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The rain is gone, the sun is out but what is this new day all about? I make my first move as I step out of bed, my feet obey but they don’t agree with my head. I question myself and I begin to reason. Lord how long will these steps produce life… is there truly a reason? Do I listen with my heart or listen to your Word? My emotions cloud my mind and I am not heard. So I ask myself where my steps bring me today:
- Are my steps empty or do they direct me to a path of His righteousness?
- Are my steps a straight line projecting me forward in Him or to sin?
- Do these steps form a circle only to repeat the same task over again?
- Do they form a period where I find myself at pause waiting for something to change?
God your word is a light unto my path so what happens when my feelings and emotions get in the way? As a woman of God, I command my flesh to listen and I turn to your Word. “God are my steps important to You?”
Follow in Christ steps
I Peter 2:21, “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.”
The North Gate to the Tabernacle – seven steps
Ezekiel 40:22, “Its windows and its porches and its palm tree ornaments had the same measurements as the gate which faced toward the east; and it was reached by seven steps, and its porch was in front of them.”
Solomon’s Riches – six steps to the throne
I King 10: 18-20… “Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with refined gold. There were six steps to the throne and a round top to the throne at its rear, and arms on each side of the seat, and two lions standing beside the arms. Twelve lions were standing there on the six steps on the one side and on the other; nothing like it was made for any other kingdom.…”
Gates in the Inner Court – eight steps
Ezekiel 40:34, “Its porches were toward the outer court; and palm tree ornaments were on its side pillars, on each side, and its stairway had eight steps.
Walking a straight line can lead you to immorality. Your steps may require a turn.
Proverbs 5:3-6, “But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, Her steps take hold of Sheol. She does not ponder the path of life; Her ways are unstable, she does not know it.…”
The Lord will make firm your steps as you delight in Him.
Firm – secure, stable, fixed, steady, strong, safe, well-founded)
Psalm 37:23, “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;”
Steps are directed
Proverbs 20:24, “A man’s steps are directed by the LORD; how then can anyone understand his own way?”
Proverbs 16:8-9, “Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice. The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”
The Lord knows your steps before you make them. He is interested in You.
Psalm 139: 2-4, “You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.…”
The Word tells me steps can be specific in nature. Following Christ’s steps, even if it means suffering, teaches me obedience and to walk in His righteousness. The number of steps can produce life or death, they are never empty. Walking a straight line may lead me to destruction and I will need to know when to make decisions to turn. At times I may seem to walk in a circle but as I delight in God, He will direct my path. He knows my coming and going. Pausing and waiting upon the Lord leads me to this understanding today but I cannot stay here. I must now take on the day and ask God to order it.
There are so many passages referencing steps but these were just a few. It is clear that steps are important. They direct me to mountain tops from the valleys down below. It leads me out of storms and brings me to green pastures. When I cannot see I will turn to your Word. I will place my trust in the Holy Spirit who will direct my path.
Thank you God for answering my prayer today. Steps really do matter.
I was scanning pictures of family photos and came across a picture of my grandparents. They have gone on to be with the Lord now but the memories of yearly family reunions bring a smile to my face. Before sharing the meal, Grand Daddy Wells would have all of the family (50+) join hands and sing Amazing Grace. He would then follow it by saying a blessing over the food and a salvation prayer over all who were there. He pointed us to the cross. Their prayers over their children and grandchildren reached heaven but more importantly it allowed us to come face to face with Christ. I am grateful someone took the time to explain God’s love for me. Who has pointed you to the cross – a grandparent, a father, a mother, a friend, a pastor, a brother or sister, or maybe a stranger? Take a moment to be thankful for that person – they just pointed you to your salvation and abundant life in Christ.
I have been a Christian for over 35 years and still long to receive Godly counsel from mature men and women. Surrendering my life to Christ was my first true encounter as I knelt and asked for forgiveness at the altar… I met a man who shared a salvation message. A Bible study with friends will point me to the deeper things of God. During lunch or over a cup of coffee with a friend there are moments this person lovingly pointed me again back to the goodness of God. Early or late night talks with my husband help me refocus on the blessings and provision of God.
A stranger I might see in passing or a video can turn my attention to the Lord. I have driven down the street and noticed a person who had little hope? My prayer was “Jesus, for them you died.” It may come from a video someone shared with me. A song by someone who touched my spirit. These people did not even know my name but pointed me back to His mercy and love.
The Holy Spirit gently calls my name during the day and often reminds me of how wonderful my salvation is. When I struggle the Holy Spirit reminds me of His Word…create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. These are days when I am thankful to be reminded of the greatness of my God. There are days when I am weak – I am grateful for the strength of my God! There are days when I’m in wonder – I marvel at the glory of my God! There are days when I am sick – I turn to the healing power of the resurrection!
This Easter season we will all are reminded of the cross where Jesus died and rose again. Some may think of the crucified Christ but I think of the risen King who reigns! The cross is a place we all must come face to face with one day. Every knee (not some or just a few but ALL) will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.…Matthew 16:24-25.
Today I am thankful for the people known and unknown who have pointed me to the life in Christ. Happy Resurrection Day!
What happens when you cannot find joy? It doesn’t happen often but there are times when I am just empty of joy. I desperately start searching knowing that my mood will lift, my days will become brighter. I first ask myself why I am feeling this emptiness since all around me is God’s creation. His Word is living in my mouth and if I am quiet I can hear His creation sing. I am an overcomer. I long for laughter, and the joy which passes all understanding. My circumstances certainly justify me feeling down a day or so. Wrong! The world’s events can overwhelm the television and fill your house with hopelessness – surely this makes it okay to feel down. Wrong. So how do I stir a cry for joy? I have a few remedies that often help. God’s Word, love others, thankful heart and compassion are the prime ingredients for unspeakable joy.
I liked Kay Warren’s definition of Joy in her book called “Choose Joy”. It is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.
If you are seeking unspeakable joy, turn to God’s Word and read the stories of his people. They faced tribulation, prison and death but still found joy. How? I believe it was the assurance and Hope in Christ. I believe it was the power and authority of God’s Word in action. I don’t know about you but walking through the Red Sea believing God would part it took courage. Circling the city of Jericho while the enemy is coming toward you took unspeakable joy. There is something about lifting up our hands and shouting “I surrender and lift this circumstance to you God”. This is when a joy unspeakable can occur.
I Peter 1:7-9
So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.…
I was still looking for the unspeakable joy and found when I reached out to love others, my cup would begin to be filled. Listening to their stories and having compassion for them stirs something in me to restore my joy. Praying for the individual and believing God loves them just as deep and wide as He loves me.
Joy is not something to be felt in the midst of your circumstances, it is a commandment of Christ.
Jesus said 10“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.11“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. 12“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. (John 15:10-12)
The Glory of Zion
Isaiah 35:10…9No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; These will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there,10And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Yes, it is true I have down days and cannot always see the brighter side of life but I have the power and authority in Christ, to speak life into my day that joy WILL become pressed down, overflowing and unspeakable!
We are all receivers of information but have you stopped to think if your receiver is working properly? Your attitude can make a difference in your receiving; your proclamation can make a difference of what you receive; or your acceptance of how you receive may need a little tweaking. According to the Bible, our receivers are referred to over 754 times and love is referred to 750 times which tells me that our receivers are important.
Receive (350 occurrences) to admit; to accept; to receive to one’s self; receive as one’s due; to take or bear up, to receive, to assume; properly, aggressively receive; “to receive a lot, receive by lot; especially to receive a part of an inheritance, receive as an inheritance, obtain by right of inheritance”; to receive (into one’s favor).
Receiving (72 occurrences) from expectation; sharing; receiving and sharing His salvation; receiving His provision; to exercise reflective thinking. For the believer, 3563 (noús) is the organ of receiving God’s thoughts, through faith.
Received (312 occurrences) accepted; received from one’s fathers; received as under one’s
personal care; focuses back on whom (what) is welcomingly received; freely ye have received
(Note: The above definitions were found in free program called Bible Hub @ http://biblehub.net/searchgreek)
To receive, receiving and received are all very active words and it is important to know how to respond. We are bombarded today with information from the media, commercials, family, friends, work, and church but ultimately how we receive the information may determine if you live in fear or in peace. We have the choice to receive the “bad” news or proclaim the good news. Receiving information can come in large packages like major catastrophic events or small packages such as how you handle the stress of the day or receive a friends offer to love you.
I am preparing for a Bridal shower and it is difficult asking people to help me. I must learn to receive. My receiver needs tweaking. I know each person loves me and my future daughter but for some reason I have a hard time receiving this acceptance. Why? My thoughts begin.. I don’t want to intrude on their day, I might be asking too much, I may be imposing…these are usually lies from the devil. My receiver needs tweaking. As a caregiver, I must admit I need help and receive those who reach out to Steve and me when we need a breather. On the other side of this coin the elderly are great examples of having difficulty receiving. The devil wants to tell them they are a bother, don’t worry about me…their receivers need tweaking. Friends should be your biggest encouragers and you want to receive from them. Hey, if I can’t learn to receive from a friend, my receiver needs a little tweaking. Young mothers, are another example of sometimes failing to know how to receive help from others. It is often easier for them to “do it myself” than bother someone. Learning how to accept with a joyful heart is the first step to receive.
As Christians, our receivers must always be in tune with the Holy Spirit as He directs our path. What we are receiving into our spirit may strengthen or weaken how we walk in faith. If we receive Christ as our savior, we must aggressively accept (receive) part of His inheritance and know by right of this inheritance favor follows us where ever we go. We should be actively receiving His Kingdom as part of our salvation and by doing this, we are also receiving His provision. According to the Greek definition I quoted earlier, receiving is the organ of receiving God’s thoughts, through faith. Wow, I want to know God’s thoughts!
Let’s take a Receiver test:
In just one day you just received news…. an earthquake hit California; A baby was born; your neighbor has cancer; Your son is getting married; healthcare cost is climbing; a friend called to encourage you; Another shooting was reported at a local school; Blue skies and 75 degrees; snow fall hits the north again; prescription drugs side effects may include….
Well, how did you receive the news? If your receiver kept going up and down, then your receiver needs tweaking. Our receivers should always be tuned to Christ, no matter what the news says – our salvation is in Christ, our inheritance is in Him; our favor is in Him and our provision is in Him, our government is in Him.
I Thessalonians 5
The Day of the Lord
1Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
12Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 16Rejoice always, 17pray continually, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22reject every kind of evil. 23May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 25Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters. 28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Is there no Balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wounded of my people? Jer. 8:22 states these people were believers. God will always send a Jeremiah, a prophet, to warn His people and bring to them the Balm of Gilead … if they have ears to hear.
Sometimes it takes a lifetime to see how far God has brought you. His providence over your life leads you to places and protects you over and over again. However, there are Christian brothers and sisters who have simply given up the fight to move forward with their faith. They find their offense is too hard to forgive, temptation is too great, their hurt is too painful, trust is broken over a betrayal of a friend or pastor…And, the list can go on. I have wonderful memories of friends who once walked as leaders in the church with strong Christian faith, but forgot that it comes with a price.
Paul says, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame who set their mind on earthly things.” Philippians 3:14-19 Paul is telling us that those who have lost their way will end in destruction. It is hard sometimes to comprehend that a believer can once walk with Christ and then become an enemy to Christ in their lifetime.
Are we doomed to repeat the sins of our mothers and fathers? Do we read the Bible and take it for only a storybook? The history of God’s Word is clear there are those chose to follow Christ and those who simply walked away in their sin. The wheat and the tares were where one is taken and one is left behind. I, for one do not want to see my brother or sister left behind wandering as lost or hurting sheep without seeking them out to love them back into a relationship with Jesus.
I have family and friends who once walked with the Lord only to give into their selfish desires. They live in shame and guilt – a pit they think they cannot climb out of – this pit holds them in bondage. Here comes the hard part… I will reach out my hand once more in love again and again. I admit it is often discouraging and at times frustrating to watch a person cycle in their sin expecting a different result. I am reminded that Jesus, The Good Shepherd, seeks out the one sheep that has lost his way to bring them back to the fold. “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” Luke 15:4
My husband, Steve, and I are asking the Lord how we can reach out to those lost sheep. First, I believe it begins with prayer and fasting for the Holy Spirit to direct us. Second, I believe you must have a relationship before you can speak into someone’s life. Spend time with them. Jesus says if they are hungry… feed them. If they are without clothes, clothe them. And thirdly, it takes perseverance. There are hurting people who need love, relationship and yes, maybe some direction to return to their first love – Jesus Christ.
Pray for one another: I challenge you to ask the Holy Spirit to bring just one person to your mind and pray for them. Make a phone call, send them a Facebook message to be a friend, or meet them for lunch/ visit. If you see a door open for relationship, send a card/text simply saying you are thinking of them and God loves them. Shower them with the love of Christ. The fruit of this relationship may take time…Oh, but for that one sheep… it is all worth it.
Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people. Jeremiah 9:1
God tells us to be perfect as He is perfect. In the original language, the word for perfect means mature or complete. As an individual it is often misunderstood as an unachievable goal, but what God is calling each of us to do is mature or be perfect. How is this possible to obtain? I am simply Robin – a wife, a mother, a caregiver, a daughter, an artist and a friend. Exactly! Before my name was ever spoken, God said I need a Robin and I will equip her with gifts, talents, creativity, and the choice to walk in maturity – to be perfect. It is in the ordinary days that God through his Son (Jesus) makes us extraordinary. The investment of our perfection always comes with a price or a choice.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 19:21, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Let me see – if I sell my home, my possessions and give to the poor then I will be perfect? Where will I live? Many times His Word is a heart matter. Do I hold close to my possessions more than I am willing to help others? Do I make idols out of earthly things? Each one of us must answer this question before we can begin to be perfect.
Caution! Matthew 6:1 tells us not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. While it is within us to succeed in life you must ask yourself – is it at the cost of others? Do we need to be heard so that our friends will know what we have done. We all want to be affirmed and accepted. It begins as a child with a parent, it graduates to a teen with their peers, and it escalates to an adult with everyone around them. We all want to be affirmed and many times feel empty because we are seeking this affirmation in the wrong place. How many times have I placed myself in a place where I wanted to be seen by others only to be let down by false expectations. Practice your righteousness in front of the Father and you will have a heavenly reward.
Many times fear of failure prevents us from being perfect. I’m not good enough; I am a student – I’m not smart enough to go to college, where will the money come from; I am a single mother – I fear I will never marry again; I am a father – I fear I won’t be able to provide for my family. I am old and blind – I fear I am a burden to those who care for me. We must cast this fear from our thoughts. I John 4:18 tells us “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” The one who fears is not made perfect in love. Hebrews 11:40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
My perfection may look different from your perfection. We may find our opinions are very different but it is these differences we are made perfect in Him. We need artist, musicians, cleaners, athletes, doctors, police, teachers, preachers, and the list goes on. We can simply not be everything to everyone. Our perfections can be complimented with those around you. James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be blessed in what they do.”
“But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part but then I shall know just as I also am known.” I Corinthians 13:10-12. God sees you as perfect – He created you to be perfect! It is achieved, as we walk in Christ and follow His Word. God’s way is perfect, flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him. Remember perfection will cost you something. However, the reward is the affirmation from your Heavenly Father. Jesus loves you so much that any fears are cast down as you seek His righteousness and not the approval of others. My perfection will always look different from yours but the beauty of it is like refreshing cool water. It is what the Lord created you to be – PERFECT.
Psalm 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.”
2 Samuel 22:31 “As for God, His way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in him.
Remember the commercials that were airing a few years ago about milk and the health benefits of drinking it? It would always show the person in the commercial with a “milk” mustache, and the question would always come up at the end, “Got Milk?” In the Third Epistle of John, verse two states…”Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” I’ve been meditating on this scripture and am beginning to see a huge connection between our soul’s health and our physical body’s health. So I want to ask you this question today, “Got Soul?”
Everyone has a soul. Throughout our lifetime, many of us experience trauma, heartache, failure, disappointment, rejection, betrayal, abuse, bad relationships, offense, abandonment, and the list could go on and on. What happens through these experiences is our souls become fragmented. When a trauma or something else happens to us, a piece or layer of our soul becomes attached to the trauma or whatever that thing is that is happening to you at the time. Once fragmentation begins, it will eventually manifest in the physical realm. We manage to move on in life, not realizing we have left a layer of our soul behind. The result is we become bonded to that thing. This continues to happen numerous times in our lives because we all have trials and tribulations along the way.
May I suggest that the Holy Spirit is the “Defragmenter” of our souls. As we allow Him to take us to those places and show us where we left a layer behind, one by one, He will heal and reattach those pieces or layers to our souls. He is the only one that can accomplish this healing process, and it is a process. It does not happen overnight. As each layer is reattached by the work of the Holy Spirit, great healing takes place and our soul begins to come into wholeness. When our soul is whole, that is when it begins to prosper. I believe that if our soul is sick, it affects our physical bodies. How many of you have an area in your body that needs healing? You’ve prayed for healing, you’ve been prayed over more than once for healing, you’ve spoken the Word for your healing, and yet, that sickness or pain is still there? Could it possibly be that your soul is fragmented? It just might be.
I know this may not apply to everyone. I just want to encourage you to examine your soul and ask the Holy Spirit to show you where and when any layers of your soul got attached to something that it did not belong to. There may be some repenting that needs to take place. It’s okay, the Holy Spirit is compassionate and gentle. A refreshing cleansing happens when there is a heart of repentance yielding to the Spirit of God. This is how He puts us back together and brings us into wholeness in Christ Jesus. I tell you, there is power in wholeness! You will begin to know, and I mean really know, who you are in Christ. His power will be unleashed in your life, and you will be amazed at how you can walk in victory! Your health will begin to come back to you, your pain will dissipate, your vitality will be renewed, and you will soar in the Spirit. Are you ready? If you are, pray this prayer in Psalm 143:11…”Revive me O Lord for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my SOUL out of trouble.”
I have a confession that I make daily with my mouth. I would like to share it with you….it’s very simple. I speak it into the atmosphere and I make this declaration….”My pain is gone, my soul is prospering, and I am in health!” We will have what we say. God did. He spoke and it came forth. He wants us to do the same. Your words have power. The scripture says in Proverbs 18:21 that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Choose life today!
**My prayer for each one of you is….Beloved, I pray that in all respects, you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
Did you know God’s word is filled with patterns of things in the natural followed by things of the spirit? I Corininthians 15:46-47 says, “The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.” It is demonstrated in moments in time of our lives, in seasons of the year and in prophetic words. I look at something and many times ask myself. Why did God make this? It could be the seasons, a tree, a person or a trial in life. I know many of my life’s lessons are taught first in the natural and then in the spirit. How do I know? I am a walking testimony of it in my life.
It’s happening…fall is approaching and my flowers are looking brown around the edges. While I love my garden and the fullness of spring, I love fall that much more. In the natural, I find myself thinking of cold temperatures, snuggling under a warm blanket, shorter days and family gathering around. In the spirit, I begin to reflect on how God has blessed me this summer. I ponder on His goodness and am thankful for the provisions he has made for my family. Genesis 1:14 And “God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” Nature or natural seasons are changing for us all the time just like your maturity in Christ.
Do you ever reminisce about how far God has brought you and recognize He first had to teach you in the natural before you could ever comprehend it by the spirit? When Steve and I moved our family to Duluth Minnesota over 17 years ago. I remember looking back to see how little by little people, jobs and family were being moved (I didn’t say replaced) from our lives. I remember during the lean times rehearsing “God is my provision. Jobs are not my provision, people are not my provision, family is not my provision but God is my provision.” Steve and I have now returned home to Georgia and I am now reflecting with new joy how God continues to teach us this valuable lesson as we are the sole caregivers to his mother. I am thankful for the people, new jobs and family He has returned to our life with a greater expectancy.
My husband is a wonderful teacher and he has taught me so many lessons using analogies. Going through financial woes (natural); Sow into a person’s life or give an offering to your church (spirit). Struggling with your health (natural); Write God’s Word about healing and proclaim it each day or exercise the very area where the devil is causing you pain (spirit). Feeling defeated (natural); place scriptures on the floor showing the devil is under our feet (spirit). God’s Word is filled with examples of natural then spiritual lessons. The construction of the tabernacle of God was built with natural materials but by the spirit it is where God dwells. Jesus taught parables regarding the Kingdom of God by sharing stories of natural people or places to bring His point across in the spirit….God even wanted you to know that He knows the very number of hairs on your head (natural) so you would know how much He cares for you (spirit).
Steve and I have been given an opportunity to join Pastor Dan and Sheila on a ministry trip in the coming weeks and as we all begin to prepare in the natural, I am anticipating how God is going to reveal His Spirit to us. A prophet spoke into our lives over a year ago that we would join with this Godly couple in ministry opportunities (a year ago) and now it is beginning to be birthed. I am truly thankful that God is always, always, always working in my life for good.
In the natural we are bound to moments, hours, days, months, seasons and years but always remember in the Spirit there are no bounds. God is interested in who you are and He sent the Holy Spirit to bring you understanding by the natural and spiritual things in your life. I challenge you to reflect or maybe even write down examples of how God interacts with you on a daily basis to teach you his Word.
Are you wearing your best face everywhere you go? As Christians, we should learn to put on our best face in front of our co-workers, doctors, pastors, neighbors, friends and spouse. Why? It will encourage others and activate your faith. How many of you feel better when you are smiling and believing the impossible? I am not referring to one of those fake smiles that people can see right through or a mask you have placed around you to make it through the day. I’m talking about our best face which will activate your faith beyond your own imagination into higher revelation of God’s plan.
I just finished two quick videos of totally separate characters facing a reality of extremely difficult situations. One was a boy with no arms or legs and the other was a little girl battling cancer. Both were smiling. I am sure both boy and girl have faced extremely different situations put on their best face but did they know it was FAITH? The boy looked beyond his physical abilities and has accomplished things that many normal 11 year olds have never completed. The little girl’s smile told it all as her father sang a song to overcome her fear of being bald. Both required acts of faith. The father’s smile toward her little girl gave her peace and joy – it activated her faith.
When I worked in the marketplace I made sure my best face was seen by all. As I answered the phone you heard a polite smiling voice on the other end…no matter what kind of day I was having. When I greeted a co-worker or stranger; I put on my best face. I would like to believe it was me being in the world and not of it. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
A doctor’s report may come as a surprise but I’m daring you to put on your best face today. I went to a chiropractor this week and he told me I had arthritis in my neck. I looked straight at him, smiled and said, “I don’t accept that.” Was this a mask or me speaking out in faith? I believe it was me speaking to the world refuting a negative report. I believe Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17)
Walking through the doors of a church does not mean you put your best face down and unload all your worries on your pastor or church friends. This should be the time to encourage and sharpen each other in God’s Word. Speak God’s higher truths into your life and not the negative reports that the enemy wants you to dwell on. I remember a favorite pastor of mine speaking to the congregation with a big smile on his face and said, “How many of you love Jesus today? Cause… I don’t see it – I think you need to inform your face.” This was said with light humor and love but truth. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in this holy place and lift high the name of Jesus with your very best face.
Neighbors see you from a distance but do they see your best face? I grew up as a young girl knowing all the neighbors and they knew me. I believed many of them were my extended family. Need a cup of sugar, go ask Mrs. Sands. Want to earn some money? Go rake the Cowan’s yard. A young family needed a babysitter, they knew they could call me. We even knew their pet’s names. We helped one another. Today, I am sure most of us are cordial and politely wave when a neighbor walks by but how many of us stop for a moment to consider to share the love of Christ. I believe we have lost one of the most important commandments of love and to love your neighbor as yourself to distrust. These are the people who live around you, in your neighborhood, local stores and communities. They should know by your countenance you are a Christian.
Friends and Family normally can discern if your best face is genuine but we still need to activate our faith in front of them. Our closest circles need to see that our faith is not a mask but it is sincere. Sheila is one of my dearest friends and I know my love and faith toward her is sincere. We activate our faith not just by sharing but standing in agreement with one another. I know she is praying for me. I take great strength from my husband telling me, “Robin, rest in the Lord. His face brings peace.” I am a caregiver for my mother-in-law who is 84 years young. It is easy for her to complain and talk about what ails her. However, it is important to continue teaching her to activate her faith, encourage her in the Lord, and put on our best face to bring life to a situation. We must learn how to sharpen each other in the faith. It should be what we are consumed with, fixed on, at all times. Stand firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.(I Peter 5:9-10)
We all have drama, we all have things that beset us but if we fix our eyes on Christ, He will turn our trials and tribulation to joy. Remember to put on your best face each day to show the world the Christ who lives in you. How? The Word of God tells us how:
The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26)
When my children were young, I used to read a story called “When Jesus Came to My House” by Joan Gale Thomas, in 1956. Such a sweet story of a little boy who imagines what it would be like if Jesus came to his house to spend the afternoon not as a man but a boy like himself.
If Jesus came to my house and knocked upon the door I’m sure I’d be more happy than I’ve ever been before.
If Jesus came to my house I’d like Him best to be about the age that I am and about the height of me.
I’d run downstairs to meet Him, the door I’d open wide, And I would say to Jesus, Oh, won’t you come inside?
I’d offer Him my rocking chair, it’s such a comfy seat and at the pleasant fireplace, He’d warm His little feet. My kitten and my puppy dog would sit beside His chair and they would be as pleased as I at seeing Jesus there.
Then I would put the kettle on to make a cup of tea, and we could be as happy and as friendly as could be. I’d show Him all the places that are nice in the house. The hole behind the stairs where I pretend that I’m a mouse. The little window up above where I can stand and see. The people passing down below and yet they can’t see me.
And then I think I’d show Him the corner in the hall where I’m sometimes rather frightened by the shadows on the wall. I always have to hurry when I’m going past at night, but hand in hand with Jesus I’d be perfectly all right.
I’d show Him round the garden and ask Him please to bless the seeds that I have planted the peas and watercress. And if the flowers I’d planted were blooming on that day I’d pick a bunch of all the best for Him to take away. Then while He held the basket I would gather two or three of the ripest rosy apples from my special apple tree. And all the little birds would come and twitter up above for joy at seeing Jesus in the garden that they love.
And then we’d play with all my toys, my nicest toys of course, and He should have the longest ride upon my rocking horse.
And with my bricks I’d build for Him a place of His own, And He should be the little King and sit upon the throne.
And when we’d done we’d stack the toys all neatly on the shelf, but first I’d let Him choose the best and keep them for Himself.
And when at last the day was done and shadows acrossed the sky, I’d see Him to the garden gate and there we’d say goodbye, And He’d perhaps say, “thank you for a lovely afternoon,” And I would say, “I do so hope you ‘ll come back very soon.
And then He’d smile and wave goodbye, and so would end our day but all the house would seem to smile because He’d been our way. I’d know the little Jesus can never call on me In the way that I’ve imagined like coming in to tea.
But I can go to His house and kneel and say a prayer, and I can sing and worship Him and talk with Him in there.
And though He may not occupy my cozy rocking chair, a lot of other people would be happy sitting there.
And I can make Him welcome as He himself has said, by doing all I would for Him for other folk instead.
And though the house is dark at night with shadows on the wall, I never need be frightened when I’m going through the hall.
Although I cannot see Him I still can feel Him near To understand and hold my hand and drive away my fear.
The flowers in my garden He may not pick Himself, but someone else would like them upon his mantelshelf.
So if I know of anyone who’s old or ill or sad I’ll take them there for Jesus’s sake and help to make them glad. I still can share with Jesus the nicest of my toys by lending them or giving them to poorer girls and boys. And though He may not visit me as I have wished He would, Yet even so He’ll bless my house if I am kind and good.
Such a sweet simple story to read but a large truth inside. How many times do we encounter people and share the love of Jesus? Today was the first day appointed for a young pastor and his family to meet his congregation. It was probably a little unnerving as he desperately tried to remember our names. He and his wife greeted everyone with a smile. The congregation came with great expectations and I am sure some came comparing. I am pleased to say he came to the house of the Lord with a humble spirit and servant of Jesus. Maybe the new story should be told, “When I went to Jesus House”
When I went to Jesus house I opened up the door, I saw so many people like I never had before.
Cultures did not matter or the color of their skin what mattered most to Jesus was the heart and love within.
We sang songs of praise as the Holy Spirit gathered here, we joined as one big family as God drew us near.
A peace over all who received as we all knelt down to pray and thank God for allowing us to come to His house today.
The pastor came to share as Jesus long ago, He spoke straight from the Bible as it was foretold.
And as he finished his sermon he bowed his head to pray. And silently he wondered if they heard or was this just another day?
So many times we go to the house of the Lord because it is what we are supposed to do. We greet each other in the name of the Lord, sing songs, hear a sermon, sing another song, greet each other once again and go home. How many of us take the sermon your pastor spoke and pondered it for the week. Not just a few moments in the car but actually took it and placed it in your heart.
If we believe we are attending the Lord’s house and the man or woman of God is truly sent to be this vessel we are accountable for these words. Truths from the pulpit where a pastor studied, prayed for you and became accountable to a flock God gave him. We came to Jesus’ House to see His very best, to enter into this with Him and see that we are His family. Yes, this may be a simple story but as you heard what your pastor said this week…pray for him or her…take the words they spoke…write them in your heart…pray for those around you and lift high the name of Jesus for he lifts high the name of You! God loves when people come to His house!
The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.” Haggai 2:9 (NIV)