Whoever has ears, let them hear!

Acts 2:17 (MEV) ‘In the last days it shall be,’ says God, ‘that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

Why does God choose to speak to us in different ways? Some have dreams, some see visions, some see angels…how does God speak to you? The bigger question is, are you really hearing and doing what He speaks to you?

When the Holy Spirit pour out on your life, He will inspire dreams and visions, which will picture not just your present and future, but those you are to impact for His glory. Dreams and visions always conform to biblical truth. They will not present individualism. They will not cause you to fight against flesh and blood. Their purpose is to establish His Kingdom here on earth.

What if you say, “God does not talk to me.” What if the real reason is because we have become selective in what we choose to hear? For Mother’s Day I have this big pile of giveaways for our church, enough to require a table to be brought out to display them all. I had asked for my oldest to come with me and instructed him to grab the small table in the room we were in and that I would be on my way with a table cloth to put on the table. As I walked into the room, and the place we put the table, I see the large table and them placing the items on the table without table cloth. My son heard “table” and that is what he went on.

A lot of the times God is speaking, but we are selective in what we choose to hear. Or, we do not like how it is being brought to us. We want to hear His audible voice like he spoke to Samuel in (1 Samuel 3). God is not a human being. He is God. He can talk to you however He wants to, not the way you want Him to. Humans are limited, God is not. He can communicate through other followers, through experiences, through your gifts, through dreams, through visions, through nature…the list is endless. When you have ears to hear.

Matthew 11:15 (NIV) Whoever has ears, let them hear.

The Hebrew word for hear is shama. It means to hear, to listen, to pay heed, to obey. The voice of God will always line up with His Word. Here is my test: 1) Will it cause division? This is me being self seeking, the benefactor is me and it does not matter what division it will cause in the body of Christ. This will not line up with God. 2) Will it help establish His kingdom here on earth? This is the heart of a servant. My actions benefit God’s plan and purpose in others and me. This glorifies God and I can believe that it is His voice (no matter if it is out of my comfort).

If you get the chance today, read Acts 10. It is a great example of how God speaks to us and what happens when we obey. He can speak to us in different ways. He speaks to me in different illustrations of His Word. He speaks to me to be generous. He speaks to me to bake and deliver goodies. He speaks to me to buy flowers and deliver them. Whoever has ears, let them hear!

How I think of myself matters

Romans 12:2 (AMP) And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

Yesterday I had the privilege of ministering the word to my church. It was called “Mirror the Glory.” This is an excerpt from it. I believe our minds are the biggest battle we face to keep us from walking in the command to love, just as Jesus commanded us to. It all starts on how we see ourselves. The NIV starts off the above verse with “Do not conform to the pattern of this world.”

What is the pattern of this world? “I am the result of my upbringing.” “I cannot move ahead because I was not set up to succeed.” “I was not loved as a child so I do not know how to show love (or receive love).” “I grew up in dysfunction so all I know is dysfunction.” “I was abused so I seek out relationships that abuse.” “I have been through too much.”

1 Corinthians 7:23 You were bought with a price [a precious price paid by Christ]; do not become slaves to men [but to Christ].

Do not become slaves to this thought pattern. Do not allow this to keep you from the abundant life that He came for (John 10:10).

1 Corinthians 6:12 (AMP) Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me].

We are held in bondage by the thoughts we have. This has nothing to do with His love for you. I can be held in emotional bondage and He still loves us.

Romans 8:38-39 (AMP) For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This has nothing to do about whether you are saved (going to Heaven), whether He loves you, this has to do about the SOZO. SOZO means to save, deliver, heal, to make whole. The devil’s goal is to separate us from God’s love, because God’s love is the main factor in our emotional healing.

Ephesians 3:17-19 (AMP) So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]; and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].

In order to full experience this amazing and endless love, you need to go through the process of giving Him what bounds you. It is through this process that you experience the love to the fullest. The Holy Spirit was given to us to Comfort us through the process. It is going to hurt, but it is a good hurt. Let the spiritual roots of bondage be set free. Receive the wholeness that He came to bring you. It is a continual thing. It is not a one and done.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (AMP) And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.

Look yourself in the mirror today and make this declaration: I am fully loved by God. He adopted me into His family. The pain of my past does not determine my future. The spirit that now dwells in me has full access to my life. He has permission to search within me and clear out anything that the enemy can use to hinder the call that He has on my life. I am free! I am healed! I am whole!!

Options or Obedience?

Jeremiah 42:13-16 (AMP) But if you are going to say, “We will not stay in this land,” and [in so doing] do not listen to the voice of the Lord your God saying, “No, but we will go to the land of Egypt, where we will not see war or hear the sound of the [warrior’s] trumpet or hunger for bread, and we will stay there,”  then in that case listen to the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “If you are really determined to go to Egypt and to reside there [temporarily], then the sword, of which you are afraid, will overtake you there in the land of Egypt; and the famine of which you are afraid will follow closely after you in Egypt, and you will die there. 

How frustrating must it have been to be Jeremiah during this time. He was the man God decided to speak His Word through. It was not an easy Word either. He was beaten for it, put in stocks for it, put in a pit for it and even spent time in the courts prison for it. Yet, he did not change what God proclaimed.

Here the people are asking Jeremiah what God says about their decision to go to Egypt. Exodus happened in the 13th century BC, Babylonian captivity in 539 BC, yet the people were still looking back to Egypt. How many generations had passed? Whenever, there was a threat, Egypt was their answer. God delivered them from there before, He would do it again, right?

This is what He told them: verses 9-12, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition before Him: If you will indeed remain in this land, then I will build you up and not tear you down, and I will plant you and not uproot you; for I will relent and be satisfied concerning the disaster that I have inflicted on you [as discipline, and I will replace judgment with compassion]. Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear [as if he were deity]; do not be afraid of him,’ says the Lord, ‘for [he is a mere man, but I am the living, omniscient God and] I am with you [always] to protect you and to deliver you from his hand. And I will show you compassion, so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your own land

The Babylonian captivity was going to last 70 years. There were people who would be led captive and would return in their life time. This could not be said of those who chose to return to Egypt. One such person that is possibly recorded, but I cannot find any definite disproof or proof of, was Mordecai. Mordecai is the uncle of Esther, who raised her as his own. We read in Esther that he and his family were led away to Babylon as part of the captivity (Esther 1:6). He did not live a terrible life. It even shows that he held office at the king’s gate (Esther 2:21). He was able to carry out his duties in his customs. He honored the king. There was some upset that happened, but God worked it out in their favor. Upsets are going to happen.

What caused me to take notice was Mordecai was mentioned again in Nehemiah (7:7). Could this be the same Mordecai? He would be very old, but that would not be unheard of. Ezra 3:12, “But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first house (temple), wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy.” This could very well be the same Mordecai. Proof that God did keep His promise.

My take away…stop looking to what worked in the past. God is not a formula to plug in to get the outcome you desire. Do not look back to the old land that He delivered you out of? We are a people that craves familiarity and want to keep our options open. We survived there and we can survive there again. What if He wants better for you than to just survive? What if He wants you to thrive? What I love about Mordecai’s story is that when he was led into captivity, sorrow and self-pity were not part of his story. He was told by God that he would be able to trust the king, and He would take care of him and his people. Just because harm was intended by someone else, did not mean that it was able to succeed. Mordecai did not run. He did not go back to the familiar. He trusted God at His Word.

Luke 9:62 (AMP) But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things left behind] is fit for the kingdom of God.”

It is never going to be as good as it was back there. He wants better for you! Stop trying to get back there, move forward. God is not something you plug into the equation for the favorable outcome. He should be the source. My question to you is, “Are you looking for options or choosing obedience?” The Israelites wanted options. Mordecai chose obedience.

Do You Trust Him?

Jeremiah 18:1-6 (AMP) The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will make you hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and saw that he was working at the wheel. But the vessel that he was making from clay was spoiled by the potter’s hand; so he made it over, reworking it and making it into another pot that seemed good to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” says the Lord. “Look carefully, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. 

As I was reading my Bible last week, I came across this text. The potter was working with clay that had already been made into something. He decided to make it into another pot, because he saw fit to make it over. God asked Israel, if He could do the same thing with them. This was a passage of hope for me. We can never be too far gone to give it back to Him. I have to keep reminding myself that I am still in the Potter’s Hands. There are two illustrations using this passage that I would like to share. I did not write them, but I thought you would enjoy reading them.

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold — built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. Every break is unique and instead of repairing an item like new, the 400-year-old technique actually highlights the “scars” as a part of the design. Using this as a metaphor for healing ourselves teaches us an important lesson: Sometimes in the process of repairing things that have broken, we actually create something more unique, beautiful and resilient. (Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/how-japanese-art-technique-kintsugi-can-help-you-be-more-ncna866471)

When life is unfolding in hard ways, it can feel impossible to understand why God would allow hurt upon hurt. How could His mercy not fix all of this? How could He possibly use any of this for good? We see more and more unnecessary heartbreak. But God sees the exact pieces and parts that must be added right now to protect us, provide for us and prepare us with more and more of His strength working through us. I learned about these very necessary “pieces and parts” one day with a friend whose mother is a professional potter. I was sharing with her about how, when we place the dust of our shattered places into God’s hands and He mixes it with His living water, the clay that’s formed can then be made into anything. She smiled so big. She’d seen clay being formed into many beautiful things when placed into her mother’s hands. And she shared something with me that made my jaw drop. She told me that wise potters not only know how to form beautiful things from clay, but they also know how important it is to add some of the dust from previously broken pieces of pottery to the new clay. This type of dust is called “grog.” When shattered just right, the grog dust added to the new clay will enable the potter to form the clay into a larger and stronger vessel than ever before. And it can go through fires much hotter as well. Plus, when glazed, these pieces end up having a much more beautiful, artistic look to them than they would have otherwise. (Source: Lysa TerKeurst, It Is Not Supposed to Be This Way)

I love both of these illustrations. There is so much hope in knowing that I can never be so broken that I would no longer have any value. I am preparing my message for Mother’s Day. I have been doing so since God placed the topic in my heart at the first of the year. It is a message of putting our lives back into the Potter’s Hands. When God asks us, “Can I do with you as the potter does?” He is asking us, “Do you trust me?” When calamity and folly comes our way? When we do not get the house we wanted? When we did not get that job? When the bills keep piling up or the car breaks down again? Do you trust Him?

I have been the woman sobbing into my pillow at night because I was worried about where we would live. Or, I was so exhausted from everything that I could not hold it together any longer. I have to remember to be still (rest in His peace). Do you trust Him? When we have done all, stand on the promise of His Word. He will take you the rest of the way through. He will fill in the cracks. He will make it over if He has to. Trust!

Motives

Colossians 3:17 (AMP) Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

I believe this verse needs to be as memorized as Philippians 4:13. What is our motive? Why do you want to do something? Or even why should I do it? I should do everything in the name of the Lord, no matter what.

Is it to please our leadership? Is it to make ourselves feel good or more pious? You have a choice. Many people want to do something and do not want to be held accountable (especially when they make a verbal commitment). Their motive is wrong. Let’s be honest. We are self seeking. When we do not measure up, we say we make a mistake and should never have committed to that. True! You were not doing it unto the Lord.

Who or what is your dependence on? If it is not in Christ then you will feel like a failure. In Christ we cannot fail. Keep your heart motive on Him no matter what!

Luke 19:31 (AMP)  “If anybody asks you, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ you will say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 

Matthew 14:28 (AMP) Peter replied to Him, “Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water.”

Jesus was referred to as Teacher, Rabbi, Son of God, Savior, Friend and Lord. Which one of those titles holds the most weight? It is unto the Lord that we serve, worship and dedicate. “Lord” carried the most weight when it came to trust in what they were told to do. Peter, said, “Lord, if it is really you….”

Maybe we get frustrated at our leadership because we want them to be Lord (sometimes, but not all the time, only when it is convenient). That is not their role. When we make a commitment to people, what is the intent? For example, my husband and I are pastors. We have heard “Pastor, I am committed to this church. Nothing can run me off.” Or “Pastor, I am all in.” Both parties are pumped and ready to do ministry together. Can I be honest and transparent? Most of the times it does not end well. Guess who is to blame? The pastor. Not really, but they are left to pick up the pieces and move on. We do have a part to play. We are not perfect. It is in the imperfection that you should pray for us.

We have to make Jesus Lord of our lives. When we try to short cut and submit with the wrong intent, we are setting ourselves up for hurt. Yes, honor your pastor. Your pastor is called to equip and lead you to do the works of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11).

I will not remind you to tithe.Yes, I have had someone ask to hold them accountable to that. Did I do it? NO!! Something else made them mad and they left anyways. That is between you and God. Now, when it comes to giving you a leadership role, should those who do not financially support the church be put in leadership? I will let you answer that question yourself.

I will encourage you to love God, I will encourage you to seek the best for others and to love unselfishly. I will encourage you to pray, to get in your Word and to serve in and outside of your church. I will encourage to make Jesus Lord of your life. You can ask me if you heard Him correct and for the direction of your life? I am going to point you back to your Word and ask if it lines up with His character and nature. Will it cause division among believers? Then you did not hear from Him correctly. Will it cause someone to stumble in their faith? Then you did not hear from Him correctly. Will it bring healing? Will it encourage you and others to grow in their faith? Does it show love? Will it draw people closer to a relationship with Him? Then yes you have heard from Him correctly.

What are our motives?

Lord, I want to glorify you with whatever I put my hands to, no matter who sees it. Lord, I want to serve your people, no matter who acknowledges it. Lord, blind my eyes to what does not need to be seen to keep me from stumbling. Lord, I have faith to step out, all you have to say is ‘come.’ Yes, You have given me free will and everything is permissible for me, but not everything will bring glory to You. I choose to make you Lord over my life. What I choose that may be best for me, may not be what is best to glorify You. My dependence is on You today and every day. I choose today whom I will serve. Amen.

Untie the colt

Acts 4:13 (AMP) Now when the men of the Sanhedrin (Jewish High Court) saw the confidence and boldness of Peter and John, and grasped the fact that they were uneducated and untrained [ordinary] men, they were astounded, and began to recognize that they had been with Jesus.

Yesterday we began what we call “Holy Week.” Starting with Palm Sunday, we celebrate and reflect on the week leading up to the Resurrection of Jesus on the following Sunday. Palm Sunday was the day that Jesus made His triumphant entrance into the city riding on the back of colt, the foal of a donkey,(Luke 19:28-38) as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9.

Jesus was 30 years old when He was baptized and He started His ministry. We read in Luke 2:41 that His parents took Him every year to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. We even see at the age of 12 that He was able to talk about and have an intellectual conversation about the scriptures. He was 33 years old when He went to the cross. Nearly 33 years walking into that city for the Passover Feast. Why was this one so special? Jesus knew that the time would come. There was never a time that He did not celebrate the Passover. What made Him decide this time was different?

Reading the story of John and Peter healing a man in front of the temple, and then getting arrested, made me think of what Jesus’s disciples thought when their king was hung on the cross. How many times do we say, “it was not in God’s time” because we do not see an abundance of blessing poured out on someone when they step out? Looking at these two situations. That is what it looked like in the natural. How big was their faith to say “even if?”

Jesus hung on the cross for hours in agony. He died a horrible death. Our Jesus willing did that. God did not have the colt waiting for Him to ride at the bottom of the Mt. of Olives. He had to tell His disciples to go and get it. He chose to do it!

Matthew 22:14 (AMP), Jesus said, “For many are called (invited, summoned), but few are chosen.” Do you think that meant that we are called forth and chosen? Remember in elementary school how we would be divided on team for dodge ball? We would have two “captains” and they would take turns calling out the names of the kids they wanted on their team. It was always humiliating to be the kid picked last. That is not how it works in the Kingdom. Chosen here means you have a choice. Chosen are the ones that say ‘yes’ even if.

What has got you from grabbing onto your colt and starting? We were not told the year or age that Jesus would die on the cross before hand? John and Peter did not say, “God said,” before they laid hands on the sick. It was the Holy Spirit inside of them that led them.

Many of us do not want to step out of God’s timing. May I encourage you to not be led in fear of punishment, but know that He loves a heart that is willing.

Romans 8:28 (AMP)  And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.

Let me encourage you this Holy Week to step out into your calling. Make a contact this week. Peter and John were not qualified by man’s standards. Jesus was ridiculed even up to the moment of His death.

Matthew 27:54 (NIV) When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Even if it looks like a mess, He can turn it into good. They will be astounded at the goodness of God. Untie the colt and start!!

Water Gate

Nehemiah 8:1-3 (AMP) Then all the people gathered together as one man at the open square in front of the Water Gate; and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. Then he read from it, in front of the open square which was in front of the Water Gate, from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and women, those who could understand; and all the people listened carefully to the Book of the Law. 

I have just finished reading the Bible in chronological order. I have yet to do a rapid Bible read through in 90 days. This is only the second time I have read it completely through. It is not an essential thing to accomplish to be a good Christian, but I do believe it should be a desire of our hearts. This is one of the areas that I would say would be “works” oriented. It does not matter how much scripture you read in a day, how much you memorize or how much you pray. Do you follow the teachings? Do you love to the extent that Jesus did?

As I started a new plan, I decided to start with Haggai, Ezra and Nehemiah. Nehemiah being a type and shadow of the Holy Spirit, as his name means Comforter. Nehemiah was not a priest and he was not a prophet. What he did was have a burden for the people. He desired for them to be restored. That is exactly what the Holy Spirit will do in our lives. Jesus is not just my savior, He is the Prince of Wholeness (Isaiah 9:6-7 MSG).

In the first chapter of Haggai he pointed out the people were concerned about their personal needs and they just couldn’t get it together, although they knew God called them back to this place. He said twice “Consider your ways.” The Israelites returned to Jerusalem after 70 years of captivity in Babylon, focusing on rebuilding their homes, reestablishing their businesses, and creating comfortable lifestyles in their homeland. Yet they completely forgot the importance of rebuilding the temple and reestablishing their relationship with God.

Haggai 2:3, 6-9 (AMP) Who is left among you who saw this house (temple) in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison?For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more, in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the desirable and precious things of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory and splendor,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I shall give [the ultimate] peace and prosperity,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”

In the book of Ezra we see them come back to rebuild the temple. It did not look the same way that it did under Solomon. Those that knew it’s previous glory mourned. Those who never saw it before rejoiced that it was there. It is all about perspective.

In Nehemiah, he sees the importance of rebuilding the walls and the gates. Each one has significance but I want to concentrate on the Water Gate. Located adjacent to the Kidron Valley, the Gihon Spring was accessible via the Water Gate. The Kidron Valley served as a burial ground. This is the world’s largest Jewish cemetery, located next to the Mount of Olives. It shows their commitment to the faith.  

Ephesians 5:26 (AMP) so that He might sanctify the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [of God]

Psalms 119:9 (TPT) How can a young man stay pure? Only by living in the Word of God and walking in its truth.

The Holy Spirit is the one who makes the word of God alive to us personally, allowing cleansing, encouragement and direction to take place in our life. This Word is so important to us and our restoration. Water yourself in the Word! Hold truth to the Word!!

It was of spiritual importance that the Word of God be read in front of the Water Gate. The Word was valuable to them. It should be valuable to you. It does not determine your salvation from Hell. It does not make you a better “Christian”. The Word of God is restoration. You will not know all that He has available to you unless you know what the Word says about it. Come dip with me in the water today, and when you are ready, we can go a little deeper. Desiring for more is where my heart is!

A willing offering

Philippians 2:14-17 (AMP) Do everything without murmuring or questioning [the providence of God], so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness],  holding out and offering to everyone the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to rejoice greatly because I did not run [my race] in vain nor labor without result.  But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith [for preaching the message of salvation], still I rejoice and share my joy with you all.

Colossians 3:17 (AMP) Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

1 Corinthians 16:14 (AMP) Let everything you do be done in love [motivated and inspired by God’s love for us].

Providence is the protective nature of God, trusting that I have a future. Can we just do everything He tells us in His Word without questioning if He has our best interest in mind? It gets more challenging, we are not promised that it will not be hard. We are anointed for the hard stuff. Paul is telling us to do EVEN IF your life is the offering. The race I run, the labor it brings forth, is not in vain. The sacrifice and service of my faith is for the salvation of others (the real prize)!

When God speaks to you to do something, do not be concerned with why not someone else. I have learned that when He calls you to it, He will equip you for it. When I started speaking, I was not great at it. It was actually very painful to watch. I had to trust that the words He gave me were impactful. My heart motive was not to make a name for myself, but to make Him famous.

I am not waiting on the situation to be right so that I can shine. I have never been into that “it’s my time to shine” when it comes to serving. Why do we need to feel like if we are not elevated then we really are not doing anything. Paul said even if I am being poured out as a drink offering. Pour all of me out Lord. Use everything that you have placed within me.

In the first part of 2 Kings 4, Elisha comes across a widow and her sons. She had a great debt and man she owed the debt to was coming to take her sons and make them bond servants. Elisha asked what she had. She replied only one jar of oil. He instructed her to get all her jars and even borrow from friends and neighbors. As she began to pour out of the single jar into the other, per his instruction, every jar was filled. She poured until the last jar that had been gathered was filled. Then she was instructed to first pay off her debt and then live off of the rest.

What if we applied that same principle to Matthew 6:33? But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also. This is exactly what Paul was telling us in pouring out our lives as a drink offering. The anointing you have needs to be poured out. You are not called to this alone. Notice the widow needed the help of her friends and neighbors. Paul even refers to himself as a bond servant to Christ. Does not mean I have a debt to pay off? No, Christ paid that debt. My hearts desire should want to pour my life out because of His great love sacrifice. However, when I think of my needs first am I really trusting in the providence of God?

Colossians 3:14 (AMP) Beyond all these things put on and wrap yourselves in [unselfish] love, which is the perfect bond of unity [for everything is bound together in agreement when each one seeks the best for others].

I want the best for you. I hope you feel the same way about me. If it takes me pouring myself out to be a drink offering for Him, so be it! Now, do not take me to the extreme. I do believe in rest. If you do not allow Him to pour back into you, then you will be pouring out of self. We cannot grow glory to glory without taking time with the Holy Spirit and the body that He called me to (for equipping). Pouring out has to be healthy. There is a fullness to this Gospel. I pray you dig more into your Word today to find out just how full your life can really be!!

Restoration takes more than me

Philippians 3:12 (AMP) Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own.

There are many benefits of our Reconciliation through Christ besides just “going to Heaven” but they can remain dormant and non-beneficial until discovered and used. My husband posed this question to us a couple of Sunday’s ago: “Am I walking in the Freedom of Reconciliation today?”

Your relationship with God is as deep as you want it to be. Your freedom is to the level that you set it.

Luke 10:19 tells us that Jesus gave us the ability to exercise authority over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will harm us. I want to remind you that you cannot do this alone. You were not meant to do it alone.

Have you ever heard this? “I work out my own salvation!” That is taken from Philippians 2:12 and we use it as a defense mechanism because we do not like being corrected. We are taking it out of context. You see quoting this and stating “I work out my own salvation” is not the character and nature of God. Actually, in the original Greek it is not quite stated like this. The New American Standard Bible has the closest, because we all know from grammar classes, punctuation is important.

You should not quote verse 12 without 13: So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure.

You cannot do this separate from the Holy Spirit. You are not alone to work out your own salvation. You need to know and read His Word, but if you do not have the Holy Spirit you are limited. You will quote verses out of context and live half free.

There was also something else that God gave us to help in our restoration. He gave us each other.

Ephesians 2:18, 22 (AMP) For it is through Him that we both have a [direct] way of approach in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens [outsiders without rights of citizenship], but you are fellow citizens with the saints (God’s people), and are [members] of God’s household, In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

The devil will try to tell you that since you are the only one like you in your family that you do not belong, that you are an alien, that you are an orphan. Even though you DO belong to a family, he will do everything he can to keep you from the full benefit of salvation. I know what it is like to feel like you are not included. My husband and I are the pastors. Do you know how hard that is to be the leader? Someone once said that if you want to please people sell ice cream. However,I cannot become all that He created me to be if I do not fellowship with my church. I am not talking about gathering to eat food. Am I being authentic in my growth with them so that they can encourage me? Not just one sided to where they are vulnerable and I just can’t because of my lack of trust in the very body of believers I am called to. I need to walk in fullness. I have to let the body do what it is suppose to, even if it hurts (just a little secret, growth is suppose to hurt).

Ephesians 4:12, 16 [and He did this] to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ [the church]; From Him the whole body [the church, in all its various parts], joined and knitted firmly together by what every joint supplies, when each part is working properly, causes the body to grow and mature, building itself up in [unselfish] love.

The five fold ministry is essential in equipping the saints (the born again believer). Do you have a pastor? Do you allow them to correct you? There are good ones out there that want to see the best in you. The body of Christ is also essential to each other. We are no longer our own person. My restoration was for a bigger purpose than myself. I should be encouraging you to grow. You encourage me to seek the Holy Spirit in my growth!

Love is the unselfish concern for others, to see the best for them. This goes against the culture of “do what is best for you.” That shows a total lack of trust in the Father. Do you honestly think that if you did something that was better for someone else that He would not see to it that you go the best too? Let us grow past looking out for ourselves and serve one another.

Let us get back to the main question: “Am I walking in the Freedom of Reconciliation today?” We cannot do it apart from Jesus and the Father. We cannot do it apart from the Holy Spirit. We cannot do it fully without each other. You were not meant to work it out alone. God’s desire is for you to be whole. Let the Holy Spirit and the body of Christ do its work.

Even Here

Genesis 39:20 (AMP) So Joseph’s master took him and put him in the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined; so he was there in the prison.

I love the story of Joseph. There is so much you can glean from someone who overcomes to a story of forgiveness. Today I want to look at how much favor was on Joseph. Joseph had a relationship with God that he did not fret when bad things happened to him. We do not know what faces he made. I am the type of person that if I have a little bit of frustration it shows. I do not have to put any actions to it, my brow furrows.

If you do not know this story, I encourage you to read Genesis 37-50. He is a very important person to the Israelite’s, second to Moses. First he is sold into slavery by his own brothers and now, in the above verse, he is imprisoned for something he did not even do. If anyone had a reason for self pity, it would have been Joseph.

The next verse:  But the Lord was with Joseph and extended loving kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the warden. Even in prison he still had purpose. It was not when he got out of the situation, it was right in the middle of it. It was while he was going through some of the hardest moments of his life favor was still there. These were the steps he had to go through to save a nation.

The Apostle Paul had something similar to say while he was in prison. If you did not know, he wrote most of the letters to other churches while in prison. He had favor there also.

Philippians 1:12 (AMP) Now I want you to know, believers, that what has happened to me [this imprisonment that was meant to stop me] has actually served to advance [the spread of] the good news [regarding salvation].

Philippians 1:14 (AMP) Because of my chains [seeing that I am doing well and that God is accomplishing great things], most of the brothers have renewed confidence in the Lord, and have far more courage to speak the word of God [concerning salvation] without fear [of the consequences, seeing that God can work His good in all circumstances].

Here is my question: Do you think these two men waited until the right circumstances to do anything for God? Did they have to get to a certain place? Paul was waiting to speak to Caesar. He was not the only one he was going to share his faith with. He shared the story of how he received Christ whenever he got the chance. He told of the change that Christ made in his life and how he cannot help but serve Him everywhere he goes.

Joseph as a slave and as a prisoner served. He did it to not get him out of a situation, but to glorify God while he was at any place. Those over him recognized the favor on his life and wanted to be a part of that.

Matthew 5:14-16 (AMP) You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.

I know life can throw some really tough things at us. If you need to write Matthew 5:14-16 on a mirror, or on your refrigerator door, and say it out loud to your self as often as you see it. Memorize it. So that every time the enemy tries to get you down on your self because of your situation you can tell him ‘even if’ and ‘even here’ “I am the light of Christ”. “I have purpose.” “I am going to continue to glorify my God with whatever I put my hands to.” ” I will continue to talk about his goodness.” “His mercy and goodness follows me wherever I go.”

Do not believe the lie that you are hidden for later use. You were created for now. You are needed now. You have purpose now. People may not recognize it until later, but who are we doing it for anyways. I choose to glorify His name today. I am actively looking for opportunities to tell about His goodness and show them through my good works. How about you?