Never Fade

2019-12-02 08.52.23

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Deuteronomy 4:9

Suggested reading before reading: Exodus 4-5 (NLT)

Exodus 4 starts out with Moses posing a couple “what if..” questions. Been there for sure! Knee deep (who am I kidding) neck deep in “what if…” worry; anyone else been there too?! Come on, even for a short visit of hyperventilating panic?!

I think it’s safe to say Moses was visiting this place, right here in Ex. 4. God however is never in that state of mind but He will visit that place just to pull us out of it. Amen! That’s just what we see Him do with Moses as He combats his list of worried “What if’s…” with “What IS…”

Good golly sometimes the quickest way out of the worried quicksand of “what if…” is to stand on what IS! And you may say, “but that is just it, I’m worried about what is!!” So look at what Moses does with what is…

God asked Moses what IS in your hand (vs. 2)?  And Moses responds, a shepherd’s staff. But you know what it’s called by verse 20?! In his hand he carried the staff of God. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, if I place what IS, in God’s hand, He can transform my perspective of the whole thing and see it not just as a “shepherds staff” but the “staff of God”!

Verse 17 God instructs Moses to “use it” as “I have shown you.” verse 21 “as “I have empowered you to do.”

Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 2 Cor. 5:5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has give us his Holy Spirit. 

Romans 8:11 says that Spirit is the one that raised Jesus Christ from the dead!! Talk about power! And in case we have any doubt He clarifies it in 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

John 15:5 states, apart from Him we can do nothing! Zech. 4:6 …Not by might not by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty.

So who needs to go back to what IS and wrap it in His Truth and trust Him to be I AM over it? Who needs a perspective change to see what IS in your hand is something of great value and worth and was given to you to steward for His mighty purpose? Will we choose to use it? Will we take time with Him to let Him show us how?

Maybe these are not easy questions but as you know Christmas trees are everywhere this time of year and maybe they can help us with this…

Evergreens do not fade they are EVER green and keep their leaves even when other trees will loose theirs in winter or dry seasons. Tempting isn’t it, to fade in the “winter and dry” seasons of life.

It is due to the shape of the evergreen needle that allows it to store up more water than other trees and thus is able to thrive when others will die. (Just think of all that wasted time if an evergreen sat around wondering “what IF” it could just be a beautiful maple until they saw a maples leaves shrivel up and die?! Maybe we should just start enjoying “what IS”!)

How does the evergreen reinforce their survival you ask?! Well… the evergreen needle litter has a higher carbon-nitrogen ratio which increases the soil’s acidity and lowers the nitrogen content. Sooo this enables conditions that favor the growth of MORE evergreens and the shelter of the existing evergreens then make it easier for the younger ones to survive in the winter and dry seasons as they establish their roots and grow up!

My take away…

While everyone is giving gifts around the evergreen Christmas tree I’ll remember John 4:10 “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked  him and he would have give you living water.”  

The gift of LIVING WATER found in His Word is what I need to be drinking from constantly so that I have a storage in my “needles”, my heart, for the wintry dry seasons of life of which the Holy Spirit can bring back to my mind. Bring back what IS His Truth at the time I need it (John 14:26) in order to remain ever green and thrive in any season!

I’ll remember an evergreen is not ever green only for itself… it is a shelter for those under it. Filled with His living water and firmly rooted in what IS I can let go of what IF and encourage those around and under me to grow into His purpose for them too! I can take courage to seize opportunity to share with others the everlasting joy found in His living water that no “what IF…” of this world can shake!

I’ll remember to pray that when my life is gone and my “needles drop”, the soil, the legacy of faith left behind will be fertile ground for “saplings” still to come to sink their roots into and not let His glory fade but to grow and glow brightly in faith!

Live evergreen without fear or fade dear one! What IS His glory is just too bright!

Allow Him to shine His glory, the hope you have in Jesus, into the world through what IS right now, YOU!

And never fade.

Independent Read: Hebrews 12:2, John 3:16

kNOw God, kNOw love

2019-11-28 09.26.42

 

…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… Joshua 24:15

Love. Isn’t that what we all long for? To be accepted, valued, included, secure… What if I said, we all have it… but the real question is if we’ll choose it.

Joseph could have lashed out at the lack of love he felt from his family but in Genesis 50:19 he responds, Am I God, that I can punish you? and he even goes a step further in saying, I will continue to take care of you… AND he reassures his family by, speaking kindly to them... (vs. 21).

WHAT?! I tell ya what, that is not the worlds way is it! The world is quick to validate a wrong for a wrong. But Joseph, Joseph displayed a higher source of strength within. A source others took notice of. Genesis 41:37 states, Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?

In Exodus 1 when the Hebrew midwives are ordered by Pharaoh to kill all the baby boys, verse 17 states, But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the kings orders.

“Feared God…” hmmm and what does Proverbs 9:10 say that stirs up? The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. If I want to choose well, good golly I could use a fresh stirring up of a reverent Holy Fear of our God, daily!

Joseph in holy fear of his God was given good judgement in his situation.

Romans 12:19 (NIV) Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Proverbs 21:23 (MSG) Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.

The midwives in Exodus, like Joseph, were blessed by God through their choice to be obedient to Him in the scary, in the unexplainable, in the hurt… they chose to let God rule their hearts and minds, to rest in trust and faith over striving for control in turbulent frustration (Ex. 1:21, Gen. 41:41).

Deuteronomy 28 is a refreshing read as it clearly lists the incredible benefits for trusting and obeying God alongside the curses for disobedience. Just like driving, the lines on the road give us clear expectations for right driving. They are for us to follow in order to keep ourselves and everyone around us on the road safe. If we choose to ignore them… well, it is not going to be pretty is it, talk about some turbulent frustration to say the least!!!

Deut. 28:47 clearly states the choice is ours to make, If you do not serve the LORD your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received, you will serve your enemies…

Deut. 28:38 tells me disobedience leads to me working hard but gaining little…for locusts will eat your crops.

But amazing, amazing grace is what set’s belief in Jesus as our personal God and Savior apart from anything else!! Because even though we make mistakes, and sometimes even make ridiculous choices like ignoring “road lines” and end up with locusts eating up all our crops, so to speak… We have Joel 2:25-27!!!! Verse 25 states, The LORD says, I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts… Talk about AMAZING GRACE, MERCY, FORGIVENESS AND LOVE!!!

Romans 6 also holds incredible hope for all who would turn from living for self and live for Jesus! But again God leaves that choice to us, He will not force any of us to choose Him.

Romans 6:16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. (vs. 23) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  

Yes, that said FREE GIFT!! Does that not hit home especially around the time everyone is trying to give gifts that so often put us in debt?! Jesus offers eternal life… for FREE, we must only choose to believe in His death on the cross in our place, for our sin, for all our ridiculous choices, in order to be made new and receive eternal life with Him! For Jesus rose from the grave and conquered death for us!

There is no greater love than His. Will you choose to accept it today? Maybe you have… then will we choose to give it away like Joseph did… like Jesus does? Freely.

…Freely you have received; freely give. Matt. 10:8

Independent Read: 1 John 4:7-8 (kNOw God, kNOw love)

kNOw God, kNOw love

2019-11-28 09.26.42

…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… Joshua 24:15

Love. Isn’t that what we all long for? To be accepted, valued, included, secure… What if I said, we all have it… but the real question is if we’ll choose it. 

Joseph could have lashed out at the lack of love he felt from his family but in Genesis 50:19 he responds, Am I God, that I can punish you? and he even goes a step further in saying, I will continue to take care of you… AND he reassures his family by, speaking kindly to them... (vs. 21).

WHAT?! I tell ya what, that is not the worlds way is it! The world is quick to validate a wrong for a wrong. But Joseph, Joseph displayed a higher source of strength within. A source others took notice of. Genesis 41:37 states, Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?

In Exodus 1 when the Hebrew midwives are ordered by Pharaoh to kill all the baby boys, verse 17 states, But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the kings orders.

“Feared God…” hmmm and what does Proverbs 9:10 say that stirs up? The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. If I want to choose well, good golly I could use a fresh stirring up of a reverent Holy Fear of our God, daily! 

Joseph in holy fear of his God was given good judgement in his situation. 

Romans 12:19 (NIV) Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Proverbs 21:23 (MSG) Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.

The midwives in Exodus, like Joseph, were blessed by God through their choice to be obedient to Him in the scary, in the unexplainable, in the hurt… they chose to let God rule their hearts and minds, to rest in trust and faith over striving for control in turbulent frustration (Ex. 1:21, Gen. 41:41). 

Deuteronomy 28 is a refreshing read as it clearly lists the incredible benefits for trusting and obeying God alongside the curses for disobedience. Just like driving, the lines on the road give us clear expectations for right driving. They are for us to follow in order to keep ourselves and everyone around us on the road safe. If we choose to ignore them… well, it is not going to be pretty is it, talk about some turbulent frustration to say the least!!! 

Deut. 28:47 clearly states the choice is ours to make, If you do not serve the LORD your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received, you will serve your enemies…

Deut. 28:38 tells me disobedience leads to me working hard but gaining little…for locusts will eat your crops.

But amazing, amazing grace is what set’s belief in Jesus as our personal God and Savior apart from anything else!! Because even though we make mistakes, and sometimes even make ridiculous choices like ignoring “road lines” and end up with locusts eating up all our crops, so to speak… We have Joel 2:25-27!!!! Verse 25 states, The LORD says, I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts… Talk about AMAZING GRACE, MERCY, FORGIVENESS AND LOVE!!!

Romans 6 also holds incredible hope for all who would turn from living for self and live for Jesus! But again God leaves that choice to us, He will not force any of us to choose Him.

Romans 6:16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. (vs. 23) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  

Yes, that said FREE GIFT!! Does that not hit home especially around the time everyone is trying to give gifts that so often put us in debt?! Jesus offers eternal life… for FREE, we must only choose to believe in His death on the cross in our place, for our sin, for all our ridiculous choices, in order to be made new and receive eternal life with Him! For Jesus rose from the grave and conquered death for us! 

There is no greater love than His. Will you choose to accept it today? Maybe you have… then will we choose to give it away like Joseph did… like Jesus does? Freely.

…Freely you have received; freely give. Matt. 10:8

Independent Read: 1 John 4:7-8 (kNOw God, kNOw love)

 

 

kNOw God, kNOw love

2019-11-28 09.26.42

…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… Joshua 24:15

Love. Isn’t that what we all long for? To be accepted, valued, included, secure… What if I said, we all have it… but the real question is if we’ll choose it. 

Joseph could have lashed out at the lack of love he felt from his family but in Genesis 50:19 he responds, Am I God, that I can punish you? and he even goes a step further in saying, I will continue to take care of you… AND he reassures his family by, speaking kindly to them... (vs. 21).

WHAT?! I tell ya what, that is not the worlds way is it! The world is quick to validate a wrong for a wrong. But Joseph, Joseph displayed a higher source of strength within. A source others took notice of. Genesis 41:37 states, Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?

In Exodus 1 when the Hebrew midwives are ordered by Pharaoh to kill all the baby boys, verse 17 states, But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the kings orders.

“Feared God…” hmmm and what does Proverbs 9:10 say that stirs up? The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. If I want to choose well, good golly I could use a fresh stirring up of a reverent Holy Fear of our God, daily! 

Joseph in holy fear of his God was given good judgement in his situation. 

Romans 12:19 (NIV) Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Proverbs 21:23 (MSG) Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.

The midwives in Exodus, like Joseph, were blessed by God through their choice to be obedient to Him in the scary, in the unexplainable, in the hurt… they chose to let God rule their hearts and minds, to rest in trust and faith over striving for control in turbulent frustration (Ex. 1:21, Gen. 41:41). 

Deuteronomy 28 is a refreshing read as it clearly lists the incredible benefits for trusting and obeying God alongside the curses for disobedience. Just like driving, the lines on the road give us clear expectations for right driving. They are for us to follow in order to keep ourselves and everyone around us on the road safe. If we choose to ignore them… well, it is not going to be pretty is it, talk about some turbulent frustration to say the least!!! 

Deut. 28:47 clearly states the choice is ours to make, If you do not serve the LORD your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received, you will serve your enemies…

Deut. 28:38 tells me disobedience leads to me working hard but gaining little…for locusts will eat your crops.

But amazing, amazing grace is what set’s belief in Jesus as our personal God and Savior apart from anything else!! Because even though we make mistakes, and sometimes even make ridiculous choices like ignoring “road lines” and end up with locusts eating up all our crops, so to speak… We have Joel 2:25-27!!!! Verse 25 states, The LORD says, I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts… Talk about AMAZING GRACE, MERCY, FORGIVENESS AND LOVE!!!

Romans 6 also holds incredible hope for all who would turn from living for self and live for Jesus! But again God leaves that choice to us, He will not force any of us to choose Him.

Romans 6:16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. (vs. 23) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  

Yes, that said FREE GIFT!! Does that not hit home especially around the time everyone is trying to give gifts that so often put us in debt?! Jesus offers eternal life… for FREE, we must only choose to believe in His death on the cross in our place, for our sin, for all our ridiculous choices, in order to be made new and receive eternal life with Him! For Jesus rose from the grave and conquered death for us! 

There is no greater love than His. Will you choose to accept it today? Maybe you have… then will we choose to give it away like Joseph did… like Jesus does? Freely.

…Freely you have received; freely give. Matt. 10:8

Independent Read: 1 John 4:7-8 (kNOw God, kNOw love)

 

 

kNOw God, kNOw Love

2019-11-28 09.26.42

…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… Joshua 24:15

Love. Isn’t that what we all long for? To be accepted, valued, included, secure… What if I said, we all have it… but the real question is if we’ll choose it.

Joseph could have lashed out at the lack of love he felt from his family but in Genesis 50:19 he responds, Am I God, that I can punish you? and he even goes a step further in saying, I will continue to take care of you… AND he reassures his family by, speaking kindly to them... (vs. 21).

WHAT?! I tell ya what, that is not the worlds way is it! The world is quick to validate a wrong for a wrong. But Joseph, Joseph displayed a higher source of strength within. A source others took notice of. Genesis 41:37 states, Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?

In Exodus 1 when the Hebrew midwives are ordered by Pharaoh to kill all the baby boys, verse 17 states, But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the kings orders.

“Feared God…” hmmm and what does Proverbs 9:10 say that stirs up? The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. If I want to choose well, good golly I could use a fresh stirring up of a reverent Holy Fear of our God, daily!

Joseph in holy fear of his God was given good judgement in his situation.

Romans 12:19 (NIV) Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Proverbs 21:23 (MSG) Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.

The midwives in Exodus, like Joseph, were blessed by God through their choice to be obedient to Him in the scary, in the unexplainable, in the hurt… they chose to let God rule their hearts and minds, to rest in trust and faith over striving for control in turbulent frustration (Ex. 1:21, Gen. 41:41).

Deuteronomy 28 is a refreshing read as it clearly lists the incredible benefits for trusting and obeying God alongside the curses for disobedience. Just like driving, the lines on the road give us clear expectations for right driving. They are for us to follow in order to keep ourselves and everyone around us on the road safe. If we choose to ignore them… well, it is not going to be pretty is it, talk about some turbulent frustration to say the least!!!

Deut. 28:47 clearly states the choice is ours to make, If you do not serve the LORD your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received, you will serve your enemies…

Deut. 28:38 tells me disobedience leads to me working hard but gaining little…for locusts will eat your crops.

But amazing, amazing grace is what set’s belief in Jesus as our personal God and Savior apart from anything else!! Because even though we make mistakes, and sometimes even make ridiculous choices like ignoring “road lines” and end up with locusts eating up all our crops, so to speak… We have Joel 2:25-27!!!! Verse 25 states, The LORD says, I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts… Talk about AMAZING GRACE, MERCY, FORGIVENESS AND LOVE!!!

Romans 6 also holds incredible hope for all who would turn from living for self and live for Jesus! But again God leaves that choice to us, He will not force any of us to choose Him.

Romans 6:16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. (vs. 23) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  

Yes, that said FREE GIFT!! Does that not hit home especially around the time everyone is trying to give gifts that so often put us in debt?! Jesus offers eternal life… for FREE, we must only choose to believe in His death on the cross in our place, for our sin, for all our ridiculous choices, in order to be made new and receive eternal life with Him! For Jesus rose from the grave and conquered death for us!

There is no greater love than His. Will you choose to accept it today? Maybe you have… then will we choose to give it away like Joseph did… like Jesus does? Freely.

…Freely you have received; freely give. Matt. 10:8

Independent Read: 1 John 4:7-8 (kNOw God, kNOw love)

 

 

Try Fighting Why With Why

2019-11-27 15.45.49

…he gave his one and only Son… John 3:16

Crazy the difference just one chapter can make! I mean John chapter 11 smells like death and by John chapter 12 it’s smelling like expensive perfume! So don’t give up if your current chapter smells a bit unpleasant. It’s a chapter and in Jesus pages are always turning!

The same scenario in John 12 is depicted in Mark 14:3-9. I see two questions asked in this passage beginning with, “Why…?” The first question is asked by a judgmental audience. They couldn’t believe someone would just spill out such expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet.

I wonder how quickly and wrongly I’ve judged another because I didn’t understand their “why”?

This gal’s offering to Jesus cost her something. Am I willing to offer Jesus something of value? Do I offer Him anything that might actually cost me something? Or do I play it safe, either because of my lack of trust or just plain unwillingness to be made uncomfortable?

This crowd asked this gal, “Why waste such expensive perfume?” (vs. 4) But I see Jesus fight their “Why..?” with His own “Why…?”! He replies in verse 6, Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me? 

Anytime we are willing to step out for Him, we can trust Him to stand up for us.

Jesus fought the “why” with a “why”. Maybe the next time we have a “why”… a why does it have to be this way… why did this or that happen or not happen…?! We can fight it with His “why”.

Why did Jesus leave heaven and come to earth? Why did He die on the cross?

…because God is love. 1 John 4:8

Jesus came to earth so we could know God. Jesus came in obedience to the Father’s will. Jesus died for our sin, clearing a debt He didn’t owe because we couldn’t pay. Jesus came to open a way for us to live eternally in His heavenly kingdom.

Why? Because He loves you.

We may not have answers for all of our “whys” on earth (1 Cor. 13:12) but we can choose to fight all our fears, doubts and worries with the facts of His “why”.

And, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him — 1 Cor. 2:9

Just before we exit this story, Jesus praises this dear woman. Why? Because, she has done what she could…(verse 8) 

Don’t give up in this chapter because you think all you have is just a little fight left. All that you are, all that you have, no matter how much or little that seems, it’s enough.

You’re enough.

Why?

Because on the cross God said so.

Independent Read: Philippians 2:5-8

What You Really Want…

Man giving present to woman

Our money is gone! they cried. But please give us food… Genesis 47:15

Interesting isn’t it… that the people cried out that their money was gone but what they asked for was NOT more money… but rather food!

So often it takes getting to the end of our resources to figure out our need is NOT more REsources but rather just The Source of all resources.

The Source of life is Jesus Christ. He is the Bread of Life (John 6:35). These people in Genesis offered themselves as slaves to Pharaoh in order to survive. They say, Just give us grain so we may live and not die… (vs. 19) Joseph provides these people with seed to plant their fields (vs. 23).

For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. 2 Cor. 9:10

In Genesis the food produced from the seed was to be for themselves, their households and their little ones (vs. 24).

These commands that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9

In Genesis the people exclaim, You have saved us! and they wish to remain as Pharaoh’s servants. (Gen. 47:25)

You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 1 Corinthians 7:23

Jesus paid our way to eternity with His life. To all who would believe on Him as their God, their personal Savior will not perish but have eternal life! (John 3:16)

Paul in Romans 1:1 declares himself to be a servant of Jesus, called and set apart for the gospel, the Good News that Jesus came to save us all! That through our belief in His death and resurrection we receive new life in Christ!

We can live forever with the One who knit you together and holds all your tears in a bottle because He cares just that much about you! Jesus is the only filling that will satisfy the deepest crave of our hearts and fill the void in the deepest darkest night.

Jesus is what we really want. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t wring yourself dry. Don’t waste your purpose on the next empty cause.

Don’t sell yourself.

GIVE yourself.

Give yourself to Jesus. The Bread of True Life, the great I AM all you’ll ever need and the One who truly wants…

YOU.

Independent Read: Romans 8:38-39