Category: Abundant Life

What Mountain?

Have you ever found yourself facing a mountain in life? A mountain of trail so vast—discouragement immediately sets in?

But what if your mountains could simply melt like wax?

Metaphorically speaking Psalm 97:5 says just that!

“The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.”

In order for the mountains we face to melt, we have to realize what exactly the mountains are. Take a look at the following scripture in Mark 11:20-23.

“In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!’ ‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered. ‘I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.”

Essentially Jesus is saying, if we do not doubt—but believe His Word with our whole heart—mountains, the minute they present themselves can be tossed into the sea—just like that! And we can confidently live our life saying “What Mountain?”

Question, why would Jesus answer Peter’s remark about the fig tree “Have faith in God?” Jesus is always teaching us something bigger than what our eyes see. He must have known Peter’s (and our) biggest struggle was faith in God—alone.

Our faith has to be about Him alone, therefore; “Have faith in God.” Faith is not about our works or the methods we use to get God to move on our behalf. It’s about simple truth in the only One who never lies.

The mountains are not the things that we face at all.

A troubled marriage, finances, rebellious children, depression, addictions, impossible circumstances, grief, illness—depending on our faith—these feel as enormous as Mt. Everest.

But in all reality the mountain we face is unbelief.

Everything in life that would present itself as a mountain originates from unbelief. Therefore, if we have true faith in God, there would not be mountains to face, because true faith in God believes He is bigger than any problem or trial that tries to rise against us. True faith in God does not worry or fret wondering if God will perform—true faith in God knows God can and will come through. True faith in God rests in thy will be done and does not try to manipulate Him to do what we want Him to do. Accordingly, if we have true faith in God everything that appears as a mountain melts like wax before the Lord our God.

You’ve got to love this!

The mountains we face are not objects of opposition at all. The mountain is what’s in us—it is what we believe or do not believe about God.

Our Christian mindset is not exactly faith in God. It is faith in God and me. When our faith is divided between God and self, or God and methods, faith becomes diluted, therefore making faith weak, becoming unbelief and is rendered ineffective.

The mountain of unbelief that resides in people is the most difficult to move. Why? Because the battle is no longer God and me against adversity—but our soul against our spirit, (Gal. 5:16-18) “Me” against God. It’s easy to look at the attack of the devil against us, but when the battle lays within, it is a different story because to win, self must decrease.

In regard to overcoming unbelief—follow the methods mentioned in my last blog: Fully Convinced (click to read).

Most importantly what we must recognize about mountain moving faith is that it’s about relationship with God the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit. We must live a Christ centered life where Jesus is enough. Remembering God is not a genie. In this setting—as we spend time with Him, our faith increases and the mountains melt like wax before the Lord our God.

Please be encouraged to make your new saying “What mountain?”

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Fully Convinced

Do you ever wavier in your belief?

Are you fully convinced God will do all He’s promised? I’m not sure why this is such a tall order—but it is.

Romans 4:20-22

He [Abraham] did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

What has God promised? Well, the entire Bible is promise after promise. And we must be fully convinced that God will do all He’s promised. Fully convinced—no doubting.

A doubting person is said to be double minded and unstable in all their ways. It’s crucial to fully believe so we are not unstable in all our ways

James 1:6-8

Let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Remember God’s Faithfulness is Not On Trial (click to read). He is faithful—He can be trusted. No matter what hasn’t happened in the past, it’s essential to take God at His Word—understanding, He’s not a man that He would lie (Num. 23:19). Every Word is truth—every Word can be believed.

Recently I experienced a crisis of belief. The story unfolds as this…it was an extremely windy, cold day and I was at my son’s soccer game. I was working on being thankful for the weather and felt as if the Lord asked “why don’t you pray and ask for the wind to stop?” So I did—I prayed and asked Him to please stop the wind. After praying I looked around, semi waiting for it to stop and when it didn’t I just shrugged. I got what I expected—nothing.

Then my other son, who was hunkered down next to me, asked “why don’t you ask God to stop the wind.”  I responded “I did.”

What he spoke next stabbed deep—as if God Himself were asking. He said, “Did you believe it when you asked? I truthfully had to say “no.”

My crisis of belief was that I didn’t even expect God to answer. I just routinely asked Him. It was true lip service—not heart knowing belief.

Yes, I have faith for a lot of things but that just won’t do, I’m thirsty for more and on a quest to become a whole hearted believer, fully convinced that every promise in His Word is true!

In the world of Christ centered people fractional faith should not exist. It’s imperative that we be fully convinced He answers prayers. We need to want to be the kind of people who ask without doubting—just as the Word says.

How do we move from half-hearted belief to fully convinced?

Romans 4:20-21 says [1] He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, [2] but was strengthened in faith, [3] giving glory to God.

1.      We don’t wavier

·         Determine to believe—Isaiah 50:7

2.      We get strengthened in faith by

·         Repenting and asking forgiveness for  unbelief—Acts 3:19

·         Submit unbelief to God, resist the devil—James 4:7

·         Pray asking God to heal unbelief—Mark 9:24, John17:5-6

·         Exchange unbelief for faith—Isaiah 53:3-6, Galatians 3:13–14

·         Read, hear and obey the Word of God—James 1:22-25, Romans 10:17

·         Worship—Luke 4:8

·         In everything give thanks—1 Thessalonians 5:18

·         Fast—Mark 9:29,

·         Invite the Holy Spirit into the empty place of unbelief in our heart and life—Galatians 5:22-25

·         Wait on the Lord—Psalm 27:14

3.      We give glory to God

·         Humbly acknowledge God, giving Him glory for everything—John 7:18

Please join me in my quest to become a whole hearted believer.

Be encouraged to set your heart and soul to be fully convinced that what He promises He is also able to perform—and your faith will be accounted to you as righteousness!

 

Romans 4:19-25

Abraham didn’t focus on his own inability and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.” But it’s not just Abraham; it’s also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.

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The Truth About Relinquishment

If ever there was a word or concept that can set a person on edge its relinquishment! Living a life of relinquishment, is not necessarily, a popular subject. Nonetheless, God calls us to surrender to it.

Following is a combination of three blogs written last year which elaborate on the art of living a relinquished lifestyle. Beginning with a quote from: My Utmost for His Highest (a collection of writings taken from messages preached in the 1800’s, by Oswald Chambers.) Enjoy!

The Relinquished Life by Oswald Chambers

“I am crucified with Christ.” Galatians 2:20

“No one is ever united with Jesus Christ until he is willing to relinquish not sin only, but his whole way of looking at things. To be born from above of the Spirit of God means that we must let go before we lay hold, and in the first stages it is the relinquishing of all pretence. What Our Lord wants us to present to Him is not goodness, nor honesty, nor endeavour, but real solid sin; that is all He can take from us. And what does He give in exchange for our sin? Real solid righteousness. But we must relinquish all pretence of being any thing, all claim of being worthy of God’s consideration.

Then the Spirit of God will show us what further there is to relinquish. There will have to be the relinquishing of my claim to my right to myself in every phase. Am I willing to relinquish my hold on all I possess, my hold on my affections, and on everything, and to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?

There is always a sharp painful disillusionment to go through before we do relinquish. When a man really sees himself as the Lord sees him, it is not the abominable sins of the flesh that shock him, but the awful nature of the pride of his own heart against Jesus Christ. When he sees himself in the light of the Lord, the shame and the horror and the desperate conviction come home.

If you are up against the question of relinquishing, go through the crisis, relinquish all, and God will make you fit for all that He requires of you.”

The Power of Relinquishment

Have you ever held on to something for dear life? Afraid to let it go, dreading your worst fears would come to life? Holding on so tight for fear you won’t get want you really want or think you deserve?

Not letting something go, does not necessarily guarantee you won’t get hurt or that you’ll get what you want. Truthfully, faith in God should override the “holding on” mentality or lifestyle.

One of the stumbling blocks to having true faith in God is that we no longer can be in control. This is where relinquishment makes an entrance.

The dictionary definition of relinquishment: to renounce or surrender a possession or right. To give up; put aside or desist from: to relinquish a plan. To let go; release: to relinquish one’s hold.

Relinquishment is so powerful because it is an absolute act of faith. It is how we let God know we explicitly trust Him. Faith may seem complex, but in its simplest form genuine faith basically means to actively trust God. To relinquish the reigns of our life and let God be in charge.

The first step in relinquishment is to surrender our own self-will: what we want, what we will do, what we think and feel. God gives us self-will and He will not override it. Self-will has to be handed over—let go of—relinquished to God, it really is the only thing He can’t change in us unless it is given over to Him.

The power of relinquishment is fluid in our life through humble faith. Jesus had to relinquish His self-will to the Father. If precious Jesus exchanged His will for God’s will, then why would we entertain ideas that our self-will is something we are master over?

John 5:30 says this about Jesus’ self-will,

“I do not seek or consult My own will (I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose) but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me.”

Self-will can be problematic and persuasive, if not surrendered, that’s why God wants it. Not because He is this huge task Master, wanting all the control for His own benefit, but because He loves us—is jealous for us. God knows our life from beginning to end and He is the only One who can ultimately give us what’s best.

Relinquishing is a trust issue. Do we trust God enough to let go of our heart and life—of our self-will and let God have His way in our life?

I once felt very powerless to pray for people in my life who suffer from un-relinquished self will issues. I asked the Lord, how do I pray for my loved ones who clearly live their life in throws of selfish self-will? He told me, only love can break an obstinate self-will. I now pray that the sledge hammer of God’s love would crush stubborn self will in the lives of those I love. That they would get a revelation of the depth of God’s love for them.

God’s love changes everything. If we know that we know, that He loves us then relinquishing will not be a problem.

I love the way Oswald Chambers, says to deal with the difficulty of relinquishment. It’s worth repeating!

“If you are up against the question of relinquishing, go through the crisis, relinquish all, and God will make you fit for all that He requires of you.”

Be encouraged to go through the crisis of relinquishing your will—the God of infinite wisdom loves you and wants to make an exchange with you—your will—for His. In the exchange, the power of relinquishment will be released in your life.

The Prayer of Relinquishment

Letting go is rarely easy or desirable. However life is made up of numerous “letting go” sessions. I use the word sessions because the act of letting go usually requires more than just a simple release. The release typically comes at the end of a wrestling session.

Similarly, the prayer of relinquishment can be likened to a wrestling match. A match of the will, God’s will vs. our will.

Sometimes when we pray and ask God for something, we will give Him all the reasons why He should answer our prayer in the manner we want Him to. This is a sort of genie mentality. I rub the lamp and He gives me my heart’s desire—no questions asked. Prayer should be birthed out of relationship with God; if it’s not then we are in genie status.

As stated earlier, surrendering self-will is the first step in relinquishment. Self-will has to be exchanged; our will for God’s will. Surrendering requires trust, therefore relinquishing kicks us out of genie status and moves us into relationship status with God. Ultimately God desires that we know Him personally, and not just know about Him. He is interested in our heart—in its devotion to Him. He uses life situations to turn a divided heart to Him. If relinquishment is a trust issue, then guaranteed when the subject of relinquishment arises, the true colors of our heart’s devotion to Him will emerge.

Once again grasp the truth of Galatians 2:20,

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

At the cross we relinquish our rights—exchange our will, just as Jesus did. The words “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live” translate to “my life is no longer identified as mine—I give up my rights.” That’s the premise to the Christian life and to living in relationship status; the promise is “Christ lives in me.” Remember we can’t have the promise without the premise.

This brings us to the wrestling match, otherwise known as the prayer of relinquishment.

The foundation for the prayer of relinquishment is trust and love. We give up our hold, no matter the reason for our prayer. This is where the wrestling takes place, we wrestle to give up what we want or what we think is best. Human reasoning grapples with our faith in God and His Word. Then we relinquish.

Why relinquish? Because we understand and know God will answer our prayer from His all-knowing, all-loving stance of wisdom and care for us. Principally we trust Him to do His best for us.

Another very crucial point to the prayer of relinquishment is—do we want the answer to the prayer more than we want God? If so then we are in danger of idolatry.

The essence of the relinquishment prayer, must be we want God more than anything else. If it’s healing we are praying for, do we want the healing more than we want God? If it’s a wayward child, is our desire for our child more than our desire for God? If it’s for a broken heart, do want to be pain free more than go through the process of finding God for our relief? If it’s for financial breakthrough, relationships, peace or a myriad of other reasons—what is our real heart’s desire? God? Or whatever will make us feel whole? The truth is, God is the only one who can complete us, so we must start there. If we don’t, even when the prayer is answered, we will be left wanting.

I have heard of bed ridden people praying for healing, years upon years, that finally relinquish. Changing their prayer to, “God I want you more than I want healing and I’m tired of the wrestle” Healing came after they gave up their will. In essence getting their way was held in higher esteem than God.

A huge component to the prayer of relinquishment is when we relinquish our will to God, we settle with the truth of His sovereignty and live in peace, allowing the outcome of our circumstance to be well with our soul.

Please be encouraged to learn the lifestyle and prayer of relinquishment. In doing so you will move into deeper relationship with God; where love, peace and rest will be your portion!

Avoiding Relationship Failure

Relationships come in many shapes and sizes. From intensely deep to causal. No matter the relationship—the concept of preferring one another always applies.

This morning as I was preparing a word for a friend whose marring later today, the Lord dropped the word preference into my heart, along with Romans 12:10,

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Following is a re-post of a blog written about this time last year. This concept is timeless. Pleaseenjoy and apply!

Just the other day, I had a great conversation with a young bride to be. I was reminded of an amazing concept the Lord deposited in my heart years ago regarding relationships.

This approach to relationships is especially ideal when it comes to marriage.

Before I share this amazing secret with you, let me ask you a question. What do you think is the leading cause of any relationship malfunction and divorce?

Granted, I’m no expert but what God has shown me, is that selfishness and pride are the number one culprits of relationship failure.

I call it, “The Me factor.”

The secret  to relationships is “Preference.” Defined as: to value more highly, to hold before or above; and to give priority to.

Our example is found in Jesus. At the cross He preferred you and me. He knew it would be a brutal endeavor to go through, yet He chose God’s will over His. (Luke 22:42)

The concept unfolds as this—if each person in the relationship/marriage prefers and thinks more highly of the other, caring for the needs of the other person over their own needs, then all needs will be met.

Living a life of preference takes the focus off of our self; what I want—what I need and puts the emphasis on the other person in the relationship. We move out of the selfishness of concentrating on our own wants, needs and desires and tune into what will bless the other person.

Is this an easy way to live? No.

Why? Because in order to be like Jesus we must die daily—we must decrease so He can increase.

The fear to this lifestyle is; what if the other person in the relationship doesn’t want to live a preferring life style? What about Me? How will my needs be met?

Valid concern. The answer—Jesus.

Since He really is, the only one who should or could, complete, fulfill or meet our needs—then He is the answer.

This was a difficult concept to grasp, mainly because it opposed my flesh. But once I submitted to the Lord in thisit changed my life, not to mention all my relationships!

In my marriage I stopped choking the life out of my husband trying to get him to meet my every need. Essentially I discovered that Jesus really is enough for me.

This concept brings freedom. It frees you to go deeper in relationship with God, making Him all you need. It frees you to love others, love your spouse, parents, children and siblings without putting the heavy burden of meeting your needs on them. Basically you are free to love without unreasonable expectations on either party.

I have found such joy and depth in my relationship with God since He asked me to live life in this manner of preference.

I invite you to go deeper. To relinquish your wants, needs and desires to God and let Him be “The One” to complete you. You seriously won’t be sorry—just free. Free to love and be loved!

A Heart-Style of Thanksgiving

I love the Thanksgiving holiday, one of my favorite traditions is what my family does after the meal. We go around the table and express what and who we are thankful for.

God in his immeasurable goodness takes thanksgiving to the highest level. It’s not about a meal—it’s about thousands of meals. It’s not about gathering yearly, but gathering daily. Especially, it’s not about telling each other and God how thankful we are once a year, just as we’ve finished an abundant meal. No, life lived in relationship with God is about having a thankful heart—daily—in good times and in bad. Essentially, thanksgiving is a heart-style as well as a lifestyle.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 truthfully tells us,

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Have you ever wondered what God’s will is for your life? Here’s your answer—give thanks.

Why does God want us to give thanks for everything? Why is this heart-style His will?

One attribute I adore about God is His infinite wisdom. God knows everything beginning to end. The reason He wants us to live a life of gratitude is because He knows and understands what thankfulness accomplishes in our heart and life.

The biggest revelation to me about living a heart-style of thanksgiving is the fact that thankfulness in hard times causes our heart to stay soft towards God. When we are thankful, there is no room to blame God.

A few years back my family, to put it mildly, experienced somewhat of a car crisis. I prayed for a newer car for quite a while—expecting God, my provider, to hear and answer my prayer. The answer was long in coming—really long in coming.

God showed me that I must thank Him for not having a car. Thank Him for the season—thank Him for His grace in this season—thank Him for being good and faithful, no matter what I’m going through or what my life looks like.

Prior to learning thankfulness in that season, I found myself questioning Him, whining, grumbling and yes, complaining about my car situation. He showed me was my heart attitude was one of blame towards Him, not only blame but one of unbelief. Ouch, this grieved me!

You see thankfulness causes our heart to be tender and trusting—of faith. Instead of irritably wondering what’s going on—when will God come through and worse why and how could He do such a thing, or allow such suffering in my life—which would be unbelief.

A heart-style of thanksgiving releases us in to the abundant life Jesus came to give us. (John 10:10) Gratitude is in essence putting on rose-colored glasses.

A heart-style of thanksgiving causes praise to abound in and through us, changing our perspective on life. It brings Philippians 4:11-12 to life;

…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation

Not only does thanksgiving cause us not to blame God—changing our unbelief to faith, but it releases miracles and brings salvation. Even Jesus Himself gave thanks to God, and every time He did—the miraculous followed. (John 6:11, John11:41, Luke 22:17.19)

The foremost aspect of a heart-style of thanksgiving is the very fact that it brings us into a deeper relationship with God and His Son. In Philippians 4:11-12, Paul says He’s learned the secret of contentment—the secret is not thanksgiving—it’s Jesus. Thanksgiving paves the way to make Jesus what He should be in our lives—the main thing—Lord of all.

Please be encouraged to make thanksgiving your heart-style, therefore causing your heart to overflow with the Love of God—Jesus Himself.

Submission as a Lifestyle

The S word—submission—kind of has a bad rep, but truthfully, grasping the concept of submission and living it—is a very fulfilling lifestyle.

It may seem ominous and understandably there will be questions. In this blog I hope to ease your heart and answer the most popular of questions regarding submission as a lifestyle.

What does a lifestyle of submission mean?
A lifestyle of submission translates to freedom. Freedom from the devil, the world and our flesh—freedom from addictions—freedom from self-absorption. This kind of freedom allows us to draw near to God—to know and love Him as the scripture in Matthew 22:37 says we should.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

What does a lifestyle of submission look like?

Submission as a lifestyle needs to have its foundation in three truths.

  • It’s about the heart—check and realign your heart attitude to embrace submission
  •  It’s about trust—trusting God is good, and only has good for you
  • It’s about all—loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength

Living this lifestyle entails the giving over (and not taking it back) of our heart, soul and life to God daily—allowing Him to be Lord over every detail of our life. Giving Him the controls.

Why should we willingly live this lifestyle?
We must first settle, in our self, to know that a life of submission is not a choice. Why? Because when we give our life to God and ask Him to be Lord—we now live in a kingdom—where God is King—He’s the ruler.

We choose this lifestyle because of love. He loves us—went to the cross—because of love. And because He loves us, just as an earthly father should love and care for his children—God, our Father has our best interest in His heart—He will never steer us in the wrong direction. God is always for us—constantly faithful. Submitting our life to His kingship signifies our love for Him. (For more on the subject of God’s faithfulness: click here to read) God’s Faithfulness is Not On Trial 

How do we live a lifestyle of submission?
We decide to trust God—giving Him everything—all the time.
Trust is a choice—be willing to make it!

In the last blog The S Word (click here to read) we learned a lifestyle of submission first starts with surrender. It’s when we’ve tried all these different ways to live our life and be in control, but yet being our own lord is not working—something’s missing—so we surrender.

Most all of our problems can stem from an un-submitted heart, soul and life. A submitted lifestyle brings the freedom and fulfillment of rest, peace and joy to life.

Please be encouraged to love God with all your heart, soul and life—thus submitting!

Romans 10:3
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.

The S Word

What comes to your mind when you hear the words submission and surrender?

Do they sound like curse words—not setting well in your vocabulary or lifestyle?

What about the concept of these words? Does it make you uneasy? Does it interfere with your idea of freedom?

If you are anything like me these words are foreign—well, they used to be foreign—until I realized how much freedom and love were actually attached to them.

When we view submission from the right perspective it leaves no room for us to be bitter or offended at God for the concept. No, instead it just makes sense—God Loves me, Jesus gave His life for me—He wants His best for me—I trust Him, therefore I will willingly come under His mission (sub-mission) for my heart, soul and life.

Surrender is what should happen prior to learning to live a lifestyle of submission. Quite often the words and concept of surrender and submission are interchanged. Although surrender and submission start with the same letter they are not exactly the same concept.

  • Surrender signifies: to give up
  • Submission translates:  to give over

To best depict the two I like to use these simple illustrations:
Surrender:  At the end of a long, exasperating battle, with no hope of success on their own, an army raises the white flag in surrender. We try ninety-nine different ways to fix our life. Then, when it’s apparent we need help, as a last resort—we surrender to God. Although this illustration resembles most of us, it does not necessarily have to be this way. We do not surrender because we are losers with no other hope. No, we surrender because Jesus has won the victory and has invited us to partake with Him.

Submission:  A child willingly takes a parent’s hand, not out of fear, but out of love. The child may not want to be led but knows by giving control over to his parent he is at peace and can safely rest under his parent’s authority. He knows he is loved and even when he cannot see it, he knows his parent always has his best interest in mind and will do what is best for him.

Submission is to be rooted in the inner most part of our heart and then is displayed through our obedience. When it comes to our relationship with God it resembles us willingly giving God our life—trusting Him enough to hand everything, both big and small, over to Him and allowing Him to be Lord. It is very difficult to submit when the love of God is in question, therefore this question should be dealt with immediately.

Daily submission starts and ends with Humility, please understand humility does not mean humiliated, God is not out to humiliate us—remember God is good. Submission and humility set the atmosphere for God’s presence.
Let’s look at James 4:6-8.

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Vs. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

According to the scripture, humility and grace give us the capacity to submit. As we submit to God and resist the devil, the devil has to flee, this opens the door for us to draw near to God and (I love this part) He promises to draw near to us. Furthermore in this drawn near place we are positioned to give our heart and soul to God to be cleansed and purified.

One of the best ways to start our day is to first pray James 4:6-8 and submit to God. Basically it’s getting our heart, spirit, body and soul into alignment with God and His will.

Please be encouraged to live  Submission as a Lifestyle—finding the very heart of freedom and love—finding God!

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. Romans 10:3

For more on submission as a lifestyle please read the blog Submission as a Lifestyle—it will change your life!

 

Divine Rearrangement

cs lewis

I was recently reminded of a time in my life where the landscape of my heart and soul were rearranged. Prior to this divine rearrangement I was unsatisfied with my life and my simple Christianity, I knew there had to be more.

In my thirst I cried out to the Lord asking for His rain, fire, wind and flood. I did this with an unpretentious understanding that He would come and bring something fresh. What I didn’t realize was that it would rearrange my entire life.

When we think of the rain of God—we picture Him showering us with His love, the fire of God is pictured as His intense presence, the wind—His Spirit flowing through us, the flood—an abundance of refreshing.

That’s very poetic, but in all reality when those four elements arrived they overwhelmed everything I knew, and when they left I was rearranged. Rearranged for the better of course—and in the end that’s all that really mattered.

I was reflecting on hurricanes and tsunamis, or storms of any kind—after their initial devastation the landscape, to say the least, is rearranged.

Most times we don’t understand why hardships are allowed to interrupt our life—but what I do know is—God is constantly good, and always has a beautiful purpose for divine rearrangement.

Even the simplest most sought after situations bring rearrangement. Take marriage for example—the young couple so excited to finally live together, embark on their new life and suddenly reality hits—they have to learn to live their life in a whole new manner. It’s no longer about one person, but about selflessly giving your whole self to the person who just invaded your space! Now life is rearranged.

Or how about having a new baby? The couple has hoped and prayed and imagined how wonderful this new precious life will be. And yes, this baby is the most perfect gift. But truth be told—this tiny, adorable child has many needs! And life as you know it is divinely rearranged!

In all situations it’s our heart that matters. We must keep a soft, pliable heart towards God. Embracing the good and the bad—seeking His divine, sovereign purpose—even in rearrangement.

Please be encouraged knowing that if God be for you who can be against you!

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:2-3

Jesus IS Enough

To live a lifestyle where Jesus is enough, we have to walk submitted to His will in regard to all things both big and small. We also have to purpose as the Psalmist did, in Psalm 33:22 and 62:5 to put all our hope and expectation in Him alone:

 Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.  Psalm 33:22

My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. Psalm 62:5

When God started to require me to live in the manner where He is all I need, He introduced the concept of Jesus being enough through my best friend Cathy. Over and over again I would ask her to explain what it means for Jesus to be enough.

Has God ever asked you to do something that you feel totally unqualified for? For me it seems this way quite often, especially during difficulties and suffering. In these times, I find myself saying to the Lord, “I can’t do it… but You can.” This is the essence of Jesus being enough. It’s where we come up short, knowing He will make up the difference and equip us for whatever He asks us to do or walk through.

To better understand the concept of Jesus being enough, visualize a rough wood surface covered with divots, grooves and holes. Now imagine a large putty knife or trowel smoothing spackle over the rough surface. This results in all the unsightly blemishes and empty holes being filled in and smoothed out. In this same manner, Jesus fills us in where we are lacking.

This concept was hard to grasp, mainly because at the time, I was still living primarily in my soul. The “Me” factor did not like the idea of losing its independence and having to become solely dependent on God. My soul found it hard to trust Jesus alone, mainly because I wanted to be in charge of my life and its direction.

For months on end Jesus would ask me, “Am I enough?” My response was “yes” but inside emptiness gnawed at me. The questions continually came: “If I never did another thing for you, am I enough? If your life never got any better than this, am I enough? If you lost everything dear to you, would I be enough?” Again my response was, “Well of course, Lord.” I struggled with letting Him be enough, but I did not want to admit it. I thought that if I committed to letting Him alone fill me then I would not get what I wanted. Finally, I answered Him truthfully, “No Lord, I’m sorry, You are not enough, but I want You to be.” This pivotal moment of truth set my journey for more depth and passion with God into further motion.

A lot of Christians do not even know that Jesus is not enough for them. The reason—we get so busy living and filling our lives with temporal treasures. I personally have found myself in pursuit of the American dream many times. If our primary concerns for ourselves are to acquire money, possessions, self-gratification, praise, status and the like, then we can be sure these things, not Jesus, complete us. Therefore, it would be fair to say Jesus is not enough. Jesus is asking us if He alone is enough, or if we need our health and all our temporal treasures to be complete.

One more way to know if Jesus is enough is to examine your actions when a storm hits or when you’re simply confronted by a rough day. What do you reach for? The phone to call a friend? The internet? Sleep? Pain relievers or antidepressants? Comfort food? Do you escape and watch TV or a movie? Or maybe you just default to your soul and you emotionally act out of stress, taking it out on everyone in your path with a nasty, bad attitude like I used to do. My comfort was also found in sleeping. When life got tough I would close my door, shut my life out and take a nap. This was one way I could avoid the truth. Other times I would look for consolation by calling a friend or escaping with a good love story chick flick.

Now that I am living in the reality of Jesus being enough, I follow a simple self-discipline guideline—I do not allow myself to call a friend unless I first call on Jesus. It’s the same with the movie—no escapism. I first have to check out the greatest love story of all…the Bible! The best news is, I rarely ever feel like shutting life out with a nap anymore. Instead, I shut myself into Jesus as my only comfort.

Jesus is enough where relationships are concerned

If relationships are let go into the hands of God and if we can turn to God as the one who fills us—not people—then we are free.

1. We are free from the emotional roller coaster that some relationships bring.

2. We can let go of all our unhealthy expectations of people.

3. Most important, we are free to just love people without choking the life out of them while trying to extract from them what we need to make us feel complete.

God longs to complete us, He wants to be enough for us where relationships are concerned. Sometimes the people we love just don’t have it in them to meet our needs—nor should they. Only God should have that role in our lives. If we let Jesus be enough then we can have healthier, freer relationships that are not all bound up by human expectations.

God has shown me that as I let Him be my everything, even in relationships, I am free to love without expecting anything in return. My love then is based out of purity and truth instead of manipulation

In the past, I tried so hard to make the people that I love, love me like I thought they should. That is reasonable when it comes to your spouse and parents because there are certain responsibilities that come with these relationships. But not everyone is whole enough to love as they should. This was true for my family. Rejection, betrayal and abandonment brought so much sorrow and pain that I would not have been able to function properly if God had not used this concept to help me love, honor and respect as the Bible requires me to.

In one of the most pressing times in my life I wanted to give up on my marriage. I knew it was not God’s plan that I give up and in a very dark season God turned to me and asked me some serious questions. “If your marriage never got any better, would you still love Me? Could I be enough for you? Could I be your husband? Would you allow Me to love you where he can’t? Could you love your husband for Me? Could you lay down your life as a bridge to him? Could you bridge his path to Me with your life and allow Me to be enough for you?”

I never could have done any of this without first giving my life up to Jesus and clinging to Him. Yes, it was agonizing and painful but by the grace of God I chose to let Jesus be enough for me.

I encourage you to be found in Him alone and to let Him fill in all the blanks in your life. Jesus undoubtedly is enough

Debilitating Fear

Have you ever been so consumed with fear that you could hardly move? Has your heart ever been so devastated and broken—so fearful of pain—you could  scarcely breathe—let alone continue on with normal life?

Fear is a thief—suspending and incapacitating life.

But that’s not all—let me let you in on a secret—fear is really a facade. That’s right as enormous and intimatading as fear may seem—in light of who Jesus is fear is very puny and ineffective!

I just read a story about how Jesus healed, restored and delivered a tortured man.  (Read Luke 8: 26-38)  After his healing this man clothed, and in his right mind, sat at the feet of Jesus—listening, loving and taking in every word He said. The man was truly restored.

The town’s people however, were terrified of the change that came to the tortured man—they were fearful of the peace that now filled the man. As a result of their fear they asked Jesus, even though He had only been there a very short while, to get back into His boat and leave.

I marvel at the ignorance of these people. Jesus does a miracle and the people are so afraid they ask Him to leave?

What would have happened in that whole town if the people instead welcomed Him? How many lives would have been changed and hearts healed if they had chosen faith in the place of fear?

How many times could our own heart and lives be helped—if we would just choose faith?

Be encouraged, by the grace of God, to stand in faith and draw near to Jesus. To live in hope and belief—not allowing debilitating fear to rule and ruin the peaceful life Jesus intends for you to have.

Please remember in the light of who Jesus is—fear is a puny, ineffective facade—therefore give it no room in your life!

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]