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Rooted and Established

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT)

© Deposit/sonerbakir

© Deposit/sonerbakir

In Christ, the Spirit of Christ lives in you. You are in Christ. Christ is in you.

Do you see how fighting God could make you frustrated? You’re one with the living God and you’re trying to work in opposition to Him.

It’s not that you don’t understand God, at least in part, it’s more that you do. You realize deep down what it’s going to take to follow Him fully. You realize what you’re going to have to give up, what will be sacrificed in your journey with Him. And less than money, position, influence or relationships, but more of your pride, excuses, vices, comforts and conveniences.

But here’s the deal: fullness of life comes from God, not these other things whether material or self-satisfying attitudes and motivations.

When we hold back even one part of our heart from the saturating living waters of the Holy Spirit, we lack fullness. Our relationship with God can seem stagnant, but it’s not. It’s always moving. We are always moving. He is the same. He is constant. We are always moving closer to Him or farther away. We can choose to let His fullness invade our hearts or we can close off more and more pieces to Him. Because when we find reasons and justifications to keep one area closed, we’ll find reasons and justifications to close Him out of others.

Even a tree planted by streams of water, a tree that has no mind, knows that it’s best to grow deep roots into the ground that’s saturated with water. And it’s best to be saturated with the Spirit.

Streams of water move. The Spirit within us moves.

Ground saturated with water from streams has a fresh supply of oxygen. The stream feeds fresh water in while pushing old water out the way our lungs pump oxygen into our blood and our hearts move it through every part of our body. And just like our bodies know how to dispose of toxins, this flow of water in the ground allows for drainage of anything that may hinder the growth of the tree.

The stream flushes the ground and the Spirit flushes our hearts.

A heart saturated with the Holy Spirit has a fresh supply of God’s fullness. The Spirit brings all of God’s goodness and glory into our hearts and we can tap into this fullness through the roots we grow. When the Spirit reveals those things in our hearts that are damaging or harmful to us, we need to let the Spirit remove them. We have to let go and stop fighting Him.

God’s resources are unlimited. He will never run out of what we need to live, move or have our being in Him. As He empowers us with His strength through the Spirit, we learn to trust Him more. Our roots grow deep. We choose Him sooner, we choose Him first. We look to Him to satisfy rather than other people, other things or our surrounding circumstances. As we come to understand how deep His love runs, we realize our roots will never outgrow Him. His love is long and wide. There is nowhere He won’t go to find you and no pit too deep for Him to pull you from. How high is His love? Higher than any cloud, any star. Higher than the most powerful telescope can see.

This is the love that loves you.

When you allow your heart to be saturated with Him, every dark and secluded corner filled with His light and love, there will be nothing that can bring you down. He will establish you in a firm foundation and strengthen you with His strength that stands for eternity.

Something to Consider…

Does the understanding of God’s great love for you escape you? Do you feel like you have too many questions and not enough answers? God wants to you to ask your questions with a willingness to listen. He wants you to know Him in the depths of your heart. He is strong and His love for you can handle any question you throw at Him.

Do you have a hard time letting Him into the deep recesses of your heart? Does the thought of what He will reveal worry you? He already knows what’s there and He knows how to bring healing through the living waters of His Spirit. As cool water refreshes our bodies, His Spirit refreshes our hearts and our souls.

Every success and accomplishment along with every difficult decision or situation will cause you to choose where your roots will grow. Find your satisfaction and fullness of life in Him.

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The Rainy Days

Close up of hands holding seedling and soil growing in the rain“He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful.” Isaiah 30:23a

I love to plant small flowers. I don’t start with the full-grown basket in the spring, but rather purchase  the 8-pack of tiny flowers and create what will one day be a beautiful, lush bouquet. Why?

Why wait? Why look out for weeks at what at times, look like dying plants as the wet soil seems to consume the few tiny leaves and flowers?

Because the process is what makes the roots grow deep, the stems grown firm and the flowers more plentiful and vibrant. I enjoy the process of watching my flowers grow.

God enjoys watching us, His children, grow as well.

From where we sit, there are rainy days when all we see is soggy ground and mud puddles. It’s uncomfortable and even painful at times. We move in new ways, go to new places and deal with situations we’d rather not.

But God knows these are the things that will deepen our roots as we lean in and draw closer to Him. These are the things that will strengthen our resolve as we realize we have a purpose and place in His great plan. These are the things, that after the rain clears, will shine for His glory with vibrant beauty.

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11

The rainy days have purpose. What does God want to accomplish in you, through you or for you during this rainy season? Lean in, draw close and trust Him as He grows and strengthens you for the purpose in which you were created. Wait patiently because you know the rain will clear and you will have a story to share for His glory and it will be beautiful.

 

Choose Life

© DepositPhotos/ Klanneke

© DepositPhotos/ Klanneke

I’ve debated this blog and gone back and forth about it for a week now. I speak from my heart and out of my love for Jesus and His for me. I believe that based on my experience, God is bringing good from it by asking me to speak to this issue. There is hope.

In Deuteronomy 30:19-20, Moses is writing about the promises of God. God has given us a choice to trust and accept His promises or reject them. There is life in His promises. There is eternal life in heaven, but there is also a fullness of life in the kingdom of heaven on earth.

I heard Graham Cooke speak at a conference in April of 2013 and he said, “What is true in the natural is true in the supernatural and what is true in the supernatural is true in the natural.”

This is something I try to remember as I see and experience the battles I face and understand that there is nothing we go through in this world, the natural world that He hasn’t already dealt with in the supernatural, the spiritual world.

Here’s what Moses says about life and death:

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord you God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NIV)

God has given us the free will to choose life or death. We can choose life in Him for all eternity or death separated from Him for all eternity. That is our choice to make; He has given it to us.

Now how we receive life in Him for all eternity is on His terms, not ours. He gives us the option to choose His terms or not. And His terms – it’s Jesus. Receive the gift of free grace by repentance and faith through Jesus. Do this and you choose life, not death.

Now, if choosing life in the spiritual world is a blessing, then choosing life in the natural world is also a blessing. What is true in the supernatural, the spiritual, is true in the natural.

Let me give you this example: Say I’m married to a wonderful man who has a great job. He provides all I need: a nice home, food on the table, heat, water, healthcare benefits, a 401(k), vacations, and clothing. He brings me gifts and gives me opportunities to take time for my own needs and well-being. There is one thing he does; He hits my daughter once in a while. It’s only once in a while, here and there. Compared to everything else he does and provides it’s really quite insignificant. And besides, my daughter is weak and believes this is really the best answer. She made some mistakes and she can’t really expect there to be a better outcome than this. She understands all the other good things he does for us so she just concentrates on those things while he hits her.

I hope and pray that if I really was in this situation and believed this, you would think I was nuts! You may even want to call the authorities on me and my husband for allowing this to happen. I hope you would tell me how wrong this is. I hope that you would encourage me to leave this man, at least until he received help and understood the evil that was present in his actions. I hope that you would not settle for this life for my daughter.

The truth is we settle for this type of action for our daughters every day. We live in a society that chooses death. It tells women, even young girls, that there is nothing wrong with death. God says death is a curse; society says death is our right and legal choice. They say death is healthcare.

I fully understand that there will always be people in this world who will choose the world’s system over that of God’s. They will believe the lies they are told, that they are weak and need to get rid of their mistakes, make up for their mistakes on their own terms.

But God says we can’t get rid of our mistakes, our sins, on our own terms. Our sin is only removed through the blood of Jesus and we can only receive the blood of Jesus by choosing life, not death.

So as I have opportunity to call people’s attention to the outrageous acceptance of organizations that provide abortions, that say it’s okay to choose death, I will.

Yes, they provide various healthcare options and services for women all across this country. Yes, they meet the needs of many women. But, on occasion, once in a while, they kill babies.

I mean, women are weak (that’s what one woman told me), they are weak and this is the only way they know to deal with their mistake, their accident. It’s completely reasonable that we would overlook this atrocity for all the other benefits these organizations provide. We can’t really be expected to choose life when it hurts, when our situation is difficult, when it’s inconvenient for our own life, can we?

I’m here to tell you this thinking is nuts! This is wrong! Why on earth would we support this thinking for our daughters? When do we stop looking out for our own benefits and comforts and realize the horrible position in which we have helped to put other women? Maybe ourselves?

I choose to stand here and tell you life is a blessing and when you choose life in the natural, you are choosing a blessing. Death is a curse. Death is the consequence of sin in our own lives and the evil actions of others. And while we can’t undo the curse of our own or others actions, Jesus can.

When we stop choosing death and choose life in Christ, He alone removes the curse and gives us abundant blessings; life that never ends.

“Now choose life, so that you and your children may live…” Deuteronomy 19b

Life is a blessing. Life is a blessing when it hurts, when it’s difficult and even when it’s inconvenient. Even what we think is an unplanned life is a blessing because God planned it.

“For you (God) created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13 (NIV)

Something to Consider…

Through Jesus, God redeems completely. If you have experienced the pain of an unplanned pregnancy and have chosen an abortion, I want you to know that God loves you and understands your pain. He wants to bless you through your choosing life in Jesus. If you are sorry for having chosen an abortion, tell God. He will forgive you. It’s a promise. You can know the full and abundant love and life found in Christ.

If you believe life is a blessing and death through abortion is not okay, help stop the lie and share the truth of the life found in Christ. He alone can right the wrongs and bring blessings when all that is seen is a curse. Help others understand and know they can choose life!

God’s Glory

“Ascribe to the Lord, O might ones, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” Psalm 29:1-2 (NIV)

This past weekend, I was working on a Bible study for an upcoming women’s retreat. One of the questions is, “We are to experience God’s glory, Christ’s love and the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives. Which do want to experience in a greater way? Explain.”

I often spend time reflecting on what I write, asking God if it’s accurate, true, what He wants said, but I also ask myself the questions and reflect on my answers just like I ask others to do when participating in a study. So this morning, as I opened the blinds to see the sun rise, I considered God’s glory and what that really means. What does it mean to experience God’s glory?

I sat down to read, not sure of what I’d choose, I just opened my Bible to begin the search. I looked down to see where I was and there was Psalm 29.

“The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.” Psalm 29:3-4 (NIV)

It goes on to describe the powerful force God is in nature and His glory that is revealed to us every day.

I am not one to worship at the throne of celebrity. I’ve never been into backstage passes, autograph signings or pictures with the stars. What they do is cool at some level and I enjoy it in some way but they are just people like me whose life just happens to be on display for all to see.

So I wonder: do I put God in this category as well? Do I just feel so comfortable with Him that I don’t give Him the glory and honor due? Do I ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name? Do I worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness? Sometimes, yes, but not nearly with the gratefulness or fullness that I should.

Bill Cosby use to tell a joke about his children and him telling one of them, “I brought you into this world, I can take you out.”

This is the God who can destroy everything at the mere sound of His voice. I think of this world and the bad things that happen and wonder why He doesn’t just wipe us out. We hurt each other regularly, some worse than others. If we don’t kill physically, we kill each other with our words emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

This God whose voice can shake the desserts and twist the oaks; instead of destroying, He gives strength to His people and blesses them with peace. We have done nothing to deserve such compassion and grace.

God in His glory decided to bring us into this world. He chose us as His own. He could take us out if He wanted, but He doesn’t. Instead, He brought His son into this world to take our place, to take upon Himself the weight of our transgressions and sins and iniquities, our infirmities and sorrows. All so we could be reconciled to God and live with Him forever. All so we could experience His strength and peace. What a mighty and great, loving and compassionate God we have.

“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” Psalm 29:10-11 (NIV)

Something to Consider…

Spend some time taking in all God has created, all of the beautiful and intricate detail He has put into everything He has made. Everything in nature fulfills its purpose for Him.

Consider the care He took in creating you, precious and unique in His eye. Do you use what He gave to fulfill His purpose for you? Do you bring Him honor and glory in what you do and how you speak to others? Can your voice, like His, destroy? Or do you speak with His strength and peace?

All We Need!

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

How do you compare a woman to a merchant ship and not offend her? The first thought that comes to mind is that it is huge!!! It is like a work horse. It carries the weight of the cargo, workers, and supplies all on its own. It travels long distances with no rest. No woman wants to be compared to a merchant ship!

And yet the Bible does just that. The advice to a son is that a woman who is like a merchant ship is a good thing. Why?

“She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.” Proverbs 31:14 (NIV)

Considering my original thoughts, someone comes to mind who is strong, resourceful, capable, and well prepared for whatever comes her way. Another woman explained how she imagined a merchant ship to be exotic, unique and exquisite. She now sounds practical, beautiful and adventurous! Wow! Maybe it’s not so bad to be compared to a merchant ship.

Do you wonder, “Is this me? Am I all these things?” These are questions that have often, too often gone through my mind. Do any of them sound familiar?

  • Sometimes I’m weak and I don’t want to deal with things or I just break down and cry.
  • Sometimes I don’t know how I’m going to do what needs to be done.
  • Where am I going to find the time that I need?
  • Do I know and understand enough about what I’m trying to accomplish or what someone else expects me to be able to accomplish?
  • Am I ready when I need to be ready?
  • Have I done everything in my power to be ready?

There are times in life when these questions can cause us to get wound up and shut down. There is just too much to think about, too much to do, too much to manage.

“Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time — pray that our God will make you fit for what he’s called you to be, pray that he’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11 (MSG)

The truth is we are called to do what God wants us to do; nothing more, nothing less. He gives us what we need when we need it. He gives us more than we can ever imagine. When we give ourselves freely to Jesus, we bring Him honor and He honors us as well, providing all we need.

Do you trust Him to give you what you need? Provide for you the resources, the opportunities, and the desire to accomplish what He has called you to do? Through Christ we have all we need.

Something to Consider…

When you feel like the activities, obligations, or situations you find yourself in are too much for you, where do you go? Who or what do you turn to? Ask God to show you anything you are doing that He has not called you to do. Ask the Holy Spirit to come into those situations or activities He does want you involved with and give you His strength to accomplish all He asks. Write a prayer of thanksgiving for His provision, strength and guidance in all situations.