Fear of the Lord

When we think of “fearing” the Lord, we usually conjure up images from the Old Testament.

The flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, the sacredness of the Holy of Holies, the Ark of the Covenant, the many times in which people dropped dead because of their sin…

Every nation learned to “fear” the Lord and His people. And many times, when His people turned from Him, He brought them back through punishment (correction) and fear.

He was, and is, a jealous God. Passionate to His lovers, and just as zealous toward His foes. He is all powerful, all knowing, all holy, and yet—all love.

And that is what we have sought under our new covenant. His love. Forgetting that love is also submission, sacrifice, and reverent awe toward the being that bends low for our sake, and for our redemption.

Jesus was the only way we could truly enter His presence again. The sacrifice of lambs was never enough, no matter how spotless and innocent they were, they could not cover the cost of our sin. And likewise, God could not deny Himself and His Holiness to be with us. As we read, most could not survive it.

-The rope tied to the priest who entered the Holy of Holies in case he died. The time Uzzah, one of the Ark bearers, carelessly slipped and touched the Ark and died as well.

God was there, but had to remain distant. Unlike how He walked (beside) Adam and Eve in the Garden.

Today of course, we are symbolically in that Garden again. With God’s own Holy Spirit “in” us! We’re now His dwelling place!

But like the Jews, we have forgotten the fear of the Lord in our time of peace.

Churches will preach of God’s mercy and love until they are blue in the face, but will kindly skip over our proper response toward Him.

Praise and worship isn’t merely thanksgiving for all He has done, but an open acknowledgment of all that He is. A submissive awe, a reverence for His greatness and goodness. It is through our fear that we truly understand how blessed we really are.

Think of it! The God of the universe created us because He wanted us to exist. He made us in His image and gave us authority (dominion) to reign with Him. He created the stars and earth for us to enjoy and marvel at.

He then lowered Himself to be with us and to know us intimately! He wants to be involved in every fabric of your life, as both our Father (we call Him father!) and friend. And He has promised us an eternal inheritance with Him.

Despite all our sin and rebellion, despite killing His heavenly Son, He still loves us, and could never bring Himself to destroy us. He gave us His Son to save us. Our very God, romanced His creation and gave all that He could give to save it. He became a man and dwelt with us in order to serve and to know what it’s like to be us.

And now we carry His heart within us—the new temples of His dwelling place. All He ever wanted (our hearts and love) is now His throne seat.

How can we look at this and not marvel? How can we not fall to our knees in reverent praise? How could we ever dare sin against Him and His Son? How can we be a part of the greatest story ever told and it not transform every fabric of our lives?

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” (Job 28:28, Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 9:10…)

It is this fear that should propel us into action when the Holy Spirit calls us to it. Why? Because if we truly fear the Lord we wouldn’t have room in our hearts for fear of man.

In our understanding of God and His character we wouldn’t hesitate or doubt Him. But would instead fear missing out on His goodness!

It is the church that has hidden all verses containing the word fear and the Lord together. And that is because of today’s culture and it’s definition ascribed to “fear.”

Clearly, the Hebrew/Greek meaning differs to our current one. There are many types of fear and not all of them are bad. In this instance fear equates to reverence/respect/awe. Not punishment/abuse/harm etc.

God doesn’t want us to cower before Him as we have even seen displayed in the Bible, when angels appeared before the Jews they said, “do not fear!” God doesn’t want servants who follow out of fear but friends who follow out of genuine love. However, we cannot dismiss this reverence that is so called, “the beginning of wisdom”, and much more in the Bible.

I suppose a more relevant example of this healthy fear, is our respect for authority; police officers, judges, etc. Or even our respect and submission to our husbands (in healthy relationships—the husband is the head who requires respect, while the wife is the helper who requires love).

God is not a dictator or a bully. Just like in marriage, there is sacrificial giving on both ends. We (the church/bride of Christ) are to respect Him, while as He (the groom) loves us unconditionally (Ephesians 5:25).

Today, I witnessed the fear of man play out before me and immediately laughed at the insanity of it. I fear the Lord more.

He is love. And in His love He will let us choose whether to remain in that love or not. And such is where the very real fear of Hell exists. Hell is…in all honestly, the only place where God’s presence doesn’t exist.

Even in the darkest corners of the earth, God’s presence can still be found or felt by His people. We have taken this for granted and can’t even begin to understand what it would be like to not have access to Him. It is through Him we have any hope/peace/joy/purpose/security—you name it! Without Him there is only darkness.

And sadly, many will choose that darkness.

I must say that I am still discovering what it means to fear the Lord my God. But I believe that it is vital to know and understand fully what this means, for our sake and for the effectiveness of the church.

Too often I have witnessed either a church that has removed the “God-ness” from God (the laws, and the punishment of sin) or a church that has completely removed the love and mercy of God, His “Human-ness” as you will—in the form of Jesus Christ (our new Adam).

Both are toxic places to be as neither truly understood who God is and who we are in relation to Him. We are neither worms nor equals. (The true worth and value of humanity has already been determined by God/Jesus Himself!)

We will go deeper into the subject of our worth/value next time. For now let us merely reflect on our heart posture toward God. Do you fear Him? Do you find it hard to grasp the majesty of God and His great love for us? Or do you struggle to view Him as God at all?

In other words, who is God to you?

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Unstoppable Love

When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” -Matthew 8:1-4

I used to believe that every miracle Jesus did was to demonstrate to the world that He was the Messiah. That each act of power had a purpose in mind. To spread His ministry, challenge the Pharisees, or even propel Him toward the cross.

I guess I never really realized that many of Jesus’s first miracles were done in secret. Often we see him telling those He healed to keep quiet about Him. He even shuts the mouths of demons who knew He is the Christ. Mary even gets the “it’s not the right time, mom!” treatment for asking Him to do something at the wedding they were attending.

And yet, despite all of this, Jesus still healed everyone who asked for healing. He still turned water into wine at the wedding so that the celebration could continue. And He still cast out demons, knowing they would recognize Him.

The Leper who was healed in the passage above didn’t do what Jesus asked and instead told about Him all over town. This hindered Jesus’s impact in the city and He had to continue healing people outside its walls.

And so why did he risk it? Why did He heal people, like Peter’s mother-in-law who had a fever, or the paralyzed man by the pool of Bethesda? Surely, He could’ve waited and healed them when the time was right instead.

“Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.” (Matthew 20:34)

“I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance.” (Mark 8:2-3)

“When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.” (Matthew 14:14)

“Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,He said. Be healed!”’ (Mark 1:41)

Jesus carried the all-consuming love of God inside Him. It was this great love that drove Him to heal and help whenever opportunities presented themselves. It was a selfless love that cared not what would happen so long as people were completely restored.

He didn’t heal from afar but got right down in the muck with people. The leper is a great example of this because lepers were considered the “untouchables” of society. They even had to yell, “unclean!” If people came within six feet of them unawares.

Six foot distancing sound familiar? Jesus didn’t just reach out toward the man, He took those six feet toward him and touched him! Can you imagine? Living for years with the identity of being unclean and never feeling the warmth of another human’s touch?

We’re to be moved by that same compassion toward today’s “untouchables.” Because we are God’s hands and feet in the world. How else will people know His love if we fail to demonstrate it? You may just be the only Jesus someone ever meets!

Notice also how Jesus never once went down the healing line like, “you’re healed, you’re healed, you can wait because God wants to teach you something through your illness.” Or “you can be healed, but to you I’ll give cancer to so that I receive some future glory from it.” Is that love? Does that sound like Jesus? And yet, these kind of beliefs are in our churches today.

The truth is in the Word. And in the Word we see the heart of God which holds nothing back and doesn’t hesitate to pour out love and healing upon us. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the true heart of God on the earth.

If ever you find yourself doubting, turn to Him, read Matthew/Mark/Luke/John and place yourself in the story. You are the leper, the tax collector, the paralyzed man, the bleeding woman, the adulterer, etc.

Jesus wants to climb over your walls, and into your pit, into your pain. And pull you out. He has compassion for you, so much that He would’ve died just for you.

Never forget that.

Doubting Thomas

“But he (Thomas) said to them, unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” -John 20:25

There is a reason the disciple, Thomas (also known as Didymus), is labeled as “doubting.” The passage above points to the fact that he was a man who needed to see in order to believe, and yet he was one of the 12 apostles that Jesus had chosen to be His followers and closest friends.

Apparently, he died much like the other disciples, being martyred for his gospel of Jesus. So why do we use the phrase, “don’t be a doubting Thomas,” which overlooks everything else the man accomplished for Christ?

“So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “let us go, so that we may die with Him (Jesus).” -John 11:16

I find it interesting that Thomas still performed miracles with the others when Jesus sent them out in Matthew 10:1-42 and Luke 9:1-6. There was no mention of his doubting then, and if it existed, even in his heart….miracles still took place.

One evening as I grumpily wondered why my prayers weren’t being answered, I remembered Thomas and realized the truth. He believed more than me.

It wasn’t a matter of Faith, we’ve all been given a measure of Faith. It is all in how or if we use it. We are never lacking in Faith to the extent that miracles can’t occur. Jesus clarifies this by saying even a mere mustard seed of Faith is adequate (Matthew 17:20).

Faith only requires action, otherwise without works it is dead (James 2:17). And Thomas has surely walked by Faith more often than not. He lived with Jesus! I’m sure his deeds also far outweigh my own. What have I truly accomplished for Christ?

And so I say, BE a Thomas. Don’t let your doubts stop you from seeking truth and exercising your faith. Follow Jesus even if you don’t have all the answers because let me tell you, “you never will!”

We are today’s disciples. And although we are very different than the 12, from the clothes we wear to the way we speak. We carry the same Holy Spirit. And if He is the same yesterday, today, and forever than I don’t think He changed His mind about miracles either.

I don’t know what it takes. I really don’t. There are days when I feel like prayers are mere wishes, days when I start to place more faith in myself or doctors. Sometimes I don’t even want to try anymore because my hope is so deferred. But at the end of the day I refuse to believe an easy lie over a difficult and painful truth.

The problem isn’t prayer and it isn’t God. It’s us. Something has taken what was simple and made it feel impossible. Or rather, someone. The devil doesn’t want us to release the Holy Spirit in power on the earth (his kingdom). And so, I believe the problem in our hearts began with the creation of the “religious spirit”, that is mere works without faith, condemnation over conviction, rituals without love. It forces all low but never rises up. It robs our hearts and minds of power and true wisdom and stagnates the growth and impact of a Christian on the world around them.

We all have this false doctrine engraved in our hearts to some extent. But I’ve tasted the freedom of truth and have seen that there is so much more we are missing that Jesus paid for. That we aren’t merely sinners saved by grace but coheirs of the kingdom, given power and authority to do even greater works than Jesus on the earth! (John 14:12)

Once you experience truth, no one can take it from you, and no amount of falling, no amount of demonic attack can make you forget that truth. You’re allowed to doubt my friends, you’re allowed to have days when you can’t take a step further. But you were not made to rest in that state of mind. Dust yourself off and start over, because you know the truth and the world needs the truth to come alive.

I can’t deny who I am in Christ. I will always come around, full circle, back to Him. He is the only way, and my only hope. He is the reason I live, do, and someday, die.

Thomas wasn’t perfect and neither are we. God shines brightest in our weaknesses and there wasn’t a soul God partnered with that didn’t need Him, nor didn’t need repentance. He likes to work through us broken vessels and that in and of itself is a miracle. He transforms us and that is miraculous!

I don’t know if this word is for someone else out there. During this pandemic, I just see a lot of people falling prey to this thought of powerlessness. Stop asking God, “what will YOU do?” And ask yourself, “what will I do?” Speak aloud the reality of heaven you want to see on this earth, in your workplace, in your home. Stand on the truth and speak it until you believe it!

Put that God-given Faith to work and you won’t have time to doubt.

May God bless you all ❤️

Rescuing Villains

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Do you know we are in the business of rescuing villains?

Truthfully speaking, we all fell when Adam and Eve ate the fruit and therefore, we are all guilty and equally worthy of death. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).

Jesus didn’t die for the innocent, he died for the wicked. He died to cleanse away the dark stain upon our hearts. He died for those spitting and mocking him just as much as he died for the disciples who realized only afterward who Jesus really was and why he came.

We are villains who have been redeemed and now seek to redeem the rest of those still clinging to darkness. Still lost in the night. But surely there are those who are more worthy of death than us? Surely, we weren’t quite so dark in comparison to thieves and murderers?

First, this question doesn’t apply to our present state. As we accepted Jesus, a new creature replaced the old. An evil thing died and a pure thing was born in us. The Holy Spirit is God with us, and in us…He is the one perfecting us and convicting us daily so that we never awaken the old dead self again. That is why the phrase “I’m just a sinner”, or “I’m only human”, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. As new creations, we are freed from the chains of sin and with the Holy Spirit within us, we are more than merely “humans.” At least in the context of our actions, there should be another power at work within us.

So today, if you truly believe and have been washed clean then yes, you are no longer guilty of such crimes nor comparable to those who are still very much lost and under penalty of death (by choice).

Second, my answer is that God never said one sin is greater than another except for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. A crime that discredits the works of God and glorifies the works of the devil. It is a tactic satan was first guilty of in the garden when he called God a liar, a term that only applies to the devil, the “father of lies.” (John 8:44)

To God, any sin is an act of rebellion and treason against righteousness and justice, or in other words, every sin separates us from Him irreparably outside of grace. Therefore, if you have lied, even just once, you are a liar. If you have looked upon a woman lustfully, just once, you are an adulterer…the list goes on. Now, with this in mind, if you were never cleansed of your crimes, how great would the list be?

We proved ourselves villains, rotten to the core, in this….when God came to live among us in the flesh, we killed him. Surely, we weren’t friends of God.

It may sound harsh, considering there were those who didn’t swing the hammer, didn’t force the crown of thorns onto Jesus’s head, those who mourned and cried out for him to be saved. And yet, Jesus died for them too. In fact, he died for all the pagan people and those who had yet to be born, you and me.

He died for his mother, his brothers, his disciples…his people. He looked down from the cross at them all and said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Standing before God is different than standing before the world’s judicial system. And both the Bible and society talk of earthly punishments varying based on the severity of the crime. I personally believe that although all unrepented sin leads to death (hell), the severity of one’s unrepented crimes will be punished accordingly in the afterlife.

Just as our rewards will differ in heaven, so will the level of punishment in hell as Jesus stated in Luke 12:47-48: “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes shall be beaten with few…”

If we can store up treasure in heaven, I’m sure the latter is also true. That we can store up for ourselves punishment…but at the end of the day, even the richest person in hell is still in hell, what difference does it really make? Hell, in essence, is “hell” not because of fire and brimstone…no, what makes it hell is the complete and utter absence of God’s presence. Something that even the most lost, poor, broken parts of the world are not without. Think of your loneliest moments, even there God was still watching you, waiting for you. No one knows what it would be like if God completely withdrew Himself and you were locked away far from ever feeling His warmth, light, joy, and hope ever again….that is hell.

Who would be there to save you? Who would be there to comfort you? All the protections you took for granted against the evil of the world and the works of the devil against your life, they would be removed and you would be vulnerable, stripped bare before a very angry and resentful satan and his demons for all eternity.

I don’t say this to frighten, in fact, I long only to make the point that all sin “earns” death (hell). And true repentance is available regardless of the crime one has committed. In my heart, this doesn’t seem fair…that is because I live in a world where mercy and grace must be equally earned. You’ve heard people say, “you have to earn it!” whether they are talking about trust, forgiveness, freedom, or the clothes on their backs…very few things in life are given freely.

Grace is a gift, and the only way we receive it is through repentance. So long as we have to free will to truly repent then we have the free will to truly receive all that Christ paid for on the cross. It defies “fairness”, which if we were held to that we would all be dead anyway, that would have been “fair.”

We, therefore can’t question who is worthy to receive a gift because that puts the giver in question. Do we really want to question God’s judgment?

And so the greatest story unfolds…the only story where the hero dies for the villain. The only story where God dies for mankind and restores them to Himself. The only story where the true villain “satan,” stands already defeated and all we must do, is take back what is ours, what Christ suffered to return to us. Our inheritance.

 

 

The Great Divorce

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“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

-Matthew 28:19

 

I grew up believing in the cessationist viewpoint, that the Holy Spirit and His giftings happened long ago, and have “ceased” in today’s society. Not that we called ourselves cessationists, but like many religious spirit-filled churches, that belief went without saying.

You never would’ve caught us commanding out evil spirits, declaring that someone is healed in Jesus’ name, speaking in tongues, or giving prophetic words. All these things were, as I was taught, “of the devil.” And again, this wasn’t openly said, but there was a kind of fear behind such power, a fear likened to that of the Pharisees when they felt their beliefs questioned by the acts of Jesus.

Even they started attributing acts of God to that of satan, falling prey to the great sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit as stated in Matthew 12:31. Surely, we don’t want to sin against the very one that Jesus sent to us with the words, “I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go away. If I do not go, the Helper will not come to you…” (John 16:7)

Jesus later explains that through His return to heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit, we would be able to do even greater things than He did on the earth! (John 14:12-14) Must we be reminded of what Jesus has done? Even that which has been recorded is not the whole account as John states:

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:35).

And so, why has the church underwent this “Great Divorce” between the Holy Spirit and the Word of God?

From my own perspective, the church I grew up in was young and inexperienced. It had a mere mustard seed of faith that revolved around that which can be seen and understood with the mind. We didn’t see miracles and so they must not exist, at least, not in the capacity that they did in Biblical times. I mean surely if such healings and works of God happened today we would’ve heard about them, right?

Some of the greatest discoveries on my walk with God have occurred when I was actively searching for more. When I became open-minded about God’s abilities, not limiting Him based on what I had seen or hadn’t seen. And when I sought the truth for myself, instead of just believing what was popular at the time, that is when I began to see miracles.

Let’s face it, this world is largely governed by satan and his forces, this is his kingdom and so it shouldn’t surprise us that miracles aren’t on the daily news or made famous through other media sources. What kingdom would allow others to be swayed toward another? Most miracles are largely unseen and even unbelieved when they are widely witnessed or recorded simply because of satan’s influence!

Miracles are also, in my belief, even less common in America and other largely secular, mind-numbed cultures. We are distracted most of the time, difficult to please, and either too busy or too caught up in self to really desire such things.

Generally, when something does happen that requires a miracle, we first seek man’s wisdom and in this technological society, we easily place our faith and hope in the medical sciences to bring about the miracles we so desperately want.

Meanwhile, in third world countries, such technology isn’t readily available. Death is a very real and unavoidable foe, as well as fear of war, poverty, disease, and even evil spirits, which inhabit America as well but thrive in our obscurity.

The veil of darkness is very real in those countries. You won’t find many, if any at all, who are atheists or unbelieving in anything spiritual because they’re literally surrounded by spiritual warfare and unshrouded acts of satan. He isn’t shy, and he isn’t humble. In fact, satan is quite the show-off to those who really want a demonstration of his “power.” Which largely consists of illusion or deception. He masquerades in fear and to a believing culture that has never seen the power of Jesus, that is all it takes to create a reverent following. That is the birthplace of black magic, witch doctors, full-bodied possessions and even miraculous acts such as levitation or spiritual revelations that are not of God.

Can God really expect us to combat such atrocities without the Holy Spirit’s power? How else will we reach these people who are accustomed to the works of demons? Won’t we have to show them, not just tell them, but actually demonstrate our God’s power, authority, and love?

Jesus is our primary example of how we are to live, teach, serve, love, and save the lost. He didn’t just recite scriptures or follow religious rituals like the Pharisees. He showed us a new way, a new covenant that would replace the old “works” based one in which we had to strive and claw toward salvation but never really achieve it on our own. Jesus is the only way, He is the bridge between us and God. And the Holy Spirit is Jesus in us!

How can we profess to know Christ and carry Him in our hearts without mirroring Him and His heart toward the Holy Spirit and giftings?

Do you really carry the heart of Jesus if you teach people about God but do not live it? If you do not then proceed to love others through demonstration? Healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons…do you or do you not believe that this is the Will of God?

Jesus unscrolled the scriptures of Isaiah 61 and read aloud:

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.”

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” (Luke 4:18-21)

The great commission has been passed on to us, we are to carry out what Jesus started on the earth, just as the forefathers of our faith, the disciples who began the church and gave up their lives for the Truth. How do our passions and works compare? What would they think and say if they saw today’s church with its empty rituals, it’s false, “non-offensive” teaching of Jesus who is more comparable to a hippie than to the man who was so zealous that he turned over the money changer’s tables, chasing them out of God’s holy temple with a whip.

There is much more that can be said, so much more…however, for the sake of unification, I will end with this.

Both cessationists and charismatics are still brothers and sisters in Christ who ultimately desire the same thing…and that is the salvation of the lost and the coming of Jesus. We agree on the most important matter of all; that Jesus was crucified, rose and that He is the road to salvation.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what denomination you are so long as you realized that we are all in this together, that our common ground is what unites us and ultimately leads others to Christ.

If satan is divided against himself how can he stand? (Matthew 12:26), how then can we stand if we are divided? It is time we realize our common goals and our sole purpose. No one is perfect and no one’s theology is spot on in every respect, I believe that we are all constantly learning and growing, or at least we should be open to such. Even the charismatic who completely believes in the works of the Holy Spirit and implements them in his daily life can get it wrong.

Charles V. Bryant described it best in his novel Rediscovering Our Spiritual Gifts:

“Many persons tarnish the idea and practice of the gifts of speaking in tongues, divine healing, prophecy, and discernment with extreme and bizarre claims and behavior. Because of them, others discount the authenticity and value of the gifts. So, two opinions emerge: that of pneumaphobics, persons who are afraid to have anything to do with the Holy Spirit; and that of pneumanics, those who worship the experience or the gifts and not the Giver. Both hurl unloving accusations at each other, rarely understand each other, and confuse the silent majority between them. One wonders which sin is greater–gift pride, looking down on others with different gifts, or gift denial, not believing in gifts at all.”

Which do you believe is the greater sin? I believe the greater sin lies in what differing views ultimately does to the church which should stand as a united symbol of the bride of Christ. And that symbol should always be….love.

If you love well, you will serve well. If you place others before yourself, you will discover the best way to serve them, and if you pursue God with all your heart, mind, will, and emotions…all else that you desire will be added unto you.

Even the great divorce can be reconciled and I believe that it is! We are seeing a new revival, an awakening of the church, a return to Biblcal zeal, the book of Acts. No matter where you stand on the issue of spiritual gifts and miracles, it is no lie that we all desire to see such things today. Why not pray for them? Why not actively seek them out? Listen to testimonies and immerse yourself in every move of God in your town, city, or state. Discover for yourself whether you are living out the most God has for you and your destiny!

You will not be punished for searching, and so what have you to lose?

 

The Dinosaur Dilemma

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“Sarcosuchus imperator” – The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The scariest movies I was allowed to watch as a kid were the Jurassic Park series, I remember going through that all to common phase where kids love dinos. I always chose dinosaur toys over Barbie dolls, sometimes those barbies became lunch for my T-Rex.

Even now, in my church preschool class, my children gravitate toward the dinosaur toy chest which is even more popular than the Hot Wheels race cars. The truth is, we never really lose our love of mystery. That curiosity toward the unknown and bizarre.  I mean let’s face it, dinosaurs are so terrifying and strange that it’s hard to imagine they ever existed. How could such monstrous creatures ever walk this earth and how do they fit in with the Christian story of creation?

Despite their amazing preservation, which proves the occurrence of the flood in Genesis (I will explain later), I believe that God also wanted them to be discovered, years later, so that they would serve as a reminder of pre-flood times.

Some say that they were in the Garden of Eden, created by God in the beginning. I believe that some were, such as the dinosaur-like creatures they termed “Behemoth” and “Leviathan,” which remain to this day a mystery though the description of the Behemoth matches that of a herbivorous dinosaur with a long tail and immense strength, while the Leviathan is more crocodile in description (Job 40-41). Either way, it seemed that mankind lived with them as naturally as we do creatures today. But what about the others?

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The monsters of nightmares with razor teeth and claws that surely were killing machines of immense strength and ferocity. I find it difficult to imagine such creatures snuggling up to Adam and Eve in the garden, nor can I imagine God creating these creatures which depict pure savagery. Sure, we have crocodiles today and many reptiles that could be dangerous, but nothing like the T-Rex which was roughly 20 feet tall with a head large enough to swallow a man whole.

To find out what went wrong, we need only look to the beginning, the moment Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and God placed a curse upon them and the land. From that moment everything changed and “forgot” it’s identity and purpose. Animals that once possibly talked to Adam (Eve didn’t freak out when the snake spoke to her), became dumb and timid of man. The plants that once grew freely and were easy to cultivate now required work, and had to be distinguished between thorny and poisonous plants.

The safe bubble was sealed away from mankind and they were cast out into the world which was already under satan’s control. I believe that the climate at this time was still rather tropical and “garden-like” since all the waters that God would later send down in the flood, resided in the earth and skies promoting a greenhouse effect. Mountains and water channels would exist only after the floodwaters retreated, carving out the landscape we know today. 

I heard that in Florida, pet boa constrictors have become an issue. People dump their pets into the Everglades where they flourish in the perfect temperature and space filled with prey. You see, reptiles have the potential to keep growing so long as everything is just right. They say that pet reptiles grow to the size of the exhibit or cage, remove such boundaries and they will continue to grow. Boa’s at home stay somewhat small, in Florida, abandoned snakes have grown to 10+ feet and can weigh over a hundred pounds!

Without God keeping things in check, reptiles all around grew and changed, warped by sin, turned into something other than their original intent. Satan is good at destroying what God originally created to be pure and just. Once Noah’s time had come, all creation and mankind had been fully corrupted and twisted. Noah’s Ark was large, and God started over by preserving the original animals, the core species that other varieties would come from later on. However, it is my belief that many of the creatures were left behind, T-Rex and dinosaurs of the like including.

This is of course just my opinion, setting aside the secular science timeline and its eras, I believe that the majority of dinosaurs died in that flood, and this becomes more believable by the preserved remains that have been found throughout the world.

Footprints, if you walked out in the mud your tracks would soon disappear, wind, multiple storms, and other animals/plants would destroy the prints. Today we have fossilized dino prints that are perfect and seemingly untouched.

Remains, if an animal dies in the woods it will deteriorate, be eaten, and it’s bones scattered. Today we find complete dino fossils, in death pose as if frozen in time.

Place, dinosaurs of the same species have been found in sporadic locations as if carried there and placed, ocean fossils can be found on mountain tops!

Age, if you believe that the Bible is accurate (as I do), this earth really isn’t that old and so dinos existed only briefly in the span of time, dying rather quickly and catastrophically which is something most scientists can agree upon, though I was taught that the event was a meteor and not a flood.

The floodwaters came fast, depositing layer upon layer of sediment, forever sealing away the remains of dino and man alike. Is Genesis History: Rocks and Fossils is a great source of information from scientists who set out to find the truth, regardless of the push to accept what’s been deemed popular science.

Was the flood cruel? I used to think it was, how could God do that to his creation, and yet if mankind and the earth had really slipped so far, perhaps we would’ve destroyed ourselves in the end. I personally am grateful that dinosaurs don’t exist today, it isn’t so far fetched to think that if they did we would be living out a real Jurassic Park film, which proves that the past should remain in the past. And what God has destroyed, should not be resurrected.

What do you believe?

 

Purpose-Centered Life

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“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how” 

-Friedrich Nietzsche

What’s your purpose?

I’m not talking about our shared purpose, the Great Commission to spread the gospel to all (Matthew 28:16-20), the truth is, reaching the lost looks different for each of us, and our purpose is the “how” we are to bring about the most influence. The world is waiting for us to discover our own unique destinies. God isn’t one for copycats or clones, he created us all uniquely and our calls reflect that, but do you know what you are called to do? Do you know what your destiny is?

Throughout my life, I’ve discovered that any person of greatness was someone who knew without a doubt what their calling was and chased after it with everything they had. They didn’t fear but surrendered their lives entirely to the call and the glory of God. Now because of their passion, we remember them and think, “Wow, they had a greater call than the average man or woman.” The truth is we all have a great call, we just don’t have a great desire behind it.

Remember, we all have as much of Jesus as we want. As much influence as we desire. If we truly wanted to give our lives over to this destiny, everything would change! Our lives and our hearts reflect what we really love. Ouch, that is a painful fact, and yet realizing that this is where we are is the first step to going further.

But how can we chase after something that we haven’t yet discovered? What is our destiny? What is MY purpose?

When I was a child, I caught a small black ant. I remember to this day what my expectations were and what happened in the course of only a few hours. I thought that the ant would eat, drink, sleep and explore the large “cage” I had bought for it. I placed it in the cage and watched…the ant searched the rim of the exhibit looking for a way out, it ignored the food and water. It searched more and more frantically and by the time the sun set, it simply laid down and died.

I was astonished and sad. I realized then and there that an ant can’t live alone, it’s purpose was to serve the queen. I had taken away its purpose and without a purpose… there was nothing left to do but die. WE slowly die without vision and purpose!

It is so vital that we discover our purpose here, not just for ourselves, but for the lost who are starving for vision and direction in their lives. They can only grow to the point we have grown. In other words, we are the ones who show them what is possible. We live by example and we demonstrate the Will of God, the Mind of God, and the Heart of God.

I wish I could say how to find your purpose, but unfortunately, that is something only you can discover for yourself. I am still discovering or more accurately, uncovering, who I am and what I am called to do. Here are some questions you can ask yourself though that will help clarify your search.

Your DESIGN reveals your DESTINY:

  1. What are your talents/abilities?
  2. What are your spiritual giftings?
  3. What are your desires?
  4. What has brought you success?
  5. What do others see in you?
  6. What are the opportunities in front of you?

Don’t know where to start? Just ask your pastor where you are needed most and go do it. Take out the trash, serve in children’s ministry, be a greeter. The whole point is to take a step forward, do this and doors may just open that wouldn’t have if you waited for destiny to just fall in your lap.

Don’t compare. We all have important roles and callings. No one’s call is more important than another, and comparison really is the thief of joy. You really want to bring glory to God? You can’t do that trying to copy Sarah or Mike or whoever…you can only do that by being YOU. No one else can be you…and God created you specifically for a purpose.

Do you know that your purpose existed before you were born? A problem exists before a solution is created. We are that solution. God looked around and saw that this universe was missing something…you.

Jesus was purpose driven, even by the age of 12! He knew that he had come into the world to fix a problem, and his final words as he hung on the cross were, “it is finished.” His mission was complete, his purpose for coming into the world was fulfilled. The problem was solved.

Ultimately, we are all called to make a difference in others. People are God’s agenda. You can’t love God and hate people, that just isn’t possible. We are God’s heart, and He loved us so much that He sacrificed His Son! Not just for you, but for your neighbor who has a drinking problem, for that childhood bully that pushed you, for the coworker that likes to start trouble, for the person who sits beside you at church judging, every saint and sinner alike. He died for them all. 

Nothing ventured nothing gained...just start by stepping into the opportunities around you, noticing the needs that you can take responsibility for. Live every day as though you are on the mission field. Work is a mission field, the store is a mission field. Anywhere there are people there are opportunities to minister!

God will work through you where you are at, in fact, He placed you exactly where you are for a reason. And generally, that goes hand in hand with the people He placed with you or those who you come in contact with daily. This verse from Esther paints it very clearly:

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows, but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (4:14)

You were placed strategically. In this country, state, city, and neighborhood…for such a time as this. 

And so what will you do? How far are you willing to go? You may have plans for your life that are contrary to your call, you may fail time and again, you may go through Joseph-like moments that make you wonder if anything will change. We are all broken vessels, and you know what? Jesus is the ultimate redeemer. Read the story of Joseph and you will see that God can use our trials and our failures to bring about His glory.

All of this…I learned this weekend at our church, we had a speaker come and stir our hearts to action in Marion, Ohio. A lot more was said and I took many notes, we worshipped and prayed, and I believe that we all took a step farther on our journey toward fulfilling our purpose. I asked God what it was that He wanted from me specifically and I want to share that response in close.

He said…I want you to be willing.

We just have to be willing, we have to trust God. And take a step, a leap of faith, a risk…and watch God move. Amen?

 

 

To Coin A Phrase

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Often it can be apparent when God’s Word has been misused or interpreted incorrectly. Other times, they can be subtle changes or tweaks that we end up “coining”, as phrases from the Bible. Let’s look at some of the common Christian phrases that have become engraved in us. The phrases that have even become our go-to responses to people or more typically, baby Christians, who are still new on this walk.

“God only gives you what you can handle.”

I used to think about this phrase a lot growing up. Especially when I heard of losses so tragic I thought that surely no one could handle them. And that it was rather heartless for God to “give” these trials to people.

Biblically we do not see this phrase in the Bible, and it can be damaging to those who are new in their Faith, even if the phrase is said as a way to encourage. Where does this phrase derive from then? 1 Corinthians 10:13 where Paul is saying that when we are tempted we always have a way out, and can endure it. The context is everything here as he is speaking of the temptation to sin, not the temptations associated with hardships or suffering.

In fact, we see over and over again in the Bible the opposite of the phrase which is that we alone, can’t handle trails, and this then points us to a God who can. We are made to rely on Him, not plow through this life on our own strength of will, which will ultimately fail us. Paul himself is no stranger to sufferings beyond imagine and admits his failings and weaknesses to bare them apart from Christ Jesus.

For more go to Moving Beyond “God won’t give you more than you can handle”

“Money is the root of all evil.”

I only just recently, within the past couple years, realized that this phrase was a mistake or really a misphrasing of the verse itself which actually says, “for the LOVE of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).

This phrase reminds me of the whole attack on gun usage, in that it blames the items themselves as evil, instead of the user’s intent. Money is simply paper, only we attribute its value and purpose. It can be used in a crime, or used to help a child out of poverty, it really depends on the user. Same goes for anything else that is merely a created item or tool.

“The LOVE of money…”, is referring to greed. Which is defined as a selfish desire to acquire wealth, often at the expense of others. Such vile emotions are the root of many problems in our society. Wealth, in the world’s eyes, equals power.

“The devil made me do it.”

This one is rather simple to squash and not as common today amongst Christians. I’ve heard it used more in joking than in all seriousness. However, it is a phrase that people can hide behind if found guilty of sin, therefore, let’s refute it.

Galatians 5:13 says, “…do not use your freedom (free-will) to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

More verses that point to us having a “choice” in the matter of sin and righteousness:

“Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” -John 7:17

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” -Joshua 24:15

The list continues, but I will end it with this verse from Romans which says, “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

That word, “wages”, implies that we have earned death through our choice to sin. This view is supported throughout the Bible, and satan’s only abilities have been to influence or tempt, as we talked about earlier. Both of which require that we listen to him or entertain his notions first before they can have any sort of power over us.

What about possession? Though I believe possession is very real since we see Jesus cast out demons in the Bible. This full-bodied take over cannot happen to one who has the Holy Spirit within them, and even still, to those who are possessed they didn’t just wake up one day in deep spiritual bondage but were, as I mentioned, influenced or persuaded to walk down a path of darkness, and they chose to listen and give up authority to the dark forces of this world.

“I’m only human.”

This is a phrase used by everyone it seems, not just Christians. People say this in way of explaining why they sinned or failed. As if we don’t ever need to apologize because we simply can’t help it. There are many ways we can tackle this particular phrase, however, I will start by saying that such a phrase rarely ever works in anyone’s favor, I mean next time you make a mistake at work try saying that to your boss and see how he takes it.

A true sign of responsibility and maturity is owning up to your mistakes and admitting when you have fallen short. That means apologizing and recognizing that you can’t use your past, family, heritage, upbringing, or creation as an excuse for such behavior-it’s really the same as blaming the devil for your mistakes. All you are doing is placing the uncomfortable feeling of guilt on something or someone else so that you don’t have to carry it or face it.

So yes, satan is the source of evil, and yes, since the Garden of Eden, humans are fallen creatures that are bent toward sinful desires. However, none of these factors come between you and your free-will in any given situation. If you use this phrase as a Christian, I seriously suggest that you stop repeating such things over yourself. Because you aren’t just human anymore, but a new creation in Christ Jesus, you carry the will of God, the Holy Spirit is inside you! Speak these truths instead when mistakes come, pray these truths over you when tempted and watch your life truly transform.

1 Corinthians 2:16: “for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”

Lastly, a phrase spoken often in regards to loss;

“Heaven must have needed another angel.”

I understand how hard it can be to encourage and comfort someone who is grieving, sometimes our words seem empty or cheap. We say things like, “I’m praying for you,” or, “if you need anything I’m here.” These words can be true, however, they offer no lasting comfort to the one who is alone struggling with heavy burdens. It is a better thing to actually “do” than to simply “say” something comforting.

This particular phrase sometimes makes me feel queasy. Heaven isn’t short-staffed in any way, nor is God in the habit of causing catastrophic events. Also, it translates to saying that some people could do more for God in heaven than on earth. Our time on this planet is very important, and our actions and service to God are equally so. It is satan that works against our time here and our purposes. He is the one who comes to, “kill, steal, and destroy…”, and it is God’s will that we should, “…have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Another great verse is Jeremiah 29:11, which says:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Lastly, this phrase comes from an incorrect idea of what angels are. There is a societal belief that we become angels when we die, this isn’t biblical. Angels are pre-created servants of the Lord. They minister to God’s people, and they all have specific duties and functions in God’s army. Demons and more specifically, satan, is an angel that has been cast out of heaven. Humans are very different creatures than angels and remain thus after death.

Some verses explaining:

“You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.” -Psalm 8:5

“Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!” -1 Corinthians 6:3

“Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” -Hebrews 1:14

 

What are some phrases/misinterpretations that you have heard?

How did they impact you?

 

 

 

 

The Truth of Salvation

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“It is our privilege to know that we are saved.” 

-Dwight L. Moody

In a classroom full of kids who have grown up in Christian homes, it isn’t uncommon to see confusion on their faces when asked how they know (without a doubt) that they are saved. During a summer church reading program, I asked the children how they are saved, expecting to hear, “because of Jesus”, instead they all replied, “through being good.” I am saddened by this response, recognizing full well what that kind of thinking can do to a person. How can you truly earn forgiveness? What could we ever do to fully earn something so out of our reach? That is why Jesus made it clear that it is solely a “gift” to be received, while death is all that we can and have fully earned (Romans 6:23).

The confusion doesn’t start with the children, who really just mirror the confusion of the parents on the matter. Many Christians today find this a debatable topic, and how dangerous it is to be divided on this important of an issue. Our beliefs must be clear in order for those who were lost to really know when they have received salvation. Entrance into heaven isn’t based on some lottery ticket draw, leaving all to question if they will get lucky or not.

I believe the religious spirit has made such matters superficial with no depth. They recite God’s Word out of ritual only and yet believe that they must reach a standard worthy of acceptance or forgiveness from God. As if Jesus’s death was only the beginning and not the answer, the end of all such debates. And so, how do we know we are saved? What is the defining factor that divides the saved from the lost?

It’s all about the heart, as God explained to Samuel:

“…The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

We see this throughout the scriptures, as these examples further show:

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

The verse from Proverbs sums it up for me, our actions are the direct result of what’s in our hearts. Therefore, simply saying “yes” to Jesus at a church service should be followed by an outward “change” in our actions. Actions will either prove or disprove the truth behind our words. And so I really believe it’s as simple as that, a saved person’s life is a transformed life.  Are they perfect? No. Do they still sin? Yes, but their sin is followed by a conviction of the Holy Spirit within them and true repentance which should lead to freedom. In other words, what they did and how they felt about sin before they were saved should be different after, if they truly gave themselves to God and allowed Him to enter their hearts. Hence the phrase, “the old man has died and the new man has been born.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

A saved soul should be different than an unsaved one, but remember, only God can truly see the heart of an individual, therefore, salvation is a personal matter, that each believer in Christ should know for themselves as surely as they know their own hearts. It is not a matter we can speak of for others whose inner hearts are known only by themselves and God. Though, if one were to ask for advice they need only look toward their actions and character to determine truth.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

And here it is, the answer plain as day. Proving that the HEART must declare with the mouth that Jesus is Lord.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10) 

If forgiveness of all sin is for the believer to receive? What does the Bible mean by saying there is an unforgivable sin? Doesn’t that put into question whether one is really saved?

I’ve heard Christians say, based off of this verse, that God hates some sin more than others. That there are some things that go beyond Jesus’s sacrifice to wash clean. So let’s look at the verse in question.

“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”‘ (Matthew 12:31-32)

This verse took place directly after Jesus’s miracles of casting out demons was ascribed by the Pharisees as works of demons rather than the works of the Son of God. Keep in mind, this was blasphemy against the Son, as the Holy Spirit had yet to come down. The unforgivable sin is referring to those who resist the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and falsely attribute works of the devil to Him, which is a willful act of defiance against the truth. As Hebrews 10:26-27 states:

“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.”

To willfully reject God, even whilst knowing in your heart what is Truth (by the Holy Spirit). Which translates to denying salvation up to death. In doing this, you freely chose self over God, death over life, wickedness over righteousness, the wages over the gift, and eternal hell over eternal heaven.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

And so never fear, as a child of God, that you have committed the unforgivable sin
because a true Christian would never commit it. If a proclaimed Christian were to commit such a crime than the problem really is that he was never saved to begin with. This also shuts down the debate that one can “lose” their salvation once they have acquired it. A true Christian is one who has encountered the transforming love of God.
It would be like Paul going back to persecuting Christians after his road to Damascus experience. That just doesn’t happen because once the Holy Spirit has entered your heart, nothing else can. Demons can not possess you and they can not truly influence you without you relinquishing your authority over to them.
Jesus’s gift is freely given for all, but not forced upon anyone. Our free will is the deciding factor. And that’s the truth of Salvation.

Buried Treasure

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The Parable of the Talents 

(Matthew 25:14-30)

14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a]and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.19 Now after a long time, the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming, I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The Lord detests buried treasure.

This parable isn’t just speaking about material treasure but spiritual treasure as well. Such as our spiritual gifts, talents, skills, words, dreams, and even our time and love. Bury any of these for long and just like the coins, they will tarnish and rust. And nothing can be gained or protected by such an act.

We are to be good stewards of everything God has given us, and that means investing and using what we have been blessed with so that we may bless others. In this way, we store up treasure in heaven that does not decay.

The honest truth is that there is no room for selfishness in heaven. What the Lord blesses us with isn’t for our benefit alone, but for the benefit of our brothers and sisters and those who will someday join our family. God loves all of us completely and uniquely and expects us to love each other the same way, even if we are imperfect at it.

Also, when God calls us to use a particular gift/blessing, He expects an immediate response from us. We can’t bury His commands, or postpone His call. For 2 John 1:6 says,

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.”

Our pastor’s kids were taught that when asked to do a chore, they were to do it “right away, all the way, and in a happy way.” They are older now, and yet they still can recite the phrase, and do so with honor. They are the most well behaved and happiest kids I know, and their relationship with their parents is something Dr. James Dobson would be proud of.

Obedience to God doesn’t look like a king commanding his slaves, but a father correcting and guiding his children. Trust in the Lord and His great love for you and understand what an honor it is to be entrusted with His gifts. We don’t have to do everything right and we don’t have to be the best, remember, the master was pleased with all the servants who multiplied His talents, equally.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I can’t help but think of all the things I have to be thankful for. Even amidst a difficult time, I can still praise God. He has given me much, and I must ask myself what I’ve really done with what He has entrusted me with. Maybe if we truly learned to steward what we have first, then God would open new doors and pour out more blessings on our lives. Maybe instead of just being thankful in word, I should prove it in action.

This is just a conviction I feel, a message I need to hear. What if most of our prayers are within our ability to answer? We have been given the tools in the form of the Word and the Holy Spirit. I believe that we are just learning to access what Jesus paid for on the cross. In other words, we have more to be thankful for than we are even aware of. If I could see what all God has given me, the list would never stop!

I don’t know what you are feeling this Thanksgiving, I don’t know what you are going through, maybe you are broken like me? Maybe we are all just broken vessels, but that’s ok. I’ve seen that it’s often the broken vessels that God trusts with His heart.

So I challenge you, get alone with God this week. Thank Him for everything He has blessed you with and then ask for a glimpse of the things you haven’t yet discovered. The things you didn’t know you had been given. Write it down, thank God for it even if you don’t yet know how to access it. To me, God had opened my eyes to all the times He had protected me when I wasn’t aware. And that is only just one glimpse…God is always speaking, what does He want to tell you?

God bless all of you and Happy Thanksgiving!