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.

Of course, the enemy really likes to mess with us on this one.  He will play with our hearts and our minds telling us that we really missed the mark and that the blessings will never be revisited again and maybe we missed our chance at this or that or the other thing; taunting us in a way that creates such a sense of loss and failure that we don’t even want to try and now all of our senses are dulled to the sweet sound of our Saviors voice.  Tragic but true.

We sing asking God to open the eyes of our heart.  Okay, so that’s a really weird statement since our heart doesn’t have eyes and for each worshipper the ache may be different – if there is an ache at all cause we could just be singing along while we are wondering what we should do after the service is over.  The ache may be that we want our heart to be more sensitive to the things going on around us in the lives of the people that we encounter every day.  Open the eyes of my heart, I want to see you.  In ways, it is only with our hearts that we can “see” Jesus.

We cannot see Jesus in other people if our hearts aren’t sensitive to the heart of God.  The discernment of the Holy Spirit within us is of no use if it is covered by the stains of our own unawareness and shame.  Somehow we have to get over our sense of unworthiness and guilt and really, to be so concerned about our own stuff so that it becomes a barrier to all that God can do in our lives, is to give ourselves way too much head space; too many of our thoughts.  How, pray tell, are we to be the hands and feet of Jesus if our thoughts are saturated in our own junk?

Our issues can become an idol too and often our issues become our “go to” when the going gets rough.  We can opt out of so many things because we’ve been triggered and that abuse has us by the short hairs…I’ve been there and I got sick and tired of my issues controlling my life.

I chose to make new memories when it comes to things that haunt me.  For instance, I was listening to country music exclusively during the summer of 1990 all the way up to my committing my crime.  Later, I would hear country music and fall apart due to all of the trauma and pain that I caused and was placed upon my life.  Living in Colorado there is a lot of country music going on and so God put upon my heart that I needed to make new memories with country music.

I forced myself to listen to country music for a long time and due to that, my heart is protected from the trigger that country music was in my life.  Since then I’ve made new memories with a lot of things. I have found that I was riddled with trauma that was the driving force of my life and I couldn’t hear God on any frequency.  I was lost in the static that the fractures of my life had caused.  My crazy emotions were ruling my life and ruining it at the same time.

I didn’t want anything to be between me and my Savior.  I realized that my obsession with my issues was a sick form of narcissism that had to go.  I’m not that important and nothing in my life, bad or good, need be the driving force of it.  Only Jesus gets that spot in my life.

Once I made the new memories I could sing, “Open the Eyes of My Heart”, and really mean it.  I could sing it expecting God to soften my heart to see what I needed to see in the world, who I needed to see in the world. Oh how amazing it was to get my eyes off of me and onto the Lord.  Incredible.

Being less so that Christ can be more is my desire.  I want Him to put on our personalities so that He can use our quirks to His glory and His glory alone.  I know that what He wants to do through you is perfectly suited for you.  We just need to set our fears aside and walk into the much more of God as He intends for it to be in our lives, opening the eyes of our hearts so that we are His hands and feet in this world.

Psalm 26:1-3 – Vindicate me, LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD and have not faltered. Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

I knew the scriptures about the widows mite and the give to Caesar what is Caesars’ and give to God what is Gods. I had also watched an American couple put a check from their home town in Arkansas into the offering dish in an church just out side of Vicenza Italy.  I was floored! How did that work? Wow…the arm of the religious organization seemed to be pretty long and deep.

Of course all of that happened before I became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and then my love for Him compelled me to give.  Give of my time and of my gifts and of my things.  Getting me to give of my money was a difficult task.

I think that it was just the fact that I didn’t get it and due to my lack of understanding I was fearful.  I wanted to be in control of where my money went and yet…when I came to realize that it wasn’t even my money to begin with, my heart began to soften to the concepts of tithing and offerings.

God does tell us that we should test Him and see if the windows of heaven won’t open and pour out a blessing down upon us.  So I tested Him and I started tithing from my meager funds.  I was paid 60 cents a day in the prison and my family would send me an allowance every month so that I could but hygiene and phone time to call them.  And even though the state took 20% of whatever I received I still tithed my 10% to the church.

Then, just as God had said, the windows of heaven were opened and He poured down upon me an increase that didn’t even make sense.  But that is how our God is.  He is the God of “it doesn’t make sense”. So much of what He has done in my life is based on just that.  It doesn’t make any sense.  And who am I?

I struggled with that too.  I had to make sure that my desire to tithe wasn’t born from a place of unworthiness, as if I could buy favor from the Lord.  No, it had to be simply because I wanted to give and I trusted God to take care of all of it. I’ve no idea where my tithe money goes to but I don’t care anymore.  I am trusting God that He will enable it to have it’s tough days but I know that God owns it all and I am just one simple vessel choosing to pay into the Kingdom wherever it’s needed.

I no longer make just 60 cents a day so my ability to tithe has been enhanced and now I am working on giving into the body offerings that are above and beyond the tithe I give every time I am paid.

I live in Denver which is a really expensive place to live and yet God has made my salary multiply in Him.  I don’t get paid a lot but I am paid enough to invest into the Kingdom and bless others I don’t even know. Often I feel like Elijah and the widow who had run out of oil and flour.  I don’t fall short and I don’t have to worry if I will be able to pay the bills. It is so amazing!  To obey God and give Him the tithe due Him throne.

And the offerings?  That alone is amazing because I give out of my lack into the Kingdom trusting God that He make my life flourish in Him as I share of myself and of all that I have into the body of Christ.

I will be honest.  I was stingy with my money.  I liked to see it grow in the savings account I have.  Now, although I still have a savings account it is more fun to see how God is blessing others through the offerings that I have been able to give.

If we all were faithful to tithing and offerings the world would be a much different place.  There is no reason for all of the suffering in the world and it saddens me that so many people give just to have the tax deduction.  If that was my motivation than it would not be a tithe after Gods heart. It is so important for us to check our motivation in all that we do. God knows.  We cannot hide our heart motive from Him.

Search your heart and sense within you if you are able to share of your increase and what that looks like.  Dedicate all that you receive to the One who truly owns it.  What a privilege it is to have what the Lord gives us. Then dare to test Him and see if He won’t open the widows of heaven onto your life.

Malachi 3:10 – Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

Perhaps we don’t feel confident about the promises in our lives when we are talking to others and that keeps us from boldly speaking His promises into our lives.  We think that people, even other believers, would think that we are crazy confessing such things.  I’ve personally had that happen to me a number of times.  God has given me a promise and I have spoken it regardless of how things appeared and people would respond, almost with a voice of pity, that God must have meant something else.

And yet, years later the very thing that God had me speak or share has come to pass.  I often wonder if the people who were nay saying my truth remember doing so and if they did, did the coming to pass of the promises of God that I spoke inspire them to believe bigger?

Walking in wisdom is not always easy.  Often we are compelled to share things with people that aren’t going to agree with us and would not join us in prayer in the same way.  Maybe they believe differently or would think we are crazy for a number of the ways we believe and often I have wondered about how God has chosen to bring His promises to pass when I don’t think that I am clean enough.

Clean enough?

What does that look like?  If I had to be clean and pure and perfect before God would pour His promises into my life then I must confess that it would never happen.  The sins of my past and my human nature now would keep me banned from ever receiving anything from God.  And believe me, I have struggled with that more times than I can count.  I stand in awe when God does His thing regardless of my humanness and then am attacked by a sprit of shame whenever something goes wrong in my life as if I have been the one to bring on the bad events of life.  Just another byproduct of the codependency that has hurt my life in the flesh I often wrestle with a need to perform for God as if only then I would be the recipient of His matchless love.

There are going to be times in our lives where the enemy is going to use people to throw daggers at our lives.  He will use people that we know…as David put it, it wasn’t strangers that attacked Him but those who He worshiped with that attacked him.  Is it any different for us?  Sadly it’s not and we are stuck with a decision.  We can respond to the daggers with daggers of our own born of anger and fear and defiance.  Or we can respond in truth and love without throwing daggers – perhaps not even responding at all.

There is no way on earth that we can walk through life without someone questioning our faith or faithfulness or actions or so many other things.  It is unrealistic to believe that we can make everyone happy and have everyone’s support. No matter what I do, there are things in my life that some people will never get past and due to that they will never be able to support anything that is going on in my life – they had a different script for me to read in life and it doesn’t include the things that are going on in my life now.

We are all subject to ridicule and attack and the beautiful thing is to know that as long as we stay in step with all that the Lord asks us to do and we walk in obedience to Him and His word, that is the final piece of wisdom.  We must ask the Spirit to give us the wisdom to know what God wants us to do in any given situation with anything that.

Scripture even says that even a fool appears wise when they hold their tongue. I’ve learned to hold my tongue and God has compelled me to speak hard truths when they were before me.  I know that God honors truth above all things and that it is important that we walk in the truth that we apply to our lives without wavering or letting the enemy come and steal the beauty of what He has placed into our lives.  The enemy is slick and He will use anyone – even those that we worship with – to hurt us or cause us to doubt our walk.  No, God is bigger than all of that and He is our rear ward guard.  Period. So we need to trust Him.

He was a revolutionary and in so many ways we are to be the same.

Ephesians 5:15 –  See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise

We have to make the conscious choice to give Jesus room to walk through and disrupt our lives.  He isn’t going to force Himself upon us and yet there are times when He literally has to pluck us out of the jaws of trouble when we aren’t willing to surrender our lives to Him.  It’s important to know that there are times when God will use seemingly unsurmountable odds and devastating experience to bring His will to pass in our lives.

 

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