Tag Archives: Support

In Christ, Empowered to Be Real

I have struggled to press forward in this teaching, at first struggling with desire to take a particular path with it and being held captive by God to wait until He could make me aware of the first step we must take to come into the reality of who we are because of Christ. Today, as I long to write what is in my heart, I seek the Lord for a jumping point from scripture. That search leads me to Paul’s letter to Timothy.

“I am calling up memories of your sincere and unqualified faith (the leaning of your entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness)…” ~ 2 Timothy 1:5, AMP. (Other verses in scripture use the words “leaning of the entire human personality…” Read them here.)

God has truly been revealing to me lately that before we can come into all that we are in Christ, we must first realize that we are safe to be real in God’s presence. We can fully trust Him: PERIOD, THE END.

Lean on02We have talked about this before, but God has truly been drumming it into me of late. Adam and Eve, when they fell from obedience to God, sought to cover not just the nakedness of their physical body, but the nakedness of their entire human personality: they were afraid to let God see what they had become as people, so they tried to hide and cover up. And we are still trying to hide from God even today, afraid to be real with Him.

I look at the patriarchs of old and one thing that stands out to me is those who are most well know are the most real with God: Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul. These stood before God, flaws and all, and the scriptures listed / linked above in our text tell us how they were able to do that. They leaned their entire human personality on Him in ABSOLUTE trust and confidence in HIS POWER, WISDOM, AND GOODNESS.

Jesus tells us that without Him we are weak and ill equipped to do anything (John 15). Paul tells us that it is through our weakness that God’s power can show off, making itself known to and through us (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). But if we cannot be real with God, having full faith in Him to use His power on our behalf, granting us wisdom, and doing good toward us, how can we experience the fullness of who we are in Christ?

I sit before you today in a very hard place in life. My precious daddy, whom I have always loved, trusted, and looked to as a strong tower in life, has lost his ability to see things as they truly are. He believes things of his family members that are false and that greatly hinder our ability to minister to him because his beliefs hinder his ability to trust us to do good to him. I love my daddy and I want him to be proud of who I am, but right now he cannot see the truth of who I am in Christ, and his accusations deal a crushing blow to my aching heart. Though I am real with my daddy, trying to do good to him and for him, it is not received because he has no power to receive it, no wisdom to discern the truth of it, and he believes I have no goodness to give him or toward him.

As a result of his inability to trust me, I find myself cowering, unable to trust him. It is a frustrating, vicious cycle that highlights the weakness in me. God has shown me that my struggle when it comes to dealing with daddy in his current state of mind is because I am failing to fully trust
my God. And now that I am working to trust Him more, He is helping me to see that the reason daddy’s beliefs and accusations and actions hurt so bad is because of pride in me. I can’t believe that anyone can see me the way he does, especially not my daddy, and though I know his beliefs are not the true me, pride that wants him to see the truth leads to hurt that hinders relationship. Thus God is using the situation to teach me about the real me and help me to trust Him more so I can be and do better as I again let go of my pride and surrender my reputation to Him who gives me favor with man.

Today, as I find myself again grieving over my dad who is very ill and needs our help but won’t allow us to help him, God is reminding me that He is faithful and trustworthy. He sees me as I am and He still loves me. I can be real with my Father-God, my Eternal-Daddy, and He will be faithful to comfort me, empower me, granting me wisdom in this hour, and He will do good to and for me and my daddy.

Because of God’s love and faithfulness, I awoke this morning with the Spirit singing to me. “Your Love Never Fails” running through my mind, He speaks to my heart, encouraging me that I can lean my entire human personality, all that I am—good, bad, or indifferent—on Him in Whom I can trust, for He is the same through the ages—disease of the mind does not change Him. He loves me as I am, though He loves me enough to help me be better, training me as a child to bear His image. But even when I fall and fail, His love never changes.

~*~

Listen to these words of comfort and assurance and be encouraged with me, beloved. We can be real with our trustworthy, loving Daddy-YAH:

Your Love Never Fails by Chris Quilala and Jesus Culture

Nothing can separate / Even if I ran away / Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes / But You have new mercies for me everyday / Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages / Your love never changes / There may be pain in the night / But joy comes in the morning / And when the oceans rage / I don’t have to be afraid / Because I know that You love me / Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water’s deep / But I’m not alone here in these open seas / Your love never fails / The chasm is far too wide / I never thought I’d reach the other side / Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages / Your love never changes / There may be pain in the night / But joy comes in the morning / And when the oceans rage / I don’t have to be afraid / Because I know that You love me / Your love never fails

You make all things work together for my good / You make all things work together for my good / You make all things work together for my good / You make all things work together for my good / You make all things work together for my good / You make all things work together for my good

You stay the same through the ages / Your love never changes / There may be pain in the night / But joy comes in the morning / And when the oceans rage / I don’t have to be afraid / Because I know that You love me / Your love never fails / Because I know that You love me / Your love never fails

In Christ I am Citizen of the Kingdom

Beloved, we have looked at some truths regarding who we are created to be in Christ that are awesome to me, but let me tell you again today, this is not working in me some ungodly pride that leads to haughtiness. As alert as I am becoming to myself as a daughter of God and queen of His Kingdom under the Lordship of the King of kings, I am still acutely alert to my need of Him as a sheep of His fold and as part of the Bride, being weaker than the Groom (1 Peter 3:7). I can do nothing apart from Him.

What this information is working in me is a deep sense of understanding of my need to take ownership—take full possession of my position through Christ and to take seriously the responsibility those positions of power and authority bring to me. Some we will not fully perceive and possess until we stand side by side with Him. But other things are made clear in scripture that instructs our heart as to our here and now authority in Christ and Kingdom responsibility in this life.

walking-with-godBefore we press on today to whom we are in Christ, we need to realize where we are. Jesus prayed that we who are His would be in the world but not of it (John 17:11-15). Beloved, truly what we are to be, though we are not physically in His Kingdom at this time, is very mindful that we are of His Kingdom. Thus it is important for us to realize what that looks like and practice that life where we are.

One thing we look at is Scripture that says things like “The Kingdom of God is righteous, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Those of the Kingdom are authorized with power over the demonic; they are given discernment of Kingdom mysteries; and those of the Kingdom scatter its seed in places where they take root and grow to bear much fruit (Romans 14:17; Matthew 12:28; Mark 4:11, 26-29).

The Word of God has much to say about what the Kingdom looks like on those who are in the world, but of the Kingdom. It is vital, as we continue this journey to discover who we are in Christ, that we realize where we are: though in the world, we are of the Kingdom, and we are charged with duties in the world that focus on fulfilling Kingdom purpose in the name of our God and King. With that understanding, we are now ready to continue to discern who we are:

“So we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:20, AMP.

We are Christ’s ambassadors, on assignment in this world, keeping in heart the good of the Kingdom of Godseedling and working on its behalf. There are many things we are charged with as Ambassadors of the King: not the least of which is to do all He equips us to do in the ministry of reconciliation. We are called and equipped to share all that God has done to bring reconciliation to His created beings. We are called and equipped to lead others to saving knowledge of the Christ. But it goes farther than that. We are His ambassadors, called and equipped to make disciples of mankind. We do not just plant the seed then leave it without food and water and care that makes it grow deep roots and strong branches. But we do raise up those who receive the seed so they grow strong and produce a harvest. We are Kingdom builders, charged with responsibility to aid in the building and establishing of God’s Kingdom from our in-the-world-position as Ambassadors of the Kingdom. And I am discovering that a vital part of that work is to help others who are of the Kingdom realize who they are as His representatives in the world.

Another very important thing that we need to realize about who we are in Christ is this:

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of GOD; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” ~ 1 Peter 2:9-10.

EchadWe are of the Royal Priesthood. Beloved, in Christ we are birthed not only into the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but we are of the tribe of Levi, bearing within ourselves the Levitical priesthood. Revelation words who we are this way:

“He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. …You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth” ~ Revelation 1:6; 5:10.

We are called to be priests unto God, beloved, ministering before Him with songs of praise and psalms of adoration, glorifying Him in the earth not only through our words, but through our deeds and lifestyles.

Yes, our God has graciously lifted us dust particles up from the place of separation from Him, and He has highly exalted us in the Kingdom of our God and King, not for anything we have done, but because of the Christ in whom we trust. Being priests unto God is a total other study, but this is an excellent beginning. As sheep in His fold, children sealed by His Spirit, raised to royalty in Christ, we serve as part of His Kingdom being Ambassadors of Christ and Royal Priests unto God. Now to proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.

See you tomorrow, beloved, as the next thing we need to realize is who we are not.

Lift Up Your Hands!

Hello, beloved. I am here today to share a pondering with you as I seek the Lord to “show me.” As those of you who read many of my writings may have guessed, I am memorizing a large portion of Psalm 63 in the NIV. This week I am working to add verse 4 and 5 to what I have thus far. Today, as I consider and focus on verse 4, I find myself wondering what might be applied to life through this verse. It says, and I quote…

“I will praise you all of my life, and in Your name I will LIFT UP MY HANDS” ~ Psalm 63:4, NIV.

Now I will look and make sure I quoted that correctly. Back in a minute…(tick, tick)….

Ah, man! I keep saying “all of my life” instead of “as long as I live”. Oh, hum. Well I am getting better. I was saying “with all that I am,” which Father told me “sounds good to Me”, but it is not what this version of this verse says. Anyway, I digress. It is a process and part of my processing today is spurred by wondering how, in His name, we might lift up our hands.

Now this, I am sure, is talking about worship, but we should worship God by honoring Him as God and Lord and Master in all things, so I am wondering how else we lift up hands in the name of the Lord. Searching “lift, hand” on Bible Gateway, this is what I discern as I seek the Lord for His answers. Now, note, not all of these scriptures will be specifically talking about what I discern from the input I receive from the use of lift – hands in a particular verse. But I believe the things God is revealing to me are scriptural, so open your hearts and minds to Him and get ready to say, “Amen!” or “Oh me.”

“Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him” ~ Genesis 21:18.

When we take the hand of a child or someone younger than we are in order to train them up or lead or mentor them, we better be doing so in the name of the Lord, as best represents Him. It is our greatest work of praise, honor, and glory to God when we encourage and help others become all He sees in them.

“As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land” ~ Exodus 14:16.

What better way to honor and glorify God than, through obedience to Him, to lift hands in His name so as to be used of Him to make a way where there is no way for those who need to be set free. This requires faith to believe Him, take Him at His word, and do what He says.

“Then one of them shall lift up from it a handful of the fine flour of the grain offering, with its oil and all the incense that is on the grain offering, and he shall offer it up in smoke on the altar, a soothing aroma, as its memorial offering to the Lord” ~ Leviticus 6:15.

Lifting our hands to fulfill what is needed in giving an offering to God at the altar of sacrifice. When we do and give and work as an offering of sacrifice and service to God, we bless Him and honor Him as Lord. The soothing aroma created not only pleases and glorifies God, but it acts as a memorial to Him and to all who see.

“Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them” ~ Leviticus 9:22a.

Lifting hands in honor of God’s name, as representing Him and His interests in the earth so as to bless those around us brings great praise and glory to our God and King.

“Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank” ~ Numbers 20:11.

God often will bless those we lift a hand to serve in His name, even when we do it with a bad attitude or wrong motives. But as Moses learned, better to check those things and get right with God first.

“Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to You for help, When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary” ~ Psalm 28:2 (Psalm 141:2).

We lift our hands to God in earnest prayers of intercession, supplication, and surrender; reaching to Him who is the answer in all things.

“And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, Which I love; And I will meditate on Your statutes” ~ Psalm 119:48.

Here I see the lifting of hands as in a pledge of allegiance, committing self to the Sovereignty of God as Lord and to the fulfillment of our responsibility as citizens of His Holy Kingdom.

“Lift up your hands to the sanctuary And bless the Lord” ~ Psalm 134:2.

As I read this, I am mindful that God is our Sanctuary. When we realize that we are safest when in close proximity to Him, accomplished through faith, trust, and allegiance to obey Him, it blesses His heart and brings us into His security.

“Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins? Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord. We lift up our heart and hands toward God in heaven; we have transgressed and rebelled, You have not pardoned” ~ Lamentations 3:39-42.

Here I see lifting the hand so as to slap the knee—or the forehead, as the popular V8 commercial depicts—in realization of sin and sincere repentance of heart.

“Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension” ~ 1 Timothy 2:8.

We glorify, honor, and bless Father when we lift up holy hands in unity as Brethren in Christ.

And finally is the one that first came to my mind and heart as I anticipated this search.

Exodus 17: 8 Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. 9 So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. 13 So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner; 16 and he said, “The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.”

Beloved, the bottom line I am seeing is this. The Lord, our God, He is our Banner, our Support, our Strong Tower, our Storehouse of supply, abundant for every need. He is God, Lord, King, Savior, Hope, Help, Champion, Sanctuary. He is worthy for us to lift up holy hands in every possible way that brings Him honor. And sometimes we need the help of others to hold our hands up and to help us walk so as to make our ways straight. In Christ we are one with the One God who reveals Himself through Father, Son-Savior, and Holy Spirit-Presence-Power.

Father, I will praise you all of my life, with all that I am, and in Your name I will lift up my hands. In Jesus, make it so I pray. Amen.

Matthew 11’s Dot to Dot

Reading chapter 11 of Matthew, suddenly all these dots begin to connect. You know what? Matthew 11 is one exciting chapter of scripture! Picture this:

John the Baptist is imprisoned, probably being mistreated, ridiculed and scorned, and I am sure he realizes his time on earth is short. So, like most of us would do, he begins to wonder if his ministry was really what he thought it was. So he sends his most trusted disciples to Jesus to ask, “Are You truly Him?” How does Jesus answer?

“Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”

Jesus not only taught that the tree (or true believer) will be known by its fruit, whether it be good or evil, but when asked if He is HIM, He did not simply say “Yes, I AM”, He said “Tell him of the fruit you see that proves Me to be.” In so doing, Jesus assured the heart of John to believe he himself is who he was sent by God to be: the voice in the wilderness preparing the way for Messiah.

Once they left, Jesus turned to the crowed and told them the fruit born through John that proved who he was, in essence saying, “In fact, he is Elijah, returned in flesh as promised.” In so doing, he removed the speculations of those who wondered if John was truly a prophet of God or what. Afterall, if he is God’s profit, wouldn’t God deliver him from the hands of his enemy?

Then Jesus prayed to the Father, and what does He say? Essentially He says, “Father, no one else truly knows who I AM, but You know Me and I know You. So it doesn’t matter to Me what others may say about Me. My assurance is in You.” And why did He pray so? He was giving example to us, as was a large part of His purpose in the world.

Training Yoke
Training Yoke

And what comes next but that well known and beloved passage, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

What do I hear here, in light of the previous connected dots of those wondering who they or another truly are? I see Jesus saying, “When life in this world gets so rough that you begin to question not only your own worth and who you really are, along with whether the produce of your hands is accomplishing any good thing – but also maybe you begin to wonder if I am truly who I AM, then come to Me. I will remind you who I am and who you are, and you will find rest and restoration when you yoke with Me in assurance of faith.”

And what is accomplished by yoking with Him? I see:

†   The cooing of love for His betrothed child of God made sure to you who believe.

†  Growing our faith in Who He is.

†   Firming up what He knows to be your person and purpose.

†   Training in righteousness, restoring the image of God through Christ and in the power of His Spirit.

†   Assurance of purpose.

†   Strength and supply for success in accomplishing all God’s will in all God’s way.

†   Intimacy of relationship.

†   Safety of presence.

†   Aid in time of need.

†   Unity from the heart.

†   Undeniably proof of being in the eternal Kingdom now and forevermore.

Beloved, if no one recognizes the work of God born into the world through you, like Jesus you may take courage in knowing that the Father knows you and you know Him, and He is faithful to assure our hearts. And when life is so difficult you begin to wonder, “Lord, are you truly Him and am I truly Yours,” He has a yoke that is light and easy to bear, where you can stand hand in hand with Christ, finding assurance and supply along with rest for your weariness.

Come, beloved. Yoke with Christ today, receiving assurance of who He truly is, and the beauty of who you are in Him.

Pull Me Closer

My husband has me convinced. It amazes me, but I am convinced. Not only does he love me fully, but he truly sees me as beautiful, attractive, alluring, and appealing. That is awesome to me. And God made it more awesome as He used Johnny’s love for me, again, to teach me something about His own.

You see, I am nearing 60. Forty pounds overweight, greying hair, the family nose, curves where no curve should be, and I don’t feel very appealing. In fact, I am a viable candidate for the next opening for Barnum and Bailey’s bearded lady. Seriously! All of this makes me leery when my husband and I get too close, afraid his bad eyes will see clearly, and he will change his tune. But then he assures me of his sincerity, and I marvel at his love that never ceases to amaze.

The other night as we were falling to sleep, I was mulling this marvel over, again convinced anew and relishing in the truth of my husband’s affections, while at the same time realizing my own timidity toward him because of my feelings about myself. As I thought on these things, the Spirit of God spoke clearly to my heart. In a nutshell, here is what He told me.

“A woman’s fear of trusting the loving affections of her husband throws up a wall between them as she holds herself back, not wanting to get too close where he might see what she sees. As a result, she misses out on the intimacy to be enjoyed in a relationship of loving trust: one where she feels safe to be real and enjoy their life together. By not getting close and trusting his affections, she then fails to see what he sees in her, and misses the inspiration to major on that area of her nature to be better.

“The same is true where our relationship with God is concerned. We hold ourselves back from God, not wanting to get too close for fear that He might see us as we see ourselves and be repulsed. So out of fear of trusting the love God has for us that causes Him to choose us as His own possession with sincere desire to draw near to us as we draw near to Him, we miss the intimacy to be had with our God: hindering our being real with Him. And as a result, we miss out on the very relationship we need, and we fail to see what He sees in us and be inspired to higher ground.”

It is important to have relationships with others who accept us and appreciate us for who we are; people we feel safe to be real with. But those people should also be ones who love us in ways that inspire us to be the best we can be. That is the love God calls husbands to have for their wives. You see, God knows that we struggle with our sense of self. So He called husbands through Paul to a love for their wives that cherishes and nurtures. That which we cherish, we hold up to admire it and we do all we can to help it to look and be its best. We treasure that which we cherish, seeking to protect and build it up. Those we nurture, we help to be the best they can be, nourishing them in good ways that help them grow strong and achieve their purpose. My husband loves me in this way, and so does my God.

“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.’ 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.

When we draw near to God without fear of His seeing us for who we are, He makes us better people through the relationship and He lifts us up. So why do we hide under the covers, afraid of the relationship that will make us better, more appealing, stronger?

What was the first thing Adam and Eve did after they sinned? They tried to cover up their nakedness and hid from God. God is not afraid of our nakedness, but we should be afraid of hiding from God. When we hide from God, that is when we lose site of the One who can cover us in robes of righteousness and make us whole again.

For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]” ~ Hebrews 4:15-16, AMP.

Draw near to God in intimate relationship, beloved. He loves and desires you, and He wants to help you see what He sees in you and what He has for you to attain for yourself.

“In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world” ~ 1 John 4:17, AMP.

Closer ~ Steffany Frizzell and Matt Stinton: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLQ0C_MSVLY&list=PLfiEjLIYhJ9AfidNKH4ify2vg0Z5t-SSj&index=6

The Journey to Self-Control: Part 1 of 7

Sensing God’s leading to share my current SparkPeople journey with you here, I will be copying a current blog series from my Spark to these pages here until the season of instruction ends. I hope that some here will be helped with their walk of faith in God in some area of your life.

Blog #1: Founded and Built to Last

SparkPeople’s Coach Nicole says: “Every day is another chance to turn things around.”

Two of my teams are studying the book, Made to Crave. In chapter 5, the thing that struck me and brought a gasp of inspiration to my heart was the thought that not only does God want to be a part of our journey, even in the things that seem mundane to us, like our dietary struggles, and not only does He desire all that we do—even this journey—to be done for Him and His glory, but He wants this journey to be another avenue in life whereby we experience Him and His presence and personal desire for relationship with “me”. That is awesome to me, again! So as I think about today being a day of second chances, I begin a journey of considering what this thought in chapter 5 of Lysa Terkeurst’s Made to Crave means to and for me.

In future posts on this subject, I will be looking at some of my life verses that fit this thought, making the connection between them, the experience of God, and how to deliberately bring that to my Spark Journey. For now, in my scripture reading this morning, the following passage really struck me as the place to begin as I consider how to bring the experience of a stronger relationship and walk with God into my Spark.

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. IF ANY MAN’S WORK IS BURNED UP, HE WILL SUFFER LOSS; BUT HE HIMSELF WILL BE SAVED, YET SO AS THROUGH FIRE.

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise”  ~ 1 Corinthians 3:10-18.

I am wowed as I realize anew the connection of this call to recognize our body as the Holy temple of God and its introduction following on the heels of how we build on a foundation. Our care of our body is not unimportant to God. It is vital to our relationship with Him as we realize we are His temple, and we are building on and maintaining His residence. And what does this passage tell us that fits with our walking this journey with realization that we are in company with God Almighty as we travel this path?

The first thing I note that I must realize is important to God and vital to my experiencing Him in this journey is, “no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” There are foundations to every work that must be laid, and when that foundation is cemented in Christ, it will withstand every quaking challenge to its stability. The foundation of my healthy lifestyle is vital, and Jesus—God with us (Immanuel), God incarnate, the One through home salvation comes—Jesus must be the cornerstone.

The thing that came to heart right off as I consider this is the realization that all that I do is to be done in ways that honor Him as Lord and bring glory to His name. So seeking Him before I bite, making Him part of my dietary and exercise regimen, seeking His appetites and His instruction for activity is vital to my ability to experience Him in this journey; and vital to my ability to do that with greater realization is for me to understand that this journey is as important to Him as my relationship with Him and my Kingdom experience. He must be the foundation, and His teachings can direct me to firm up the foundation of my journey to health and a healthy lifestyle as a part of my Kingdom journey.

The second thing I note is the material I use to build my healthy lifestyle is vital to building a healthy body with lasting results that will not burn up and fall apart when touched by the fires of life’s challenges. I will know God’s presence and work with me in this journey as I begin to seek Him to help me discern the gold, silver, and jewels that I need to use to replace all wood, hay and stubble in my current practices. To see the better choices set before me as God’s gold, silver, and jewels, and to choose them over the wood, hay and stubble that may seem easier, quicker, and more appealing enlivens my journey, seeing God at the core of every decision for healthier living. Any decision I face, I need to look at with a view of discerning which is the jewel in the hand of God; and the greatest building material of all is my attitude and motive in the decision made. By lining my attitude and motive for this journey and its choices up with God’s, I experience Him on the path to health and well-being.

Thus begins my journey to experience God in this journey, taking it from the mundane must do, to the glory of the eternal path walked deliberately hand in hand with the Father.

I am looking for a new body of health and strength which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Take Up Your Cross – Trade With Christ

Cross2God is really encouraging my heart to realize the cross we are called to take up. It is not one of our own making, but one He gives us to carry in His name, just as He took ours in our name and bore our penalty of sin. My heart is soaring with renewed strength in realizing the cross I take up is one He trades me.

Jesus bore my cross and yours at Calvary, paying the full price on our behalf. We do not have to continue to bear the cross of sin, shame and sorrow any more. Once we receive His gift of grace, the cross of judgment’s condemnation comes off our shoulders and He hands us a new cross to bear. Here is what I see as I think on all God is revealing to my heart.

Jesus says to me, “Darlene, I want to use your communication skills to my glory. Now take up your cross daily and follow me to fulfill your purpose in my Kingdom.” Then he hands me His cross as my own, which like His yoke, is lite and easy to bear. How does He do that?

He says to my heart, “I give you the tongue of disciple, that you may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. I awaken you morning by morning, awakening your ears to listen as a disciple. Your tongue is Mine, the pen of a Ready Writer, useful to Me as a conduit of My word of praise, promise, warning and instruction” (Isaiah 50:4; Psalm 45:1).CrossDaily05

Receiving His word of instruction as promise, I take it up as my cross to bear by believing with trusting faith that He will fulfill it, and I follow hard on His heels, trusting my verbal and written tongue to Him. He flows surely and easily through my mind to fulfill His good will and purpose. The only requirement of me is my willingness to believe by faith, surrendering myself to Him for His use, and watch Him accomplish His purpose in me. You be the judge. Does He?

At times He gives me a difficult word to share with another, and He tells my heart, “Fear not for I am with you. Speak my word with boldness and it will accomplish the purpose for which I send it” (Example scriptures He might use with me are: Isaiah 12:2 and 55:11). So I do as He instructs, sometimes trembling, but always trusting, taking up the cross He gives me to carry. And He brings victory through the word to me in my obedience, and to all who receive it with faith, taking up their cross to walk out CrossDaily04His instruction, hard on His heels.

Like the yoke of Jesus, I am coming to believe His cross is ours to carry as we complete what remains to be done in the earth in His name. And like His yoke, His cross is not meant for us to carry the weight of it; it is a student cross where He, the Teacher bears the load and we learn as we carry the lite end. He carries the bulk; and we help by surrendered trust to do all He instructs us in following hard after Him as students of righteousness.

Thus I say to you, reader, take up your cross with faith, knowing the cross you bear is filled with promise that produces victory to the praise and glory of God.

The Light Within

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to Him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him’” ~ John 11:5-10.

Verses 8-10 Ryrie Study Bible Footnote says: Jesus states that He could safely go back to Judea, where an attempt had been made to stone Him as long as He was walking in the Light of His Father’s will.

In this passage of scripture, Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, is deathly ill. When news reaches the ears of the Christ, what does He do? He waits two more days. Why? I believe for two reasons:

God was not finished with Him where he was at that moment, and

Lazarus was not ready for resurrection.

When God had things ready for the great and glorious work to be done, then He sent His Son into harm’s way, and only then. I just imagine that those who would have stoned Him had second thoughts of who might be stoned after the Christ called out, “Lazarus, come forth!”

There is safety in the will of God for us, too. God’s word does not go forth without accomplishing its purpose, and when He calls us to something, that purpose will be fulfilled as long as we are following hard on His heels, walking in the Light of our day. “If anyone walks in the Day, he does not stumble.” Trust the Lord’s lead, go forth with faith, and prosper. There is no need of fear when we follow the Light within.

Caught in the Wake: Part 2b

Humble Enough to Draw Near

Walking on Water06“Do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: ‘He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us’? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” ~ James 4:5-8a.

Here, in the last portion of our focal passage for part 2 of “Caught in the Wake”, we have a step by step blueprint to walking on water in the midst of stormy seas.

Submit to God:

Sin is failure to walk in unity with God, and walking with God requires us to follow His will, doing so in His way. When we realize our part in causing a surge of sin around us, we must reach up our hand to God by admitting where we got off track in following Him and coming into agreement with Him that our fall was sin and we need His grace again.

Two things I want to look at here is the “Note” from yesterday promising to cover the “personal sin” issue; and we need to look at the work of the Holy Spirit who “convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment.” Without understanding in these two areas, a storm tossed sea that continues even though we submit will confuse us and can be used of Satan to discourage us. So let’s begin with the first, the fact that it is personal sin we have to deal with.

As was hopefully made clear in the introduction to this series, a wake of sin of this proportion is not generally caused by one person,

Returning to walking with Jesus
Returning to walking with Jesus

but by many whose waves of consequences combine to cause surging seas that appear insurmountable. Now, as is the way of God, I can do nothing by way of repentance on behalf of another. Each person is responsible before God to repent for their own sin issues. I can confess in agreement with God that what they did is sin, and I can pray for the Spirit to do His work in drawing them to God, but I can only repent for my own sins and make myself right with Him anew. Why? Because repentance requires one to turn from walking their own way, to walking in God’s ways. That requires a choice of heart, for from the heart flows the issues of life. My feet will follow my heart, so if my heart is not following God in His desires, my feet will continue to struble over the stones of sin coming from my hardened heart. Only I can choose for myself whether I will follow God and obey Him, doing things His way. My relationship with God is my own and yours is yours.

When we get our eyes focused on the surge of waves brought up by the sins of others, we put ourselves in danger of sinking under the emotional assault and fault finding that comes to us with such a focus. When caught on stormy seas, our focus must be to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and our attention on making sure we are hand in hand with Him who equips us to walk on top of the water. This is where the Teacher and understanding His role come into play. The Spirit is responsible to instruct our hearts, and His instruction is clearly stated as being that of bringing understanding to us regarding sin, righteousness and judgment.

The work of the Spirit in the life of one not yet united with Christ is to draw him to realize sins grip that has him enslaved in an eternity without God. He causes that lost soul to realize that God is righteous and holy and can have no part with sin. And He makes that person aware of the judgment already passed against sin, which is separation from God for all eternity. Then the Spirit causes the person’s eyes to open to the saving grace of God that is found only in the Lamb provided by God, Jesus Christ, the Savior. That person then has the choice of remaining under sin and slave to it, or having the chains torn asunder by their choosing to enter into the sacrifice of Christ that frees from sin. Once they choose saving grace, the Holy Spirit of God enters into their lives, becoming one with their spirit, granting them access to the Father through their new birth in relationship with Christ.

Now this new Christian has the Spirit forever within, and the role of the Spirit takes on a deeper dimension of grace that starts this new creature in Christ on a road of transformation and the Spirit works to restore the image of God that was created in mankind from the beginning, but was distorted by sin. With every choice that comes before the Christian, the Spirit works to make them aware of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He instructs their heart, if they are listening: “This way leads to sin, the judgment and consequences of which is against God and contrary to Him. That direction leads to righteousness, the effect of which will maintain relationship with God and accomplish His purpose.”

Submission to God heeds the teaching of the Spirit, reaches out from the heart to grab the hand of Jesus, who empowers us through the Spirit to walk on top of the waters of life and complete His sufferings of accomplishing the work of God in the earth. The blood of Jesus keeps us covered while the Spirit of God is doing the work of transformation in us, bringing us to completion until the day of Christ’s return, when eternity in God’s new Kingdom begins. Thus is the path of submitting to God, which automatically produces our next point in overcoming the storm tossed seas.

Resist the devil:

Note that submission to God is automatic resistance to the devil, who is always in opposition to God. We cannot walk with God and with the devil at the same time. When we are in submission to God’s will and way in life, we stand hand in hand with God through Christ, and the devil turns with cringing fear to get away from us.

The devil is total opposite to God. God is truth. The devil is the lie and the father of lies / liars. God is good and loves goodness. The devil is evil and loves evil. God is love – love always does what is best for the one loved, which is to protect unity with the Father-God and our ability to walk with Him. The devil is hate, desiring to be god himself, he does all he can to destroy our relationship to God and cause us to fall away to following after sin.

When we give ourselves to sin, we walk away from God to walk with the devil, making him god of our lives. When we become a stumbling block in the lives of others, leading to their falling into sin, we cooperate with Satan’s desire and work in the earth. So we must resist the devil by submitting to God, which causes us to…

Draw near to God:

Walking on water04When we choose to walk with God, His glory surrounds us as He draws near to us in renewed relationship. The devil will cringe at the presence of God with us and run away from us. This is the cycle that comes from drawing near to God through submission to Him that resists the devil and causes God to draw near to us.

And how much greater still it is when we live a life that not only holds to the hand of Jesus who enables us to walk on the waters beneath us, but we reach our hand out to help another grab His and walk with us to victory.

When we love God and begin to take on His likeness anew, we search for truth and walk in it, making it known to those around us. God’s goodness begins to flow through us like a river to refresh and help those around us. And His love fills us and spills out to the lives of others.

The Spirit grows strong within us, quickening us – making life found in relationship with God come to our eternal spirit. And we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, humility, compassion, and other qualities of God flourish within us, making us holy as He is holy.

“Extol the Lord our God and worship at His holy hill,

for the Lord our God is holy!”

Psalm 99:9.

Even as we practice these spiritual disciplines on a personal level and get on top of the water in the midst of stormy seas, the surge can continue because we are not the sole source of the surge. Remember in our example, one sinned, hurting another in a way that made them an open target as the hurt cracked their armor, allowing the tempter to draw them out from their relationship with God. Sin has a domino effect that brings an avalanche crashing into the calm waters below, and the ripple of sins hitting the peaceful places surges the stormy winds of sin’s consequences. Each person involved plays a role in the cause of the storm that is sending waves of harm to the lives of all around them. And each must do their part to get back on top of the water with Jesus. Until each one is in right relationship with God anew, the storm will continue to beat down on all in its path.

This being true, how do we recoup and press forward while waiting for others involved to do their part in calming the storm around us? What can we do to quiet the winds and bring calm to the waters of life again? See you next post.

Look the Right Way!

MM900395755[1]“Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, and as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He has mercy and loving-kindness for us” ~ Psalm 123:2, AMP.

Several months ago God instructed my heart that “A Storm” is coming to our land and He began using me to call many to prayer.

When Sandy hit, I said, “Lord, is this it?”

“No,” He replied, “This is only a part of the greater.”

Then He impressed on my heart that our nation will see its economy crumble and immorality increase like a storm never seen before in our land. So we watch and we pray.

MP900443311[1]Over the past numerous days God has been instructing my heart, and these words penned in a devotional by Sarah Young in her book “Jesus Today” sum it all up: Look the Right Way!

As I have pondered all that God is speaking to me through His word and the words of His People, I realized that I have gained 10 pounds since God’s warning me of The Storm to come. Though I thought I was keeping eyes on Him, I would say that I am stress eating, which signals me that my eyes are looking in the wrong direction.

What if things fall apart? Is that not what we anticipate as a sign that Christ’s return draws near? Does the chaos in the earth make God any less capable of tending to His Own? Have not many generations seen similar storms blow through and lived to tell of the Wonderworks of God in seeing them safely to the other side? “Look the Right Way, Darlene, and press forward with hope.”

I know not what “tomorrow” holds, but I know Who holds “tomorrow”.  He has a purpose in all things, and it is for eternal good and glory. I can rest in Him Who is my Rest, Strong Tower, Secret Hiding Place, Firm Foundation, and Possessor of my soul. He is my Rock out of which the Stream of refreshing and provision come. He is Hope and Song. He sees! Nothing escapes His notice and He cares for all that concerns me and those with me who seek to Look the Right Way. When I look at Him and keep my eyes on Him and His purpose, I find peace that passes understanding and hope beyond measure.

As I have looked at Him, He instructed me on some important things I am to give myself to: loving Him first and foremost, and others as I should be loving myself. My eating is not a loving act toward me, nor Him whose temple I am, so that has got to change. Relationships are vital in this hour, and the busyness of life threatens that, so I must be deliberate in taking time for others.

I must keep up my ponderings, reflecting on the things God shows me and sharing them with you in the hope of being a help to lift youdreaming and happy up in these difficult days ahead. Too often we read His word, hear Him speak, and go off never giving Him time to fully instruct and transform us by His Word. Taking time for reflection, “Pondering these things” as Mary did, is vital to our weathering the storm ahead.

And rest is vital in these days; not only the rest of leisure time that physically rests our weary bodies, but entering into His rest despite the approaching storm. We learn in Hebrews that entering His rest comes through faith that believes God and takes action through obedience. We are not without Hope. He is our Hope. But Hope is most often missed because of unbelief that leads to actions of sin—going against God’s expressed instruction.

Join me, and Look the Right Way, my friend, as the days unfold before us, and smile as the rays of Hope lead you surely through the storms of life.

~*~

Bigger God“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle (forbearing) spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, DWELL on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” ~ Philippians 4:4-9, NASB.

The Conversation

The Conversation, recorded below, was given to me, a humbled follower of Christ. I am Darlene, and I currently suffer with Complicated Grief Disorder (CGD), an emotional disorder kin to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, that presents with the same symptomology and is given the same treatment regimen. It is the result of the breakdown of normally good coping mechanisms, brought about by some stressor in life that snaps that system. As a result, I struggle often with almost agoraphobic social anxiety. It is most difficult during the holidays when my stressor has to be faced as family gatherings begin. While looking for some other recorded document, I ran across this and am encouraged again. Here is the story of how the conversation recorded below came to be.

As part of God’s treatment regimen in helping me to deal with my CGD, God led me to the study of Christian Counseling with Light University. Preparing for a trip to Nashville for graduation from that first stage of study and for an American Association of Christian Counselors World Conference, my social anxiety flaring severely, I recall a scripture I received via email from Bible Gateway that kept coming to mind. Going through my deleted files, I discover many others and begin printing them and taping them to index cards that I can carry with me for meditation while on the trip. Reading through the compilation of scriptures God highlighted to my heart, I am amazed to find the conversation I now share with you.

Father, I pray for all into whose hands you put this conversation. May their hearts be helped as they truly comprehend this being from You for them, as much as it was for me. I pray that all the days of their lives will be filled with the sure knowledge of Your presence and Your rich rewards promised to those who choose to believe.

~*~

The Conversation

~*~

Living Water
Living Water

 “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. …You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. …I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. …You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word.”

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. …The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. …The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. …So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”

~*~

(Psalm 121:1-2; Isaiah 26:3; Isaiah 46:4; Isaiah 48:17; Psalm 16:8; 119:114; Isaiah 41:10; 40:31; Psalm 121:7-8; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Hebrews 10:35-36)

Worship: Positions From the Heart – Throughout our day

“You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).

Part of worshiping God is telling others, especially our children, of His precepts and of our experiences with Him. God is alive, but people who do not know Him are too often blinded to His existence. It is important that we remember to praise Him and tell of Him throughout our day to day lives. This passage in chapter 6 of Deuteronomy speaks of four strategic worship stances: sitting, walking, laying down, and rising up.

Sitting to me pictures relationship. We often sit when we visit with someone. Giving them our focus and taking every opportunity to speak trust in God into their situations is a vitally needed form of praise and worship.

Walking depicts comradery, walking together through life. We all know in this life we do not always see eye to eye. But we can learn to walk together even in our differences and to share God’s presence and how He reveals Himself to us as we walk together for His glory and to His purpose.

Laying down: I see rest. We best worship and honor God when we enter His rest. Too often, in our moments of rest, this life, its struggles, things of the past and worries of the future hinder our laying down times. Such hinders our testimony of God, keeping others blinded to His reality, when they see us as stressed and uptight as they are. It is the greatest form of worship when we can go through this life that can often be difficult, facing those challenges from a stance that is rested in Him.

Rising up: when life does knock us down, what greater worship can there be than to get back up again and carry on with faith in God.

Worship is not a here a little, there a little, word of mouth and sing along action. It is the day in and day out living with earnest expectation and hope that is rested on the reality of our loving, life-giving God.

Here With Me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74CNUExD4I8&list=PLFF54F40EEBC31260&index=1&feature=plpp_video

Worship: Positions From the Heart – Bow the Knee

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care” (Psalm 95:6-7).

It is interesting to watch military personal when in the presence of the commander and chief. You can tell by the way they salute where their heart lies toward the man in the office. Some are very respectful and sincere in their salute. Others salute the office position because it is expected, but there is no real respect for the man in it. And then there are times when the man in the office is such a disappointment that the soldier at arms will refuse to salute.

Like with these soldiers, it is the same with those who profess to worship God. Yesterday we discussed the heart of worship. God looks to the heart and it is the sincere of heart toward Him that He best responds to. Today we look at the first of several positions of worship that scripture speaks of and the heart behind each, beginning with the bow.

Bowing before a sovereign is a show of respect to that position of authority. It is like the salute, honoring the office of one in authority, and the heart behind it makes all the difference. As I consider the positions of worship, I see in each a heart issue that must be in play for God to recognize it as sincere worship in spirit and in truth.

Taking first the bow, we bow to the authority of God over us. It is a position of surrender. And that position must begin in the heart of the man. To bow without consciousness of the surrender to God’s authority is position without true thought and intent.

Today, in the wake of the storms of life that come at us, in the challenges we face through the day, our call is to bow the knee by first bowing the heart in surrender to God. In closing, let us realize anew what the “heart” is. Heart in scripture speaks of the core of ones being. It is body, soul, and spirit. To bow physically to God in our body is easy in itself, but what of the rest of our core being?

Bowing the spirit, the eternal part of us that lives on into eternity, requires unity with the Spirit of God that quickens us—breathing new life into our being that will remain with God forever. Our spirit man bows to the work of His Spirit in us.

Bowing the soul: the mind or thoughts, the will and the emotions, this is the biggie to our surrendered posture. As the thought of a man goes, so goes his body or his being. We bow to the sovereignty of God in our minds when we take every thought captive to obey Him in Christ. When we bring our thoughts in line with His, our wills will quickly fall in line with His, and our emotions will follow our will.

Bowing before Sovereign God is a heart issue that must be whole and complete to be real and true of spirit.

We Bow Down

In the Flow of “Now” Living

“…Behold, I will make you to be a new, sharp, threshing instrument which has teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and shall make the hills like chaff. You shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest or whirlwind shall scatter them. And you shall rejoice in the Lord, you shall glory in the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 41:8-16, AMP).

I have feasted on this promise for a very long time now, God highlighting it as true for me, something I can count as a done deal by His grace. As yet I do not fully comprehend all this means, but I am beginning to get glimpses.

The other day I received the following Spirit of Prophesy Bulletin from Faith Tabernacle: a devotional thought written to the body of Christ as from the Lord. It often speaks to me on a personal level, and this day struck me as something worth heeding. Quoting “The Trumpet” devotion by Bill Burns for 10/15/12:

“‘I have set those in this earth, those who are My psalmists, and they shall establish a flow, a flow of My river among My people, a flow that will help My people come higher, a flow of My presence. Because their songs come from heaven and their songs are anointed, they shall indeed impact you and bring you into what I am doing. So when you hear the sound of heaven impacting your heart and when you hear the sound of heaven coming upon you embrace it and let it do its work. Let it bring peace to your soul, let it bring joy to your heart and let it bring healing to your body. Let the Spirit of the Lord flow in the sound that I am bringing forth as promised. For such a time as this embrace My sound,’ says the Lord Most Holy.”

This is my heart’s desire, to be one who sets the flow that encourages and helps others come up higher. Perhaps today can be a beginning.

This morning, before ever cracking open God’s book, He spoke peace to my heart as I began typing thoughts into my journal. I suddenly knew that fretting over things in life not being as I would like or ever dreamed it would be is wasted energy and trashed time.

There is a poem God gave my heart a long time ago and I quote it often.

†   Yesterday is gone

†   Tomorrow may never be

†   Now is all the time

†   God has gifted me

†   Will I use it well

†   Or waste it in the way

†   Time will surely tell

†   The choice I make today

 Life is too short to waste one moment of it on yesterday’s whoa. What might have been is not what is. Fretting over what others did to us and the place their hurt now has us only empowers their hurt to continue ruling our lives. We throw away what we have, giving precious time to nothingness by worrying about the “might have been.”

I am not alone in this struggle. I have family members I love dearly and friends too, who are snared by the “what might have been”. No more, I say! No more. Life is too precious to waste. I decided today to give all I have to my now, living to the full and doing the best I can in it, and let God take care of yesterday and tomorrow.

One of my daughters said something that struck me and may be the source of this decision. Quoting as best I can recall, “I made the best decision I could back then with the information available to me at the time. I am not going to waste time now second guessing that. What we have now is what is. We have to carry on from here to do the best we can in it.”

Fretting over yesterday is like a CSI climbing in the trash bin of life to pull out dead bodies. Now is what is promised to us. Carry on with me, dear friend, doing your best with the information available to you; “And you shall rejoice in the Lord, you shall glory in the Holy One of Israel.”

Thoughts from Isaiah – Chapter 6

His Robe Fills the Temple

 “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple” (Isaiah 6:1)

My heart soars to the heights as I read this. Why? Because the train of His robe, all His royalty and glorious regale, fill the temple, and that temple is us, God’s people! We who have Christ as Savior, the Lord who not only equips our righteousness, but covers our sin with His righteous robes, we are made by Him to house the essence of God in all His glory. Can you fathom what that means for us? For little O struggling soul called “me”?

All that God is, in all His fullness, is available to fill up all that I am or ever hope to be.

Have you read “The Shack” by William Paul Young? Many are turned off to it because he portrays God’s three personas with the Father depicted in the beginning as a woman—which, by the way, God Himself likens Himself to a mother, caring for her young. He gives good reason for this depiction, but still, many miss a good read for that reason. There was another thing I noted, a comment I believe I understand the gest of but that could easily be blown out of proportion. Still, I digress.

There is one thing that comes across from “The Shack” very clearly that I believe is true of God and worthy of note. Mr. Young does an excellent job of depicting God’s full love that is available for every man, woman and child. God is not like us, trying to divide Himself between us all, giving “quality time” to each, being worn out by the sheer number of us and our endless needs, having less and less to give us because of waning strength. Each of us has His full attention, His total love, and we are each His favorite. The problem is that we don’t all realize, recognize and receive that. The author of The Shack makes that point clear as well. God is for all of us, though not all of us choose Him; and He is fully available to each of us with the whole of His love and care, but He will not force Himself on us. Only those who choose Him as the One true God become the temple in which the train of His robe flows forth.

I believe that when we begin to truly realize and comprehend the incomprehensible love of God for us and how much He longs to be involved in our lives, that is when we will experience the train of His robe filling the temple of our lives, and we will join the heavenly throngs…

“…‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory…’” (vs. 2-3).

I sing “Holy,” O God. “Holy!” I am only just beginning to rest in the joy and realization of Your robes flowing into the rooms and spaces of my life. I thought I knew it before, but I only knew in part, as I still only know so little. But I am realizing You more and more each day as You speak clearly to my heart to reveal the greater depths of Your essence and presence with me. Here am I, O God. Fill me up. Spill me out. In Jesus, amen.

The Hedge: Part 1

Watched Walls

A couple of scriptures have caught my attention lately and got me to thinking about the hedge of God’s protection in our lives. One is found in Isaiah 49. Looking at it today:

“But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, And the Lord has forgotten me.’ Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me” (vs. 14-16).

Zion, otherwise known as Jerusalem: here we have God’s assurance to His people that their walls of protection and security are always on His watch-list. His care is emphasized as He notes that His people are “inscribed…on the palms of My hands” – a picture of Christ. He loves us so much so that He has made a way through Christ for us to have assurance of our relationship with Him and of His care for us, that of a parent for a child. He continually watches over His people.

Without Him there is no true security in our walls. He causes our walls—mental, physical, moral, emotional, social, provisional, relational and spiritual—to stand against the enemies and against the storms of life that come against them. We as a nation seek to secure our borders from illegal intrusions by those who mean us harm. Only as God watches our walls, as a nation, a people, families, and personally, are we truly secure. It excites me that our walls are continually before Him.

God watches over His people for He cares for us. He promises that He will never leave nor forsake us. For this, we are grateful, and we have hope even in difficult days when life assails us and threatens to bring us down. Our walls are watched by God. He is our security. He is our hope. Trust in the Lord for He is near.

But what of times when it seems He is not? …

Rejoicing Comes in the Fellowship of His Sufferings: Part 3

Rejoicing in Unity of Fellowship

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-7).

I love the Amplified version of verse 5: “And this is the message [the message of promise] which we have heard from Him and now are reporting to you: God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all [no, not in any way].”

Yesterday we looked at the fact that the first thing we are called to do in completing what is lacking in the affliction of Christ is continuing His work of bearing witness concerning the truth of God, who He is and the way He is that is recognizable in and through us. He is Light, righteousness, goodness, truth, love, etc. There is no falsehood or darkness in Him. And as we grow in understanding of who He is and in our work of image bearing for His name’s sake, bearing witness of His Presence and work in our here and now lives, we enter into the second of our roll in filling up what is lacking of Christ’s afflictions: unity of fellowship.

There are two things about fellowship that I see to discuss today. For the first, let’s back up just a bit to verse 3: “what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

The first insight I glean here is that our roll in completing what is lacking continues Christ’s work of building the church, the body of Christ. As we share how we experience God in our daily lives with those who do not believe, they have opportunity to join in fellowship with us by receiving our testimony and choosing the grace we walk in for themselves. That one is simple and clear. But there is a second aspect to this thought that I want to focus on. I will try to stay off my soapbox with this one.

The Amplified version of verse three adds to our discussion: “What we have seen and [ourselves] heard, we are also telling you, so that you too may realize and enjoy fellowship as partners and partakers with us. And [this] fellowship that we have [which is a distinguishing mark of Christians] is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ (the Messiah).”

Our greatest call in adding to the fellowship of Christ’s afflictions is in the area of building unity within the body of Christ that gives proof of the distinguishing mark of our kinship. I’ll tell you, people, we are not there yet. We are divided, not by religious differences, but by pride and arrogance stemming from those differences. I hate when I hear someone standing behind the pulpit speaking divisive words against another denomination. Next to that, I hate when I hear God’s people setting around in public places, putting down other Christians. And most of all, I hate when I hear such slipping out of my own mouth. That is not fulfilling this call of Christ in completing this work of unity. So what does scripture teach us with regard to faith issues that we too often state in divisive arrogance?

“Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand” (Romans 14:1-4).

We grow strong of faith at differing paces. Some have faith as Paul did to shake off snakes and eat without fear. Others are not at that place in their walk. Some practice their freedom within the confines of their religious practices. Others seek the freedom of following the Spirit’s lead in ways that seem to have no bounds of religious tradition. But what I have observed in both is deep faith in those who remain bound by religion, and traditions of a different kind forming boundaries in the practices of those who appear bolder in their faith.

Those who are not as bold are not to judge the heart of those who are. And those who are bold are not to condemn those who appear of weaker faith. To do so in any setting is to aid the enemy of God in dividing the house of God. Instead we are to accept one another and love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. And as we do, we will be able to share with one another out of love, bearing testimony of our individual experience of our living God in ways that help each to grow stronger and bring the body of Christ to the unity He desires. This is our calling and equipping in filling up the lack.

And, just FYI here, for those who may be arrogant against Israel, including those who do not recognize the Christ in Jesus the Messiah, remember this:

“But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.  (Romans 11:17-22).

And the second point in fulfilling this call to fellowship is “[So] if we say we are partakers together and enjoy fellowship with Him when we live and move and are walking about in darkness, we are [both] speaking falsely and do not live and practice the Truth [which the Gospel presents]” (vs. 6, AMP).

Sin destroys our unity with God, bringing separation from fellowship with Him and destroying our ability to find unity with the brotherhood of Christ. We cannot walk in darkness and have fellowship in His Light.

“But if we [really] are living and walking in the Light, as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin and guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations]” (vs. 7, AMP).

When we walk in disunity, dividing ourselves up because of faith differences, which is clear sign that we walk in sin against God and one another, in our sin we do harm to the kingdom of God and our witness in the earth. Freedom in Christ requires us to trust in God who is able to make each of us stand firm as His beloved servant and fellow believer. And trusting that fact for each other, we walk in unity of our faith in Christ, trusting His work in growing all to the glory of His name.

Instead of judging one another and condemning each other, which is sin that destroys fellowship with God and each other, we must love one another, accepting each other in the degree of faith that we have. We cannot encourage one another and help each other in spiritual growth and maturity while condemning each other.

Unity of fellowship requires that instead of looking at one another and judging our differences in belief systems that stem from our faith in Him, that we look to see the image of Christ that is present. If we see Christ, the image of God born forth in the life of others, bearing fruit of His character and likeness, we are brothers and sisters in Christ and are called by Him to unity not hindered by differences in faith practices. In this way we complete the work began by Christ in bridging the gap between us and God, and between one to another.

Great rejoicing comes to those who can stand as one in Christ, despite differing beliefs. That rejoicing is increased as we learn not only to accept one another where we are in our faith walk, but as we work to encourage one another and grow stronger together in Him.

Rejoicing Comes in the Fellowship of His Sufferings: Part 1

Introduction

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” (Colossians 1:24).

“Lacking in Christ’s afflictions”? The day that statement from Paul caught my attention, I began a quest to understand what it means and how it is that we fill up that which remains to be done. I mean, after all, Jesus on the cross shouted, “It is finished!” In His prayer in John 17, He said to the Father, “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do” (vs. 4).  What is there that remains lacking?

There are several passages that speak of the sufferings or afflictions of Christ, such as Paul’s proclamation in Philippians 3:10-11 talking about his ultimate goal in life being: “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

Considering these words from Paul, we can surmise that fellowship with His sufferings is part of the process that makes us one together with Him. It is part of the recipe that resurrects in us the Life of Image Bearers that God intended we have.

In this study, which looks like it will take a couple of weeks to cover unless God has more to say than I do, we will see what we can discover about the afflictions of Christ, what they are, and how we have fellowship with His sufferings as we walk with understanding in this journey to filling up what is lacking.

Our text for this study will be the book of 1 John, in which I see many thoughts that give us a picture of our responsibilities that accomplish this call of Paul given to us through his example. Like with so much of the teachings found in the word of God, this study will be a good start to our journey of discovering God’s will for us as people called to this fellowship.

I hope you will join me these next two weeks as we look at this subject. The words “afflictions” and “sufferings” I know do not make this an appealing subject, but I believe you will be pleasantly surprised at the things God has shown me as we consider this vital aspect of our walk with Him. Looking forward to getting started, I anticipate seeing you back here tomorrow as we begin to look at 1 John and find that this work of suffering with Christ truly is cause for rejoicing as we see the fruit produced in it.

Dispelling the Darkness: A Look at Psalm 37 – Part 9b

Yesterday we began looking at attributes of the righteous lot found in the remainder of Psalm 37 and forming for us a good review of the majority of the study, adding some to our thought process as we go. In it we covered the attributes of 1) graciousness; went in depth on 2) the giving heart that wisely uses the provision of God; touched on 3) the assurance of heart that comes to those established by God through Christ; finding that the righteous 4) delight the heart of God by delighting in His ways, thus; 5) departing from evil in order to do good. Today we finish up the review as we cover these last verses:

“The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.The wicked spies upon the righteous and seeks to kill him. The Lord will not leave him in his hand or let him be condemned when he is judged. Wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it. I have seen a wicked, violent man spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil. Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more; I sought for him, but he could not be found.  Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright; for the man of peace will have a posterity. But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; the posterity of the wicked will be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him” (vs. 30-40).

6) The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice:

The righteous who continually seek the Lord and grow in Him are often called by Him to speak or write His word in ways that add understanding to the heart of the reader. Those righteous speak a wisdom that points to justice, instructing us in the way we should go.

All of the righteous lot are called of God to “go to a friend” and talk with them about the path they are on. We are all to bear witness of our faith and the work of God in our lives whenever opportunity presents itself. These will couple their words of truth, justice, and wisdom with love, knowing that without a heart of love, the words come across as a clanging cymbal to the ears of the listener. Whichever way we are called of God to use our wisdom, whether friend to friend or publically, we must remember to couple our witness with love.

Let’s take a look at what the word of wisdom and justice looks like by turning to two key passages that give us a clue:

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:7-8).

Jesus promised that when He went away to be with the Father, He would not leave us alone, but would send the Helper, the Spirit of God charged with teaching us wisdom and righteousness and empowering us to walk it. This passage tells us that part of His role as Helper-Teacher, is to convict or convince us of sin, righteousness and judgment. He does this in two ways:

1) He reveals the sin we are practicing, He instructs us in the righteous path needed to correct our lives, and He warns us of the judgment of God against such sin should we choose to continue in our own ways, refusing the work of our transformation in the power of His Spirit. This is the work of discipline accomplished by the Spirit in the life of a wayward child of God.

2) He grants us wisdom to discern right from wrong and understand the potential consequences for our choices so we can make right decisions that keep us on the righteous path. In other words, He helps us to weigh the pros and cons of a crossroad point of choice, equips us to discern the potential outcome, and gives us wisdom to make the right decision.

When people keep coming into our lives, telling us the same thing about what we should be doing and why; we would be wise to realize that the Spirit of God may be using those who love us to convict of sin, instruct in righteousness, and warn of consequences. Remember, the Father disciplines those who are sons and daughters through Christ. It is not a disgrace to enter in to a season of discipline that removes sin from us. It is an honor that proves we are His child.

“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:13-18).

Here James contrasts for us the false wisdom that comes from the fleshly, the worldly, and the demonic; putting it up against the backdrop of true wisdom that comes from God’s Spirit at work in us.

False wisdom produces bitter jealousy, selfish ambition of heart, arrogance, falsehood, disorder and every evil thing. Sounds messed up, doesn’t it? God is orderly and full of peace and love. Evil dwells and rules where there is discord, disorder, and chaos. So let’s contrast the false wisdom with true wisdom, breaking it down some to explore each characteristic found there. True wisdom that is from God is:

First pure – true wisdom will be based in good, godly motives and desires that protect and produce purity.

Peaceable – true wisdom handles things in peaceful ways that most often bring peaceable results not lending to an atmosphere of chaos.

Gentle – true wisdom has strength of resolve that comes across with gentleness.

Reasonable – true wisdom knows how to reason things out so as to lead to truth and unity.

Full of mercy – true wisdom recognizes the limitations of the immature and of those without the Helper, so as to grant mercy and deal properly with those of opposition to sound judgment.

Good fruits – most of what we have covered as traits proving wisdom are on the list of the Fruit of the Spirit, thus we conclude that true wisdom produces the Fruit of the Spirit in us. But we also see that following true wisdom brings about good results.

True wisdom is also unwavering: one who has true wisdom receives with it a heart of assurance and conviction that helps them stand, firm and resolute in the course laid out.

It is without hypocrisy: because true wisdom produces the fruit of God’s character in us and leads to the paths of His choosing and the heart of His purposes, it will always line up with a flow that comes from who we are in Him, and it will stand in agreement with what we profess to believe. We will not say one thing while doing another when dictated by wisdom.

“And the SEED whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

I think “seed” should be in caps here, as scripture teaches that the “seed whose fruit is righteousness” is Jesus, the Messiah King, Lord of lords, and Saving Grace. This Seed of righteousness in us is sown in peace and produces peace, the first in the list of flavors found in the Fruit of the Spirit. One Fruit—many flavors, all restoring the image of God in us.

Thus wisdom flows from the peace of God to bring peace to us that allows us to walk in wisdom with purity, being peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. We cannot have true wisdom without first surrendering to receive the Seed of Righteousness, Jesus Christ the Savior. Why?

Because His ways are higher that our ways; His thoughts are higher that our thoughts. We can reason in the flesh and come up with wisdom that sounds good to us and is agreeable with the wisdom of others, but we cannot discern right and true motives, or discover the higher road of His purposes without His righteous wisdom.

7) The Righteous Holds God’s Law in his heart to direct the sure step.

Oh, my. Don’t ‘cha know that to those of us who possess the Seed of Righteousness—being filled with His Spirit, seeking His wisdom—His Word is precious to our hearts? We long for the Word as our bread of life and living water. We don’t just grab it, finding what looks good to us and making it our own, for use often to promote and give excuse for ungodly ways. It grabs us. And by the power of the Spirit of God at work in us, His Word is used of Him to make us His very own possession.

The passages that affect me most and have done the most to change my life forever reached up off that page and grabbed my heart of flesh, circumcising it and kneading it into His own heart, filling me with desire for their proof to be in me, and making me one with Him in belief, desire, and purpose of action. Many of them continue to grab me and revitalize my commitment.

When I read “For my DETERMINED purpose is that I may KNOW HIM…”, my heart soars anew with increased resolve to grow ever stronger in this relationship (Philippians 3:10-11, AMP).

When I recall “Set your mind and keep it set! …” I get excited and check my course to be sure my focus lines up with His (Colossians 3:1-2).

My heart often cries out with Moses, “Show me Your glory” (Exodus 33). My life has changed forever, watching for Him with “earnest expectation and hope” (Philippians 1:19-20).

My boast is forever in Him, looking to Him for my approval as I remember that “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”, for I realize that I “can do nothing apart from Christ,” but “I can do all things through Christ who is my strength” (2 Corinthians 3:4-6, John 15:4-5; Philippians 4:10-13).

“Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 3:11-16).

Through Jesus, we enter the presence of God through the Grace He supplies, and hiding His word in our hearts, we find our protection from sin, being transformed into His image anew.

8) The righteous rests in the shelter of God’s protection, trusting His judgment and advocacy when assaulted by accusation.

There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. When we hide His word in our hearts, letting Him tell us who we are, heeding His instruction for life choices, receiving the assurance of His promises by faith, we are protected from the false prophet and from the lies of the enemy who would beat us down and hinder our progress of faith.

By hiding His WORD in our heart, we know that through Christ we are saved by grace through faith, being adopted into the household of God, having right of inheritance with The Son as the adopted through Christ: and knowing this we know that when we commit sin, the Father of lights then disciplines us as children (Ephesians 1-2; Hebrews 12).

As children of God who seek the Father’s pleasure, we come in under His protection where no evil can eternally harm us. And when accused, He who does not condemn us helps us to know truthfully whether we are guilty of sin—equipping us to correct that area of life; and if we are not guilty, He assures our heart and has given us an advocate in Christ who “ever lives to intercede on our behalf” (Romans 8:31-34; Hebrews 7:25).

9) The righteous waits for the Lord while keeping His way.

While waiting for God to move in our lives, defending us from assault, changing us from one degree of His glory to the next, delivering us from trouble and sorrow, we do not wait as those without hope, but we keep doing what we know to do until He changes our course. No matter the difficulty, by faith in God, forgetting what lies behind, we keep pressing forward to the goal through righteousness in Christ. Not taking our own revenge, we leave that to God and choose rather to “…overcome evil with good” (Romans 12), knowing:

10) The righteous is a person of peace because they take refuge in God:

God, through grace found in Christ, is our hiding place and our secure tower. Through Him we can have peace and walk in peace knowing that no matter what goes on in the earth, we, His children, have a posterity protected by God, an inheritance held secure in the heavens with Him.

Through His provision we have strength to face each day. Because He loves us, we do not fear facing any struggle or challenge, trusting that by the power of His Spirit, we are helped by God to face each day with His comfort in us. And because of the Christ who paid the price as propitiation (full and complete payment) for sin, bringing those who truly believe from their heart into the kingdom of God, we know we have deliverance from death through God.

There is no sin that can keep us, no trouble that can stop God’s will for us, no sword that can come against us to keep us from our appointed course, when we live the righteous life of faith in God: rested in Him, trusting Him, serving Him with a willing spirit of obedience and coming quickly to repentance when we fall.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no [filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming;] but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, ‘Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.’

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:1-17).

Tomorrow our concluding thought.

Dispelling the Darkness: A Look at Psalm 37 – Part 5a

As God’s people in the earth, we dispel the dark of evil by being His lights. This is accomplished in us as we “trust in the Lord and do good,” knowing that He alone is good, and only with His goodness at work in us can we do good that He can count as such. Also we are light as we “delight ourselves in the Lord,” knowing that our delight in Him is best accomplished as we seek Him through the Mind of Christ that instructs us, granting us the heart of God, the character of God, and His desires of heart that He can give to us. Pressing forward in our study of Psalm 37 we find:

“Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday” (vs. 5-6).

“Commit your way to the Lord.” Too often what we tend to do is make a plan and ask God to bless it. Is that what this call means? Can we choose the paths we want to walk and expect God to make us successful in it? Then there is the understanding I have long had since learning the planning, then committing is not the way to go. That is that we seek the Lord for the plans we are to make, only following His lead, seeking His blessing from the beginning of our planning session to its fulfillment. But God took me to something even more than that.

As I sought the Lords counsel in where to go with this portion of our study, He called me to Romans 12:

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).

Could that be it? Commit your way to the Lord by presenting your body as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, thus worshiping Him with our lives. Commit your body to the Lord by refusing to be conformed to this world order; instead letting Him transform us through the renewing of our mind so that we may know and approve His will, proving it to be good and acceptable and perfect as we walk it out with right mindset, motives and attitudes. Kind of removes the need of concern about whether the plan or the commitment of the plan comes first if we are committing all that we are to Him to start with, doesn’t it?

Verse 1 in the Amplified version adds the following to our understanding: “I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of all the mercies of God, to make a DECISIVE DEDICATION OF YOUR BODIES, presenting all your members and faculties as a living sacrifice, holy, devoted, consecrated, and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable, rational, and intelligent service and spiritual worship.”

We are to set our minds and keep them set, making a once and for all decisive dedication of our bodies to Him. Here the Amplified adds that we are to “present all your members and faculties as a living sacrifice, holy, devoted, and consecrated to God,” for this is well pleasing to Him.

Let’s break that down a bit: this is speaking to each individual in the body of Christ, each called to present the individual “members” of their personal body to God. I believe this is saying that all the parts and pieces that make up the physical housing called “my body” are to be committed to God. My heart, my lungs; my mind, my thoughts; my hands, my feet; my arms, my legs; my mouth, my ears, my eyes; all are His for His use. And if I am committing my members to Him day by day, He will direct my path for how they are to function for His use.

As we surrender our bodily members to God for His use, so we surrender our faculties. To discover the full meaning here, let’s look at part of the definition of faculty:

1. one of the inherent powers of the mind or body, such as reason, memory, sight, or hearing

Our thoughts, our emotions, our senses, all are to be surrendered to God for His use.

2. any ability or power, whether acquired or inherent

No matter how strong a person we may be in the physical, it is nothing compared to what it can be when surrendered to God. Any natural gifting is only made stronger when committed to Him for His use.

3. a conferred power or right

Any power, authority, or perceived right we think we have in this life is only partial and impotent until it is sanctified to Him for His use.

So we see that all that we are, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually must belong to Him for His use. Everything we do, every talent, gift or ability; all power or authority we are entrusted with in the earth, we are to give over to Him for His use. And the “rights” that we think we have truly belong to Him alone. When we commit our way to Him, He will accomplish in and through us all that concerns us. And in so doing, “He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday.”

But that is not all! See you tomorrow for more on this passage.

BE PARHELIA

Walk as Children of Light

Parhelia DiamondsLike a sun dog, shining bright to make the sun’s presence known,

so the children of God shine.

 Have you ever seen a sun dog, or a picture of one?  I have seen them but didn’t know what they were called until my husband sent me some excellent pictures of the phenomenon.  Here are two he sent that are just spectacular, each speaking volumes to my heart. 

In the first I see the brilliance of God shining forth in the center of the darkness.  His rays radiate out to us on either side through Jesus Christ and the power of the Spirit of God, and through us to the world that cannot see because of the darkness. 

In the second, the sun cannot be seen well because of the clouds.  The spots radiating out on either side of the sun are what is trulyParhelia - Clouded visible and bright.  In this photo, I see the Son, hidden from the world by clouds of doubt, discouragement, disillusionment, falsehood, and everything else that keeps one from recognizing the truth of God in this life.  The only sense that the unbelieving, wayward and discouraged get of Who God is and how He works is through the spotlights shining bright from the reflection of the Son.  That would be those of us, His children, who know His presence and trust His hand, even in the times of darkness and storm-tossed, clouded days.

The Greek word for Sun Dog is Perihelia. The truly interesting lesson to be learned is found in the science behind the making of Parhelia. We see the Parhelia phenomenon when there are ice crystals in the air. The sunlight hits the ice crystals, reflecting out from them to form the spots. The brighter spots are formed as the light from the sun reflects off a crystal, which then reflects those rays out to reflect off of the crystals around it, which reflect out to others. It is the reflection of the sun bouncing off the crystals to touch one another that makes the brilliance of the spots.

Scripture says of Jesus, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4-5).  Jesus says of Himself, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John8:12).  He says of us, His disciples, “You are the light of the world.  …Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew5:14-16).  In Ephesians 5 we are told that we, the light of God in the world, are not to be partakers in the things of this world, “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to God” (verses 7-10).  This is our calling and equipping as lights in the world. We are to be Perhelia, following close to the Son, filled with and shining forth His light, so that all may see Him and glorify God.  

So tell me, how does your lamp light glow?  “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-7).  Walk as children of light.

Strength And Beauty Are In His Sanctuary

“…show forth His salvation from day to day. …For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; He is to be reverently feared and worshiped above all [so-called] gods. …strength and beauty are in His sanctuary” (Psalm 96, AMP).

God has graciously been ministering to me concerning the paranoia my daddy is dictated by and the struggle that brings this tired daughter’s heart. I am grateful that God loves me and that He instructs my heart as a Faithful Father to this, His child. So what causes my struggle?

One thing, of course, is daddy’s paranoia that has him thinking we who love him most and desire to do the best for him are doing things to bring him harm. God reminds me in this passage that not only is this fear that wells up in me to hinder my effective relationship with daddy not of Him, but He is the only one worthy of fear and worship. When I bow to fear, I bow to a false god.

Another thing that hinders is fear of what others think of my struggle where daddy is concerned. Again He points out to me the fear being used to hinder and the reminder from God that He is my God.

Not only is He my God, but He alone is my judge and King and I can trust Him. I can trust Him to lead me day by day. I do not have to fret about what is needed in my tomorrow, or what others think I should be able to do for daddy today. God knows my heart and He knows my struggle and the reasons behind it, which He is helping and healing. I do not have to fret over the expectations of others or even of my own heart. All my tomorrows belong to Him, as does my here and now. Only in my now is it my choice. Will I follow Him with faith, rejoicing? Or will I leave Him in the way? He is the path before me. All I need is clarity for the next step He has for me to take and faith to step it. It is my step by step that He requires and He will always supply the need of the moment with strength sufficient for the call, great or small, for …

“Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.” That means two things to me.

One: I can rest in the sanctuary of my God knowing that He protects me and fights for me. I do not have to give myself to fretting, fearing, cringing, or doubting, which lead only to inability to worship and trust in Him. I cannot follow His call in the day to day ways of ministry to my aging daddy, or anyone else, when I am blinded by fear and anxiety over the struggle. I cannot hear Him whom I desire to honor when I am not seeking to follow close at His heels in obedient faith.

Following Him requires faith, and faith in action requires hope-filled belief; trusting that He is who He says He is and He will do what He says, for He is able. And because He who equips me is able, I can do what He says I can for I am who He says I am: His beloved possession, child of the King, a princess warrior in Christ, a part of the Holy Nation, the Royal Priesthood, called and equipped to live a life that declares His glory and His Lordship.

Two: When Jesus breathed His last earthly breath, the Father tore the dividing wall asunder, removing the separation. That act not only made the way for me to come to His throne of grace personally as a minister in Jesus’ name, entering His sanctuary as a priest unto God, but it also opened the way for His Spirit to reside within His people—which includes me. I, along with you, are the very Temple of the Very God, and His strength is in His sanctuary.

God spoke these things to me on Saturday. Sunday, as Pastor Tim began his message on love in action, he gave one simple instruction as he began to define love, and God used it to remind me of my need to focus on loving daddy in His name. Pastor told us to not focus on taking note of his definition of each aspect of love found in 1 Corinthians 13, but to write down what the Spirit instructs us regarding our love walk. God spoke clearly to me regarding love-actions toward daddy, giving me 10 simple ways I can love daddy while overcoming fear and anxiety:

  1. Practice long-suffering (patience) toward Daddy.
  2. Do good to daddy, searching for opportunity to do so.
  3. Honor daddy from my character, not from my position in his eyes – non-envious love is not position oriented, but character birthed.
  4. In honor, prefer daddy, giving preference to him. Love calms the angry passion. Do not be cross or contradictory.
  5. Act becomingly toward daddy with courtesy. Do not despise his conduct! – Then I noted; Life is opportunity; so is love.
  6. Do not seek my own to the neglect of daddy. Do not love self to the cost and damage of daddy or those who watch and go through this with me. I have long believed that the difficulties God has me walk through are not only for my benefit in purifying me, but so that I have a comfort with which to comfort others. How can I give true comfort that does good to others if I do not first learn to do this relationship struggle the right way, through love that gives at all cost?
  7. Love will temper anger toward daddy. Love will reconcile with him, 70 times 7, for my own sake as well as his (Matthew 18:22; Isaiah 43:25 – Forgiving God’s Way – Part 1 ; Forgiving God’s Way – Part 2).
  8. Love will give daddy the benefit of a doubt, not pre-judging his heart toward me, thus letting fear hinder relationship. It will not add my suspicions to his. As it rejoices in truth, love will speak the truth in love.
  9. See daddy through Love’s eyes. Do not expose daddy’s sin to others, unnecessarily causing him to look bad in the eyes of others.
  10. Love does not give up on the one loved (Memorize verse 8: “Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]”, AMP). Fortification and firmness of foundation is the gift of Love—that stick to-it-tiveness found in standing on the Solid Rock and walking in His ways is what I need to persevere despite the difficulty.

 My prayer as the message began was, “Father, remove from me the love of self and the misconceptions of love that stops up the love of You meant to flow to the lives of others. In Jesus, I continue to pray this, amen.”

Father, fear and debilitating anxiety, tiredness and frustration, bitterness and anger, all of these clog up the pores of Love’s flow. Perfect Love casts out fear. You and You alone are perfect love, for You ARE love. Here am I, O God. Strength is in the Santuary of God; you being my hiding place and defense / defender when fear strikes its cord; my body being a temple of Your habitation, where Strength resides. Strengthen me, O God, to persevere in faith and practice Your love that fails not. In Jesus, show me Your glory. Amen.

Dear Grandkids, Part 6

Finally, Principle 5, the Y – You are now at the stage of BECOMING an adult—BUT you are not there yet.

Research on the workings of the brain reveal that until somewhere around the age of 25, young people do not have the capacity to fully recognize what their actions right now will bring to their future. They have not developed the “pathways” in the brain’s function to fully connect the actions of today to the unseen consequences of tomorrow’s years. Therefore, it is a wise young adult who has the maturity to seek wise counsel from those who have developed that capacity of brain-function. It is important to develop older, wise counselor-friendships with parents, grandparents, and people who can help you connect action now with potential consequences in the decisions you face. You are not stupid. You are intelligent and are developing wisdom. Be wise enough to seek wise counsel from those who have lived longer than you and who have shown themselves worthy of being followed.

Well, my beloveds, this is a beginning. I hope as God gives me thought to do so that I can write you with instruction to help you choose paths in this life that will leave you with few or no regrets for your tomorrows. That should be the goal of every soul, to live lives without need of regret. We all struggle to gain confidence until we learn who we are in Christ and find our confidence in Him. You will get to where you need to be in life by following Him first and foremost and developing a strong support group of friends who are good company and wise counselors in truth.

I love you, and I want what is best for you. You are constantly in my prayers, that you may know God and His ways, that you may find the path He has for you in fulfilling His purposes in your life, and that you may live a life that honors Him as the One True God of your life, bringing Glory to His name, and helping others to know Him.

I love you!

Meeme / Meems

The Cure for Anxiety

 “More than food” came to heart as I was in prayer this morning. Looking it up on BibleGateway.com—actually in context to desire for God—I found the following thought for us who struggle with anxiety issues.

“[ The Cure for Anxiety ] ‘For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?’” (Matthew 6:25)

Anxieties is a symptom of worry; and, let’s face it, worry is sin. Worry is sin because it proves lack of faith to trust God and take Him at His word.

Worry 1: God told us that He knows the number of our days; they are set in stone apart from our sin making our days fall short of God’s count. So why fear the things in life that may kill us. As I say to people who fear flying, “If God has ordained death by plane and we won’t get onboard, He can land it on us.” Likewise, if that is not our lot, why fear what will not kill us.

Worry 2: God promises to always be with us, to help us and protect us. He promises to provide for us, including providing opportunity for growth in faith and for imparting that faith to others. Yet we lock ourselves in our houses, refusing to go where God would have us go for His use and glory, being self-protective—which is pride’s false believe that we CAN protect self, or anything else for that matter.

Worry 3: God promises those who seek Him wholeheartedly and desire Him above all, that He will give them favor with man, and He does so in order that He can use us to reach others and to glorify His name in the earth. Seeing the look on their face, refusing to trust that God will give us favor with them, we fear man.

Failing to see that favor with God gives us favor with man that is beyond comprehension, we wallow in self-pity and self-preoccupation, often accusing others from our hearts with thought of what we think they think of us. In actuality, if we are honest with ourselves and God, the thoughts we fear others think of us, the things we fear they see, most often reveal our opinion of self; thoughts often ingrained in us by others who are likewise self-preoccupied, putting their insecurities and false identity, fears and faithless anxieties off on “me”.

On we could go. Worry, fear, anxiety. They are all linked together. We cannot have one without the other, and all are based in the sin of unbelief, an inability to trust God. Such struggle is all too often the result of an issue in life commonly known as the generational curse: the sins of the forefathers that open doors and provide loopholes to God’s enemy for plaguing the heart of the next generation. And yes, some struggles with such are due to faulty body chemistry that needs medication to correct, but more than not, our struggle causes the foul up in body chemistry.

Here is the procession I see and believe to be true with regard to such sickness of our flesh: we can cause our body chemistry to foul up with constant thoughts of worry and fretting.

Constant fretting causes a stress in the body that keeps the fight or flight chemicals churning. After awhile, just as happens when a person repeatedly eats so many sweets that the insulin systems of the body breakdown, we breakdown our body’s ability to cope with stress, causing us to require medications to help our body function properly.

Now you take a child who is raised under the influence of parents who walk in constant fear and anguish, and that child will grow to have messed up coping skills and a messed up body chemistry to boot. Continue that practice generation after generation and I believe we create through our sin the breakdown of the genome, planting within the very seed of man the tendency to give self to worry and fretting, and the flawed gene that makes our descendents more prone to the chemical imbalances of body that hinder one’s ability to cope.

There we have it, the next generation, set on course of a destructive force that rivals our own.

Ah ha! But then there is HOPE. With the help of our God, reverse the process. Deny the tendency to fret and worry and choose faith despite the spillage of chemicals begging us to cave under the strain. Deny our fears and step out with faith. Make it a habit, and the body will begin to heal. Though “I” may always need meds to help “me” on “my” way, the dosage can be lessened with perseverance in choosing to think with right thought. And as we train up the child in the way they should go, that gene pool can be transformed back to God’s design, bringing healing and freedom to future generations.

Most of us who struggle so can look back and see ourselves in our parents, and if we are not diligent to the task, we will look forward and see the same struggle in our children’s children. The only way to break generational issues is to learn the truth and walk in the victory of God’s deliverance from sin, while at the same time training the next generations in how to stand firm in faith and be overcomers. We open the door for their temptation when we give self to our sin. As we become victors in the battle, we can be used of God to train them in how to stand, firm in faith, when their temptation comes.

This is our task. This is our journey. This is the call of God on us: that we walk free from such faithless lives and self-preoccupations as is causing us worry, fear, and anxiety.

~~**~~

 NOTE: I oversee a support group on FaceBook for Christian Women who are dealing with depression, anxiety, and grief disorders. This article was written for them, but I know there are many who struggle with such, so I am posting here as well in hope of encouraging others to deal with these issues. There is help and there is hope to overcome.

          Our FaceBook support group is new, only 3 strong right now, but God is doing a mighty work among us. We are private, so we don’t show on the boards, but there is room for a few more. If you need a place to heal, contact me for details.