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Posts Tagged ‘God’

It’s not popular today to speak in terms of  “good and evil”.  Having grown up in a religious setting that tended to breed condemnation rather than confidence in the work of Christ in our hearts, I can understand it.

Nevertheless, we can’t ignore either word.  There is obviously both good and evil in the world.  Everywhere we look there is are hard things.  Poverty, sexual slavery, broken families, crime, bigotry, injustice, wars, and so on.   On the other hand, we see good in those work to make a difference or rise above their own negative circumstances or a raw hand that was dealt them.

What determines whether someone is good or evil?  Luke 6:43-45 makes it clear that it is the kind of fruit one bears.  It makes it clear the fruit we see comes from the condition of one’s heart.

Christ’s sacrificed life made it possible to live in goodness.  Salvation is for body, soul, and spirit.  Reunited or back in agreement with God, it is now up to us to plant and tend to the vineyard of our hearts, that we might produce GOOD FRUIT.

Andy Andrews, in his book The Traveler’s Gift, talks about one of the seven principles of success–I have a decided heart.  If we choose to follow Christ, then we must also decide to become like Him.

Luke 6:40 says “everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” A decided heart is one that refuses to let things unlike Christ remain in their heart.

One can’t have bitterness and say they are following Christ.  Nor can we dwell in unforgiveness, a vengeful spirit, self-centeredness, pride, apathy, rebellion, greed, etc.    Those attitudes will choke out the good fruit and fill our hearts with unhealthy habits and desires.

We also can’t live in the land of unbelief, a place that denies what God says about us or the priniciples and promises of God.   It is impossible to please God without faith!  Not just faith in his redemption, but walking it out by being who He has called us to be and producing good fruit.

Luke 6:45 says”For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”  Faith is a matter of confession and profession.  What you say matched by what you do  indicates the faith you have.    It is not enough to say “Lord, Lord”.   We must have faith that is rooted deep in our hearts vineyard.

That kind of faith, fills our heart with the qualities of God.  Love, forgiveness, peace, long-suffering, goodness, meekness, temperance.  It is other focused.  It is about blessing, not cursing.  It is about us rising up to our position in Christ’s kingdom and living from a decided heart!

It is work because faith without works is dead.  It’s not about performance for the sake of performance but it is about truly accepting the work of Christ and letting Him transform our hearts into a vineyard…the planting of the Lord.  It takes self-examination under the light of the Holy Spirit.  It takes a decision followed by committment, that we will continue to add the character of God to our lives, letting go of the things that hold us back or produce rotten fruit.

I am challenged today to inspect my fruit and pull out by God’s grace the things that produce bad fruit.  I am determined to put into my heart the seed that will create a bountiful harvest.

How about you?  What do you need to pull out or put into your heart to produce greater fruit?

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The Secret

I’m dating myself, but there was an old tv show I used to watch with my dad called, “I’ve Got A Secret.” There was a panel of celebrities who tried to determine a contestant’s “secret”– something unusual, amazing, embarrassing, or humorous about that person.

Many of us have or do have secrets too.   We keep them hidden and they keep us from walking fully in our destiny and living an authentic life.  Those secrets cause a root to grow deep in our hearts.  That root, another S word.  SHAME!

Shame is something that comes on us through the words or curses of someone else, the unjust actions of another, or as a result of our own guilt about a failure or sin in our life.  

Just think about it…..I know I heard these words from my mom…..”Shame on You.”  I know I felt it when I my sincere heart was judged or misrepresented, when I experienced a violation as a child, and even in the “religious” old way of thinking in the church.   

It’s a feeling you can’t escape that you are unworthy, unloveable, that there is something horribly wrong with you.  

It causes us anxiety, insecurity, bitterness, unforgiveness, and can even be the root of our rebellion.  

It’s a dirty little secret  that we seem to keep hidden for hours, days, weeks, months, and even years. And as we hold on to it because of our pride, it can lead us into depression, depression, and literally drive us crazy!  

So what do we do with it?  Joel 2  gives a great picture of God’s heart towards someone who is walking in shame, hiding behind the secrets and dark places in their lives.  

Verse 12….”Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”  Rend your heart and not your garments.   

What’s He saying?   I think he is saying come to me with your heart in hand.  Grieve over those places.  Cry before me.  Take it seriously.   Don’t let even eating get in the way.   Open up your heart. Let Me in.  Change your mind.   Say enough is enough!

Why would we do that?   Because God is gracious and merciful and has great kindness.   We don’t have to be afraid that someone will punish us or think less of us if we let out the secret before God.  Just the opposite.   We can anticipate God walking toward the sea of forgetfulness with our secret in hand, leaving a blessing behind Him as verse 13 says.  

For years religious ideology mixed with childhood trauma, caused me shame.  I was so afraid that even God would reject me.  But Praise God, I know now that His purpose is not retribution but restoration!  Verse 25 says if we repent (CHANGE OUR MIND), He will restore the years the locust has eaten…the crawling, swarming, consuming, chewing locust.   

I got sick and tired enough of the enemy of Shame devouring me, chewing me up and spitting me out that I decided to SAY NO MORE.  I decided to accept that God loved me just as I was and had much more for me.  I decided I would accept Him at His word and believe His love was everlasting and His plans for me were grace, mercy, and a bright future!   

The promise of God that goes along with saying no more to shame, presenting our hearts to Him, grieving through the loss and moving on is “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied.  And praise the name of the Lord your God who has dealt wondrously with you.  AND MY PEOPLE SHALL NEVER BE PUT TO SHAME!  I AM IN THE MIDST OF YOU AND AM THE LORD YOUR GOD!”   (vs. 26 and 27)

God always replaces that which we give up to Him and this is no different.  He replaces Shame with SPIRT!  His Spirit (vs. 28-32)  And when His Spirit is poured out on us we are immersed in a New Secret.   It is the wine of dreams, visions, discernment, deliverance, and POWER.  We are no longer held back by the past, and are empowered to walk in the present with an eye to the future.  We are a Your Kingdom Come people, seeing with fresh eyes that are focused on things as they are in His kingdom instead of this world.  

No More Shame!  No More Guilt!   Full of hope, faith, and love.  Free to Be and Free to Become a man or a woman of destiny.  

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I’m hoping as I share God’s word for me this morning it will encourage you in your 2012 journey.

As I continued to pray about some scripture for the year, I read Jereimiah 1:6-12 I got excited.  Here’s what I found for my life.

1.  2012 is  a year for  no excuses.  (Verse 6,7)  We can do whatever God asks of us.  He is in charge!

2.  2012 is a year for no fear.  (verse 8) .  Whatever we come face to face with God is with us and will deliver us.   He has promised!

3.  2012 is a year of speaking His words.  (verse 9)  God Himself has spoken and all we have to do is open our mouths (and hearts) to let Him fill us with what He is sending His word to do.

4.  2012 is a year of appointment!   Verse 10 tells how.  Oversight of the nations and kingdoms.    You may not think you have that oversight but you do.  You have kingdoms and nations within your own life’s circle.  Your family, community, yourself, your church, your finances, etc.   It’s time to rise up and take note and exercise the authority you’ve been given.

Verse 10 g0es on to say….. we have been appointed to Root Out and Pull Down.  2012 is a year to dig deep and get rid of the roots that are entangling us and keeping us from our destinies.  It is a time to pull down the obstacles that are standing in our path.

2012 is a time to Destroy and Overthrow.  It’s time to recognize the enemy and go on the attack to remove his lies from our life.  We are in charge not him.  What we choose to believe is up to us.  What we choose to follow is up to us.  We do not have to succumb to his influence….emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually.   God is greater!   If  we want more of what God has for us then we must stand and declare NO MORE to the enemy!

2012 is a year to build and plant.  Having cleared out the old places,  we can start on level ground.  It’s a time to welcome the dreams and begin to put them into place.  God will establish the work of our hands.

Sounds like a full appointment to me!

5.  2012 is a the year of the almond tree branch.  (verse 11,12)  When asked what he saw, Jeremiah answered, “the branch or shoot of an almond tree.”  This branch was the emblem of alertness and activity, blossoming in late winter.    The Lord commended him for what He said, promising that, “I AM alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.”

For many of us, 2011 was difficult.  We’ve needed hope.  We’ve needed faith.  We’ve needed love.  And we’ve needed answers!  We’ve done all we could to hang on to God’s promises.

As we enter 2012, unsure about what the year holds, we have this assurance.  God is Alert (well aware of our lives and His plans).  God is Active (involved in every little itty-bitty detail).  God is Watching  (over every word He has spoken to see that it is performed). 

Regardless of what the year brings, 2012 is a year of Overcoming! How do I know?  Because He has appointed us to oversight of everything that is holding us back.   We have been granted authority based on His own words and have His promise to perform it!   Therefore…..

If God be for us, who can be against us? 

Be strong and courageous in the Lord!  Watch the walls fall down!   AMEN!  (So Be It!)

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Ever had a dream deep inside of you that you believe God has put there?  Ever done your best to follow His instructions and come to a point where you just didn’t see how the dream was going to actually be birthed?

I’ve been there several times.  In fact, was just there again last night.  It’s difficult to keep your mind and heart focused when you are discouraged by the outward appearances of what’s happening.

The voices that resonate in our head during times like that are so easy to listen to.   Things like:  Who do you think you are to even believe you could do this? It’s just like everything else you’ve tried, it’s a silly pipedream!  You are just an ordinary person, you weren’t meant to do great things.  You aren’t smart enough, don’t know the right people, etc. etc. etc.  God isn’t really in it.

These are just a few voices that cause so many of us give up on the thing God has put in our heart.  The first sign of struggle or the first objection can throw us into a pit of despair and discouragement.  And sometimes we labor, pray, travail and give up just before the birth happens.

What it really boils down to is faith versus fear.  We are afraid to let God really shine through us….to dare to believe we can do big things through Him.   We are afraid that God might not love us enough, might not have chosen us, might not think we are significant to His kingdom.

While we are believing the lies of the enemy, here is what God says in Isaiah 66:9.  “Shall I bring to the moment of birth and not cause to bring forth?, says the Lord.  Shall I who causes to bring forth, shut the womb? says your God.”

What kind of God would we serve if He didn’t care about the deep desires He put in us?  What kind of cruel God would He be if He brought us right to the moment of delivery and then ran away or stopped the birthing process?  God isn’t like that.  As long as we stay open and ready to birth what He has spoken by His strength He will bring it forth.  As long as we are willing to follow the plan He has given us, He will bring it forth.

We were meant to birth the things of God in our marriage, our children, our businesses, our relationships, and our lives!  God will bring it forth.  The question is:  What can we do to cooperate with Him?

Go forth and multiply!  Birth the baby God has for your life!

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Personal trainers are a very popular way to get in shape and move to a healthy lifestyle.

When I read this verse this morning, I couldn’t help but compare that to the spiritual training God has provided. I Timothy 1:4,5(Amplified) tells us the importance of accepting in faith God’s ‘administration and divine training.’

Two words stand out–in faith and love. 

I love the way the Amplified explains faith.   “leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence.”

In the gym……one has to trust that the personal trainer knows what they are talking about and asking us to do.  The understanding must be that they know how to get us in optimal shape and increase our well-being.  They are trained to work with our unique body type and style while implementing some consistent principles into our daily routine.

The same is true in our relationship with God.  He understands our unique human personality.   We can either choose to do our own thing  or put our strengths and weaknesses in the hand of God and listening to His divine instruction for our lives.  That is true faith.  Having confidence that when one of God’s principles or commands runs into conflict with our own desires or how we “feel”  we will choose to trust him and do what He asks.

The second part of this passage, talks about the purpose of our instruction.  Just as a personal trainer creates a program to bring us into health, God’s instruction and His charge to us has a purpose.  That purpose is love.

Pure love starts with loving God.  When we love God we can love ourselves and others.  So where does love begin?

Verse 5 makes it clear.   Love “springs from a pure heart and a good clean conscience and sincere unfeigned faith.”  If we are to truly love……we must be clean before Him.  That takes honesty.

A personal trainer will get no where with us if we are going home from our workout and “sneaking” food that is off the program.  Unlike the personal trainer, God knows every place we are being dishonest, every failure due to poor choice.

Yet we try to hide.  We either hide because we are ashamed of our weakness and don’t trust God’s love or because we are in direct rebellion against Him.  The results of that kind of life can lead to a lot of destruction rather than the abundant life God wants for us.

A sincere and pure heart is necessary to love and leaning on God in trust and confidence is the first step toward a sincere and pure heart.

What are the places in your life that you haven’t trusted or had confidence in God?  Where have you been insincere about following His ways?  What is clouding your conscience?

What steps can you take today to begin to get in shape spiritually, emotionally, and physically?

God and His word is the ultimate personal trainer.

 

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I laugh now when I think about my wedding bouquet being made up of daisies.  Not exactly the traditional flower!  But then again it is the He loves me, He loves me not flower.

Allow me to share my heart again.  This has been a vulnerable season as I watch some people I love go through a breakup of a long marriage.  It’s natural that my heart and mind would reflect on my own.  Maybe just one marriage could be saved if they looked a little differently at a daisy.

I married young, 19, to my high school sweetheart.  I probably wasn’t ready for it by all standards and by what I know today.  Then again, I would have missed out on the life I live now which is enhanced because of the growth over the years.

I walked in like every other girl, expecting to be whisked away to paradise island by my prince charming.  I knew the romance would last forever, and we would share every intimate detail of our lives.  We would do everything together and we would be one.

Here’s the problem.  One to me meant we would never disagree, we would love all the same things, we would somehow communicate perfectly, and we would through some fairy tale osmosis understand each other along the way.

Here’s the second problem.  The love word.  Surely that meant we would always be aware of each other, focused on each others needs, and my husband especially would treat me like a princess.

Here’s the third problem.  Junk!  I came in with junk.  I didn’t love myself, was insecure about his love for me, and had let all the junk in my life define what love looked like.  I wanted to live the fairytale and the more I longed for that, the more irrational my thinking became.

So there came a time when I felt nothing and wanted way more.  Here’s what I have learned through that struggle.  One does not mean you give up who you are.  It means you dance with the differences and work with the core values that you both share.  Junk…….You have to keep working on yourself and stop letting your past define love for you.  You have to find a love and identity for yourself that is not dependent on your mate while allowing them to do the same.  Then you use those identities as a two fold cord that is stronger then you by yourself.

And lastly, I took another look at the daisy.  I stopped asking Does He love me or not?  I began asking Am I loving him?  Was I acting like the princess that my prince deserved?  Was I unconditionally giving myself to him and my family?  Was I loving like God loved me?

I found out the answer was no.  When I stopped thinking selfishly and turned my thoughts toward how I acted, I found my prince.  It’s took 39 years and we are still working on it but I couldn’t imagine life without him.  Sometimes he’s crabby, sometimes he’s mad, sometimes he’s unromantic, sometimes he doesn’t get me.  And SOMETIMES I’m that way too!  But we both know, love and committment is not a tingly feeling.   It’s a choice.

Choose to look at the daisy in a new way and you just might find your prince too.

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