God Sees Evil Plans

They encourage each other in an evil plan; they talk about hiding traps and say, “Who will see them?”
-Psalm 64:5

Picture: Pixabay
God sees what evil ones are planning.  He sees what they are doing that they think is secret.  God hears their secret discussions about their evil plans.

It is delusional to believe that God does not see and hear what you are planning or scheming.  God is omniscient.  If you think that your evil plans are hidden from God, you are deceived.

Works of evil or evil works are often hidden, but God sees what is planned.  We can ask God to expose the hidden plan of the enemy and put it to naught.  And we can pray, "Lord, show me what the enemy does not want me to see".

Every Christian needs to have the awareness of the spiritual battle between God and the enemy.  People do evil, partnering with the powers of darkness.  And they plan, discuss, and often do their evil in secret, in hiding.

Be encouraged that God sees the evil plans.  Be encouraged that as a believer, that you have authority in Christ.  Use your authority, take authority, and walk in authority.

Pray for God to expose, overturn, and cut off the plans of the enemy.  Pray for their power to be broken.  Pray in Jesus name.  

Come against them in your prayers.  Put your armor on and be a warrior like you are destined to be.  Pray for the refuge of abiding in Father.

The prayer again that summarizes the message of Psalm 64:

Dear God:
Protect me from the enemy.
Hide and keep me safe from their evil plans.
Shoot them with arrows.
Suddenly wound them.
Make them stumble.
May their own tongues work against them.
Make a spectacle of them for all to see.
So that everyone will fear you.
And talk about what you have done.
And understood that you did it.
We rejoice in you, put our trust in you, and we will continually praise you.

More Thoughts on Resting in God As You Anticipate New Things

I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.

Only in God do I find rest; my salvation comes from Him.

-Psalm 62:1 (HCSB, CEB)

Photo: Pixabay
Are you anticipating a move of God in your life?  Expectation is in the air.  You have your hopes up again.

These are some more thoughts of mine about how to live in this season.  Remember that everything we go through, is always about our relationship with God.  The process is of more importance to God than is the destination, because the process is about our relationship with Him.

Let that set in.  We want the position, the promotion, the success, to meet that person and marry them, or a hundred other destinations.  But God sees the process as the important part.

God has a destiny for us, a destination for us here.  But those destinations are always secondary to relationship with God.  We need to get this and then choose it.

If we do not understand and treasure the relationship we have with God and let the process of life enrich our relationship with Father, we may find ourselves at the destinations we have desired without intimacy with God.

Sometimes the breakthrough to someplace in your life requires you to go deeper into God, rather than God doing things for you, while you stay the same.  At a strategic time in my life, when I needed God to make it happen for me and lead me to open doors; He instead gave me Galatians 2:20, which reads:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (NIV)
That was not what I wanted to hear, but that is what God had for me.  I got zero breakthrough where I wanted, but God was preparing me for a different and better breakthrough, gift, or destiny in my life.  About 6 months after hearing Gal. 2:20 from God, as my word for that season, my life became massively disappointing.

My dad died and my life goals felt like a dead end.  But, about six months after my dad died, I met my wife and we had our first date on my dad's birthday!  God took me through death, the death of my plans and my own dad's death; and on the other side, brought me into new life that I have been living in ever since.

Christ is still living in me and I am still called to live my life by his faithfulness and through his love.  In everything that is coming, that is ahead; I see that I need to rest in God and let Him save me or deliver me.  When I am anxious or afraid, fearful or tired from worrying, I need to rest in God.

God might seem to say "no" to what we want, and we might be anxious about that.  But, God does not actually say "no" when we are asking for something good.  He calls us to walk with him, abide in him, and rest in him; towards the answers.

I wrote this on Holy Saturday, on Facebook:
Holy Saturday
Easter is about communion with, the dying of, the death of, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Today is death day. It is tempting to fast forward from dying on Friday to resurrection on Sunday and skip the mourning and grief of Saturday.
Holy Saturday is about the space of loss and hope, the space of unknowing and disorientation, and the loneliness of letting go of one thing, before arriving at another. It is a very uncomfortable place where our faith is refined. In death, we may believe in resurrection, but we let go of knowing what it will look like.

Today, we let our faith go deeper and acquiesce to the mystery, and the ambiguity. We live with unknowns and walk with more questions than answers. We walk in the paradox of the already and the not yet. We resist the notion of having to understand or have things figured out, and instead yield to God, living in the moment, of uncertainty on the one hand, while receiving the loving embrace of Father on the other. We slow down, cease our striving, unbusy ourselves, and learn to be still and know that God is God, trusting our Father.
When we are in the "in-between", we must lean into God, abide in Christ, and rest in the Lord.  Walking with the Lord, there is going to be some or a lot of disorientation and it is good, because it results in more of Him in my life.

Here are some more translations of Psalm 62:1

Part a:

  • Truly my soul waiteth upon God. (KJV)
  • My soul waiteth in silence for God only. (ASV)
  • To God alone is my spirit resigned. (AAT)
  • To God alone I commit myself silently. (Har)
  • Truly my soul looks in stillness to God. (Ber)
  • Only in God is my soul quieted. (ABPS)
  • Leave it all quietly to God, my soul. (Mof)
Part b:
  • My rescue comes from him alone. (Mof)
  • From him is my deliverance. (AAT)
  • From him comes my safety. (Jerus)

Resurrection Life

Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live.

So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God.

-John 11:25, Colossians 3:1-3

Picture: Pixabay
Everyone who experienced Easter, with the celebration of Jesus rising from the dead; whether you celebrated privately or publicly, alone or with a small or large group, has been moved into an awareness of the resurrection, which means resurrection life for Christians.  There was a 40 day lead up to Easter called Lent, culminating in the holy weekend, of which we are now on the other side.  My question is, "Now what?"

What is all the Easter talk, thoughts, reflections, meditations, and celebration unto?  Every good message should have an application.  Yes, and the result of Easter is resurrection life.

The message of the gospel is that when you believe, you get life: believers become living-in-Christ-people; or "liver's" for short.  You get to live in Christ and have Christ live in and through your life.  The everlasting life of John 3:16 is now and forever.

The message that Paul gives in Colossians 2 and 3, is that becoming a Christian does not mean you become a ritualistic, legalistic, religious person; but a person living in Christ.  In Christ, there is life. The Christian life is life in Christ, where the sinful life dies and the life I live in Christ flourishes.

We don't stay as the same people who now do certain religious things.  We put to death our sinful ways and begin, over and over, to live in Christ.  Death and resurrection.

When we come to Christ and become Christians, we die and then live.  Our sinful nature, called 'the flesh' in some translations, dies; and we begin to live in Christ, in his resurrection life.  This is the aftercare, the result or life after Easter.

This is the message that every Christian should have gotten from Easter.  Now, we are focused again on resurrection life in Christ.  The Monday, Tuesday, and all the days after Easter are about getting it, if you did not get it; and then living it.

When we see each other, after Easter, we can ask each other, "Did you get it?", or, "How is life?", and we encourage and pray for each other.  Easter and after Easter is the time to remember, start over, and get everything back in focus.

Now to live the life.

Prayer In Pain For Rest

I call to You from the ends of the earth when my heart is without strength. Lead me to a rock that is high above me.
-Psalm 61:2

Photo: Pixabay
Sometimes it feels like God is distant.  The truth is that God is always near, even when we do not know it.  I feel distant from God when my heart is weak.

What should I do, and how should I pray?

We are always weak, and it is a mistake to play 'Superman' or 'Superwoman'.  The Superman thing is a problem I have had.  We are human, have limits, and always need to get our rest.  With exhaustion, comes this illusion that God is distant.

When I am exhausted, weak, or feel overwhelmed, how should I pray and what should I do?  I need to rest, rest in God.  Even if I am in the middle of something and cannot completely rest physically, I can rest on the inside.

On the way to getting rest, to sitting down or laying down; we call out to God.  The point being, that it is advisable to call out and pray when we are upset and need to rest in him.  We are calling out with our heart cry from the immediate need we feel, and then wisdom calls us to rest in the Lord.

The mistake would be to feel overwhelmed, then feel like and begin to believe that God is distant, and stop there.  Another error is to call out to God; but then not rest in God.  The immediate distress we feel needs to lead to rest as we say, "Lead me to a rock that is high above me."  For me, I need this reminder.

We can be so focused on our pain, our feelings, our immediate situation; and turning to prayer, we just want immediate relief or some breakthrough.  But the answer in resting in the Lord, who is our refuge and tower of safety, and place of rest.

The Folded Face Cloth of Jesus

He also saw the face cloth that had been on Jesus’ head. It wasn’t with the other clothes but was folded up in its own place.

And that the handkerchief that had been on Jesus' head was not lying with the linen cloths but was rolled up in a separate place.
-John 20:7 (CEB, ISV)

Have you ever thought about how Jesus took the burial cloth, that was on his head, and folded or rolled it up and set it aside? Jesus was a real person during his life and remained a real person when he rose from death.  

Jesus is not like a super hero who floated around.  Jesus was a person who was knowable in his life and is knowable today.

When he was raised back from death, he folded his clothes like he always did.  Jesus had just done the most powerful thing ever, dying for the sins of every human; past, present, and future.  He then carefully folded the face cloth or handkerchief.

We know that Jesus' body was not stolen by thieves.  And have you ever heard of thieves who tidy up when they leave?

Jesus is orderly.  When he fed the 5,000 in John 6, did you ever notice that he had them collect the leftovers, so that none would go to waste?  Jesus shows how to live a life governed by etiquette and protocol, through love.  Jesus was obedient to God and the law of God, while not being legalistic.

Jesus was not some sort of magical, mystical, spirit-man; who just went through the motions of his life, to get the job of Christ done.  He was a real person.  He did not walk six inches off the ground, but he got tired, was hungry, felt emotional pain, and probably stepped in animal waste.  

This is part of the scandal of the gospel.  Not only a naked man dying an excruciating death, but a seemingly normal man, living a normal life, in a normal community; who also was the Son of God.

Here is the BAM part:  It was not an act.  He really was fully human.  He had and has a personality.  His life was not easy.  Do you think it was a performance when he wept over Lazarus or Jerusalem?  Do you think he cleared the temple that day to check off a prophecy fulfillment box?

Jesus is a real person.  He gives attention to the details.  He knows where things go.  He places people.  Jesus holds the whole universe, but he also pays attention to simple things.  He sees it all.  He cares, even about the small things.

Jesus shows us what God is like.  In Jesus, we see that God understands humanity.  God is very in touch with what we go through.  We know that God must know, because he is God and he created us, but in Jesus, we see the reality of God who cares, knows, and understands.

He cared enough to fold his face cloth after he saved us.  Do you think he cares about you and the details in your life?

Jesus' Provision for Your Worst Day

“Simon, Simon, look! Satan has asserted the right to sift you all like wheat.  However, I have prayed for you that your faith won’t fail. When you have returned, strengthen your brothers and sisters.”

Peter responded, “Lord, I’m ready to go with you, both to prison and to death!”

Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster won’t crow today before you have denied three times that you know me.”

...Then a servant woman saw him sitting in the firelight. She stared at him and said, “This man was with him too.”  But Peter denied it, saying, “Woman, I don’t know him!”  A little while later, someone else saw him and said, “You are one of them too.” But Peter said, “Man, I’m not!”  An hour or so later, someone else insisted, “This man must have been with him, because he is a Galilean too.” 
Peter responded, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about!” At that very moment, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.
The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter, and Peter remembered the Lord’s words: “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”
And Peter went out and cried uncontrollably
-Luke 22:31-4, 22:56-62

Happy Good Friday. This is a re-post.

Some of us don't think we have it together enough to serve, to be in ministry, to lead.  The truth is that none of us will ever have it together enough to be Jesus representatives.  The twelve disciples prove this again and again.  God uses cracked pots.

Satan and his forces need permission to sift us.  Their goal is to prove our lack of loyalty to God.  We see this in the book of Job, chapters 1 and 2, when Satan asks for permission to go after Job, with the goal of turning Job away from his loyalty to God.  All the disciples were sifted.  Farmers sift the grain until only the good grain remains by shaking.  Satan wants to shake their world and prove their is no good grain or loyalty remaining.

Jesus warns Peter and the others of the Satanic attack and then gives them his personal intervention or provision with an assignment, for Peter.  Jesus is compassionate and gracious in giving the warning.  He sees it coming and tells his disciples.  What's coming cannot be stopped, it has permission to come.  Thank God for warnings and seeing what is on the horizon before it gets here.  God warns those who are in partnership with him.  It's part of the loyalty, good faith relationship.

Jesus has a counter move to Satan's move against his disciples.  He has already prayed for them.  Jesus has made provision for the difficulties lying shortly ahead for his disciples.  God sees the future and puts provision their to sustain us.  Isn't that encouraging?

Jesus prays that their faith will not fail.  He prays that their faith will not drain out.  They are about to go through a draining experience and Jesus prays that they won't drain out in advance.  He makes provision and intervenes in advance for what we are going to be going through.  Jesus' word for prayer here means implore, beg, beseech, or pray earnestly.  This was a prayer prayed in advance, that was not a simple, "oh and by the way", prayer; but an exerted, imploring, prayer for personal provision for each person.

Jesus gives Peter an assignment for after the Satanic sifting and prefaces it with, "after you have returned".     Jesus is saying, "when you come back".  Peter probably thought, "I'm not going away, I'm 'the rock'."  We know Peter was thinking something like this because of his response.  He says that he will never leave Jesus side.

Then Jesus gives Peter the really bad news, that Peter will deny him three times.  Peter must have been stunned.  But heaven was prepared for what was about to happen to Peter.  It would be his worst day. 

After it happened, Peter cried uncontrollably. 'The rock' completely lost it.

But Jesus saw this in advance and prayed for him and the others.  Jesus prayed for Peter's worst hours before they happened.  That's the God we serve.  He sees our troubles in advance and goes to the future and gives us what we need to survive it.

Knowing that he will fail without God's help, Jesus gives Peter an assignment that immediately follows what will feel like a massive failure to Peter.  Jesus tells him that he is going to go down.  It is going to hurt.  But he is not going to die or be disqualified from ministry.  He is going to be graced, held up, kept alive, kept in the game by Jesus' prayers.

Knowing that you and I will feel like failures at times, God sees ahead and gives us grace for our worst days.  God calls us first and then begins transforming us and equipping us.  When God calls us, God has already made provision for all our mistakes.

Jesus sees our worst blunders in advance, even our betrayals of him; and still loves us and prays for us.  That's our Savior.

The last supper and first communion

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."
Luke 22:14-20

Happy Maundy Thursday.  This is a re-post from 2006.

The first communion was at a meal. Today, we are used to having communion or the Lord's supper or the eucharist in a church service in a church building. The Jewish Passover supper was at a home or hall. Jesus last supper was in a room. The early church had pot lucks in which they celebrated communion.

When Jesus said, "do this in rememberance of me." What's the "this"? Does he mean: have a meal together, get together, or share sips of juice and bits of bread? I think that the context is as important as the elements are. I think the elements are there to point to something. I think that you can remember Jesus without getting out bread or wafers and juice or wine. I don't think Jesus point was that you have to do it a certain way and if we really believed that we have to do it the way Jesus instituted it, written in the Bible, then why don't we have the meal that goes with the loaf and cup? I believe in finding Christ in the meal. We are Christ's body here on earth and Christ is dwelling among us by The Spirit. Christ is in you and in me if you are His. I'm looking for Him among us when we gather in His name. What if we are gathering with no food or drink. Can't we still have communion? To me communion means sharing Christ's life together which can be done at the beach, in the car or in a dusty attic.

In God, Upon God

My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock.
My refuge is in God.

-Psalm 62:7  

Photo: Pixabay
What does your life depend on and what are you famous for?  And what is your beginning and end, your source and your sustenance, that wraps around you and sustains your life?

What is your glory?  What is glorified in your life?  When you stand up, what do people see?

Do you reflect God, honoring him, or is your life filled with dishonor?  When you stand up, do people see a reflection of God or do they just see you?

We all have a testimony.  I have my story of God saving me.  God has glorified himself through my life.

Salvation means deliverance.  We are saved from and delivered from sin and bondage.  We need more deliverance and more saving, as we live our lives and continue in our journey.

Whatever we are facing, we depend on God for saving and deliverance.

Whatever glory we are destined for, that also completely depends on God.  It is all in God.

Some people seek glory apart from God or give lip service to God, while not genuinely having God's glory.  There can be a lot of God talk without God's presence.

This verse and this song reminds me that my life is in God and I am completely dependent upon God:
I am at rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I will never be shaken.

How long will you threaten a man?
Will all of you attack
as if he were a leaning wall
or a tottering stone fence?
They only plan to bring him down
from his high position.
They take pleasure in lying;
they bless with their mouths,
but they curse inwardly.  Selah

Rest in God alone, my soul,
for my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I will not be shaken.
My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock.
My refuge is in God.

Trust in Him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts before Him.
God is our refuge.  Selah

Men are only a vapor;
exalted men, an illusion.
Weighed in the scales, they go up;
together they are less than a vapor.
Place no trust in oppression,
or false hope in robbery.
If wealth increases,
pay no attention to it.

God has spoken once;
I have heard this twice:
strength belongs to God,
and faithful love belongs to You, Lord.
For You repay each according to his works.

Are we resting in God's salvation?  I see that as a key.  It is all in God and upon God, but I get to play, to participate.  I receive his works, and my glory is his glory in, through, and upon my life.

My soul continually rests in God, while salvation and deliverance come to me; sooner or later.  And God is glorified and I share his glory because I am his and it is his work in my life.  It all depends on God and God works it all out.

When I rest in God, knowing salvation and my reputation or the outcomes of and in my life depend on Him, I can partake of his love and enjoy him and be at peace, while exercising faith, on-the-ground.  On the battle field of life, on earth, there is love and resting in God.  This is a revelation, and an epiphany, a learned thing.

Do you get it?

Life is hard, there are hardships and difficulties, and even lost battles.  But there is joy, hope, and love always in and from God, in my relationship with faithful Father.  Though the battle rages, there is rest and there is communion with the Lord.

This is the way of the warrior who is a son or a daughter of God.  All of salvation is in and through God.  How will he make a way?  He will.  Rest in him and let him do it.

The rest is in the refuge of God.  He is my place of rest, my hiding place, my place of safety and immunity.  Out of that place, the place of rest in God is my life and my salvation.

When You Are Lonely God Is Lonely For You

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.”

“Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?”

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

“If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”

“Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.

“I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

“If you love Me, you will keep My commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.

“In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me.Because I live, you will live too. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.”

Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it You’re going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me.

“I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. You have heard Me tell you, ‘I am going away and I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced that I am going to the Father,because the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens so that when it does happen you may believe. I will not talk with you much longer, because the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over Me. On the contrary, I am going away so that the world may know that I love the Father. Just as the Father commanded Me, so I do.

“Get up; let’s leave this place.
-John 14

Photo: pixabay
It was the one night a week that I arrive home to an empty house.  I had been busy doing some yard work before dark and was now preparing dinner and was about to watch a movie.  Then, I had this moment where I sensed the Lord's presence.

I suddenly had this revelation, a thought, idea, or impression; that every time that I am alone is a special time when the Lord is with me.  The Lord actually enjoys, desires time alone with me.  Those times when I feel like I don't have someone for fellowship, friendship, or community; are times when God is completely available and wants to be with me.

Did you know that God is lonely for you?  When you are lonely, God is lonely for you.

The idea I got was that, those times when I am alone are actually special times that I have in my life when I get to lean into the Lord and be with him.  Yes, the Lord is with me also when I am with others, but there is something different when I am alone.  It is like loneliness is there and the Lord fills it with the opposite.

He takes the (potential) sadness of loneliness and turns it around and gives me comforting fellowship.  When you are lonely, God is lonely for you.

All I have to do is turn to the Lord.  It is so easy, in loneliness, to turn on the tv, the radio, or look at the computer or handheld device.  When I do those things, the Lord is still there, but I do not have undivided fellowship with him.

He waits for me to turn to him.  I can turn to him all the time or none of the time and his love is unconditional.  I am the one who misses out, when I do not turn to the Lord.

Another aspect of my revelation, impression, or "ah-ha, I get it" moment; is that all the lonely times in my life are opportunities, blessings, or gifts; of being able to commune and have close times with God.  I could say, "why do you have me alone at all these times and places?", and feel self-pity and feel cheated of human relationships.  But I get it that in each of those lonesome times, the Lord is wanting to enjoy time with me.

The Lord is Emmanuel, "God with us" (Matt. 1;23).  The incarnation is a wonderful and powerful part of God's story.  Jesus promised also, "I will be with you" (Matt. 28:20).

I believe that the lonelier you are, the more lonely or lonesome your circumstances are, that the greater blessing is in store for you from the Lord.  You just have to turn to the Lord and let him love you.

The Lord Will Make A Way For You, If You Make Him The Way

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him!

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

-Isaiah 43:19, Psalm 68:4, John 14:6 (ESV)

You and I are each in a place in life, but many of us would like to be in another place.  Call it your promised land.  We have a dream, a destiny, a calling, an inheritance, or a birthright not yet fully received.

The path to the promise is the one who is the way.  The Lord will make a way for you, if you make him the way.  It is as simple and profound as that.

In between here and there looks like a desert.  Maybe to you it looks like an ocean, or a mountain range that is in your way.  But the word of the Lord is that God will make a way for you.

The way through the desert, the way through what seems impossible is the Lord.  He has always been the way for you and I.  Our part is to abide in him and let him take us on his journey.

The path is the one who is Lord.  He is the way to the Father and the way to the kingdom.  The Lord will make a path and lead you, if you abide in him.

The story of Isaiah 43 is the people of God going back to their land of promise, and God encouraging them, that he would make a way for them, in the desert.  This same principle holds true for believers today, because Christ is the way.  Wherever you are in your journey, Christ is with you; you are in Christ who is the way.

The past is our important story.  We learned and we gained good things and we also have scars from how we were hurt.  We are not victims of our past, nor triumphalistic deniers of our brokenness; but we have been redeemed and God redeems out past.

We are overcomers, wounded warriors, the walking wounded; we are all broken people, being made whole by Christ.  We have been receiving provision for our losses, exchanging crowns of beauty for ashes; having oil of joy instead of mourning; and being clothed with praise instead of despair. (Isa. 61:3)

Christ is the way to heaven and the way for life here on earth.  The Christian life is, "Christ in you" (Col. 1:27).  He is the way and the life, so he sustains you on your journey in and on the way.  The way in is the way on.

The past is in the past.  We can make amends and reconcile with people.  We obviously can not go back in time and it is foolishness to be obsessed with the past, idealizing it or wearing shame and despair because of the failure or defeat in the past.

God says, "Behold, I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth.  Do you see it?"  We can be blind to the present, because of an obsession with the past.  The past is over and gone.  Let it go.

God does not erase our past, but redeems it.  You get to keep the wisdom you gained from your past, while you get released from the sin and free from any bondage to the past, including the people, places, and things in your past.  You may still be with those people, in those places, and have those things; but you have changed and you have been redeemed.

The Christian life is life in Christ and it is inside out.  We have Christ in our hearts, so that he changes our identity and how we think and then how we live.

We love him and trust him with our hearts.

We often refer to getting saved as, "asking Jesus to come into our hearts".  After we invite him in, we give him permission to live there, and make him Lord.  When he lives in us, we enter into a transformational relationship with him, that we call discipleship, which is where we learn how to live in Christ, letting him live his life through our lives.

In order to find the way, we have to let go of the past; grieve it and receive healing for how we were hurt, forgive others, and be forgiven for our blunders.  Then we can be ready to see and believe the new thing that God will do.  And the only way to get to the land of promise, our destiny, and receive our inheritance and come into our birthright, is to abide in the Lord.

Trust in him at all times.

It starts and continues, inside out, from the heart.  Have faith by walking by faith, with the one who has saved you and is taking you in and on his way towards your destiny, on the journey that is unique to you.

He is the way for you.  Other ways are detours, holding patterns, and cul-de-sacs.  This is the good news.

The path is the one who is the Lord.  He is the way to the Father and the way to the kingdom.  The Lord will make a path and lead you, if you abide in him.

I Rest in God and My Salvation Comes From Him

I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken.
How long will you threaten a man?
Will all of you attack as if he were a leaning wall or a tottering stone fence?
They only plan to bring him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in lying; they bless with their mouths, but they curse inwardly.

Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken.
My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock.
My refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him.
God is our refuge.

Men are only a vapor; exalted men, an illusion.
Weighed in the scales, they go up; together they are less than a vapor.
Place no trust in oppression, or false hope in robbery.
If wealth increases, pay no attention to it.
God has spoken once; I have heard this twice: strength belongs to God, and faithful love belongs to You, Lord.
For You repay each according to his works.
-Psalm 62

Photo: pixabay
I am living in and with the idea that God loves me and God is giving me His good gifts.  I know that this is something we see throughout the Bible.  Statements like, "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord", "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it", and "He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it" (Ex. 14:13 & 2 Chron. 20:17, Phil. 1:6, 1 Thess. 5:24), convey this idea.

Psalm 62 also captures this beautifully.  Verse one is my verse, but I think it is good to see the whole chapter, for context.  I rest in God and my salvation comes from Him.

We don't strive for salvation.  We can't earn it or buy it.  But we just have to receive it.

We need to be connected to God.  We need to be receptive and take hold of what God gives.  We need to catch it.

Salvation is an event and a process.  Salvation is going to heaven when you die.  We say, "Are you saved?", or we say of a deceased person, "She was saved"; and we are talking about God's salvation.  

The way of seeing it as a process, is that it is like when we get into the vehicle of salvation and that vehicle is taking us to heaven for the rest of our lives.  Event and process.  Along the way, we get transformed and ask for heaven to come to earth, before we get to heaven ("thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven...").

I rest in God and my salvation comes from Him.

Salvation also means rescue, deliverance, safety, victory, or saving health (1).  Salvation is something we need, like David in Psalm 62, when we are in a crisis.  We, like David, pour our hearts out to God, saying, "God,  save me!"

When we cry out, for salvation, we are asking for deliverance or for God's intervention.  We can say, with David, "I am at rest in God and my salvation comes from Him".  That is faith, the faith I want to walk in.

That faith is an action, but it is not the action of faith that is going to make it happen.  Faith will not pay God or earn salvation.  Faith receives salvation by resting in God.

Faith is action first in the heart, that moves our body, and our whole self to put our everything on God; no holds barred.  For I rest in God and my salvation comes from Him.

Our faith for God's working in our lives is expressed or acted upon by resting in God.  No striving, no earning, no paying for it.  As God's children, we rest in God and God saves us, delivers us, gives us safety, and saving health.

This is what some of us are learning.

What does it mean to rest in God?  
  • Resting in God means to wait in the silence.  
  • Resting in God means to let your spirit be resigned to God alone.  
  • Resting in God means to commit yourself silently to Him.
  • Resting in God means your soul looks in stillness to God.
  • Resting in God means that your soul is quieted by looking to Him.
  • Resting in God means you leave all your problems to God, quietly.

1. Deliverance: Moffat, ISV, NET; Safety: Jerusalem Bible; Victory: NLT; Saving Health: Jubilee Bible 2000.

It's The Fruit

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.

“As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.

“I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. This is what I command you: Love one another.

-John 15:1-17

Photo: pixabay
I had a dream about the fruit.  The message I got, was that the fruit is the program.  We're supposed to be bearing the fruit and living in fruitfulness.

It's the fruit!

Yes, first for Christians is Christ.  We find Christ.  Christ finds us and we get saved.

We begin living the Christian life, which is life in union with Christ.  And his fruit flows through us.  That is what a Christian is.

The interesting thing about the fruit from God that he wants to bring in our lives, is that we do make it.  We produce fruit only by being in union with Christ.

What John 15 is saying, is that the life does not work, unless we abide in Christ.  The key verse, to me, is verse 4, that says, "Remain in me and I in you".  He is calling each one of us to a mutual relationship with him.

The mutuality of our union with Christ, is that it goes in both directions.  He is in us and we are in him.  It is not one or the other, but both.

We will only bear fruit if we abide in him.  If we do not abide in him, then what?  We have no fruit.

The fruit is the manifestation of Christ's life in our lives.  This is what a Christian is, a person who is abiding in Christ.

The fruit that comes from being in union with Christ, is what makes the Christian life.  We are mistaken if we think that it's knowledge or gifts that is what the life of Christ is all about.  Knowledge and giftedness come after the fruit.

And the fruit begins with love, loving people out of Christ's love in us.  This is the life of Christ in his followers

Father's Gifts Are Best

Don't be deceived, my dearly loved brothers.  Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.
-James 1:16-17

Photo: pixabay
Do you have things in mind, that you want?  Things you are striving for, or things you are jealous that others already have?  Or, are you living your life, under the care of Father, and receiving the gifts that He is giving you?

Father is active in the life of each of his children.  He is continually generous towards us, giving us gifts.  His gifts are perfect gifts in that each one of them are designed to bring us towards wholeness.

Father's gifts are, 'the whole package', designed for our maturity.  The perfection of them is that they fit us perfectly.  His gifts to us are fatherly gifts, thoughtfully designed for each child.

The Christian life is not so much a life of looking at all the possibilities, and saying, "I want that, that, and that", to God.  The Christian life is a life of being God's child, knowing God as our father, and saying, "Choose for me.  You know what is best."

God is always giving us gifts.  We have to recognize them.  If we are not living as sons and daughters, then we are not positioned to receive.

So, we need to cultivate our relationship with Father and live under his care.  And that first means love and trust.  He is always faithful, and we live under his faithfulness.

And God's love is unconditional.  Once you are in Christ, you are completely accepted in the beloved.  God loves those who are his and he gives them gifts.

I am loved and I have gifts from God.  The task of life is to live in God's love and receive his gifts.  Loving others, which goes hand in hand with holiness, and sharing the gospel, is the result.

I have giftedness from God which makes my life a gift from God.  People that come into my life are gifts from God.  We want to recognize our gifts from God and the people that are his gifts to us.

God's goodness, manifested in his good gifts he is always giving, is sure and steady; always shining.  Unlike the sun, that rises and sets each day, God is always shining his light.  There are no shadows in heaven and there is no shadow in Father's love toward each of his children.

God's love and his good giving towards his children is always on, always shining, always flowing.  We can turn from it and obscure it, but God does not ever stop being a giver of gifts to his children.  This is the life that is the inheritance of each believer.

We have the privilege of being children of Father who get gifts from Him.  We are encouraged to know God and let him give us good gifts.  Our quest is to live in Father's love and enjoy the gifts he gives us.

Whitewash The Tombs