Living Light

Stirring The Deep


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Elements to Entering Rest

Elements to Entering Rest

 

In this brief video, I share some important concepts that help us to enter into God’s rest as He tells us to  …

Hebrews 4:11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.


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Being Present Minded

Being Present-Minded

Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble”

An important lesson we learn as the kingdom of heaven, God’s Spirit, grows within us is to be present-minded. Being present-minded is not living in the past that is done and gone or the unknown future of our imagination. It’s not holding onto the negative situations and people of the past and it isn’t worrying about those in the future. It’s a state of mind of being in the present moment and trusting ALL to God, the Faithful Shepherd. It’s knowing He is at perfect work in our lives performing ALL things for us. Psalm 57:2

With the past gone and the future unknown, the only part of our existence that is real is right now. If we let God work and embrace what He is doing NOW by not holding onto a dead past or dwelling in an unknown future, the fruit of the present will be of God’s power and presence.

This present-mindedness is what God calls us to. He tells us forget the past. It’s gone. He tells us not to worry about the future. It’s in His hands. He cares for us as the perfect Father. If we put our trust in Him, He will not let us down. If we are truly seeking His truth and will, we can trust His spirit is guiding us. Our circumstances may not work out as we expected, but they will work out for our best and the best for others. Even for the difficult seasons, hindsight reveals the perfection of God’s ways and timing. Our spirits are in His faithful care.

Importance of Trust and Rest

Our path to present-mindedness is one of rest and faithfully doing what He has called us to today. We are to trust in His power to work in and through us in ALL circumstances. This state of mind is a central aspect of resting in God as He calls us to; a rest that comes from trusting in God to be God in our lives. Hebrews 4:10-11

Once we are God’s, our lives are no longer our own. We belong to God. What better One to be in charge of our lives than God? 1 Corin 6:20 With God in control, we never know what the next minute will bring. His ways aren’t our ways. It’s a waste of energy and time trying to figure everything out and why our expectations failed – they were our plans and not God’s. They weren’t the best for us; we have to let them go. We can mistakenly misread our plans that didn’t work out as we expected to be God not working or not caring. Neither is true. He performs all things for us and cares more than we can understand – that is why life isn’t going as we want at the time. Therefore, each day we rely on His perfect care as He determines. Instead of trying to control and worry, we rest and trust. This is the obedience God calls us to. This state of peace is His desire for us.

Commit your ways to the Lord and He will establish your paths. When you understand your limitations to discern what is truly good and best, you will rejoice in not being in control and God determining your steps.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding

Psalm 34:4-5 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.

How Do I Gain Present-Mindedness?

Have you tried to be present-minded? It sounds good letting go of the unknown future and our screws ups and pains of the past, but is it realistic?

Being present-minded requires trust. Trust comes from intimately knowing God. Psalm 9:10 This element is something we can affect because God wants us to know Him. Our knowing of God grows as we spend time in the Bible being taught by the Holy Spirit. As we seek God in our daily experiences; seeking His wisdom, instruction and counsel, our understanding grows. As we seek to know Him through His creation, our knowledge of His ways deepens. In time, we come to intimately know God as He desires us to. We come to know God as the perfect Father and thus become the trusting child.

As we continue the life long practice of each morning renewing our minds in THE Truth and spending time drawing near to God, trust and rest are the fruit and present-mindedness follows. In His presence, He frees us from our past, binds up our wounds and we carry only the lessons forward. We let go of trying to control as we realize it is an illusion that binds us and keeps His power from flowing through our lives.

Rely on God’s strength for what He has called you to do today, and leave tomorrow to itself. Have no confidence in the flesh; your abilities to accomplish all you desire. Hope in God’s mercy that reaches to the heavens. Psalm 57:10 Wait on Him. His timing and methods are perfect, you can trust them. Act faithfully as He leads, not second guessing, doubting and complaining – for it is only against God you complain. Feed on His faithfulness. Faithfully do what He has called you to do today and leave the results and expectations up to Him. Psalm 62:5


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Be a Tree: Rest

Be a Tree: Rest

One of my greatest temptations is to try to fix myself instead of entrust ALL to God. Not sure why it’s still an issue, as I’ve seen over and over again that my efforts avail to frustration, failure, and bondage while God’s work has brought deliverance. Perhaps until now I never really took time to consider just how useless my efforts are and more importantly how contrary they are to God’s instructions to rest in Him, thus a sin.

I suppose to be Mrs. Fix-it tempts me because this philosophy is everywhere in our society and it speaks to our desire to be in control (to be able to have life go according to our will). It paints the illusion that the changes I desire are occurring. This is why the self-help philosophy (as many religions are) is so captivating, you feel you are doing something, taking control, thus moving forward. But, it’s an illusion and instead places huge burdens we can’t really manage. Feeling the sand bags on my shoulders is a sure sign I’m striving when I should be trusting God.

God calls us to rest, wait, and trust. His commandments aren’t burdensome. 1 John 5:3 His yoke is easy and His burden light. Matthew 11:30 When we live His way, we are trusting in Him and not ourselves to perform ALL things for us. Psalm 57:2 God’s way is the only way that makes any real significant transformation for good, true good, in our lives because only He is good.

God calls us to enter into His rest. If we don’t we are being disobedient. Hebrews 4:10-11 Entering into His rest means to cease striving from ours works in all things as He did from His. Could God be that good? Yes.

Most every religion is about your works, about “the law”; what you do in your strength to be who you are suppose to be. They’re about taming your self-desires so that you live a life that is acceptable and good (according to that religion’s definitions of these terms). But what God, the Creator, calls us to isn’t a religion of laws, but to die to our self-will ruling altogether and become a new creation that is a part of His divine nature. As a part of Him, we desire what He does. It isn’t living out some law; it’s living according to His will because it’s who we are as a part of Him.

God is the Creator, not us. He invites us to be a new creation by His design and power. It isn’t taming our old self; it’s all the old things passing away and all things becoming new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 God is the One who works in us. Phil 2:13 We are His workmanship. Ephesians 2:10 It’s a completely different way of thinking that is unlike anything this world offers, because it can’t. The world can’t create something entirely new, but God can and does in us.

God’s gift of eternal life, His life, is real and powerful. The manifestation of His Spirit in us comes little by little, not all at once. This pacing is His design to teach us numerous truths along the way; mercy, love, grace, compassion, humility, perfection of His will, and His sovereignty. Think of all the things we learn by going through this process and it not being immediate. If instant transformation was best, then that is how God would have created it.

Because it isn’t an instant experience, when my impatience starts to intrude, I want to take charge and speed things up. It doesn’t work that way. I’m not the Creator, God is. My part is to rest in His work.

God compares us to trees to teach us about His process of design in making us into who He desires us to be. The tree is in the seed. But the tree is far greater than the seed. We start as a seed. As we are planted in good soil, God’s truth, we start to grow. A tree doesn’t effort its growth; it grows because it’s planted in good soil with proper water and light. We are to let God grow us into the plant He created us to be in all our uniqueness as we abide in Him. We are to let Him be the authority in who we are and what we do. He is God after all.

What is our part then? To abide in the good soil, God’s Truth, and leave the rest up to Him. We are the tree. Have you ever seen a tree strive to grow differently than it does?

When I think about being a part of the divine, I imagine God’s pure and perfect love united to truth flowing through me into the lives of others. Every thought, word and action is governed by His love. My temptation is to try to do this myself or at least speed things up. God gave us a much a better way than our own efforts. He gave us His Spirit and by His life dwelling in us, it changes everything. God makes my love abound, not me. 1 Thessalonians 3:12 When I try, not only am I striving and not resting, trying to tame my rebellious flesh, trying to do God’s job, embracing a “religion” instead of the power of God flowing through me, carrying a burden that I’ll never fulfill, but I’m disobeying God. 1 Thess 4:9

Be planted in good soil, and leave the rest to God. When you do, He will grow you into who you are supposed to be. You will grow in the manner and rate that is best for you. You will abide in rest and peace because you are doing your part and trusting God to do His. It’s truly a much better way to live and the only way to true and abundant life.

God is faithful, perfect in His care. Let go and trust Him. Have no confidence in the flesh or in your ability to “create” yourself. He calls us to this rest and level of trust.

Be A Tree

Workmanship of my Maker
Letting go of being my own creator

A beautiful tree of His design
Fashioned to a new state of mind.

Resting in the soil of truth eternal
Is my daily labor for this small kernel.

Nourished to a majestic tree
Fashioned as no other to be.

His light shines ever brighter
Lifting my soul somewhere higher.

To the heavenly places of His domain
Releasing the strongholds of suffering and pain.

My life I commit to His hands
Destroying the wickedness by His plans.

Breathing in my soul His life divine
A part of His nature, one of a kind.

All my striving is in vain
For I’m not the Creator, but the slain.

Letting go I surrender to His mold
New life awaits as I enter into His fold.

~ Rachel DiPaolo
August 4, 2011


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Support and Faithfulness

Godly Support of Others

In these days as many are facing trials and challenges it’s so important to have the right support of others, for that can make all the difference. In this video, I talk about the support we should seek as well as be and the impact it can have in our walk.

Counting on God

We can’t expect God to answer our prayers according to our expectations … but we can count on His faithfulness in everything. In this brief video, I talk a bit about what can we expect from God and why sometimes our prayers aren’t answered as we expect.


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Our Capacity to be Influenced

Our Capacity to be Influenced

 

Through the awkward teenage years, I had a close friend who had a significant impact on me. Not only because we were around each other ALL the time, but it was an influential period in my life, as it is for most. Sometimes I wonder how my life would be different if she hadn’t been a part of it. It reminds me of the movie, Sliding Doors, a thought provoking story about the choices we make. Our decisions obviously have a huge impact on our lives, and choices about our friends have far-reaching ripple affects because of the power of their influence on us.

In day to day life, it’s important to understand our capability to be influenced. Right now we are being impacted by society, spouses, friends, religious leaders, family, and co-workers, in good and bad ways. This is why the Bible tells us to be wise about who are friends are and who we fellowship with, for their influence is extensive. (Healthy vs. Unhealthy Fellowship)

When a strong emotional element is part of the relationship, then the influencer gains even more power in affecting us – elements like acceptance, fear, guilt, loneliness, insecurity, attention, love, value, and purposefulness. Interestingly, most of these elements come into play when involved in a religious institution, like the church system (different from the true church, body of Christ). Thus, it’s tremendous power over people.

Because of the influence of others especially in the church system, it’s critical that we abide in the pure word of God (separate from others’ interpretations/opinions), on a daily basis. Take time to meditate on God’s truth. Learn to listen to His instruction and to hear His voice distinct from the others. Learn to trust Him to be the Teacher and have a foundation built on His instruction, not a human’s. Give an attentive ear, mind and heart to His Word and His instruction for a period each day without the influence of others’ words along with it. If we do this, in time, we will be wiser and more discerning among those who influence us. We will gain the ability to test all spirits as we are instructed in 1 John 4:1.

Matthew 10:16 “hold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

Years ago, I set out in the search for truth. I asked God to reveal the lies and deception I was taking part in. As I put His Word first above all others and abided in it daily, He started opening up my eyes and still is. It amazed me how I easily trusted the words of others – especially religious leaders. How I didn’t really test them. How I couldn’t test them because I wasn’t in the Word with a passion to know God and His truth. I didn’t put the Word first in my life. I relied on others to interpret and explain it to me and that was one of my biggest downfalls.

From personal experience, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s very profitable to spend time alone (months) simply in the Word of God with no other interpretations or opinions trusting the Holy Spirit to teach you. John 14:26 The Apostle Paul, spent time alone, so what he learned, he gained from God, not man. Galatians 1:11-12, 16-17 It makes ALL the difference. Why? Because are easily influenced by others and because of the heightened emotions religion brings.

If we are abiding in the Bible, but continue to embrace the interpretations of others, we can’t help but be strongly influenced by their words. Their philosophies will be a filter by which we read the Word. We have enough of our own filters to deal with, or should I say for God to remove and replace with the truth. If we are relying on others, we aren’t giving ourselves a chance to remove those faulty filters that twist the Word of God. If we come to God with a desire to know the truth and nothing but the truth, He will expose the deceptions in our heart. A love of the truth is what saves us in these days from the massive and growing deceptions in and outside the church community. 2 Thessalonians 2:10

Because of the extensive influence of the church system, it has become a feeding ground for deception. God’s Word says the enemy will take over the sanctuary. Lamentations 2:5-7, 14, 4:12 Though, it can be difficult to accept, especially because it’s the object of many believers’ trust, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. When we are in the midst of Satan’s shenanigans (the self-will of man), it’s difficult to see and believe that our church would be influenced by him. In these days, we need to abide in God’s pure truth on a regular basis and put our trust fully into Him and not in man or the church system. Because of the deception that abounds, God is calling many of His people out of the church system and to Himself as the sanctuary. He is fulfilling the role the teacher, shepherd, protector, fortress, comfort, and help.

I know this post has gotten quite serious but the warnings in the Bible in regards to this issue are extensive. We have nothing to fear when our trust is truly in God alone. How do you know where your trust truly is? Remove those things from your life and you will soon see.

My prayer is that we will take time to recognize and acknowledge the influence those around us have on us; to ask God to give us clarity about what relationships and situations to embrace and which to let go. If it’s a letting go, know He’ll provide every need – I’ve seen it time and time again. He is more faithful than we know as we truly put our trust in Him.

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Preparing for God’s Calling

Preparing for God’s Calling

 

If you’ve been following my posts, Wilderness Tests – God’s Care, Perspective Adjustments, then you know I’ve been going through what I call wilderness tests. (Wilderness because I feel like I’m out there in the wide open with nothing to cling to but God – and yet He is everything what I’m I worried about? And tests because I feel my trust is being tested at very deep levels within me.)

God often uses my dreams to reveal the depths of my heart, and I’m getting some deep insight during this trial. My dreams cause me to face what I’m really feeling, because my rational brain knows better. They have been exposing the depth of what I really think and feel so that it can be addressed with the Truth. They can be like an interpretive drama of what is happening in my emotions.

Here is another one . . .

A friend was putting together a Bible class for children. I asked if she could use my help.  She asked me to prepare some pages (on graph paper) with certain phrases written on them. The phrases were to be written in different colored markers. Some of the phrases were to be taken out of certain books. Sounds easy enough. There were other women helping out with the same task. As I started out I had all my supplies but not the markers. Once I got the markers, then all the sudden the graph paper was missing. Once I got the graph paper, then the books were missing. I couldn’t get it all together to get the task done. The other women seemed to have no problem getting it all together. They kept handing my friend completed pages, when I hadn’t written one phrase. Why was I having such a problem? I couldn’t figure it out. What’s wrong with me? Time started to run out and the children started showing up as the class was about to begin, and I hadn’t prepared anything! My friend didn’t seem too worried about it, but I felt horrible that I hadn’t made any progress with such a simple task. Then I woke up.

As I asked about this dream the next morning, I felt it was related to my calling.  My passion is to help others to cultivate a relationship with God that is deep, meaningful, passionate, and real.  I felt God had given me the next steps for moving forward. All the elements seemed to be in place. I felt I knew what I needed to do, but yet it seemed to go nowhere. What seemed to be an easy task ended up not really ever taking off as I expected it to.  Yet, others around me seem to be carrying on their callings with no problem.  This dream showed me how deep down I feel about my circumstances. The elements seem to be there but there isn’t much movement forward from my point of view. Why? What is going on? In my rational brain I know that God is in control that He is preparing me and I need to relax and trust, but deep down I was feeling a bit “concern” about the whole thing as my dream revealed.

This is what God told me about this “concern” I was having. It isn’t about you “efforting” your way through. I know your heart, willingness, and passion, I put them in you to drive and focus you in your life. BUT I’m the One to lead, guide, prepare and equip you for what I call you to do. You question your ability and sometimes your path to accomplish what seems straight forward because you don’t see the “successes”. But you are right where I want you to be.  Don’t give up on your passion because it isn’t happening in the way you thought. My ways are not your ways. The preparation of the person/leader is one of the most important parts to my callings. Too often people want to jump ahead. Resist that urge and trust me that I will guide you and lead you perfectly. The vision may be planted in your heart (however fuzzy), but it’s I who determine each step. You want to be there now, but I’m taking you along the perfect path at the perfect pace. Trust me. You are my workmanship. It’s not your work but mine. I will finish what I started. Trust me. Don’t you trust that I can guide you? Prepare you? Look at your past. My grace abounds toward you. You need to let go of your expectations of how it should be working out and trust me in this area. Just keep your eyes on Me – seeking my kingdom and my righteousness. This is all I ask of you.

As I was telling a friend, she said God has me “under construction” – I thought that was well said.  We want to jump ahead to the doing, because that’s what we often put our identity in, though we shouldn’t. We need to be patient as God prepares our heart, mind and spirit.

We want to be at the finish line now. But the truth of the matter is we will always be a work in progress in this life. We will always need to be dependent upon God. Therefore, we need to learn to trust and let go of our expectations of how things should be happening and trust His perfect counsel. We don’t see the big picture as He does. He moves His children along at the perfect way at the perfect pace. God spoke to me about this area of my life a week ago as I wrote in Perspective Adjustments. I got it on one level, but this truth needs to go deeper until it’s truly mine and that is a process.

Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

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Left Standing – Ashamed or Glorified?

Left Standing …

Ashamed or Glorified?

When the purity of God’s truth invades our souls it exposes our true beliefs.

After spending a couple years of consistent time one-one-one with God in His Word, I had a life/spirit changing awareness about myself. I realized most of what I believed about Christianity was based on other’s words. Therefore the source of my trust was in others not God, which meant my confidence was in them. Up to that point I assumed I trusted God, but when prompted to take a closer look by God’s Spirit searching in my soul I found a different reality.

As I examined where my truth came from, who and where I went to hear and know truth, it was all centered around others and their words. True their words were supposedly based on God’s truth, but it was still their interpretations and opinions about God’s Word. Along with the multitude of warnings in the Bible about not trusting in others, but God, at that moment I set out to seek God and His truth from Him. Over the years, God has been an incredible and faithful Teacher about Himself. It seems I talk a lot about trust in my blogs, but who we really trust is the core of our faith. It affects everything.

I’ve been reading through Jeremiah and Revelations, some heavy books to say the least, yet amazingly rich. The verses below jumped off the page reminding of this awakening I had some time ago about my belief system, and reminding me to daily examine my beliefs in light of His truth because other’s philosophies can easily creep in unnoticed. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Jeremiah 48:13b “As the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel (house of God), their confidence.”

Jeremiah 48:7 “For because you have trusted in your works and your treasures, You also shall be taken. And Chemosh shall go forth into captivity, His priests and his princes together.”

Verses like these are what compelled me to a paradigm shift in my beliefs – seeking truth directly from God. If we take time to pause, these verses prod each one of us into a deep self-examination, Who do you trust REALLY?

Who do you trust for spiritual protection? Church, or God Psalm 18:30

Who is your shepherd? Church, or God. Ezekiel 34:23

Where/Who do you go to be fed (spiritual nourishment)? Church or God 1 John 2:27

Where do you learn about God? Church or God Jeremiah 31:33

Where do you learn about truth? Church or God 2 Peter 3:16-18

Who do you trust for the surety of your salvation? Church or God Hebrews 7:22, Proverbs 11:15

If we chose the first option – our trust and confidence is in the wrong place.

Many of us need to take an honest look at our spiritual lives – is the source of trust the church and others or God? And if it is the church (Bethel or House of God), then one day, as Jeremiah says, we will experience great shame for that trust, because we should have been trusting God. If it is God then we will stand with Him glorifying Him with our lives.

We all trust ourselves, the wisdom of the world and others in areas where we should be trusting God, but the question is – are we seeking God and spending time with Him so that our trust will be in Him alone? One reason for the multitude of denominations is that people are really following a multitude of different teachers and not the Teacher – one area of great misplaced trust. Matthew 23:10, 2 Timothy 4:3 A teacher’s role is to teach us to learn of God from God. I see very few actually giving this type of instruction. Most of them are spoon feeding us what they call truth, but it is their point of view from where they are on their spiritual journey. It may or may not be truth, and according to the vast warnings in God’s Word most aren’t teaching truth. Fellowship is great for sharing insights but the source of our truth, our Teacher is to be God.

God is to be the source of our trust. When He is it means we go to Him directly, to the Bible which is His words, to Him in prayer, to Him in stillness to hear His voice. He calls us to come to Him one-on-one with the Spirit as our mediator not man. Jesus came not to bring another religion but a relationship – an intimate personal relationship with our Father where we commune with Him one-on-one. So many have neglected cultivating this intimacy and will fall for it. Most have lost or never had a love for the truth, and will be lead astray. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 If you love the truth – you want to dwell in it daily, seek out its mysteries, live by it, and dedicate time to abiding in it.

Don’t give your life, your beliefs over to another. Don’t be one of those who stands ashamed at the end because you looked to others when God was calling you to Him and waiting to open up His magnificent kingdom to you. Listen to others this week – listen to yourself – where are you getting your truth – are you saying he said, she said or God said?

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Power of Thought – Show Me the Money!??

Power of Thought

Show Me the Money!??

“Show me the Money!” A famous line from the movie Jerry Maguire reflects a state of mind most of us have experienced and perhaps are experiencing it right now.

In a previous blog, I talked about the power of our thoughts and how important it is for our thoughts to be aligned to God’s will and not our own will. Because only His paths lead to true life, love and the good for all and ours don’t. Only His wisdom ushers us into true abundant life. Only by being aligned to Him gets us where we truly want to be.

Money Focus

When it comes to the power of thought, for many people the focus of their thoughts, their pursuit, their motivation and their goals is money. And why not? Money is the means to certain opportunities and lifestyles. Money allows us to help others in ways we couldn’t otherwise. Money pays the bills and keeps our family safe and provided for.

Change of Focus

However, when we reside in God’s kingdom, God tells us money isn’t to be our motivation. Matthew 6:24 Yet money is necessary, so what do we do? We trust God for it, which can be very difficult. But there are great blessings in store for those who trust. We can pray about our concerns regarding money. Seek His wisdom in handling it (a very good idea for many of us), but our focus or our drive each day isn’t after money, but seeking His kingdom or His presence in our lives, which includes His will and wisdom. We seek His kingdom so we can walk in it. When we walk in it then we glorify Him, live in abundant life, and truly love others. As His family, this is the life He has called us to.

God’s will for us

Part of God’s will for us, thus part of our focus is the good works He has for us to do (not our own ideas of good works). Ephesians 2:10 Along with seeking His kingdom, these works are our focus – the goal we set for our lives, the purpose we strive for each day. Not money. Money is often the means to accomplish those goals. He will abundantly provide if we focus on the higher goal, and trust Him with the provision.

Matthew 6:31-33 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

A Perfect Father’s Provision

God has a higher calling for His children and we don’t need to focus on provision because that is God’s role, as He told us in verse above. God is the perfect Father. Like an earthly father, we don’t worry about money – we live and enjoy life in each moment. We focus on Him, the people He puts in our lives, enjoying life in gratitude, and doing the best with what He has given us to do in complete trust like a kid. A kid doesn’t think about the money. He knows his father will provide for all his needs therefore he lives an enjoyable worry free life. And sometimes he gets that shining new truck his been asking for. Kids often get far beyond their “needs” and God is the same with us.

There is a false notion and thus an inherent fear that keeps us from trusting God in this area – that God is a bare-minimum God. But that isn’t a characteristic reflected in His Word. God giving in abundance is throughout the lives of those portrayed in the Bible like David, Abraham, the Israelites, Solomon, Moses, and Job. The focus of these men wasn’t money or possessions – it was God and His will for their lives. They sought to follow the will of God and the abundance followed. Because God is a God of abundance. Solomon is a great example. 1 Kings 3:6-14 He asked for wisdom so he could lead God’s people, not wealth. Because He sought something higher God gave Him an abundance. God knows our hearts. He wants us to desire a higher calling and trust Him to provide as a Father who wants the best for His children. If we believe He is a bare-minimum God then that belief will manifest itself in our lives.

2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

Trust is the Key

God is so good to us it is mind blowing. Most of us just don’t trust it. The lack of faith keeps us focused on the wrong thing and in lack. He wants to give us a fulfilling and abundant life with a meaningful purpose far beyond money. Money is a means not an end. He promises to take care of the means so we are free to focus on a higher goal given to us by Him. If we chase money, we will always chase money and never fulfill that higher calling He created us to accomplish because we were attending to the wrong thing.

Trust is the key. We need to trust God to do what He says He will do. And trust comes from cultivating a personal relationship with Him. If we trust Him He won’t let us down. But we have to make the effort to trust – and that means with our thoughts and our actions. What will be your focus today?

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Does Your Life Exalt God?

Does Your Life Exalt God?

 

Hosea 11:7 My people are bent on backsliding from Me. Though they call to the Most High, None at all exalt Him.

Calling upon God is easy. Exalting Him isn’t. Exalting Him means we truly believe and act on the truth that He is God, sovereign in all situations, loves us deeply and passionately, and has power and might in all our circumstances. That He is Almighty God, Creator, Deliver, Protector, Provider, and Comforter. That He is our everything. That His Word is true and we show our belief by living and speaking it with conviction.

How many of us truly live by these truths? How many of us truly believe He is who He says He is to us? What do our actions show? Who are we attributing power, strength and influence to in our lives? Who are we truly honoring? Whose truth are we living by? Whatever or whoever is the answer to these questions is who we exalt.

We exalt God when we look to His wisdom and not the world’s. Whether our health, job, finances, relationships, or anything else in our lives, there is a way and wisdom of the world and there is His. Whichever we seek and trust is what we exalt.

Giving into worry, living in fear, succumbing to discouragement and despair, dwelling in anger and resentment, and taking a passive stance in life are a few of the signs that we aren’t exalting God. Though some more than others, we all experience these emotions. We experience them because we don’t trust Him and we don’t trust Him because we lack a deep intimate knowing of Him.

Therefore the path to exalting God with our lives is one of drawing near. When we cultivate an intimate relationship with God in truth, then our faith grows and these symptoms, which arise out of a lack of faith, start to dissipate. It isn’t instant, but a process over years as He takes center stage in every area and in every way. Our part is to constantly draw close to Him. Learn about Him and His ways. Listen to Him. When we do the natural outcome is trust – and when we trust we exalt.

Examine your own life. What or who are you honestly exalting in the various areas of your life?

It is a constant temptation for all of us, battling the world’s pull on our beliefs and trust. The world bangs at our door calling out to us to trust in its schemes and philosophies about what leads to a good life. True life on every level is found in God.

I want to exalt God with my entire life. So I am going to continue to draw near to Him in truth, in His Word so that my confidence will grow in Him. And I chose to dwell and meditate on His truth not this world’s philosophies. Freedom and power flood our lives when we trust Him. I have tasted these gifts in my life and it compels me to keep pushing into a deeper union with Him; a union where He is exalted above all else.

Psalm 21:13 Be exalted, O LORD, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power


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Guarding the Windows to the Soul

Guarding the Windows to the Soul

 

William Shakespeare said the eyes are the windows to the soul. God says they are the lamp of the body. If the eyes are good, the body is full of light. If they are bad, the body is full of darkness. Luke 11:34

The eyes, representing what we focus on and attend to, can fill us with light (goodness) or darkness (evil). They are the opening of our soul through which things flow. Therefore, we have to be very careful what we focus on and bring into our soul because it affects our entire body, soul and spirit.

The past couple of days I have been thinking about the significance of this truth.

What do I focus on throughout the day? What am I taking into my soul? Is it good, helpful, productive or is it negative, destructive, and misleading? What we allow to come into our souls either leads us to or away from God and His truth. And lately little things have been trying to slip in that shouldn’t be.

It is amazing how the world’s philosophies creep into our lives. Constantly the world is pursuing us to trust in its ways, to focus on its concerns, and to be enraptured by its fears. And it is relentless in its pursuit. It wants to own us and take us captive to do its will. 2 Timothy 2:26 And often it is so subtle we don’t recognize it for what it is – contrary to God’s truth. Here are three subtleties that often try to creep into my life.

Our physical health. Who or what do we look to for healing; drugs, pharmaceuticals, doctors, or natural remedies? God is our healer. The things of this world can remedy pains but without God they are useless. Asa, one of the kings of Judah, looked to the physicians and not to God and died as a result. 2 Chronicles 16:12-13. God created many wonderful remedies and often uses them to heal and restore, but without God working in them, those things are worthless. He is their potency. He is life. The only reason they work is His mercy. When we start to trust in them, we lose focus, the world creeps in and darkness starts to take over.

Our soul’s health. What or who do we trust for our soul’s health; self-help books, programs, seminars, or therapists? There are many truths out there about our inner health and what helps and what hurts, but who are we trusting to do that work in us? We are to trust God. Philippians 2:13 He works in us as Master Creator. When we follow the world’s methods it is like putting band aids over gushing wounds. When we trust God He is a diligent surgeon who heals us through and through. I have walked both paths – there is no comparison between the work we try to do and what God does in us. Yet, sometimes the world’s ways still tempt me.

Our provision. Do we trust in this world’s system to provide? When our paycheck comes from our boss it is easy to start trusting in him, our work, our abilities, or our skills to provide for us. When we think God is too slow in bringing what we want or need we become like the Israelites at the bottom of Mount Sinai. Exodus 32 When Moses was gone too long, they made a golden calf to trust and worship. When we feel God takes too long in providing we justify He needs our help and we start concocting our own schemes to provide. God is in control of our paths, not us, and not another man. God gives us a job to do. We need to do that work following His lead and leave the provision up to Him.

Those of the world only have this world for their help and hope. They have to trust it because it is all they have. But as God’s bride, we are called out of this world and are to trust Him for everything. We are no longer alone in this world or left to its whims. As our Husband, God wants to provide all. We live by a different set of rules. We live by a different power and strength – not ours but His. We have God Almighty on our side working for and in us. Therefore, we don’t have to worry and chase after these things as the world does. We are free from being concerned about them because God has moved in as our provider in every area. He takes care of our lives so we can focus on Him. Matthew 6:24-34

When we focus on God and His truth, we are pouring light into our souls. We are filling our eyes with His goodness and our bodies, souls and spirits thrive. If we flood our eyes with the concerns of this world then we are pouring in darkness and our lives will suffer.

Guard your eyes, the windows to your soul, for they determine if you live a life abundantly in Him or a life of lack trapped in the schemes of this world.