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Take Possession

Then Joshua asked them, “How long are you going to wait before taking possession of the remaining land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you?”  Joshua 18:3

God has given us all kinds of things, but do we actually possess what He has given us?  How often do we sit on the sidelines waiting?  Waiting for the opportune time, waiting for the conditions to be right, waiting for us to be right in our feelings, waiting for someone to help us do it?

When we possess something, we occupy it, we take dominion over it.  To possess something, you have to rule over it.

Here is what the Lord asks:

I have given you dominion over all the things of the earth, yet you sit back afraid to step into your destiny.  How long will you let your petty feelings keep you prisoner?  How long will you let your emotions possess you before you possess them?

I have given you strength and power of a sound mind, but you can’t seem to focus on the things that are good for you.  Not the things that you think are good, but the things that I know are good for you. How long will you let your thoughts possess you before you possess them?

I have created you to be salt and light, yet you cower in darkness and try to blend in with the world by covering yourself with its dirty seasoning.  Come forth and possess the stage that you were meant to?  How long will you be possessed by the flavor of the month before you become the flavor of the earth?

I have given you the Truth yet you still choose to feed yourself with lies.  How long will you let the hunger and thirst possess you before you control and possess it?

I have given you the whole world so that you would go out and make disciples.  I have given it to you so that you can spread the good news to all.  How long will you let the world possess you before you possess it?

I have laid it all out for you, the blessing is there for your taking.  Go possess it!

 

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New Name, New Creature

I am currently going through a phase that many women experience after they get married.  The name change phase.  It is an exciting time, but it can be very frustrating.  Depending on where you have to change your name, there can be many hoops to jump through.  Let’s just say it was a lot simpler to change my name on my credit cards than it was at work or at the DMV.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are protocols for everything, but it just seems there was a lot more hassle than was really necessary.

At any rate, it’s a very exciting time!  You are becoming a different person.  The old name has passed away and now everyone has to get use to calling you by your new name.  You have to get accustomed to hearing your new name and writing/signing it.  As much as I love my husband, it is still taking some time getting familiar with being called by his last name.  I am still very early on in signing with my new name, so at times, I have to take a moment to be sure not to sign my former name.

Then there are moments that tend to be a little heavy.  I have this person’s name.  I have become uniquely bound to this person and their name. What is in a name?  Well, now you share that name with your spouse’s family.  You are now a member of that family. Whatever the reputation is of that family, you now carry it with you. You have now taken on a new identity, whether you realize it or not. That is not to say that you are no longer your own person, only that the actions you take not only affect you, but those associated with that name. You can make the name greater or you can do things that dull it.  The choice is entirely up to you.

In the same way that taking on your husband’s name in effect places a new mantle on your shoulders, so does that of a person coming from the world who takes on the name of Christ and becomes a Christian.

You go through the same things when you first start this journey.  You have to get use to being and acting like a Christian.  You have to get accustomed to being called one.  You have to understand the responsibility you have when you walk around carrying the name of Christ as your mantle.

Again, what’s in a name?:

Character is in a name. Reputation is in a name..and when we look at Jesus, all these things reside there: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

If you are carrying His name, that is who you represent.  Now when we first become Christians, just like with an earthly marriage, it is an exciting time.  Just like in an earthly marriage, we take pride in the name and we do our best to represent it well.  Somewhere along the way, we forget why we took the name and we forget the reverence we once held for it.  We start to just focus on ourselves, what we can get done for ourselves, without regard for who we represent.

I am not my husband, obviously.  Yet, when I go somewhere, people see him.  Why? Because I carry his name.  My actions good or bad, are going to reflect back to him.  If they are bad, trust me someone will make sure he hears about them before anything else. The same thing is true with Christ.  We represent Him, and when people see us, they should see Him.  That isn’t always reflected in our actions.  Good or bad, God sees it all and thankfully for us He is a lot more forgiving than our human counterparts when we don’t represent Him well.

When you take on a new name, you become a new creature.  The old things are passed away.  You now have a fresh start. You have to be mindful of the name that you carry. Don’t get me wrong, some people will only remember you by the name you had in the past.  Just like some people only remember you by the sin you formerly committed before you became a Christian.  Here’s the thing, if that is all they can remember about you, then they don’t need to move to the next level with you anyway.  You should leave them in the past that they seem to be stuck on.

Focus on the new mantle that you have taken on and represent it well.

 

A New Beginning

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

In the Old Testament the law was given as a way to obtain forgiveness from sin.  There’s only one problem:  We couldn’t fulfill the law ourselves.  There are 613 commandments in the Mosaic law.  There was no way we would be able to keep all of that straight. Then, if you broke one part of the law, you broke it all. The penalty for sin is death and there was no way we could save ourselves.  It wouldn’t have mattered how many sacrifices we made, there was no way for us to have relationship with the Father.  Once we were cast out of the garden,  the veil had been put up between  us. We needed something or someone bigger than us to pay our debt.

Jesus came as the Word made flesh that He might bear the yoke of His people Israel and become the bridge to close the gap between Israel and the Father. He counsels His people, beginning with the disciples, even now on how we should live life and emulate Him, so that we might be pleasing to the Father. He is the Mighty God, the one who was, and is, and is to be.  He is in the past, the future and in the present. He is all knowing, all seeing, and ever present.  Although He brought the sword, He also brings a peace beyond all understanding when we focus our attention on Him instead of our troubles.

Yet before we would know Him as all these things, He had to come to us in the flesh, something we could feel, touch, and understand.  He came in human form so that He would be akin to us.  He looked like us, yet provided an example of how to live. Can you imagine having God Himself walk with you in the flesh daily through life? No one could. Many people of His time  didn’t even believe that He was who He claimed to be until after His death. What a gift that they had been given! To have Christ be right there with you yet still miss the opportunity to know Him had to be an incredible feeling of sorrow. Even still He provided a way for us to know Him.

However I digress. His birth was the dawn of a new age. His coming fulfilled every prophecy spoken in the Old Testament. He fulfilled the law that we would never be able to fulfill ourselves. The government was put upon Him because Jesus was the only one who could bear it. He made it very simple for us to come to Him and the Father, yet even now many of us take it for granted.  Remember today while we celebrate His birth, that this son was given for all mankind, including you.

He has already come and made the way, you just have to walk it out.

Let God Finish It

The word declares in Philippians  1:6 that “… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” This is a popular piece of scripture that is not being applied to our daily lives.

If we realized that things are a process, we would stop expecting things to happen overnight. We would stop making excuses for keeping back-up plans and repeating cycles. Once you know that your growth is a process, you begin to accept that it’s okay to still love them. It’s okay to still cry over the hurt. It’s okay to still want to do certain things. It’s okay to feel a certain type of way.   You have to give yourself time to grow. You receive that your emotional growth takes time but you don’t use your emotional growth as an excuse.  No one said that the work being done in you would be easy, but it is definitely necessary.

Just because you feel a certain type of way doesn’t give you the permission to act on it. The wisdom of God demands that you both acknowledge the process while growing through it. In other words- stop turning back to fill the gap. The gap is there because something about the old season was wrong. Maybe it was moving too fast and doing things out of order. Maybe you didn’t know how to balance your emotional connections with your spiritual responsibility. Maybe it was you and your need to love on the person God destined you to be before loving on someone else.  The gap is there because only He can fill it. You can’t expect things and other people to do for you what only God can do for you.

Whatever the reason for God coming in and breaking off the dead things in your life – Know that it is a work that will continue until you meet Him. Stop expecting it to stop right now. Stop covering it up. Let down the walls and let God heal you. You deserve what is coming next but you need to believe it first. You need to walk in faith even if it “feels” like you’ll never get past this. Embrace the process and let God finish it.

Abandon Yourself  At The Altar

We can choose to crawl off the altar at any time. Nothing but our will keeps us on the altar. It is all about submission. Jesus modeled submission for us in the Garden of Gethsemane. He understood the price that had to be paid to become our sacrifice and our altar even when the human side of Him was screaming for a pardon from His Father.

If we are willing to put our lives on the altar, God will bring forth reformation in our lives. A personal encounter with a supernatural God is the only thing that will transform us. To be transformed by God, we must leave the bottom of the cross where the spectators stood and climb up the tree of forgiveness, using Jesus as our example.

Jesus is our altar, and therefore we must be attached to Him—we must be tied to Him! Apart from Him we can do nothing. This is what it truly means to abandon self and crawl back to the One who knit you together in the secret place. The most important altar we will ever build is the one upon which we die to self. An altar without a sacrifice is a piece of wood or stone without purpose.

Your Call Is Meant To Disrupt

In the beginning was the Word. The world was without form and void.  Everything quiet, everything was calm, until God opened His mouth and said “Let there be light”.  Light is always disruptive. As human beings we tend to prefer to stay I  the dark. In darkness there is no responsibility.  You can trip over anything.  You can excuse yourself, because you couldn’t see. However, once there is light, you become accountable and you can’t blame anyone else.

What have you been called to do? Why do you shy away from it? What kind of ground could you shake up if you would just step out into your call? What would happen if you just open your mouth? Your call has been to shake up the status quo. Is meant to move mountains. You were sent to help rescue those who are lost.

Just like God interrupted your life when He called you, your call Will disrupt the lives of others. Look at Peter. The peaceful, routine life of the fisherman was turned upside down by Jesus. He traveled the places he would never have gone to and met with people he would not have saying if he had not accepted the call of this life. Many people were healed and saved through there and counters with Peter.

Paul would be another great example. He had spent a good amount of time persecuting Christians. But one day on the road to Damascus he had an encounter with Jesus. He went from persecuting to proclaiming. He became one of Jesus’s greatest ambassadors. He became the bridge for the Gentiles to get grafted into the vine of Christ. Imagine the souls that would have been lost if Paul had not converted and done what he was called to do. He would have to endure various attempts on his life, being snake-bitten, being shipwrecked , and being in prison several times throughout his journey. I’m sure that’s not what he thought he signed up for when Jesus called him but the call is disruptive. Everyone will not understand or agree with the call on your life, but they don’t have to. It’s up to you to act upon it and do what you were meant to do in the kingdom of God. 

Again, what would happen if you just open your mouth? What would you accomplish? Who needs to hear what you have to say? How long will you let the rocks cry out in your stead?

Don’t be afraid to be disrupted. Don’t be afraid if things don’t go your way, they aren’t meant the follow your plan but His.

Let Him disrupt you so that you can disrupt the lives of others.

What Are You Submitted To?

Have you ever wondered when you rebuke the devil in a certain of your life why he doesn’t move? That’s because you have no authority over what you have submitted to.  You can’t rebuke what you have entered into league with.

“Do two men walk together unless they have made an agreement?” -Amos 3:3

The very first example we have of this is in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were given dominion over all the living things.  Adam named them, and he and his wife were set to rule them. In the end, Eve ended up giving her authority away to something she was suppose to have dominion over, the serpent.  The creature that was meant to be inferior, became superior.  In turn, Adam had given up his authority by listening to his wife and going against what God had personally told him.  Once they had sinned, they were plucked from the vine of life and they brought forth spiritual and physical death. They no longer had authority in the earth.  Once that authority was lost, they would need to be redeemed and grafted back into the vine in order for their authority to be restored.

We do it all the time in our every day lives when we compromise on certain things:

  • “It’s only one little white lie.”
  • “I only said a couple of curse words.”
  • “I am only going out for a little while to unwind at the club.”
  • “I’ll only have one little drink.”

Have you ever heard the saying, “If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile”?  Well, if you give the devil an inch, he will try to take your life.

So, what have you submitted to?  Where have you compromised yourself?  You can’t have authority from a compromised position.  Just like in any battle, once your position is compromised, you have no leverage.  You may be able to delay a defeat for a time, but once a crack is spotted in your defenses, you become susceptible to attack. You need back up to come and rescue you.  That is where Jesus comes in.

Maybe you haven’t necessarily come into agreement with anything evil, but you aren’t doing the things that you need to do in order to grow strong spiritually.  In a sense, you have come into agreement with laziness. Yet, had you been doing what you were supposed to be doing,  (watching, praying, and fasting) you would be able to wield command over anything that came your way. You can’t have power just by association with the One.  Power not only comes by hearing but by doing also.

Look at the story of Jesus healing the demon possessed boy in Mark 9:17-29.  The father is distressed because he brought his son to Jesus’ disciples so that they might be able to heal him, but they could not.  When they come upon Jesus, the man explains what the demonic spirit is doing to his son, how it makes him foam at the mouth and how he tears at himself.  He also mentions that the spirit keeps his son from talking.  Upon seeing Jesus, the spirit takes hold of the boy.  The father pleads for help and Jesus tells him, if you will believe, then it will be done. The father proclaims that he does believe, but he needed help with his unbelief. Look at that last sentence!  The father believed but he had his doubts, like we all do sometimes.  Could that be why the disciples couldn’t heal the boy?  Maybe they compromised their faith, possibly comparing what seemed to be possible to what they were trying to do.  After Jesus cast out the demon, the disciples asked privately why they couldn’t do it.  Look at a couple of things, first, they asked in private.  Could it be that they knew they would be embarrassed once Jesus told them the answer, or their pride wouldn’t let them appear to be weak in front of the crowd outside? Like any child, they probably didn’t want to be admonished in front of their friends.  Jesus replied that the spirit could only be removed by prayer and fasting.  So here comes the second thing.  What had they been doing to get ready for a moment like this? Had they been doing what needed to be done in order to strengthen their faith and power, they would have had dominion over the spirit. They knew Jesus, but they did not really know Him.  You can know a person and hang out with them, yet not know truly who they are or what they are about.  Look at the people who left Jesus on the mount after His sermon, they thought they knew Him but once He started getting a little too real for them with His “hard saying” and they found out who He was, they left.  The disciples walked with Jesus everyday and saw His power and they wanted to be able to wield that power also.  Yet, power doesn’t come by promixity, but by pursuit and preparation.

Again, what are you submitted to?  What have you given your authority up to?

 

 

God’s Insurance 

I believe that God answers every prayer. But it’s crucial for us to remember who we’re talking to in prayer. We’re not giving God orders and He’s not at all hesitant about the way He answers.

  

The first answer is “Yes.” That’s the most frequent answer you get to prayer. I have never asked for strength and not received it. I have never, ever prayed for wisdom and not received it. But I have often not prayed for wisdom and regretted the decisions that I made. When I’ve applied James 1:5 and recognized my lack of wisdom and asked God to supply, He has delivered!  Most biblical praying receives an immediate “Yes.”   
God’s second answer to prayer is “No.” That’s why James 4:2 says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” But the only time you get a “no” is if you pray for stupid stuff or if you pray for good stuff with a timeline. I have found God very unresponsive to my ultimatums. God doesn’t respond to blustering, bluffing, or threats. If we’re praying foolishly, we’ll get a “no.” 
But if I’m praying according to God’s will, entrusting my future in God’s hands, He has a third option: “Wait.” The only thing between you and the delayed “yes” is time.  How often do we forfeit our “delayed yes” through doubt? God has made promises about a lot of stuff, but He retains the sovereign choice of timing. So we pray unceasingly, and we wait patiently.
Prayer: Father, I don’t want to derail Your promises by my doubts and impatience. Thank You for reminding me that Your timing is perfect, that Your ways are right, and that Your plans are always best! Help me to keep returning to Your promises and resting in You as I wait to see Your answers to my prayers.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

​Moses’ Vertical Call

When I hear the name Moses, I picture a giant in faith with a long grey beard and weary eyes as he stands on a mountain with arms outstretched. I revere that vision of Moses, but I resonate more deeply with the Moses of early Exodus. Rash and aggressive, younger Moses tried to accomplish his calling in the flesh, ending quickly with a corpse buried in the sand. Forty years later God gave Moses a second chance but he seemed stuck on lesson one: “I can’t.” 
In Exodus 3, God appeared to Moses “in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush” (v.2) that burned but was not consumed. In response to God’s call, Moses refused to be God’s messenger of deliverance, wallowing in his own inadequacy. I’ve done that too; have you?
Have you struggled to embrace what God wanted you to do and for a time refused to do it? I understand Moses’ initial refusal to do a big job. But God pressed in as He does with all of us. In the end God’s greatest provision for Moses’ or my or your sense of inadequacy is simply and profoundly His presence with us. The answer to Moses’ persistent pattern of “I can’t” was not “Yes, you can, Moses” but “I can, I will, I AM.” 
Prayer: Father, I confess that my first instinct is to refuse Your call and even try to run away. I realize that I’m stuck sometimes in fearful, horizontal thinking and forget that You invite me to look at everything from Your vertical point of view. Help me remember that Your call always comes with whatever else I need to do and be what You ask of me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Don’t Speak Recklessly

 

Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

We sometimes forget how important words can be. Words often cut sharper than any blade. We know that we should be careful when talking to or about others so that we don’t hurt their feelings. Yet we don’t apply that same consideration when speaking about ourselves. The bible also tells us that we can call a thing to existence when we speak. We often think of it in this way, “That thing/person I want, if I speak about it like it is already there, then I will have it”. That’s true, but don’t you think that also applies to the negativity that we are all guilty of speaking over our own lives? We are not known for being patient, at least I am not, we tend to want things on our timetable. If God doesn’t move when we think He should we often confuse that as Him not moving at all. So, then we get in our feelings and flesh (first mistake) and start to declare EVERYTHING dead. “It’s never going to happen”, “I’m never going to get the job”, “They’ll never notice me”, and the list goes on and on. After you declare all of that over yourself, you wonder why nothing is growing in your pasture?! You’ve already declared it all dead!!! You end up pitting your spirit against your flesh. You want God to perform miracles and work in your life, but you have declared your purpose dead. Don’t get me wrong, God can bring dead things back to life, but what good will it do for Him to resurrect you, if you are going to keep putting yourself back in the grave? He won’t waste His grace. You pray for life but speak death. When the words you speak don’t match your cries to the Father, you can’t get upset when He doesn’t act. Don’t question His abilities when your actions don’t match your prayers.

When there is a mismatch between the two, you become a double minded, wavering man. As James states, “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Let him not think that he will get anything from God”, 1:7-8. If you are going to ask for something, you have to ask in faith and you have to cling to it. When things are not going well, it is easy to become afraid. Becoming afraid isn’t the sin, but dwelling fear, empowering your fear over your faith is the sin. Pressure always comes, but it forces your faith life out in the open and shows its true colors. When it comes, don’t despair and bring death to your purpose by speaking recklessly. Let your spirit do the leading and not your flesh.

Stop speaking death over your life.  If everything IS dead, then maybe you should stop talking, pray  and LISTEN.