Tag Archives: Life

Put On the New

“For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.” – 2 Corinthians 5:1-5

Reading this passage today, a thought rolled through me that I recognize as the Spirit of God in me. He said, “You all need to get good at putting on and constantly wearing your spiritual clothing in Christ, otherwise your new bodies in glory are going to feel really strange to you.”

“Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”

“and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

“Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” Worth repeating, for “faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

“The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

“For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

I couldn’t have said it better. Thank You, Lord. Now empower our faithfulness. In Jesus, amen.

Romans 13:14; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:12-17; Ephesians 6:11-17; Colossians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 13:13; Romans 13:12; 1 Corinthians 15:53.

Weary Thoughts, Meet My God

God so faithfully ministers to me when I’m in need. Today, He met my wayward, weary thoughts with this morning’s calendar scripture.

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? …” Psalms 27:1, 3-4

My weary thoughts of failure and insignificance skeltered off as soon as I read that. My God knows where I am at in my life span, and He knows what He is accomplishing in and through me in these days. I am so very grateful that He lights up my life, saving me from evil and instructing me in righteousness. He defends me and defeats every enemy that stands to condemn me.

“… Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident. One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple.”

I am His temple, along with many of You. He lives in and through me, and by His grace, He empowers a right and true meditation for my heart, directing the thoughts within me, as He instructs the steps before me.

We often think of persecution and spiritual battles in terms of things going on around us, but the first and most true battle is fought within us. There is an enemy of God who seeks to hurt Him by influencing us in ways that lessen our relationship with God, our effectiveness as His people, and our ability to minister into the lives of others. That is the battle won by the Word of God to me this morning.

Persecution flows from demonic sources, thus we fight the good fight of faith when we seek after and humbly submit to God, which requires that evil enemy to flee our presence. God did that for me this morning, and He will do it for you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. God in us, the hope of glory.

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

James 4:5-10 NASB1995

Teach Us to Pray

“Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

Father, two things about my prayer life that I know true in these days. One is I trust You. It seems easy to let things rest with You and go on with life. And two is the overwhelming need around us that just raises up constant and frequent hardship in need of You. It is so overwhelming at times that I feel I don’t know what or how to pray, so letting it go to You is all I know to do.

That seems good and right, but at the same time, does it fail to pray without ceasing? Is it prayerlessness, to set it at Your capable, all knowing, all sufficient feet and walk away, leaving it with You.

This I know, Father. I can do NOTHING apart from You. So fill my heart with Your Spirit and my mind with Your thoughts for the needs around me. Grant me prayers of agreement with my Lord Jesus, who ever lives to intercede on our behalf. Increase faith in me to trust You more. Glorify Yourself in these days. BLESS me and these praying friends to know You, walk with You, seek Your face, and glorify Your Name. In Jesus, amen.

Rooted by God in Christ

You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. — 2 Corinthians 3:2-3

As Christian parents, this is what our kids are to us, letters in the earth, written with love, revealing our work of faith in raising them in Christ. We do our best – the best we know how – to write The Word on the tablets of their hearts. When they are out among others, it thrills us to see progress in their behavior and belief system. When they shine the light of Jesus, it’s a checkmark to our hearts, affirming our work of love in the Lord.

In reverse, it also explains the heartache we have when our children go the way of the world. We feel personally responsible. And we may even feel that God failed His promises to us. We forget that, like Paul and Apollo’s, our responsibility as parents is to plant and water the seed of Truth, but it is God who causes the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:5-7)

Our microwave thinking wants everything we hope for our children to come into view now. We forget the need to wait on and trust in the Lord when it seems we have failed. We fall to pride without realizing it.

Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. — 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

It is the Spirit at work in our children that will rise up at the right time and bring them forth shining like gold. I cannot tell you the number of times some scripture planted in me in childhood came to light for me in just the right moment, adjusting my course. God causes the seed to grow in ways that penetrate our hearts, putting down strong roots.

Perhaps the letter you’ve written with seeds of truth have landed on hearts of stone. Don’t give up. Don’t let pride enter in to raise up shame that puts a veil over your face, hiding the light of God in you. Keep lovingly praying. Take every opportunity to water the seeds. Trust God to use the struggles of this life to till the soil of their hearts. And stand firm on God’s word of promise.

I have a friend who, every time her daughter would deny God, she would tell her, “That’s a lie.” And she would quote the promise she was standing on to her daughter, telling her that she belongs to God and cannot deny her roots. The daughter often stormed off, but momma kept praying, loving and trusting. God used His truth and momma’s loving faithfulness to soften her daughter’s heart. After about a year, the daughter turned, returning first to God, then to momma.

God is faithful! We faithfully do what we can to plant and water, knowing it is God who causes the growth. Stand firm in the adequacy God gives you while resting the results in His hands.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. — 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

I, FATHER, Know The Plans I Have For Them

A friend sent me a devotional this morning. It’s intent was to align our hearts with the sacrifice and pain of The Father as He sent His Son into a cruel and evil world to suffer for the sin of humankind, yet He did it because He loves and desires us who will choose Life through the sacrifice of Christ.

But as I read that devotional with understanding of these things, my heart turns to my children and grandchildren who are out in this world in our day, and my achy heart soared with hope. In that moment, I realized that this God who is our Father through Christ, this God who gave His Son out of such love for us loves them more than I can truly comprehend. This God has a plan and purpose for each one.

Because Jesus bore our sin and the brunt of God’s rage against sin, God sees Jesus when He looks at us and never turns His back on us. Because of Jesus, this God, who so greatly loves my children and grandchildren, will never leave nor forsake them. As He has been with me, He will be with and for them. He will draw them to Himself and lead them through to victory in accomplishing His purpose for which He has them in such a time as this. I trust my Father to leave none behind me when He comes. He is my Hope for their good.

Father, I entrust these I love to You in Your love for them. Lead them, with humble hearts that recognize their need of You, to draw near to You as You draw near to them. Grant them to resist the devil and his evil at work around them. May they fully submit themselves to You and know You, Your faithfulness at work in and through them. May they know You as Father, Almighty, All Sufficient God. Let Your will be done in and through them, as it is in Heaven: righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. In Jesus is my prayer, amen.

Practices of Vandalism

“You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Vandalize – to destroy wantonly, as through acts of vandalism.

Vandalism – the willful or malicious damage or destruction of the PROPERTY OF ANOTHER.

Wantonly – Lascivious or promiscuous. Unrestrainedly excessive. To move idly or playfully. Given to or expressing lust.

This thought of vandalizing God’s temple, which is me and you who house His Spirit, grabbed me. Do I “vandalize” God’s temple, my body?

That question seems to express the first act of vandalism, as it expresses my hold on my body as my possession. It begs the question, have I surrendered what is mine to Him who has bought and paid for me?

I know, a little drastic sounding, since it is the body God birthed me to live in on this earth and it is mine to possess and make full use of. But I am realizing that I fail to recognize and surrender to His right over me, because I forget to whom I belong. I am no longer my own, but His. My body is His Temple.

My focus for two years now has been to grow strong in the reality that “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). And with that, belonging to Christ Jesus, I have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal. 5:24). When I fail to remember these truths and practice them, I give permission to my fleshly passions and desires, allowing the old self to rise up to deface the me I am in Christ.

I am learning that I must be purposeful in acknowledging God’s right and ownership over me if I am to prevent self from vandalizing His property. This is not an idle work to trifle with, as playing around with some religious rite. Being the Temple of the living God is serious business, worth deliberate thought and purposeful action.

Forgetting the importance and reality of being His – the one in whom He chooses to live and desires full possession of – is the vandalizing of God’s temple. In misusing, mistreating, and abusing my body by granting the desires of my flesh, I forget to whom I belong. Giving myself to cravings for foods and activities that harm my body, making it weak and hurting its proper functioning, show a life that denies His Lordship, His Ownership, and it fails to give my best, my all, to Him who is worthy.

Now I praise God for His grace sufficient for me. I thank Him that He continues to perfect me day by day until the day of Jesus, when perfection – completion – comes. He leads me from one degree of His glory in me, to ever increasing glory, as I come fully into the image of God in me.

I am a temple under construction, being renovated into His desired dwelling. By His grace and in His power, He will get me where He wants me. My responsibility in our union is to remember to whom I belong and surrender to Him as He takes full possession.

Today I pray to be alert to the choices before me and the Lordship He deserves. May my choices and decisions make Him feel at home and blessed with comfort, glory, and praise in His temple, the expression of His glory in me.

Patience: Waits On and Rests In the Father

In these difficult days, many of us stand in shock, horrified by the worldly things growing more rampant around us. We cry out for God to come quickly, and we plead for our children and grandchildren to be set free from the fleshly, the worldly, and the demonic wisdom ruling the world in our day.

Peter, in 2 Peter 3, exhorts us to be diligent to be found by Christ in peace, spotless and blameless, and to “regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.” He is not slow about His promises as some count slowness, but is patient toward us, wishing none to perish, but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9, 14-18 NASB)

As long as God tarries, there is hope for those we love. And the proof of His patience is “me,” as we say with Paul, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. ….” 1 Timothy 1:15-17 NASB

Remembering the patience of God toward the sinner, especially toward self, is vital to our ability to have patience and walk in His peace during troubling times. Jesus Christ demonstrates His perfect patience through us as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. A study of patience, then, necessitates that we remember God’s patience toward us and the testimony that truth speaks to others.

In 2 Timothy 4, Paul instructs Timothy to preach the word, being ready in season and out of season to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with great patience and instruction. In verse 5 He says, “be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, FULFILL YOUR MINISTRY.”

Our ministry in the Spirit is reconciliation: to take every opportunity and be ready at all times to share the faith we have in Christ and His love for us, with the hope that those who hear will be reconciled to God in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:18 NASB)

“For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who THROUGH FAITH AND PATIENCE INHERIT THE PROMISES.” Hebrews 6:10-12 NASB

Patient endurance in trouble and faithful ministry in the Lord, flowing from trust in Him, inherits His promises. We, who are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus can trust God for every promise made to those who are righteous, including His faithfulness toward the next generations. Patiently wait with peaceful endurance.

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. …” James 5:7-11 NASB

God is patient, and He will keep His promises in due season. We can trust that truth. God is patient, compassionate, and merciful, and He hears our hearts’ cries. Our trust in Him to fulfill His good word to us is vital for patient endurance, assuring our hearts. God’s trustworthiness is the power that produces true patience in us who enter His rest through belief. Think on that when your patience is tested.

Thus, we review our keys as we add two final key to the Unlocking of Patience

Key 1: Patience is the fruit of God’s image, enlivened by the work of the Spirit in us. Patience reveals itself in us as we seek the work of God’s Spirit from a wholehearted surrender to His will and way, in the soil of a faith that trusts, believes, and receives.

Key 2: Patience works with kindness, tolerance, and trusting gratitude that knows and trusts God’s kindness that leads to repentance and meets every need with perfection.

Key 3: Patience is an act of mercy that practices endurance, denying the wrath that may be deserved, with the intent that vessels of mercy – including self – may experience the glory of God as He pours His mercy to and through us.

Key 4: Patience is an act of love, persevering in the unity of the Spirit, working humbly and gently with diligence of purpose to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Key 5: Patience is our clothing in Christ. It covers our hearts like clothing, protecting and revealing who we are as God’s people in Christ Jesus, as we practice unconditional love toward others.

Key 6: Patience aligns with God’s patience. Remembering the patience of God toward sinners, especially His patient work in us, strengthens our patience as we await His work in others.

Key 7: Patience flows out of and reveals our faith that trusts God to fulfill His promises and bring all to completion.

Patience: Clothing that Proves Life

“Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him…. So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. …” Colossians 3:9-17 NASB

We are new creations in Christ: off with the old; on with the new. This change is both an instantaneous reality by a miracle of God’s grace, and it is a deliberate act of our will cooperating with that work of grace as we seek after and surrender to the work of the Spirit in us.

One thing that catches my attention here is the command, “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self.” We are being renewed into the image of God in Christ Jesus day by day. As we grow in the knowledge of Him, we are expected to surrender to His work in us and deliberately choose to put on the new by cooperating with Him.

To say that we are new creatures in Christ while refusing to walk in newness of life as He reveals it is to lie about who we are. We are either still lost in our sin and lying to self and God, or we are failing to put on the new through surrender, thus lying about who God is to those watching for the proof of Life in us. “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.” Romans 8:19 NASB

As new creatures, we cooperate with God in becoming as He is by clothing our hearts. Heart here is the mind, will, and emotions. All that makes our who is to put on Christ as Master of who we are.

Today’s passage instructs us to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness patience, forbearance and forgiveness. Wherever “patience” thrives, we find hearts dictated by compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, forbearance (long-suffering, endurance) and forgiveness, all of which flows from a heart defined by Agapé (godly, unconditional love), the top attribute of which is patience.

“Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

One way we put on patience is through a heart of gratitude. One aspect of love is to cling to the good found while waiting on God to deliver from the abhorrent. We are protected from the lie of hypocrisy when we learn to love with grateful heart for the good in others that helps us put on patience toward them. (Romans 12:9 NASB)

Patience is clothing for a heart of love. Put it on and wear it well.

Thus, we add a key to the Unlocking of Patience

Key 5: Patience covers our hearts like clothing, protecting and revealing who we are as God’s people in Christ Jesus, as we practice unconditional love toward others.

Key 4: Patience is an act of love, persevering in the unity of the Spirit, working humbly and gently with diligence of purpose to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Key 3: Patience is an act of mercy that practices endurance, denying the wrath that may be deserved, with the intent that vessels of mercy – including self – may experience the glory of God as He pours His mercy to and through us.

Key 2: Impatience passes unrighteous judgment. Patience works with kindness, tolerance, and trusting gratitude that knows and trusts God’s kindness that leads to repentance and meets every need with perfection.

Key 1: Patience is the fruit of God’s image, enlivened by the work of the Spirit in us. Patience reveals itself in us as we seek the work of God’s Spirit from a wholehearted surrender to His will and way, in the soil of a faith that trusts, believes, and receives.

Patience: A Love Action

“The Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel…. Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 3:6; Ephesians 4:1-3 NASB)

We, the people of God through Christ Jesus, are one body with Him. In this body live many individuals of many backgrounds, colors, nationalities, and experiences, each delivered from various kinds of sins and circumstances, and holding to many understandings of truth and righteousness, established by a life of flesh. In Christ we are one, and we are each transformed in Him – death gives way to life as the old self becomes new. However, while we are perfect as God is perfect, the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, we are each continuing to be perfected until the day of Christ. We have fully arrived in the Eternal, but we aren’t there yet in our earthly existence.

In Christ’s body are many parts in varying degrees of maturity in Christ. And yet we are one, by the power of His grace. This is our calling and equipping in Christ: to be one together with Him. Put that many people of varying degrees of maturity, from so many backgrounds and perspectives of right and wrong, and we see the importance of patience.

In today’s Ephesians passage, Paul implores us “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another IN LOVE.” Love is vital to our success in practicing patience and tolerance. In fact, if we look at 1 Corinthians 13’s list of the attributes found in God’s kind of love, Agapé begins with patience.

We cannot have patience without God’s Agapé living in us. Patience defines love. Love creates patience. They go together in a world of imperfects. Peace comes to a body dictated by love that produces patience. We are called to peace. We are called to love. We are called to unity. And Paul implores us to walk in a manor worthy of our calling.

“Love is patient, love is kind…does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails….” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NASB

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21 NASB

Thus, we add a key to the Unlocking of Patience

Key 4: Patience is an act of love, persevering in the unity of the Spirit, working humbly and gently with diligence of purpose to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Key 3: Patience is an act of mercy that practices endurance, denying the wrath that may be deserved, with the intent that vessels of mercy – including self – may experience the glory of God as He pours His mercy to and through us.

Key 2: Impatience passes unrighteous judgment. Patience works with kindness, tolerance, and trusting gratitude that knows and trusts God’s kindness that leads to repentance and meets every need with perfection.

Key 1: Patience is the fruit of God’s image, enlivened by the work of the Spirit in us. Patience reveals itself in us as we seek the work of God’s Spirit from a wholehearted surrender to His will and way, in the soil of a faith that trusts, believes, and receives.

Patience: Wrath to Mercy

“… What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.” Romans‬ ‭9:18-24‬ ‭NASB – https://www.bible.com/100/rom.9.18-24.nasb1995

Our clearest picture of who we are and how we are to be is found in God, as we learn of Him: His who; His do. In this passage of scripture, we see that God withholds His wrath that is justly due to vessels of wrath – fleshly, sinful humans. He does not wish any to perish, but all to come to repentance, so He is patient and enduring toward us. He does this with the purpose of showering the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy.

God’s saving grace transforms vessels of wrath – the walking dead – into vessels of mercy – abundant with Life and made new.

As we surrender by faith to saving grace in Christ, we are transformed from the status of vessels of wrath destined for the penalty of sins death, into vessels of mercy. Because God patiently endured, waiting for us to so trust Him, we are delivered from death to life and repurposed as containers of His mercy.

The thing about a vessel is that it is useless until it is filled up and it’s contents poured out to accomplish its purpose. God fills us with Himself. We carry God, His presence in us: we are His Temple. As His representatives on earth, we are called to bear His image to vessels of wrath, patiently enduring all the struggle that brings us.

As vessels of God, filled with Him, we house His patient endurance for the purpose of being His hands and feet, His heart and desire, toward vessels of wrath. Endurance strengthens patience. Patience accomplishes purpose.

Thus, we add a key to the Unlocking of Patience

Key 3: Patience is an act of mercy that practices endurance, denying the wrath that may be deserved, with the intent that vessels of mercy – including self – may experience the glory of God as He pours His mercy to and through us.

Key 2: Impatience passes unrighteous judgment. Patience works with kindness, tolerance, and trusting gratitude that knows and trusts God’s kindness that leads to repentance and meets every need with perfection.

Key 1: Patience is the fruit of God’s image, enlivened by the work of the Spirit in us. Patience reveals itself in us as we seek the work of God’s Spirit from a wholehearted surrender to His will and way, in the soil of a faith that trusts, believes, and receives.

Patience Trusts God’s Kindness

“… But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? …” Romans‬ ‭2:1-5‬ ‭NASB

The first thing that grabs me in today’s passage is that impatience flows out of a heart of unrighteous judgment. I.e.: impatience judges that someone driving too slow in front of me or not moving out on the green light fast enough must be a stupid idiot, a bad and inconsiderate driver. And, boy, am I mad at those honking rudely behind my lead on the road. 😠

Impatience toward God judges that He moves too slow, He must not care or be watching as His Word promises, thus, lacking faith that truly trusts Him.

Impatience passes judgment without clear understanding and responds harshly. Which also says to me that impatience is selfish, self-centered, and self-righteous. Impatience shows a lack of appreciation for and trust in God’s kindness that leads to repentance. So what is the solution. God’s character gives the answer.

God combines patience with kindness and tolerance in His dealings with us. If it were not so, we would not be here because His impatience would have wiped out the human race long before our parents were a sparkle in their parents’ eyes. For patience to stand fast, kindness and tolerance must thrive.

Tolerance realizes that those testing our patience are a work in progress just as we are. It recognizes that we do not have all the facts of the heart issues, difficulties, and stressors the person is in. And where patience with God is concerned, it acknowledges that He, who sees all and knows all, is moving with perfect timing for our good. When we enter eternity and become privy to all the details that made for the slowness we experienced, we will praise and glorify Him with grateful heart, just as the person, aggravatingly bumped to the next flight, praises God for His protection upon news of the death of all on board when the first plane crashed.

Which points me to another additive in the fruit of patience : a grateful heart that trusts God.

Thus, we add a key to the Unlocking of Patience

Key 2: Impatience passes unrighteous judgment. Patience works with kindness, tolerance, and trusting gratitude that knows and trusts God’s kindness that leads to repentance and meets every need with perfection.

Key 1: Patience is the fruit of God’s image, enlivened by the work of the Spirit in us. Patience reveals itself in us as we seek the work of God’s Spirit from a wholehearted surrender to His will and way, in the soil of a faith that trusts, believes, and receives.

Patience: Spirit Fruit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 NASB

Patience has always been a struggle for me, but never so much as in these trying times. I decided to follow the example of a friend and hide in my heart the word of God regarding patience. As I feast on these passages, I want to grab truths found that can help me get a firmer grasp on the practice of patience.

The first focal scripture from yesterday is one I know well. The FRUIT of the Spirit working in us, the produce proving His presence in us, is love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control or temperance. These are attributes of God revealed in us as the Spirit enlivens the image of God placed in humankind before the fall from grace into sin’s death.

Fruit is that which grows naturally out of a life that surrenders itself to and cooperates with the Holy Spirit of God living in us. The produce of God’s nature cannot mature in soil that is not made ready and fully possessed by God. So the first key to bearing the fruit of patience is to seek the work of God’s Spirit in us from a wholehearted surrender to His will and way, in the soil of a faith that trusts, believes, and receives.

While Godliness is Beautiful, Adornment is Medicinal

“Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 NASB

Beauty. Vanity. Purpose. I believe many people take the meaning and intent of our focal passage of scripture too far, making it a legalistic rule that brings struggle to the heart it condemns.

This passage is talking heart issues of pride and fleshly vanity. It is talking intent and purpose of action. It does not mean that “adornment” is sin. It warns that the heart attitude and purpose behind adornment makes for either sin or true beauty.

“Your adornment must not be MERELY external…but let it be the hidden person of the HEART….” It’s not saying that dressing nice – fixing the hair, putting on makeup, wearing jewelry – is sin, but doing so as our SOURCE of beauty is sin.

True beauty comes from who we are as dictated and directed by our surrender to and reliance on the Spirit of God. Fixing face and hair, practicing self care, is just a reflection of our nature. Some people have flamboyant personalities and their way of dress reflects it. Some, like me, are more quiet and subdued. We don’t stand out in crowds, and our manner of dress reflects that. Neither is wrong if the heart is right.

But there’s another aspect for dress and appearance that I think more important. For me, looking the best I can physically is medicinal. When I, not feeling well, am unkempt, walking by a mirror depresses me, making me feel worse. It is a challenge enough walking surrendered in the Spirit when I feel bad physically. Add a dose of depression and it is harder still. The depressed are often grouchy and don’t want to be bothered. They find it hard to give a sincere smile, much less to truly care about others.

I can help myself feel better just by washing my face and combing my hair. Add a little eyeliner and mascara to brighten eyes dulled by sickness or tiredness, and it helps even more to lift my mood, rather than depress it.

Self care is an act of love: for self as it uplifts me, and for others encouraged to see me looking my best, smiling more, and better able to love on them.

An example in scripture for me is Jesus’s instruction to those who fast. In Jewish tradition, fasting before God was a somber affair. They sat, weeping and wailing, often covered in sackcloth and ashes. It became a showy act of pride for many who wished to be seen as pious observers of Levitical Law and practices. Jesus countered the practice, instructing His followers to wash their faces and anoint their head so as not to stand out to men, but rather, to catch the Fathers attention with a right heart toward Him (Matthew 6:16-18 NASB).

My understanding of “anoint your head” has two meanings: 1 Fix you hair. Make yourself look the best you can. 2 Get self right with God and under the guiding influence of the Spirit of God, who anoints our spiritual head. (Ephesians 1:13-14 NASB; Luke 4:18-19 NASB; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NASB; 1 John 2:26-29 NASB)

Using products that help soften wrinkles that make me look and feel tired and weary; dressing to look the best I am able: these things give aide to my heart attitude toward myself, and that uplifting helps me more readily focus on the needs of others. That’s not pride, arrogance, and vanity. That is God’s gracious provision that helps me to feel and do my best self for Him. And as I more readily focus on the work of the Spirit in me, desiring my God as my first, most vital need and necessity – to know and live Him above all else, true beauty emerges, pleasing the God I love and serve first and foremost.

A heart FOCUSED on looking my best with belief that there is where true beauty lies is pride and does not push me to seek after God. But, with heart FOCUSED on pleasing God and walking in the power of His Spirit, I am moved to look my best and be my best for His glory. That’s the heart of humbled adornment.

The Inner Room

“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:5-6, NASB

God’s people pray aloud publicly and often. We pray as families over meals. We open and close meetings and gatherings. We surround the bed of the sick as we cry out to God on their behalf. We pray with the friend in need. There is beauty in praying together when properly done. But are we sinning when we do that? It depends on the heart behind the prayer. And it is fixed by a deeper understanding of the inner room.

We can go into our closet alone, shut the door, and still not have a right heart in our praying because of failure to enter the inner room. In reverse, we can walk through our day, pray aloud with others, and NEVER LEAVE THE INNER ROOM. So what am I speaking of as the inner room?

We who are in Christ ARE the Temple of God. Our High Priest purchased our right to come before God and seek His face. When He did, The Father ripped the veil of the Holy of Holies and opened the door to His Presence for all who come in. Now Jesus is The Veil. He is the Door.

When we, as God’s people, enter into prayer, we go into the Inner Room, the sanctum of God, the Holy of Holies. We walk through The Veil of Jesus, into the Presence of God, and we shut The Door so we are cognizant of none but The Father as we pray. Did you perceive that? The absolute awe of God. The purity of peace. The instant and natural humility that comes to the heart in His presence. The inner Sanctum.

He is our audience alone, the only One we seek and desire to please as we pray in this place. It doesn’t matter who is with us or hears us. We don’t worry what they think nor desire their approval and praise. We are with our God, our Father, our Abba-Daddy. When we grow strong in being here, wherever we go and whatever we do is accomplished while heart, mind, and desire remains in this Room.

Welcome to The Inner Room, Temple of The Living God. Now, let’s pray.

The Lamb and the Scapegoat

“Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat. Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the LORD fell, and make it a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat.”
‭‭Leviticus‬ ‭16:8-10‬ ‭NASB

Jesus took both straws in the casting of the lot (Leviticus 16:8-10). He is both the sacrificial Lamb of God for the full payment of ALL SIN, and He is the Scapegoat, who took those sins to the Abyss for all of the world: paid in full and done with. The only thing we are left with now is choice. Will we accept the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Savior, or not?

What our individual eternity looks like will rest on our choice. Receive His gift of eternity with Him, and walk with Him as Lord from then on. Learn of Him and grow in Him, representing Him until He takes us home to be with Him forever. Or refuse the gift and spend eternity forever separated from Him. As long as you draw breath in this life, the choice is there for you. And ALL SIN is covered, even the ugliest of evil. The only unforgivable sin is to say “no” to Jesus.

Many think that separation from God is nothing. They don’t see their need of Jesus and His covering of their sin. But before that parting command of God, casting all who refuse His gift into outer darkness, all will stand before Him. In that instant each one will know three truths: the flooding touch of the fullness of the greatest love there has ever been and will forever be; the decision to deny Him was a bad call; and, in that instant, comes the knowledge that it’s too late to choose rightly. They missed it. The choice has come and gone.

I believe that the revelation of God’s great love touching all at that throne of judgment will be the biggest flame burning in Hell. Longing to again taste that love will haunt the eternity of those who refuse His gift now, while there is breath left for a “yes, Jesus”.

I beg you, in the name of Jesus, admit your sin nature and your need of the gift of God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ, the Lord. Contact that one you know to be a sincere and committed follower of Christ. Tell them your decision and let them help you begin your new life journey. I assure you, if they are truly sincere in Christ, they are waiting with fervent hope for your call.

Knowledge Edifies

I don’t know many who have not studied some sort of personality trait profile, learning the different types of people to better understand how they think and function and how best to live, relate, and work with them. If you haven’t done so, I highly recommend it. The one I most recommend is Transformed Temperments by Tim LaHaye. He covers the temperaments under the influence of the flesh and under the influence of God’s Spirit.

In the same way that understanding our temperament can help us grow strong in our good traits and ability to function well, so does knowing our spiritual gifting. Knowing the spiritual gifts and how they function in the body helps us understand others better and know how to work with and encourage them. Discovering our own, like with the temperaments, helps us understand our good traits and reasoning, recognize areas of struggle that hinders the function of The Spirit in us, and thus, to function better in life.

The best spiritual gift teachings out there cover the gifts both as they function when the flesh is in control and under the controlling influence of The Spirit. This knowledge helps us recognize the gifts in others, especially in our children, so we can realize when the flesh is causing them to act out, and it helps us encourage their growth in following the Spirit.

I didn’t intend to write a devotional for this, but there you go. My life hinders a focus on writing these days, and it just kind of flows when writing happens. Let’s pray for self and each other to grow strong in our understanding of God’s gifting in us and to function at our best by the power of the Spirit.

We are the church. We are Christ’s body. Therefore we are to function out of our gifting wherever and whenever we find ourselves.

Alert and Ready

Watching the news still makes it difficult for me to believe there was no cheating and stealing in the 2020 election. For one thing, there are those desiring to give illegal residents voting rights. And what do we see at our border? We see people being allowed to pour into our nation illegally: people one can assume will vote for the party that is allowing it.

Then there is the fact that many are children who will be at least 16 in four years. Add that to a reported push to make 16 the legal voting age and it adds up to another means of cheating in my way of seeing it. Where there is visible cheating, you can bank on there being cheating in the shadows.

The human brain is not mature enough in most cases to connect actions and choices to probable outcomes and consequences until age 25. Those younger are more pliable and easily manipulated. Those pushing their agendas in the schools are using this fact to manipulate the child’s way of thinking and counting the cost of life choices. It’s all happening under our noses. So what are we to do about it?

  • Be alert to what your schools are teaching and take appropriate actions to protect your kids.
  • Use every opportunity to teach critical thinking skills.
  • Daily ask them what they covered in class and use that as a springboard for discussion.
  • Help your child develop their moral compass. I believe the Christian Bible is the best tool for that.
  • Be sure to make your voice heard by your area representatives, school boards, etc.

One thing God’s word says that caught my attention today is found in Psalm 37:34, which says, “Wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land.” Waiting upon the Lord is active watching for what He is doing and where. It is being alert for areas of concern He wants us to address and be involved in. We wait in full readiness to take needed stands and fight for the future of our nation and our kids as we see Him moving in those things.

We may not start a war, but, by God’s grace, we will finish it.

Trust God’s Love

“There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.” ~ ‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭GNT‬‬

God’s love for us is perfect toward us. When we know, believe, and fully trust God’s love, we are free from the grip of fear, for we know God will bring victory through our every difficulty, in His time and having accomplished His purpose.

Take health issues. It is easy for fear to cause us struggle in health issues, especially if we believe that God’s love and our faith should bring in our healing. We forget what God is doing in and through us. We don’t realize that person we see at the doctors office we visit every month goes home strengthened to cope with their life issues because of the effect our presence has on them. The light of Christ and the strength of our trust in God ministers a healing in them far greater than our healing would work, or God would move quicker in us. I believe that.

Then there’s the need for us to grow stronger trust in Him to Shepherd us through the valley, however deep and wide it may be. Paul learned reliance on God’s power for his weakness because God said no to the removal of his issue. Sometimes the only way our stubborn flesh will die to self that God’s power may live and reign in us is through struggle and pain putting us on our proverbial face before His throne of grace.

Fear is an enemy of God. It’s hold on us reveals our lack of a deep, abiding faith that truly trusts God’s love and grace at all cost. If fear is attacking you, take every thought captive to God’s love. Find verses of promise and instruction that helps you overcome as you trust God, taking Him at His Word. Fear cannot take hold where God’s love prevails.

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and in his grace gave us unfailing courage and a firm hope, encourage you and strengthen you to always do and say what is good.” ~ 2 Thessalonians‬ ‭2:16-17‬ ‭GNT‬‬

Let Go!

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” ~ Matthew‬ ‭5:3‬ ‭MSG‬‬

I said this to the Lord one day, “Lord, I feel like I am hanging on to the last thread of my proverbial rope, and I’m about to lose my grip.” To which He very clearly replied to my heart, “Let go!”

As I invisioned myself turning loose my hold, I saw myself fall gently into a blubbering heap, landing safely in God’s capable hands. From then on through that stressful season, when I felt it weighing in on me, I would let myself go to that blubbering heap in God’s hand and allow Him to carry me.

God is forever faithful, for He cannot deny Himself in us. He loves us and never leaves us.

You are not alone. Let go!

Quick Study 2/6/21

John’s Baptism vs. Baptism in Jesus

Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. — Acts 19:4-5

This passage made me ask, “John’s baptism is in water for repentance. Into what is the baptism of Jesus: what’s the difference?” Here is what a quick Literal Word app search found.

1. In this focal passage, the first thing to note is that John’s baptism calling for belief in Jesus who was yet to be revealed, was no longer needed once Jesus came into view. Thus we now have the assurance of salvation revealed.

“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. — Matthew 3:11; see also Acts 1:5; Acts 11:16

2. Baptism of Holy Spirit (drenched in the Spirit) and fire (signifies cleansing / purification).

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, — Matthew 28:19

3. Instead of baptism in the name of John, it’s in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – the Triune One.

He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. — Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12

4. Baptism of belief in Christ, who is now visible to us, disclosing Himself to all who believe unto obedience in Christ.

I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ — John 1:33

5. Baptism of Holy Spirit union – he remains on us, in us, through us.

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. — Acts 2:38

6. Baptism into Christ is for the forgiveness of sin, not just for repentance. We are forgiven.

Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. — Acts 19:4-5

7. Baptized in the powerful, all-sufficient name of Jesus.

Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’ — Acts 22:16

8. Calling on the name of Christ in baptism washes away our sin, to be remembered no more. Gone. Made white as pure snow that reflects His light.

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? — Romans 6:3

9. Baptized into His death, thus the death of sin no longer has power in us.

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. — 1 Corinthians 12:13

10. Baptized into one body – made one together in Christ – in one Spirit.

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. — Galatians 3:27

11. Baptized in Christ = clothed with Christ: the image of God rebirthed in us, made alive and well in and on us.

Make sure you are baptized into Christ.

Pause for Conscience to Speak

Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” (Matthew 27:3-4)

A pastor once pointed out his belief that Judas, believing the Christ was coming to deliver Israel from Roman rule and set up His eternal Kingdom on earth, potentially believed betraying Him would force His hand to finally move, bringing his expectation to pass. False understanding, false assumptions, false hopes often lead us to go against the better judgment of conscience. Those who benefit by that to gain their desire can care less when our conscience kicks in and we suffer a type of buyers remorse.

Conscience has a purpose that protects us from bad decisions. Listen to it early, so grief of sin is avoided.

Soaking in God’s Word

I have started a new journey, just absolutely soaking in God’s Word. Through the years, I’ve taken a book and focused on it for a month from time to time. This is the first time I have sensed I am to do this through each book of at least the New Testament of scripture. Doing so the way I am sensing God’s leading to do will take several years to complete and will truly allow me to soak up God’s word. I believe doing so will greatly benefit me.

I have thoroughly enjoyed Matthew and will finish it up the 31st. I’ll have read through and listened to it 10 to 12 times by month’s end, using several versions of scripture. It is taking me to greater depths of understanding and setting it securely in my heart and mind, which is my main goal as my aging brain does not memorize and retain as well as in younger years. I’ll skip to Acts starting February 1, kind of following my usual reading plan:

  • #1 Gospel, Acts-Revelation
  • #2 Gospel, Acts-Revelation
  • # 3 Gospel, Acts-Revelation
  • # 4 Gospel, Acts-Revelation
  • # 1 Gospel, Acts-Revelation
  • Genesis-Revelation

For this I will probably rotate, focusing on several letters, then do another gospel. I know I am to at least do the New Testament this way. Then we will see what the Lord leads to as I start Genesis through Revelations.

Whatever plan you use, I pray you get into God’s word daily, and feast on Him. Seek Holy Spirit to open the Word to you and you to it. Then begin. Trust in the Lord, and do the good He shows you.

“But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. [Deut. 8:3.]” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

To Greater Depths

Read Matthew 25:31-46

One purpose in Jesus coming in the form of a man was to clarify the deeper understanding of the intent of God’s Word. This passage in Matthew 25, is one of those greater depth teachings. To get there, we must look at the sermon on the mount. There we find several greater depth teachings in Matthew 5.

For example, in verses 21-26, Jesus reminds us we are not to commit murder. Then He points out that, when we tear a person down to the point that they loose all confidence, feel hopeless and helpless, and become dispirited, we have murdered them already.

In verses 27-30, He reminds us that we are not to commit adultery. Then He broadens that to stress that just looking at anyone other than our mate, with lust for them, is to commit adultery in our hearts. This kills the theory that, “It doesn’t hurt to look.” It does. Sin starts in the heart, then issues forth into words, deeds, and actions. “For from the heart flows the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23 KJV; Matthew 12:33-37; 15:17-20).

On He goes, covering divorce, the “eye for an eye” subject, and more, ending chapter 5 with the greater depths of love, that extends even to those who are our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48 NASB).

Then, in chapter 7, Jesus commands us: “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12 NASB). That leads us to our passage today, in Which Jesus tells those, who did well in their treatment of others, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40 NASB).

In my focus on the Gospel of Matthew throughout the month of January, those Words of King Jesus speaking to His sheep, shouted to me the greater depth of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (KJV). It says to me that I am to treat others as if they are Jesus in flesh. To do so, I must remember, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). So to treat others as Christ in my flesh wants to be treated, I must take every thought captive to make thought and desire obey God in Christlikeness. Only then can l, in Christlikeness, hope to receive Christlike treatment in return.

“… We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ …” (‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:3-7‬ ‭NASB)

My Great Pleasure

“For it (end days as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven) is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.” Matthew 25:14-15 NASB

Everything we have is a gift from God intended for our use in honoring Him and bringing increase to His Kingdom. Our very life is at the privilege of the King of kings, and honoring Him in it is our first responsibility and priority. Our hearts must constantly acknowledge in the use of all God gives, “I serve at the pleasure of The King. It is my great pleasure to do so, and to do it well.”

From our gifts, talents, abilities, and skills, to the jobs and opportunities they open to us; from moneys earned to the way those funds are used and applied to life; everything we possess is there at God’s gifting. Life, breath, and all things, including strength to move, work, and earn wages, come from Him for our use in glorifying Him. And all it’s use requires wisdom to honor God in and through it, thus serving Him well, according to all that pleases Him.

Even relationships we have are gifts from God to grow and mature us and give us opportunity to influence others for His purposes and Kingdom prosperity. Relationships also give us a place to invest God’s fruit of righteousness in the dispensing of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Which brings us to “time”. Time is a gift from God. Will we use it well, or waste it on our way? We must realize that our first priority with time is to seek God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. We cannot know how to use His good gifts as pleases Him, until we know Him, personally and in ever growing depth of understanding. Every breath, every action, every word is spent in time, accomplishing the goal of knowing and rightly representing God. Time: to seek first His righteousness and His Kingdom.

We are first and foremost children of God, called to know Him, and citizens of His Kingdom, required to serve and obey Him. The question is, will we realize His supply and be found faithful in our investments? As we major on this pursuit, even in the minor things of life, we press toward the prize of the ultimate reward, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Read Matthew 25:14-30 AMPC

I’m Here to Stand

Here is what I have learned in my search for where I am to be in these days. We are in a war. Freedom of speech, the Christian faith, righteousness and truth (and then some) are all under attack. It does not matter where we are online or off, war is there and we must choose who we are, what we believe, and who/what we stand for in life.

The only true One I see to follow in this mess is Jesus. He is the only One who sees all; the only One that knows what’s going on and coming down; and He is the only One who will bring us to a glorious destiny. We must watch for where the lines align with Scriptural truth and stand firm there. We must speak and walk that truth, for one thing we do know: Jesus is coming and He, who knows each heart, will separate the wheat from the chaff – the sheep from the goats. The question is, where will I be standing when He comes: with Him or against Him?

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

— Ephesians 6:10-13

Be Loosed

“… Flesh and blood [men] have not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven. … I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven. …” Matthew 16:17-20 AMPC

As our Father teaches us of Himself, making us to know what is lawful and unlawful, granting us discernment of good and evil, He hands to us the keys to bind and loose.

When we know the Father, disclosed to us through Jesus Christ in His Holy Presence response to our loving obedience, we learn what is good and proper in His eyes. The Kingdom then comes to live in and through us: righteousness, heart peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17, AMPC). As we grow our understanding of God and His Kingdom, we gain His voice to speak Kingdom purpose into the earth, and lock out that which stands against God’s will and way.

It is vital that we seek God wholeheartedly, seeking after His Kingdom and His righteousness, growing to feast on the meat of His word. Only as we mature in Christlikeness can we grasp the needed keys, and proclaim with power, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”

The Christlike Response

“Departing from there, He went into their synagogue. And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse Him. And He said to them,

“What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand!” He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other.” Matthew‬ ‭12:9-13‬ ‭NASB

Jesus practiced great wisdom in His responses to people, especially to those He knew were conniving. As I read this in light of current events, it seems to me that we can learn a lot to help situations in our day. Jesus seldom gave a straight answer. He seemed always to respond in a way to promote thought and make a clear point.

In this passage is one such occurrence that I pray to remember when faced with some of the controversies of our day. Here Jesus responds by first pointing out a common, acceptable practice that reveals the hypocrisy behind the question posed.

As people of God in Christ Jesus, we are called and equipped to be His ambassadors, lights on a hill that help people see the way, the truth, and the life. We learn best how to be good in our roles by paying attention to the example set by Jesus, the Christ. May we have eyes to see, ears to hear, a mind to know, a heart to understand, and a willing – teachable spirit of obedience. And may Wisdom be in our mouths.

Humility’s Righteousness

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” — Matthew 6:1-6

This passage of scripture is talking heart motives of a showoff-y pride and arrogance. It doesn’t say our righteousness being noticeable is sin. We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. The fruit of His visible righteousness in us is our light to the world. They should see us as sincerely different from others. They should know that when they come to us, they will find a Christ-in-us response of love and care.

Two specifics covered by Jesus here is in our practice of giving and praying. The Pharisees and Sadducees were hypocritical and obnoxious in both giving and praying, desiring the praise and admiration of men. And yet, there giving was truly nothing compared to their ability to give (Mark12:41-44). Wealth was seen as a sign of being in right standing with God, so they sure weren’t going to give more than was comfortable. They truly gave very little of their great resources. It is an easy practice to fall into. And their praying, Jesus implies, was truly to themselves, not to God (Luke18:9-14, NASB).

Our giving must not be so we are honored by men, but is humbly done as a service to God, seeking Him for the amount and trusting, though the giving hurts our bottom line, He will meet our every need. And I can bear testimony that He always meets our true need. Our giving, especially toward the need of others, should go above and beyond, even to our own hurt. Though someone may see our giving, they also see how quietly it is done. The old woman Jesus pointed to was visible to all putting her meager two cents in. Only God, and those Jesus pointed her to as lesson, knew it was all she had to live on.

When we pray, my understanding of our inner room is that it is a place within our essence where only God matters. It is a place where I meet alone with God. Even when asked to pray aloud, all around disappear from conscious view as I enter my place with God. It cannot be stolen from me, nor closed off to me by any created being. It is my personal, secret hiding place with God my Father and King.

It doesn’t matter who hears, for I’m not aware of their hearing, nor am I concerned for their opinion. We see this in Jesus, who was heard crying out His Garden prayer, and from whom we have the prayer of John 17 to read and agree with.

In praying, my only concern should be to seek God’s face and touch the hem of His garment for the need at hand. And those who hear are drawn into their inner room through prayers of agreement, even adding to my prayer through their inner thoughts.

People learn how to give and how to pray, and how to walk the righteousness of God in Christ out into the world, by the examples they hear and see. May we be found faithful in the humble practice of our righteousness.

Night Watch

“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and (if) My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)

I spent three hours crying out to God in the night: three hours seeking Him to hear my prayers, forgive my sin, and heal my land. In those three hours God made me increasingly aware of the repentance needed. Here it is:

God is God alone, there is no other. Do you believe this truth? Repentance acknowledges His sovereign, His Lordship, and my extreme need of Him. I can do nothing apart from Him. He is my first, most vital need and necessity. Because of Him, in reliance upon Him, I can proclaim, “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.” All the remainder of Psalm 23 is mine only when my life stands in agreement with Psalm 23, verse 1. The Lord, my Shepherd, meets my every need. Anything short of honoring His Lordship over me-mine is sin. Bow down.

It’s the same in my Lord’s Model Prayer. Matthew 6:9-10 says, “Our Father, who is in Heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” As we bow ourselves to these truths, honoring Him as Father God, our only God, being above all, in all, and over all, worthy of honor and glory; and as we, in honor of His great Name, desire His will over our own wills, all the rest of that model prayer is ours to possess, for the remainder of that prayer guide is His will – His righteous provision for us, the sheep of His pasture. Bow down to His sovereignty. Bow to His will done His way, even and especially when we don’t understand it. (Matthew 26:39-41)

Repentance begins by acknowledging the Lordship of God alone as my God and Shepherd, recognizing my dire need of Him.

Father God, being God, my Lord, I can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5), not even to truly and fully repent. In my typical attempt at repentance, I look at what I do and don’t do from my limited understanding of God’s Word and will, and I believe in acknowledging and deciding to turn from those things that I have successfully confessed as sin. But that only scratches the surface of the cup that is me. True and full repentance comes from the positive of what I know and acknowledge about God. What I believe true of God, am I living that out in life’s situations? Am I trusting Him because I believe? Here is what God led me to and revealed to me in those three hours of crying out.

My greatest good is as filthy rags before our Holy God (Isaiah 64:6). I cannot begin to be good, for only God is good. I cannot possess good apart from Him. Even Jesus, the perfect Lamb that takes away the sin of the world, in the days of His flesh, told those who addressed Him as good teacher from our fleshly understanding of goodness, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18).

Only God is good. Any true good in me comes as a gift from the Father of Lights, with Whom there is no variation or shifting of shadow (James 1:17-18). In repentance, I must acknowledge and accept that I possess no good apart from Him. That knocks a lot of stilts out from under me, forcing me to seat myself fully on the solid Rock of God’s grace – His merciful grace to me.

God looks for the righteous lot. He addresses many promises to those who are righteous. But I am unable to be truly righteous apart from Him. God’s Word tells me that one of His good gifts to me is the fact that He makes me the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. He is my righteousness. Repentance comes to Him fully surrendered to that Righteousness. Claiming any good, any righteousness apart from Him, that is sin. Bow down.

By the same right, when we seek Him truly trusting and surrendered to that righteousness gifted to us in Christ, living in and walking that righteous fruit out into our days, we can know His promise is ours. Watch for it. (Romans 3:21-26, Philippians 3:7-11)

We, who belong to God through Christ Jesus, are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” God empowers us to walk in this truth. Are we fulfilling this purpose? Bow down; “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)

“Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”” Bow Down. Only from a humbled heart toward Him can we draw near to the throne of His grace.

“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:5-10)

We draw near to God as we submit ourselves to all we know and believe true of Him, His ways, and His will. That submission automatically puts us in resistance to the devil, where, in the voice and authority of Christ, we can say, “Leave me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” (Matthew 4:10)

Draw near to God today, through the veil of our Savior, and intercede with Him in the authority given those fully surrendered to God’s will done God’s way. Draw near trusting He will hear our prayers, forgive our sin, and heal our land.

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near WITH A SINCERE HEART IN FULL ASSURANCE OF FAITH, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:19-25)

Flight #2021

Good Morning, Travelers. May I have your attention, please. Welcome to flight 2021. We will soon leave Airport 2020 to heights unknown. Officer Umpire Peace is onboard to keep you safe as we navigate into and through 2021.

As we prepare to take off into the New Year, we want to instruct you for a secure flight, making the best of all that awaits us. Please make sure your Attitude and Spirit of Gratitude and Blessing is secured within and locked in an upright position of integrity.

All self-destructive devices should be turned off at this time. Consider these devices to be worthless. As we come by with trash bags, all fear, negativity, hurt, discouragement, worry, fretting, hate, discord, easy-offense and any other such destructive influences should be put in the waste-of-time bin for proper disposal. God will take your yoke and deal with your trash while you take His lighter yoke. If you need a yoke change, Steward, the stewardess, will help you unload your weary and heavy-ladened burden, and will give you the rest God has for you. Steward will help you take God’s yoke upon you so you can learn from Him. He is gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Should we lose Altitude under pressure during the flight, reach up and pull down a Prayer line. Prayer will automatically be activated by Faith’s Trust. If you don’t know how to pray as you should, the Spirit Himself will intercede for you with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Once Faith activates Trust, you can then help assist other passengers to put on encouragement, strength, and hope.

No past-baggage is needed on this flight. All you need to let go of yesteryears and press to the future awaits you by God’s grace to you.

Please note that Captain Father GOD has cleared us for greater heights of BLESSing and Love. He would like you to know as we take off that no turbulence or side winds are too difficult for Him. He’s got this, and His Co-Pilot, Jesus, ever lives to intercede on your behalf. The plane is fully loaded and fueled: filled with Holy Spirit Power, flowing the anxious longing of all creation, which eagerly awaits the revealing of the sons of God in 2021.

Pilot Father God asks you to trust that He causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose. He has predestined each of you to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. So you are adequately supplied for 2021. Nothing can stop this Aircraft from getting you to the destiny Pilot God has for you.

God is for you. So who can be against you? He did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all. Therefore, you can trust Him to freely give you all things, as He flies you to and through each day in this New Year.

He says for you to not fret your destiny. Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for you.

When we land, do not worry about the future that comes to 2021 and beyond to all eternity. Know that, though you leave the plane, your Pilot and Co-Pilot will remain with each of you. Spirit Power Fuel will usher you into the secret place of God’s Presence in an instant, whenever and wherever your need arises. For who will separate you from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written: “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

As flight 2021 takes off, let us each smile at the future, being convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now sit back and enjoy the flight to the habitations of Glory, Power, Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment. God is faithful, therefore, we are able to give thanks in all things life presents to us. Remember that if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we will successfully and eagerly wait for it.

The movie playing in flight is Roman Eight’s “Overcomer”. If you are a believer, come take Flight #2021 with me! Your ticket is waiting.