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Stirring The Deep


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God’s Enduring Faithfulness

God’s Enduring Faithfulness

Promise through the Storm

Another characteristic of God I’ve been focusing on the past couple of weeks is faithfulness.

The promises in the Bible are mind blowing. Yet, for many those promises can seem distant. One reason is because we are too focused on our faithfulness, or better yet faithlessness, instead of God’s faithfulness. As I focused on this characteristic of God, it refreshed my soul more than I would have thought. I realized I really don’t focus on it enough.

God is faithful. He does what He says. He is true to His word. He is reliable and dependable. He will finish what He started. We can count on Him. God gave us His promises and He (not us) is the One to manifest them in our lives in the perfect way and perfect timing for each one of us. He will fulfill His words to us, because He is faithful and can’t deny Himself.  2 Timothy 2:13

Seeking, Knowing, Trusting

God is faithful. So, what does He ask of us? The Word is replete with calls for us to seek, know and trust Him and His responses if we do.

Psalm 9:10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

These three acts are all connected; one leading to the next. Seeking leads to knowing which produces trust.  Seeking is about learning who God is and moving into a real relationship with Him based on His truth. It’s deepening our personal knowledge or “knowing” of God. It isn’t learning about Him through a third party, but one-on-one, intimate, personal. It’s walking through life’s experiences with Him, and deeply learning He is faithful, we can trust Him.

I’ve found that always going through a third party or middle man (pastor, writer, leader, teacher) dramatically slows down and inhibits the intimacy building process with God. We gain some understanding, true, but it’s drops in the bucket compared to going to Him one-on-one just us, Him and His Word. Jesus removed the middle man by becoming the middle man. We have to be very careful of depending or relying on a third part and their works (leading, teaching, words) because it feels comfortable. There is a place for others; it’s secondary to our relationship with God. Think of a marriage. We are God’s bride. In a marriage, do you always have someone there telling you who your spouse is? What kind of intimacy or lack of would that produce? Or do you go and experience and learn about your spouse yourself?

In an intimate relationship, deep knowledge grows and trust is the fruit. Without this type of a relationship it’s difficult to truly trust because we don’t really know God.  We trust what we know. If you find your trust is lacking, focus on cultivating a real relationship with God for that is where true trust blossoms.

Trust in God’s Mercy

One of the key aspects of God’s instruction is that He asks us to trust in is His mercy. It’s one of the most important qualities we trust in. Especially because we often don’t trust Him in other areas like we should!  The truth and mercy go hand in hand. Psalm 61:7 There is truth about who God is to us, who we are to Him, what He desires of us, and most of us struggle with completely trusting in these areas and others as we are inundated with lies and fears. Learning to let go and trust God is a lifetime journey. So above all we need to trust in His mercy, not that we live or trust perfectly. Confusing? Hope not.

Psalm 6:4 Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake.

God is faithful. Faithful to have His grace and mercy abound toward us always, thus to fulfill His promises toward us.  Especially in the midst of a trial, where our trust is being tested and being strengthened (real trust grows from our experiences not our pontificating), it’s important to keep our focus on what is right and true, like God’s faithfulness. During trials more than any other time our internal lies attack and weaken our trust in God and what He has taught us. We aren’t to give these lies a minute of our attention. When we focus our minds on who God is and not the lies, our current frustration, or the future outcome of what we think our circumstances will manifest, then we’re able to stand firm through the difficulties.

God’s faithfulness abounds toward us. Deeply knowing this truth brings peace among the storms in life, (as the rainbow breaks through the storm clouds). It isn’t a wishful thinking, but a very real reality. God wants to show Himself to us in powerful and real ways. In the midst of trials when we have reached our end is where His work becomes most apparent because we know what is done is not of us or anything else.

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Living in the Kingdom of God NOW

Living in the Kingdom of God

NOW

Beach Walk

The other day as I was walking on the beach, I reflected upon on the bleakness of our times contrasted to the beautiful truth of God’s Kingdom here on earth. I thought about how many people are waiting for heaven when God has given us access to His Kingdom now – something few truly enter into. Most are sitting on the sideline waiting and missing out on an incredible journey now. The reflection took me back to that poignant moment in my walk – the realization of the realness of His Kingdom here on earth and in my life.

The Realness of the Kingdom on Earth

One morning many years ago, my husband came into the kitchen where I was sitting having my quiet time. He said, “Can I interrupt you for a moment?” “Sure!” I said. I’m always ready to hear an insight. He said (paraphrasing) from what he was reading and what the spirit was teaching the Kingdom of God in our lives is just as real as this physical life. Therefore, dwelling it affects our earthly lives now in very powerful and real ways. We are called to a different existence now. His words confirmed what I had been learning. Often God teaches us individually similar truths at similar times – it never ceases to amaze us.

We dived into an extraordinary conversation about the Kingdom. We volleyed back and forth on what God was showing us. Our study, our circumstances, and our conversation were uncovering this mind altering truth. God was unveiling the mystery of His Kingdom. That day catapulted our lives in a new direction. The Kingdom of God became real like the sand that runs through your fingers and the surf that dashes across your feet. We discern it differently than the physical world but its affect on us is more potent than what we see. The impact in our lives from dwelling in God’s Kingdom affects our health, family, marriage, work, everything. It isn’t pie in the sky; it’s pie you eat. We were transitioning from hearing the truth of the Kingdom to it becoming our home. It’s like hearing about a country verses traveling there.

What is the Kingdom of God?

The Kingdom of God is within us. It is God’s Spirit within us. It is Him conquering the territory of our soul and moving in as King and us stepping aside. It is us being reconciled back to God through Christ’s sacrifice and dwelling in the presence of God and all that He is. In His presence, His Kingdom, I’ve experienced in substantive ways His love, mercy, truth, joy, peace, rest, comfort, deliverance, healing, power, strength, protection, provision, purity, goodness, purpose, beauty, wisdom, counsel, freedom, instruction, perfection, and sovereignty – all far beyond what the world offers. And when those things fill your life your life changes dramatically. Meditating on what He has given me in each one of these is something I often do. As we seek God’s face with our heart and soul in the truth of His Word, then these treasures become apart of our lives. It’s tremendous as I’m discovering.

The Focus of Jesus’ Teaching

Luke 4:43 but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent
.”

The Kingdom is the focus of Jesus’ teaching. It is the reason He came to earth. It is the place He opened to us with His eternal sacrifice, as His gift of righteousness opened the door. We need His righteousness because we have none and we only enter this Kingdom if we are spotless. The travesty is many are spiritually born and given this gift, but are stuck in the birth canal. If we neglect to enter in, learn, seek, and explore this new place then we abandon what Jesus brought us, abundant life. For God is life. It’s something we seek with our spiritual eyes, because it isn’t discerned with our physical eyes, but its power in our lives that dominates everything we do see.

The world functions by its wisdom and we, the children of God, by God’s. Just as we are born into the physical world, we are born into this spiritual one. For those who aren’t born into the spiritual, their lives function and are limited by the rules of the physical world. For us who have been spiritually born, we have a new set of rules that govern our lives as we live according to God’s wisdom. How we succeed, fulfill our dreams, define our purpose, make decisions, and obtain wisdom; and what brings joy, pleasure, and happiness are some of the areas where we learn and enjoy a new way of living.

The Journey into the Kingdom

Coming to understand how to live in our new life takes time. Just as we grow physically learning to function in the earthly realm, we grow spiritually. In order to do both we eat. In one we consume food, in the other the Truth, the Word. If we don’t nourish our spirits we won’t mature and will continue to live as we always have, outside His promises. How many mal-nourished Christians do you see? How many do you see feasting on the pure Word, and not man’s watered-down interpretation? If we ate more of His pure truth we would grow and live as we are called in His presence and not as mere men. 1 Corinthians 3:3 Why don’t you see the affects of the Kingdom in people’s lives? Because they aren’t eating or aren’t eating and digesting the pure Word of God.

For us to know and live in the Kingdom was and still is Christ’s passion. We don’t have to wait until heaven to experience a life with God that far exceeds what the world offers. Our response to Jesus’ gift of His life that allows us entrance into this world is seeking understanding and belief in all the promises of our new home. If we don’t take the time to discover its treasures, we never leave the airport. We stay just outside a world that would transform our lives. We remain in the wasteland of endless striving and insatiable hungers. Jesus came to give us life, life in His Kingdom. In it we find the abundant life He came to give. As His bride, it is our part to enter in and explore and we do by stirring the deep.

Verses to ponder about the treasures of God’s kingdom:

1. Blessing

Proverbs 10:22, Psalm 84:11, Psalm 115: 12-15

2. Provision

Psalm 81:10, 16, Philippians 4:19, Matthew 6:25-33

3. Healing

Matthew 10:7-8, 2 Kings 20:5b, Psalm 30:2, James 5:15-16

4. Peace with God

Philippians 4:7 , John 14:27, John 16:33, Ephesians 2:14

5. Happiness/Joy

Psalm 144:15 , Proverbs 16:20, Proverbs 3:13, Job 5:17

6. Rest

Psalm 116:7, Psalm 55:2,2 Matthew 11:28, Philippians 4:11-13

7. Protection/Safety

Psalm 50:15, Psalm 4:8, Psalm 91:9-11, Psalm 71:3

8. Freedom

John 8:32,36, 1 Corinthians 6:12, Psalm 119:45, 2 Corinthians 3:17

9. Deliverance

Isaiah 40:4, Psalm 34:17, Psalm 32:10 , Proverbs 13:15

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Living Free Because of Christ

Living Free Because of Christ

 

In Ginny Owens’ song Free, she sings we have been made free. Free in every way including free to dance without concern or worry because of God’s great love toward us. Yet, how many of us experience this light heartedness on a daily basis that moves us to dance before our Lord like King David? 2 Samuel 6:14 “Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.”

Jesus Christ came to set us free. Isaiah 61:1 Not only did He bring freedom from the bondage of sin and its penalty of death, but also He brought it to every area of our lives. Freedom from troubles, afflictions and fears. Psalm 34:4, 17, 19  Freedom from worry, anxiety, and concern. Matthew 6:25-34  Freedom from proving, earning, and striving for internal wholeness. Colossians 2:10 And so on.

The freest people in the world are those who are completely surrendered to God. Sounds like a paradox, but I have found it true in my life. When we believe, trust and live by the ways of God we experience freedom for our souls. It is God’s design. We follow Him and we live free. All this world offers puts us in bondage in one way or another because it is counter to the ways of God. Only living in God’s truth do we experience true freedom. Most believe the opposite is true. That He binds us to rules and regulations. But this is not the God I have met.

Take a glimpse at what God does for us:

Changes our circumstances to help us
Moves the minds and hearts of others in our favor
Gives us purpose, value, meaning
Opens doors, closes doors
Heals us, blesses us
Renews our minds to what is true and real
Gives us a spirit of power, love and a sound mind
Fills us with His love to pour into others
Delivers us from poor decisions
Gives us mercy for our foolishness, gives us what we don’t deserve
Defends, protects, and delivers from the evil plans of others
Makes our paths smooth
Fights for us
Gives us insight, direction, counsel
Provides for our needs internal and external

As for His rules, they all boil down to love. True love doesn’t bind, but frees. Oppressive rules and regulations come from man’s ill attempt to speak and work on God’s behalf to control others.

There is nothing God won’t do to bring about good in our lives if we seek, ask and trust. Psalm 84:11 God is in control of everything, therefore there is no limit to what He can do for us in any given circumstance. Tremendous freedoms come when we aren’t limited to ourselves or others but have God on our side working for us.

The main hindrance to living free outside of lack of knowledge is trust. Trust is the result of continually seeking Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. It is born out of an intimate relationship with Him; a relationship that requires time, attention and devotion to nurture. When I feel the weight of a chain wrapped around my ankle keeping me from dancing, I know it is because of lack of trust. God is on my side. What do I have to fear or be worried about? Is His love to small or His power to weak? The truth is in my mind but it has yet to fully become my truth, because when it is mine I am free.

My husband said trust is like a light shining into our souls that extinguishes fear. Trust and fear can’t coexist at any one time and fear is the core emotion that keeps most of us from dancing. Because we have lived for years in a reactive mindset of fear, it is easy for this habitual response to take over.  Though it may sneak in we no longer have to succumb to it.

Our response to its invasion? Abide in His truth. As we continue to fill our minds with His Word we will start to think and respond differently. For seven years, I have been intimately seeking God in His Word. He has dispelled many fears, worries, and afflictions. What lingers is a remnant of what once was. Though fears still creep in they are fewer in number and less powerful than they use to be. I have found the path to freedom to conqueror what remains – abiding in His presence in His Word.

For believers, fear is an illusion. The truth is we are in the palm of a mighty, powerful God who loves us beyond measure. He desires to show Himself strong to those who are loyal to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:7 He desires for you and me to know Him as God in our lives. He wants to show Himself to us, but He wants us to seek Him with all our heart, soul and mind. When we seek our trust will grow, His promises will manifest in our lives, and we will dance with all our might because we are living free in the arms of a mighty loving God.

2 Samuel 22:33 God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect.