Obedience – Blessing

God has said that we are chosen.

We know that we, through our acceptance of Christ, have been justified, but today there is much preoccupation with how blessed our lives ARE SUPPOSED TO BE. We seem to have missed that we are His prized possession — slaves, servants, subordinates.

He chooses to bless us – but we are commanded to obey every Word that He has spoken. There are blessings that come from being obedient, however, we do not have the authority to decide what those blessing should be or in what abundance we should have them. We are His reward and His possession. His pleasure with us is the ultimate reward as demonstrated in His giving Christ up for us!

It is for us to obey.

It is for God to bless.

Father, Help us to understand what it means to be dearly loved by You. Help us to understand that we are not equals with You – nor do we have any right to the riches and wealth of this world, other than as You see fit. Help us to be satisfied with Your blessings in whatever form it may come. Give us the mind of Christ so that we may understand!

Life Happens

life-happens

It is much easier to recognize what is going wrong in our lives, than it is to rejoice for the good.  I don’t know why that is, but it seems that our natural bent is to complain about what is happening to us rather than recognize what God is doing in the difficulty.  I’m sure that I have been guilty of that in my own life.  As we come out of the Christmas season and I have seen people returning those precious Christmas gifts complaining that the gift didn’t work; was the wrong size; didn’t meet with their liking; etc. — I could only think about how dissatisfied we are most of the time!  Just like we forgot that someone sacrificed something in order that we might have that gift; we forget that He sacrificed all so that we might have eternal life.

When Lloyd and I moved to Ghana in 2004 we didn’t speak the language; we couldn’t eat the food; we didn’t know the rules; we didn’t understand the culture.  People stole from us; people told us that they did work that they didn’t actually do; the car kept breaking down; pipes kept bursting (once so badly that we had to fetch water and bring large barrels into and around the house for use); bugs were getting into everything; the ceiling fell in; malaria happened; dysentery happened; etc.   When all of these things happened – we were careful to encourage one another to rejoice at how God was going to fix it for us; how He was going to use us to be Him to the people we were trusting to fix the problems; how our headaches would bring Him glory.  Lloyd and I would go into our room and inspect one another – miraculously we found that neither of us had scars from a thorny crown; holes from nails in our wrists or feet; and not even a spear in our sides!  Incredible isn’t it!  None of it was Calvary! We believed every time that He would give us the strength to bear it – and He did!!  Time and time again – He brought us through all of it.

My dear friend Mike Pickett wrote a song that serves to remind me daily of what it means to count all of it as joy.  The lyrics say,

“You are the salt of the earth, a preservative for some. You may be the ONLY reason destruction hasn’t come. If while following God you find yourself in the midst of circumstance; you may have been sent there to let someone know that today may be the last chance to walk in righteousness; holiness; love; peace; and joy in the Holy Spirit of God”

So, yeah — you may be driving a car that is a little older than you like, and it may require a lot of repair; but are you taking that opportunity to be salt and light to the person who will repair the car?  You might be facing a different trial everyday in your health; but are you being salt and light to all who visit you and to the doctors and nurses that serve you?

This life on this earth is temporal!  Don’t lose sight of that!  Our home is in heaven – a place where all will be well!  As for the “momentary light afflictions” you WILL face down here — count it as joy AND count it as an opportunity for you to be His glory in this fallen world.  Know that as you face each hardship with joy – you will have more patience and endurance to face the next thing.  Being used for His glory in the midst of it all is just the icing on the cake!  I like icing and the thought of being icing on His cake is an incredible gift to my heart!  May the Father move me to trust Him in the midst of it all and may He bend my heart toward full joy and the hope of my eternal hope.  Remind yourself in the midst of difficulties and hardships  — It Ain’t Calvary!

Do We Know Who We Represent?

As we journey or sojourn in the earth wearing the label “Christ follower” and declaring that we are filled with the Holy Spirit, what testimony are we leaving behind?

Do people fear God’s wrath because they understand the wages of sin? … OR because we have led them to believe our God slays because He is petty and jealous over useless issues?

I see in the world much condemnation and judgment; very little mercy, grace, or life giving/life saving actions among those who say they believe in Christ and are filled with His Spirit. Perhaps because we know NOT what Spirit we are of!

Are our actions the actions of life givers? or do our actions condemn and bring judgment and death?

Be careful brothers/sisters in Christ. His purpose … is our purpose too! Kill the self righteousness that so consumes us … and ask God to place in us a love for the world that gives mercy and pours out grace!

I am praying that Our Father will teach us to open our eyes to truth! As we learn to rest in His righteousness, may we also learn to bring to this world a message of life. Praying that he will help us to remember the Spirit that fills us AND help us to remember that we are merely ambassadors. Praying that He will help us to remember that rejection of us is nothing that we should feel personally – this is a rejection of our Savior … a rejection of God. Praying that He will help us to remember , so that we will be prompted to show a “Christ Life” that the lost will desire!

Grown Man, but Baby Boy :-)

I just can hardly get used to you, my baby, being a truly grown man. You’ve made this mama smile from day one – even when you got old enough to get on my last nerve … you made this heart sing praises and thanksgiving to The Almighty God.

I am loving watching you discover and walk into all that God has created you to be … all that He has created you to do. Caring for people and bringing upon this earth joy that is mind blowing. Serving people as you lead them into their own life purpose. The way you give yourself to others is just mind blowing still.

This mama is praying God’s blessings over Jeremy as he pursues amazing goals in life. Praying God’s blessings over him as he shows many of his friends the value of standing firm instead of running, when you give all of those heavy things to God … He’ll bear them for you. Praising God for his tremendous blessings over Jeremy – meeting his every need, as he willingly meets the needs of friends in many ways! He’s not a quitter and he always has a heart for folk who need help that he can give.

My Jer Bear reflects true strength and service to anyone around him, which helps them to do some of the same things. He knows there is no trouble free road, but He knows that The One who can … will walk him right on through all of it. He knows that if he just does what The Father says … all will be well.

As people who profess belief in Christ – our hearts must at all time seek to love people and help people even if it costs us time, money, peace, quiet … even if it just Gets On Our Nerves! It’s not easy to commit to help people who don’t love you and who will enjoy using you for their own good and not for your own. But we have to have the wisdom to believe that no matter what we give of ourselves, God will keep us!

The skill that God has poured into Jeremy is one that is a help for others. See this … when a person is doing a television program, motion picture, a podcast, music production, or any other project that needs truly skilled and exceptional sound assembly .. they need a true audio engineer, one that knows what he is doing. And that’s my Jeremy. He does his work to help others – not to be glorified – but to help people be even more amazing than they ever thought possible! Ain’t that something! (you can check him out here https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/movie-news/softee-crush-song-you-need-to-know-1064087/)

Jeremy’s love for others exceeds most young men his age. When difficulties come his way – he takes a deep breath and just dives on in … knowing that His King has him and won’t let him go! He has the wisdom and courage to trust God with his heart; with his needs; and with his entire life … because he has no doubt that he has The Lord’s heart; that The King will provide his needs; and that The One who gives life has his life in control!

I am thanking God every single day for the amazing blessing He gave me in you! You are true joy to my heart!

Happy Birthday Jeremy!! My Jer Bear! My baby boy!

No Compromising

No-Compromise1 Kings 20:42 “He said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people”

God gave Israel victory and according to God’s law the enemy should have been destroyed – in allowing the king to live, Israel sinned against God.

Sometimes the things that God asks us to do are hard things.  They are hard because we view them through a human lens and want to judge the actions based upon human logic.  If the Lord tells us to slay a giant – we feel that this act would be inhumane – and we would, instead, want to imprison the giant.  This is a truth across our lives and is truly a test of our heart’s devotion to God.

When we face an issue, are we really willing to do whatever it is God demands of us?  We want Him to assure our victory, but are we really willing to do whatever he demands?

I am reminded of the scripture that tells us that those who love him and would follow him would ‘hate’ father, mother, sister, brother, etc.  There are times in our lives when God may ask us to cut off relationships, confront sin, admonish the unfaithful and even harder tasks.  He assures our victory if we would only obey his word without compromise.  But our hearts and minds must be truly girded up with the full armor of God if we are to be able to stand.  It is important that we remember at all times that our lives are hidden inwrapped up in — and lost in … the person of Jesus Christ.  If we take thought of our own desires or even the unpleasant nature of a request posed to us by the Father we are living with our minds on things of this earth.  As we set our minds on God’s will and God’s way – it is imperative that we really believe that without obedience victory will not come.   We must live our lives in the name of and for the sake of our King.  No compromise!  It is good to extend mercy – but not if God speaks against it.  It is good to be gracious to our enemies – but not if God speaks against it.  We must be prayerful – listening – trusting.

Father,  As you lead me and guide me, may my heart be malleable, open and ready to receive your instruction.  Help me to lean only on your understanding and not be tempted to bring to mind what I believe and know in the flesh.  Father help me to obey completely at all times and in all situations.  Help me to fight the fear of this world and this age and to embrace Your approval only.  May my heart seek to obey, love and trust you with all that is within me.  When you tell me to rout the enemy, please give me the courage to do so.  When you tell me to extend mercy, please give me the wisdom to do so. Lead me and guide me.  I will follow.  Amen