Tag Archives: Power

Follow God

His science is flawless.

I hear it every day, people boasting the science concerning COVID, both for and against the truths concerning the disease and the treatments, including the vaccine. Here’s what I know: no one fully knows. Science is a learning tool. It helps figure out truth, but until truth proves out through consistent, broad range, experience, science is theoretical. They don’t fully know one way or the other.

But GOD.

God fully knows, not only the disease and the treatments, but the reason and purpose behind its source: whether sent by an enemy intent on destruction, or brought about by God in fulfilling His plans and purposes. God fully knows my body and yours. He knows how the disease will effect each individual. He knows what each treatment will do and which my body will respond best to. He comprehensively understands the science behind the vaccine and the disease.

So, instead of looking at constantly changing scientific theory before it knows, ask the God-who-knows-all His opinion for your dealings with the disease and it’s potential remedies – healing aids. He promises to give needed wisdom to us when we ask with faith to follow His response. Once you get His response, trust Him for the outcome. Trust His purpose and plan. He is always working in and through us for eternal good.

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (Double-minded: tossed to and fro by the mind of one’s flesh arguing with the mind of Christ given in the power of God’s Spirit.)
— James 1:5-8

First Order of Preparedness

I am a member of a group of preppers, seeing the signs of the times and making ready for whatever may come. As a Christian, though I believe in practicing wisdom to be prepared for every kind of storm in life, ready to take care of mine and to help others, I know that all my preparations can be gone in an instant. Thus, it’s vital to remember that my hope is not in my supply, but my Supplier.

People say first priority for preparedness is water. I agree. And first priority in water supply is the Living Water, Jesus. I believe that Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. All our preparation and learning to live off the land will fail without God’s support, grace, and favor. He grants wisdom for life choices, direction for our feet, protection in the storm, and favor with Himself and with man. He gives supply that gives us safety into the eternal. And He promises that though money may fail us, He will never leave nor forsake us.

We can guess at what is coming and work to be ready, but He knows what is coming to each day and is already there making a way for us. However, there is one thing we know is coming to all of us: death of this shell. How sad it would be to prepare for storms of nature or man, but fail to be prepared for eternity.

God is my hope. He is my help in the day of trouble, my strength in the battle, my shelter in the storm, my Shepherd for the path, my Savior for all eternity. He gives me eyes to see, a mind to know, and a heart to understand; and He brings to my remembrance the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding stored in the banks of my mind at the moment of my need.

Make sure you are one with His vine and that your tendrils are attached to Him as first priority; that you are lapping freely of the Living, Life giving Water. Then make wise preparations with faith that He will be with you and guide you through every challenge until we meet Him in the air.

Robin Meadows says, “Just as tendrils are trained to hold to the fence for support, we need to train our hearts and minds to be entwined with Him and hold to Him. Dependent on Him, we gain supernatural strength to endure even the mightiest storms of life.

“Where does your strength come from? Are you attaching to people or things hoping to find fulfillment and security? Or are you training your heart to be connected to the One who is Strength?”

Enter this, your Rest, and get ready for all that is coming.

Lessons From My Garden: Day 6 • Devotional

Love Bears All Things

Love does not keep an account of wrongs suffered, adding them all together and holding them against a person. That’s an easy one to see. But do we realize this?

Counting up the good I do to someone I love, with thought that they aren’t loving me in the same way, adding my good against them, is the same thing.

It is counting up wrongs suffered by lifting my good as opposed to their lack of it as I see it, and that is in opposition to true love as God defines it.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Love trusts God to reward “my good”.

Love loves because it is who I am in Christ, and it is what I do to please my God, who is love.

That counts.

Loss of Love

The death of a relationship is one of the hardest of deaths, for the person mourned is not gone from life, they are only gone from my life. It’s especially grievous when we don’t know why they left the relationship.

Sadly, refusal to address the issue causing the separation says a lot about the falsehood of the love in that relationship. True love cares enough to address issues. So someone walking away without a word as to why, with no effort to address the issue, is symptom of a lack of true love and caring.

So there is the real pain. I thought they loved and cared for me as I do for them, but I now know they didn’t. I’ve tried to reach out through multiple avenues, and they ignore it out of some perceived insult from me that I don’t know I did. It hurts, deeply. Intent to go where they live and try to see them face to face has been hindered, but that remains in my heart to do. However, it feels too late now.

Loss of what I thought we had is the pain. They don’t love me enough to tell me what I did so we can address the problem and heal the relationship. How do we heal that wound?

Jesus addressed rejection this way, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Jesus forgave the rejection of those who refused His love; and He prayed for those who rejected Him to have God’s forgiveness. And! Jesus was and is ready to reestablish relationship whenever we call.

I love my friend. I wait for that friend to reach out, address the issue, and heal our wounds. I realize the loss in my life, and I am saddened. May our God bless and keep my friend. May my heart remain ready to reestablish relationship. For me, trust is the issue now. And that is truly sad.

God, or Not God

“For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load. … Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Galatians 6:3-5, 7-9

I deceive myself when I fail to take time to seek God for a right and true evaluation of self: where I am, where I need to be, why I should desire to be there, and what I need to do to progress forward.

You can try to encourage and help me, and I can do the same for you, but self determination is a gift from God that belongs to each of us. God made sure we have freedom of choice. I-👁 have to choose to progress forward. 👁 have to want it. 👁 have to make progressing forward a priority. 👁 have to choose life or death, good or evil, blessing or curse, prosperity or adversity, all of which equates to choosing God or not God.

No one else can make me do the good I need or desire. And no one else can do it for me. AND, if I am truly committed to God and working out of His supply in my journey, no one – and no thing – can truly hinder or stop my progress. Though life may hit a bump, it’s “choice” that will keep me moving to the finish line, or keep me from the prize.

Seed is sown into our lives, my life, whether or not I realize it. Like uncontrolled weeds, bad habits, untended, produce and sow bad seeds that reap a harvest of dandelions (false-gods). Satan constantly works to get us-me to feed the bad seed for his harvest of unrighteousness. With Spirit-eyes open, Good seed must be chosen, sown, and fed deliberately and liberally for a crop of good to come.

Self-deception and failure to realize the bad seed sown and fed gives the devil opportunity to sneer at God as he makes accusations against us-me. (“See! I told you she couldn’t follow the dictates of the Spirit for long. Your Spirit can’t control her! She doesn’t love or honor You enough”)

It is vital for me to seek God for true evaluation through His looking glass. I need to realize truth about self from His perspective, so I can make a right evaluation and choose right paths that honor God as God. I may deceive myself and others, but God knows the truth of my heart. I need Him if I am to see my true issues, needs, desires, and resources. Transformation is from Him.

Truly, there are only two choices: God or not God. To choose God is to choose the dictates of His Spirit that produce life, blessing, good, prosperity, and the Eternal. Choosing God builds a life of gold, silver, and precious stones that do not burn away in the fires of testing. …

Choosing “not God” is to choose the dictates of our old, dead flesh, which produces death, cursing, evil, adversity, and all that is temporary and worthless. Choosing flesh produces a life filled with wood, hay, and stubble, all of which will fail us and be burned away in the fires of testing.

Scripture tells us some will enter the eternal kingdom smelling like smoke (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). The implication is a life focused on fleshly desires and temporal pleasures rather than on the eternal. I don’t want to live a fleshly life, head hung in shame, that leaves nothing to show of God’s eternal glory when I stand before Him. I must choose the Spirit over my flesh.

God is not concerned about food, for example. But He is intent on my choosing Him. Food is the test. Choice is the proof. Proof of righteousness withstands the heat, bringing glory to God. Faithfulness for big things is built through fires of testing in the small, seemingly insignificant.

God, or not God. That’s my choice. God gave that right to me and to you. Gold, silver, and precious stones all require a lot of heat and patient time to develop. Growing weary on the journey leaves the produce immature and in a perishable state. Developing a healthy lifestyle dictated by the Spirit requires determination that perseveres despite the weeping desires of my flesh.

My determination of Spirit-control must outlast the pleas of my pitiful flesh. Like the parent (Spirit control) of a screeching two year old (demanding flesh), I must persevere to stand my ground and push through until flesh quiets and gives way to the Spirit with ever increasing ease.

Freed, and Charged

“If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
‭‭John‬ ‭8:36‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

God sets us free from sin, not to sin. Sin is anything that denies God as Lord and works against His will, way, truth, and lordship. Father God forgives – and has forgiven – all sin through Christ, delivering us who believe and receive Him from the consequence of sin, which is death – eternal separation from God, the source of life. All are trapped in this death until they surrender to God by receiving His gift of Christ, acknowledging God the Father as the only true God and Jesus as the one way to the Father.

Though we have eternity with Him because of Christ, we can walk back into the bondage of sin through our bad choices. Freedom from sin’s death does not prevent us from experiencing and being snared by the consequences of deliberate sin actions. I.e.: sexual sin brings the consequences of unplanned, often unwanted pregnancy; disease (STDs); broken relationships, to list a few. Breaking societal law brings jail time or prison sentences. Spending yesterday’s prosperity on today’s unwise and unnecessary wants leaves a tomorrow in need. Overindulgence in food or other addictive behaviors traps us in a body snared by sickness, excess weight, loss of strength and energy, and more. Etc.

Not only does scripture tell us that we can recognize those who are His through Christ by the fruit produced in their godly, Christlike lives, but scripture also charges us with responsibilities. As followers of Christ, we are charged to represent Him and His interests rightly and truly. We have a responsibility to do right and good, as bondslaves of Righteousness. A bondslave is one who chooses, usually out of loyalty and love, to bind themselves to a master. When we choose to obey God and do right as one truly set free from sin’s separation from God, we make ourselves a bondslave, charged with commitment to love and obey The Father in likeness, loyalty, and gratitude to Christ.

Yes, we are set free in Christ. But we are not to turn our freedom into excuse for sin.

“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:13‬ ‬‬

Good, Good Father

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17 NASB1995

It’s easy to look around the world today and think there’s nothing good going on. It seems there is unfathomable turmoil around every corner. Something unthinkable happens, leaving us stunned with nothing good that is readily apparent to our flesh mind and emotions, and we plummet to despair. Yes, I’ve been there many times, and here’s what I’ve learned, and am learning, even as I write.

First, we don’t think or see things like God does. His thoughts are higher, meaning smarter than ours, having greater perspective of the full picture than us, and always possessing eternal purpose. He does not allow anything to hit our lives without there being purpose in it, and His desire is that we know and trust Him with the absolute assurance that He is accomplishing something for someone’s eternal good in fulfilling that purpose.

His ways are higher than our ways. When He allows trauma into our lives, there are many things going on at one time.

* It gives us opportunity to shine as people who know and trust Him, giving those around us visual proof of faith’s aid in walking through troubled waters.

* It gives us opportunity to recognize where we still struggle in our faith walk and fruit bearing so we may grow stronger in those areas. It’s one thing to realize we are human, subject to slip into fleshly impulse. It’s another to let that knowledge become excuse for surrendering to it. Like with Job, in our stubborn resistance to deny our fleshly dictates, God will get as hard on us as our stubbornness requires, because He loves us and desires our best. That best is to grow stronger agreement and cooperation with the dictates of His Spirit

* Trouble tests our heart’s soil in areas of fleshly indulgeance, pride, and arrogance, revealing whether the seeds for growth, maturity and fruit bearing can thrive there.

* And trouble gives us life experience of our God that provides a testimony of His faithfulness and goodness and comfort we can use as His instrument in helping others when trauma hits.

This Father, from whom every good comes, always brings good out of trouble for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. When God allows His child to walk into troubled waters, He always has a purpose in it that becomes a call for us to walk with Him in fulfilling it. We, who are saved by grace through faith, are called according to His purpose and equipped by Him for EVERY good work. Trouble is always a door to us, affording us this opportunity.

God is doing a good work in us, and He WILL do it right up until Jesus comes for us. God will complete His work, will, and purpose in us. Thrashing against trouble is fighting against God, saying, “No. I don’t want it” to His will, way, and purpose.

Our response when trouble hits, flows out of not only our degree of surrender to our fleshly impulse, but out of the degree of our habitually practice of faith to trust God, believe these truths about Him, and enter the rest He supplies us when we successfully practice this faith. Falling to the flesh in a moment of sudden trauma is common to all. The thing that shows our maturity in faith is how quickly we recoup, drawing near to God, submitting to Him, and finding supply to control that fleshly impulse and enter God’s rest.

When we are in the flesh, responding to our emotions, it can be very frustrating to us for people to point us to these truths about God. We know these truths, but we’re not ready to hear it yet. We want to scream and holler, or cry and waller, and we want others to commiserate with us.

The problem with that is, the call of God to His people is to encourage our righteousness, turn us from the dictates of flesh to the Spirit, and help us turn our thoughts toward the higher things of God and His ways. Those of us who believe the quicker we turn to God’s way of thinking, sometimes move too quick with encouragement to come up higher. In our desire for the person’s Power for the journey, we forget that God also tells us to weep with those who weep. And so, our zeal hitting their trauma comes across as preachy or better than thou.

Our intent is to help the traumatized one to come quickly to Colossians 3:1-2 thinking, so they can have right thoughts within them, thoughts that increase one’s coping skills and strengthen us for the days we face. Thoughts that help us recognize the good gifts of God to be found in the rubble of trouble. But we must take care to acknowledge their trauma and the pain they are in. This is an area where I need work.

The fact of the matter for all within the sphere of our turmoil, both us who hurt, and those trying to encourage, is that God’s desire and purpose is to build a new relationship with us – a deeper, more vital and effective relationship with us. As the perfect Father, God wants only the best for His child, and our approach to trouble, whether in facing our own or in encouraging those we reach to help, always presents us opportunity to grow and come up higher into that love and security. May we surrender to Him, enter His rest, and enjoy the good gift of His faithfulness.

“IF THEN you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2 AMPC

Unmerited Favor: All Powerful Supply

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-10‬ ‭

Many people see grace and mercy as being the same things, but they aren’t. Scripturally, grace and mercy are two sides of the same coin, distinctly different, and both necessary for redemption, sanctification, and the work of completion.

Mercy is what most use to define both. Mercy is unmerited favor. It is God’s work to protect, provide, and direct to good that we do not deserve – at all, nor can we. Mercy has nothing to do with our ‘do’ and everything to do with God’s ‘Who’. He loves us, therefore He gives us His mercy. He loves us, thus we experience Him deliver us from consequences our actions and choices deserve. When we are spared a just outcome to unrighteous choices and actions, that is mercy. Woo! The stories of mercy I could tell.

Grace is God’s power made perfect in our weakness, giving us strength and ability (2 Cor. 12:9). We cannot produce the fruit of God in our lives apart from His grace at work in and through us. We cannot serve God or know and do His will, His way without His grace powering it. We cannot even possess and work out of faith in God apart from His grace to power our faith. Mercy gifts us a measure of faith; grace empowers us to use that faith.

We cannot be saved apart from Mercy. And we cannot live Christ apart from grace. We cannot be right within ourselves without mercy; we cannot live outwardly the right mercy produces in us apart from grace pouring through us. Mercy saves. Grace sanctifies.

From External Tutor to Internal Teacher

“… Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. …” Galatians‬ ‭3:19-29‬ ‭NASB

The purpose of God’s Law is to tutor us and cause us to realize our need of His merciful grace. It’s intent is to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. Then the power of God through the Spirit of God moves into us to teach us His ways and equip our success in following Him in the likeness of the perfection of Jesus Christ.

Where we fall short, Jesus covers us so we receive the mercy of God. And our weak flesh does fall short of this glory of God. We need God’s mercy, which means we need Jesus who covers us. We need God’s grace which empowers us to live as Jesus lived, thus we need the filling of the Spirit of God that comes through faith in Christ.

By faith to believe the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus accomplished on our behalf, we find freedom from sin and it’s consequence – death – eternal separation from God. By the work of God’s indwelling Spirit, we find power to live the freedom granted, as honors the God we possess and profess for all eternity.

Got Jesus? Only believe, receive, and profess Him, and He will seal the deal through the powerful work of the indwelling Spirit.

True Love Is a River Flow

“…That’s how you once behaved, characterized by your evil deeds. But now it’s time to eliminate them from your lives once and for all—anger, fits of rage, all forms of hatred (f.n., “including self-hatred”), cursing, filthy speech, and lying. Lay aside your old Adam-self with its masquerade and disguise…” Colossians‬ ‭3:5-17‬ ‭TPT‬‬

We are always dearly loved by God. ‭However, hatred for one’s self closes the door to love. We cannot know and fully receive the love of God or others when self-hate makes us feel unworthy. Nor can we truly give love when we hate self.

To top that, we tend to judge the opinion of others toward us by our own opinion of self, so self-hate produces misunderstanding of others words and actions, thus causing us to react inappropriately toward them.

Self-hate keeps us self focused, so we cannot see the struggle and difficulty others have and are acting out of themselves. Self-hate denies we are worth loving, and when we can’t love self enough to recognize any good in us, we can’t truly give love to those around us who struggle as we do. It’s a vicious cycle that gets confusing with the thought of it.

So, let’s get that out of the way. We are unworthy. In our fleshly struggle of self-hate that cannot truly receive love, we are broken vessels. None of us are perfect apart from Christ, nor can we be perfected without the work of God active and alive in us. We need Him. When we broken vessels think love is earned by worthiness, we cannot recognize true love to receive it, nor can we give it. Broken vessels cannot receive true love and hold onto it long enough to possess it where we can have it to give out freely to others.

Here’s the thing: God IS Love. His love comes to us, not because of who we are or what we do, but because of Who He IS.

We cannot lose what He freely gives. We haven’t earned it, therefore we can’t unearn or lose it. His love is ours by His choice, because love is His “who”. And when we finally learn that truth, the truth of God’s love for us personally, heals us. We become His mended vessels, able to recognize, receive, know, possess, and give true love: which is God in all His fullness.

And here’s another wonderful truth we need to know. When we choose to believe and receive this love from God, He begins to show us who we truly are and can be in our relationship with Him through Christ. Like a River flow reconfigures the riverbed, by His love working in us, He adjusts our “who” to something glorious and new, as we become like Him, including being able to love and give true love out of who we are because of Him.

His unconditional, unearned love flows from Him to us and for us to self, healing our brokenness and filling us up. But it doesn’t fill us like a closed reservoir, He flows through us like a river flows, which makes us love as He is love. An extension of His Who, He flows love from us to all around us. He makes us worthy of love by making us as He is, love, able to truly believe, receive, and give love, even to those who can’t earn it, because they haven’t received for themselves Him who is love.

Beloved, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to pay the price of our unworthiness. By accepting that gift of grace, letting go of our self-loathing to receive God’s unconditional love, we enter the River flow to be made love as He is love. Believe it. Receive it. Begin now to be changed by God’s love flow.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Respect. What is it? And what determines the giving of it?

According to The Free Dictionary: respect is a feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem. The state of being regarded with honor or esteem: a leader held in the greatest respect. Consideration or appreciation. Due regard for something considered important or authoritative: I.e., respect for the law.

My personal answer to both questions is “me”.

In my opinion and, prayerfully, in my personal life, respect is an attribute I must possess and practice. Respect, like love, is who I am and choose to be. It flows out of love, honor, and loyalty, first to God, then to self and others, and finally to the institutions of life: family, church, job, law, nation, etc.

With God in first place, respect is given out of love, honor, and loyalty to Him. He calls us to love Him out of one’s entire being as first, most vital relationship, and love others as self. Respect is first and foremost an act of love that honors God as Lord.

God tells us to honor our parents. He does not specify honoring parents who are worthy. We honor our parents, whether or not they are good at parenting, because God is our God. Honoring parents, honors Him as God. One way we do that as children of God is by living as honors Him in such a way that it makes our parents look good as parents. Honoring Him expresses honor for those He birthed us to. It can be hard, especially if the relationship is a bad one, but God, who requires it, equips us for it.

Loyalty to God spills over to respect self as the temple He chooses as residence. Loyalty to self chooses to BE as He is, through love, honor, and the loyal practice of all He places in us and calls us to. Desire to BE all He desires for me, and all He is making me to BE, requires me to be loyal to self in requiring the best in me. Out of loyalty to being who I am and desire to be, I give respect, at all times, to all people, including myself, in loving care as His temple.

We are called to respect parents, which includes grandparents, because God says to and we respect Him. We are called to respect governing officials, which includes law enforcement, because they are given charge by God to reward good, and punish evil. Respect honors a parent’s wishes through obedience as a love action toward God first. Respect obeys the laws of the land for the same reason. Respect obeys God above all: His laws and requirements take precedence over all others.

When we ignore a request or order given, or do a half hearted job of it, we disrespect God first, denying His Lordship; then we disrespect self, sullying our reputation as God’s representative; and lastly we disrespect the authority figure we dishonor through disobedience or halfhearted service.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T begins and ends with “me”, who I am, who I want to be. And it reflects my true relationship with God, in whose image I am called to live.

Father, as I think on these things and write these words, I can see areas of needed practice using my respect muscles. Make me better at living this necessary attribute. Empower the attribute of respect to flow from me out of love, honor, and loyalty to You as Lord in all my relationships. In Jesus, amen.

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!