Failed Trust

February 28, 2023

Failed Trust

Jeremiah 17:7

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,

          She was small and frail as she opened the gate to approach the house.  Her form was hunched over and she walked slowly and in obvious pain, yet her countenance was bright and her eyes smiled with light.  As she slowly climbed the porch steps and knocked on the door, she stood there for a time until a younger woman slowly opened the door and peered through the narrow opening. 

          “Good morning Molly, it is so wonderful to see you today.  May I come in and visit for a moment?” 

Slowly the door opened and the little woman stepped through the storm door and into the house.  The house was dark inside and only muted light shone through the curtains to illuminate a home that was littered with neglect and uncleanness.  That mattered not to the little woman as she came in and embraced Molly with a warm hug. 

          “Molly I have missed seeing you and you are so special to me I had to come and see how you were.” 

          Molly voiced in an obvious platitude, “Oh, I have been fine.” 

          The little woman spoke right to the heart, “Molly you are not fine.  Sit down and talk to me.  Tell me what is going on in your life.”

          “Hah”, Life, what life, I don’t have a life.”  She began to tear up, as the little woman gently reached up and touched her cheek.  “All I have is an existence and I don’t even want to do that any more.” 

          “Now, Now”, said the little woman as she set Molly down in the chair and went about opening some curtains and letting light into the room. “Let me make some tea for us and we can talk.”

          “I am so ashamed for you to come into my house this way, it is such a mess.  I guess it just reflects the state my life is in right now. Ever since Dave left me, nothing matters anymore.  I’m not hungry, I can’t sleep and there is nothing in me that wants to go on living.  He was my life, my friend, my support, the one I trusted and depended on.”

Molly began to sob uncontrollably as she went on, “why did he betray me?  What did I do wrong?  Why did he stop loving me?” 

The little woman hugged her and held Molly as she wept and sobbed uncontrollably now.  After Molly began to regain some of her composure the little woman spoke.

“You know Molly, if we set our trust only in people, even those we love; we will have times of disappointment.  People are often conditional in their love, they have weaknesses and shortcomings and even if they don’t mean too, they often fall short of our expectations and dreams.  You are right in feeling hurt, disappointed and crushed.  Those are perfectly normal feelings and emotions, but life isn’t over.  There is a deep wound in your heart that must heal, but with time it will heal; meanwhile life must go on.  Molly, you are a lovely woman and a warm and caring person.  I certainly won’t justify Dave in what He did to you, but now it is time to reach deeper inside and find where your true foundation lies. 

Do you remember the Bible study we had about a year ago?  The passage in Jeremiah 17:5-9 where it speaks about where we put our trust?  May I read that to you again?” 

Molly nodded to the affirmative as the little woman reached into her bag and pulled out her Bible. Opening it to the passage, she read, “5 This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. 6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert in a salt land where no one lives. 7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,

whose confidence is in him. 8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit 9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 10 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”


Molly cried out, “I’ll never trust anybody ever again!”

“Molly”, replied the little woman, “There has to be a balance in where we put our trust.  If all our trust is in a person other than our God, then what happens when the person is no longer there or fails that trust?  The important thing for you to know is that God wants to be your foundation of trust and not man.  When we put our trust only in man or his abilities and security then we have robbed God of the trust that belongs to Him alone.  It is not wrong to build trust with one another on a natural level in relationships, but that must never take the place of the confidence and trust we have in our God. With that trust, when all else fails in life, we maintain that reliance and confidence we have through faith in Christ.  It doesn’t mean we won’t have adversities and tragedies like you are experiencing that touch our lives.  What it does mean is that we always have hope and know that our life is not in a person, but in a Savior.  Jesus promises us, He will never leave us or forsake us.  There are securities and needs in life that can only be met by the Lord.  This is your time to return that trust to Him.  Jesus is a husband that will never leave us, betray us or fail us.  He must remain the foundation support and trust we lean on before any man.  Even now, He wants to be the husband to you that Dave failed to be.  He wants to take you into His arms to comfort and heal you, because He loves you with an everlasting and unfailing love.  Molly, Psalms 9:10 says, “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” 

Many years ago when I was struggling with my husband’s lack in meeting my emotional needs, I remember being angry about his insensitivity, his lack of communication and what seemed to me, his lack of really caring.  I was crying out to the Lord about these feelings I had and one night as I slipped into bed after my husband was already asleep, I snuggled up to him and as I put my cold little feet by his legs he opened them to let me warm them up.  I thought, “Oh, that feels so good.”  Then the Lord spoke something to me I’ll always remember.  He said, “Your husband will never be able to meet the needs that only I can meet.  He is for the taste, the touch, the feel, but I am for the mind, emotion and will.”  It was then I realized I was expecting and trusting my husband to meet needs and expectations in me that only the Lord could meet.  Molly, let your trust and security rest in Christ.  He will help you through this time.  He will lift you and restore you again to that place of wholeness. 

Molly, may I pray for you.”

As the little woman prayed, Molly wept and agreed silently as a work of the Holy Spirit and the love of God was done in her that day.  Molly renewed her vow to trust wholly in the Lord and not in the arm of the flesh.  That day she came to know Jesus in a new and fresh way as her husband, lover and friend; the One she could really count on and trust in.




Be still and know that I am God

Psalms 46:10

Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

               One of the most difficult things for us to do in our busy lives with all its demand is to really be still before the Lord.  Even in our prayer life, don’t we tend to want to say our piece to God and then move on?  Most times we don’t want to take the time just to be still in His presence, to listen for His voice and meditate on His wonder and greatness.    Psalms 4:4 says, “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah”

We tend do with God what many of us are guilty of doing with our loved ones, “I would really like to talk with you about it, but I’ve got to run.  Maybe we can talk later.”  Is that similar to the words that come out of our mouth sometimes?  It is often, really hard for us to be still, but until we do, we often don’t really hear the things we need to hear.  Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, “The words of wise [men are] heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.” Even in our human and family relationships, we don’t really hear their hearts until we are willing to take the time to really interact with them and listen to them.  The greatest mysteries, the greatest truths, the revelations we receive are most often heard in the quite and still places.  Those are the places and times when our minds are at rest and peace and we take time just to listen and focus.  We all really need that time every day with our God and with each other to stay in tune and in touch with the ones and the One we really love.  Perhaps one of the reasons we don’t want to sit and be still is because, even subconsciously, we are running away from facing issues or confrontations or unpleasant dealings we really don’t want to deal with.  Maybe the reason those things even exist in the first place is because we don’t take the time on a regular basis to talk, heart to heart, on a human and a God level.  We want the quick fixes of our present society and culture to handle our relational problems, but they don’t.  They still take the investment of our time and our true heart to really deal with them effectively.

               Our lives are incredibly busy and full, but we need to set aside those times every day when we can just be still and know that God is God and be able hear, should He wish to speak to us.  More than likely He is speaking to us, or at least trying to throughout our day, but we aren’t tuned in to see and hear Him working in our lives and circumstances.  The way we get ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart that is tender before the Lord, is to be still and really know that He is God in our lives.  Don’t neglect the valuable time it takes to get quiet and be still before the Lord.


Endings and New Beginnings

February 24, 2023

Endings and New Beginnings

Deuteronomy 11:11-17

11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.

13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today-to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul- 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.

16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you

               In this passage of scripture, the children of Israel, after forty years in the wilderness are crossing Jordan into the Promise Land of Canaan.  While this land is the inheritance of God’s people it has been possessed by the ungodly nations.  Now has come the time when Israel is to enter in, not by their might and their strength, but by faith in their God.  Many believers today have the mentality that all I need to do is believe in Jesus, live my life and die and go to heaven.  God has used the natural promise land of Canaan to show us that as believers in Christ Jesus we also have a Promise Land to enter into and possess, the kingdom of heaven, that which was lost to us in the fall of Adam. Jordan is a type of that baptism into the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.  As we are immersed in its water and come out the other side, we come out dead and no longer identified with ourselves, but alive unto the newness of life in Christ Jesus.  God is telling us that the land we have now entered into by faith, “It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.”  God wants us to know that we are walking in a blessed land, one He cares for and watches over.  He is telling us we can enjoy and partake of the blessings of this land in our spiritual walk if we will faithfully obey His commands.  It will be a productive and prosperous land for us if we are careful to always put God first. 

               This walk of the Spirit, this possession of spiritual Canaan is not without its pitfalls and dangers.  We are possessing a land that has formally been filled with idolatry and every evil practice.  Even as the Spirit of Christ is fully possessing our souls and we are seeking to yield every area in obedience to Him, we come up against giants and strong spiritual forces in our lives that resist the Holy Spirit.  They are stronger than we are in ourselves, but ‘we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus’.  ‘In Christ we can do all things’, but God warns us as He did natural Israel, to guard our hearts against idolatry, where we place other things, desires and pleasures before Him.  He desires to bless us, but He requires of us faithful obedience.  It is very easy after we have gone through spiritual battles and experienced measures of victory in our lives to then fall into complacency which in turn lets our guard down and opens us up to falling into sin and idolatry.  That idolatry is anything we put before Him. 

               God goes on in this passage to tell the people that the way they can guard against this idolatry coming into their hearts is to continually, in every thing, in every way, everyday of the year, put the Word of God before them.   Read the Word, talk about it, tell your children continually about it, meditate upon it, even put it on your person or in conspicuous places where you will be continually reminded of your God and who you are in Christ.  This is imperative to maintaining a God perspective identity and in return, enjoying the fellowship you have with Him in the spirit and the blessings He has for you.  Our purpose in possessing this land is so that He might possess every part of us and we would experience the richness of His fellowship and presence, for that is indeed the manna and the taste of heaven.

               Remember that the eyes of the Lord are upon you from the beginning to the end.  Make this a time for drawing nearer, living a deeper and more committed life in the Spirit and coming to know your God in a greater and more personal way.  May you be blessed with the rain and the waters of His spiritual blessing and presence as you personally walk, possess the land and live for Him.



The Heart of a Servant

February 23, 2023

The Heart of a Servant

Luke 22:25-27

And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’  But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. “For who is greater, the one who reclines {at the table} or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines {at the table?} But I am among you as the one who serves.”

               The economy of the Kingdom of God works under different principles than that of the world.  In this passage Jesus makes lordship and the place of a servant a case and point.  In the world we are taught and value that the one who has the greatest wealth, power, dominion and authority is the greatest.  People bow down and worship and admire earthly dignitaries, celebrities and those of world renown.  The disciples arguing about the position and greatness in heaven prompt the remarks that Jesus made here.  Jesus is saying the Kingdom of God doesn’t work like that.  In that place there is only One who is sovereign and Lord of all.  Their greatness, their worthiness or their leadership qualities do not establish those that rule under Him; they are established by their heart as a servant.  For him that would be great in the Kingdom of God, the first order of service and servitude is vertical toward the Almighty Himself, inclusive of Christ, the King of Kings. If our hearts are not first right before Him it is doubtful that they will be fully right before others.  Deuteronomy 10:12 says, “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”  Jesus declares that this is the first and great commandment. This expresses our worship and service to God, which is foremost and utmost in the heart of a believer.  Then Jesus goes on in Matthew 22:39-40 to express the horizontal aspect of a servant of God, “And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” The apostle Paul expresses it like this in Galatians 5:13, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”  The call of God on our lives is not first a call to greatness, it a call to service.  We are called to, “…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)”

               Indeed, our God has called us to greatness, but it is not the way of man, it is the way of the cross.  It is the place where we lose ourselves in the pursuit of being and doing what our God values of importance.  As we come to see even in these two great commandments what He gives they are represented in the vertical and horizontal aspects of the cross, which looks up to God as we reach out to our fellow man.  The crossroad and the intersection of the cross takes place in the heart of each one of our lives as the love of God is expressed through us even as it was through His Son.  We die to ourselves that others may live.  Paul expresses it in 2 Corinthians 5:13-17, “For whether we be beside ourselves, [it is] to God: or whether we be sober, [it is] for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And [that] he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more. Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

               For us to truly possess the heart of a servant there has to be an exchange of our heart for His.  We cease to see and judge men outwardly, but we begin to look into their inward man.  What is the true need and heart cry of each individual and how can we be God’s instrument in meeting that need?  The Lord would have us develop sensitivity in each of us to those within and without the body of Christ.  The way up to greatness is the way down.  Sometimes to find the highest heaven you must be willing to tread through the lowest hell.  Remember even Christ, the King of Kings, took upon Himself the form of a servant. He tasted death and experienced hell for us that He might set the captives free, bring liberty in place of bondage, and through selfless love lift us to be joint heirs with Him.   Would you be great?  Then we need the heart of a servant.  “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, [the same] shall be last of all, and servant of all.(Mark 9:35)” 

“And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mark10:44-45).”



Why Did Jesus Move?

February 22, 2023

Matthew 4:12-17

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. 13Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

15″Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—

16the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death

a light has dawned.”

17From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Why did Jesus Move?

               Many of us read over this passage and think nothing of it, but I feel the Holy Spirit is bringing it to my attention today to make us realize that just as Jesus moved from Nazareth to Capernum there was a shift in the direction, the anointing and the purpose of His ministry and life.   This has spiritual significance for us today because we who are moving with the Spirit of God are seeing a shift in the spiritual atmosphere.  We are seeing the Spirit of God moving us out of the place of Nazareth and into the place of Capernum.  It was interesting as I looked up the names of these towns that Nazareth means “the guarded one”.  The spiritual significance of this is that we have grown up in a guarded place of creeds and doctrines.   That was not all bad, because it was a place of training and our coming into maturity.  It was a place of protection by those who raised us from our youth.  So why don’t we stay in Nazareth?  Jesus was a Nazarene or a Nazarite which means “separated one”. It is here in this place where God separated many of us unto Himself and trained us up under tutors to teach the basic tenants of the Word of God and show us His ways of salvation.  The place where we grew up the, denominational church system has known Jesus after the flesh and as such many do not have a revelation of personal identity with Him.  They perceive Him as up in heaven with the Father and we are down here patiently awaiting His coming back.  They perceive Jesus as up, out and away from them. Although they acknowledge that Christ has come into their hearts they have not grasped who they are in the spirit.  Let me show you what Jesus encountered in Nazareth as He come back to it in the maturity of His ministry and Sonship. 

               Luke 4:14-28 tells us, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18″The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

23Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ “

24″I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27And there were many in Israel with leprosy  in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

28All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. 30But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

               You see when Jesus came into who He was called to be He became an offense to those in His hometown. “. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.”  You see they knew the natural man Jesus, but the mature man of the spirit and declaration of the Father was an offense to them; so much so that they were ready to throw Him over a cliff.  As we come into maturity and sonship, no longer walking after the flesh but after the Spirit, we also we become an offense to many in our hometown where spiritually we grew up.  This is the reason Jesus had to move to Capernum which means, “village of comfort”.  This was the place of fulfillment of what He read in Isaiah in the temple.  We are no longer proclaiming the gospel of salvation, but the gospel of the kingdom which is the fullness of salvation to all who repent and believe.  It is no longer about just getting saved and going to heaven, it is about the kingdom of God being manifested in a people that are walking in unity with the Father and identified as one in Christ Jesus.  They will be the continued fulfillment of Isaiah 61.  They will bring light and comfort.  They will be a people for healing and restoration. 

               It is a day when our spiritual atmosphere and what we have formerly known is changing. 

We are moving into a new place in God and out of a place of ministry where many of hometown people will not understand or receive us.  We may not see many miracles in that place, but we will bring light into the places where formerly they had only known the shadow of death.  We are maturing as sons and life givers.  We are a people coming into our purpose and destiny.



Approaching Our God

February 21, 2023

Approaching Our God

James 4:7-9

7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

               Many of us struggle with approaching God and establishing the relationship with Him that our spirit man longs for.  We want to hear the Lord speak to us, we want His direction for our lives, at least we think we do, and we want a relationship where we have a continual abiding fellowship and dialogue with the Lord. 

               We keep thinking, “what am I missing”?  Why aren’t I feeling closer to God?  Why don’t I hear His voice and get His direction more?  Our answers could lie in these verses and in this chapter.  For many of us we are losing the battle to the flesh in too many areas of our lives.  We are back and forth between spirit and flesh.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak and so we struggle with living consistent lives in the Spirit. 

               The first thing God tells us here, that we need to do, is submit.  Literally it means to be subordinate and be yielded to another’s control.  This is the same context of submission as Ephesians 5:22 requires when it says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” Men, we are not really different from our wives. We really want to be in the driver’s seat concerning our lives.  One of the reasons we are missing God is we aren’t fully resigned in obedience to Him.  Wives, if you aren’t really submitted to your husbands, then you aren’t really fully submitted to Christ.  We all have to follow the order of authority that God has laid down for us in our lives. 

               The second area is “resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  Many of us are hit and miss at this as well.  We have good intentions, we mean well, but too many times we miss the mark.  Our resistance must be in direct proportion to our insistence that Christ is Lord.  When Jesus encountered the devil’s temptations in the wilderness, He insisted on the authority of the Word lining up in obedience to God.  Many, like the devil, take the Word and pervert it to try and say what justifies their particular lust and desires.  Resist the devil with the Spirit and the Word.  We are weak, but He is strong.  Our strength is in our abiding, obedient relationship with Christ.  He is the overcomer in us. We must see ourselves through the lens of who we are in Christ.

               “Come near to God and He will come near to you.”  Are we continually approaching God in an attitude of true humility, contriteness and repentance?  Are His praises continually in our mouth, His meditation in our heart and is our purpose to find His will and plan for us personally?  What must we do to draw near?  “Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”  The first and foremost thing is that we must be totally serious in our intent to find God’s presence.   God sees right through our heart, our intents and motives.  James 1:4-8 tells us, “4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” If we want God to take us seriously, then we have to be totally serious with Him.  Isn’t it interesting that again in this passage of James 5 he uses this terminology of “double-minded”?  This is where most of us find ourselves, divided between heaven and earth.  We look up at God and say, ” yes, I want you Father,” and then we look back at earth and think, “yeah, but I don’t really want to give that up, lay that down or turn away from that area in my life.”  We are double-minded, torn in two directions, but the Word calls us adulteresses, those of us who break our vows with our friendship with the world. It is this attitude and state of mind that we must grieve, mourn and wail over.  We must hate it so much that it becomes a stench to us.  We must be so grieved at any attitude or behavior that is contrary to the nature and character of Christ in us. He must forever be our all in all.  There must be so much of a humility and brokenness in our hearts that God will lift us up and know that we mean business with Him.  The lower we are willing to go the higher He can lift us up.  The more we are willing to die, the more of the resurrection life of Christ we are able to lay hold of.  How is our approach as we seek to find God’s presence today? 



The Labor of Love

February 20, 2023

The Labor of Love

Galatians 4:19

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

               A woman and prospective mother endures all of the discomforts and demands of pregnancy for the joy and the hope that she carries within her.  Then comes the day of the birthing, which without modern medicine is with extreme of pain, discomfort and tremendous laboring.  Yet she will endure all of that, not only once, but often, again and again for the joy of the life that it brings forth.  Out of all that pain, discomfort and labor, a miracle is brought forth; the miracle of a newborn life, formed in the image of its maker and its parents.  This was Paul’s analogy in describing what it was to Him to birth Christ in others.  It wasn’t just about telling them about Jesus and having them come to the altar and pray the sinner’s prayer.  That may have been where it began, but certainly not where it ended.  That was only the conception.  The process of Christ’s life being formed in these former Gentiles and Jews was a long process of intense prayer and intercession, teaching and counseling, living before them the example of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, forming the likeness of Christ in them.  Far too often, after Paul had poured out His heart and soul in love and instruction to these new converts to Christ, he would experience the heartbreak of them turning aside to another doctrine, or becoming caught up again in legalism or allowing sin to come again and pervert the purity of their faith.  No one knows like a parent, the heartbreak you feel when your child turns away from the path of righteousness and understanding that you have laid before him or her.   Slowly, patiently, repetitiously you taught your children from infancy, through childhood, puberty and into adulthood.  You sought to instill your belief system and core values into them.  All that you valued and hold dear, you tried to impart to them.  You continually prayed for them and when they were younger you prayed with them to help them establish a relationship with their God and yours. 

Oh, the sting and the heartbreak you felt if at some point they rejected your values, the truths you held dear, and made choices in another direction.  You may not only have prayed for them, but pleaded with them and reasoned with them to help them to see and repent from the error of their ways. 

This principle is true when discipling and pouring out your life so that Christ might be formed in others.  Often, it is those ones that so loved you and would have done anything for you, that now take on a different spirit.  Now they despise and reject you because of the truth you are trying to speak into them.  In Galatians 4:16 Paul says, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”  Often truth is no longer our friend, or the messenger who bears it, when it goes in the face of what we want to believe and the direction we want to go.  As rebellious and as otherwise directed as some may become, the love of God compels the travail of love that seeks to love them and bring them back into the truth and right fellowship of who they are in Christ.  It does not cease its travail until again Christ is formed in them. 

               We can all thank God for parents, teachers, pastors, mentors, friends and those ones God has placed in our lives to help establish and form Christ in us.  Many of us can look back at times we may have erred or lost our way and yet these ones the Lord set in our lives did not forsake us or reject us.  They prayed for us, they may have tried to counsel with and speak the truth into our lives, but they continued to love us even when we rejected and were perhaps hateful with them.  They continued to demonstrate the tenacious love of God for us that ‘it is not God’s will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance’ (2 Peter 3:9). 

               Someone has labored over your life today so that Christ might be formed in you.  Someone is caring and praying for you even in those times you may have slipped back or turned another direction.  It is the Spirit of Christ in us that causes us to travail as Paul did.  Sometimes the source of deeper inner groanings and utterances are birthed of the Spirit and not in the understanding of man.  God’s desire for each one of us is not just for us to have a religious understanding of who God is. It is that the revelation of “Christ in you” is formed, birthed and established in you so that we would no longer live and function out of natural understanding and desire, but out of the mind, will, love and heart of the Christ that indwells us and of whose nature we now are.  We all are the labor of His love.



A Cry in Zion

February 17, 2023

A Cry in Zion

Jeremiah 8:19

Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: [Is] not the LORD in Zion? [is] not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, [and] with strange vanities?

               There is rising up a cry in the bride for those who dwell in a far country.  The far countries are Babylon and Egypt.  It is in those places that I have delivered you out of with a mighty hand, yet you have chosen to return there and dwell there rather than in Zion and in my holy city, which you are in Spirit and in Truth.  It is the vanity, the idols, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the vainglory of life that has led you captive.  You have become fat and content in those foreign places and you have forgotten where I dwell.  Do not I the Lord dwell in Zion? Am not I the King in Jerusalem, My holy city? 

               My beloved, I dwell in you.  Have you so soon forgotten who you are?  I have become a distant place and foreign land to you.  My dwelling place has become to you distant and beyond the living.  I have called you this day to live in Zion and in My holy hill.  I have called you to be Kings and Priests to minister in My holy temple, which you are.  Why do you respond to the call of foreign lovers?  The travail that Paul had for the Galatians is the travail I have till Christ be formed in you.  You are My temple and you are My inheritance.  I am jealous over you.  Am I so little to you that you run to serve and love others? 

               My call to my people is to return this hour unto Me with your whole hearts, your whole souls and all your being.  Do not forget who you are, for I have given you a new name and new nature.  You are not the world, but you have been called out of the world and I have exhorted you not to touch the unclean thing for it defiles those who do.  Separate yourselves from idolatry and vainglory.  Come apart with Me and let me cleanse you and restore you unto righteousness. 

               The road that leads back to Zion, My holy hill is open and I am calling you to return from your foreign countries.  Leave your foreign wives and lovers and return unto Me while there is time.  Today the heavens are open.  Lift your head and look up for your redemption draws nigh. 



 When God is Silent and Understanding Fails

(Part 2)


10 “So listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong. 11 He repays a man for what he has done; he brings upon him what his conduct deserves. 12 It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice. 13 Who appointed him over the earth? Who put him in charge of the whole world? 14 If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath, 15 all mankind would perish together and man would return to the dust.

               Did Job deserve all the calamity and misfortune that befell him? Was it a judgement from God for some hidden sin?  Job 1:1 begins by telling us about Job’s character and how he was viewed in the eyes of God, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name [was] Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”  The judgements or afflictions that befell Job weren’t about his sin.  While we may not have all of Job’s integrity we are washed in the blood of Jesus and all our sin is taken away, so when calamities befall us, is it always because of our sin?  We often automatically condemn ourselves when bad things happen and assume it’s God’s displeasure with us.  It may be His pleasure not to condemn us, but to do an inner working of grace and purification that is perfecting His holiness in us.  As God desires to bring us into a priestly ministry, there is purification and sanctification that brings one to the altar where all that is of self, is poured out.  Look for instance at the life of Paul.  In 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 Paul expresses His priestly ministry, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.”  We have come in recent years to equate spirituality with prosperity and blessing.  Certainly, we do serve a God that prospers and blesses us.  We can see that Job had been enjoying the fruits of prosperity and blessing at the hand of God for many years.  While we don’t deny His promises and His blessings, if we look, we will see that there are inner blessings and workings of God that go far beyond the outward ones.  God is more concerned with the inner workings of our spiritual man than He is with our earthly comforts.  Spiritual overcomers are not raised up in the ease and comforts of life; they are raised up because they have experience and confidence in spiritual battles.  They learn to stand in the test and overcome by the word of their testimony and the blood of the Lamb.  We see at the end of Job, that through his experience, Job has found God on a new level.  What Job thought he knew of God and how he justified himself he realizes that there is so much more to God.  In Job 42:5-6 he says, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor [myself], and repent in dust and ashes.”  The more this life is consumed the more we realize our life is in Him and not of us.  Job 42:10 says, “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.”  It was Job’s friends that condemned him, that God was displeased with and it was Job that God commanded to stand in the gap, sacrifice the animals for them and pray for their forgiveness.  There is that new and greater dimension of ministry that God is preparing a people for.  Romans 8:18-19 tells us, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”  Are we not these sons of God that creation is waiting for? Let us not faint in the process that God is taking us through to prepare us for the glory that shall be revealed.  God loves you, Christ ever lives to make intercession for you and He is perfecting that which concerns your faith.  …”What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips (Job 2:19).”  In Job 40:8 God asks, “”Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?”” Hold fast and don’t give up when God is silent and you feel forsaken, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).”



When God is Silent and Understanding Fails

(Part 1)

Job 23:8-17

8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. 13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. 14 He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. 15 That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. 16 God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. 17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.”

               I ask God’s wisdom and counsel today in what we share.  There are times in our lives when we know and trust God with our heart, but we question Him with our mind, intellect and understanding.  We try and reason how God is, who God is and how He should act and work in our lives.  Life’s circumstances and trials can sometimes be very crushing and cruel.  They leave us in the wake of disasters that our natural reasoning struggles to understand and comprehend in the light of what we know about God.  The question is often asked and disputed, “If you are a loving and just God, how could you let this happen?”  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Many depart from their faith through the course of life, because God has disappointed them and failed to live up their expectations.  Sometimes when we are desperate for answers or a Word, God is silent.  

               The book of Job has long been a source of comfort and strength to those of us who find ourselves in these places in life.  It is not uncommon for any of us at times in our lives to have these hard questions, because God does not always respond to us the way we think that He should.  About the time we think we have God all figured out and put in the box of our finite understanding, He blows the lid off our box and defies our understanding.  God has defined Himself by certain characteristics and attributes, but His thoughts and ways are so beyond ours that they are unable to be corralled by human or conventional wisdom.  Some of you who are reading this now have struggled in your faith and perhaps have faltered because you couldn’t grasp why something happened as it did.  You prayed and you felt God didn’t answer.  You tried to walk in faith and you didn’t feel that God came through.  You may have trusted God and you felt He let you down or cried out to Him and it seemed He wasn’t there.  We may have said in our hearts, God, are you really real?  If You are who You say you are, then where are You, why have You abandoned me in my hour of need?  In times past we were so sure of His reality and we had experienced His presence, the joy of salvation and the precious power of the Holy Spirit.  Now our world has turned upside down and God seems nowhere to be found.  In the discourse of Job 29:1-6, “Job continued his discourse: 2 “How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, 3 when his lamp shone upon my head and by his light I walked through darkness! 4 Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, 5 when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, 6 when my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.”  Has that ever been the cry of our heart from the hardship and trials we have experienced?  Many of us, like Job, have searched for the answers that could bring comfort, consolation and satisfy our dejected soul.  In these times and through these monumental trials, what is our heart attitude toward God?  Can we still maintain our trust in God’s integrity and righteousness, or will we forsake and curse our God and turn away from our faith?  When the fires of hell are brought to bear upon our faith, when we can no longer with the natural eye behold the evidence of God, but only see the devastation of the enemy in our midst through death, sickness, poverty or affliction can we maintain our integrity and faith toward God?  Sometimes the fire of God will try and test our hearts in the ways that blessings and answered prayers never will.  It is easy to love and serve God when all is well, when we are prospering, healthy, wealthy and wise.  It is easy when we worship and sense God’s presence, favor and blessing, but what about when all of that is withdrawn?  Can you still trust Him and hold fast to Him as Job did?



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