Category Archives: Knowing God

One of the four over-arching purposes of this site.

Knowing God. Discipleship – Building Lives. Transforming Tough Times into Treasures. Sharing our Stories.

Can YOU hear your song?

Your song is beautiful and sounds like the fruit of the spirit. It sings with the heart of God:

Free Printable Fruit of the Spirit | Fruit of the spirit, Love joy ...

 

A great place to begin to hear your song clearly is digging deep into the very heart of God. Knowing Him is the key to knowing yourself…and your song.  Fill out the form below for a free guide into the Names (and Heart) of God!

What is my purpose?

It’s a question many ask…an answer many pursue…and some give up seeking.  The Bible is the guide book that helps us find the answer and live on purpose!

The New Testament tells us that God created good works for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).  The Prophet Jeremiah tells us that God intends good for us in His plans (Jeremiah 29:11). Colossians 1:27 helps us tie those together as we read of a grand mystery described as:

” …Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Jesus Christ in me is the key to knowing my purpose and living in the light of glory.  It is His life in me that can walk in those good works the Father created for me to do.  It is His life in me that produces the good plans of God spoken of by Jeremiah.  My purpose about the life of Jesus that now pulses in me—and we’ll see that life is about others and the Father!

Jesus knew and lived His purpose.  He came to do the will of the Father.  He came to destroy the work of the enemy that separated the ‘very good creation of humanity’ from the Father.  He came because the Father loved the rebellious creation He made…He loved the ones who rejected Him and found themselves lost.

Announcing his ministry, Jesus quoted the Prophet Isaiah:

 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.   Isaiah 61:1-3.

There are powerful truths fortifying Christ’s announcement of His ministry…powerful truths that remain truth for the life of Christ within me.

The LORD, Jehovah, the Great I am, consecrated Jesus as a messenger of good—fresh, full—tidings to those with a heart ready to receive it.  Christ’s purpose was specific in action and in audience.

Christ’s messages were for those:

  • able to hear – those with a poverty of spirit that comes from broken-ness;
  • those drawn away from the Father;
  • those mourning the loss of that connection.

While salvation is available to ‘whosoever will, not everyone is ready to receive the Word.  Jesus never wasted time forcing His message on those not ready to hear. In announcing His ministry, Jesus explained the Father sent Him out…the word choices imply the Father sowed Him like a seed.  Jesus saw His purpose as being the vessel the Father used to reach out to a lost and dying world.

Christ in me is still on mission.

Are His purposes being realized in your life?

Knowing Christ’s purpose is the key to knowing and living your purpose!

 

Want to know more about those purposes? Check out:  Christ in Me – Living my Purpose.

Blending In or Called Out?

While there’s a cry in every heart to be uniquely valued–to be loved, there’s a competing photo of men standing near each othercry to blend in and not to draw attention to yourself (unless there’s something about yourself you think will give you attention you really want).  High school & college students are a great example…in any gathering of students, hair, make-up and clothes will share many similarities.  Individuality is within tight boundaries.  Where do you think the desire to blend in & not be noticed comes from?

Does it come from God who created each person in a unique way…with unique responsibilities?

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

Or does it come from the enemy of our souls…the one who hates the handiwork of God?

But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.                         2 Corinthians 11:14

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Let’s go back to Ephesians 2:10 and consider that word ‘masterpiece’ the translators chose.  The Oxford Dictionary gives us a couple insights.  The first is that a masterpiece is something made by an acknowledged master.  Consider the glories of sunrises, sunsets, meadows, oceans and mountains.  The same God who made those made you. The second definition for masterpiece is a  work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship.  Do you think of yourself that way often?

The Church–the Ekklesia –are the called out ones of the world.  We are not meant to blend in!  We are made to be different but we can only find our true identity when we get to know the Master Craftsman.  We can’t know what we are to be like until we know what our Designer is like. The craziness of a society that thinks it can self-select gender is individuality gone far astray.  Our design is only found in the character of the Designer.  Then our uniqueness is a glory to behold–just like a sunset or an ocean!

Blending in is a great danger that lurks in the world we live in.  It is purposeful danger planned by the enemy of our soul.  It is danger designed to keep us from those purposes God created us for.  It is danger that blends in with the world around us and bids us to do the IMG_3689[1]same.

As Christians we’re called to stand out…to not be like the world around us. Just like the Copperhead in the picture, danger is both present and hidden all around us.  What dangers do you welcome into your world?

Satan lays in wait, and we don’t know when he will strike.  We don’t how often God protects us from his poison. This snapshot my son took after God protected him spoke volumes to me.  The Copperhead on the right side of the log could have nailed him…he had just been standing straddle of it moments before this picture.  But God protected him.  This time.  We live in enemy territory.  Learning to watch for him and be alert is our responsibility.  Sometimes we won’t see the enemy even though we think we are being careful…even though we think we know what to look for.  Those times, we must trust in our Deliverer.

But what about the rest of the time?

  • Do your activities honor God?
  • Do your words help others know what God is like?
  • Does your spending point to the things God values?
  • Does your recreation point to the goodness of God or promote the temptations of the world?

Everything we do is a choice. Every choice we make takes us one step closer to who we are becoming.  It is a matter of life and death.

The cost of freedom is responsibility.

Choosing to honor God with every choice is the only wise use of our free will.  The only way to honor Him is to know what pleases Him. Honoring God brings good to us and the world we live in.  When God is in His rightful place in our lives, we find our place in this life. We come to understand His glory and how we are made in that same image of glory.

 

Which cry of the heart will rule your life?

  • The cry to blend in that comes from the enemy who masquerades as good?
  • The cry to be loved that comes from your Creator who made you to stand out?

Tagging God isn’t (always) Aligning with God

For all of recorded time, humanity has brazenly used God’s name to affirm its choices.  Much like “tagging” a friend on Facebook, we tack God’s name on our activities, thereby implying His presence and approval.  From wars to divorces to abortion, we humans audaciously attach His Name to plans and projects His heart never conceived…even to activities wholly contrary to His holiness.  It is a fearsome tendency, a deadly deception. Its occurrence is increasing and delving to deeper depths. 

We live in a culture that promotes choices and creates laws contrary to the Word of God…all while calling the wrongs,  right. The words of the Prophet Isaiah need to be heard as a clarion call today:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

Abortion does not honor women; it destroys lives.  Gender identity is not a choice; biology determines it.  Hard hearts, not irreconcilable differences destroy marriages.  Euthanasia and Suicide do not end suffering, they transfer it to another.  

Free choice is ours.  The choice is:

will we obey the Word of God or choose to be our own God.  

God’s Word is the only source of Truth for this world.  Leaders who lead away from the Word have been a reality throughout history.  The Bible offers myriad accounts to learn from. Isaiah recorded the very words of the Lord as he said, “For they who lead this people cause them to err and they who are led astray by them are destroyed.”  The wrath of God rests upon those who choose to follow ways outside the Word.

The wrath of God is actually a cry of mercy that begs us to make choices that align with Truth…choices that honor and glorify the Creator & Sustainer of all. 

Original Martyrs Cross by Jon Lewis

Amos, a contemporary of Isaiah, received visions of coming judgments and begged God to relent.  God did so and then appeared to Amos standing near a wall with a plumb line. He said, ‘I am setting a plumb line as a standard in the midst of my people—I will not pass by and spare them anymore.’  In our day, we have that plumb line in Jesus Christ. Recognizing that our culture does not align with the Plumb Line—with Jesus Christ–is vital.

Recognizing and dealing with sin is the only way to establish a solid foundation for life. 

As Christians, we must heed the call of the Apostle Paul in Romans 12: ‘Be not conformed to culture but be transformed with the WORD.’  Christ embodied the Word. We are to do the same, living out all that God desires. We are to be trained by the WORD to distinguish between what is morally good and what is contrary to the WORD.  We have lots of opportunity to practice.  

choices decision doors doorway

It is a well-known inspirational idea that the Chinese symbol for crisis conveys the concept of danger at a point of juncture.  Every choice we make in life is a juncture—an opportunity to give glory to God or to be more conformed to the world we live in. To be trained by the WORD produces mature Christians.  It grows us up. We begin to have integrity to our core. Our head, heart and heels line up with the WORD.  

This lining up requires attentive observation and total trust in the goodness and power of God.  It often requires us to act on faith instead of sight. It is supernatural living that requires the Spirit of God dwelling within us.  Tagging God is a surface expression…trusting God is laying everything we have and are into His care. It can be terrifying but it is always best.  

silhouette photo of man with backpack standing in seashore during golden hour
Photo by Samuel Silitonga on Pexels.com

Jesus taught His disciple to pray ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’  Isaiah records a glimpse of heaven that speaks to me of obedience. He saw seraphs—angelic beings called the ‘burning ones’—above God’s throne.  They dwelt in His presence calling out Holy, Holy, Holy, the whole earth is full of His glory.

We can miss the glory of God in the midst of our hard times but the Seraphs did not.  Perhaps that is because two of their wings covered their eyes. We must cover our eyes from that which draws us away from God.  Two wings covered their feet—they weren’t concerned with where they were called. We must not walk where God would not want us to.  The wings they employed moved with the heart of God.  We must learn to fix our eyes on God’s glory and let Him direct us, trusting our paths will always be in His glory.  

God is here.

God is at work.

God is calling you.

Draw near.  Don’t just tag God onto your choices.  Enter His heart. Receive His plans. Hebrews 12 tells us there is a cloud of witnesses—they are not critiquing us.  They are there for us to learn from. They are there for us to join that others can learn. The passage in Hebrews goes onto say watch out for each other.  Make sure no one slips back. Make sure no one misses out on receiving God’s unmerited favor. Our choices are observed by others. Choose His way that His goodness will flood your life and overflow into the lives of others.  

Are you busy & burdened? Come.

Working.  Carrying burdens.  Struggling to keep up, to carry on.  Does it sound like a description of your life?  Does it sound like a description of a blessed life?

We live in a busy world.  Our technology is a blessing and a curse.  The more we can get done, the more we feel we must get done.  It can put us on a vicious treadmill.  In the midst of the vortex, Jesus calls to us to come aside.  His call must be our priority.  Everything else will fall in place if only we will listen to His urging.  But how?

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30  

Early in the book of Matthew is an explosive passage known as the Beatitudes.  In it, Christ gives startling insights into the life of a believer.  His words take our views and set them on their head; it is almost an upside-down picture of blessing.  Blessed are the needy, grieving, meek and persecuted ones.  What?!  Yet, if we will pause, we will see the wisdom.  Today, let’s just look at the third blessing, Jesus proclaimed in that passage:

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.  Matthew 5:5

Meek.  It isn’t even a word in our standard vocabulary today.  Many mistakenly substitute the idea of ‘weak’ in its place.  They couldn’t be more wrong.  Meek is a glorious, gentle strength that doesn’t quit.  We see it in the call of Jesus as a word He uses to describe Himself.  Jesus invites us to join Him—to be yoked to Him as we go through this life.  Our earthly lives matter to God—to Jesus.  In the Old Testament, God instructed His people to make an altar of earth.  In effect, our lives are an altar of earth.  We can live as sacrifices of praise to God! If we will heed the call of Jesus.

“Come to me.”

He wants to help us carry life’s burdens; to find rest in our lives on earth so that we can and do live to the praise of His glory.  We are created for purpose…eternal purpose that is beyond our ability and personal capacity.  We need the gentle strength of Jesus to accomplish the mission God has designed us for.

The natural world often instructs me in the heart of God, so I searched for videos on how farmers train oxen to the yoke.  Perhaps you’ll enjoy this look at how oxen learn—and how it ties to our faith walk.

It pierced me!  I have not been a very teachable oxen over the years.  I’ve stopped when my Jesus wanted me to move on.  I’ve charged ahead when my Jesus would have had me wait.  Yet He never tired of me or gave up on me.  His meekness…His gentle strength…held me in check.  As the video described, I’ve given myself some injuries yanking on the yoke instead of learning from Jesus…but His loving, patience is healing and transforming me.  He longs to do the same for you.

Are you tired?  Are you carrying burdens that are crushing you?  Yoke up!

It’s too much. We can’t do it.

“This place is a wasteland.  Send them on, Jesus.  

There’s not enough here to meet our needs…let alone their needs.”

Do you ever look around your world and feel like that?  The problems and the heartaches seem too big.  The resources too meager.  You’ve seen miracles…seen Jesus work but now you are tired.  That’s the picture I see in Matthew 14.  It reminds me that the end of my resources is the doorway to knowing more about my Savior!

Wastelands appear when human wants rule.  King Herod launched this set up by getting what he really wanted…to kill the one who said he was wrong for what he was doing.  But the will of the Father is never subject to the whims of man.

God works within our broken world to reveal Himself.  Watch Jesus.

The death of John the Baptist grieved Jesus’ heart.  He set out to spend time with the Father.  But the Father’s plan wasn’t a quiet prayer time.  The crowds followed and Jesus’ heart moved with compassion.  He spent the day healing all those who were sick and broken.  As evening approached, the disciples were done.  The practical need for food loomed large–and blinded them to the power of the One who saves.  They had seen miracles all day but didn’t seem to think Jesus could help with simple subsistence.

Ever been there?  The bills climb higher than the checkbook balance.  The demands on your time outrun the clock.  The hurts of life squeeze hope out of your heart.  The passage in Matthew shows the solution.  Lift up the meager resources you see and watch God multiply them.  There is enough because HE is enough.  

When everyone was filled, they went on home.  Jesus sent his disciples into the wind…into a struggle against the wind and the waves.  THEN, Jesus moved on with His plan…to spend time with the only One who can make things right in the world.   It would seem that the Father gave Him a new assignment for the story just gets better!  After time with Abba, Father, Jesus went to His struggling disciples.  Fatigue gave way to fear as they saw Him walking on water toward them.  He whom they had watched deliver people all day…healing and providing for needs…was not recognized.  Jesus simply reminded them, “I am the One who saves His people.”

Oh, how we forget that!  The problems of life choke us.  The world feels like a wasteland sometimes…but Jesus.  He came to save.  Will we trust Him like Peter did?   Will we trust Him enough to fail?  Look at what Peter says…

“If it’s really you, tell me to come to you.”

Jesus said, “Come.” ‘Walk on water to get to me…do whatever it takes but come to me.’  That’s what I hear.  Trust me enough to step into reality that you do not control because I am the One who saves.

That’s scary stuff there.  Failure is the only option in the human realm.  And truth is, Peter failed victoriously because He did what Jesus said; He stepped out.  The fact that fear gripped him as he looked around is a side result that opened the door for Jesus:  the One who came to save.

Matthew 13

That all will know Jesus is the only result that matters in this world.  When we will trust Him like Peter did, others will know and worship Him with us.  Look at verse 33:  And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”

What is God asking you to trust Him for today?

Do I matter? Does anyone care?

It is the question we hate feeling:  Do I matter?  Does anyone care?  We spend much of our lives seeking activities and relationships that give us an affirmative answer.  There is only One who can answer that to our complete satisfaction.  The only One who can answer it is the One who created us.

Animals are amazingly helpful in leading us to the Answer.  You don’t need to come to an A.A.R.T. session to experience the power.  Use your own pets…even observe on in the wild and ask yourself some questions.  Come on an AART discovery with me!

ABCS of Safety, Security & Significance

In the Garden of Eden, the choice to reject God’s one command cut humanity off from the Need Meeter. When we seek to meet the needs that God built into us…instead of seeking Him…we sin & become captive to that sin. Restoring connection to the Father begins the process of healing…and fulfillment…and loving ourselves. From childhood to senior citizen, we must find how Christ is the answer we seek and understand how to apply that answer to diverse situations.  It isn’t a ‘one and done’ process.  Life gives us new challenges DAILY.  Living fully means knowing IN THE MOMENT, every moment, who we are in the eyes of God.

Acceptance by God restores IDENTITY for individuals.  It provides strength for life in a changing world. When roles or actions give a person identity, they never learn the unique design God gave them. “Who am I” is a necessary question because the answer gives stability.

Animal-assisted Insight

  • How & when did you become a ‘pet parent?’
  • Are they conscious aware of your  care & provision?
  • Does their awareness of your effort change your care for them?

God-sightings:

  • What does God do for you that you may not have noticed?
  • How does awareness of His provision change your view of your worth?

Scriptures:                  Psalm 139:13-14

Belonging to God restores boundaries that provide safety and security. In the natural world, safety is an increasing concern from childhood to old age. Involvement with animals requires learning to be observant of body language and danger zones. It is easy to appreciate the value of fences, leashes and lead ropes. Let’s extend those truths to things we face daily:  the internet, to strangers with candy or puppies and to individual choices.

Animal-assisted Insight:

  • What ways to do you protect your pet?
  • What happens when they break through those boundaries?

God-sightings:

  • What ways does God ‘limit’ His children?  Where do you feel limited TODAY?
  • How does He make us aware when we break through those boundaries?

Scriptures:                  Psalm 46:1

Calling of God restores purpose to lives. The Word tells us God has created us for good works…and for connection to Him. He treasures His children and cares for them. Using the natural needs of animals (nutrition, coat & hoof care, exercise), coaches draw parallels to caring for the body as the temple of God and caring for others.

Animal-assisted Insight:

  • What needs do you meet for your pets that you tend to neglect for yourself?
  • What do you expect from them?
  • Are your animals meeting a need for you that they are not designed to meet?

God-sightings:

  • Christ died so we could take our needs to God:  What needs do you take to God?
  • Are there things you know God desires for you that you do not press toward?
  • What need are you facing today that you are trying to meet on your own–or even with your animals?

Scriptures:               Ephesians 2:10

Who am I

I have one eye that is used a lot but I cannot see.  What am I?

You see me where I never was…and really can never be.  What am I?

If you say my name, I disappear.  What am I?

If I drink I die, if I eat I’m fine.  What am I?

Riddles are kind of fun, aren’t they?  If you want the answers, join the Six-Days to Abundance journey and let me know about it.  I’ll send the answers on! 

But did you ever consider that each of us is a bit of riddle?  We spend much of our lives trying to answer that question, who am I?  It is a critical question because it is the foundation of our lives.

Whether we know it or not, we make our decisions based on what we believe gives us worth.  We choose our actions, our friends, even life-time pursuits based on what we feel gives us ‘value.’  In fact, who we understand ourselves to be is a life & death matter.  The heartbreaking reality is that over 44,000 people commit suicide every year…and that’s the reported suicides.  Life is difficult.  Without understanding the value of this life we have, we end up assigning value to parts of life.  Those parts will not hold up to the rigors of life.  Identity rooted in the Giver of Life grows stronger as the years progress.  It is the only foundation for life.  So, how do you define yourself…do you even know?

Write an advertisement for yourself.

What would someone need to know to know you?.

What do you come up with?

Wife.  Athlete.  Or maybe disabled.  Mom.  Divorced.  German or Italian.  Teacher.  Pet owner.  Couch potato.  High School drop-out or PhD candidate.  So & So’s child…or parent.  A Christian, a Muslim.  Jewish.  Homosexual.  Prisoner.  Addict.  Pastor. Winner.  Loser.

 All of those are important but anyone of those things can change (even ethnic heritages are sometimes not what we thought).  When things change, you will still be you.  So ‘who are you?’

We are each a riddle…until we go to the One who created us.

You (God) made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Psalm 139:13

God is the Giver of Life.  As Paul said to the Romans, in Him we live and move and exist.  The only way to know who we are is to go to Him.  God has given us life to search out the answer to the question of identity.  He calls to us throughout life and sent Jesus to open the way for us.  The choice to go to Him is ours.  What often drives us to Him are the disappointments that comes with a faulty understanding of self.

  • If I am what I achieve, what happens when I fail?  My identity…my sense of self bottoms out.
  • Or what if I achieve great things…think of the celebrities who have ended their own lives or whose lives are stolen by addictions….and still can’t find fulfillment?  The praise of others is not life-giving.
  • If I build my life on my children…or a spouse…and their quest takes them from me, what is my foundation?
  • Or if my identity has been in my job and my company closes, how do I face the rejection that comes with job-hunting?
  • What if I made one bad choice that haunts me for decades?  Is that the sum of who I am?

No!  The stuff of life is where we live out who we are…it is not supposed to make us who we are!

We find out identity by going to the maker.  We recognize that in other realms of life.  Take a look at this picture.  What is it for?  You can click the picture to find out but thepoint is we go to the creator (or one who has experience) to find out purpose.  

With the precious gift of life, why would we not do the same!?  We want to be the masters of our fate, but the ways that seem right to us often create havoc.  Jesus came that we might have abundant life!  Listen to who the Master says you are…and then live with awe for His love and the masterpiece He has wrought in you.  Give yourself to the world and to revealing Him.  You will be blessed and so will the world!

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Image result for identity in Christ verses

There are countless resources aimed to help Christians embrace the identity that comes with faith in Jesus.  This is one.

Living out this identity is a life-time challenge that requires us to stay connected to God and others.  It gives us a foundation for living.

All that we search for is found in Jesus. Let Him Love You! 

Danger & Devastation: Fire Insurance

We buy fire insurance with the hope that we never need it.  In the natural realm, it works reasonably well.  Even if the policy is not that good, fire insurance works well to gives us peace of mind and even a poor policy will mitigate the devastation if a fire happens.  So, a fire insurance policy is a solid investment for our earthly concerns.

Kilroy fire
December 19, 1976 – childhood home

Eternally, though, fire insurance is another story.  In fact, it is a false hope based on deadly deception.  Faith as a ticket out of hell is really a ticket to a dead end.  On earth, fire insurance is bought with hope that it will never be used.  In the spiritual realm, there is no such hope.  Death is a certainty.  It makes sense then that much more care be given to eternal insurance…assurance.

Just as earthly death is certain, Scripture reminds us that faith without works is dead.  (James 2:17).  That verse is not speaking about earning salvation.  Salvation is not based on us; it is faith in the completed work of Christ that saves.  But faith is evidence of what we believe; if we don’t act as if we believe, where is the evidence.  James 2:17 is saying that the way we live reveals the faith we possess.  Faith is belief…our actions reveal what we believe more than our words do.  Our minds can agree to something but unless we actually believe it, our hearts will not feel it and our feet won’t walk it.  Fire insurance faith gives mental assent…living faith gives united assurance.

Walking out faith

The shoes we are to wear as armored believers are Good News Shoes!  Our walk is to be one of peace…restored to a loving relationship with the One True God.  Any time our lives have ‘compartments’ or places where the sweet peace of God is not felt, we need to stop and seek the face of God.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God–unless we allow it to.  James tells us that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.  The cry

max and marie hands fire
Picture from my in-laws living room after their home was destroyed by fire.

of the Father’s heart is ‘come to me’ — Christ’s prayer before He endured the cross was that we would be united with Him because He was united with the Father.  Total immersion in the holy goodness of God is the desire of God for each of us!

No matter what the battle feels like…the raging war and waves of horror…the end is sure.  The life of faith requires the death of self.  And death is not pretty.  Have you walked in the valley of death with a loved one?  The physical and emotional toll is great.  Scripture says Jesus endured for the joy set before Him.  That is our hope as well as we battle through to confident assurance of our unity with Him.

Engaging in Battle

Make no mistake:  spiritual battles are real and necessary.  Putting to death the old man is not easy.  There is a deadly, dangerous self-protective deception that can keep us from ever seeing the depths of our own depravity.  We can study the Word and love its beauty–and think that our studying and appreciation for it is enough.  It is not.  Appreciating art does not make me an artist.  The Word is pure and holy–but we are not.  Mental assent does not create unity with God.  Fire insurance faith is not assurance.  It is a deception that can kill.

So, how can you know?  Eternal life is the gift of God Himself.  Read that slowly.  It is not a gift of God…it is God.  Eternal life doesn’t start when we die; we live it now.  We live it when we receive it.  When we receive the gift of God, there is a war between good and evil.  It is a war that is won but it is not one we can excuse ourselves from.

But you, O man of God, flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession before many witnesses. I Timothy 6:11,12

And never give up.  It is always too soon to quit!  Press on for victory by renewing your mind with Truth from God…and then committing to act.  Strongholds come from conditioning of the past…negative thoughts & actions that you cannot control are conditioned responses.  What you have conditioned yourself to do can be changed as you remove anything that does not align with the Word of God.  Seek unity with Him and the double-mindedness that kills will be eliminated.  That is the death of self…that is participating in the crucifixion.  It will be painful…but it is the only way to life.

Seek to know God.  Surrender to His way.  Sacrifice to obey Him.  

And see the miraculous ways He works.  God is faithful.  Christ is victorious.  

Hearing God in Horrors of Hurt

On the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, looking to Jesus–our INTERCESSOR–is a blessed endeavor!  May you enjoy this excerpt from my devotional, Fixing our Eyes on God.

There are some wonderful, awe-inspiring revelations of Jesus that begin with “I.”  He is the I am, the Image of the invisible God, immortal, immutable, and Immanuel, God with us!  The One who is all of those things is also our Intercessor.  Scriptures tells us He lives that He can make intercession for us!  Now that is an incredible view of our Savior!

Intercessory prayer weaves its way throughout scripture.  In the Old Testament, we see God’s people, His prophets and His priests offering prayers on behalf of others.  Isaiah prophesied that the coming Deliverer would pray for sinners.

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:12

The truth of that prophesy shines forth in the New Testament as we observe Jesus praying for His disciples, His enemies and us!

Intercession is a costly endeavor that God expects from each of us.  Yet God never asks us to do anything He won’t join us in doing.  Intercession is a joint endeavor…it fulfills the prayer of Jesus in John 17 which asks the Father to bring us to unity.  Intercession unites our hearts with others, with the Spirit, with Christ and with the Father.  The fact that Jesus is our Intercessor reveals the incredible privilege we have to intercede.

Our human passions and concerns often cloud our minds.   We do not always know what to ask of the Father; we would miss countless blessings without our Intercessor!  The Spirit searches our hearts for the needs we cannot express—and sometimes do not know.  The Spirit’s unity with Christ—and His with the Father—brings the very will of God into the center of our being.

Our Intercessor’s prayers are pure and perfect, aligned with God’s purposes for our lives.  Jesus asks for exactly what we would ask—if only we understood as He does.    Our minds can only glimpse the fringes of the great mystery of unity with God through Christ.  Our intercessory prayers for others allow us to join in the very work of our Savior.  May we rejoice in His work and our privilege as intercessors!