Unpack That Verse… John 17:23 What is Your Energy Source?

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Just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, So they might be one heart and mind with Us.
Then the world might believe that You, in fact, sent Me. John 17:23  (MSG)

An energy source is something that gives you power, it recharges you, it enables you to keep going. This can be all sorts of things. If I compare it to an inanimate object I quickly think of a power cord that plugs into an outlet of some sort. We plug into the cord and we are charged!

What would happen if Jesus were your power cord and the Father was the outlet? You would plug into Jesus who is already plugged into the Father and VOILA… POWER!!!

That is so awesome to think about!

God is our power source. But the key is the connection… Jesus is the connector, He is the power cord connected to the power source, the Father. What verse does that make you think of? There might be a few that would adequately represent this picture, though the one that stood out to me almost immediately was from John 17. In this section of scripture there are actually a few verses where Jesus is talking about how the Father sent Him and has given Him the glory to give to you and me and then essentially because the Father and Jesus are one and Jesus is in us, we are also in the Father. We are all connected!

The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.  John 17:22-24 (NASB)

Not only are we connected to the ultimate power source, it is a power source and a power connector where when we are attached to it, the world should know who we are. This connection should make us look different in ways that will be obvious to those around us.

Plugging in to God daily and even several times throughout the day is important. Why? It is the only way to remain charged in the Lord. You must be connected to Him in order to remain in Him. Once we are in Him, we look like Him and we carry what He has everywhere we go… we walk in His fullness and LOVE!

“If we give God service it must be because he gives us grace. We work for him because he works in us.” – Charles Spurgeon

Unpack That Verse…Philippians 4:6-7 No Worries

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Be anxious for nothing, but in prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

Feeling anxious is a very real thing. I battled anxiety for many years. The one very important thing I learned about anxiety is that I could beat it… with the help of Jesus.

I didn’t see clearly how anxiety was affecting me and my life until very recently. In fact, God revealed to me that this anxiety was actually rooted in fear. And that fear controlled me completely!

Through prayer and supplication, which means simply asking for, I was able to walk to the other side of this fear and break covenant with it. I had partnered with fear, anxiety, worry, you name it, for my entire life, but it was time to be free.

It is true, that once I partnered with God and allowed Him to walk me through this process of freeing me from my fear, peace settled on me, in me and around me.

It was truly amazing to me to see how different I saw things through my own eyes because of this freedom. I became alive, adventurous… fearless.

Once I gave my anxiety and worry, and essentially my fears to Jesus, my whole life began to change. One seemingly little gesture can be the last step into breakthrough and COMPLETE PEACE and FREEDOM!!!

So, in your moments when you feel anything but peace, cry out to Jesus, and ask Him to fill you with peace… then rest in the Father’s Presence as He covers you with the warmest, coziest “peace blanket” you have ever snuggled under! Trust me, you will never want to worry again!

Worry does not empty TOMORROW of its sorrows, it empties TODAY of its strength.            Corrie ten Bloom

Unpack That Verse… Psalm 104:22 Freedom in Praise

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Praise the Lord, everything He has created, everything in all His Kingdom. Let all that I am praise he Lord. Psalm 104:22 (NLT)

How many times have you woken up in the morning and just felt sad, unsure of the day, depressed even, and basically did not even want to get out of bed?

For me, that used to be an everyday occurrence. Now, not so much, but it still happens.

Yesterday was one of those days…

I never used to know how to get past the cloud that seemed to consume me. But, I would push through and get up anyway and somehow make it through the day, but I remember it being a struggle.

I have learned as of late, that praise will draw me out of that place and instead place me in the presence of the Lord.

In His presence I will find joy, peace and love…

All I have to do is come to the Father either by praying, reading scripture, listening to worship music, singing to Him… crying out to Him or all five things and He comes… He comes rushing in like the wind and fills me.

Yesterday ended up being one of the best days. I really enjoyed it, felt joy, peace and love. And, I felt powerful, because I conquered something that used to control me. Praising the Lord freed me from bondage to this cloud of sadness and depression.

So, the next time that that cloud tries to consume you… let all that you are praise Him who loves you!

 

Unpack That Verse… Psalm 119:162 The Greatest Treasure

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I rejoice at YOUR Word as one who finds great treasure.  Psalm 119:162 (NKJV)

I absolutely LOVE this verse! Reread it and then let it sink in for a moment…

The WORD of God is like a treasure. WOW! This is one of the Psalms that it is presumably written by David. It is stuck in between two verses where it talks about being persecuted and lying, but David continues to seek the word of the Lord and rejoice.

This only confirms the fact that His Word is calming and comforting. In the Bible, God speaks to us in the way that we need to be spoken to in the moment we are in. Make sense? More importantly though, IT, God’s Word, is a treasure… ALWAYS… each time we go to it… because it is inspired by Him who loves us!

The Message translation says it in this way…

I’m ecstatic over what you say, like one who strikes it rich.  Psalm 119:162 (MSG)

I think too often we are almost complacent when it comes to reading God’s Word. We must continually view it as a gift, a treasure, an amazing blessing. It is something we have access to which then gives us direct access to Jesus who leads us to the Father! It is only when we regard it as such that we are truly understanding it as the living word and not just a book with a bunch of stories. This WORD is living, both in the written Word and in the form of JESUS.

I challenge you today and every day from now on to look at what God says in His Word as something that is truly a treasure and believe you have “struck it rich”. Then, watch the Word literally JUMP off the page at you as you read… your heart will receive and you will never be the same! Be ecstatic… you have found the living WORD of God the Father!

The Bible is the cradle wherein Christ is laid.  Martin Luther

Unpack That Verse… Psalm 119:45 Walking in Freedom

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And I will walk at liberty, for I seek YOUR precepts.  Psalm 119:45 (NKJV)

God’s precepts are His Word… seeking His precepts are actually seeking Him. For, remember, His Word was made flesh through Jesus. Seeking Jesus is how we seek His precepts.

Through this seeking and then finding and because God is always there just waiting to spend time with us, well, we find freedom. Freedom, liberty in Him, in His Word, because that is where true freedom comes from.

Because I know you Jesus, in my heart, I know what it means to be free from slavery, free from sin… I know that You are with me, protecting me, guiding me, keeping me in liberty.

he presence of His Spirit is where true release and freedom are present. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom! (2 Corinthians 3:17)

If I soak in this truth it becomes a reality. Thinking back to many times in my life where I felt so stuck, cornered, in bondage and basically hopeless. As I prayed and let Holy Spirit do His “thing”, it all lifted like something that was weighing me down. The next impression was one of almost weightlessness… definitely free!!!

Learning to let go and let God be in control is the first step and often the most difficult one. Take that first step into freedom and the next steps will be ones like you have never experienced before!

We must be free not because we claim it, but because we practice it.  William Faulkner

The Secret Place

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The secret place…

What is it?

Where is it?

How do you get there?

Come with me as we dig in and answer these questions together, for it is surely a place we all have been and truly want to go back often.

Many think that this secret place is actually a place we have to go in order to cultivate that intimate, personal time with God. This is not entirely true. Now a place that you go in order to be still before the Lord is not a bad thing, in fact it can be a very good way to stay focused on Him.  What I am inferring is that it is much more than a place. Let me share with you what I learned a few months ago… I had a HUGE revelation on the secret place and it has changed forever how I come before the Father now.

The secret place is actually you and me.

Let’s unpack this a bit.

Because we have Jesus in our heart, He abides in us and we in Him, yes? Well, He is in the Father and the Father is in Him, yes? So, because Jesus is in us and we are in Him and He is in the Father and the Father is in Him, we are also in the Father and the Father is in us… so all of us are in each other… this then is where the secret place is. When we are all in communion with each other, we are in the secret place with each other!

Psalm 91 gives us this beautiful picture of a secret place,

He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1 (NKJV)

Some of the other words used for the secret place include, in His presence, His shelter, and under the protection. It is definitely a good place to be! I like to think of it as a covering, the Father is taking us in under His covering.

Another verse that is probably more popular as far as the secret place is Matthew 6:6.

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (NASB)

In this one, it seems as though our “inner room” in private is where we find the Father. This makes sense, as we should be focused solely on Him when we commune with Him. So, it is almost like going into a room and closing a door. This represents a prophetic act of shutting the door to everything else in our life when we go to the secret place with our Lord. I love this analogy! There are points during the day where we go to this place with the rest of the world on the other side of the door and it’s just us and GOD. It is a necessary part of achieving intimacy with anyone, so why not with our Father?

Please don’t forget though, that He is with us always and we carry His presence everywhere we go, because we are the secret place! Maintain those private moments in order to grow in intimacy, but then out of that nurtured intimacy allow your secret place to go with you throughout your day. This will not only bless you, but it will also bless everyone around you as they experience the presence of God that you are actively spreading everywhere you go!

We convince by our presence. Walt Whitman

 

 

 

 

Unpack That Verse… Friday, March 17, 2017

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By Your words I can see where I am going; they throw a beam of light on my path. Psalm 119:105 (MSG)

The Word of God guides us. It guides us the ways that are good, the ways they take us towards Him. As we draw closer to God, through His Word we know who His is, we learn about His nature.

It’s just like spending time with anyone who you have a relationship with, the more time you spend with that person, the better you know them.

God is someone who loves us… AND, someone who we love… so, in order to maintain a healthy relationship, we must spend time together.

Moreover, it cant just be one-sided, both parties must do their part. Essentially, I must put time and effort into my relationship with the Father. Not striving or performing, just spending time with Him.

The other gem that is hidden here is this… Jesus is the Word made flesh… WOAH!!!

So, as we know Jesus, we know the Father. And as we know the Word, we know the Father… it’s all connected!

As we understand what God is saying through Jesus, our eyes can see the path He has lit for us. A path that will lead us in the way of a loving Father.

It seems so simple… and it is.

I believe that there is light all around us, if we would only look. The Father is everywhere, and He is waiting for us to look to Him.

What are you waiting for?

Look to Jesus and then ask Him to light your path with His Father’s Words.

Always, everywhere God is present, and always He seeks to discover Himself to each one 
A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God   

 

Unpack That Verse… Thursday, March 16, 2017

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Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.                 Matthew 6:6 (MSG)

Hanging out with God is something that should be authentic and real. In other words, we don’t have to try and impress God, but rather just be ourselves.

As we are who we were created to be with our Creator, we become one with our Lord in His Presence.  To me that is the most amazing feeling ever!

Too often, as with many things in life, we try to perform for approval, acceptance, love… we even do it with God. We try to act more spiritual, or try to set up the “perfect” time with Him, or try to act like we are “doing it the right way”. The bummer is, we miss out on Him. When we try to do it a certain way, we totally lose sight of who our Father is.

God is found in many things, but He is definitely not found in things that are not true… after all He is TRUTH!

Let’s go forward in this thought…

Spending time with God doesn’t look like anything except what HE wants it to look like. So, begin by seeking the Father and then letting Him find you right where you are… and then sit back and enjoy His Presence!

“People seek for methods of learning to love God. They hope to arrive at it by I know not how many different practices; they take much trouble to remain in the presence of God in a quantity of ways. Is it not much shorter and more direct to do everything for the love of God, to make use of all the labors of one’s state in life to show Him that love, and to maintain His presence within us by this communion of our hearts with His? There is no finesse about it; one has only to do it generously and simply.”
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God   

 

 

The Doors of Our Life

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Doors are funny things, at least to me. They swing back and forth, they slide to and fro, they creak, they groan, they swish, they slam, they let people in and usher people out, ultimately their sole purpose is to open and close.

Why is a door important?

A door is like a portal leading from one place to another place. A door is the transition from outside to inside, from hot to cool, from cold to warm, from wet to dry, from exposed to covered. Unfortunately, it can also be a place of fear, sadness, hunger and pain for many…

Some of the doors are chosen for us, especially as we are children. While someone else is caring for us, we have no say in what is behind the doors for us, we just follow the ones who are supposed to be protecting and loving us.

As we become adults, the choice becomes ours alone. We determine which doors to walk through and how the other side will look. Yes, there are times when as a result of a bad choice, our situation looks bleak and hopeless.

Herein is where our God steps in… if we let Him.

Yes, I said let Him…

God is ever present with us, but we still have free will. Because of this,  it is also necessary for us to cry out to Him, when we are in need. He feels our pain with us and even catches our tears when we cry. He is there, but He waiting… waiting for us to invite Him in.

Scripture is full of verses about doors. I have only listed references  in order to provide a sampling of what is in God’s Word. The meanings are as diverse as the number are bountiful.

There is the open door (Matthew 7:7) and the closed door (Matthew 6:6). There is a door that is likened to the mouth, eyes and possibly even the ears (Psalm 141:3). These doors are also places for opportunity and encounter with Jesus (Revelation 3:20), or sin and turning the way of the enemy (Genesis 4:7).

Doors are ever abundant and available, as doors often represent opportunities. Opportunities lead to decisions… decisions lead to blessings or cursings. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

My life has been full of many doors, as I am sure yours has as well. Some of the doors that were not meant for me, well, they led to very difficult times in my life. Some of the darkest, most hopeless times were on the other side of these doors. Were these doors part of my destiny, or did I mess up my life by walking through them?

Here are my thoughts on that…

One of my most favorite verses, and one that many of us are very familiar with is Romans 8:28…

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Essentially, anything we do, God will use it for our good… even through the darkness and the pain. The coolest part though is in looking at the verses around this particular verse.

 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that [b]God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

After reading this I am filled with such peace! Yes, we are weak and we NEED Holy Spirit even in our talking to God. But, HE knows that and knew it… and even still, we were already tagged to be HIS, and so He works it out. In fact, He glorifies us! WOW! Even in our bad choices, we will be glorified because we are sons and daughters of the KING!!!

Walking out the extent of opening a “bad” door will probably result in the need for repentance and possibly some pain and hardship for a season. But, there is hope and with God, there is also still a blessing. I have seen it many times in my life where out of a bad situation in my life came something beautiful! For me, it also became such a season of growth and ultimately drawing even closer to the Lord.

Another key to opening the “right” doors, the doors that lead to our destinies, is make sure they are easy to open. The ones that you force open are not for you. I have done that as well and ended up staying in a place where I was very unhappy and even watched an opportunity pass me by.

God is love and in hindsight of this truth, we will always find open doors to our destiny. This love is so HUGE that it will almost reach out and grab you. Once again, it is still up to you. Your choice will lead you to the love or away from it.

Jesus is waiting for you to ask Him which way to go. Just trust in His love for you and then let Him walk you through the next door of your life!

I know not the way the LORD leads me, but, well do I know my GUIDE. Martin Luther

 

God’s Word Transforms

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“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

 God loves us so much. God the Father wants to spend time with us. As we spend time with Him, we see Him. As we see Him, we see ourselves. Spending time with Him can look like many different things. One way is reading and meditating on His Word.

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 (NASB)

 

In other words, as we read and meditate, we gain eyes to see which way to go. We are led as we seek Him. It is very much like the relationship between parent and child. As we grow up we either listen to our parents or we don’t. That determines our outcomes… how many times did you try to do something on your own and go against what your parents told you and it ended up in a mess?

I can remember one time when I was about probably about 8 and we were visiting my grandparents. There was a great yard to play in, and we were allowed, my brother and I, to go out and play, but mom told us to stay away from the part where there was a brick wall. Well, my older brother was 10, so of course we went right over to were the wall was. On one side, it was level with the grass and on the other side there was a drop-off of about 5 or so feet down to the ground. So, we proceeded to play and pretend and well, I fell and scraped the whole inside of my leg on the way down. It was painful and I remember it being painful for many days. If only I had listened to mom and not my brother!

Well it’s the same with God, often when we don’t follow His suggestion, it ends up in a

mess! For me in my life, it’s always been an awful painful mess, physically and

emotionally. Sometimes it isn’t necessary something we do wrong. Sometimes it is a

door we force open because we WANT it even though God has said no, or not yet…

That’s why staying in His Word is key! Jesus came so we could have a role model.

But we must be careful to not miss Him.

You have you heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you will find eternal life there. But you’ll miss the forest for the trees. These scriptures are all about me! And here I am standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive the life from me you say you want! John 5:39-40 (MSG)

Jesus teaches us not only who the Father is but also who we are. Jesus is the WORD made flesh… so we experience the Word in action! Ultimately as this transformation occurs we become closer to the Father

The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:22-26 (NASB)

 Isn’t God and His word just like a tree? As the tree grows, its root system spreads. His Word roots itself in our hearts. We carry His Word where we go. The root system spreads…

“For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit. Jeremiah 17:8 (NASB)

 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:3 (NASB)

 

The fruit of the tree also draws people to the tree. His presence in us (evidence of

fruit) draws people to us. We share the fruit… (GOD’s LOVE)

If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. … Romans 11:16-27 (ESV)

Most importantly though, the transformation should be a revelation of who we are… our true identity. God’s WORD, both written and living, is the needed ingredient to our identity feast. God wants us to come to the feast with Him and come to know who we are. And again, as I have mentioned it is connected, as we know ourselves more, we know and desire The Father more because of who we are and who He is!!!

Think of your own personal fruit…Ask Holy Spirit what fruit you have on your tree. Are your bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace? Ask Him also where your roots have spread to…is it a root system that touches others and spreads the love of Jesus?  My tree has gone through a season of pruning, but even though fruit is just beginning to appear, my root system has been deeply rooted in God and His love…

Take time today to allow God’s Word to transform you. Once that happens, your fruit, evidence of God’s Presence in you, will be integral in transforming the world around you!