My Determined Purpose

For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death… (Philippians 3:10, Amplified)

This world holds so many attractions and distractions. There are so many things to do. So much knowledge to gain. So many goals to meet, that we could very easily lose sight of what is important in this life and that is knowing God.

As I look at my Bible this morning I am amazed at not just what the Words of this Book tell us, but what It’s very existence tells us. It is wise counsel from a very present and loving God. It is instructions from Our Commander and Chief. It is as some say an owner’s manual for life. However, this morning I see something else. I see a book about God and His ways. I see that He wants to be known.

The Bible shares accounts of the lives of men who made knowing Him their goal, their determined purpose. Paul was one of them and he was chosen to share the Gospel with the Gentiles and to write much of the New Testament.

Abraham became the father of faith and of God’s chosen people. Noah built an ark and his family was saved. Moses led God’s people out of Egypt. Joshua led them into the promised land. Joseph led two nations to plenty during an extended time of famine. David slew the giant and became a mighty king.

These men knew Him in ways that were most uncommon. And they went on to do most uncommon things. And it wasn’t just about knowing that God exists. It wasn’t just about knowing what God had done for them. It was about knowing Him.

Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You [progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with You, perceiving and recognizing and understanding more strongly and clearly]… (Exodus 33:13, Amplified)

Happy Thanksgiving!

On this Thanksgiving Day I want to take a look at the account of the ten lepers that were healed in Luke 17 (KJV).

And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priest. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Now, I’d like to take a moment and look at three Greek words here. The first is ‘katharizo’ which is translated as the English word ‘cleansed’ twice in this passage. It means to make clean or to cleanse, to purge or purify.

The second word is the Greek word ‘iaomai’ translated as the word ‘healed’. It means to cure, heal, make whole.

And finally one of my favorite Greek words, ‘sozo’ which is translated here as the word ‘whole’. Recently I listened to Billye Brim teach on the Hebrew word ‘shalom’ which means peace. The definition she gives for this word is “completeness, wholeness, nothing missing and nothing broken; the peace that comes from being whole.” She said that the same concept is carried over into the New Testament in the Greek word ‘sozo’.

So why use three different words in this passage. It says that these leper were cleansed.Then it says one saw that he was healed. Then it said that the one who returned to give thanks was made whole.

While the ten were cleansed and healed, only the one that returned to give thanks was made whole. He alone walked away with the peace the comes from having nothing missing and nothing broken in his life. He alone walked away not just cleansed and healed, but with the peace, the wholeness, that Jesus alone can give.

I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for my nation and those fighting for her freedom. I am thankful for so many things in my life today. But let us not forget to be thankful for the one that died for us all. Let us be thankful for all that Jesus is to us and has done for us, because nothing in this world can give us peace, wholeness, completeness, healing, salvation, deliverance, and love like He can and like He has!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son… that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16,17 KJV)

saved=sozo

Now thanks be to God for His Gift, [precious] beyond telling [His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift]! (2 Corinthians 9:15, Amplified)

Seated In Heavenly Places

…he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:20-23, KJV)

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus… (Ephesians 2:4-6, KJV)

God has been accused of many things in this earth. He is credited with deadly storms and natural disasters. He is accused of turning a blind eye to the sufferings that take place in this world. He is accused of doing nothing to intervene on behalf of the oppressed. And all of these are lies.

He intervened by sacrificing His own Son. What did this sacrifice accomplish on our behalf? It not only brought us back into fellowship with the King of the Universe, but into union with Him as members of the Body of Christ. And through that union you and I are now seated with Him in heavenly places.

These places are far above the true culprit in this world. Jesus said in John 10:10 (KJV), “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” 

First John 3:8 (Amplified) tells us, “The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done].

When Jesus encountered a dangerous storm He didn’t say, “Oh, Father why did You send this deadly storm?” No, He took authority over that storm, rebuked it and it ceased. When He encountered sickness and death, He didn’t attribute it to His heavenly Father. He rebuked sickness, disease, demonic oppression and even death.

We have been given authority to use His Name to enforce His victory in this earth. Because of His great love He intervened by seating us in Jesus above all principalites and powers. It is time for the church to learn about her authority in this earth. The authority we have in His Name and through our being seated in heavenly places in Him.

Father thank You for Your intervention. Thank You for sending Your only Son so that we might be saved by Him and seated with Him. Teach us about the authority we have as believers. Teach us what it means to be seated in heavenly places. Teach us how to enforce in this earth all that Love purchased for us. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Recommended reading: “The Authority of the Believer” by John A. MacMillan

Walking in the Light

One day I asked the Father to teach me about the commandment of love. I fell asleep with that question on my heart. I awoke the next morning to these words, “I am teaching you how to walk in the light.”

First John 1:5 tells us that God is Light. Walking in His commandment to love will cause you to walk in Him, vitally united to Him, to walk in His Light, to walk in the Light that is Him. What does that mean?

When you wander around in the dark, you bump into things. You make mistakes. You stumble and fall. You don’t see the full picture and make decisions based on half-truths or lies, because it’s all the truth you could see in the dark.

However, when you walk in the light, you see with His eyes, you know His truths and they will lead you into His ways with His results. Walking in His commands will lead you to walk in the light, even when you don’t realize it.

I like this example from history. The Jewish people have very strict dietary and hygiene laws that they’ve kept simply because the LORD commanded them to. The keeping of these laws was credited with keeping the Jews free of infection during the Bubonic Plague. Many people at this time didn’t wash their hands before eating. Many didn’t care where their water or food came from and due to this many became ill and died. But not the Jews. The commands God had given them kept them safe.

First John 1:10 (Amplified) says, “Whoever loves his brother [believer] abides (lives) in the Light, and in It or in him there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin.” Can you imagine a life without stumbling, error or sin?

Verse 11 (Amplified) goes on to say, “But he who hates (detests, despises) his brother [in Christ] is in darkness and walking (living) in the dark; he is straying and does not perceive or know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” Are you walking around in the light or with blinded eyes?

I’ve mentioned earlier that God’s commands to us are for our benefit. He was showing us how to walk in life, in health, in joy and peace. In Romans 13:9-10 (Amplified) tells us that when we walk in love we fulfill them all.

The commandments, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet (have an evil desire) and any other commandment, are summed up in the single command, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.

Love does no wrong to one’s neighbor [it never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law.

Jesus walked this out perfectly for us and at the end of our days, we will walk into the fullness of the Light of God’s love. But even now, because of our receiving Jesus as our Savior, His love now lives in our hearts and we can walk in this light that leads to life, health, peace and joy here and now in this life on this earth.

My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother; Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life… (Proverbs 6:20-23, KJV).

What Would Love Give?

Today I want to share a couple of fun testimonies. God is the greatest gift giver. He knows just what to give. The first testimony involves a man that used to work with my husband, I’ll call him “Max”.

Max was a very interesting and unique character. His uniqueness made it difficult to really understand him. One day, my husband mentioned that Max was leaving the company to take another job. The moment my husband said it, I felt this love for Max rise up in my heart. I wanted to give him something.

I knew very little about him. I couldn’t quite grasp what he was like and what he would like. So I asked Daddy to help me pick out the right thing. One day as I browsed a gold and silver shop for some earrings I spotted a set of silver coins. It was a set of four or five coins with dinosaur heads on one side and a description of them on the back. The moment I saw them I wanted them for Max. They cost a little more than I had expected to spend. But in my heart they seemed perfect.

Perfect? I didn’t even know Max, how could they be perfect? But I knew my Daddy’s voice and He was saying this is perfect for him. So I bought them.

I attended Max’s going away lunch and gave him the gift. When he opened it he looked surprised. He asked, “How did you know?” He proceeded to tell us that he collects coins and that every year for his vacation he would go on dinosaur digs.

Who would’ve known? A heavenly Father that loves him.

The second testimony is about the desire of a mother’s heart. I’ll call her “Angie”. One day as I was browsing the baby section at Dillard’s, I spotted the cutest Baby Dior outfit. It was the softest onesie I had ever felt. It was white with blue stars. I was just looking for fun, but I clearly heard my Father’s voice say, “Buy that outfit.” I was a little surprised to hear this, but I bought it.

Later that day, I received a call to take food to a family whose newborn son was in the hospital. The Lord told me this outfit was for that baby. So the next day I took a meal to the home. I had just missed the parents, so I left the meal and the outfit. A few days later I received a card in the mail. Angie thanked me for the meal and then told me how pleasantly surprised she was with the outfit.

She said she had seen an outfit just like it with gold stars, but she really wanted one with blue stars. She had wanted one just like the one Daddy had me buy for her.

What did a baby outfit matter in the grand scheme of things? It didn’t. But God knew it mattered to this mother.

As I mentioned He is a great gift giver. He always gives the right gift.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17, KJV)

Invitation Accepted

Our team held a small Bible study in a women’s federal prison yesterday. As part of the study the LORD had me read to them my last three posts “Making Time”, “Enjoy the Ride” and “Invitations”. At the end of the study I asked the ladies that wanted to surrender all to Him, to please raise their hands to Him. Every lady responded immediately, without any hesitation. There were many tears and smiles. Some were rededicating their lives to Him. Some were committing to a deeper walk with Him. And one was accepting His invitation for the first time. She accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior! To God be the Glory!

Invitations

In my post from two days ago I shared on making time to spend with God. I do encourage people to set a time aside for God each day, a time to read His Word and pray, a time to sit on the Potter’s wheel and be changed. Especially if you find yourself doing this less and less as the responsibilities of life begin to crowd in. However, I also shared about making time for God in every moment of your day. Today I want to show you how. It’s very simple you see. All you have to do is answer God’s invitations.

God sends invitations? Oh, yes indeed.

Just as I’m waking up each morning I’ll hear a song, a scripture, a word that starts me thinking on Him. And each morning I recognize these as “invitations” to spend time with Him. I’ll get out of bed and put on that song, read that scripture or start searching the scriptures with the word He spoke in my heart that morning. I don’t have a set time anymore, but I do spend time with Him every morning. I simply respond to His invitation.

He always wakes me before anyone else in the house, well before I have to start my day. How many times have you awakened well before the alarm and thought about spending time with Him only to roll over and go back to sleep?

When I wake up at 2:00 a.m. I watch for a moment to see if He is inviting me. If I don’t hear anything or sense His tugging in my heart, I roll over and go back to sleep. But if He is wanting to spend time with me I go and meet with Him no matter what the time.

I enjoy spending time with Him in these early morning hours and then crawling back into bed thinking about Him.

His invitations don’t just come in those early morning hours. As I go about my day, I’ll hear a song, I’ll think of a scripture, I’ll hear a word in my heart and once again, I simply respond to His invitation. The songs invite me to worship Him. The scriptures invite me to spend time in His Word. And often, the songs and the scriptures lead me into prayer. Praying about needs as He leads, but more often than not, just talking to Him.

I mentioned in one post about talking to Him about the butterflies when they fly by. I see every butterfly as an invitation to talk to Him. I see every sunset and every rainbow as a launching pad for our next conversation. I talk to Him about the flowers, the birds and the trees. I talk to Him about the pretty things I see in the stores.

After each mistake I make there’s always on open invitation to receive His mercy and to crawl in His lap with 1 John 1:9 and repent and be changed.

At the end of the day I have spent much time in prayer, much time in His word, much time in worship and not because I planned it, but simply because I recognized and responded to the invitations.