2017 ONE WORD

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Well, we’ve made to the beginning of a new year. Isn’t it interesting how a new Calendar year begins when nature is pin hibernation? The trees are dead of life. The ground is bare and frozen. Yet man is celebrating a do over in a new year. Hmmm.

Last year I began the practice of seeking the Lord for “One Word” for the year. I asked Him what did I need to work on? What are You wanting to work in me or out of me? I heard “fearless”. I shared on my previous blog how that worked out.

Now I could decide that seeking “One Word” is useless since I failed last year. But I know that that is what my enemy would want me to believe. If he can keep me from being focused or mindful, he has a better chance of distracting me from recognizing how God is moving in me. No sir re bob. I’m not falling for it.

I’ve asked the Lord again, “Is there one word that You want me to grab a hold of? A word that describes what You want to do in me or through me in 2017?” I heard a word. I know it’s the correct word because I’ve already had to make a decision to give in to it or resist it. Confirmation!

My “One Word” for 2017 is SUBMIT. Now in my opinion submit is different than obey. Submit requires more of the heart than obedience. We know that God is more concerned about our heart than our acts.

I believe the children of Israel’s struggle was because they preferred to obey the Commandments rather than submit to God. Because they would not allow their hearts to be involved with their obedience they opened themselves up to fall back to what had their heart. Idolatry.

The Lord is wanting me to learn to submit to my husband. Not to become a doormat. My husband loves too much to allow me to do that. I need to submit to his position as my husband. The head, leader, of our family. Honor him. Respect him. Consider him.

I need to submit to my pastor. His assignment is to look after my soul. To protect me as a shepherd does with his sheep. According to Ephesians 4:11-12 apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers are given for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. God requires me to submit to them. Obey with my heart, with a spirit of love.

Hebrews 13:17 (KJV) Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

I also need to submit to the laws of the land. Not just when someone’s watching. At al times because it’s in my heart. No texting while driving. No speeding. Return shopping carts to their carousels. Yes, I went there. That’s where submit is different than obey. It goes a step further.

1 Peter 2:13 (KJV) Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, or as supreme.

So, this year I’m committed to choose to submit when my flesh fights for it’s own way. Not just obey, but give my heart to submit because I know it will please the Lord.

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HOW DID I DO WITH MY 2016 “ONE WORD”?

imageOn January 22, 2016 I received an email from my Pastor, inviting the leaders to seek the Lord for “On Word” to focus on for the year. It could represent something we believe the Lord wants to do in us or something we want the Lord to do for us. The word that came to me was “Fearless.” I struggle with not allowing fear to keep me from living the life I believe the Lord planned for me to live. I prayed that the Lord would free me from the spirit of fear. I know that a sense of fear keeps us dependent upon the Lord but I wanted to get to the place where I could embrace fear, not run from it.

The scripture I used is Proverbs 29:25 Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.

The Spiritual impact I expected was I would obey God’s leading quicker, inspite of being afraid. I still struggle.

The Physical impact I expected was that I would increase my physical activity for health benefit and not be afraid that it wouldn’t show. I didn’t.

The Emotional impact I expected was that I would become open and more approachable. I have not.

The Relational impact I expected was to create greater intimacy with the few relationships I currently have. I have not.

The Mental impact I expected was to learn how to denounce the lies and accusations my enemy hurls at me and stand on what is true.  Still need to work on this.

The one thing I did learn in choosing “Fearless” as my “One Word” is that I can’t become this in my own strength. I need God’s help and the Holy Spirit’s power. I am more aware of fear’s operation and how Satan uses it to stifle God’s work in the earth. I will continue to submit to God’s work in me and His word, “Fear not. Be of good courage.” I am confident that Jesus will complete the work He has started in me.

Can I encourage you to spend some time with the Lord, during the next few days? He has plans for you. He knows what He wants to do in you and what you need Him to do to reflect Him. Let the Lord know that you want to cooperate with Him. It’s a lot easier that way. Listen for what the Holy Spirit is hearing from the Lord.

Then say, “Lord, I’m ready to submit to You and allow you to teach me how to not give in to fear but to trust You.”

I’m still listening for the Holy Spirit to give me 2017’s “One Word”.

Have I Really Said, “Yes”?

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In Luke 1 we are told that when Mary enters the redemption story, she is a virgin. She had just gotten engaged to be married. I imagine that she was excited because her value had just increased, based on society’s standard. She would soon become someone’s wife. I imagine that she was certain that soon she would become a mother. Approved by her husband and God. Little did she know her future held different plans.

Gabriel appears to her and tells her, “The Lord is with you.” Mary is confused and disturbed. I can relate to that reaction. My thoughts would have been, “Yea, the Lord is with everyone. I’m no one special.” Mary tried to think what Gabriel meant. He calmed her and assured her that she had found favor with God.

Mary was a teenager and just engaged to be married. Gabriel tells her the following;

1. You will conceive and give birth to a son. (Ok, I can see that.)

2. You name him Jesus. (Ok, not sure why, but I will.)

3. He will be VERY great and will be called the Son of the Most High. (Uh what?!)

4. The Lord will give him the throne of his ancestor David. (Wait a minute!)

5. He will reign over Israel forever; his kingdom will never end! (This is where I would have struggled.)

Mary asked how. She verified that she was a virgin,  not yet married. Would that have been all I would have said? No. I would been like Moses, but I can’t ….. Or, but I’m not…… Or like Peter, after Jesus told him how he was going to die. What about him/her?

Mary’s response is in Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”

Lord, I am your servant. When You invite me to be a part of building Your kingdom and I’m tempted to say “No thank you,” remind me of Mary. She trusted You. That You would provide her with everything she needed to do Your will. That if You found favor with her that that was good enough.

Will you say, with Mary, “I am Your servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”?

RECEIVE AND CELEBRATE THE GIFT.


This past Sunday’s message title was, “I’m Preparing Room.” The scripture focus was Matthew 2:1-12 NKJV. My pastor talked about the preparations that were made to receive Jesus, our Saviour. The wise men from the east brought their offerings to receive the promised Messiah. Mary and Joseph prepared the stable for Jesus’ arrival. Mary prepared her heart to receive the promised “Son of God”. He asked the question, “What are you doing to prepare for Christ?”

As I listened and pondered his question, my thoughts went to what the season is meant to be. The church uses this time of year to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Son of God. God loves mankind so much that He was willing to send His Son to take on flesh and blood and experiance our weaknesses. Then to give himself as the final sacrifice in order to redeem us to himself. This ultimate gift should be celebrated and appreciated. According to Matthew 1:21 Jesus was born to save his people from their sins. According to Luke 2:13-14 an angel was joined by a vast host of others-the armies of heaven-praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Peace arrived to earth.

I thought about how prevalent the spirit of depression is during this time. When the earth should be celebrating the arrival of peace and joy, through the birth of the Messiah, many are depressed and despairing of life. We have an enemy who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. He seeks to kill our joy, steal our peace, and destroy our hope.

I felt challanged by the Lord, through my pastor. When it’s our birthday we expect others to celebrate our day not make it about them. Don’t attend my birthday party and get upset because we’re not celebrating you.

Christmas is not about my expections being met. Gifts being given to me. Only spending time with the people I like. Christmas is about me making room in my life and my heart for Jesus. Get rid of the things that are distracting me from spending time with the Lord. Not just asking and seeking but also listening and obeying. Get rid of the things in my heart and the thoughts in my mind that are preventing me from reflecting my Saviour to the world.

What do you need to do to make room for the Messiah? Do you need to get rid of some relationships? Do you need to renew your mind so your actions/words reflect your Saviour? Decide to not make this Christmas about you but the gift God has offered.

I Thought I trusted God.

Psalms 28:7 (NLT) The Lord is my strength and shield, I trust him with all of my heart.

Have you ever experienced the Lord calling you out? Maybe you’ve made excuses for yourself in regards to bad habits, attitudes, or behaviors. “That’s just the way I am.” “People always….” “I can’t help it, my mother …” Or “I was …., so I …..” Am I the only one who have had these thoughts? Well, the Lord has called me out and challenged me to face what is true. I wasn’t trusting  God with my good, bad, and ugly.

If we believe Romans 8:28 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Then we have to believe it for the good, bad, and ugly of our past.

When I make excuses for my behavior because of what did or did not happen in my past, I’m revealing my lack of trust in God and His promises. The people who were suppose to protect me didn’t therefore I can’t trust anyone else to protect me. People I got close to in the past, rejected me, therefore I can’t trust ANYONE. I’ve put myself out there before and no one was interested. Why bother trying it again? I hope I’m not alone in this.

I heard the Spirit of the Lord ask me, “Do you trust God? Do you believe that He’s a good Father?” A good Father doesn’t necessarily prevent hurts and pains. But he comforts and cares in the midst.

God gave me strength to endure what I have been through and not be destroyed. That is Him being a Good Father and God. As long as I’m willing to trust Him, He will continue to give me the strength to endure future pains and hurts and not be destroyed.

Jesus died so that we can have LIFE and have it in abundance. If I don’t want to make His death of no value, I must receive the gift of life. Give God my past and give Him permission to turn it to good. That means releasing my wounds. Allowing him to uncover them. Let Him put antibiotics on them. Press through the pain. Let Him put dressing over them and give them time to heal. Don’t pull the bandage off too soon because then the process has to start all over. I can’t say, “That’s just the way I am.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.

PRAYER

My Father God,

I do trust You. I trust You with the pain in my past. I trust You with the abuse in my past. I trust You with the neglect in my past.

When my enemy tempts me, like he did Eve, to doubt Your love and care for me. Remind me of his schemes and plan. To kill, steal, and destroy me.

I will declare, “Get thee behind me Satan. It is written, God will cause ALL things to work together for my good.”

Lord, forgive me for not trusting You with my past. I do trust You. I trust Your love for me. I trust your care for me. I trust that You are good Father.

Amen.

Do you need to trust God with your past? Past hurts? Past rejections? Past abuses? You can trust God.

 

 

Am I Hindering God From Finishing What He Started?

Phillipians 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

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From the time I invited Jesus to take up residence in my heart the work began and it was hard work, if I’m honest. I am thankful that God is long suffering, merciful, and patient because if He wasn’t He may have given up on the work I require.

i enjoy watching remodeling programs. Especially the ones of people taking on risky projects where they really don’t know what lies behind the walls or under the floors. It requires determination, flexibility, and patience. Without these traits the remodelers would be tempted to walk away from the project because they felt that the work was too much. It is hopeless. Or maybe they would decide to bulldoze the house and start over. I am so thankful that the Lord has not given up on me.

I can totally relate to Paul when he wrote in Romans 7:18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.

Then in verses 24-25 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Lord, I have some rotten floors that need to be pulled up. You’ll find some damage in the walls that need to be removed. There is some rewiring that is required or there could be an electrical shortage. I’m sure some of the pipes are plugged up or even rotted and need to be replaced. I submit to Your work. Please persist with it. I thank you for the new mercies you offer me each and every day.

Thank God! My answer is on Jesus Christ my Lord!

It All Started With The Blame Game

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Genesis 2-3

In Gen 2:7 we are told that God formed the man (Adam) from the dust of the ground. Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east and placed the man there. The Lord God made all sorts of trees to grow from the ground-trees that were beautiful and produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In Gen 2:15 we are told the Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. V16 But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden-17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat it’s fruit, you are sure to die.” 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

In Genesis 3 we are told how the serpent talked to the woman about the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He convinced the woman that the fruit was something she should desire. The woman ate from one of the two forbidden trees in the garden of Eden, then shared the fruit with the man. When God discovered that they knew they were naked He asked them both, “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”

In the beginning was the blame game.  Genesis 3:12 The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it” In verse 13 “The serpent deceived me,” she replied, “That’s why I ate it.” The serpent was the only one who blamed no one.

I wonder what would have happened if Adam told God, “Lord, I am so sorry! When Eve offered me the fruit I should have said no. I should have reminded her of your command to not eat and prayed for her. Please forgive me, I have sinned!”

What would have happened if Eve had confessed and repented? “Lord please forgive me, I have sinned.” “I should have told the serpent I will not eat because God commanded us not to eat. I trust God and will obey. I have sinned by believing the serpent rather than You.”

What would happen if all people said, “Lord I confess that I have sinned by not respecting the authority you have placed in my life. In Romans 13:1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. I can’t control how authority act I can only control my obedience. When my spouse, pastor, boss, police officers instruct me or point out my error, help me to humble myself, accept the correction and respect authority. Because in the end my response reveals my heart toward You, the final authority.”

What would happen if those with authority admitted to the times they misused their authority and power. They were wrong in their assumptions. Their heart is hardening because of the darkness they are exposed to on a daily bases.

How different would the world be if we all decided to stop blaming others for our behavior, repent of our own wrongs and ask God, “Forgive me for my disobedience, cleanse my heart and restore me.”