I cannot stumble in peace

Psalms 119:165 (MEV) Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing shall cause them to stumble.

As I was reading Psalms 119 yesterday this verse jumped up at me. There are many verses in that section that I highlighted, but this one I meditated on a little more. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). What does that really mean? In Matthew 10:34, Jesus tells us that He did not come to bring peace on earth, but a sword. What! Then there is this block of verses that can be taken way out of context: “For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his [own] household [when one believes and another does not].” (verses 35-36 AMP)

What is it about us that we are attracted to drama? The first place that our minds go to is that they just do not like me or they just do not want me. It stems from our root nature to judge the situation for ourselves. That is why we have to renew our minds daily. This is why we need to mediate on the Word daily. That is why the psalmist wrote, “those who love Your law have great peace.” The law here is the precepts or the first five books of the Bible that we have today. When the disciples led others to Christ, they did so by showing how Christ fulfilled the law (which means they knew it). When the thoughts of destruction or fear rise up that others are against us, we need to be grounded in the One who knows us.

John 14:27 (AMP) Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]

How can I not allow my heart to be troubled? I need to be rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:16-19). The hardest part of entering peace is first accepting that you are loved. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19 AMP). I read this yesterday and it really calmed the storm of what others perceive of me: “He does not love you with the hope that you will be like someone else,” Lisa Bevere. He does not love me hoping that I will become anything more than He has created me to be. I was created to be His daughter.

I am here to tell you that you may battle rejection. You may fight the urge to hide because you feel like you do not measure up. Our hiding place is in Him. We can walk boldly into that throne room of grace because of Jesus and His great love. When we do not walk in His love, we walk in fear. We will walk in the mindset that we are not accepted. We will focus on other things that will not line up with the purpose for our lives, that is to glorify Him. When we choose anything else we will stumble.

Philippians 4:8 (AMP) Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].

His Word is good and that is why we should implant them in our hearts. Direct your mind back to the Word. I cannot get focused on anything other than His Word. Yes, there are demonic spirits out there that want to tear down every ounce of peace that we have. However, we do not fight against people. We should never put our mouths against people. People are not trying to indoctrinate us or our children, the enemy is. When we know the Word, when we spend time in relationship with Him, we will know His voice. All those other voices can speak, scream or yell, but they will not have access to my peace. Why? Because I am rooted and grounded in His love. It is not a passive love. It is an aggressive and passionate love. A love that I will pursue after.

Father, I thank you for sending your Son to be the Prince of Peace. Thank you for changing my mindset of what Your peace is. Peace is not the absence of trouble, it is knowing that we are grounded in love. You are my hiding place and my fortress of peace. I love your Word and it will not depart from my heart. Thank you for the ability to renew my mind. I choose to focus on You today. I choose to walk in love today. Show me opportunities to glorify You today. Lead me through the still waters. I choose to listen to Your voice today. I am loved because You are love. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Resurrect in Me

Philippians 3:11 (AMP) so that I may attain the resurrection (that will raise me) from the dead.

It’s hot here in Alabama. Sticky hot! The kind of hot that makes you not want to walk down to the mail box. I know some guys that have to work outside every day. My husband works ten, sometimes twelve, hours a day. He works in a plant over seeing the production of cars, but there are times he has to go out and check the cars, and sort them, before they can leave the plant to the dealerships. What happens when you are just exhausted?

Why is Paul having to attain something that was promised to us? Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, relies on) Me [as Savior] will live even if he dies; and everyone who lives and believes in Me [as Savior] will never die. Do you believe this?” ( John 11:25-26 AMP). Paul is not referring to the same resurrection that Jesus is here.

Paul was bi-vocational. He ministered where ever he went and then to feed himself he was a tent maker. Some places took care of him and he was grateful and allowed them to. He was not going to starve and be mad at God about it though. Do you think he may have gotten physically, emotionally and sometimes spiritually exhausted? I think he did too.

Philippians 3:10 (AMP) And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did].

Paul knew how to fight exhaustion. The resurrection he needed was not because of literal death. It was a death to not be able to continue on with his mission. I believe that Paul was authentic with his struggles.

I was reading 1 Samuel chapters 13 and 14 and saw something very interesting. Saul had become king at the age of thirty. He ruled for forty two years. We find out right away that he had sons. One became King David’s best friend, Jonathan. Jonathan was skilled in fighting and had many victories. There was one incident that Jonathan took just his armor bearer with him and they fought off twenty men to win a victory. Reading further into this story we see that Saul’s army is exhausted. They have started deserting the cause. Reading a little further, we see that Saul had called for a fast for his army (Jonathan did not hear that part). Jonathan had found some honey and dipped his weapon in it and tasted it. It described his eyes and brightening.

What does our body do when our eyes become dull? We become exhausted. We start to not do well mentally. We no longer have the drive to keep going. This is what Jonathan told his father when he admitted to eating the honey. Saul had vowed to kill anyone who disobeyed, but the people talked him out of it.

I do believe I m fasting. Fasting without seeking after the heart of God is just dead works. That is what Saul was doing. Saul fasted thinking God would bless his efforts. When that did not work, he went and sat. Our motivation in a fast is to seek the heart of our Father, not to manipulate Him to do what we want.

What does this have to do with Philippians 3:11, “so that I may attain the resurrection (that will raise me) from the dead” ? Matthew 4:4 (AMP) But Jesus replied, “It is written and forever remains written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’”

Have your eyes become dull? Have you cried out in restless despair? Do you need a resurrection?It is right here. Do not forget about the intimate relationship you have with the Father. Get in His Word. Do not forsake it. It is life giving. It is time to attain that resurrection again!!

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!!

Get your sword!

Nehemiah 4:10 AMP Then [the leaders of] Judah said,“The strength of the burden bearers is failing, and there is much rubble; we ourselves are unable to rebuild the wall.”

In some translations it says that their strength was decaying. Do you know what they did? They prayed. This is how I take a step back and regain my perspective (not really mine, but His). In January I got to share a teaching called “Reset Your Position” with my church. I had heard the term “RESET” a lot when it came to 2021. We were in twenty one days of prayer and fasting as a church. There are different ways to fast. When you fast you are putting out a request for reset. However, if you are not in prayer during the time of fasting, that reset will not last. You will go back to the old way of thinking and doing things.

Just because you pray and fasted for seven, ten or twenty one days does not mean the enemy is not going to try to take away your revelation. You need to reset your position.

Nehemiah 4:17-18 AMP Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens loaded themselves so that everyone worked with one hand and held a weapon with the other. Every builder had his sword secured at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet [to summon the troops] stood at my side. 

In Ephesians chapter six we read about putting on the full armor of God. Part of that armor is a sword. Called the sword of the spirit, which represents the Word of God. A sword is an offensive weapon. You have to know your Word to do battle against the enemy.

Ephesians 6:18 AMP With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people. 

Prayer is also an essential part of a believer’s life. We are all called to intercede (pray). Not all of us have been called to spiritual warfare prayer, but we all have been called to pray. Why?

Remember Jesus knows what it feels like to be us. He got tired too. I think He had a lot of tired moments. What He was about to do was going to take all of His strength. Jesus modeled how we need to reset our position.

Matthew 26:38-39 (AMPC)Then He said to them, My soul is very sad and deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow. Stay here and keep awake and keep watch with Me. And going a little farther, He threw Himself upon the ground on His face and prayed saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will [not what I desire], but as You will and desire.

Judas knew where to find Him because this was not the first time He had been there. Actually we see Jesus going off to pray, especially after time of great ministry and miracles. Why? He had to reset His position.

At the gym we see all kinds of people. I get a chuckle at the ones who are working on a machine and doing it all wrong. It is not like the instructions are not written on the machine. It is like Dwight, from “The Office” (a television series), going to the gym and he puts the dip belt (the one you where on your waist to add more than your body weight to do dips); he puts it on his head and gets two dumb bells and extends his arms out. I see people in the gym do this and I am like “bless their heart.” I think God thinks the same way about us when we miss quote scripture or try to blame Him for why we are going through and what we go through.

I need to reset my position not just when I fast though. I need to reset my position when I am out doing what He called me to do. We were not meant to carry this alone. Jesus could not either. He had to reset His position. He had to go back to the Father. He knew the Word. He had the Holy Spirit. He also surrounded Himself with people to help do the work of the ministry. Nehemiah (being a personification of the Holy Spirit) did the same thing.

I encourage you today, that if you have not taken the time to get in the Word, that it is one of the greatest weapons against the enemy for your life. Reset your time in prayer. Remember you need the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ to carry out all that He desires to do in your life. Be blessed!