us off the path to a road of destruction (John 12:35).

Light grants opportunity to show oneself strong as a follower of Christ (John 8:12).

Light reveals those who are people of truth, having the fellowship of a right relationship with God and with each other (1 John 1:6-7).

Faithfulness to walk in the Light prevents stumbling and protects us from running away from good things, offended and defensive (1 John 2:10-11).

Beloved, God’s Light reveals the problem He desires to address. The solution for situations such as the one sited in this article is this:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal” ~ John 12:24-25.

The solution is simple ~ unconditional, incorruptible love that dies to oneself in order to meet the need of those loved. True love accepts full blame for sin committed despite the part of the other that spurred bad choices set in hidden places. There is a time to address the contributing factors, but the time of sins revelation is not it. That moment is time for the one caught in sin to own their sin. If one truly loves the person they desire relationship with, they will take up the cross of self-denial and sacrifice their own desires to do what is right, good and true, restoring relationship and meeting the need of those we say we love.

True love is choice. Love is action taken for the good of the one we love, even though it leads to one’s own harm. A husband, seeing the wife’s struggle, realizing her need of security, will dig ditches 12 hours a day to meet her need. A wife, seeing her husband’s frustration, will do her part without stepping too quickly to meet her own need, giving him opportunity to step up and be the man she longs to respect. Both will do their part to meet the need of the other while trusting God to open doors of His storehouse, bringing them closer to their heart’s desire for true security and a well-deserved respect.

Light has a nature. Its nature is revelation of secret or hidden things in dark places that threaten harm to those who come near without light for their path. Its purpose is to provide opportunity to clean the dark corners of life and increase a life producing the fruit of the Light. Therefore, beloved, when hidden things are revealed by the Light working in your life, “Walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”

God’s Light is restorative, not destructive. When our reactions to a dark corner revealing our humiliation is to lash out, we bring more darkness into play. Darkness destroys; but take courage, beloved. God’s light dispels darkness, pushing it back so it does not overcome us. Trust His Light and walk the path it reveals with faith in Him for the good He desires for us as He delivers us from temptations snare and the sin that too easily entangles us because of roots that are not set deep in the foundation of God, our Rock.

“While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light’” ~ John 12:36a.

Lawdy! Lawdy! Lawdy!

“If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me” ~ Psalm 139:9-10.

Walking on water04There is a situation going on that has me crying out to God again over same old stuff that seems constantly to hit our lives. It is tiring.

I heard a song today that formed my prayer as we wait to see what the Lord will do to deliver us; what path we will walk; what direction He will give. I found it peaceful.

It reminds me of a time my momma told me of. I woke momma one night crying out. She found me, standing in my crib in a soiled diaper, crying, “Oh, Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawdy!” (Translation: “Oh, Lordy, Lordy, Lordy. I need help.”)

I laugh about the scene my momma painted for me as she often reminded me of that event in my toddlerhood. However, today I feel the cry of that small child rising up in me as we seem, again, to find ourselves standing in a soiled mess. This song, “Lawdy”, by The Vespers, brings me to peace in the midst of the mess.

A friend came by today and shared the place God led her to just before receiving the answer to their most recent soiling event. She said that when she was little, her daddy tried to teach her to float on the water. She could not do it because everything in her screamed to fight to stay afloat. It took a long while for her to learn to lay back and relax on top of the water. She failed to trust the mechanics of floating.

That is the way we are when a mess comes up around our feet and everything in us screams, “Fight!” We find ourselves l109149486either in quicksand, sinking fast; or in storm tossed seas, surrounded by sharks, as we try to kick and scream our way out of our mess. One thing my friend’s daddy told her goes something like this, “LeAnn, if you can float, you can survive a long time in the water.”

Whatever the stormy seas of life bring, when we can inhale faith in God and rest atop those waters, we can survive the waters for a long time while awaiting instruction that will get us to solid ground. As I hear that song rising up with my own, “Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawdy” cry for help, I find peace enabling me to lay back in the waters of this life and wait for God to say, “Now Let’s swim this way.”

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know” ~ Jeremiah 33:3.

Lawdy! By The Vespers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o28a-U4QvlU&index=8&list=PLfiEjLIYhJ9D5uO8HPNrboor4Oa8LaJdA

The Cure For Destructive Fretting

One thing God’s Spirit said to me this weekend that I sure wish I had written His wording down, goes something like this: “Just because someone is busy with life does not mean that they are free from fretting while they do it.”

072The thing I understood immediately upon perceiving that thought from Him is this: we can push ourselves to get busy in an attempt not to think about the things that bother us, the things we are trying to surrender or think we successfully surrendered to God, believing thinking about other things ends the fretting. However, when the stress over the things we are concerned about dictate or fuel our actions or eating, we are truly in the heat of destructive fretting.

I am one who stuffs my face when stressed and fueled by fretting. A friend cleans and scrubs everything in sight: TWICE. Her activity would appear more healthful than my eating would, but both are destructive. They do not alleviate the stress, but often add to it.

Our Pastor’s wife tells us that when she is stressing something, the best place she can be is working in her garden. Tending to her flowerbeds help her to get peaceful. Therein lies the difference between my friend and my habit during stressful times and our Pastor’s wife. Her activity leads her to embrace peace, aiding her to let the stress go, refreshing her and strengthening her to deal with the trouble. My friend and I feed the stress with our frenzy, wearing ourselves out, weakening our bodies, leaving oneself ill-equipped to deal with our issues.

I am so grateful God spurred this pondering in me. Life is hard on several fronts right now, and though I am trusting God’s promises for the things going on, quickly turning to Him when tempted to fretful thinking, watching earnestly for His hand to move, the stress has me out of control in my diet. Since hearing the word behind me instructing, “This is the way, walk in it,” my diet is better, my activity more peace oriented, and I feel better (Isaiah 30:21).

Beloved, what are you stressing? If it is something for which God is giving direction for addressing, do the things He says and watch to see what He will do. If it is something that you can do nothing about, check the power behind your actions. Is the fuel behind your activity an agitation that just increases the stress? This too is fretting. Fretting is destructive enough without adding fuel to the fire through our activities.

God’s word in Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying” (NLT). Rejoicing 073with confidence in the hope God gives and learning patience as we wait on the Lord increases peace and destroys fretting. Find that place where distraction leads to peace.

I’m not talking the local pub for too much ale, nor any other place where addiction is fed; this too is a destructive action fueled by fret’s stressing. Where are you able to live life to the full, enjoying where you are in peace, while trusting the Lord with the things that are hard. What helps you leave things with God while continuing a life lived in His peaceful pastures? Let that be the place from which you watch for the Lord to deal with the issues that tempt you to fret.

In All We Do

“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth” ~ Isaiah 54:4-5.

~*~

Watching the hummingbird this morning, thanking and praising the Lord for the cool of them, I pray, “They are so awesome, so tiny, and they just kinda do what they do.”

All the earth just kind of does what it does, seemingly without worry or fret over it, just doing what it is born to do while005 hummingbird trusting the creator for the outcome. So why do I concern myself with things? Why not walk through life doing my best at all the good I find to lay my hands and heart to, trusting the Lord in it?

I can bemoan what isn’t all day long, regretting the past, fretting the future, and miss out on the glory of God in what is my now existence, or I can trust God, do my best to the honor and glory of His name in all that I do each day, and enjoy the life He gives me.

“Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand” ~ Romans 14:4.

I may not always understand where I am in life. I may not always see the work my hands do as important in the scheme of things, but one thing I know. All God allows has purpose of eternal worth and my responsibility is to do all I do to the glory of His name. Just as that hummingbird, which should not be able to fly, trusting its creator, does so with great ease, so I can trust the Lord to lead me through each day and empower me to do all I do to His glory and praise. He will faithfully weave all in to the tapestry of eternity, making for Himself a glorious pictorial.

~*~

“Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises in a skillful psalm and with understanding. God reigns over the nations; God sits upon His holy throne” ~ Psalm 47:6-8, AMP.

Believe Also In Me

Sunday morning, standing in front of the East Door as a greeter awaiting people’s arrival, The Spirit led me to turn in my Bible to John 7.

“After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. Therefore His brothers said to Him, ‘Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.’ FOR NOT EVEN HIS BROTHERS WERE BELIEVING IN HIM” ~ John 7:1-5.

I tried to read on, but God returned my focus to “For not even His brothers were believing in Him.” As soon as I finished rereading that, the Spirit of Jesus said to my heart, “Darlene, what would have happened if I failed to believe in Myself?”

Wow!

Many did not truly believe Jesus was who He was. Many challenged Him and sought to discourage His progress. Jesus had to know within Himself who He truly was, or fall to the opinion of man, just as we must do.

If Jesus did not believe that He was the Son of God, miraculously birthed to Mary and Joseph, what would have happened? Many rumors floated around about Jesus: that Mary and Joseph fell to sin and He was truly the son of Joseph conceived out of wedlock; that Mary committed adultery; that Jesus was the product of rape; etc. If Jesus believed the many rumors floating around about Him, how would He have developed the heart to be busy about His Father-God’s business as He did, finding the work God truly intended Him to fulfill? If He failed to believe that He is the Christ, sent to do the will of God, what would He have accomplished? If He believed the testimony of other men about Himself, would His ministry on the earth to train and raise up Apostles to begin His church have happened? Would the result of that work continue today?

What if Jesus failed to believe that the prophets of old spoke of Him when they wrote, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Might He have chosen to take the offer given during the temptation in the wilderness when Satan offered Him the world? Failing to realize that He is already King of God’s entire Kingdom, which includes and transcends the world, would He have chosen the lesser, thus failing to accomplish the greater?

What if Jesus failed to understand that God was the One who established and protected His path: would Jesus have so fearlessly walked in and out of mobs of people, many set against Him and purposing harm to Him? Would He have stood still, quaking in His sandals, while the mob from His own town threw Him off the cliff, instead of boldly walking out of their midst, unharmed, knowing His time had not yet come and He was under God’s protection until the hour set for Him?

If Jesus failed to believe Himself to be the Son of God, God incarnate, having full access to the resources of God’s Kingdom: would He have healed anyone? Would Lazarus have remained in his tomb on that fateful day? Would the disciples have drowned when Jesus failed to cause the storm to cease?

069Now, what of you and me, beloved: do you believe what God says is true of you as His beloved, chosen child, equipped for good works? God tells us corporately who we are in Scripture, but if we fail to believe it, how will we walk in that truth? God also speaks to us individually, instructing us concerning who He created us to be and telling us all He created us to accomplish in this life. Fail to believe and receive that which He says is true of us, and we will fail to walk in the power of His provision.

In fact, any failure to walk in His power that exists within us now is due to our failure to believe all that He says is true of us. Are you beat-down by life, left curled in an infantile ball, useless in the hands of God? Beloved, check to see what God says is true of you. Find where your faith has failed so you can unfurl and soar in the strength of His supply. Find where the taunting lies of life’s trouble has injured you and come into the healing balm found in believing God over one’s circumstances.

God may touch one every time they read about things like the woman who fell to the feet of Jesus and washed them with her tears. Their heart may be that of worshipping Him and laying the hardships of life at His feet. Failing to believe they can touch the feet of Jesus, will they reach His heart and move His hand as God intends? The enemy uses our circumstances to lead us to doubt God in the very things He calls us to trust and believe concerning our call and equipping through Christ.

For me, my heart is continually grabbed by words that speak of writing or speaking His word:

“The Lord God has given Me the tongue of a disciple and of one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. …” ~ Isaiah 50:4, AMP.

“…Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things. …” ~ Psalm 81.

“…And we are now writing these things to you so that our joy [in seeing you included] may be full [and your joy may be complete].” ~ 1 John 1:2-4, AMP.

Writing and speaking the truths of God I know, feeding all He is and all He does into the lives of others, this is my calling and equipping. It is in me, making me who I am, forming my desire for my occupation and the work to accomplish. God uses my mouth and calls me to be His disciple, equipped and enabled to disciple others. He uses the ponderings within me to form posts meant to encourage you, helping you come up higher in your faith, and empowering you to move through life with increased power, resolve and assurance of faith. Any success achieved is because God said it and I believed it so-as-to obey.

In reverse, the enemy of God uses every frown of disapproval, every harsh word of refusal, every rejection to cause me to forget who I am in Christ and fall away from the path God has for me. The struggle that comes to my flesh as I grow in these things so that I have experiential knowledge to share with you often tempts me to believe I am unworthy of passing these things on to you, despite God telling me repeatedly that I am chosen and not rejected. My inability to see beyond my here and now struggle and receive God’s eternal proclamation concerning me will beat me down and destroy the work He desires to accomplish if I fail to hear, believe, receive, and trust God’s opinion as my own to possess.

Beloved, when I fail to believe what God says of me, I fall to the wayside, giving my mouth and words to worldly endeavors, swayed by every frown of disapproval or the opinion of humankind. In that instant, I do not accomplish the will of God or the work He equips me to do. Instead of helping you and others to know Him better, I become an instrument to push you away. Thus, I must be careful to take captive the thoughts within me and make them believe God so-as-to obey Him.

The world wants us to conform to its image. Those of the world don’t want to feel they fall short of glory, so they want us to look and act like them in order that they may feel better about themselves. Our flesh, the world, and demonic forces want us to doubt God, His existence, and His word, so that we do not reach the full potential He places in us to accomplish His purpose. They taunt us and assault us, just as they did Jesus, making light of the calling and equipping of God in us. They will point out every flaw and the smallest of stumbles and tell us that is who we are. Thus, it is vital we believe God who says we know His voice and follow Him, simply refusing to follow the voice of a stranger.

Our own minds can imagine all sorts of evil and instruct our hearts to deny God’s word and trust our frail, fleshly heart-attitudes as proof of who we are. Failing to believe God, we will walk in the lesser of life and fail to accomplish the great works of God, prepared for us by Him who equips us and makes us able, causing us to stand approved and successful as His servant (Ephesians 2:10; Romans 14:4).

Jesus said something that keeps rolling around in my head for me to speak of self as He did. He said, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1).

“Believe in God, believe also in Me.” Jesus believed He was who God said He was and He lived, breathed, spoke and moved out of that understanding.

070Beloved, we, too, must come to a faith that says of self, “Believe in God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). Believe also in me, that I am and can be and do fully all that God deems true of, for, and from me.”

As we believe all God tells us is true of us, His image bearers, transformed into His likeness, we can take up the gauntlet Jesus passed to us and be His representatives in the world. We can possess the fullness of who we are in Christ and we can do all He says we can do if we will only believe what God tells us about ourselves.

071

Happy Anniversary!

I have had little time for writing of late, and I am pushing it being on the computer this much today, but I do not want to miss this day of anniversary.

It is four years ago today that I posted the first Pondering to this site. Darlene’s Ponderings is much older than that, having used several web servers through the years, and I am BLESSed by God to have input into so many lives through these posts. I am grateful for the things God teaches me, the comforts He gives me, and the gift of ability to put thought to words posted for viewing by those who read them. My continued prayer is to be of some help to you as you grow in your knowledge of God. And I so appreciated your posts and comments that help my growth and maturity.

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

This is my cry for you: that your boast is that you KNOW the Lord. It is the greatest pursuit we can possess in life. Everything our God allows us to experience has this as its ultimate purpose, that of teaching us more that we need to know with understanding about our God.

Desire for ever increasing knowledge of God is the heart of Moses who, known as the friend of God, sought to see God’s glory so he could have experiential knowledge of Him. God faithfully responded, telling him how to recognize it when he saw it, and giving him a glimpse of His reality with him. (Exodus 33 *vs 18-23)

Knowing God intimately as Father and expressing Him in His life was the experience of Jesus who lived to serve God and to make Him known. All He did was done only as He saw the Father doing it, and He counted the doing of God’s will as His most vital sustenance (John 4:31-34; 5:19).

This knowledge was also Paul’s boast as He “penned” Philippians 3:8-11 ~ my life verse, given in the Amplified as follows:

“Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. …[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him….”

It is our greatest pursuit and absolute most vital need: to know God in all His glory. He calls us to be His image bearers to the world. How can we hope to fulfill that call if we fail this one vital need: to feast ourselves in Him that we may know Him so that we may be like Him, bearing the image of His essence into our daily lives meant for His glory in making Him know to a world in need of their one true God.

That knowledge begins as we recognize the Christ who came to show us the Father and to make a way for us to know Him personally for ourselves. He is the way, the truth, and the life through Whom we come into the presence of the Father. God gives us His Word to guide us to His Light where we can discover His frame and grow in our knowledge of Him. And relationship with God through Jesus provides us His Spirit: the Teacher sent that we may know these things.

Jeremiah 15:16, NLT, says, “When I discovered Your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear Your Name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.”

Please pray for me as I pray for You that we will devour His words so we may have His heart and grow in our knowledge of Him. Only as He transforms our minds to take every thought captive to the sure knowledge and understanding of His ways and thoughts that are higher than ours can we be His lights: revelators of His essence as His image bearers to the world around us.

Happy anniversary and thank you to you here with me, some of whom have followed my writings longer than the four years of Ponderings home here on WordPress. Poor dears! You have struggled through my growth spurts with me, seen me flounder in my pursuit of Him, and stood with me through it all, rejoicing as He brought me to Victory. Thank you for your support.

And thank You, Lord. I am forever grateful for Your growing my understanding and walking around mountains with me, sometimes too many times to count, but always proving faithful to never leave nor forsake me as I seek to follow and serve and KNOW You as Lord, Master, Father, King, Beloved, God of all, and forever faithful Friend and Champion. You are Lord!

 

Healing Balm for Appetites: Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Last night as I got in the bed, I again prayed healing for my appetites. Immediately Psalm 37 came to heart as a healing balm.

“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret…” ~ Psalm 37:3-7.

God told me early in January to occupy this journey to a healthier lifestyle. This healing balm instructs that I am to occupy the land of my dwelling, cultivating faithfulness, having my delight in the Lord who will not only give me my desire, but will direct me to desire good things He can bless.

One word that stands out here as important to my ability to occupy this journey is the word “CULTIVATE”: I am to cultivate faithfulness.

  1. a. To improve and prepare (land), as by plowing or fertilizing, for raising crops; till.
  1. b. To loosen or dig soil around (growing plants).
  2. To grow or tend (a plant or crop).
  3. To promote the growth of (a biological culture).
  4. To encourage or foster: cultivate a respect for the law. See Synonyms at nurture.
  5. To acquire, develop, or refine, as by education.
  6. To seek the acquaintance or goodwill of; make friends with it.

As I commit to the Lord in my dietary desires, He will do it, bringing forth my righteous judgment as a light. That begins with RESTING in the Lord and waiting PATIENTLY upon Him, giving Him opportunity to have a say in my desires. Accomplishing that rest requires that I refuse fretting: not allowing my thoughts to be stuck on a desire of the flesh. Allowing my mind to stick on a fleshly desire makes for struggle on this journey and too often leads to a fall. Allowing God to be God of my appetites, taking every thought captive in obedience to Him, I walk in freedom from that which would rule my appetite in His stead. Healing comes to my appetite as I cultivate faithfulness in waiting for Him to inspire good desire.

My part is to cultivate faithfulness to God as God of my journey, wanting Him and His desires above all. One thing stands out: “make friends with it”. My healthy lifestyle is not an enemy. It is a friend. A healthy friendship includes respect: respecting my body as God’s temple; respecting God as resident in it – knowing He always works for my good and not for harm, giving me hope for my final outcome; thus, respecting His desire for my nutritional needs and the foods that fill it. In developing that friendship and respect, I prepare my heart for the healthy desires God has for me, nursing and cherishing my desire for Him above all else.

I think of Daniel’s diet. His diet being vegan is not the important thing. The important point in his story is his commitment to faithfulness to God revealed in him eating only what the Lord prescribed. Daniel is one who listened to Jeremiah’s word from the Lord and obeyed. He surrendered to Babylon in obedience to God; and he continued to seek the Lord from the land of his captivity. He chose God first in all things, and God met his needs.

Healing of my appetites will come as I give myself fully to want of God, cultivating faithfulness and receiving God’s heart in forming my desire. And the promise: “…those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land” ~ Psalm 37:9b.

Marked for Life

Listening to Ezekiel 9 the other day, verse 4 catches my attention. In it, God sends His angel out to “mark” the foreheads of those whose hearts are grieved over sin. Asking the Lord, “Why the forehead?” the question came to mind, “What is behind the forehead?” With thought of the frontal lobe of the brain, I look online at the anatomy of the brain:

The frontal lobe of the brain occupies almost half the space taken by the brain. It is associated with reasoning, motor skills, higher level cognition, and expressive language. At the back of the frontal lobe lies the motor cortex. This area of the brain receives information from various lobes of the brain and uses this information to carry out body movements. This is the area where we process knowledge and understanding for use in reasoning, decision making, expression and movement.

Years ago, God helped me to understand with greater clarity the work of the Spirit of God that helps us to discern “sin, righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8). He inspired me to understand that this work of the Spirit is not just empowering our understanding of the gospel message and our need of a Savior. It is empowering our ability to recognize right from wrong and discern consequences for choices. The Spirit works with the frontal lobe to help us choose between life or death, good or evil, the blessing or the curse.

Behind our forehead is where that takes place. This gives new importance to our cooperation with God who says through Paul, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect”  (Romans 12:1-2).

Beloved, as we cooperate with God in the renewing of our minds, it marks us as His and equips us to bear fruit in keeping with righteousness. This is the reason it is vital that we not only write His words on our hearts, but on our “foreheads” allowing Him to change our minds. The greater our understanding of God and His ways, the more we think like Him, live like Him, and produce good works in keeping with righteousness and sound judgment.

“Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end” ~ Hebrews 3:5-6.

The Spirit working in us, training our minds with God’s thoughts and ways that are higher than our own convinces us and equips us to walk in unity with Him. It gives us confidence in the hope we possess because He marks our foreheads with sound reasoning and cognition. It empowers us to stand firm of faith, not easily swayed by every wind of doctrine. It is why we believe so firmly and stand so confidently in the things we believe.

Thus, by the power of the Spirit of God that marks us, “…We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:1-7.

The Priestly Order: Part 3-d

Wilderness times in life are difficult. The first step in traversing it is to realize where we are and draw near to God Who can lead us out to the cool of His garden place. I pray you discovered any wilderness places in your life, beloved, and that this first step is behind you. The days ahead, journeying with God to the end of the Wilderness Road, is full of glory that God will reveal as He leads you forward. Though it is a hard road to travel, the end result is worth the trouble. I am excited for you.

Be warned, the path ahead will most likely be rough, and you need to make sure to keep eyes on God, hand in His. You will know the instant you lose connection with Him, as confusion, fear, and weakness overtake your life. When it happens, stop where you are and wait. You will find Him faithful to reconnect with you as you wait patiently for Him, watch for His hand, and listen for His whisper, “This is the way; walk ye in it.” Sometimes what seems to us a delay is actually God providing a “Selah” moment: an Oasis where we rest a bit and calmly think on the things He is showing us while He refreshes us and prepares us to go forward. Though it may take time, be faithful to stay close to the side of your Good Shepherd and you will soon find yourself…

Walking in the garden in the cool of the day.

SOS1: “Awake, O north wind, And come, wind of the south; Make my garden breathe out fragrance, Let its spices be wafted abroad. May my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits” (SOS 4:16).

When time on earth began, God set a garden within it where His chosen ones thrived. In the cool of the day, He came into the garden for a leisurely walk with His beloveds. We can still have that walk with Him today. In Song of Solomon, several things stand out that instruct us concerning time in the garden.

Here in chapter 4 we see that the wind of God’s Spirit comes into the garden and breathes out the fragrance of His presence and the scent of fruit bearing. He flows through the lives of those who know how to commune with Him in His garden, like the fragrance of the finest spices, ministering to us at the area of our need. From His garden, of which we are to Him, as He is to us, He enjoys its produce and bears it forth to nourish those around us.

Beloved, the fruit born out of our lives because we know how to abide in the Secret Place of God and walk with Him in the cool of the garden pours in two directions. First God pours to us as nourishment and through us to feed those around us. Then we flow out of that fruit bearing to produce a fragrance that blesses the Lord, causing His heart to rejoice over us.

Coming out of a wilderness experience is not the only garden God provides for us. God is an Oasis along the wilderness path. With Him at our side, we have frequent garden experiences, pauses on our wilderness journey where He feeds us and refreshes us so we may press onward and upward. Even out of our wilderness areas, His produce comes out of us to touch those around us and bring Him glory and gladness.

SOS2: “Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved? Beneath the apple tree I awakened you; there your mother was in labor with you, there she was in labor and gave you birth. …” ~ SOS 8:5-7. Selah ~ Pause and calmly think on that.

The wilderness is a place where we discover complete reliance on our Beloved. We leave the wilderness leaning on God who is our companion, bringing us safely to the garden. Beneath the tree of life, He awakens us. Hardship and struggle, like a mother, have birthed new life in us, giving us a ministry to use on His behalf. God never wastes the wilderness, but works in us to make us ready for the next phase of life as part of His Royal Priesthood.

SOS3: “…Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly despised” ~ SOS 8:5-7.

From wilderness’ starting point to garden’s quickening, the ultimate purpose is our unity and commitment to the Beloved and our coming to understand His for us. Walking with God as our first most vital love, we realize our need of Him and are fully committed to Him, sealed shut to any other would-be god. Having our Beloved’s scent upon us, bearing the fruit of His love, He marks us with the seal of His image, making it clear to all that we are His.

Marked by the assurance of this love, we know that no other love will satisfy like His love, none else will fill the banks of our being to produce the flow of love that we have with Him. Any attempt of some other suitor trying to break the seal of our commitment to our beloved and lure us away we despise. We have danced with our beloved in the garden having come through the wilderness victorious, and no one can steal us away.

SOS4: “‘We have a little sister, and she has no breasts; what shall we do for our sister on the day when she is spoken for? If she is a wall, we will build on her a battlement of silver; but if she is a door, we will barricade her with planks of cedar.’ I was a wall, and my breasts were like towers; then I became in his eyes as one who finds peace” ~ SOS 8:8-10.

Breasts are instruments of nourishment. The little sister represents those still young in their faith who have yet to find the Secret Place of His presence, giving their full commitment to Him, seeking sustenance only from the garden of His provision and pleasure. As the young in the Lord find their relationship with God and keep it pure, not giving self to another god, they make of her a “dowry” or “battlement” of silver.

Transcripts that translate the Greek word to “dowry” give rise to instruction that such a person has something to give to the Beloved: something to add to their union. Battlement speaks of security and trust. One whose life is a battlement has no other God. Kept safe behind the parapet of Love’s rampart, they live fully satisfied. Such love is greatest treasure, worth protecting at all cost.

The young who are loose, like a swinging door, easily swayed by every passing whim, God encloses for their own protection. God often will hedge us in until we mature in our relationship with Him.

Once mature, we enter fully into our union with God and rise up as a tower where love is secure, treasured and made to thrive, being lit up for all to see. There God’s peace is the produce for life. Safe in the arms of our Beloved, fear and insecurity gives way to love made sure and pure. No matter what goes on around us, we always have our tower made bright with love’s unity, useful in drawing others attention, desiring to see what powers the Light within us.

SOS5: “Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; He entrusted the vineyard to caretakers. Each one was to bring a thousand shekels of silver for its fruit. My very own vineyard is at my disposal; the thousand shekels are for you, Solomon, and two hundred are for those who take care of its fruit. …” SOS 8:11-14.

As with the woman of our text, it is our choice how we use our garden and whether we keep it for Him alone. Solomon, in our analogy, represents God. God has a vineyard in the world: our lives. We are the caretakers of our area of His vineyard. He expects to receive the produce of the vineyard.

We are each responsible for our vineyard: it is our choice whether we cooperate with God and glorify Him with our lives. We do so by bearing fruit that makes us breasts of nourishment: first to God, feeding His need for our love through relationship: giving praise, worship, our attention and commitment to Him. Second, to others who, like babes in arms, are in our sphere of influence. Together we help and encourage one another to find our Secret Place with Him and to come to His garden where fruit is born to His glory.

Note that God’s due from our vineyard is five times that we are to give to others. The majority of our attention, focus, and energy must go into our relationship with Father. He is our life, abundant and full. He is our joy and delight, bringing strength to our existence. He is with us and for us 24/7. We must be with and for Him in kind. Then we will have what we need to live fully with surplus to give to others in helping them at the point of their need.

SOS6: “… O you who sit in the gardens, My companions are listening for your voice—Let me hear it! Hurry, my beloved, And be like a gazelle or a young stag On the mountains of spices” ~ SOS 8:11-14.

Beloved, Father longs for us and seeks after us, desiring us to be His beloved in a one on one, personal and intimate relationship that cannot be broken. Are you watching for Him, listening to hear His voice; calling out “Come quickly, my beloved”? If we will faithfully seek after Him, He will come to us in the fullness of His glory. With the fragrance of His essence permeating us, He readies us for life and ministry as part of His Royal Priesthood, making us productive of the fruit of His garden.

The Priestly Order: Part 3-c

Beloved, did you hear the voice of God yesterday, beckoning you to walk with Him in a vitally personal and real love relationship like none other and to greater depths of understanding than ever before known? With every thought of His desire for relationship, heart soars and I want more. God lovingly takes us on paths that will help us discover the “more” of the depth He desires with us. Looking at two such paths, today we begin by…

Walking with Him in the wilderness with shade from His Cloud protecting and Pillars of Fire directing.

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.’ (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)” (Mark 6:31)

The most vital need we have for relationship with God to flourish and grow is time alone with Him.

This life is so full of busyness that we neglect the one thing we need most: God, who nourishes us and brings us into His rest, supplying our need so we can continue with His full resource. Scripture speaks of many occasions in which God calls us to enter into the “secret place” of His presence, encouraging us to come away with Him.

In times of trouble, God protects us in the secret place of His presence where He places our feet on the Rock of our assurance and hope (Psalm 27:5). In that place our heart finds protection against strife and harsh words meant to hurt us (Psalm 31:20). His answer comes to us in the secret place of His presence, and we who dwell there find shelter under the shadow of our Almighty, against whom no foe can stand (Psalm 81:7; 91:1-2, AMP). In the Psalms alone my heart soars with joy over God’s provision of the secret place of our personal habitation.

“O my Dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your form, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your form is lovely” (SOS 2:14).

Life too often is a steep path that challenges our ability to cope and our supply for progress forward. It is vital that we practice daily drawing near to God and finding that hiding place with Him where intimacy is ours alone with Him. This is the only way we will have supply to make it up that hill. And He is our supply: covering us to protect us from the heat of life’s challenges, placing us protectively under His wings where sustenance and provision exists, giving light to the dark places, bringing us to His cleansing Fire. Thus, it is vital we learn how to enter the secret place of His presence with ease. That comes with daily practice.

In nursing school, instructors told us that when the crunch is on and an emergency requires us to move quickly, we will do by habit what we do in daily practice. Therefore, do right at all times and we will do it right when the brain stresses. It is the same with our relationship with God.

I recall a story said to be of a young troop under Patton, if memory serves. He slipped out of his tent at night to find a secluded place of prayer. When caught coming back in, they doubted his story, accusing him of being a traitor. Then Patton instructed him to say an audible prayer before sentencing. His prayer done, Patton released the young man, saying, “One would not drill so well had he not drilled often.” Practice makes us believable and functional.

The KJV version of Mark 6 records Jesus’ words this way, “…Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while….”

Beloved, sometimes God calls us to go into desert places, a wilderness time with Him: dry, hot places of rough terrain. God leading us through hardship ALWAYS has a purpose.

It can be a time of respite. Some of us will not slow down to feed our own souls until something happens to make us do so. God knows we need sustenance, and the greatest nourishment we need is He. He will allow a wilderness to enter our lives if that is what it takes to help us seek Him.

Another reason for God leading us to a desert place is for transformation: working our Egypt out of us.

God is creating for Himself a people after His own heart. We get so caught up in worldly pursuits, so full of the false wisdom of flesh, world and the demonic, that just as with the people of Israel, it sometimes takes extraordinary means to remove us from the worldly and it from us.

Some roots of our old nature or sin habits run deep and wide. It may take many wilderness experiences to dig that root out, but God is gracious, taking care against destroying us in the process of freeing us.

Many such roots link to wounds from long ago that have festered with infection and must heal before the root of that infection that reveals itself through sin can die out. Like leprosy, those infected hurts deform our very person, removing any likeness to God far from us. God loves us, therefore He works healing in us letter upon letter, line upon line, and precept upon precept; here a little, there a little, He uproots weeds and applies the ointment needed for healing until our transformation is complete and we look like our Father as He intended.

The number one thing that will bring us to a wilderness experience is some habit of reliance on anything but God. God is our greatest need and necessity. He is the first and foremost. He knows Himself as our greatest need, and He will do whatever it takes to bring us to Himself in our understanding of our first, most vital Need and Necessity.

Life is hard. Jesus, knowing this fact, warns that trouble will come. However, Peace is His promise for our day. We find that peace as we practice dwelling in the Secret Place of His presence where we learn of Him and come to rely on Him as First. He will do what it takes to bring us to possession of our Greatest Need, whether that requires us to be in the wilderness alone with Him, or while…

Walking in the garden in the cool of the day.

We pick up here tomorrow as we continue the journey to our priestly role of increased intimacy with God. Meanwhile meditate on these things, Beloved. Are you in a wilderness alone in any area of your life? No matter how alone you feel, look for God’s presence. He is there with you, waiting to walk alongside you to the garden of life. Is your whole life a wilderness? God is there with you, waiting for you to draw near to Him with sincere and whole heart, seeking Him for companionship and help in coming through to your garden.

Ask Him the purpose of this season, the root cause for being in this place and time, and begin today to cooperate with Him in all He reveals. The purpose of the wilderness is to bring us to the garden, the paradise of our existence in Christ. Tomorrow we go there together.

The Priestly Order: Part 3-b

“My beloved responded and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along” ~ SOS 2:10.

Our greatest priestly role in Christ is to find our own very personal and very real, one on one relationship with the God of all creation, who beckons unto us, “Come with Me”. We will only survive the chaos of this world to the degree that we come into this personal knowledge of God: not just knowing about Him, but knowing HIM in the fullness of His glory.

I know about the President of the USA, but I do not have personal experience of him that equips me to know the greater depths of his heart. Only one on one relationship with him would allow me to grow to know the man.

IntimacyThe journey we are on together in these next several days will lead us to increased understanding of the God we profess to know. Even if you are one who knows God intimately, being a long time in this faith, there is always a greater depth of His essence to discover. He is beyond comprehension to our finite minds, so we cannot, this side of heaven, learn all there is to know of Him. But we can certainly progress toward the blessing of knowing and fully…

Walking in our boundless, incomprehensible God of Glory.

The thing truly amazing about God is the fact that time and space cannot limit Him. There are no boundaries to His existence.

I love many people, but my love actions are limited by time, proximity and the demands in my day. God has no limits. He is fully with me at all times while simultaneously being fully with you. His resource is mine to tap into and possess just as it is yours. While He satisfies my need as He satisfies each of you, He never runs low on supply. As for each of us in reaching a desire to be the best “me” that “I” can be, it is necessary for us to grow in intimate knowledge and realization of God’s presence with us individually. The reality of God’s presence belongs to each of us.

A vital, growing relationship with God equips me to spread myself farther for His name’s sake, ministering to others on His behalf, having priorities aligned with His desires. Together, as we each work toward this end, we make up His body, fulfilling the work to accomplish in bringing about His kingdom purpose in our day / age. We are one together with God in Christ, each having equal access and full supply of His attention and resource.

The remainder of this study of our priestly role will look at two glorious places in which our relationship with God flourishes as we realize the fullness of His personal presence with each individual of us. In these places of His provision for our knowing and understanding Him, as we deliberately walk through this life hand in hand with our King, we grow stronger in possessing Him and becoming His possessed ones, having His desires as our own. To keep this from being gods-loveexcessively long and to give time to process each part, this portion of our study will break down into three parts: today’s Present reality, followed by tomorrow’s wilderness walk, and the next day’s garden experience.

Today I encourage you to meditate on the fact that God is fully with you as He is fully with me, desiring we possess intimate knowledge and understanding of His sure presence and partnership in life. You have all of God at your side through Christ and within you through the power of His Spirit: you are His temple – His dwelling place. Think on this today. Do you fully believe the truth of this fact? If not, what hinders you? Talk with the Father about this and ready your heart for the journey of a lifetime as tomorrow we begin…

Walking in the wilderness with shade from His Cloud protecting and Pillars of Fire directing.

The Priestly Order: Part 3

Thus far we discovered how Jesus fully accomplished His role as High Priest. He takes us from being under the second order of priesthood, which is intermediary in its relationship with God, returning us to the first order, which is that of personal intimacy and knowledge of the God-Head. That personal relationship with God, the Father, through Jesus, The Christ, in the power of His Holy Spirit brings us into a relationship that holds an appointment for us in Christ:

“You are A CHOSEN RACE, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of GOD; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” ~ 1 Peter 2:9-10.

As people of God in Christ Jesus, we are each a part of His Royal Priesthood, called and equipped to carry on the work of Jesus in the earth as representing Him and His interests. This means that we too must be busy about the Father’s business just as He did in setting the example for us (Luke 2:49). We are ambassadors of Christ, called, equipped, empowered and endued with authority to take care of Kingdom business in the earth.

There are many things to learn of the role of the priest, but we will cover the aspects of our priesthood as exemplified in Christ here in our Hebrew’s focal passage. Looking again at the first four verses of Hebrews 5, we find our instruction for ministry as priests unto God Most High in Jesus’ name:

“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was” (vs. 1-4)

Jesus is High priest forever. He is the head. We are the body, under His authority, given charge to complete the work of service in partnership with Him. Like Jesus and as His body, we are:

Appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God.

We are here in this life for God and others: intended by God to help others to know and live for God, bringing glory to God by setting an example that honors Him as God of our lives. That is our call and equipping. We are gifted by God’s Spirit for the purpose of serving God as we meet the needs of others around us, and we are empowered to do so as represents God. Thus it is vital that we take every opportunity to study so we may know and understand both our spiritual gifts and how they function in the power of His Spirit. Also we need to understand the fruit of the Spirit, surrendering to His work within, enlivening the image of God in us. It is the gifts of God placed within us and the experiences He uses to train us that help us to come into our appointment from God.

Appointed in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins… Obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself:

Since Jesus paid the full price for sin, delivering us from sins death, we no longer make animal sacrifice. In Christ, it is no longer necessary. And we cannot take the place of Jesus on the cross.

There is a popular song that asks if we will take His place on the cross. My response is always “no”. Though I would love to spare Him paying for my shame, I could only cover my own guilt and sin offering by paying the price I deserve to pay. I am not pure enough to pay for the sin of all others, as He did. So though I would spare Him my shame if I could, my trying to take His place would condemn others to have to do the same for themselves. I am very grateful that God spared me that horrid end by giving His perfect Son on my behalf. And I care enough for others to know that I cannot rob them the gift purchased in Christ. Only Jesus will do for the way of saving grace. So how is it that I fulfill the role of sacrifice for others, so also for self?

We do offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins when we use the gifts and abilities God placed in us to serve Him and others so that they may know Him. We offer up gifts and sacrifices anytime we say as Jesus did, “Not my will but Thy will be done.” Laying down my life when it is inconvenient, so that I may minister to the need of another in Jesus name, makes sacrifice for their salvation: that they may know Him (Luke 9:23; John 15:12-14).  Putting the interests of others before my own, especially when it will lead to increased knowledge of God and His ways, is sacrifice that can save others from sin ~ separation from God (Philippians 2:1-18).

When we forego what we want in order to minister to the need of another for Christ’s sake, and in that sacrifice we reveal Father, Son and Holy Spirit to them, we fulfill this role of our priesthood. God fills us up and spills us out so that we and those around us may know Him. We are His lights, set on a course to make Him known so that others may enter in to this provision of God through Jesus.

Appointed to deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness:

Why do bad things happen to God’s people? For one thing, we live in a world troubled by evil. For another, in cleaning up, God begins with His own house.

God never promised to spare us the touch of evil. In fact, Jesus warns us that we will have trouble in this life, and He says that the only way to avoid it is to leave this world (John 16:33; 17:11-19). Trouble, difficulty, hardship, struggle, temptation, and end of life issues are ours to go through and cope with as God empowers and equips us. Just as with Jesus, experience allows us right of passage to minister to the need of others. Doing so with God as our source of strength, supply, and hope, helps us to know Him. Knowledge of Him encourages our obedience to Him. That experience equips us to make Him known. Thus, like Jesus, we learn what true obedience is through the things we suffer, and that experience is used by Him to influence the lives of those around us (Hebrews 5:8). It is personal understanding of God’s deliverance in our experience of evil in our fleshly estate that gives us compassion with understanding for the struggle seen in those to whom we minister.

As we who are weak and flawed experience God at work in and through us as a result of our relationship to Him through Christ, the difficulties He brings us through makes us uniquely qualified to help others in similar situations. People want to know how we know that there is a God. It is through our experience of Him that we know Him, and we experience Him as He empowers and equips us to deal with situations of this life. The troubled waters of life are not without purpose. They are used by Him to give us a hope in our final outcome, training in righteousness, and opportunity for ministry.

No one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was:

God calls us to the things we are to do in accomplishing the work He planned for us (Ephesians 2:10). Likewise, He equips His servants for all He calls us to do. When God calls, we don’t have to fret the “how” and “with what”. God supplies all we need for the things He calls us to in due season, making us able to stand as His servant (2 Corinthians 9:8; Romans 14:4). All we need is wise discernment for right priorities with His supply; and just a mustard seed of faith to trust His sure hand. Our degree of faith grows as we come to know Him intimately, empowering us to trust Him completely.

If you recall, Part 2 ending with the following thought:

“Beloved, through Christ we are of the first order of priests, the order of Melchizedek – set free to have personal relationship with Father-God!”

Our number one role as part of the Royal Priesthood under High Priest Jesus is to be priests unto God, having intimate relationship with Him, knowing Him as Father-God by experience. Our growth in that relationship equips us to help others come into their own as we share our experience with them.

In Chapter 4 of John, the Samaritan woman at the well is introduced to the true God by Jesus. Taking her priestly role found in that intimate experience of the Father through Christ, she told the people of Samaria about her experience. Her shining the light of God before them drew them out to meet this Jesus for themselves, after which they proclaim to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world” (vs. 42).

Beloved, one of the most fulfilling roles we have as priest with Jesus is found in helping others grow in their personal relationship with Father. It is exciting to watch their growth. And it can be a shock to the system when they reach that point of no longer needing our input. But that is the goal of our ministry, and it is the greatest proof of our fulfilling our Priestly role.

I thought this to be the conclusion of our study on this subject, but then I took a break that allowed me to meditate further on this topic. Thus, I will see you back here tomorrow with greater depth in Part 3-b of the Priestly Order.

The Priestly Order: Part 2

“In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek” ~ Hebrews 5:7-10.

As I consider our next portion of this subject, verses 7-10 above seem to proof-text Christ’s priesthood. In order to discern what I mean and get a picture of His High Priestly role, we need to compare it with verses 1-4, which outline the qualifications for those called to the role of high priest.

“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was” ~ Hebrews 5:1-4.

Comparing these things with our first verses, here is what I find”

“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins…” (vs. 1-4): compares with “In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. …” (vs. 7-10).

Jesus came in flesh to fulfill the priestly role of being “taken from among men” as one “appointed on behalf of men” to intercede in “things pertaining to God.” He fulfilled this role in many ways, beginning with prayers and supplications, not only for the people God sent Him to minister to on His behalf, but for Himself.

We are told in Holy Writ that He often went away by Himself for time with the Father, preparing Himself for the days and challenges ahead. And as He went to the cross, He wept before the Father with such anxiety of heart that He sweat blood with thought of the cross in His path, crying out, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” He sets the example for us when we face a CROSS-road. Jesus went through life as example to us, and He went to the cross on our behalf, fulfilling His High Priestly role. (See Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46)

Next, in verse 1-4, we read that the high priest taken from among men is so appointed because “…he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness….”  Of Jesus in verse 7-10 we are told, “…Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. …”

The High Priest must be able to relate with the struggle that is common to every person. They need to be able to deal with people with the degree of grace and understanding that comes from personal experience of the struggle our flesh brings to the equation. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people say, “You can’t understand unless you have lived it.” Experience allows us right of passage to minister to the need of others. Therefore The Christ having experience of life as a person of flesh is a vital part of the requirement for His Priesthood.

I am struck by this statement concerning Christ, “…Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. …” Although He was God incarnate by the Father – Son relationship He had that is difficult for us to fully fathom, He “learned obedience” through suffering. That tells me He knew suffering. His deity as God did not protect him from hurting when He stubbed His toe, getting angry when He saw injustice, or sweating blood at the thought of His cross. His flesh was fully flesh, and He felt it. He learned through experience what it was like to be in these flesh-shells. To meet the requirement He had to learn by experience what it was like to deal with the flesh and remain true to the God-Head. Because of that experience, He has the ability to give compassion with understanding of our struggle.

Our role is somewhat reversed from His. He came as God and learned of the flesh and how to deal with the flesh while remaining in God despite the flesh. We come as fleshly beings and, once we receive the Christ and His Spirit that unites us with the Father, we learn how to know and understand this Immortal and remain in Him despite our flesh. Because Jesus chose to come and live in a flesh body, He understands our “despite the flesh” struggle, thus His Priestly role continues as He ever lives to intercede, standing in the gap before the Father on our behalf (Romans 8:33-34).

“…and because of it (his understanding of our struggle and his call to stand on our behalf) he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. …” (vs. 1-4 – parenthesis added by author, reminder of previous thoughts added). “…And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation…” (vs. 7-10).

Jesus filled this role like no other in that He not only offered up a sacrifice, but He became the sacrifice, paying the price required for life with God on behalf of all flesh.

I never thought of it before now, but that would include covering the weakness He experienced in His own flesh. Though He lived in victory over His fleshly struggle, being perfect in all His ways, He still lived fully in human flesh. He kept the Levitical Law perfectly: That would include going with His sacrifice in hand on holy days throughout His life among us, thus He offered up sacrifice for Himself in keeping with the Law. Despite His deity, when called “good,” He replied, “No one is good but God alone” (Mark 10:18), so He apparently considered His own fleshly existence to be as frail and faulty as anyone else’s because of the weakness and struggle that flesh presents to living. So His sacrifice of His own flesh at Calvary could well fulfill the call of the high priest to offer up sacrifice “as for the people, so also for himself”.

“…And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was” ~ Hebrews 5:1-4.

It just dawned on me, as I read here that Jesus was called to His priesthood just as Aaron was that God sent Aaron across the wilderness to meet up with Moses before he was placed as a priest over Israel (Exodus 4). Jesus, too, started His earthly ministry after 40 days of prayer and fasting in the wilderness. Just an interesting thought.

Our pastor instructed recently that the purpose of the 40 day fast is for one to come fully into the authority they have from God. Jesus had great power because He trusted Himself to God and trusted God to give full authority to His fleshly existence so that He could fulfill His call as Christ.

The High Priest must live in purity and work out of His full authority in God. In the second order of priesthood started by Aaron, a high priest entering the Holy of Holies, having any impurity in his life, fell dead instantly. But if he fulfilled the call of purification, he went in with full authority to do so in safety, fully empowered to fulfill his priestly role. Jesus fulfilled His High Priestly role by entering fully into His purification and authority in God, just as Aaron did.

All these things in play, God says of Jesus, “… ‘YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU’; just as He says also in another passage, ‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK’” ~ Hebrews 5:5-6.

Jesus is our High Priest. We need no other. He ever lives to intercede on our behalf, calling and empowering us to live fully for God with whole heart, and through Him we receive our purification from sin, being set free from its death and set free from constantly having to make blood sacrifice for sin.

Wow. There it is! I kept feeling that there was something more to this “order of Melchizedek” than I was seeing or being helped to see by commentaries read. Here it is!

Melchizedek was of the first order of priests. In that role we are not told of any sacrifice for sin being made or required. Then enters Aaron at the call of God: Through Aaron and the Levitical priesthood God sets up the second order of priests, in which blood sacrifice was required for the covering of sin and other issues given the people through Levitical Law. This order of the priesthood was set up by God for the purpose of providing a holy people out of which the Christ would come, the Holy Seed of God.

It was also set up for the people to have an intermediary between themselves and God. If you recall in the account of Israel’s experience in Exodus, the people feared God in an unholy way, being afraid of His presence and power, so much so that they feared relationship with Him. So they told Moses to talk to God on their behalf, refusing the personal intimacy God had for them to possess. I believe this is why God made arrangements for a priesthood to stand in the gap and intercede for the people: the second order being intermediary. (See Exodus 20:18-21; 34:29-35; 2 Corinthians 3)

In comes Christ, who fulfilled the role of High Priest perfectly, setting the example of godliness and calling all around Him to wholehearted, personal intimacy in their relationship with God as Father. Through His holy life and sacrifice, the full payment for sin is made, and we are back to the order of priesthood that no longer has need of the ritualistic cleansing of the second order. Jesus keeps us safe and covers us by His own blood sacrifice so we can enter into the very presence of God without fear: back to the first order of personal intimacy with God.

Beloved, through Christ we are of the first order of priests, the order of Melchizedek – set free to have personal relationship with Father-God! That is our topic of discussion for Part 3 of our focus on The Priestly Order.

The Priestly Order: Part 1

Read Hebrews 5:1-10

“Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You’; just as He says also in another passage, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek’” ~ Hebrews 5:5-6.

This passage of Hebrews is deep and wide to me and I do not pretend to fully understand this truth. I have mulled over it for days now during a busy season on the home front with writing it hindered. Pondering the beauty of this passage I see three topics to cover concerning this Priestly Order. We begin today with seeking the Lord to understand the designation of Christ as “Priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” He is now the High Priest through whom we go to the Father. But what is the significance of this “order of Melchizedek”?

Melchizedek is found in Genesis 14. Abraham rescued Lot and all those with him who were taken in a raid on Sodom and Gomorrah. Upon his return with the people he saved from captivity, he met with the King of Sodom and with Melchizedek, the King of Salem. Melchizedek means “king of righteousness.” Salem means “peace”. So Melchizedek, who was a priest to the God Most High, was called king of righteousness and king of peace, being a likeness of the Christ. To Him, as thank-offering to God, Abram gave the first tithe.

Hebrews 7 tells us concerning Melchizedek that he was “Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually” (vs. 3). And vs. 11-17 instructs us that, like Melchizedek, Jesus is priest, not in accord with Levitical Law, “but according to the power of an indestructible life”. In this order of priests, Jesus’ heritage is beyond comprehension, and He is designated High Priest forever, having been raised again to newness of life that is eternal with the Father.

Melchizedek was a man designated by God as priestly-king of God Most High before the Levites were even on the scene of life and Levitical Law put in place: thus he is from the first order of priest. Jesus was born to a virgin, of the house of Judah, heir to the throne of David – not Levi, thus He, being a man, is designated by God as Priestly-King of God Most High, who says to us, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5).

The birthright of Jesus the Christ is laid out for us in Scripture. He is King of kings through the lineage of David, birthed through God as Lord of lords, designated by the Father as Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. Next post we look at His Priestly role.

(References: Hebrews 7; 1 Timothy 2:5; Genesis 14; Zechariah 6:12-13; Isaiah 11:5-9)

Pondering Tempest’s Calm

“He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm” ~ Mark 4:39, NKJV.

“Peace, be still.” That is the phrase coursing through my mind as I think on this past weekend. A family we greatly love was in for a visit. We were so excited for their arrival, and so exhausted when they left. What exhausted us?

The male head of that family is a man of hot temper. He loses his temper easily, being gruff of speech and very impatient with much frustration coming from his tone of voice and mannerisms. As a result, there was constant fussing among them, bad attitudes in kind from the others of that family, and I felt it within myself at times. Scripture instructs us to avoid men of hot temper, and this rippling of the waters of peace is why we are so warned.

“Do not associate with a man given to anger; Or go with a hot-tempered man, Or you will learn his ways And find a snare for yourself” ~ Proverbs 22:24-25.

It was exhausting to experience; I can’t fathom living in that day after day. Oh, wait! Yes I can.

As I ponder this issue, I remember my younger years and some days since, when my own temper flared in like manner. I too was raised in a home by a hot tempered mother. Thankfully, as I discovered that temper within myself when my children were young, God worked with me to change my ways.

I learned that such temperament is often a bad habit that can be retrained. Learning a new way where temper is concerned begins with “Peace, be still.”

When my children were little and I found myself sounding too much like my mother, I began seeking the Father for a change of temper. “Peace, be still” is the first step revealed to calmer waters of existence. “Be still and KNOW that I AM GOD” (Psalm 46:10-11). I learned to draw near to God and let Him have control of my temper.

Selah ~ Pause and CALMLY think of that.

I learned to send the kids to their room or sit them in a chair or simply say, “be quiet for a bit”, giving me some time with the Lord to calm down. Disciplining when my temper is flared is never a pathway to peace and cooperation. I may elicit obedience with my temper, but not obedience that is coupled with a right attitude. You know what? Heart attitude is vital to true obedience; and we teach our children obedience to God by the way they obey us.

My husband learned to practice this with me and, in doing so, helped me to change my temperament. When an argument rises between us, he will go out to work on some project giving us each time to cool off. Later we can sit calmly together, being able to truly hear what each has to say, and we can come to agreement without arguing and yelling. The important thing is to make sure we come back together to deal with issues in need of attention. Neglecting to do so can breed bitterness as the problem continues unchecked.

Time out allows me not only to get my temper under control, but it also allows me to rightly evaluate the situation. Sometimes I might realize that the real problem is that I am overly tired to the point that kids being kids is that proverbial straw on that proverbial camel’s broken back. That is truer of me now that I am older and no longer used to having children around. I have to be very careful that my being tired does not cause me to sound off in ill-tempered fervor. If that is the case, the time out itself often fixes the problem. I talk to the kids about mom (or now, “Meeme”) being overly tired and in need of them to do something quiet that will allow me to rest. Voila! Peace is restored and we are in good relations again.

At times when a real issue needs to be dealt with, time out calms me enough so we can discuss the issue in ways that allow us to come to an understanding of the right and better way of things. Discipline (training in righteousness) dictated by calmer minds helps the child and parent or husband and wife adjust their way of thinking and doing. When my temper is under control, I am better able to listen to them and understand what they want or need; and I am better able to express my will and reasoning to them in ways that foster cooperation. With a child, when spanking is in order, it is better done in love with reason when calm is the driving force.

Dealing with a child when frustrated and hot tempered breeds frustration and rebellion in the child. It is what scripture refers to when it says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart” (Colossians 3:21 ~ this applies to mothers as well). Children – and mates for that matter – who are always assaulted by ill-temper and a bad attitude become people of ill-temper and bad attitude. It is exhausting to live that way because it is like fighting the wind. You know not where and when ill-temper will come, how fierce it will be, or how long it will last. One wind rises up a clashing wave of resistance that hits another and another until the seas of our lives are rolling so hard that destruction is imminent. Scripture rightly warns:

“An angry man stirs up strife, And a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression” ~ Proverbs 29:22.

Temper usually comes when we demand our own way, often unreasonably. It is a god-complex that is sin, demanding always to be in control without thought of God and His ways, and without practicing love toward others, caring for one’s own needs and desires over those of others.

There is hope for us as we learn that “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, BUT the slow to anger calms a dispute” ~ Proverbs 15:18.

A hot temper is a bad habit that becomes a snare to all touched by it, robbing of strength, energy, love and relationship. But it can be overcome as we “seek first His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). When we choose to take a time out with some deep, calming breaths, forcing our mind and heart to be still and know God, seeking Him for wisdom, He calms and quiets the storm within just as He did that stormy sea. When we are calm, we then have the capacity to see, hear and know truth, and we can speak wisdom with peace that not only trains up those who hear to walk in righteousness, but it trains them in how to deal with their own temper issues.

Josh McDowell said it well, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” But relationship spawned out of peaceful waters will produce cooperation that calms the tempest. Which do you want for your relationships?

“Peace, BE STILL!”