Posts Tagged ‘expectations’

Fully Persuaded

“Being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.” (Rom. 4:21)

This is an exciting time for many as change brings new opportunities and a fresh season in God. Our energy and sense of purpose are intensified when we feel like God is handing us a new assignment… often it feels refreshing. Yet – I want to encourage you… set your face like flint and be fully persuaded in your “promise”. You need to understand that as you are moving into new places, new levels of conscious decisions are required. God says, “All things become new”. Not all that you have understood up to this point will be of value in the next season and not everyone will share your new found joy. Some of your former mentalities and relationships might even try to oppose or stop you if they can!

Leaning on Others:

As we are serving the Lord in our daily assignments, ministries and lifestyle choices, we have learned to lean upon others and others learn to depend on us and watch us as we move forward. They’ve learned to depend on our character and become comfortable with how we work or how we respond to life in transition. Something is always changing, but in Christ all things are established for our peace and consistent increase. Beyond the expectations of others, is the Highest Calling we know – to lean on God! In effect, we can bless others more when we bear evidence of a life that is fully persuaded by what God is saying… fully persuaded by what God is doing… and even fully persuaded when we are unaware of where it will lead us! I often have to remind myself to never set my heart by the opinions of man.

Move in the “Now”:

When the time comes for a change many find it hard to believe that it is the will of God for you and they may even speak against it. Those who do not speak faith words are not to be listened to. You are wise to surround yourself with people who pray and find their greatest hope in God. They believe in your success and pull blessing into your path. Every time they speak your name in the Throne Room of Heaven, something is happening for your good in God’s purpose. It’s at this point that you will discover who is on the Lord’s side! Lean forward into your “now” moment and allow the momentum of grace to shift your thinking and your living. You have never been here before and you will only know the direction by hearing God’s Voice.

I say: BE FULLY PERSUADED and HOLD YOUR COURSE – for the Lord is calling you up and out to a new place where He can enlarge your influence! (Mic. 2:13) Your King, Jesus will pass before you!

Real Grace

The word “grace” has significant meaning for our relationship with God, ourselves and one another. Grace is God’s love offered. As a gift is freely given, so grace must be received to be appreciated. God offers us something beyond ourselves, yet within our reach. The power of this gift called grace, grows when we truly understand how it works in connection with faith and trust.

Grace is a Person:

God so loved the world that He gave us the gift of His only Son (Jn 3:16-17). Jesus is the gift of grace to all mankind. He is the way, the truth, and the life of God, given as the full representative of grace. Through Jesus, God comes to us and reveals Himself to us, because we cannot by ourselves find God. Jesus as our advocate with the Father comes to help us know Him and believe in Him as He really is. We cannot do this by our human limitation, because we get so blinded by carnal perception. We need God’s grace.

Religious Perceptions:

Religion can be negative to our perception, as it creates a way of seeing through boxes of morality, judgment and expectations. In fact, so many people are bound to religion that Christianity is often defined more by what it rejects than what it believes.

If we are sinful (and we all are), we may not want to come to God, thinking that God is unapproachable and will punish us for our sins. We may get the idea that we must be “good enough” to be acceptable to God. But this is where grace becomes so significant. Its the gift of God!

Understanding Mercy:

All sinners experience guilt, brokenness and emotional pain. But faith is our humble belief in God’s mercy. Mercy is simply God not giving us what we deserve so that grace can become visible. When we understand mercy, we naturally turn toward the one showing us that mercy. This turning is an act of humility, because we recognize the favor (grace) being shown us is undeserved and it causes us to feel like a burden is lifted from our shoulders. There are all kinds of burdens that mercy lifts when someone favors us.

Clarifying Our Focus:

It is important that we reject sinful behavior, but never reject ourselves or the person we see sinning. Unfortunately, in real life, many of us have the tendency to blend the two into one: we often associate the behavior with the person. In this way, we become condemning and judgmental, hypocritical and proud.

This is where God’s grace becomes visible. Jesus is not a policeman, but an advocate. An advocate is somebody who pleads the case for mercy and stands on behalf of the guilty before the accuser or the judge.

Restoration and Hope:

In the parable of the prodigal son, the father is not judgemental and condemning, but a restorer of broken relationship. Jesus tells us, he throws his arms around the returning son and kisses him, while his servant is commanded to prepare the house for a party.

Consistent with Grace:

Jesus would have us see God as the waiting Father, who runs to embrace the son at the first sign of his turning toward home. “This son was lost, but now has come home! Bring out the robe, the ring and the sandals, for my son was dead and is alive again. Prepare the fatted calf… tonight we feast!” (Lk 15:20-24)

Walking in Real Grace:

The other son is caught up in the epic battle with religious seeing and self-righteous attitudes. Jesus does not approve of that moralistic attitude, because it is hypocritical. In offering grace to others, Jesus wants us to embrace people at the first sign of turning toward home. Its not that we condone what they have done as much as we embrace who they really are. He wants us to know that grace is God’s unconditional love revealed at the first sign of humility. The Apostle Peter said “…be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet 4:5).

To Lean on God

“Being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.” (Rom. 4:21)

The question for every heart is… “will you believe, will you become persuaded?” Reasons might fail and facts might lie, but God will not allow you to stumble and fall from His grip, if you are willing to be persuaded that He has power to do what He has promised! Never give up and always remind yourself that you are being trained to do only one thing… to lean on God! What you will discover is that its the greatest adventure of your life.

New Opportunities:

This can be an exciting time, as change brings new opportunities and a fresh season in God. Our energy and sense of purpose are intensified when we feel like God is handing us a new assignment… often it feels refreshing. Yet – I want to encourage you… set your face like flint and be fully persuaded in your “promise”. You need to understand that as you are moving into new places, new levels of conscious decisions are required. God says, “All things become new”. Not all that you have understood up to this point will be of value in the next season and not everyone will share your new found joy. Some of your former mentalities and relationships might even try to oppose or stop you if they can!

Leaning on Others:

As we are serving the Lord in our daily assignments, ministries and lifestyle choices, we have learned to lean upon others and others learn to depend on us and watch us as we move forward. They have learned to depend on our character and become comfortable with how we work or how we respond to life in transition. Something is always changing, but in Christ all things are established for our peace and consistent increase. Beyond the expectations of others, is the Highest Calling we know – to lean on God! In reality, we can bless others more when we bear evidence of a life that is fully persuaded. Our influence becomes most effective when we are fully persuaded by what God is saying… fully persuaded by what God is doing… and even fully persuaded when we are unaware of where it will lead us! I often have to remind myself to never set my heart by the opinions of man.

Move in the “Now”:

When the time comes for a change, many find it hard to believe that it is the will of God for you and they may even speak against it. Those who do not speak faith words are not to be listened to. You are wise to surround yourself with people who pray and find their greatest hope in God. They believe in your success and pull blessing into your path. Every time they speak your name in the Throne Room of Heaven, something is happening for your good in God’s purpose. It’s at this point that you will discover who is on the Lord’s side! Lean forward into your “now” moment and allow the momentum of grace to shift your thinking and your living. You have never been here before and you will only know the direction by hearing God’s Voice.

Your King, Jesus will pass before you! (Mic. 2:13) The Lord is calling you “up” and “out” to a new place where He can enlarge your influence!

Baptism of Fire

Wreckless Abandon

The Bible says: In the Presence of God there is fullness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Ps 16:11)

That could make you wanna shout! Not only is it an amazing reality, but it strikes at the very heart of our sense of destiny and faith. Many Christians want to be in the Presence of God and want to learn the practice of living in the Glory Realm. It’s a natural desire, especially for those who have experienced it and tasted the goodness of God’s Presence. We all want to live in the reality of unspeakable joy (1 Pe 1:8). The sense of well-being and complete acceptance that comes with being in His Presence is more intoxicating than all that this world has to offer.

Complete Surrender:

Hear the call of John the Baptist, as he tells of the Baptism that Jesus will immerse us in when the Holy Spirit is poured out in Jerusalem. “I indeed baptize you with water, but One mightier than I is coming… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire“ (Lk 3:16). God is a consuming fire, and He burns up all of our impure thoughts, habits and behaviors (Heb 12:29). Sin and rebellion in us is consumed in His flaming hot Presence. For us to walk deeper into Glory, we must be willing for unclean things to be burned up. We must surrender them completely in His Presence.

Giving Up Control:

Everyone seems to be so eager to run into God’s Presence, because they want the overwhelming sense of joy and freedom, but very few desire the unpleasant feeling of giving up control. This process of giving up sinful parts of our soul causes us fearful expectations of being left with nothing to hold onto. Yet that is the point of the fire! Its designed to break us free of those things, so that we grab hold of His truth and live by faith in Him personally and intentionally.

Proximity Matters:

If we want to grow closer to Him, we must be willing for God to burn those things up in us. The closer we live to the fire, the hotter it gets. The nice thing about the Presence is that we don’t have to do it ourselves. We just have to be willing to stay in the fire long enough.

It’s like when you put wood in a fire. You really are not the one burning up the wood, but you need to be willing to keep it in the coals, for it to burn. If we surrender all we have grown to trust to this Baptism of Fire, everything will emerge changed. That which is unholy will burn like the wood burns in a fire. As we come closer to Him, we sense our lives being touched by fire.

Fire Transforms Living:

We see the fire in His eyes (2 Cor 4:6) and we are consumed by His loving embrace (Eph 1:6). His immersion of pure, holy, flaming love captures the heart, transforms our vision and makes all things new, dependent and fruitful.

Its amazing and impossible, yet its also… just like God.

Emotional Rollercoaster

Mt Elgon, Kenya

Mt Elgon, Kenya

The Prophet Elijah had experienced a great victory on Mt Carmel, where Yahweh was proven to be the true God. God had answered by fire, just like Elijah said He would. The people had turned their hearts toward God and the Baal prophets had been put to death (1 Kings 18:37-40). All things considered, it had been a great day in the Kingdom of Heaven.

All but that Jezebel thing…

These times of spiritual breakthrough; as powerful as they may appear, also open the door to vulnerable moments… uniquely human moments. Elijah had expended a great deal of energy, both physically and spiritually. It was truly a mountain-top experience, but now he needed to watch out for the valleys that lay below.

Jezebel’s Threat:

As soon as Jezebel heard of the victory of Elijah, she sent her threat and his expectations for revival and reformation were dashed into pieces like a china cup on a concrete floor (1 Kings 19:1-3). Being disappointed, Elijah got his eyes off the Lord, became fearful, and ran for his life down to Beersheba and then beyond into the desert. He was alone, having left his servant behind. He was tired, exhausted and in the wilderness by himself without food and water. And in the emotional state he found himself in, this threat seemed bigger than his strength could endure.

The Emotional Rollercoaster of Expectations:

Of course he was not alone; because the Lord was there, but he felt totally abandon, helpless, fearful, hurt and overwhelmed. He was not thinking from the viewpoint of God’s purpose any longer. As quickly as the victory was gained another battle was exposed. He had now resigned to pray that God would take his life from him. “I’m no better than my fathers” he said, “I’ve had enough.”

Our Father - Our Friend:

Taking the opportunity to ”father” Elijah, God asks him twice, ”Why are you here?” (1 Kings 19:9 & 13) In other words, God was asking His Child to think about what he had been doing. Elijah said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Hosts, and the Children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left and they seek to take my life.” I can almost hear the passion of a frustrated son explaining to his father that he might be missing something.

The Father’s Response:

  • “I’m invested in you Elijah, because I love you.”

To me its the real story of the “still small voice”. God must remind us that the big things are awesome and can get the attention of people, but they are not the point. The point is that God loves us more than what we do! That is the truth that matters most. Intimacy with God is to feel like an embrace and an opportunity to hear the Father’s still small voice. He will whisper secrets that draw us close in times of disappointment, but we need to tune into them.

  • “You are not a failure. Get back on track, I trust your obedience.”

God believes in us more than we believe in ourselves. Here we see God demonstrate His loving approval of Elijah by saying, “Go anoint Hazael as King over Syria, Jehu as King over Israel and Elisha as a prophet to follow in your footsteps.” God was saying that He still had a plan and He was not done with Elijah. God wants us to recognize that we are part of a “big picture” and only He knows all that is happening within the frame.

  • “Encourage yourself in the fact that there are things in the spirit I am still revealing to you.”

Then God gives Elijah a secret… ”I’ve kept 7000 faithful people of Israel away from following Baal. So don’t give up, you are not alone.” We must remind ourselves that God is at work even when we do not see it.  Seeing properly means we must see spiritually. The alternative makes us vulnerable to the emotional rollercoaster of living under the threats and poor perception of natural sight.

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