Category Archives: Healing Hearts

Look to Jesus

Read with me, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-27

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

In Matthew we see the words, do not worry, do not become anxious, fret not. The word Anxious as it is used here, translates to “distracted” from the Greek. Our thoughts play such a vital role in our general state of being.  Doubt, worry, anxiety, distractions, they all serve to derail our thoughts, and our faith. Today I want to remind you to not allow yourself to be distracted. Situations can so easily lead our focus away from Christ, stealing our peace. I want to remind you today, that there is no medal for the best worrier. God never meant for us to do mental gymnastics to outsmart the onslaughts of the enemy on our souls. It is in no way His intention for you to suffer turmoil. It is the enemy that steals our peace. And our weapon is sharpened as we fix our focus, not on the problem, but on the Man. We are reminded to keep our eyes fixed and focused on Christ, who is the author and finisher of our FAITH. The answer is right there in front of our eyes (SEE what I did there?). If the lie is in losing focus, then the solution is cemented in keeping it. Faith is initiated when we behold Him, it is also strengthened and sustained in the quiet moments we intently lock eyes with Him and refuse to look away.

Did you know He loves to look you in the eyes? Today, He is inviting you into a tender moment of surrender. Look away from that which would keep you busy, from those things that demand your attention, the clutter of life, and just see Him.  As a husband lifts the veil in a marriage ceremony to share a moment of tender intimacy with his bride, so He has come and torn the veil that separates us from Him. (2 Cor 3:18) As a bride whose veil has been lifted, behold Him unveiled. In purity, give Him all you attention right now. Engage Him, love on Him. This is how we become like Him, by beholding Him. This is how your hopelessness dies. This is where the despondency flees. In His embrace  is where you see Him, and become like Him. Your answer is in beholding.

When we allow ourselves to be constantly distracted, worry becomes a way of life. We look to the left, we look to the right, and wonder where our help will come from. Turn your eyes to the hill, lift your attention higher. Set your focus on the hill, on that hill where He died. Behold Him there, attaining the hope of a free life…for you. Do not look to the left, look away from the chaos. Do not look to the right, take your focus off the lack. Set your eyes on Him, allow faith to be initiated in your heart. Do not allow distractions to initiate worry. Do not be anxious, take no thought of worry.

What are you looking at? What holds your attention? If you feel anxious, you might be reflecting what you look at. If you feel hopeless you might be representing the idea of what you perceive. Just behold Him. He is there in front of you right now. See Him as He is, kind and caring. See Him as He has always been, strong and able. He loves you. His hand is mighty to save. He is willing, ever present, and ready to help. Just behold Him. Turn your eyes on Him.

The Blood Speaks

Read with me, ” To Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” Hebrews 12:24

The past few weeks I have heard these words persistently in my Spirit…”the blood  speaks a better word.” I am reminded of the fact that we are daily inundated with myriads of voices and thoughts, persistent in their valuations and judgments.

Am I working hard enough?

What if I fail? Am I good enough?

What is my purpose?

Will they get better?

The constant onslaught of doubt can be draining. It is discouraging to not have answers. I want you to think about questions you are asking that leave you despondent.  Today, I want you to hear His voice over those questions. I want you to understand that when He speaks, He creates, and therefore there is abundant hope for your situation. Even in death, the blood of Jesus was speaking over our destinies. He will not leave you destitute. His blood is ever calling out purpose and better things over you. Allow His words to resonate with your thoughts, and refute the lies and despondency by hearing Him. Though introspection serves to guide us to self awareness which could ultimately lend itself to betterment, it is essentially the goodness, the betterness, of His words that bring about the internal awareness needed for change. 

Hebrews previously (11) describes Abel  as a man of faith who had obtained righteousness through an excellent sacrifice. Later in the same passage in Hebrews, it is mentioned that Abraham was considered as a man of faith because he believed the promises that God had made. When God speaks, He speaks well. There is something profound in the way faith comes by hearing. When we listen to what is being promised and declared, we cultivate faith. If you are struggling with despondency, and feel your faith is waning, I want to encourage you to get into the word of God and hear what He is saying. His is always the better way (words). Our faith is dependent on hearing and believing Him.  If you hear Him speak, do not harden your heart, believe Him, and be filled with faith.

Where we were once dependent in dependence on our works, Christ came and offered a life of surrender. When our thoughts scream at us that we are not enough, His blood speaks a better word. When we feel the need to suffer in order to deserve His love, His blood speaks a better word. When we are overcome with shame because of unbelief, we need only hear the better words spoken by His sacrifice. He did not leave the sacrifice incomplete. He went through with it, suffering and enduring. And now, that blood speaks of freedom, redemption, sufficiency and salvation. His blood speaks, it has a voice, calling you higher, urging you to know He has paid it all. You are called according to His sacrifice, His blood speaks of your worth, calling you son. 

Today, hear Him and believe. Find a passage of scripture, focus on it, hear it, know it, and believe it. Let Faith arise as you believe the one who speaks is faithful to fulfill. Believe the report of the Lord, over the report of people, doctors, media and peers.

Meditate on His word

Read with me, Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,  but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.  That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3

We often experience self deprecating thoughts in the face of challenges.  It is all too common for self doubt to enter our hearts when things get tough, we feel like we cannot do the hard things in life.  While having conversations with people, facing everyday life, having to show up, do you experience fear, anxiety, or insecurity?  Today, I want to help us have victory over the lies of the enemy. I want to give you a practical workable strategy to combat the thoughts that hold you captive. Our sword is the Word of God, which active and alive, dynamic in its efficacy at helping us through all things life throws at us The word functions as a reminder of who He is, and who He makes us. As we behold Him, we see the amazing potential we have to be like Him.  The more we look in this mirror, the more we will know who He made us, know and remember. This is what meditating on the word of God does, it serves a mirror that reminds you what you look like, just as you would look in a natural mirror and see your true form, so the word shows you the truth of who you are.  Reading, knowing and meditating on His word bolsters our faith, brings clarity to our thoughts, and edifies our souls, renews the heart, enabling us to fully live a victorious life. Reading and meditating on the word eradicates the false impressions we have. He died so that we can live. He didn’t pay half a price, degrees of which  we still need to redeem through suffering. He paid it all. We get to stand in victory; we get to know Him in victory. We are no longer slaves or orphans, but Sons of the Living God. And as Sons we have been left a legacy of powerful living, not victimhood, not insufficiency, not suffering, but purpose and overcoming.

Think of a Scripture, for instance, Psalm 139, “ For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Meditate on this for a few minutes.  See yourself in that scripture. See God love you, and think of you, having intentions for your life before you were even born. Feel and know that you are known and accepted. Understand that He is a good father. Understand that has made you with intricacies, with depth, with intent. Know that you are loved by Him. Allow your heart to think this way, even if your mind wants to remind you of hard times. Even when your mind is screaming at you that you are undeserving, rest in the knowledge of Him, not in what you know about you, but in what you know about Him. Allow His love to fill your heart. Allow your heart to accept it, to know it. Think of how this can help you today. See yourself overcome fear. Love overcomes fear, see yourself strong in His love for you. It is free.  See yourself reign over insecurity, taking action against the lie that would have you remain inactive. Refute the lies of the enemy by believing His truth about you.

 “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.” Philippians 4:8

first and last

Read with me, “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

All throughout Scripture you see God being gracious in His provision, provident in His answers. Throughout the Old Testament we see God promising His children victory before calling them to arms. He is a God who initiates happening, seeing it through to completion. He starts things, and He finishes them. He is a God who always provides a way of escape, knowing what we need before we even ask. It is a marvelous concept to understand that He determined to love you, before you were even born. He knows the end from the beginning every time. Christ was crucified before the foundation of the world, God providing the answer before there ever was problem.

That thing haunting you, that problem hounding you, stealing your peace, the burden of regrets, the pain of loss, the challenge of faithfulness, all of these are included in the provision God has made for us, before we ever knew to even ask Him. He made provision for our suffering. Our answer is in knowing Jesus. The provision comes as a result of the nature of His love for you. Matthew 6:33 reminds that HE loved you first, before. Before you were you, before you could screw it up, before you could even understand it, HE loved you. His love came before you ever needed it. His love came before, an answer to your need.  In Jesus is the provision we seek.

Now, we get to acknowledge and know Him as He is – first. Know Him first. Before you do anything, know Him in the seeking. Before you move, know Him in the work. Before you answer, know Him in the word. Seek Him first. All things have been provided, as we seek Him first. There is victory on the other side of Jesus. On the other side of knowing Him is insight, on the other side of spending time with Him is rest, and after loving Him is when you truly live.

Under the law, the priest, a man, had to go into the temple and sacrifice to gain atonement for the people’s sins. A man would go before there could be any sanctification. In Jesus’ life we see a divine exchange of law, works, and effort, with regard to man having to usher in sanctification. John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way, to announce Him, to go before once more. The crucifixion rendered man’s sacrifices obsolete. After the cross, we now have access to the presence of God, forgiveness and sanctification through the blood. There is no more man crying out in the wilderness waiting for the Messiah, after the cross He now makes intersession for us. He went and did what no man can do. This made Him the first of many brethren.  This is the end from the beginning, His death the end of His life, His resurrection the start of ours. His blood testifies of a greater works. Under law a man had to go first. But then comes Jesus and  does everything perfectly, showing us how to walk like Him, to walk after Him.  He comes and finishes what He started first, allowing us to move in miracles and look like HIM! We get to be like Him.  We now never have to walk a road of sacrifice to gain forgiveness. We no longer profess the notoriety of man, we no longer prepare ways to usher in His presence. Now, after, we show up and be Him, allowing the finished work to put Him on display fully.  We just get to be with Him. He does the job completely, and offers us full sanctification. “For anyone who enters God’s rest, rests from his own works, just as God did.”  Hebrews 4:10

 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? NUMBERS 23:19.  He is good. He was good before we could ever try to be. So be good because He is. He commands, be Holy as I am Holy. He was Holy first, setting an example of godliness, providing a means to be righteous, so because He is, BE.

He knows your end from the beginning!  He has already provided for your life according to His loving kindness. I want you to do this with me today, look at Him. Set your eyes on His face. See Jesus, lock eyes with Him. Know His face, know Him. Who is this man? He is the one who knew you first. He knows you most. He knows you. Know Him. Allow your heart to search out His. Understand that He loves you. Be defined by His gaze. Revel in His friendship.  Set your affections on Him today, and experience your worries dissipating.  Look at Him, know Him, and receive the peace that comes from knowing Him. It might be hard for some people to look on a man. You might associate this human Jesus with every other human, those that betray and fail and cheat. I want to urge you to know Him. Remind yourself He is a good father, brother, friend, man. He loved, first. He died for you. He chose you, because He already knew you. This is amazing, Romans 8 says, He foreknew you! He  then made you in the image of His son, who was the first of many brethren. (Romans 8:29) He was, so we can be.

(un)offended

Read with me, Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5

Offence, the internal resentment brought on by insult or disregard, seems to have become part of everyday discourse among most. How can we live unoffended in a culture that is rife with offending words and ideas? I would say to live unoffended, is to live aware of, but not for yourself.  Unoffended living finds its existence in honoring others. If you are aware of and attending to the plank in your own eye, you would lack the capacity to be preoccupied with your friend’s.  The Bible is clear on the fact that it is imperative for us to rid ourselves of offence. We are building a kingdom that is not divided against itself, but supports its own. The dangers of offence are that it lingers, and as it lingers it breeds contempt, infecting our hearts, and eventually informs decisions long after the offending moment has passed. It is a cancer that steals from you, seeping the life out of your destiny, clouding your God-given purpose. Offence has an uncanny way of muddling intentions, thwarting them to selfishness. Offence makes it about ‘me.’  This directs our actions to self gain and validation. An offended heart will constantly seek validation. It feeds off being acknowledged, being right at the expense of another.  Resentment is the subsequent  offspring of an offended heart. An offended heart lends itself to pity and narrow mindedness, because an offended heart seeks its own gain and validation, causing the person to see only what is wrong with the other. There is a miserable miscarry of love when we fail to see the value of others based on how they made us feel.

According to the dictionary, an offence is defined as ‘an annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles.’ This makes me cringe, because I know how serious most Christians are about their standards and principles. The problem arises when we want to impose those principles and ideas on others in the name of Salvation. Luke 17:1 says, “Then he said to his disciples, “It is impossible that no offense should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!”  Offence is going to make its way to you, surely. But what do you do with you when it comes?  How do we avoid giving intentional offence?  By not returning insult for insult. Somehow we have made it our Christian duty to correct and question everyone about everything they do and say.  I feel the need to remind us to live for Christ. Being devoted to Him does not intrinsically garner you with the authority to judge others. This give and take of offence in the name of correction is the way of a fool that does not know when to keep their peace. It is imperative we realize that a critical spirit is not the spirit of discernment. A critical spirit does harm and disarms someone else, it undermines authority, ours and theirs, and severs the chord of brotherhood we have. There is no no honor in judgment. Before you come at me with your “I need to correct your sins as a good God fearing Christian,” I want to draw your attention to Luke 17:3-4, which starts with CONSIDER YOURSELVES. If you go to somebody to point out their faults, you better have considered yourself first. If he sins again, you better be ready to forgive, not be offended that you were not heard. Taking someone up on what they do wrong is an immense responsibility, and should be treated with utmost care and accountability on our part. Most correctional encounters are breeding grounds for offence because of pride. If a brother offends you, and you feel the need to correct him, have you considered yourself? Have you considered your reaction will be of he offends again, repeatedly? Or is your gain only in his good behavior. 

I am sorry to break it to you, but you should not matter in the matters concerning others. Live unoffended, to such an extent that you are dead. Seriously, you have died, the life you now live is not your own. You cannot be going around being self seeking if self is no longer alive. Let love win. Let patience win, let kindness win, let deference win, let humility win, in every circumstance.  There is glory in overlooking offence according to Proverbs 19:11. It might be that the validation we crave in correcting others might just be the outflow of overlooking those very faults.  We all want glory, but often this desire goes hand in hand with wanting to be seen and heard. Seek Him first. Let others live. Love them, pray for them. But know Him in all YOU do, consider YOUR own life first, and rid your heart of offences. There is no crown for how well you managed your brethren. There is reward for knowing Him! Seek Him first. In others, and in yourself, know HIM. Seek to know Him. Stop looking at people to validate your Christianity. Stop looking to people behave in order to validate your calling. Be unoffended, be like Christ, that’s validation right there.

 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19

Rooted

Read with me, “And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the Lord. For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:7-11

You know those times when you are desperate for an outcome? God has spoken to you to do something, but it is tough, hard, and seems to take forever. I want to draw your attention to the famous passage in Jeremiah. Jeremiah 29:11 is well known and quoted. But today I want to do a glance through some of the context that preceded the famous verse that we all know, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Often times the fulfillment of the promise we seek is directly resultant to a preceding command. Here we see God telling the people to pray. Pray for the territory they find themselves in, so that it may go well with them. This is significant, because the territory they were in was that of the enemy. In other words, it was not the land they would associate with blessing, prosperity, or fulfilled promise. I have found myself in these places before; places I associated where I found myself with lack, burden, chaos and fruitlessness. I also, inadvertently believed it was due to a lack of movement or breakthrough from God. Funny that God comes to His people and tells them, pray for the place you find yourself in, because if they prosper, so will you. Here, their welfare was dependent on their ability to pray during hardship. Their welfare was tied into community. God comes and says, do not listen to the prophets of their land, and do not listen to the prophets and diviners belonging to this place which is not yours.

Previously they had received prophecy, but it was inaccurate. Hannaniah lied, promising imminent rescue to the Jews. But, God had other plans. Disappointed, they were searching for a new promise, a word, a prophecy. The answer is seldom what we expect. In their loneliness and feelings of being adrift, God brings relief in the form of family and communion. Their belonging was secured in loving those around them and building community together. There was no imminent relief, no sudden slaying of the enemy, and no rapid exodus to better promises. The promise of His goodness till stood, even when they were enemy territory.

This passage beautifully reiterates God’s desire for us to present a spotless bride and multiply children of God. If we take a close look at the context of this passage, we might recognize a theme that is common throughout Scripture; the unction to not be thrown about by every word we hear, but to be established and rooted in Him. So many times we listen to the words that sound good and promise imminent relief, at the cost of recognizing Him in those promises.

God says, listen not to the lies, and do not allow your heart to be swayed by words that sound good after I have spoken. Listen not to their prophets, for I know the plans I have. He knows the plans He has for you. He is trustworthy. We cannot use prophetic word as the lever that arm wrestles God into changing His mind about His purposes. Our answer is in leaning and yielding. Our strength is in quiet, but bold, trust.  He is a good father, He knows.  When God said “I know the plans I have for you,” He was reminding them that the words of other prophets don’t change His original design for them. I can just see God saying, “Settle down (literally in their case), and be”. Know Him. Know His plans, so that the words of others, when they come with their dainty morsels of fleeting hope, do not uproot the established words of God in your life. He knows His own heart. Let Him remind you that you are supposed to prosper! Even in territory that is not yours, even in the enemy’s camp, prosper! Have hope! Long life! He doesn’t always promise immediate relief, or an easy out. He sometimes promises personal sustainability in the middle of the threat. He offers an anchor for your soul. Wisdom would be to not  ask for another prophecy, but  a promise, because His words are sure- alive and active.  He is able to accomplish His word. It does not return void. Let it have its work in you! Establish your heart in the word of God, not man. Although prophecy is good, and integral to our Christian walk, it should facilitate community and build the body, not unhinge into facets, inciting factions.

What has He spoken to you? What are you trying to rush, that needs more prayer? There comes a time in every believer’s life where we become settled in Him, resting in His goodness and the knowledge of Him, where we are no longer sojourners, but settlers. We become established. In your heart, settle this today, that you know His plans is good. There is hope. Do not look for the promise of a quick fix. Listen not to the words of the enemy’s prophets. Listen not to the men of the land. Listen not to the lies that tell you to hustle for favor. Listen not to the voices of religion demanding action, NOW. Remember His words to you, and be settled. He has a plan, and it is good. You win.

Seeing Well

Read with me, Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:16

Every member of the body serves a different function. Just as the physical eye cannot do the job of the heart, and the lungs cannot do the job of the eyes, so we each have our own work purposed for us individually. Each and every part serves a different purpose, magnificently designed to function perfectly and effectively. The varying parts of the body are designed to complement each other, not hinder each other. This holds true for the body of Christ; we were designed to work together, held together by the fibre of His perfect love for us.  *see 1 Corinthians 12

Discord is a cancer to the body of Christ. When there is enmity between brothers, the body suffers. When we look and others and judge them based on what we see, we cause disruption and decay. Today, I want to draw your attention to 1 Corinthians 5:16, Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” Regard no one according to the flesh! Not according to their flesh, or yours. It is so detrimental to the body of Christ when we allow others to bleed because of our misguided judgments. We have a hurting bride, a body burdened by the chains of oppression; prison sentences brought on by failure to meet prerequisite standards stipulated by church culture. Look at your local church. Do you know who stacks the chairs on a Sunday? Do you know who unlocks before and locks up after every service? Do you know the person operating the media and sound equipment? I want to challenge the way we view people in general. I have a burning passion to challenge the worldly consumer dominated culture that has infiltrated the body. We need to see well. We need to see. We need to seek Him in those around us.  Seek out parts of the body you would not normally consider, get acquainted with His traits again, dismissing fame and notoriety. Regard every person you see at church (or the supermarket etc.), and see.

Regard them as alive in Christ.  Look at them as a part of yourself that need caring and nurturing  just as you  would give to your very own body. Referencing the function of a body, life comes from the inside; we live from the inside out. We do not allow circumstances to inform us of anything, we trust the word of God, written and spoken. According to the work of the Spirit in us, we work out our own Salvation with fear, not that of another. Powerless people are tossed about by ideas and opinion, allowing circumstances to dictate their view of their brethren. You cannot allow a person’s momentary lapses, or their materialistic standing to inform your opinion of them. Let the Spirit empower you to see them as He sees them.

God has given us a Spirit, not of fear, but of power, love and self-control. The sequential significance of this verse always speaks to my heart. Not fear, but POWER. God wants us to live powerfully. When dealing with the body, we do not induce fear, but power. We do not use fear as a tool to bring about repentance, or change. We do not introduce the very substance of death (fear), in order to create awareness of Life. We bring Christ, and we boast in each other (1Cor 5v12), because I am powerful in God whether you behave or not.  We operate in a Spirit of power, a Spirit of Love, and a Spirit of self-control. We are reminded that we received not other person control, but SELF control. Manipulation and control are tools for powerless people. They are the hallmarks of reactionary living, signifiers of the need to control outcomes of other people’s actions and beliefs in order to feel powerful. The opposite of living powerfully is living as a victim. But, we are not powerless.  In light of this gift of the Spirit I want to urge you to live according to the theme of freedom. Live unbothered by people’s failures, and be untethered by their opinions. Let love win.

The measure of true devotion in a relationship is not what you do with and to the other person, but what you do with you. How do you behave? How do you speak? What do you allow yourself to believe about them? This is a significantly integral part of ministry; elevating people. We carry on His work by bringing people awareness of Him, not promoting self; we do not encourage the realization of how insignificant they are, but how amazing He is. We preach the completed work of Christ, not the insufficient efforts of the flesh.  We bring to light the fact that He makes them powerful, and their power is not found in ability to abstain from sin. We minister life and hope found in Him alone. No man can do what He does on the inside of His own.

 Because we live from the inside out, we start with us. Life as if you are loved and forgiven. Live free. The work that God has started in your life, HE started in YOU. So live from the inside out, and let Him finish what He started.

Purpose – Finding Him

Read with me, “Above the Horse Gate, the priests repaired the wall.  Each one repaired the section immediately across from his own house.”-Nehemiah 3:38

Every believer, me included, has found him or herself at a place where they long for God to reveal His purpose for their lives. He works in us to want to do well and pursue His intents. Have you prayed prayers that sound like this, “Show me what you want from me God”, and “What is your plan for my life?”  There’s something about loving Jesus that invigorates the believer to do! We want to shake kingdoms, we get encouraged to change the world, and we desire to conquer all the evils. Only, often times we envision these great feats taking place in front of a multitude of witnesses. We assume that the assignment was issued with a designated platform.

There is a lie that has crept into the hearts of the chosen, the false idea that ministry is only effective if there is an audience to validate the minister.  The problem with such ideology is, though the calling of many are sure, we cannot all have platforms and audiences. I meet so many people, women especially that mourn seemingly losing out on their purpose because they have been relegated to the task of serving those around them, as if serving is an inferior calling. But let’s be honest, on a Sunday, no one adulates how well the stairs were stacked in the back of the building. It is human to want to be seen and recognized, but it is unwise to equate validation with successful ministry.  There is significant hopelessness that stems from the disappointment associated with unrealized dreams. If you feel this way about ministry and church life, I want us today to determine whether our dreams were reasonable to begin with. I say that because we have to ascertain if those desires in our hearts stem from God’s heart for and instructions to us or do we experience shame because church culture dictates what we are busy with is insignificant and what we should look like.

Washing dishes, cleaning floors, raising children (please add your own tedious responsibilities here), and building walls are generally considered mundane and ineffective, worldly, earthly, material and insignificant. (Because, you know, God is only interested in the saving of your soul, thereafter you better just behave and struggle on in a life of negligible obedience.) I know, because I used to beat myself with this particular stick half near death. There was a deep seated need for affirmation, exacerbated by the lie that until I was reeling in the thousands of new convicts weekly or raising the dead, I was missing God and He was just not pleased with me. The funny thing is that it was indescribably difficult for me to even hear God while being that self-absorbed. What I was missing was Him, right there with me. The issue was the fact that in my head I associated God’s presence with the platform. I created a distinct separation between God and my life. I couldn’t live for Him; because I was struggling so hard living towards Him, unconvinced that I would ever accomplish anything that would garner His attention.  Somehow in the mundane tasks of everyday life I lost hope of ever accomplishing His plan for my life.  The irony is that first step in doing the things we have been holding off on, waiting for the spectacular, is usually your launching pad into purpose. In Nehemiah 3 it was the priests who were repairing the gate. The priests! Can you imagine them not doing what was in front of them to do because it was considered an inferior task?

“Purpose is found in practice, not the platform. It is developed in the Secret Place, not the stage.” Bob Hazlett

It is imperative, when it comes to our purpose on earth, to always bear in mind that He is a good Father. He is not sitting back waiting for us to fail. He is not expecting us to suffer to deserve a destiny. Christ already suffered for you. Now, you get to live. You get to enjoy a good life, a full life, and purpose driven life. If today you feel God isn’t seeing your capacity or using you to your full potential, I want to encourage you to just be present with Him in the moment. He is right there with you. Just do what is in front of you.  Imagine Jesus praying,” Father let this cup pass from me,” consider the fact that He was confronted with a task that was inhumanely degrading.  I’m sure there were many other ways for God to prove His power such as lightning, miracles, gold falling from the sky, physical demonstrations that didn’t involve death. Imagine the trek up the hill of Calvary. He was in pain, suffering, humiliated. Still He kept going, 1 foot in front of the other. That’s the way to go. Do what is in front of you to do however mundane and tedious. 

The plan was to redeem you to a life of freedom. Every second of every day is redeemed. It all counts, even the mundane. Why? Because He died for your ENTIRE life, not just the extravagant parts that are witnessed by others, it all matters. Every thought, every second, every act, it all matters. Nothing can add to what He already did for you. You are already redeemed. Live like it. Honor God by doing what He says.  Do what is in front of you, however simple it may seem. Do what is on front of you, however insignificant it may feel. Do what is front of you, even if it is hard. Allow Him to shape your destiny according to His will and purposes.

I pray that God will establish your purpose today. Ask the Holy Spirit to point out the things in front of you that you can lay your hands to and do. Allow Him to direct you to purposeful living. He is always willing. Remember, His presence is the price.

Knowing the Holy Spirit

Read with me,I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” Ephesians 1:17

The thing is, the Holy Spirit is not sin conscious. He is Christ conscious. He testifies of Christ. If, when spending time with the Holy Spirit you are only aware of your shortcomings, you might need to quiet the self. Why? Because once you are saved, and receive the Holy Spirit, He convicts you of righteousness, and testifies of Christ. He is not occupied with what you do wrong; He is concerned with what Christ did right. He consistently and faithfully testifies of this. His role in your life is to bring peace, comfort, and joy, not affirmation of your capabilities. While the Holy Spirit will convict us of sin, it is the goodness of God that leads to repentance, not the awareness of your shortcomings. There is no salvation in self-awareness, no amount of knowing yourself can help you become better, the flesh does not possess the power and authority to eradicate flesh, that is a work you co-labor with the Holy Spirit to accomplish. The more we know and focus on Christ and the price He paid for us, the more we look on Him, the more we will transform into His likeness. Transformation will be lacking if we focus on ourselves. When we are preoccupied with our faults, sins, and shortcomings, the end result is despondency. When we focus on the ability we now have to overcome, due to His provision of authority, we gain hope once again. Let me tell you it is hard to function in the Spirit if we only see Him as a tool for self improvement. He is the one who reveals Christ to us. So we can know who we are. He is not the tool we use for barely acceptable superficial adjustments of our souls. Knowing who you are in Christ is what invigorates your heart to live life to the full. Knowing that He has the power to overcome everything you struggle with makes hope arise as you realize you have someone reaching out a hand to help.

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead…’’ Ephesians 1:17-20a

It’s a dangerously self absorbed road to measure His goodness according to my badness. Is He this good only because I am SO bad? Then His personhood and goodness only finds expression in how well acquainted I am with my own flesh and its insufficiency. We have to KNOW HIM, not ourselves. The simple gospel is about Him. He is good, always.  It is the goodness of God that leads to repentance, not how bad I can feel, not how bad I can realize I am, but when the Holy Spirit comes to convict of sin and righteousness, reminding me of Jesus’ work and words, it is His goodness that makes my stubborn hard heart relent to His leading, yielding self to the guidance of His Holy Spirit, who testifies that He loves me and that I am accepted, good enough for good works. Because He IS GOOD.

The Holy Spirit has a function. That function is to remind you of Christ. To call to mind what He has done on the earth. What was that? He died for our sins. Now, for a minute just let’s not focus on our sins, but on His death. His death brings life and freedom, and oneness with Him. But somehow we have relegated the Holy Spirit to being the convictor only. Yet in John 16 we read that the Holy Spirit convicts us of righteousness. What does that sound like? That sounds like, because of Christ (because He testifies of Christ, not YOU) sin and death no longer are your main concern, because they no longer have power over you. You have the authority to overcome.

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:26

 Pray with me, “Thank you Father, for every good and perfect gift that you have given me, especially the Holy Spirit. Thank you Holy Spirit for teaching and guiding me in all truth, the truth of who Christ is. I want to know You, I want to adore you, let me come to the full knowledge of Christ, help me to focus my thoughts on You.”

Knowing Him in suffering

Read with me, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:6

“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.’’  1 Corinthians 2:2

Being faced with hardships such as illness, poverty, loss, and disappointment often times derail our thought life. Why’s and how’s and what if’s run rampant in our minds, wreaking havoc in our hearts. In the face of suffering, when our hearts become heavy, it becomes easy to look at our lives as hopeless, it becomes the norm to look at ourselves and see insufficiency, it can subsequently become a habit to look at our lives and feel only despondency. Lately, during illness and suffering the after effects of it, I so clearly hear God say to me, “What do you see?”  This reminded me of Jeremiah. God asked in Jeremiah 1, “Jeremiah, what do you see?”  Jeremiah responded “I see the branch of an almond tree,”, and God answered Him like this, “You have seen well, because I am watching over my word to perform it.”  God’s question came back to me, and all of a sudden I was overwhelmed with a holy desire to see well. I have such a pressing desire to see Him fulfill His word to me, to see Him be glorified in my life. Yet, in the face of oppression I leaned toward the idea that He was somehow distant and my prayers were out of reach of His hearing.  I was looking at Him, but I was not beholding. I was looking at Him, but seeing only my own needs.  While looking at myself I was measuring Him according to how well I was feeling and doing. Seeing well comes from knowing what we are looking at.

Knowing Him, really truly experientially knowing Him directs vision and direction.  We get to know Him through reading His word. Scripture is breathed on by God, and is a lamp for our feet so we can see where we are going. Scripture reveals Christ and the truth of His nature. When faced with difficulty, it is imperative to have a default thought pattern that yields itself to looking to Jesus. The instance hardship arises it would facilitate your faith process if you immediately turned your thoughts to the Word. The word is truth. Just as in Jeremiah, the answer is in front of you, what are you looking at? While looking at the mountain in front of you, do you know that He is still God? Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Heb 12:2. I love this Scripture! Keep your eyes fixed and focused on the one who endured! The One, who endured opposition for joy, is the very one who authors and finishes your faith! Now, what do you see? Do you see that you can face anything? Look at Him, let Him initiate faith in you, and endure so your joy might be full.

What do you see when viewing your life and God? The answers to your needs are in what you already have. You have the Spirit!  The Spirit testifies of Christ and His suffering, His victory, and sufficiency. So, when hardship arises, we look to the Word. We look for Christ in the Scripture, we look for what He would have said or done, or we just rest in the knowledge of what He has already accomplished – He has won it all. He is acquainted with suffering, He is a man of sorrows, and we do not ever have to be ashamed of having to process through emotions and doubt. But continual suffering is a choice. We can rest in the finished work, knowing He has given us all things that pertain to this life, to a Godly life. We do not have to beg and plead, we just need to know. Determine today to know He is enough. Make the choice to know Him, in everything you face. Know He is present, He is kind, He is just, He is for you.

What are you looking at, what are you seeing? What are you listening to, what are you hearing?  What do you have? You have the fullness of Christ. You have Him. You need nothing else. Keep your eyes fixed and focused on Him, the author and finisher of your faith. He is the answer. When faced with difficulty, we do not look  for reasons to justify suffering. We know Christ. Determine to know Him. Determine to seek Him, to see Him, to Hear Him. Know him. In suffering, know Him, in want, know Him, in everyday life, know Him. Experientially know Him. Know He is good. Wait on Him, feel Him, and Know Him.

Pray with me, “Thank you Jesus that You have shown us that there is joy at the end of endurance. I pray that You will reveal Yourself to me in a new way. I want to know you, wholeheartedly. I acknowledge You as the most important part of my life. Direct my life, I want to live a life that reflects intimate knowledge of who You are. I love You, Lord. I adore You.”