No one is immune although there are those who have been blessed with financial prosperity that may not fret so much.  For the rest of us, there is the desire to be comfortable and to make enough money to have some saved up for a rainy day, but a home, have a good car.

So often these days education doesn’t guarantee financial stability.  There are an awful lot of men and women with degrees working very blue collar jobs and in turn, making a blue collar wage – which can become a very substantial wage.

And yet there is a common theme among people that we must manage the money we have and we must be frugal and mindful about how we distribute what we have been blessed to have.  The way we look at money and who we attribute it too make a whole lot of difference in how God’s favor will work in our own life.  None of it is ours and the sooner we realize that the better off we will be.

Many a believer has been cast down and many a ministry has been uprooted by greed and mismanagement. It is no longer a hunger to minister to others that drives them on rather a hunger to be comfortable and make money. promises are made and forgotten and quality and integrity matter less and less.

When what we have becomes ours and the work we do is no longer Gods we are in trouble.  Nothing we have is ours and whatever we do to minister to others is never ours to hoard or own.  He is the Author and Finisher.  He is the First and the Last.  Not you.  Not me.

It’s the same with our bodies.  We will prosper as our soul prospers.  Is your soul prospering?  Is your soul full to overflowing with the things of God and at peace in all of your transactions?  Is your soul filled with joy at how it is used to minster to others?  Do you feel rich in the spirit?

I have lost my life more than once and once lost to the darkness it is only by the Hand of God that we are brought out into life again.  It is never a matter of how good we are or how well we have done. God is looking at our heart condition today…right this very minute, and acting upon that in our lives.  How is your heart condition towards the Lord today?

There are scriptures that will lead us in how we should speak and there are scriptures that will lead us in how we should work and manage and live.  Although a sermon on Sunday morning or Saturday night may light a fire in our hearts it is how we spend time with the Lord Jesus the rest of the week that is going to matter.

If I’ve been lying how can I expect the truth of God to do anything but convict? If I am lying I want the spirit to convict me and bring about a change in me but the problem is that one lie leads to another lie and then we can be so far in it that it doesn’t even feel like it’s wrong any more.  Our souls become hardened to the things of God and we become an empty vessel – a clanging cymbal doing things from memory and not from love.  Word says that if I have not love; if I don’t live my life from a place of love my acts of service are as nothing.

It’s all a matter of perspective.  The way we choose to look at everything from the things we have and the money in our wallet to the time we have and the way it is used makes all the difference to God.  He is looking for men and women who live their lives for Him every single minute of the day.

It used to be that none of my thoughts were of Him and now all of my thoughts are somehow entwined in the things of God.  My decisions are always tempered by the Holy Spirit and I am constantly aware of His presence upon my life.  If He feels far away it’s usually me who has wandered into worrying about something that is in His hands and not supposed to be in mine.

There is beauty in giving of our first fruits.  It’s not just a church thing to raise money it’s a way of giving back to the Lord what He has entrusted to us.  Are we going to hoard or bury what He’s given us or are we going to see if it can become something bigger than it was?

Our hearts need to beat with the love of Jesus pumping through them with a holy passion for the things of Him.  When we look at all that He did for us and how that has transformed our lives our souls should do nothing but thrill to the call of service in His name.

Psalm 50:10 – For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.

 One would think that after David slew Goliath that the slaying of giants would be over.  Somehow there is a finality to the way we share the story that gives the hearer of the word the impression that that was it.  Young David slew the last of them with his sling shot and stones.

But that’s not the way it works.  In David’s life or in our own. We are apt to get a bit comfortable in our faith assuming that something that God has delivered us from cannot ever touch us again and there are times when that is exactly the case.  Yet there are other times when we need to guard the blessings that God has given us because some of the games of the enemy aren’t going to be completely removed in one fell swoop.

Believe me when I tell you that I am one who believes that the one fell swoop deliverance exists.  I am also keenly aware that the devil hates you and he hates me and he will do what he can to make God look like a liar and to attack our faith so that we feel like fools for believing as big as we have.

While the Holy Spirit is whispering in our ear that we are almost there, the enemy has given us reasons to doubt that the giant He had us slay came against us alone…that maybe there were other giants that we didn’t see or sense that were just waiting for the right time to come into our lives and cause all sorts of discord and mayhem.

I remember a time when the Lord specifically told me that all I needed was five smooth stones.  It was important that I notice that there wasn’t just one smooth stone that I needed but that I needed five smooth stones.  Five of them. I couldn’t help but think that there was going to be more than one giant that I was going to have to slay and I needed to be aware, perceptive and prepared. I wasn’t going to be able to slay any giants if my bag of stones was empty.

It wasn’t shortly after that that the first giant appeared upon the horizon of my life…a life I really believed would have looked very different than it did at the time.  I had to be sure.  I had to let the Holy Spirit give me the wisdom to know what to fight and what were just annoyances and distractions.

Thing that we have a tendency to forget is that the enemy is alive and well and aching to wreak havoc on our lives. He is just waiting for us to let down our guard so that he can throw another giant at us.  it may not be the same giant, but it may be very similar and send our faith into a tizzy.  We thought the Lord had taken that from us and yet, here it is in just a different enough fashion for us to believe that there must be something wrong with our faith.

It’s not that.  Remember that the enemy will do whatever he can to stop you from accomplishing all that God has put into your spirit to accomplish.  He’s no dummy and he can get to the best of the best. No one is immune, it’s our perspective of how big our God is and how real we make that God every single day that will make the difference between success and defeat.

Our God has given us everything we need to perceive the wiles of the devil and to do battle when it comes time.  Friends will become foes and people we trusted will go off the deep end into an abyss they said they would never go down into again and we are left with something amazing; the word. The living active word of God that will lead us through every one of these difficulties and tell us just how to do it.

If we lack belief ask God to help our unbelief.  If we are fearful speak to that fear and tell it to go back to the devil it came from.  We haven’t been given a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

God has plans for our lives and just as it was when David slew the giant, he later had to slay some more.  The difference is that when he had to go slay more giants he wasn’t afraid or surprised.  He and his army just slew them as if it were nothing.

That’s how we need to be when the giants that seemed gone rouse up in our lives again.  Just beat them again knowing that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.   Three times the giants came back.  I can only imagine that the warriors were thinking.  They were probably frustrated thinking that they’d already slain the last giant.  As warriors, it probably only made them madder but if it had been you or me, what would we have done?  There’s a good chance that we would have gotten discouraged thinking that we were doing something wrong in our faith when in fact, it was just another giant…another facet of the same enemy that we have faced before.

Like the army of David we want to be able to face it down once again.  Even though it may look like the one we already went toe to toe with it can’t matter.  It’s here right now and we need the kind of right now faith that knows we have what the Lord said we needed to make it through the fight onto the other side.  His word is real and it is effective.  We just have to choose to use it.

1 Chronicles 20:4-8 –  And after this there arose war with the Philistines at Gezer. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Sippai, who was one of the descendants of the giants, and the Philistines were subdued. And there was again war with the Philistines, and Elhanan the son of Jair struck down Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, struck him down. These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

We live in a world of uncertainty.  It’s a given.  We all have our plans laid out for the day, the week, the year, and yet there are any number of things that can come in and disrupt any one of these we are believing will transpire the way we have planned.

It is wise to not give into the spirit of uncertainty because it is a sister to the spirit of fear. It causes us to dwell on the unknown and to create possible scenarios that are far from truth or even far from realistic.  Some of us are so used to a difficult outcome that we create it as our expected end to our uncertainty and then live from that place of extreme discomfort just waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop.

Working in any environment brings with it a level of uncertainty.  When all appears to be going well we are apt to create our own sense of uncertainty because that is the norm that we have chosen to embrace.  Admitting we like chaos. Assuming that we will be what we had negatively believed.  A kind of self fulfilling prophecy.

And yet uncertainty doesn’t have to bring with it a spirit of fear.  Instead it can be steeped in a bed of expectation for what God is going to do next.  We have to learn to get rid of the old tapes that scream through our brains that uncertainty equates failure or doom or so many other difficult outcomes that we are apt to create in our minds to fit the psyche that we have become used to.

Uncertainty also gives us permission to think only about ourselves.  Born from the fear that grips the heart one is apt to believe that everything is about them, when more often than not, it has nothing to do with them.  It breeds suspicion that brings about a sense that everyone else is using their uncertain fear to make sure that they aren’t the one in the hot seat.  It breeds isolationism and a fairly large dose of mistrust of those around us and those in authority above us.

Perhaps the uncertainty is based on a sense that we’ve never had a job that we could make into a career with the people we’re now with.  It’s a new experience and it’s a tough one because we don’t feel like it’s on our terms.  We believe that we need to have some sort of control over the uncertainty.

So what if we surrender the uncertainty to the Lord? What if we give it to Him and let Him cover it and grow it up into all that God has planned for it?  We’re just so impatient…and just as we choose to bring out the dynamite, God reminds us to relax into all that is so that He can do His thing with the unknowns of life.

It’s funny because we are never uncertain about the earth revolving on it’s axis.  We aren’t worried about gravity keeping us on the terra firma. We know that our car will start and the sun will rise.  We aren’t uncertain about any of those things, and yet we suffer from trepidation; paralyzing fear that keeps us from being able to just function through our day.

Uncertainty…I get it.  That not knowing.  That fretting about school work or kids or bills or our health.  Shoot! Fretting about taxes is enough to send one into a tailspin.  Still and yet uncertainty can be our ally.  It all depends on our perspective and if we are willing to live from the word of God and all that it promises.

At salvation all of the promises of God became ours.  We have a Savior that has promised us health and prosperity and safety and wisdom, etc… there are so many promises that there are too many to put into words.  Yet if we would take the time to know the promises and write them on the tablets of our hearts we would be able to speak them out against our fears of uncertainty thwarting the wiles of the enemy that swarm around us in the world.

We must remind ourselves that we are covered and victorious.  We must stand against fear…the fear that breeds a spirit of uncertainty that is anything but God like.

I must admit that I have tried to write this particular blog for two days now.  Each time I have started to write I’ve been severely attacked and have been literally unable to type, to think straight, to write.  I’ve been unable to capture what the Spirit is trying to say through me and only now have I been able to sit with uncertainties truth and expose it for the lie that it can be.

Forgive me for not sharing yesterday…for not being able to finish this yesterday.  Sometimes I hate my humanity and struggle to get into the spirit where the real truth lies.

We have been working in an environment that is full of uncertainty due to unexpected changes and attacks.  As God has so graciously worked out details that we didn’t even realize needed attention, He has taken the reins and led us into a place of certainty and resolve that only comes from the throne room of God.

When a project is finally dedicated to the One who truly inspired it, that project takes flight like and eagle and soars in ways that are beyond our imagining.  And as the enemy cries at what he lost; at what he thought he had attained, he does his level best to traumatize the warriors in the trenches with a spirit of uncertainty and fear.

Well… right now, in the name of Jesus, I rebuke the enemy and all of his minions from attacking that which is the Lords.  We claim this territory for the Lord and praise Him for His victory over the spirits of fear uncertainty and trepidation due to past abuses.  In Jesus name we cover this project in the blood of the Lamb and hearken the angels unto the voice of God bringing about a mighty shield of favor around this sacred ground.  Thank you Jesus for your faithfulness. In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.

It’s not like a Where’s Waldo book and yet sometimes it feels as if He is as evasive as Waldo is; lost in a crowd that I cannot see through and cannot get through.  Yet it truth, He is never that far away.  He is within each and everyone of us who have called upon Him as Lord.  He is so aware of our lives that He does things in preparation for the events that are to come.  He knows each of our heart beats and each of the blinks of our eyes.  He knows way more about any of us that we do our selves.  So why does He feel so far away at times?

Well, before I dive into that I want to let you know that I had an amazing visit with my parents.  They were here for just over a week and it was a joy to not only get to spend Mother’s Day with mom but to celebrate my birthday with them as well.  I had planned on blogging throughout the whole visit but that is just not how it played out.  It was all about them and I am so thankful for the parents that I have.

Many conversations revolved around my faith in Jesus and my relationship with Him.  The comment came that they are thrilled about it for me because it obviously works for me. Hmmmm…..That’s not exactly what I was hoping for.  I have prayed for years for them to have a relationship with Christ.  I have hoped that how the Lord has done the miraculous in my life they would see that as truth about the Lords existence, making it more than a fairy tale, but even that hasn’t budged their hearts.  It hurts.  I am sure that many understand and wonder what kind of strong hold could be around their hearts to keep them so against the Lord.

I know that they have been hurt by many a human who used Christ as a weapon to wield their power over them…Christians who are far from Christ-like.  We all know a bunch of those and I can’t help but wonder how a person can claim Him as Lord when they don’t reflect any of His attributes.

Which brings me back to that question  of where we will find Him.  In all of the conversations that I was blessed to have with my parents, even while they bowed their heads with me and held my hand as we prayed over our meals, I had to wonder where could I find Him in their lives?

Knowing that He is everywhere doesn’t help for one who doesn’t believe that God created the world and all of the creatures and plants that are in it.  I wonder; when I look at a tree I see God, what do they see?  Is my sense of His presence different because I see Him in everything?

For David and his army in 1 Chronicles, the Lord was in the Mulberry trees sounding like the roar of an army in pursuit. I love that. I love how close that David was to God and how David just asked Him about everything when He first became  king.  It’s a beautiful lesson in how we are to be in relationship with our God.  We too should be so comfortable with the Lord that we ask God about the little things –  the details of our lives.

Thing is that He’s going to be a part of it all anyway so why not let Him into the conversation about the details of our lives?  I can only imagine how much God wants to be invited into the details of our lives, every moment of every day.  We give Him our lives and then ration out the pieces of our lives that we want Him to be active in.

It doesn’t work like that.  It’s kind of an all or nothing deal.  Don’t want to be found luke warm so that He spews us out of His mouth.

Perhaps a lot of our struggle is in the fact that we don’t feel that He is interested in portions of our lives.

News Flash! He is!

Our complete surrender to Him is what gives us the privilege to bask in His presence all of the time. It’s our choice how much of our life is dedicated to God but if we portion it out we can hardly expect to feel His presence in the details of our lives.

How would it be if we only loved our family conditionally? As teenagers most of us kept serious portions of our lives away from our folks. That made for a pretty wacky relationship. Lots of paranoia and fear…mistrust and frustration. My relationship with my parents isn’t full of all of those things because they know the details of my life.  The good, the bad and the ugly.

It’s the same thing with God.  He really is everywhere.  He really is wanting to be in every detail of our lives.  But He can’t be if we aren’t willing to let Him into the whole of who we are.  We can’t get mad at Him for seeming to be so far away when it’s us that have made the relationship conditional.

He ain’t no sugar daddy.  Simple.

You give Him your all and you will find Him in everything and your life will be transformed.  It will not longer be lukewarm and those things we thought we were hiding from Him by not surrendering them?  Once surrendered they become sweetly transfigured into something far better than they were when we were in charge.

Job 11:13-15 – Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer,  and give up your sins—even those you do in secret.  Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless.

Life comes at us from a thousand different directions and there seems to be no time to relax or find peace in the midst of all that needs to be done today.  The rush to perform and the dead lines and the unexpected problems that pop up out of no where, leave us feeling as if we weren’t able to accomplish all that we had hoped to accomplish. In turn the peace we were so wanting becomes even more elusive due to our sense that we aren’t getting everything done in a timely manner.

Then the next day of the week dawns and all that seems to loom before our eyes is the tasks ahead and how there seems to be no time.  Peace.  We ache for it to be a normal part of our existence but how does that happen?  Is it even possible in this fast paced world?  Even in ministry people are working at break neck speed to accomplish in a day things that don’t need to be done in a day.

I work in a fast paced ministry.  Everyday there are the normal and expected elements, and then there is the rest of the day which can become rather fast paced.  It’s a good fast pace and all of it is  taken down a notch as we give decisions over to God and wait for Him to answer the questions in our spirits.  We don’t need snap decisions even though it may seem as if we do.

It’s the choice to slow down that brings the peace back.  Realizing that there is no way to make everyone happy and that there is no room in the ministry for rushing on any level.  As a representative of Jesus we all have the choice of how we show up and how we organize our days.  I see the ones who could fall into burn out and I see the ones that bask in a pace that is honoring to the Lord.

As we commit our day and our work and our attitude and our selves to the Lord every day and we invite the Holy Spirit into the days journey we find that we can rest in the peace of God that surpasses all understanding and guards our hearts and minds in Christ.  Just praying and offering our day to God for His use in His Kingdom is a step in the right direction towards peace in our lives.

I don’t know about you but I cannot move through a day without pouring the whole thing out as an offering to the Lord.  It is His and I want to have Him show through me instead of me.  I want His reactions and His observations and His love to pour out of me into every person I see in this day.  I cannot worry about tomorrow because the tasks of today are way too important for me to miss out by over reaching my vision.

We can get so caught up in the what if’s that we miss out on the amazing blessings that God has purposed for us today.  He is mighty and so much better at utilizing my skill set than I am!  I have a reverential fear of the Father and I do not want to be found taking over for Him or neglecting Him as my chief partner in this thing called life.

We also forget that He is our protection.  As we rely upon Him for the things of our day He protects us from the things in our lives that could try to take us down or discourage us or frustrate us or hurt us.  Our God is rich and omnipotent.  Our lives are not His first rodeo.  He has had lots of practice with people like you and me so we can rely upon His seasoned nature.

What a relief that is!

We have signed on to be a member of the largest club in the world. It is full of adventures and ability.  He owns the cattle on  a thousand hills.  They know His name and they know His voice.  If we would just trust Him with the tough stuff and remember that all things are His to distribute when and wherever He wishes.

As we pray for the Holy Spirit to take part in our day and we pray for His peace to cover us like a blanket on a cold winter night God honors our requests and peace will be a part of everything we do in our day.  We will only be panicked or frazzled if we choose to let the chaos to consume us.  Just like Jesus calmed the storm by saying to it, “Peace! Be still.”  We know that He can calm the storm of our heart.

Just as He has done so in scripture He can lengthen our day so that every task we need to get done in it is accomplished without having to stay late at the office or do more late into the night at home.  It’s when we choose to do things in our own strength that the peace wanes and we feel over taxed.

Our God is so much bigger than all of the things that are coming against us right now.  It may not feel that way but it’s true.  No matter what the circumstances are God is bigger and as we give all of it over to the Lord His peace will rain down upon us and permeate our very souls.

Philippians 4:7-8 – And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.

 So many try to start things or run things all on their own.  No matter what we have been called to do it will always involve a team of people – even it it’s a team of two – because that was Gods design for His people in His Kingdom.  When Jesus sent out the 72 they all went in pairs of two. (Luke 10:1)  Not one ventured out alone. The word of God says that when 2 or more are gathered in His name, there He is in the midst of them. (Matt 8:20)

And yet so many think that they meant to minister alone as some sort of monarchy over a ministry or program.  There is no I in TEAM and when God puts together a team it is never smaller than 2.  Over and over in proverbs we are admonished to have a group of counselors.  We need accountability. We need community.  We need to work together so that we can bring to bear the truth of what God has called us to do in the Kingdom and when we start doing things on our own, as if no one else matters, we start making decisions in a vacuum.  We start making decision that can collapse the best of visions and cause us to start thinking that we are the reason for the vision taking the glory right out of Gods hands.  The word of God is very clear about that.  He is a jealous God and He will not share His glory with anyone.

Often one man bands turn into mini-messiahs that get their believers to believe in them – starting a cult that boarders on divine truth but ends up in disaster. Ministries that become dictatorships don’t last.  They can be chaotic and the turnover can be ridiculously high.  The stress and the lack of congruencey leave the employees feeling defeated and unneeded.   The dictator becomes paranoid and certain that everyone is out to get them or take what they have come to believe is theirs.

Sad really, because everything we have, to include the ideas that God has given us, is His. None of it is ours.

I love the saying that whatever we are willing to compromise we will eventually lose.  We serve an awesome God and He is serious about the things that He places within our hearts.  He doesn’t do it just willy-nilly.   There’s a reason why He inspires one to be an evangelist and another to be an intercessor.  One to be a worship leader and another to work in Sunday School. God has reasons for the inspirations that He places in our hearts but He never intends for us to walk that journey alone.  He wants us to surround ourselves with good people who will hold us accountable. He wants us to surround ourselves with strong believers that will keep us on track.

Inspiration is an amazing thing.  It can send us into the spirit where we think that  anything is possible.  That’s true, with God anything is possible.  But sometimes, I know that I can get so excited that I don’t wait for the spirit to do what needs to be done.  I get so excited that I get before God and then ask Him to bless what I have created on my own.  I forget that what He has me doing is His anyway and I am stepping on His toes by taking matters into my own hands.

There are times when it seems as if a snap decision is necessary but it never really is.  We can wait and let God put His approval into our hearts.  If we don’t, we can make a real mess of things and our responses may come out in a far from Christ like manner.  I’ll think that I’m right on target with the Lord but in fact I’m only on target with my own agenda which is usually far from what God would have done.  If I do that for a while the whole idea can be put in jeopardy.

Often I think of the king Nebuchadnezzar in the Old Testament who didn’t believe honor the Lord so the Lord humbled him by sending him out into the wilderness to live like the wild animals.  He was there a long time growing hair all over his body and nails like talons. (Daniel 4)  God will humble us if we don’t take care to cherish the things that God has placed in our hearts. He will let us to ourselves for a while.  He will warn us and give us people to help us come out of ourselves but if we refuse to listen He will humble us and then we will be sitting back wondering what happened.

Daniel 4

Yet when we really get into the concept of having a relationship with Jesus many of us feel uncomfortable.  We don’t believe that we are good enough, we don’t believe that He really cares to have a relationship with us personally.  We may not think that we really know Him well enough to have an intimate relationship with Him…and how do we do that? How do we have an intimate relationship with a Deity that isn’t tangible in the human sense? It can be baffling and yet it is one of those things that believers like to toss around like, “transparent” and “broken” and “saved”.  Buzz words of our faith that we take on as our own even though we may not be living our faith out in relationship to Jesus.

Perhaps our difficulty in having a relationship with Jesus is based on the difficulty we have in maintaining ourselves in relationship with others in our lives.  Our wives or husbands, kids or parents, co-workers or neighbors.  How do we handle those relationships?  Do we struggle?  Are we right sized in our relationships or are we co-dependent or needy?  Is our sense of self worth found in how those we are in relationship with accept us and applaud us?  Oh how it can get messy and confusing.

Each of us has our own set of struggles when it comes to the way we traverse the relationships in our lives.  Often we do with our human relationships the same thing that we do with our relationship with God.  We go through the motions that we are supposed to and yet we are emotionally detached. We don’t do it on purpose, it just happens.  We may not even know what is really going on in the lives of those we are investing ourselves in and yet without these relationships we are empty, unappreciated, worthless, directionless…

I believe that one of the hardest scriptures to live out in real life is the one where Jesus tells us that we are to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, body and soul, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Same kind of admonition is in the marriage chapter from Paul…to love the other as if they were a part of our self. But do we do that?

The problem lies in our inability to have a real relationship with ourselves.

Easier said than done.

Often we see people that seem to have that part figured out only to realize that they take self love to the extreme; to the exclusion of anyone else, and they are certainly unwilling to get off of the throne and let Jesus be their Savior and Lord.

What does it take to love ourselves so that we can love others and love Jesus the way God intends for us to?  It’s hard work for those of us who have lived a great portion of our lives doing more to dislike ourselves than love.  All the old tapes of how we won’t amount to anything and how we are capable of rising above the place where we began.  Or to even rise above the things that we have done.

So it starts with self forgiveness and asking God to forgive us for how we have treated ourselves.  To treat ourselves poorly is to suggest that what God created when He created us was a mistake. You and I are not mistakes.  The devil – through a whole lot of people – has told us how big of a mistake our lives are and we listened and believed.  It became our mantra and it became our go to when stuff got tough.  We could blame all of our failures on the obvious dysfunctional aspects of who we are. Our intention isn’t to insult God for how He created us but insult Him is exactly what we do.

If we want to know who we are we need to look to scripture to see what God has called us throughout the centuries. When we finally come to realize that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made and that we are made in Gods image, we can move forward into a new realm of realization about who we really are and, hopefully, will in turn start to treat ourselves better, learning how to have a better relationship with ourselves.

It is a risky and uncomfortable thing to venture out in the world all alone.  Getting the groceries and going to the movies and just living life without anyone but Jesus going along with us.

Only then are we ever going to be capable of having a relationship with Jesus and the people in our daily lives that we are meant to have.

For me there birthed inside of me a desire to know Jesus like I would want to know about someone I was falling in love with.  What was His childhood like, what is His favorite color, I’d make a mixed tape for Him of love songs to Him.  Yes, it is ooey and gooey like that.  I would melt into the love songs – which are favorite worship songs – and read in the Bible about who Jesus was as a kid and what life was like for Him during that point in history.

He aches for us to come to that place where we are confident enough in Him to have a real relationship with Him.  Not one based on performance but one based on love and adoration that is real and planted deep into our very being.

Luke 10:26 – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

I believe that there is an anointing that falls in the moment of obedience.  When we let go of that thing that is humanly impossible to let go of or we do something that God has put on our heart that feels risky…as soon as we heed to call to the obedience in Christ, God opens the windows of heaven and pours forth an anointing out upon the one who has chosen to obey.

I’ll bet you’ve noticed that when you do obey in a radical way that the wind seems to kick up around you.  As you obey you are usually in a time of transition from where you were in the Lord to where you are going to be.  Often the storm that kicks up stops us cold in our tracks and we struggle to stay focused on the thing that God was asking us to obey Him in.  Many fall away at this stage and many a vision is lost due to our lack of stamina in the Lord after we have chosen to obey.

Yet in that time of transition where what was seemed so solid and permanent, we can lose sight of who is the author and finisher of all things in our lives.  If what was seemed solid try to imagine how solid it will be once the transition is over.

In the storm when all seems crazy and chaotic, is the time when we should be excited and rejoicing for what the Lord is getting ready to do in our lives, in the life of our ministry, in the life of our job, our family, our health…everything.  As we choose to obey and obey to the radical things we are allowing God in so that the Holy Spirit can run wild in our lives and when the Holy Spirit runs wild in our lives amazing things of God happen.

It’s beautiful. It’s breathtaking.

It makes us speechless and weak in ourselves.  We stand in awe at the way in which God used things that we thought were unusable to do the impossible.  What an incredible honor it is to be witness to such moves of God.

Each of us has a choice.  We can keep going down the path we’re on or we can choose to listen to God and respond by doing what He is asking us to do.  If He didn’t think you could do it He wouldn’t have asked and often my answer is, “yes Lord. Send my.  You have to be the one who orchestrates all of the particulars and as you do I will obey you will your word and your voice.” I’ve learned that my fear is such a distraction from walking in Gods best for me.  I have the choice to be radically sold out to Jesus or to just be saved.

I’ve tried just being saved and there is no fulfillment in it.  I have fretted over things that God had told me and at other times I have jumped when He said jump.  Didn’t care what the shake out would be, I was willing to trust God for it all and that’s the tough part.  Trusting that He is big enough to fend off the craziness that seems to torment our brains when we obey.  The devil is the author of fear and craziness.

Thing is that obedience happens because we love the Lord.  It is simply an expression of our love towards Him.  We would do the unthinkable for our loved ones so why are we not willing to do the same for Jesus?  The whole thing with Jesus is really about relationship and not about anything else.  When we do what He urges us to do we are just showing Him how deeply we love and trust Him.  And believe me, He will reward your obedience.

Psalm 40:6 – Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require”

So many scriptures bring us to that place of assurance.  The assurance that He is our refuge and our hiding place and our rock and our deliverer and our shelter.  And it is one thing to know that the scriptures are there, it is yet another thing for us to actually believe them and utilize them as our own.  Is God really your shelter?  Is He your high tower?  Do we actually trust that He will protect us from the things of this world that come against us?

Such a blessing it is to have women of faith in my life who give me words of encouragement in times of trouble and distress.  There are those in our lives that have that spirit of intercession wherein they somehow know what is going on in our lives and give us direction in a way that is right on the mark.  There have been times when those intercessors have brought me to tears with the magnitude of their message for me – especially when I have been in a place of serious self doubt and fear.

But perfect love casts out all fear.  Fear is not of God and it is one of enemies biggest weapons against us.  He uses people who are willing to torment us and accuse us and put us down so that we feel lost in our own lives.  Perfect for the devil.  To immobilize us with fear.  Fear of what?  Usually it’s a fear of something that doesn’t even really exist.

Thing is that when we are in those situations we need to remember that He is our refuge and our safety.  He knows what’s going on and as we press into His will God will protect us from the weapons that are inevitably formed against us.  We have to remember that if the enemy is talking through anyone, he’s lying.  He’s the father of lies.

Scripture tells us to run into the strong tower. Zecheraih 9:11-12 says, “As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.”

I love this one but do I live it?  Do I believe it?  So often I find myself running in circles around the fortress that God tells me to run into instead of crashing through the door and finding my safety from the world within it’s walls.

So far this week has been crazy and it’s only Wednesday.  I know you know what I mean.  You’ve had weeks like it.  Maybe you’re going through one too and when we do we have to remember that when the enemy attacks the Lord is getting ready to do something that is going to knock our socks off!  But can we do that? Can we rest in that?

Shoot!  I can’t even find the tower let alone remember that the end game is blessed beyond measure if the enemy is fighting so badly to thwart the work that we’re doing.

We also must remember that God can make miracles erupt from chaos and struggles.  Over and over again God did the amazing out of virtually nothing.  He did create the universe out of nothing so doing the amazing out of our messes is one of His greatest promises.  We are the ones who stop all of His work from coming to pass because we put our own spin on it and we get in His way time and time again.  He’s asked for us to come into the strong tower and use Him as our refuge while He takes care of business and we mess it all up be getting our hands and words all in His work making a mess of it or making it less than all that He intended.

This morning a dear Pastor friend of mine gave me a scripture to encourage me. She knows what I’m going through and has heard my tears.  Yet God spoke to here heart in the night and gave her a word to give to me for my struggle.

Psalm 31:19-20 19How abundant are the good things that You have stored up for those who fear You, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in You. 20In the shelter of Your presence You hide them from all human intrigues; You keep them safe in Your dwelling from accusing tongues.

How great our God is.  In this one there is action on our part. If we take refuge in God He will…and we have the tendency to worry and fear and feel like running away?  I hadn’t seen this scripture before and it’s beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

Again the catch is that we have to believe that he is our refuge. We have a responsibility in bringing the scripture to life in our lives.  Too often we find ourselves running round in circles instead of running into our refuge.  Choices.  We have to remember that He is bigger than anything that comes against us.  He is our Abba Daddy.  Our Father.

 There are many aspects of life that we would like to be in control of.  We begin our quest at ultimate control when we are little, playing in the sand box, letting all of the other 2 year olds know that we were in charge.  From a very early age we learn the art of manipulation.  Which cry gets the right attention and which smile gets the most adoration.  Of course, we wouldn’t want to call it manipulation due to the negative press that term has gotten over the years, and yet, we all have used some form of manipulation to get what we want.

As we grow older some of those infantile methods are honed into incredible working tools.  We use them to convince our kids to eat their vegetables. We use them to sell a point of view to a board room.  We have been known to use them to talk an officer out of giving us a ticket. The bottom line being whether we have learned to use our powers for good or to use them for evil.

Depending on how good we are, we may have been able to do a lot of damage not even caring about the devastation that we have left in our wake.  In a situation like that we have paid little attention to how our behavior has affected others around us.  To be one of those who has chosen to use their powers for good one must be tremendously close to source of goodness and we can have a very positive affect on the world around us by just being who we are in Christ.  Our beauty is but a reflection of or Lord and Savior Jesus.

One that uses their powers for good is in tune with the source and knows that to take control God must have His foot print all over it. Crazy how that works, but when we allow the Lord to be the guide in our lives, He will enable us to do the impossible and accomplish feats that could not be done in our own power and strength.

It is so  amazing how God will not  share His glory with anyone, The ability to press in further into the best that God has for our lives is imperative  if what we are doing is going to touch and heal those God has put us in the midst of. We cannot be a positive force if we aren’t steeped in Jesus.  Too many choose to start helping others when they haven’t done the tough work on themselves yet.  When we do that we tend to be hurtful and suspicious and any help that is born of our efforts is based on the miraculous and not our lopsided attempt at attending to the call on our lives before it’s time.

Think about it.  David was anointed King of Israel at least a dozen years before he actually became king.  During those years between the anointing and the crowning he was an outlaw, hunted with deadly desire by the very man he was called to replace.  It must have seemed like an odd place to test his salt but those years brought him to a place where David knew, without a doubt, that God was in charge.

Even with all of that training prior to becoming king, David failed more than once in the position of king.  There were a few points where David just threw it all to the wind and trusted in himself instead of the Lord.  Of course, disaster followed. My question to myself is always, do I think that I am more able that David was?

We like to think that we are in control of a lot of things and yet, in reality, we aren’t  in control of much more than ourselves.  We may think that our behavior controls how others show up with us but in reality it’s not really us who are in charge. The other people in our lives weren’t given a script written by us that has a nice neat story to fit our agenda.  No people are going to be people and no matter what that looks like.  Also true is the fact that our God is one who reveals our truths to our hearts and to the world when we don’t get it together.

I personally know that I am not in control of anything but me.  I have many places in my life that where it has been evident that Gods will was being done in my life to His glory.  Miracles that I couldn’t have achieved nor could man have achieved have flourished in my life. I give all the honor and glory to God who causes the miraculous to happen.  My part was to be willing.  To believe big.  To have faith in His holy word knowing that if God said He would do it then He’ll do it.

Our job as believers is to believe and trust that God is going to do what He says He is going to do.  The ministries I am blessed to work in are His and the people who work there are His chosen ones for the task at hand.

We have to get off of the throne and let God do His thing. To refuse is to run the risk of doing incredible damage to too many good people who have entrusted themselves to the ministry’s vision.  I will not get in the way of that.

We become less and He becomes more.  The Holy Spirit sweeps through the ministry and has His way in it.  Which means to me that I get out of the way for whatever the God of the Universe wants and believe me, it is way better than it would be if I were in control!

Job 11:13-15 –  Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer,  and give up your sins— even those you do in secret.  Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless.

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