Mark 10:27 (AMP) Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
On Sundays I get to spend a few moments exhorting the people of our church right before I do the declaration. I have been reading about stewardship and God having unlimited resources. The above scripture says a lot of what our faith should be lined up with. I presented to them the excuse that we do not want to create a lot of “Ishmaels.” (Ishmael is the son of Abraham and Hagar, Sarah handmaiden. Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham because they had no children and they thought they would help God out with the promise of a son. Ishmael’s lineage eventually becoming the Muslim nation). I presented to them this question: “Do you not think God can redeem Ishmael?”
Matthew 24:14 (AMP) This good news of the kingdom [the gospel] will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end [of the age] will come.
No people group will be exempt. Therefore, no action that you take cannot be turned around for His good. Yes we will have consequences, but we are not living if we are not learning. We would just be going through the motions of life, and that would just be miserable.
It is often focused that Abraham only had two sons, Ishmael (from Hagar) and Isaac (from Sarah). In Genesis 25 it tells of Abraham taking another wife, Keturah, and she gave him six more kids. Isaac is said to be the son of promise and the nation of Israel ties it’s lineage back to him, that does not mean that Abraham did not bestow gifts on the others while he was still alive. There are so many messages that we can take away from all of this, but I took away that Abraham had more than one gift to give. We want ours to be the one of the promise (the perfect one).
2 Corinthians 12:9 (AMP) But He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.
It is not required to be perfect, His grace paid the price for that. I love that is says that His mercy is more than enough and always available, regardless of the situation. I sure do need His mercy right now. In my disappointment, in my desire to see things grow, I need His mercy right now. He makes things perfect, not me. I want the power of Christ to dwell in me. I want to be led by the Holy Spirit in everything I do. I just have to keep His mercy before me. It is okay that it is not perfect.
It is not required to be perfect, His grace paid the price for that.
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.
Deuteronomy 15:10 (AMP) You shall freely and generously give to him, and your heart shall not be resentful when you give to him, because for this [generous] thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.
Above are a couple of verses that encourage me when I step out in faith. I give myself freely to Him in everything that I do and say. Such a great promise of Him taking it and blessing it. Notice He is not asking for perfection. I want to drive that point home. He makes them perfect, I just have to give Him something to work with.
What about excellence? I googled perfection versus excellence ad this is what it says, “Perfectionism is about the fear of failure, while striving for excellence is the urge for success. Excellence is superior performance, persistence, and the commitment to do something exceptionally well. Excellence requires risk, effort, spontaneity, hard work, and extending yourself to reach your full potential.” Excellence is a heart motive, perfection is in Him.
Praying blessings on everything you say and do today!
What does a life look like that has come alive to God? It’s not going to be the same.The Gospel message is more than reciting a prayer to accept Jesus as your Savior.
We all desire something. The thing we desire was placed in us by God; and He has given us the choice to walk in it, but without His Son we cannot be full in it.
What is this thing that we desire?
Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV) Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a]38 This is the first and greatest commandment.”
That’s not the only place you will find that either.
Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Do you know what those next verses say?6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.
We do the first, but lack confidence in the second part.
Acts 4:10-14 (TPT) Peter states: “you and everyone else in Israel should know that it is by the power of the name of Jesus that the crippled man stands here today completely healed! You crucified Jesus Christ of Nazareth,[a] but God raised him from the dead. 11 This Jesus is ‘the stone that you, the builders, have rejected, and now he has become the cornerstone!’[b] 12 There is no one else[c] who has the power to save us, for there is only one name to whom God has given authority by which we must experience salvation:[d] the name of Jesus.”
Here is what I want to put inside of you: 13 The council members were astonished as they witnessed the bold courage[e] of Peter and John, especially when they discovered that they were just ordinary men who had never had religious training.[f] Then they began to understand the effect Jesus had on them simply by spending time with him.14 Standing there with them was the healed man, and there was nothing further they could say.
Do you remember the feeling of when you first accepted Christ?
Matthew 13:44 (NLT) The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.
Now I know some of you are like, ‘now you are asking too much of me’. Really? He has not asked for all of us to sell all of our belongings. He did not tell me that.
What does Paul tell us? Philippians 3:7-16 (NKJV) But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain[b] to the resurrection from the dead.
Let me tell you, I haven’t gotten all there yet, but like Paul: 12 Not that I have already attained,[c] or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have [d]apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already [e]attained, let us walk by the same [f]rule, let us be of the same mind.
One thing that I can say about myself, I am not the same person I was a year ago. I am not the same person I was 5 years ago and I sure am not the same person I was 22 years ago when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.
We get to a place in our thoughts and we think we are “okay” because we have a balanced life. That’s our goal right? To have a balanced life, to raise my kids in a safe environment, where none of us are suffering. Do you know how strange that is to the rest of the Christian world? American Christianity is so different from the rest of the world. They are willing to die just by admitting they are a Christian and here we are not being bold about the divinity of Jesus so that we do not offend. We are willing to deny His power to placate someone’s feelings because that’s “Love.”
We are willing to deny His power to placate someone’s feelings because that’s “Love.”
This is the fullness of the Gospel: Luke 14:25-27 (MSG) 25-27 One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.
God has really been pointing out this word “refuse” to me this year. It started when I read about Solomon. God spoke to him about marrying all the women from different nations and Solomon refused to listen, that was the beginning of the end of the lineage of David as kings.
Definition of refuse: verb. Indictes that one is not willing to accept or grant (something offered or requested). Fails to perform a required action.
Luke 14:33 (MSG) Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple. This was Jesus speaking.
I know that is not a popular place to be in this day in age. We could not be true pastors if we do not take this to heart.
Acts 20:26-27 (TPT) If any of you should be lost, I will not be blamed, for my conscience is clean, because I have taught you everything I could about God’s eternal plan and I’ve held nothing back.
I have been hurt in the church. I know what it is like to have people say things about me that are not true. That does not mean I have a right not to do what I am gifted in.
In March of this year, right when Covid had caused the nation to go into Stay at Home Orders, I decided that since I could not go to the gym that I would start to hike. It would help me keep in shape. Now I am heavy in the bottom area. I have not had a thigh gap since I got pregnant with my oldest. My body is just not made that way. So I over compensated for the weight displacement and pulled my calf muscle (the top part). In turn that caused my knee to become inflamed and I could not bend it. I had to let it rest and apply ice and heat intermittently. My goal was not just to get it to feel better, but to get it to where I could exercise again.
The same is when we get hurt in the body of Christ. I cannot allow it to stop me. The Word of God is there to cool my spirit man to bring healing. The Holy Spirit gets my spirit man on fire to do the works of the ministry. I need both in my life. If I do not allow both to work, then I am in danger of becoming lukewarm and then I refuse to move.
A refusal to be moved!
Let’s look some dangers that we can be in:
“I like hearing stories of those who do radical things for Christ, but that’s too extreme for me to do.”
“I do not want to be rejected or thought of as weird, so I am not going to share my faith.”
“I am willing to give only when I know I have enough to meet my standard of living.”
“I love God, but that kind of devotion is asking too much. That is only for pastors, missionaries and radicals.”
Ask yourself: Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life? If not make up your mind right now that you are going to allow God more access to your life.
My husband was using these next scriptures in a recent sermon, I was leaping with excitement in my heart for these Words for the church. I believe they were prophetic in more ways that you could even know:
Ezekiel 37:1-3 (AMP) The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 He caused me to pass all around them, and behold, there were very many [human bones] in the open valley; and lo, they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”
These dry bones could be you and I when we do not proclaim the Word of God in our lives. When we refuse to get in His Presence. When we refuse to get in His Word. When we refuse to speak His Word only. They were not always dry bones.
Ezekiel 37:4-6 (AMPC) Again He said to me, Prophesy to these bones and say to them, O you dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath and spirit to enter you, and you shall live; 6 And I will lay sinews upon you and bring up flesh upon you and cover you with skin, and I will put breath and spirit in you, and you [dry bones] shall live; and you shall know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord [the Sovereign Ruler, Who calls forth loyalty and obedient service].
Hear my heart: 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (MSG) Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!
God is not the one fencing us in.
Lisa Bevere in Lioness Arising writes, “But the lioness did not move outside their enclosure until their hunger exceeded their desire to be safe. In the same way, our lack of vision or hunger for something more can limit and restrain us from stepping out into the wild. We are emboldened and held captive by how we see ourselves, our world, and our God. The world ‘out there’ can look daunting if you imagine it a dark, scary place.”
1 John 4:4 (NIV) You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
What is stopping your from stepping out into desiring more for God in your life?
Do not let these things keep you from having freedom:
Ezekiel 37:10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath and spirit came into [the bones], and they lived and stood up upon their feet, an exceedingly great host.
Know His Word, Speak His Word. Desire everything that God has for you! He wants to give it to you!! He wants you to be full in Him. He wants you to be made whole. The power to do it is still on earth today.