Resolutions or Revelations for Lasting Change in 2017

When we are in relationship with Jesus Christ, New Year resolutions have nothing on the revelations He can and will share with our hearts.

Often it seems those resolutions we make at the beginning of every year are just made to be broken! We make resolutions in the hope that we can be better, and do better and live a life that is better than the previous year. We want growth in our inward character but growth cannot come through worldly resolutions. Change and growth in our inward character come about because of revelations in the heart.

Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of heaven and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
I Peter 1:13 Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

To ‘bind’ is to ‘gird’ up something. When we gird up the loins of our minds, we are binding our minds to the Word of God.

Jesus said ‘whatever we bind and loose’. ‘Whatever’ does not stipulate only something in particular, it is embracing everything. Jesus said binding and loosing is a key to living in the kingdom of heaven. Don’t we all want to live out the righteousness, peace and joy that characterize the kingdom of heaven? Don’t we make resolutions in the hope that we have a greater hope, peace and joy in our daily lives?

What we need for lasting change is relationship with Jesus Christ and ears to hear the revelations He shares with us as we lay His word before our eyes and lay His word down in our hearts.

We use the word ‘whatever’ today in a careless, flippant fashion and I don’t believe that is how Jesus used it here. He is giving us the opportunity to bind the weakness of our own natural traits to the strength and power of that which is supernatural and stronger than we are. Being bound we are able to rest in the power of God and lean upon His greater strength.

We are His workmanship, the unique and delightful work of His hands, birthed from the Incorruptible Seed of the Spirit of God. God has recreated us in Christ Jesus for good works, a good purpose and He has already prepared everything necessary in order for us to walk in these good works.

Our responsibility is to loose ourselves from our own selfish ideas and unformulated thoughts and bind ourselves to the Path which is the Way of the Lord. We bind our thoughts to His Word. We loose unruliness from our hearts and bind ourselves to His heart.

We loose ourselves from lack of vision, bind our sight to His sight, and see the path He has laid out for us to walk. With our natural sight bound to His, the eyes of our heart clearly see the specific good works He has planned for us to walk out and walk in.

We loose ourselves from feelings of failure and unworthiness and bind ourselves to the plans and purposes God has for us. We bind ourselves to the sufficiency of the grace He has for us and give thanks that His power is made perfect in our weakness.

We loose ourselves from the capabilities, pride and ability of flesh and self, bind ourselves to the power of Christ, and make room for His power to rest upon us.

We loose our flesh and mind from laziness and lethargy and bind ourselves to what Jesus has laid hold of for us. We press on and in so we may lay hold of the promises of God. We bind our minds to the process of forgetting those things which are behind. We loose our painful memories and bind them to the truths of God`s Word. The blood has made us clean and we have been completely forgiven.

Because we know we have been set free we can actively pursue the pressing toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ.

Join me as we thank our Father for truth, for enduring truth which never changes or fails.
Thank you Lord, that when we bind ourselves to Your truth we are guaranteed to prosper in what we put our hands to.

We are today, putting our hands to the plow in expression of our obedience to You.
You never cease to lead us in truth and righteousness and are forever faithful to see that goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives.

The testimony of our lives crowned with goodness and mercy is surely the lasting legacy we, Your children will leave.

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Between the Lines

I wonder the Psalmist’s secret that enabled him to make the declaration in Psalm 119:71-72:

“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.”

It seems what he knew is right there between the lines waiting for us to discover. He was so excited about his revelation; but he wants us to figure out for ourselves why he made the statement. He knows we will benefit from our own discovery!

He does not for a minute hesitate to say affliction was good for him and the law from his Lord’s mouth is worth far more to him than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Often we are more consumed with acquiring “thousands of gold and silver pieces” than we are about filling our hearts with the Word of God! Anything to fill the gap that only His Word can fill. Just sayin.

I know that as we are traveling through the valley of prostate cancer, our journey of affliction, and as you travel through your valley, it is in looking back we are able to see how far we have come.  Not in distance but in matters of the heart.

When David was face to face with the giant Goliath, his knees weren’t quaking and knocking in fear.  He had prepared himself by looking back at his previous victories and was now able to declare with confidence,

“The Lord who delivered me out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.”  1 Samuel 17:37

David was as steady on his feet in the slinging of his rock as he was in his confession of faith!

Are you steady on your feet and in your confession of faith when faced with your Goliath?

They come to us all in one form or another. None of us is immune.

In the years as a young, new believer, before I understood right living and repentance, I would feel so guilty, discouraged and good for nothing.  A friend had given me a New American Study Bible when I graduated from Grade 12 and though dusty and ignored, during those dark nights of depression and uncertainty that Bible would come out and I began to speak the Psalms aloud in my bedroom.  I assure you, the atmosphere in my room lifted, my mood changed. Jesus was present, wooing me with His love and acceptance of me.

When we speak God’s Word our atmosphere changes, God’s Word becomes our literal shield and buckler to deflect all the darts of the enemy! Our responsibility is to speak it, declare it, decree it and then watch to see how the Lord works on our behalf.

In the middle of discouragement when our songs of praise fill the air, Jesus, the Living Word breathes life upon our waiting hearts. I am no longer as fearful in this valley as I have been speaking God’s Word and the law of His mouth is regenerating me, inspiring me and teaching me. His praise has filled me with peace.

Singing songs of praise was exactly what the Shepherd King did when he was discouraged and afraid. We need to teach ourselves that habit as well and be habitual about wearing it!

It is when we feel His breath and hear His Word that the Word is better than thousands of gold and silver pieces. We have to learn how to tap the source, drink from the Well ourselves and be intimate with our Lord. He is a generous sustainer.

Jesus wants to be close and intimate with us. He longs for us to feel the wind of His breath on our cheeks, the whisper of His word in our hearts.

My friend Amy King who writes at http://amygking.com/  is discovering with me, what is between the lines.

No amount of money could do such an amazing work in her heart so she meets her current situation so valiantly and victoriously.

No “thousands of gold and silver pieces” could sustain her heart, give her courage and peace to convey trust to her children, and encourage Kevin. She is speaking God’s Words into her atmosphere and God is at work in their lives, showing His glory and kindness. She has joy in the midst of painful circumstances.

I agree with Amy when she says it is healing to write.  We are learning that in the writing there is a looking back. In the looking back, we see how much we have grown and changed, trusting God with our loved ones. There is a marveling at the depth and steadiness of the faith we possess…

Neither of us can tell you why cancer has touched our spouses.  We can tell you, our hearts and voices in unison, we do know that in the looking back over the past months, the change in our hearts and steadiness of our faith is Amazing! Only God could do such work.

No amount of money could have fashioned that change in our hearts. No amount of money is able to strengthen us so we stand securely in faith. Nobody else’s revelations could have strengthened us the way the tender voice of Jesus does as He speaks to us.

The Treasure is in the Secret Place – His Word! Oh, and don’t you want to be like Jesus, acquiring a mastering of the Word of God, filling your heart with His Words so you are filled with the richness of His treasure?

Only the Word of God breathed upon our hearts brings to life that which is lying dormant.  Only the Word of God shed abroad in our hearts will raise up the victorious warrior in us.

The Word of God is Living Water drawn from the well.  The Word of God is the Rock in our slingshot. The Word of God is the fire in our belly.  The Word of God is the hammer that knocks things securely in place. The Word of God is the claw hammer that reaches way in and withdraws what is useless and messy.

The claw hammer is working in my heart pulling out mangled nails.  God’s Word, right thinking, with nails shot in straight as an arrow are filling the holes in my heart.

The Word of God is our hedge of protection.

The Treasure is in the secret place – His Word! Will you make the time to fill your heart with treasure beyond measure?

 *artwork, mine!

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Thirsty

Summer of change

There is a reaching in my spirit to touch the deep of God.  I strain, I press forward toward the Voice that calls me to deeper life in Him.

In my garden, I see as if for the first time that there is a food chain of birds and bugs.

In the Kingdom, I see.  I see as if for the first time.

A banqueting table has been set, ready for me to sit and feast in the presence of my enemies.

Jesus, even cancer, that foul enemy humanity hates and fears.  In the presence of it, You prepare a table before me.

God, I sit down.

You anoint my head with oil.

My cup You have filled

It runs over.

“Drink this cup,” You have said. “This is My Blood of the New Covenant.

Seal of the promises I keep for you.”

The Blood runs over

It spills and covers us.

The Blood runs over

You have purchased us by

Royal Blood shed.

We belong to the King,

To the God of amazement, wonder and beauty, the One who is more than enough in every situation, every circumstance.

There at the table, as I lift my face to You

I see a banner blowing over me.

It blows in the wind of Your breath

Blows hard so the enemy sees it.

Jehovah Nissi!

Behold!  I see the enemy scatter

They cannot prevail when Your banner waves.

Jehovah Nissi – our banner of Victory

Jehovah – the Blood, the Blood of Your Son has won the battle.

Goodness and Mercy await my awakening.

I will walk through

I will walk through the valley streaked with the shadow of death.

I will walk through valiantly, victoriously,

Voraciously trusting in You, my God and King.

I am Your child; Your eye is ever upon me.  Your Presence fills me with peace, unstoppable joy.

If I run too fast, the crook of Your staff gently corrals me back to Your side.

Your side, that has dripped with Blood shed for me.  You ask me to keep in step with the Spirit.

I gaze upon You, see only glorious radiance.

Look behind; see Goodness and Mercy bubbling with laughter and joy.

I look upon the enemy that confronts me.  I see only the Table You have prepared for me.

You anoint my head with the oil of joy. Or is that Mercy?

I drink my overflowing cup, the Blood spills over and I am covered.

Your covenant promises are for me.  By the power of them, every need has been met.

There at the Table You have prepared a feast.

You say, “Take, eat, this is My Body which I broke for you.  Drink the cup, drink for it is my Blood shed for you.  Drink, beloved drink, let the Blood cover you completely.  Let its power course through you like a mighty rushing river.  The life for your flesh is in the Blood.  Drink.  Drink and consider Jesus.  Raise your glass high, victory is nigh.”

 

My soul is crushed and breaking with longing for Your judgments at all times.  Psalm 119:20

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Because of Stella

 

My words are known to the Father even though I have written and torn up, written and torn up.

And in my heart, they beg to be written.

I have been learning so much about myself through this crazy thing called Facebook.  Learning about me as I write my articles and do my blog posts and it is crazy that God has used this to reveal to me some treasure from His heart that will change me even more.

I ask Him to forgive me for spending an amount of time on Facebook when I could be spending time with Him.   A day later I read a Facebook post that involved me and I had spoken/written right into the situation.  All I knew was a sense of being lead by the ever so gracious Holy Spirit.  There have been several instances like that this week where I learned that my words brought healing and comfort into a woman’s life.  Was it worth my time? Yes.

When I write, I write what I sense the Holy Spirit is speaking to my heart.  That is a good thing otherwise; they would be words with no power to bring life.

I have realized though, that I have not added in all these great day to day, moment-by-moment spiritual illustrations perceived at various times throughout my day.   Am I lacking in perception, am I just plain lacking?

The answer to that is no and the Spirit of God was kind enough to show me something that He felt I would be ready to handle.

“Because you have spent so many years hard of hearing, conversing and being chatty have not come easily or naturally for you.  I can change that now because you have learned that when you recognize an area that needs changing, it is wrong to compare yourself to someone else and feel less than.

I have created you; and like all my children have stamped you with unique and differing personalities.  Your hearts are for me. Your hearts are totally for me and because your hearts are so different, so will be the way in which you express yourselves.

It is good to have a mentor, someone whose work and life you admire. I have placed them in your life as practical examples of excellence exemplified.  It is good to reach for that which is excellent.

Your heart is filled with treasure.”

I bring my treasure then before the Lord as a gift to Him.  It is the best I can bring Him.  I treasure the treasure and guard my heart.  I guard it against coveting, comparison, jealousy, insecurity and inferiority.

None of these is from the Father and all of these can gather round my treasure unless I use the Word of God to fill and protect my mind.  God words and God thoughts.

I am reminded of this portion of the first devotional I ever shared in 1997…

“What caused the gifts of each wise sage to be so different and yet of infinite value, each in its own special way?

To carry their treasures, Matthew says each wise man had a Treasure Bag.

Can you just imagine with what care they looked after their bags throughout their journey?

Did they worry about the difference in their gifts or did each of them understand the intrinsic value of what they were presenting to this Child born King?

A man’s gift makes room for him and with the joy that filled their hearts it is highly doubtful that they eyed the others’ treasure and felt their own was inferior.  It is doubtful also that the question of trading arose for each man was satisfied in the knowledge that what they were bringing before the Christ was their personal best.”

This is the same with each of us today.  Our gift is from our King and one is not better than the other.  When we are a Body in unity, our gifts compliment and complete each other.

We are to come, all, and present our gift to the King.

We can journey together, strengthening, encouraging and completing one another.

When the Lord was drawing me back to himself over twenty years ago, He was, unknown to me, choosing to be very creative.

I was invited to go with some women I trusted to hear a mutual friend who was sharing that evening in Mission BC.

How my heart longed to feel part of the Body, to feel and know that I was accepted in the Beloved and that even the people who make up that Body cared for and about me. I felt so alone.

I cannot tell you what she spoke on – I can tell you that I am sure that God was using those words to tenderize my heart…

However, I remember…

At the close of the service the words were spoken.  I can see her and hear her just as if it was yesterday.

….She was not looking at me when she said it but I felt that I was the only one present.  The words pierced my heart and created such a vivid word picture for me.

There was a cracking, a rending of the heart and Jesus was there arms extended.

Her words ring out clear and true.

“You are a knit stitch in the Body of Christ.  You may have slipped off the needle but Jesus is here to pick you up.  We are not complete without you as a member of the Body.”

She hugged me that night.  Small in stature, with a head full of curly red hair that reflected the fire in her heart, Stella Cleave hugged me.  She had no idea that was the first time I felt the arms of God around me. The first time I felt the power of His love.  I felt the love of God oozing out of her in such a way I have never been the same since…I was wearing the sweater I had just finished knitting…

So thank you, Stella Cleave, wherever you are in this world.  Thank you for being obedient to speak Holy Spirit inspired words.  They were life to me. My life has changed and continues to change because you were obedient for my sake!

What if she had decided to disregard what  was burning in her heart and preach something a little more run of the mill?

Who gets lost by the wayside if we are not obedient to write Holy Spirit inspired words in the way He inspires us to pen them?

I pray that we celebrate our differences and live to bring God pleasure as we express the creativity He has placed within us.

May God bless us and lead us in the way that is right, true, and pleasing to Him.

Do you have a Stella in your life?  Will you be a Stella to someone?

 

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