I recently made some delicious Apple Butter for my neighbors for Christmas. When I was finished, the sides of the crock pot were covered with burned, stuck-on sugar that wouldn’t come off no matter how hard I scrubbed. I heard … Continue reading
“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:13-21
My son and I were having a discussion about church which quickly turned to a verbal wrestling match with me trying to get him to want-to do something because he wanted-to, not just get him to do something because he felt he had-to or was being made-to (which I see nothing wrong with, but in this situation, I wanted more). Motivating the unmotivated, that was my pursuit…not so easy, especially when it is oneself…
I had been thinking about this topic for a few days as it concerned me. I kept pondering the question, How do I get from the feeling of ‘I have-to’ to ‘I want-to’? In return, the same thought kept coming back to me…”Turn your have-to, to your get-to, then your want-to will come.”
I intentionally applied this to myself and I could feel a general gratefulness come over me as my mind shifted to the right perspective. It was kind of a spin on,”Kids all over the world are starving, so don’t take your food for granted” talk my parents had with me as a child and as I have with mine today, only with a much broader application. In that moment, I applied it to my boy. He didn’t want to go to church. I wanted him to want-to go to church as I always want him to want Jesus and all things Jesus. I didn’t want to threaten him to want Jesus, I didn’t want to convince him to want Jesus, I wanted him to want Jesus.
I read this article awhile back entitled, “7 year-old Indian boy tortured and killed for being a Christian”. I discussed with Jackson the get-to. This murder took place in India on November 17, 2013. Not 10, 25, 50 nor 100 years ago. This took place in our world 50 days ago…50. This child and his family endured the worst known pain for being filled with the Jesus we are begging people to surrender to. This child and his family only dreamed of getting to worship freely, yet we can and most times don’t.
As horrific as this story is and will always be, we can’t let this lesson pass us by. This may not be affecting our families to this degree today, but it always starts somewhere…as a thought. We don’t have-to worship Jesus, we don’t have-to read our Bibles, we don’t have-to stand against the Devil, we don’t have-to act like Jesus people, WE GET TO!! We get-to talk about Him, we get-to praise Him, we get-to go to church and proclaim Him. We get-to freely learn about Him and we get-to teach our children about Him!
We are new creations, not new converts!! We have gotten into this obligatory mindset that wreaks of death and filth when we were called out into the privilege of His marvelous light and life and truth and peace!!
As I shared this with my son I saw this have-to mentality get put in check. I saw him awestruck by the story of Anmol and he began instantly to change his mind (which by the way is to REPENT) about the things he and we all take for granted in our “Sunday School” culture. I saw him arise, dress himself on time and I genuinely saw him want-to worship Jesus because he gets-to!!!
How about you? Time to turn our have-to to our get-to so we will want-to. When we want-to, we really can go and change our world!
He is the WELL my friends, let’s partake of Him together!
Happy New Year my friends! I wanted you to know that I stopped making New Year’s resolutions about 10 years ago. Partly because by late February I had achieved the failure of self-effort and partly because I was just trying to survive my life, … Continue reading
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us…” 1 John 4:4-6
Know in your heart today that you are not of the world because you are a new creation when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. The world/ everything that is not of God does not hear you…but they do hear Him!
“…because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. 7 And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” 8 Suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves.” Mark 9:6-8
” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
” For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
When we open our mouths with the Word of God the world hears, the Devil hears and our spirit responds. We stop seeing our life as limited and useless and purposeless no matter the circumstances that haunt us. When we let the Word of God, who is Jesus, transform our mouths with His words, He transforms our lives. Then we become the nightmare to the Devil that he has tried to be to us!
Need a breakthrough? Stop using your words and start using His. He gave us His Word so that we would come to His fullness. Open your Bible and Open your Mouth! Begin to proclaim God’s word over your life and the lives of others. His words are healing and victory and power and peace. Watch Him lead you through into His breakthrough!
Start by declaring the books of the Psalm out loud each morning! No, you won’t feel like it when you start, but your spirit will respond and you will begin to feel your heart respond, then your emotions and so on. Read the word of God out loud and you will Hear Him! Then when you look around at your life you will see none of it anymore, but only Jesus!! His limitless, life-giving, loving self and you will say to yourself and everyone else, with Jesus all things are possible!
Beloved, He is the Well, let’s partake of Him together!
This is my little doggy and her name is Zoe! She is our little bundle of life and energy!!
One of our mainstays in training her is using treats. When she goes outside to potty she gets a treat. When she comes back in she will follow you everywhere expecting her treat… right behind your heels…everywhere! She never forgets until you get the message that she wants her blessing. Sounds similar to another story I know…
“And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. 24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” 27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” 28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. 30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”; ” Gen. 32:22-30
Our friend Jacob was in trouble, I mean it kind of seemed to follow him. In the natural, he had been given a name that meant, “Supplanter (substitute) or Deceiver” and apparently had lived up to that meaning. He had deceived his dad in blessing him rather than his brother Esau and Esau in turn hated him and wanted to kill him. Now some 20 years later God was speaking to Jacob and telling him to return to his family of birth because God wanted to deal well with him. I’m sure he was thinking, well? After what I have done?
At the same time Jacob is pondering his presumed demise, you see this scenario unfolding where Jacob’s men have just given him a report that Esau is coming near with a force of 400 men (vs. 6). Jacob is shaking in his boots with fear and dread. He has his wife and whole family that he has invested years to have and to build and adore. Now, this thing he did 20 years ago is coming back to potentially take everything from him the same way he took everything from his brother? What a dilemma! So, he continues reasoning and scheming to justify in his own mind how things could possibly go “well” with him and how he might, “help” God along. He tries to win Esau’s favor with stuff, tradition, intimidation and his preferred method…deceit. That night with his future uncertain and looming before him he has this encounter with what Hosea says is an angel of the Lord.
We know that Jacob is quite a tenacious man and he knows a thing or two about blessing. He deceived Esau out of his and then worked for Laban for years for a blessing from him. It seems fitting that he would go after it since it is such familiar territory! But, as with all things concerning God, mans tactics may work on man for a season, but they don’t work on Jesus. He sees straight through them and straight through us; right to our heart. He knows that Jacob has learned bad behaviors and has never understood who he is and that will not work for the ultimate blessing God wants to give him. He doesn’t mess around, He understands how Jacob sees himself and He doesn’t want to give him the opportunity to rely on his past methods. He jumps right in there in his face and wrestles him!! I love this!!
You can rest in knowing that God sees you. He will not allow you to operate in your learned behaviors when it concerns Him! He will not be manipulated or controlled! He loves you too much! He knows the only way for the blessing to come is by complete encounter with Him!!! Complete encounter brings complete transformation!! This transformation brought Jacob a new name, Israel. Israel means “Prince with God”!! All of these years Jacob saw himself as a deceiver and a substitute and God wanted him to know how He saw him…as Prince!
Jacob was destined for encounter. He was destined for blessing, that is why he was so drawn towards it his whole life. He just had to learn that he didn’t have to trick for it, work for it or any other human method. You simply receive God’s blessing through encounter. Then when he saw who he was in God’s eyes He longed to know who this was who had loved him so…
Do you ever find yourself like Jacob. God has given you a promise but the circumstances are the exact opposite of that promise and those circumstances are producing a dread in your heart, strategizing in your mind and anxiety in your soul? Well one thing you can trust is that God knows how to find you and there is nothing in all creation that will ever separate you from His love!! He will do what He needs to have a vibrant encounter with you. Call out to Him today in response to His love, grace and favor on your life. Jesus has made a way for you to have great relationship with him! He is the blessing! And that relationship is what will guide you through your distresses. He wants you to know how He sees you and what name He has for you so you don’t fall back into your old patterns and reasonings. So, when face to face with Him, you like Jacob will understand all He died to give and when you really see that love, you will not let Him go either until you receive Him as your blessing in Jesus Name!!
For some, Christmas is the experience of great joy, surrounded by love and peace. For others, it is an experience of great pain, as they are separated from their loved ones here on Earth, their dreams have been dashed, and their sufferings seem endless. Wherever you find yourself this Christmas use this time as a reflection of His Majesty in your life.
Today I want to speak to those who are downcast. Those who feel lonely and wanting. Those who are grieving, in transition and working through life’s obstacles. Be encouraged, today as you read…
…As I awake this morning, I am met face to face with the circumstances of my life and the taunts of the enemy. I feel heaviness all around. When I purpose to figure things out, all I see are my faults and the faults of others and I wonder exactly who is to blame. My mind is confused, my emotions are raw, my path feels uncertain. I constantly face reproach, ridicule, and scorn within and without. I wonder how long my enemies will be allowed to triumph over me?
So, good morning Lord! Today, I come to you as I am and I bring You all of this. This pile of blah and grief and frustration and yuck and failure and pain. I lay these burdens at Your feet and I choose to turn my gaze upward…
…There I am reminded of Your mercy and Your salvation. I choose to set my heart and my mind on things above. I refuse to allow my heart to be troubled and I will not fear because of the hope that you came to give me.
Today I surrender all control. I surrender what I hoped life would be like for me. I surrender all of my dreams, all that I am and ever hope to be. I know that I have no right to anything. In and of myself, I deserve nothing… but Hell. I acknowledge my need…
Today I am making a choice to silence all voices in the presence of the One true Majesty!
- The One who came to Earth and died just for me!
- The One who humbled Himself and was humiliated beyond understanding so that I could be empowered against His enemies.
- The One who knows I don’t deserve anything, but still wants to give me all things freely.
- The One who is my hope, has adopted me as His own, has taken all of the reproach that I am to face in this world upon Himself.
- The One who has taken on the trouble of this world and overcome it so I can have life.
- The One who fights my battles, crushes my enemies and conquers my foes.
- The One who has conquered death, hell, and the grave so I never have to face that type of hopelessness.
- The One who has offered me a home in His heart here on Earth and an eternal Home in His Presence.
- The One who numbers my hairs and saves my tears.
- The One whose benefits cannot be counted…
…This is my Majesty!
Everything I have put my hope in, I now see how vain and meaningless it is. Not one of those things has laid down all that it is to see me completely victorious and completely free. You are my Majesty, Jesus.
I worship You with all that I am, all that I have, all that I ever hope to be. I praise You for who You are today and I thank You for what You have done and what You will do.
Happy Birthday My Majesty. Happy Birthday to You.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from our home to yours friends!
Flourish and prosper in His presence. Move forward in freedom and peace. Allow all that He died to give you be yours today. Believe Him and live! Trust Him and experience fullness! Receive His love freely and freely give! You are treasured and valued and prized and righteous and blessed abundantly in Christ!!
Resolve to learn what that means this year, above all else…
“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29
“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14
Sometimes we are looking for more. More principles to apply, more steps to take, more penalties to pay, more works to work, guilt, shame, addictions, compulsions, etc. to dull the pain……do I really believe that what He did for me is enough?
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Imagine for a minute a piece of paper and a cross-cut paper shredder. Take the piece of paper and write down a list of everything that you have done that you believe is too big for God to forgive. Especially those things that you believe are too bad, too unforgivable, too far gone, too shameful, too weak, too weird and especially those things you know you must directly pay the price for yourself. Walk over to the shredder, place the paper on the shredder and run it through. Now, dump the contents of the shredder on the ground and begin to reassemble your sin into the original list. So it is with God’s grace. You see, there was a price to be paid for your sin. God’s holiness required payment. You were the one destined to pay for that sin, but Jesus took your place. It became His destiny to carry it, not yours!
As this analogy shows, our sin is the paper. It is full of guilt, shame, and a written code against us that we had to pay the price for. Jesus is the shredder. He came and paid the price for us. When we accepted Him, our sin shredded and became unreadable, unrelatable, and unrecognizable. Our sin condition was pulverized under His grace. You see, forgiveness is more about a position than an event. Events would be what were listed on the paper. Did Jesus go through the list and decide, this is shreddable, this is shreddable, this one is not shreddable. No! Thank God! He shredded the entire paper. The condition has been dealt with in its entirety because of what Jesus did for each of us on the cross.
Now, instead of imagining the exercise, this time do it. Shred everything that is holding you back from freedom, release it to Him today. Accept your forgiveness and then you can freely give it. You can decide today that what Jesus did for you is enough.