Breathe! You’re winning!

Psalm 62-5A life of faith is a life of battles.  This is difficult line to read – but one that is so very true.  Victory is assured …  that is indeed true – but we win only in Him and we keep the advantage on the battleground only as we continually pray.

The enemy is always seeking to wreck us; to turn us on our heads; to confuse us; to make us feel like we are at a loss. But the battle belongs to Our Lord – and yes, Victory is Our Savior’s!

The lesson of the believer, one that must never be forgotten, is that we are in battle!  Somehow, it seems, we have come to believe that we can sit back and feel like royalty because we’ve already won – but this is not nearly true!  The battle will not end until He has returned!

Stand firm! Hide the Word of the Lord in your heart! Have faith and do not fear! Stand on the Rock of Our Salvation at all times!  In times of trouble, remember that God is your salvation, your strength, and your glory.  Don’t get proud when it seems you have won – NO! Remember to whom the victory belongs – He is your glory!  You are not the victor – it is the One to whom you have given your life; the One who gave the life of His Son to save you.  The hope for peace is not in any other being but Him!

The riches of God’s lovingkindness Will Not Fail!  The supply that comes from His hand Will Always Be Enough! The Prayers we bring to His throne Will Always Be Heard!

Don’t put your arms down – stay in the battle and expect to enjoy the victory with your King! He will give you rest – don’t doubt it! Breathe – Trust – Expect!

Psalm 62:5 – 6

God, the one and only—
I’ll wait as long as he says.
Everything I hope for comes from him,
so why not?
He’s solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul,
An impregnable castle:
I’m set for life. 

 

Can You Handle The TRUTH?!

truthTruth.  A small word with such significant impact.

Defining it is not as easy as you might think. Dictionaries say that truth is 1)  which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.  Dictionaries also say that truth is 2) a fact or belief that is accepted as true.  In the world today it seems that the 2nd definition is holding more weight than the first.

I’ve heard it said that truth is a matter of perspective. I’ve heard it said that truth is a matter of experience. I’ve heard people say that they walk in ‘their own truth’. What defines truth is morphing into something unrecognizable. Truth becomes truth based upon what notable person said it; which political party said it; which news outlet reports it; which group of friends holds it to be true.

In the world today it appears that we all take our opinions and our personal views of right and wrong and hold to them as truth. It can be something as trivial as a person who believes that you should never wear white after labor day; or something as serious as America does not need/want a woman or minority as their president. It can be as silly as you have to have turkey and dressing for Thanksgiving; or as critical as not wanting to host your colleagues of different ethnicities in your home. It can be as ridiculous as whether the television should be mounted over the fireplace; or as severe as not wanting your children to date a person of another ethnicity. We – all of us — take our own opinions and hold them out to be truth.

Here’s the bottom line:  There Is But One Truth!

The Truth — the Almighty, True and Living God.There is no shadow in Him — no deceit – no hidden agenda – no preference for one group over another – no ulterior motives. When you want to know what the truth is — Just Ask God. Listen to Him through prayer; worship; scripture on tape; bible reading; etc. As you lean into Him – you lean in to Truth. Jesus prayed that we would be sanctified in Truth. Jesus declares that He is the way, the Truth, and the life. The truth is not merely what is said — it is a force – The Force by which we must live our lives.

Don’t you want to live free from the strongholds and encumbrances of this present age?? Lies are the stronghold of our enemy, satan. Lies are what are dividing us and causing us to think more of ourselves that we ought. We are mere clay – we are vessels to be used by our King — we are servants of the Most High God. We are not autonomous entities who operate in our own strength and power and we Do Not have the wisdom necessary to form our own truth!

When we hold fast to the Word of God; making it the guide and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and to teach us, then (and only then) will we know Truth.

Knowing the Truth about who He is and about who you are in Him – You Will Live Free. You will not hold to irrational thoughts as truth; you will not even hold to your own personal feelings as truth — you will be able to stand in the Truth.

I want to learn to stand on His truth in all that I think, say and do! I want to reflect His glorious majesty on this earth and not my own lackluster shine. May He make my heart to live His way; love His way; believe His way. Help me Father to walk in Truth! Help me to walk Free!

and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

John‬ ‭8‬:‭32‬

Serving in Sorrow

Jesus WordleThere are some things about the culture of the world that are the same across boundaries; across ethnic differences; across color lines –  and selfishness is one of those things.  99.9% of us think of ourselves first especially when we are in difficulty – we want people to see us and care for us and we want a break from giving ourselves away.  Unfortunately, that is not the way the call of God works.

Those who we are discipling need teaching and direction.  Those who are hurting need love and compassion.  Those who are lost need the path to our Lord, Christ. Those who are in despair need to be given a picture of hope.  And wouldn’t you know it! – the children of God; those redeemed by Jesus Christ; we are responsible always for giving our lives, hearts, love, compassion, truth, hope, peace, joy – to the world.  Even when we ourselves are in need!

In the last year I’ve lost both my nephew and his mother, my oldest sister.  I’ve also had some health challenges that have been both an enigma and an inconvenience.  People who love me are constantly telling me to rest; to take some time away; to take a break – and I am giving my mind and heart times of rest, but not neglecting my calling. As I read God’s Word and look at the beheading of John, I know that Jesus was retreating from danger and opposition; but in light of my recent losses, it appears to me that my Savior is also grieving the loss of His cousin and ministry forerunner.  However, even in this time of struggle and bereavement He continues in His ministry, allowing His compassion for the world to reign!

I want to be like Him! So … I too will keep going; keep pressing; keep loving; keep listening.  I do have to readjust some things – I have to travel to Africa for shorter periods; I cannot drive; I have to keep my stress down – but it doesn’t mean that I cannot show love and be a missionary right where I am.  Inviting my neighbors into my home; speaking words of grace to the cashier; showing love in ways that speak to my mother and my sister in our family’s great grief.

I cannot allow the troubles of this world or the pain that is piercing my heart to keep me from carrying out my calling.  It is my privilege and duty to be God’s love in a lost world!  I need His compassion and peace in my heart – so I’ve got to be ready to give His compassion and peace away!  Blessed in order that I might Bless others.

God Himself will strengthen me and He will also be The One those in need see!  I’m His chosen one even in my own times of trouble.  My duty is to Him – ALWAYS!

His disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus.  Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. Matthew 14: 12- 14

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

Trust In The Good LordMany find comfort in these words – but for me, they can cause angst.  It’s the word “let” that causes problems for me.  I mean, what am I supposed to do when the trials and problems of life really do give me pause or cause me to have fear?

I know – I know –  I know what you Christian folk are saying, “Jan! take the thought captive, bring the thought into submission with the will of God, trust, I KNOW!!  But that word “let” still gives me a lump in my throat.

Maybe you never had an issue where the money was just not enough to meet your obligations.  Maybe you have never faced the type of illness that a doctor says cannot be cured.  Maybe your life is on course and you are not only joyful but prosperous.  That is what I tell myself when I encounter people who tell me not to allow myself to worry.  I say to myself that they have no idea what it is like to be in my shoes!

Well, I Thank God for His Word!  These words were spoken by the very Son of God, and knowing that Jesus said the words tells me that it really is possible for me to disallow my heart from fainting at the first sign of trouble.

I go on to read Christ’s words in Matthew 24 as he describes the perilous times the world will face but he reminds those that follow Him that they are not alone.  And then I remember that the Word of God gave me another “let” that gives me power and strength – “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus”  (Philippians 2:5)– and as I continue to read His Word and allow Him to speak to me I am reminded that if I have the mind of Christ I cannot be troubled for it is against the mind of Christ for me to have a troubled heart or mind even when all around me seems full of trouble.  Then I remember that He also told me that if I could only remember at all times that He has already overcome the world – I will know that I too will overcome.

Now, let me say that my heart began to feel lighter and the lump in my throat was less uncomfortable.  Let me also be clear that my situation had not (and indeed has not) changed – yet I am hopeful, truly, that He desires to and will indeed work it all out for my good and for His glory.  So today, you know – later on after I start thinking about my trouble again – the moment it seems that my heart just might faint, I will not let my heart be troubled, instead I will start singing, clapping, dancing and praising Him in advance of my deliverance!  As I praise – it will lift my heart from trouble to a place of triumph and I will not be able to stop myself from rejoicing.

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled! As my mama always tell me,  “Just trust in the Good Lord!”

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me. 

John 14:1

Big Kingdom Living

Live BigJesus is, presently, seated at the right hand of the Father. He reigns today. The regime of our King is a present, proceeding, advancing reality. Because this is true – it means that as children of The Most High God we can rejoice in this truth that His vision and plan for us is in the works now and includes every aspect of our lives — EVERY aspect.

So … now take that truth and apply it to your today. If He lives within you and if the Kingdom of God is today — then you have a choice to make; allow the presence and power of His kingdom to permeate your life. Allow His presence and power to invade your hopes for the future. Allow His presence and power to shape your view of yourself. Allow His presence and power to inform your understanding of who He is.

Your faith, properly placed in Him, is strong enough to support the dreams that you feel are impossible! Your faith, properly placed in Him, will allow you to experience the truth that He can do more than you can ask, think or imagine.

Picture this — your faith, as you nurture it, will grow and become stronger — strong enough for your life’s goals to be lifted up as offerings to the Most High! Strong enough to sustain your hopes and rebuke your doubts. Your faith, when nurtured and when placed in Him, will allow you to rejoice in the fact that He is your Benevolent Sovereign who finds great pleasure in showering you with his agape love and who assures that as you submit to His kingdom you will enjoy his good will in your present reality.

Paul David Tripp calls it Big Kingdom Living — living like Christ is the basis of all that you speak, execute, and envision.  Living your life such that “God’s purposes become your functional life goal.” Being all that He has created you to be — doing all that He has created you to do. Awesome!

He said therefore, What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.

‭Luke‬ ‭13‬:‭18 – 19‬