Tag Archives: Word

Call Me “Sheep,” But Recognize My Shepherd.

Lately I have seen posts calling those in face mask compliance, “sheep”. To me that is a compliment, not by the way intended, but from the standing of my knowing Him Who is my Shepherd, God, King, Lord, and Savior.

When I choose to comply with national, state, and city leaders, it is because I TRUST MY GOD, taking Him at His Word. When I choose to wear a mask in public, I make that choice out of the love my God calls me to walk out in His name.

My God’s word tells me that He controls the heart of kings-governing officials as a river flows at His bidding, for His purpose. He tells me to obey the dictates of those leaders – as long as it does not go against the Law of God – and to pray for them in their oversight.

I hear people making their decisions from what they believe is the heart purpose of those they believe are pushing their will on us. I don’t know the hearts of any, not even my own fully, so I cannot judge the heart of another. But I KNOW my God is trustworthy, so I choose to believe Him, knowing that when it comes time to take a stand one way or the other, I will not be following the opinion of man, but the dictates of God, my Rock on whom I stand. Thus, I continually advise to prove truth. Do not be swayed by the he says-she says, conspiracy theorists that fail to produce undeniable proof of their truth.

I choose to wear a mask in close quarters because I choose to love my neighbor as my God loves me, to my own hurt. Wearing a mask actually puts the wearer at greater risk, unless they have sufficient supply to change them out every 30 minutes or so. The good of a mask is to slow a breath/sneeze/cough and lesson it’s trajectory, so those nearby will be less likely to be reached by my germs. Even still, while masked, I should sneeze/cough in my elbow. But if a sneeze catches me by surprise, a mask helps me love you. So when I wear one, I choose to wear it for you. I CHOOSE. It is my right to do so.

People are correct that we are under attack. We are being assaulted and effected by two spirits that come readily to mind.

One is a spirit of rebellion. It is what turns a peaceful protest into a deadly and destructive riot. That is the spirit that pits the “my rights” movement over that of obedience to God in trusting the heart of kings to Him and obedience to do what is best for those around me out of a love that flows from Him, for others. It is the sound of a spirit of rebellion that saddened me when a nearby sheriff-hopeful voiced refusal to comply with state regulations. A spirit of rebellion looks to be against man made rules, but it truly stands against our ability and willingness to trust God and His plan.

The other enemy spirit I see working in our lives is that of fear. Fear is the biggest enemy against faith that trusts God at all times. When fear grabs us, we lose sight of God, His will, and His way. All our desire turns to self-protection, “my rights,” and “my wants”.

I choose to follow the Spirit of peace. In the AMPC version of Colossians 3, we are told that peace from God is an umpire, leading us on the path of His desire. I trust God to direct the heart of our governing officials because His peace tells me I can. I trust God to protect me while I choose to love you to my own detriment, because He gives me peace to know that as His desire for me. Follow peace.

Yes! I am a sheep, resting peacefully at the foot of the throne of my Shepherd-King. Demanding your right of choice while belittling me for practice my right of choice is between you and God. May He bless and keep you as only He can.

Making Criticism Constructive

“Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:17‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Words that seem harsh toward us can be a #selah moment that makes us better, or and angry, fuming moment that makes us bitter. The choice is ours to make.

When taken to the Lord for His opinion and understanding, He shows us truth that either leads to positive, godward change; or that lifts our countenance so we stand firm in confidence.

Take every thought captive to God. Let Him transform thought and understanding, renewing our minds, and leading us to surrender all we are to Him as a holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. In this way, we always seek to please Him, entering His Rest for a glorious life.

In Christ

This is what I understand from scripture, as I believe the Spirit has revealed it to me.

I can do nothing apart from Christ. In the Spirit, I am one with Him, His death, and His resurrection; thus it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. By His power I kill the flesh with its passions and desires, giving Him full sway in my life. By the Spirit working in me, I possess the mind and thoughts of Christ, being a woman after God’s own heart, rightly representing Him, doing the works of God in the power and authority of Christ. Without this life and possession of full understanding of it, I am impotent. But in Him I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

All things are possible for me because nothing shall be impossible with God. I am fully perfected as the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, while still being perfected until the day of Christ, as I continue to grow more and more into who I am in Him. Thus, as He does, I do.

He is the head of the body in which I live, seated at the right hand of the Father in Christ. By His power, I am all God created me to be. Without Him, I miss the mark. By Him, I bow to His authority, walk in His ways, and accomplish His purpose. As the Father and the Christ are one, so I am one with them in Christ, by the power of the Spirit. He is the Vine. I am a branch, abiding through life in Him. To God be the glory, great things He has done.

(John 15:1-8; Galatians 2:20, 5:24; 1 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 1:6; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 2:4-7; John 17)

Selah

Pause, Ponder, Pray, Praise, Practice His Presence

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalms 1:1-2 NASB

The Selah moments in scripture are calls to practice Psalm 1:2. It is opportunity to meditate on what one just read. Meditation is only truly effective when done so as to place within our hearts the truths of God for use in living Him out into our daily lives. If the Selah does not change us and direct us, it is wasted.

Psalms are chalked full of Selah pauses, but the Spirit of God also calls us to “Selah” – stopping us at some passage we need to understand in facing the day or a situation in life. We must be alert to God’s call to Selah: pause-ponder-pray-praise-practice so as to put on Christ.

One such moment happened to me while reading in Isaiah. In chapter 46, the Spirit of God tweaked my heart as I read verse 25. I recognized that sensation and noted the verse, but continued on. God’s Spirit wouldn’t have that. He kept drawing me back to it, 5 times, 6 times, until I finally stopped with a “What? What, Lord? What are you trying to show me?” That is the day I learned that forgiving as God forgives means forgiving “for my own sake,” so my effectiveness in fulfilling the purposes of God in relationships is not hindered or stopped by bitterness, anger, or such show-stopping issues as a desire for vengeance.

Selah moments are vital for spiritual growth and commitment to following God through life’s challenges. Selah moments grow us in areas significant for things coming into our lives. Selah moments empower knowledge of God and His ways, making us more like Him.

When God inspires a Selah moment: Pause and reread it; Ponder what is said; Pray for understanding of what God desires to teach you and how it fits in your day; Praise God for truths revealed and for His love in teaching you; Put on Christ by putting the truths revealed into Practice. Write it down or bookmark it to revisit it until satisfied that our Spirit-Teacher is finished instructing our hearts. This is Selah.

We are going to spend some time looking at the Selah moments in Psalms. And I may share some personal Selahs with you along the way. The goal is to fine tune our seeking after God through the ministry of The Teacher. God sent His inspired, Living, Life giving Word to teach us about Himself and His ways. Selah, pause and calmly think on that. Are you an effective student of God’s Word under the tutelage of His Holy Presence?

Join us on Facebook at Darlene’s Ponderings, Prayers, and Praises

The Path of the Sons

“And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judging in Beersheba. His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.” ~ 1 Samuel‬ ‭8:1-3‬ ‭NASB‬‬

As I read this passage today, I am struck with the number of times we see this throughout scripture. A godly, God fearing, leader of God’s people lives his faith before his family. Despite their example of loving service, their children fail to follow the path of their fathers.

How does it word it? They “did not walk in his (the parents) ways.” This tells me the parent was successfully following the path God laid out for them, setting an example worthy of a child’s attention, but the child refused.

Moral: Every child must make their own choice. Do your best to show them the way. Cover them in prayer. But like the horse, though you lead them to Living Water, you can’t make them drink. They have to want it for themselves. And they have to want it wholeheartedly.

Father, we long for our children to desire You and walk in Your ways. We cry out to be godly examples. But the fact remains, it’s You alone who draws them. May they hear the Call and willingly follow. In Jesus, amen.

Know God. Know His Ways.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭34:8‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The following quote, penned by Joyce Meyer, excited me. What an important life pursuit! You know, if you have read much of my writings, that my greatest desire is to KNOW GOD (Philippians 3:8-11, AMPC). And you know that I believe watching for the fruit of God’s character in those professing Him is the proof of our words. But this takes me deeper still.

Joyce writes, “It’s important that we know God’s character. Why? It gives us discernment. If we don’t know the character of God, how can we ever know who is from God and who is not from God? Here are three character traits of God that help me stay in tune with who He is and what He is doing:

“1. Justice: God is a God of justice. That word justice is so awesome because it means that He will always make anything that’s wrong right. This helps me to not worry when I am mistreated because I know God will bring justice. It’s who He is.

“2. Goodness: God is good, this fact never changes. And He’s good all the time, not just once in a while or when things go your way. Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (NIV). When things are bad, I find great encouragement in God’s goodness.

“3. Holiness: God is holy and righteous, and He desires to make us holy, pure and clean, free from the defilements of sin. To be honest, it has helped me in my walk with God to realize that whatever He does is right, whether I like it or not. This helps me to stay in sync with Him.” (End quote)

To view our circumstances through the knowledge of and the trust we have in all we know of God’s character is vital to our ability to find that peace that passes understanding, which is vital to our ability to trust Him and enter His Rest, where wisdom and direction for life resides. Now, that’s not new thought to me. But somehow the way she states it takes me to a place of realizing the need of a more deliberate effort in accomplishing this practice.

So here’s the deal: read Joyce’s insights. Think about the character of God you rely on most. Tell us about your top go to in God’s character, when seeking to understand your situation and receive His wisdom. What is there about The Father in that trait that helps your understanding and emotional response? Now, if you have looked at the current crisis in your life, how does this truth about God help you? Does it change you viewpoint and focus? Does it change your emotional state? Is there new instruction for the path ahead in this truth you believe of our God? Feel free to share here and encourage us, but do share somewhere with someone, and be God’s lifter of heads.

Joyce Meyer: Promises for Your Everyday Life – a Daily Devotional: Day 40 • Devotional

God is Sovereign

He holds the hearts of kings.

“This is what the Lord says: “The people of Israel have sinned again and again, and I WILL NOT LET THEM GO UNPUNISHED! … Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has planned it?” (Amos 2:6a, 3:6 NLT)

We tend to forget that God is still Sovereign over all. We forget that He holds the hearts of kings in His hands to turn them the direction of His will for His purpose. An enemy attacked us on 911 and God sent us to fight that enemy. He used us to deliver a nation from an evil overlord. That is how He Works.

We are told that “God is patient toward us, not wishing any to perish, but all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). We see that fact in God’s words to Abraham as He tells them of Israel’s future slavery and their return to take the promised land. The Lord says, “After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction” (Genesis 15:16 NLT).

God gives the Amorites time to turn from evil, but knowing they won’t, He sets the day when their opportunity to repent is gone. We see God direct the heart of kings against a sinful, unrepentant people over and over in scripture. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We must take His sovereign rule to heart and recognize His hand in our day. And we, as a nation, must repent before God says, “Enough!”

Trust in The Lord

And Do Good

Do you truly trust God as Lord of all, Beloved? It is times like these days in which we live that truly test the caliber of our faith, belief, and trust in God and His word to us.

In these days, the questions we must personally ask ourselves are these:

* Do I truly believe that God is working an eternal plan that includes me? …and that even things meant for evil against me, and bad things that come at me are sifted through God’s capable hands for His purposes in my life and ministry to the glory of His beautiful Name?

* Do I truly believe that God knows what He is doing, and that He has a good plan that includes me, personally and intimately?

* Do I truly believe God’s promises and that they are for me, personally: that He is with ME and for ME; that He never leaves nor forsakes ME; that He cares for ME affectionately and cares about ME watchfully, looking after every minute detail of His good plan for ME; that every challenge He allows to touch MY life carries opportunity for ME to be His witness, His ambassador in the World – His Light, shining in the darkness around ME?

* Do I trust, as Jesus did, that not one breath will leave MY earthly body before the time He has set for ME?

* Do I believe that not one enemy, even a viral one, can have its way in MY life, apart from God’s watchful care as the Potter who forms ME and the Goldsmith who tends the heat and clears the dross from MY life and being?

* Beloved, do you believe and trust God’s Love for you through Jesus Christ, our Lord, and that He is preparing an eternal dwelling where you – personally – will join Him for all eternity? Do you trust that God sees and honors the righteousness of Christ imputed to you? Have you possessed that blessed sacrifice as your own gift from God Almighty who loves you that much?

If you can answer “yes” to all these truths from and about our Holy Father, Jehovah-Ishi (The Lord our Husband), then enter His rest and face this day with the strength of His supply to you for such a time as this. If you cannot answer yes to any of these facts, I recommend a visit with a godly, Christian friend you trust to help you receive and grow your faith in God during these days.

“Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; Do not fret ….” ~ Psalms 37:7 AMPC, NASB

“Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and Stronghold). Selah [pause {Rest yourself in Him, acknowledging and trusting His care for you}, and calmly think of that]!” ~ Psalm 46:10-11 AMPC {Darlene’s understanding}

Prophets Still Today?

“Indeed, the Sovereign Lord NEVER does anything until he reveals His plans to His servants the prophets.” (Amos‬ ‭3:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

There are many who believe that God no longer has prophets today. They believe the prophet made law and are no longer needed as God’s law is complete.

What I see is that the prophet was used of God to REMIND people of law and warn them when they are living contrary to it. They warned the people of things coming to them because of sin: their own or that of others. And they instructed them in the righteous path.

I believe that still is God’s way today, not only because I believe His Word and that “never” as used in our focal verse means “NEVER”. I also believe because God has told me what was coming our way more than once, and it came. I believe because He also used me to warn others, instruct their response, and lead them in prayer, thus strengthening them to face the day of the fulfillment of God’s Word.

One of my first experiences was warning for my husband and his friend he carpooled with to work. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but I knew something really bad was coming to them and I tried to get them to stay home. Of course, being the faithful worker he is, my husband went to work with the warning to be alert and warn his friend as well. By 10:00 AM, hubby called. A piece of heavy equipment dropped its load, knocking his friend from his perch, breaking his back, and plummeting him to the ground many feet below.

Two weeks before the Oklahoma City bombing, knowing devastation was coming, God had me calling people to pray, telling them that the Spirit in me was weeping, bitterly. These experiences grew me to discern and trust God’s Spirit, instructing me. Then His instruction became more clear. I.e.:

Before 911, God told me a disaster would hit the US, reaching from New York City to Washington DC. It would devastate this nation and, indeed, the world. And that the damage would be likened to an earthquake (which I heard a reporter, standing on the rubble, liken it to). When He led me to warn people and call them to prayer, I experienced His truth that, “The lion has roared—so who isn’t frightened? The Sovereign Lord has spoken—so WHO CAN REFUSE TO PROCLAIM HIS MESSAGE?” (Amos‬ ‭3:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬). We prayed for two years.

I have had other such experiences since 911, but not as big.

I was raised in a religion that believes God no longer has prophets. God patiently worked with me to trust His Spirit’s instruction and warning of things to come. He taught me to know that when He tells me to speak, it is on Him to prove my words. But if I refuse obedience and fail to warn those He sends me to, their harm is on me. I dare not refuse to proclaim God’s warning and instruct God’s people when He calls me to do so.

Beloved, God still works as He did in Holy Writ. That is what our Bible is, the story that teaches us who our God is and the way of God with those who believe. It is up to us to decide whether we believe and trust His ways, and whether we will obey Him when He warns us. To refuse to believe God still has prophets is to slam the door in His face and fall to sin. We, as His warriors, must be ready to be His voice of warning, instruction, prayer, trust, and truth.

“Then (Jesus) said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.”” (Luke‬ ‭10:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

The Power of Owning One’s Identity

Are you a Treky? I am. I have seen every Star Trek Series to date, from start to finish, and I am excited to see the soon to begin Star Trek Picard on CBS All Access starting the 23rd.

Picard was captain of the Enterprise in Star Trek Next Generation and some of the funniest moments were his interactions with Lwaxana Troi, mother of his ships counselor, Deanna Troi. Lwaxana is a stand out character who knows who she is. Everything she does and all her roles in life are impacted and dictated by who she is. Her self-introduction makes sure all know who she is, not for the perceived purpose of bragging, but for the power, influence, and anointing her position holds.

Lwaxana was a Federation of Worlds Ambassador of Betazed, which holds its own power and authority, but her identity flowed from her Betazed BIRTHRIGHT, and she made sure all knew she had birthright authority, power, and anointing. When meeting Lwaxana, she boldly announced, “I am Lwaxana Troi, Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed.”

Her positional heritage was not something she earned. It was something she was born into. It was skin to put on, blood to give life, and understanding to empower living. This understanding of her identity and the prestigious authority it held coursed through her veins and dictated every role in life. She longed for Deanna to grasp hold of her heritage and own it as her own, so it flowed through Lwaxana’s motherly dealings. Her possession of who she was, at its core, is what propelled her into the role of Ambassador.

So, what does Lwaxana have to do with us? Her character has a lesson we need to embrace.

I awoke this morning, not thinking about a make believe Betazed, but with my own identity coursing through my veins. We, as born again children of God in Christ Jesus, have a prestigious and powerful heritage to possess and make our own. Ours is real and eternal – despite what many of this world will tell us.

Our identity also breeds power, authority, and anointing into us. That is the reason that we must own it and boldly proclaim our heritage, because this world, God’s enemy, and our own weak flesh, works hard to rob us of our ID, and make us impotent: useless to King and Kingdom. That said, Beloved, allow me the privilege of introducing myself to you.

I am Ruby Darlene Abigail Ingram Davis; Daughter of Jehovah Sabbaoth; Royal Priestess of the house of Judah through Jesus Christ, the High Priest of God in the order of Melchizedek, charged to proclaim the excellencies of Jehovah God; Princess Bride of the King of kings; Citizen of the Eternal Kingdom and Abbassador of The Kingdom of God to the world, empowered and anointed to represent King and Kingdom in the Earth; servant of God in Jesus Name; the very righteousness of God in Christ Jesus; and I am here to serve you in all the power, authority, and supply this truth affords me.

I may not look like much to you, and my roles here may seem as nothing. But, when I stand firm on all that I am in Christ, the enemies of God tremble before me and flee; angels position themselves to minister to my needs and Kingdom proclamations; and God’s hand is moved on my behalf as He causes all things to work together for good to me, as His daughter that loves Him, and shows it by walking and living according to His purpose. (Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭NASB‬‬).

Heads up, Beloved. Grasp your identity with all the power behind it. Let it course through your veins to influence and empower every role you have in the earth today, and all your relational interactions as you influence people and change lives. Then go forth to prosper our Father’s Kingdom and Crown. Blessings, beloved of God.

(Ruby Darlene Abigail Ingram Davis is chalked full of inspirational power for my life. It means: Ruby – the jewel or treasure of God; Darlene – beloved by God; Abigail (name given by God, a story in itself) – one whose heart rejoices in God and who brings rejoicing to the heart of God; of the house of Ingram, in the house of Davis.)

Pearls Trampled

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” (Matthew‬ ‭7:6‬ ‭NKJV‬)

It hurts when the Father tells your heart to stop casting your pearls – your wisdom and understanding of Truth – into the life of someone you care for deeply. But when they trample it – and you – under foot in their refusal to receive it, it dishonors God. To keep casting our pearls becomes like grains of salt hitting an open wound, or stones, scarring a closed and barred door.

Think about what a pearl is. It is the product of an ulcer, an irritated spot. Pearls are the product of God’s healing and growing us through His Word and the experience of His ways. They are the treasure of our experience of God in transforming us into His likeness. They are our passion for the goodness of God in those we love.

Casting pearls is throwing them at a hurting, often angry or discouraged person, who is not ready for healing. When first cast, the words are seeds God can use as He heals their areas of irritation to form pearls in their lives. To keep casting when the person is unreceptive is useless and harmful. It brings about sin in their lives as they resent and mistreat the things of God and His treasure formed in us. And it can raise up sin in us as frustration brings discouragement or, worse still, a fight to have our way in the life of another.

When God tells us to stop sharing the treasures of our experience with someone, we knock the dust off in witness against them, surrendering them to God with hope’s assurance that He is working where we can’t. Our job then is to trust the Lord, and pray. I can tell you from experience that it brings great joy when they speak our words as their own because God softened the soil of their hearts with the seed planted and formed a pearl that is now their‘s to treasure.

Question: Have you bit the head off of anyone in your life, someone who loves you enough to throw their treasure trove of pearls your way? What would God have you do with that?

Linking Word to Action

My Aunt Edna shared about training their baby bird to talk. Repeat a phrase often enough and they will begin to try saying it. As they continue speaking it, their words get more and more clear. She also shared a story that told me the use of the phrase at appropriate times, linking action with word, helps the bird link words to actions, helping them learn the appropriate use of the words spoken.

As I read her story, it made me realize how true that is for us, listening to the word of God. The more we hear and see it appropriately used, the more we begin to speak it appropriately. The more we hear and speak it truly, the more our minds and hearts soak it up by believing faith that produces appropriate actions. The stronger our faith to believe the word received, the stronger our walk in living it out, bearing the fruit it produces in us.

Hummmm…. perhaps having child like faith means – in part – to have hearts and minds constantly ready to hear and receive God’s Word to us, never getting so big for our britches that we are unable to learn of Him and grow stronger in living the Word He gives.

“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Matthew‬ ‭7:17-21‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Written December 8, 2017

Making a God List

And checking it twice.

“Set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.” ~ Colossians‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

I read a devotional in one of my YouVersion’s Holy Bible App Christmas devotionals that suggested making a God List. The author, Samantha Hanni, defines a God list as follows:

“A God list is a list of qualities you’d like to develop or things you want to learn about the Lord. …If I were to make a God list right now, one of the things on there would be help in renewing my mind, resting in His love, and continued courage to wait on Him.“

This will go well with what God led me to do as my New Years resolve many years ago, so I’m excited to add this to my New Year’s preparations. For many years now, Father has led me to seek Him for a scripture to direct my focus for spiritual growth and maturity in the coming year. The last two years have focused on living the resurrected life: Galatians 2:20 (2018) and Galatians 5:24 (2019).

Today, in preparation to share these thoughts, Father highlighted my 2020 focus. As I looked up the verse Samantha used in her devotional, Colossians 3:2, 3:1-17 being one of me life passages, I was led to add verse 1 and use the Amplified Classic version of scripture. There it was, my verse for 2020:

“IF THEN you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.“ ~ Colossians‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

In 2018, I grew strength in realizing Christ, living through a more surrendered me. In 2019 I grew stronger resolve to surrender my passions and desires to His. And now, with Colossians 3:1 as my focus and Samantha’s encouragement under my belt, I will begin today to make a God list to aid my focus to “aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above”, available for those living a resurrected life.

Are you ready for Christmas? Are you ready for a New Year? More importantly, are you ready for the breath you breathe now. Our now-breath is all we can know as ours to live for sure. Enjoy this season as God gives breath for it. Plan for a new year that honors Him. And apply your resolve to each new breath so your life honors Him.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Proclaiming the Power of Unity

Proclaiming the Power of Unity

December 1, 2019 through January 20, 2021

Ezekiel‬ ‭37:15-28‬ ‭NLT‬‬

https://www.bible.com/116/ezk.37.15-28.nlt

As I read this passage this morning, I see clearly, God’s heart for these United States. He proclaims to my heart…

PEACE, UNITY, and WISDOM are POWER in GOD’S HANDS.

I see the pieces of wood and hear His call to place the words on the wood: 1 – “This represents Democrats and their allies.” And 2 – “This represents Republicans and their allies.” I hear the Lord proclaiming: “These United States in My hands: peaceful, unified, and powerful, with Me as their One Wisdom.”

I see the people of God throughout these United States, making their wood pieces with these markings, holding them up as one piece, proclaiming God’s sovereignty in our unity from now through the 2020 Vote, all the way to Inauguration Day (January 20, 2021).

Who will share this vision and answer the call to proclaim God’s power over all? Who will make their wooden pieces and hold them up as one with me?

Get your wood ready by December 1. Snap pics of each, and then as one. Post them as commitment to the call and begin lifting them up and proclaiming our unity, praying as God leads throughout this year of election. Get your church family, Bible study groups, and praying friends involved. Let’s see what our Lord will do.

PEACE, UNITY, and WISDOM are POWER, and it begins with God’s people placing all in GOD’S CAPABLE HANDS. Let’s do it as ONE PEOPLE UNDER GOD.

The Right Tools

This passage in Scripture spoke to me this morning:

“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:11-13 NASB)

Discipline. We tend to hate the word when hearing or reading it conjures up memories of spankings and other uncomfortable things we link to it. But discipline is so much more. Discipline is the fuel and determination needed for growth, maturity, attaining the goal and winning the prize. Discipline looks at the need, sees the tools available to meet the need, then deliberately and purposefully puts the tools to good use, winning the day.

Returning to SparkPeople and Grow Young Fitness in the past weeks, after a long time away from community life and use of resources found there, and determining to use the tools these provide us, I quickly learned I was eating way more than I realized. Through discipline I learned something about myself that I needed to know and found the resources to do something about it.

Discipline is good. It empowers us to live better lives and be our best self. Grasp hold of the tools you find for your need and, deliberately and purposefully making good use of them, have a great, victory day. I’m going to.

Grasp The New

“… At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. …”

When first converted, someone saying to me that I am now a new person brought the thought, “That’s nice.” Oh to fully realize the height, depth, width, and length of this truth. That we are in Christ and He is in us is our New Reality. That our surrender to Him brings true life to living, making us new from the inside out.

We are no longer trapped by this finite life and it’s self-centered, worldly philosophy, but we have already entered the new, eternal Kingdom, possessing through Christ His thoughts, purposes, desires, and understandings. How different life is. What a difference this truth makes for life.

Oh, to teach that to the very young in Christ, that though this shell will one day pass on, we are already eternal with Christ, charged and empowered by Him to pass these Kingdom truths and realities to others along the path of this world assignment. Missionaries of The Kingdom of God. All else pales when we begin to grip our New Reality.

“So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-21 NLT)

God Looks Down

“I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?”” (Psalms 11:1-3 NLT)

The relational climate in our land is very troubling to me. From the heads of government down, we’re so busy fighting against each other that we can’t hear one another, much less find points of agreement. No outside enemy has to come against us to bring us down, for a house divided will quickly fall (Luke 11:17). But what better time for an enemy assault than when a people are too busy looking inward at each other to see out where an enemy lies in wait.

This passage of scripture asks, “What can the righteous do?”

Father, As the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, we can pray and seek Your face, Lord. Thank You that, as we humble ourselves before You, You hear from Heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land. In Jesus, let it be so.

When we humbly seek God, He opens ears to hear, eyes to see, minds to know with comprehension, and hearts to move in line with His will on righteous paths to unity and victory.

“God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God.” (Psalms 53:2 NLT)

Unity comes to those who stop yelling at each other and bow down to align heart, mind, thought, and desire with God and His way.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”” (Jeremiah 29:11-14 NLT)

What God did for Israel, He can and will do for us who follow His plan for finding and achieving His purpose.

Stolen Profit

“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, and for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMPC

Most of us have times of struggle to be in the Word of God, to even read it comprehensively, much less to have any depth of personal study in it. Why is that?

Scripture tells us that the Word of God is profitable to us. God’s word is the seed of God’s Kingdom, sent to establish us as His people (Luke 8:4-15). God’s Word is a mirror, helping us to look more like our Father (2 Corinthians 3:18, AMPC). God’s word is a sword, useful for defeating enemy assaults, and faithfully used by God in separating old man mentality and fleshly desire from the eternal purpose of making us the new creation we are in Christ (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12-13). And, as Paul tells us in 2 Timothy, God’s Word has purpose for us, instructing in the ways and will of God, convicting of sin, correcting error, disciplining us in obedience, and for training in righteousness (in holy living; in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action).

All of this has the purpose of making us complete and proficient, being adequately equipped for the good work that God planned for us to accomplish. So, yes, our flesh, the world’s demands, and demonic influence (all being the false wisdoms of this life) is going to fight against our time in God’s Word. God’s enemy, Satan, does not want this profit produced in us. He does not want to admit his defeat.

Scripture is vital food for fruitful lives God can use. Think for a minute, asking the Father for inspired insight. What most often hinders you having time every day in God’s Word? Is there something you can do to thwart that enemy assault on your God given treasure?

Even a few minutes to grasp a portion of scripture to carry with you throughout your day, meditating on it, digesting every morsel of nourishment from it, will be life changing: increasing profit for the need of your life. Refuse to let the enemies of godly wisdom to steal one more seed of profit from you (James 3:13-18).

Transformed Ideals

“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].” (Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭AMPC‬‬)

Be transformed – changed forever by surrender to God, who works to renew our minds, bringing into us the new ideals and new attitudes that line up with His. We become one with Him, being like Him, as we surrender to His transforming work in us.

Note the wording used here. It doesn’t say that He gives us new ideas, though He can and does do that. The word used is “ideals”.

An idea is a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action. An ideal is satisfying one’s conception of what is perfect; most suitable. God changes our understanding of good, right, true, and the perfected best as our understanding of the ideal adjusts to meet up with His.

When our way of thinking lines up with God’s IDEAL, our IDEAS will flow from that understanding of what is perfect and most suitable. Our choices and decisions will be directed by the IDEAL He births within us. The more we seek to understand and line up with God’s IDEAL, the more of His character, nature, and image we will possess and live out into the world around us.

Seek God for His IDEAL today, and see your attitudes, actions, and reactions lifted to the greater heights of God’s glory and grace.

Short of Glory

“… we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:12-18 NASB)

Sin is defined as anything that falls short of the glory of God. All that God created and set in motion was good, possessing intent and purpose. The God-ordained good, intent, and purpose of all things were set to rightly and truly represent Him, His good, His reality, His will and way. Anything that falls short of His glory (His good, purpose, and intent) is sin.

There is an issue in Christian news today concerning a very popular female worship leader and singer who refused to name homosexuality as sin, reportedly for fear of upsetting friends and family in that lifestyle, and supposedly out of fear of losing her fan base.

First off, her failure proves Romans 3:23. When we fail to connect with God’s good, His purpose, and His intent with the goal of giving expression to His glory, we chance actions or words that offend those who are committed to His glory. And, worse still, we chance offending God.

We are to be people of truth, speaking and living truth AS GOD DEFINES IT. Truth is that which rightly represents God’s evaluation of life issues. He tells us in His Word of the morality we are to possess, standing in agreement with His good, His purpose, and His intent. We cannot call what God deems to be evil, good, and good, evil and be true to God. Anything not true to God is a lie.

When we set our eyes on pleasing man instead of God, we tend to turn from the good and correct purpose and intent of God proving ourselves to be sinners. Guess what. She is one, and so are you and I. We sin daily, every time we take our eyes off of Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith.

Second, she denied the truth of God’s Word which clearly reveals the sexual sins humans fall into, including homosexuality. To discern what makes homosexuality, adultery, and fornication sin, we must look at the clearly defined good, intent, and purpose God laid out for sexual relations.

God created mankind beginning with the male of the species. Looking at him, God proclaims man’s need of a helpmeet, thus, God created for that purpose the woman. These two genders have different anatomy that equips them to have sexual relations with the purpose defined through God’s instruction to populate the earth through the bearing of children.

A man and a woman are to come together in COMMITTED UNION (monogamy), and out of that union, they are to make children in the way provided by God; thus making clearly defined family units that spread across the face of the earth.

Homosexuality diverts from the glory of God as they cannot unite as couples and make their own babies. Yes, there are ways to get babies, but not in the way prescribed by God at creation. That being the case, the homosexual lifestyle falls short of God’s glory.

Other sexual sins include fornication: two people who are not married to each other or anyone else, having sexual relations. Some people say, “Well, in the eyes of God, when we have sex, we are married.” The problem is that there are clear indicators in scripture of the rituals or ingredients that make the couple wedded partners. It does not start with sex, but is consummated by sex.

True, God honoring marriage begins as a commitment between the bride and groom to be and their parents, guardians, or the head of the family group, coming into agreement in their union. Most cultures have laws for the legalized, setting apart of that BLESSed union, and we are instructed in scripture to obey the laws of God and the laws of man.

We see in scripture from early days the various ceremonies that set a couple apart in marriage. Though the man and woman were considered set apart to each other from the point a marriage agreement (engagement) was made, they were not to have intimate relationships until after the marriage ceremony.

God fathered both Adam and Eve through creation. Then He, as Father, committed them to each other and gave them to each other in holy matrimony that met the requirements of maintaining His glory. Then sex consummated their marriage. To have sex outside of the order that practices God’s glory, fulfilling His good, intent, and purpose is the sin of fornication. Fornication breaks God’s law of purity in commitment.

Adultery is when two people come together in sexual relations with at least one being married to a third party. This breaks the law of purity in commitment to one partner, and it tends to destroy family units.

Failure to keep commitment often leads to the permanent separation of divorce, which God hates. When a divorced person remarries, this, too, is deemed an adultery. Remarriage flows from the broken commitment to one’s first love, aligning itself with another lover. Thus, God’s Word warns:

“I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.” (Matthew 5:32 NLT)

God is ONE Being who represents Himself to us in three entities: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. These three rightly and truly represent God, standing together as One being, fully committed to one another, working together in unity to accomplish all God’s righteous good, intent, and purpose. It was intended that God’s created beings enter into this same commitment and become One in Union with THE ONE.

True commitment requires choice, the opportunity for which God provided in two trees with rules to keep. As we know, Adam and Eve chose death’s separation from God, instead of Life in Union as part of His ONEness. Thus, sin entered the world through sinful flesh that perpetuates itself from generation to generation.

Unity with God requires full commitment to all righteousness, which always moves with Him to accomplish His good, intent, and purpose, out of a trusting relationship with unbreakable bonds. Marriage is to mirror the commitment and unity that is God toward Himself and His creation. Anything that goes outside of God’s design for the bonds of matrimony destroys the image, falsely representing God. So, though divorce was allowed by Moses because of the hard heart of mankind that fails to maintain this unity, divorce is not God’s will. In fact, scripture warns us that God hates divorce.

When we divorce, severing our commitment to be one with our first love, remarriage produces an image of one who leaves the ONE and true God to unite itself to a false god. It pictures the fall of humankind as it chose to leave God and align itself with the intent and purpose of Satan.

Marriage done well pictures the oneness of the ONE God; and Family the oneness of God with His created beings. Divorce distorts both, and remarriage pictures changing alliances from one’s First Love.

Thus we see why God hates divorce. And we see why sexual vice outside of God’s plan is a major focus in scriptural warnings, telling us that those practicing these sins will not enter through the gates of Heaven. Only the righteous get through. And there is the Good News, we will cover in the next post.

Receiving God’s Promise

“For I will restore you to health And I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the LORD, ‘BECAUSE they have called you an outcast, saying: “It is Zion; NO ONE CARES FOR HER.” ’” (Jeremiah 30:17 NASB)

This is a promise from God to Israel at a time when their enemies noticed God’s judgement against them and began to say of them that they were outcasts because “no one cares for them,” which was and still is a lie. God cares for His people, including us. The Amplified classic version says He cares about us watchfully and cares for us affectionately (1 Peter 5:7). God will not let the enemy speak such blasphemy concerning His care for us, so for Israel, even in the midst of their sin state, God assured them of His healing.

I saw this Promise today as a stand alone truth the person was leaning on for their little one. As I read it, “I will restore you to health And I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the LORD.” It spoke clearly to me for my husband. What tells me I have the right to trust this as truth from God for Johnny. The assurance that our God cares for us and that He is the One who determines our lifespan and the boundaries of our habitation (Acts 17:22-28).

Casting the whole of our care on You Lord, all our anxieties, all our worries, all our concerns, once and for all on You, we trust You to bring Johnny back to health of body, mind, soul, strength, and spirit, and to heal this wound that refuses healing. We trust You to respond all because You care for us affectionately and You care about us watchfully. This is our hope and cry in Jesus Holy Name, who imparts righteousness to us by the power of Your grace sufficient, amen.

1 Peter 5:7 AMPC

ACTS 17:23-28 NASB

Psalm 55:22 AMPC

Truth in Action

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” (1 John 3:18 NLT)

Let us not merely say we love, but show the truth of it in action. This call to visual proof of the truth of our claim to an attribute of godliness can be applied to so many other words.

Let us show the truth by our actions.

We don’t have to tell people we love them, we care for them, we honor and respect them when they see it in the actions we take toward them. We don’t have to tell others how faithful we are, how big on integrity, how trustworthy the truth of our words, when our actions reveal it to be our true nature.

Actions do speak, and they speak loudly. Words without visible proof speak louder still. Let us decide who we are as the people of God and prove the truth of it in action.

“We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him” (1 John 3:19 NASB)

Greater Love Requires Humility: A Quick Study

The best devotionals: The Word of God, coupled with comprehensive understanding of the words read. And the best, most needful Bible study aids are a Bible concordance, a dictionary of Bible words and one for the language being read. Your notes would look something like this.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3 NASB)

Selfishness – (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure. “I joined them for selfish reasons” Synonyms: egocentric, egotistic, egotistical, egomaniacal, self-centered, self-regarding, self-absorbed, self-obsessed, self-seeking, self-serving, wrapped up in oneself, inward-looking, introverted, self-loving; inconsiderate, thoughtless, unthinking, uncaring, heedless, unmindful, and More.

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails….” (1 Corinthians 13:1-8 NASB)

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. ….” (John 15:13-14 NASB)

Conceit – excessive pride in oneself. “he was puffed up with conceit” Synonyms: vanity, narcissism, conceitedness, self-love, self-admiration, self-adulation, self-regard, egotism, egoism, egocentricity, egomania; and More.

“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3 NASB)

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. …. So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life….” (Philippians 2:1-18 NASB)

Directed by Bit and Bridle

“For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well.” (James 3:2-3 NASB)

We looked last post at the coal of fire used to cleanse the whole of Isaiah’s person by the cleansing of his lips; at how control of the tongue prevents sin. Then James points out how a horse is controlled by the bit and a bridle. That begs the question of what we can learn from the purpose and function of a bit and bridle.

This piece is the bit.

Looking at it in position on an animal, we see the bit lies over the tongue.

Researching the purpose of the bit, one thing jumps out to speak to me. The main purpose I found for the bit is to allow the rider to communicate with the horse. With training, the bit equips the horse to know the direction the rider wants to go, as well as how fast or slow to travel and when and where to stop. The amount of pressure used increases to get an unruly animal in check, and lessens to reward cooperative obedience.

As noted, the bit lies over the tongue. With regard to our relationship with God, this speaks to me of the importance of keeping the mouth still so the ears can hear and the senses can comprehend. One of the best definitions of this quiet alertness to God is Psalm 46:10.

“Cease striving, be still (quiet), stop fighting, let be and know that I am God” (KJV, NASB, AMPC, early translations of TLB, GNB)

Our listening ears have to focus. Rattling our mouths will hinder hearing with discernment. So we literally need to quiet our mouths and perk up our ears. As God’s people, we are to listen fully. In ministry to others, we are to listen to the person in front of us, listening both to their issues and listening to discern if God just placed an assignment before us. Any speaking should be to aid comprehension of the person’s true need until understanding comes and wisdom from God rises.

So, we need literally to quiet our mouths and open our ears: first to perceive God and His will, purpose, plan; and then to hear, perceive, understand those around us and their needs.

But there’s another way our “tongues” must be still. We talk without a word. We let our minds wander. Our emotional state toward the person or situation before us can lead to fuming, griping, complaining, fidgeting, feeling put upon, upset over an intrusion, excited for some opportunity, or a sundry of other thoughts, emotions, and desires that hinder ability to hear God or people. To hear we must cease striving against the situation, get our body and emotions still, quiet our thoughts, know God may be in the situation, and let Him be God in His leading and using us.

The reins connect to the bit rings, via a bridle: headgear that connects all together and aids to control the head, and thus, the whole body of the animal. Tugging left or right, pulling back or leaning forward let’s the horse know the direction, speed, and stopping place. Some animals are easily distracted or startled by things on the sidelines, so blinders are used to aid their focus. All of this aids both communication and control of the animal.

But here’s the thing we most need to know about James’ analogy:

“Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you.” (Psalms 32:9 NKJV)

When love and trust connect a horse and rider, the horse wants to be with and please the rider. With such a relationship, the rider can ride and communicate without bit and bridle, and the horse obey willingly and immediately. They trust each other and work together well as partners.

This is the relationship God wants with us, Beloved. He wants us to recognize and know when He is directing us and communicating His desires to us. It requires a trust that comes out of a love relationship.

When I first started really seeking God to understand His communication with me on a personal level, I first had to choose and commit myself to trust Him. I chose to first trust that He would distinguish Himself to me and protect me from the trickery of the “stranger”. I had to trust Him to give me comprehensive understanding of His “voice”, His way of speaking to my understanding. Not that I hear an actual voice, but understanding of His will and direction in a situation comes so clearly that I can say with surety, “God says to me, ‘This is the way. Walk ye in it’”

God has purposes for life that is common to all His people. But He also has a purpose and plan for each of us that is ours to discover and walk out faithfully as His servant ambassador to the world.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)

Wherever we are, God has us there for His purposes. We are to do our work as for Him, living our lives as represents Him. Some have a call to special service as ministers of God’s choosing. To fulfill that purpose we must grow to discern His lead and cooperate with His directives as He leads us to that place.

Then there are those like me, called to write (or speak) His Word of encouragement, making it clear. Without trust in God to put His Word in our hearts and minds and empower our communication, well, we better put our pen down, for a word given without faith that we truly received it from God is sin.

Beloved, how are you doing at following the will of God for us all expressed through the teachings of scripture? Does God have to force His will with His spiritual bit and bridle? He cannot entrust us with His greater calling for our lives, if we can’t obey His directives required of all who say they are His people.

What is your calling and equipping from God? Does your love for and trust in Him empower discernment of His true leading? Do you obey despite any fear of the opinion and rejection of humankind? Stubborn faith to trust Him fully is revealed through obedience productive of the fruit of righteousness. If it is Him directing your path, it will come to the fruition of His will for you.

“Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Psalms 37:3-5 NASB)

The Cleansing Coal

One of my favorite songs, recorded by Kutless, is “Take Me In (To The Holy of Holies)”. My enjoyment of it is especially true in these days of God teaching me the greater depths of our role as His Temple. On one particular day, as I sang along with it, revelation dawned on a truth needed.

The lyric is of one seeking Father to, “take the coal, touch my lips, here I am.” Those words usher in thought of two scripture passages, the first being the source of that lyric.

“…Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”” (Isaiah 6:1-7 NASB)

Isaiah has just gazed upon the glory of God, seated on His throne. Instantly, Isaiah not only confesses his sin and the sin of all the nation’s people, but he also expresses deep, abiding surrender to God’s will: “Here I am.” With Isaiah’s recognition of the fire of iniquity fueling that sin, my mind goes to the second passage risen up within me, found in James.

“…if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” (James 3:2 NLT)

We cannot help, when in the sure and pure Presence of God, but to realize how unworthy we are to be there. When God heard Isaiah’s repentant plea, God sent the angel with the burning coal to touch his lips and cleanse Isaiah’s entire being. In doing so, not only was Isaiah cleansed and purified, but He was set apart and anointed to use that mouth in service to God. He spent the remainder of His day’s doing just that as a prophet of the One True God to the people of Israel.

Looking at both passages, we can recognize that our mouths are a major hot spot in our journey to please God. James states it clearly. Ability to control the tongue equips one to control their entire being.

Reading on, James warns, “…the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” (James 3:5-6 NASB)

Think about it. We too quickly speak, only to find ourselves on roads of endeavor God never intended. We make a rash commitment that forces us on a path to destruction; or we speak thoughtlessly, only to back out and fail to keep our word. Or we respond too quickly to falsehood, insult, injustice, dispute, only to find doors of opportunity and relationship closed; and further access denied.

Then there are hurting people who constantly hurt people. There’s prideful people who overestimate themselves and bite off more than they can chew. And there are insecure people who fearfully fail to trust God and refuse an opportunity He sends that would not only grow faith and security, but allow them to participate in a work of God beyond their comfort zone, bringing them up higher in their walk with God. And, lest we forget, as stated by James, “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.” (James 3:9-10 NASB)

But God cleanses and God sanctifies, putting a new fire in our tongues, flaming from a bit of His choosing, controlled by the reins His Hands direct. With surrender to His bit and bridle, He leads us to walk the streets of His desire, design, will, and purpose.

With these insights, I have to ask what we can learn from the analogy of the bit and bridle. We will look at these in the next post.

Residing as Aliens

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.” (1 Peter 1:1-2 NASB)

Peter addresses his audience as alien residents. These He addresses are physical aliens, scattered across foreign lands, away from their God-given homelands. But I believe he is also addressing them as Kingdom people, living as aliens in this world.

That being true, this letter is for us as well. We, too, are a peculiar people: being in the world, but not of it. We are strategically place in the earth, according to the foreknowledge of God, positioned for a work planned for each individual of us, prepared by Him before we were borne.

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

We “are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood.”

The sprinkled blood both cleanses from sin and sets apart for special service, set apart and sanctified to God for His purposes: Chosen, for a sanctifying work of the Spirit. The Spirit of God in us is tasked with the work of sanctifying us to God, setting us apart to Him. This sanctification reveals itself as we grow in obedience in two ways: obedience that follows the dictates of Christ, who is The Word of God incarnate. An obedience that not only recognizes the authority of the Father behind the teachings of Jesus, but that recognizes Jesus as the example we are to follow in our acts of obedience. We obey best when we obey in the obedience OF Christ. Obedience done as Jesus would obey, in keeping with the image of God seen in Him, is our weapon of warfare.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NASB)

Learning to think as Christ thinks and take action in agreement with Him, chasing hard after God’s will and way, doing all as glorifies and honors the Father. This is the obedience of a sanctified life, proving the successful work of God’s Spirit in us, making us obvious aliens in this world, clearly defining us as Kingdom dwellers.

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 NASB)

Reach for the Prize

We, the people of God in Christ Jesus, are both fully perfected in Christ as the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus; and we are simultaneously continually being perfected until the day of Christ, when He is fully revealed in us.

Though we are eternal beings raised to newness of life in Christ, we still live in human flesh that tries to resurrect itself as a dominant force. We have earthbound thinking to overcome, bad habits to change, and a higher calling to walk into.

Long ago, I was impressed by God to stop setting resolutions to try to improve my flesh, and start setting my aim to reach the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. As I turned my attention to reaching for that prize, Father began showing me in scripture a mile marker for that year. My first prize assignment was to grow my knowledge of God in greater, ever increasing intimacy (Philippians 3:10-11, AMPC).

Growing intimacy with God requires time in His Word so He can point our hearts to the prize we are to reach for. My encouragement today is for a commitment to seek God in His Word, asking Him to show us the prize we are to reach for. Get into God’s Word, watching for Him to highlight the prize He has for you to attain in this coming year. Get your spiritual eyes on that prize and watch in awe as He opens His Word and opportunities to help your growth and position you for victory in grabbing that ring in victory.

“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. …” (1 Peter 2:1-5 NASB)

Philippians 3:7-16 NASB

Love from the Heart

“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart….” (1 Peter 1:22-25 NASB)

God’s Word to us instructs us to love each other from the heart, but what does that mean?

“Heart” in scripture most often refers to the core of our being: from all that makes us who we are as individuals. This core being is made up of our mind or thoughts, our will, and our emotions.

Loving from the heart of our mind means to possess right, true, and loving thoughts toward others.

In the love chapter, we are instructed that kindness is a love virtue. All actions begin in our thinking, toward God, ourselves, and others. Doing kindness begins with our thoughts toward each: God, self, and others. Patience, jealousy, bragging, arrogance, actions unbecoming to a Christ follower: all these and more in the outline of love actions are effected positively or negatively by our thoughts. So love begins with our minds, and requires our fervent practice of taking every thought captive in the obedience of Christ, following His example in the practice of love.

Love begins in our minds because true, Agape love, which is the “love” word used here, is a function of our wills. Will flows out of what we think and believe true, right, and good, which is dictated by who we are, our defining characteristics. As Christ followers, we are people of The Word, and we will seek wisdom from that Word in directing our wills.

God loves by choice, because He is Love, and He cannot deny Himself. His love is not led astray by wayward thought processes, nor does He willfully go against who He is. Everything He thinks, says, and does flows true to His character, being dictated by who He is, the main part of His nature being love. When He slew whole groups of people, it was not dictated by hate of those destroyed, but by love that desired to protect those adversely affected by some form of hate or rebellion in the ones slain.

Love is not self-centered, selfish, but God and others centered. It is considerate of those we love in all we choose. It does what most represents God in accomplishing His will out of love for Him. And it considers what is most beneficial and caring toward those within our sphere of responsibility. By choice of our will, we do all out of love, becoming love as God is love, and staying true to who we are in Christ: the image of God.

Though love is a choice of our wills as dictated by right and true thoughts within us, it is not devoid of emotion. Emotions are. Though we should not allow emotion to dictate, devoid of thought coupled with wisdom of will, emotions help our expression of thought or opinion when aided by right thoughts and wisdom bred will.

When my husband looks at me with love’s passion shining in his eyes, I see the depth and sincerity of his love for me. When a controlled outburst of anger rises up to get my attention, I recognize the need to take heed to the importance of the issue expressed by the one angered. Emotion aids expression when controlled by love and wisdom. But be forewarned about being dictated by unchecked emotion.

When emotions rise, it’s important to acknowledge the flare, weighing it on the scales of loving wisdom, and taking it captive to righteousness. Passion unchecked and without love’s focus can lead to adultery. Fear unchecked and without love’s focus is destructive to faith, able to drag us off in opposition to God and His ways. Fear breeds hate, as it is ill equipped to think righteously or choose what is best out of love for God, self, and others.

Note the order given as seen in throughout scripture: mind, will, emotions. Without right thinking, our wills will lead us astray. Devoid of will’s directive, emotions make us fickle.

Love seeks out right and true thoughts. Love takes action deliberately, with clarity of will, as righteousness and wisdom become clear. Love uses right thought and clarity of will to temper emotion as a vital communication and motivation tool. Thus, we knowingly, deliberately, and fervently love from the heart in likeness to our God, who IS love.

Scriptures referenced: 1 Corinthians 13; 2 Corinthians 10:1-6.

Finding Who We Are: Part 13

We Are the Children of God: Recipients of The Father’s Discipline

“… The Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes. You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. …” (Hebrews 12:5-15 AMPC)

Beloved, as people who are rebirthed into Christ, we are the blood born children of Holy God. He loves us completely and unconditionally. One proof of God being our Father who loves us is His discipline working righteousness in us.

Discipline gets a bad rap in our day. The ways of discipline are toned down, often calling actions common to discipline abusive. Spanking is taboo, yet God’s Word says that if we spare the rod (some define as a small switch for stinging the legs), we HATE our son (child). (Proverbs 13:24 NKJV)

The main reason that I believe “discipline” gets a bad rap is that many define discipline as harsh, linking it only with spankings, grounding, or other punishments given for wrong doings. But God’s discipline, though it does respond to wrong doing and may respond harshly, is always done out of love, and is much more than reactive.

The defining parameters of discipline is training in righteousness, that we may be holy as He is holy. The number one verse I run to when describing discipline, which speaks of the purpose and work of scripture, is 2 Timothy 3:16-17. This oft quoted verse uses words like teaching, reproof, correction, training, instruction, conviction. The goals of such discipline are to increase righteousness, to make adequate and fully equipped for good work; to train in discerning good and evil. So we don’t just get onto a child for doing wrong. We train them to understand why it is wrong and teach better ways and reasoning so they find value in righteousness. That is God’s purpose in all He allows to touch our lives.

God does not tempt us to evil, but as He trains us to know the difference between good and evil, He does grant opportunity to recognize and choose between them. The older I get, the more I realize that any choice between good or evil is actually a choice between God and not-God.

Scripture teaches to avoid bad company because desire to fit in with those we call friend, when they constantly lean toward evil, erodes at and corrupts our good morals. The Father practices what He preaches, another vital aspect of discipline, desiring us to follow suit. Our walking with corruption separates us from the Father. If we truly want a close relationship with our Father, we must run with Him and with those close to Him.

Training involves time. We cannot teach a child how to love on a puppy without hurting it and expect them to fully understand in that instant how to love and treat others. It takes time and practice with ever growing subject matter to bring us up in how to love and treat others. And those that learn fastest and easiest are those who have parents who are good role models. Consistency is a must.

Now, I know parents can be abusive, but instead of training parents how to discipline righteously, we are training them to coddle children, making for kids who are selfish, unable to truly care for others, making them targets for evil.

Beloved, as blood born children of God, because He loves us and desires us to be all He knows we can be, having a right estimation of ourselves, God disciplines us. This discipline aimed at helping us become all He knows we can be is the meaning of training a child according to his (or her) “individual bent” (Proverbs 22:6,AMPC). It means recognizing one, the type of discipline that works best in training the child without breaking their spirit. Secondly, it requires the parent to recognize their child’s strengths, weaknesses, gifts, talents, and abilities, helping them grow and develop in line with who they are and can be.

When training a child to overcome their weaknesses, discipline helps them recognize resources that make them strong in weak areas. A child learns to hold on to things that stabilize them while growing strong walking legs. As we teach a child to walk by giving them our fingers to hold while we stabilize them, so we must help them learn to grab God’s hand and rely on His resources. The thing God wants us to learn and to pass on to our kids is this: where we help a child learn to walk, the goal being to eventually let go of us, God wants us to grow to know to never let go of Him. Our true weakness comes when we run in our own strength, forgetting that we still will do best by holding His hand. We are at our best when willingly surrendered to His care.

Beloved, we are the most BLESSed kids around, because our God loves us enough to care what we do and who we become. Because God loves us, He is always ready to forgive failure and, taking us by the hand, He shows us the still more excellent way of love, righteousness, peace, and joy, breeding heavens glory into all we are, say, feel, believe, and do, so we are the best “me” He created us to possess.

“My son, keep your father’s God-given commandment and forsake not the law of God that your mother taught you. Bind them continually upon your heart and tie them about your neck. When you go, the words of your parents’ God shall lead you; when you sleep, they shall keep you; and when you waken, they shall talk with you. For the commandment is a lamp, and the whole teaching of the law is light, and reproofs of discipline are the way of life.” (Proverbs 6:20-23 AMPC)

(2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMPC; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 5:14, 12:11; 2 Peter 2:14, NASB; Proverbs 22:6 AMPC)