Your life is not a test. In Christ, it is a masterpiece that God is creating. Your calling is to surrender and discover that God is good regardless of your circumstances. If we will trust in the resilience that only Jesus can bring, the potential of what can happen through us in His name is mind-blowing. We would not need His perseverance if living for God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven was easy. God wants you to know that he is crafting an incomparable work of art with your life. That is not the same as creating a life of ease for you. This is not easy to accept. But, it is the truth. You and I were created for more than a life of ease. Left to ourselves, we would never fulfill our calling as God’s image-bearers. But, in Christ, we have joy in any circumstance because we know we are a part of his story, his workmanship. (inspired by Ephesians 2:10)
Tag: God’s workmanship
God’s power all over us
I was leading a prophetic prayer session a few nights ago. A good friend in our prayer family shared a vision. She was seeing us standing in a narrow space between two walls. All of us had a hand on each wall and ready to push the walls apart.
She sensed that the Lord was inviting us to push the walls back in order to create space for his presence to rush in. The walls represented sin and/or evil mindsets with which we had grown way too familiar. It was time to name them, call them out and expel them in the power and authority of Jesus’ name.
One of the prominent evil strongholds that I saw was powerlessness. As our prayers began to heat up, we knew that we were moving with the Spirit of the Lord. The phrase, “having the appearance of godliness but denying its power” came to mind. 2 Timothy 3:5 speaks about us when we are powerless… “They may pretend to have a respect for God, but in reality they want nothing to do with God’s power. Stay away from people like these!” (TPT)
This morning as I was waking up, the Holy Spirit was stirring me to think about operating in the power of God. After I grabbed my coffee, I looked at 2 Corinthians 13:4. It talks about Jesus being “robed in God’s power”. You and I were put into Christ by God when we through faith received our adoption into his family. That means we are also covered in the awesome mantl/robe of his power.
I am praying today for the oil that cycles through the engine of the Church on earth. May God transform it into the fresh, golden oil from heaven instead of the sludge of recycled powerlessness. Most of us need a reawakening to the disrespect we show toward Jesus when we neglect his power. If we see it, our hearts will begin to break for
This is a new year and a new day. In Christ, you are robed in the power of God. That is a great honor and privilege. Don’t let selfish or lazy thinking cause you to take it for granted. You are better than that as a member of his household.
You are a blessing!
Consuming Love for Jesus and His Legacy…
God’s dream poured into all creation through the prayers of Jesus is a unified love and the legacy of his family on earth as it is in heaven. (John 17, Matthew 6:9-13)
I will be forever grateful for having been born into a home and a church family who led me into God’s love. The legacy of God’s family is self-sacrificing love for him, each other and his creation.
Several decades ago I fell down on my face and prayed a prayer of brokenness that shifted the trajectory of my life… “Jesus, whether this makes you glad or not, you are stuck with me.”
The life-story we have written together is all about his relentless love consuming me. He keeps pouring it out even though so many times I am disappointed with myself. And, it’s not just for me. Somehow, he causes that same love to flow out of me to our wild world. When he planted me as his child, his intention and dream for me was a full grown, productive tree that has sent out deep roots and is not afraid of the heat and the storms. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
The living word of the Lord for you and everyone in your life is that you are designed to be in Christ. By faith receive the fact that the Father loves you the way he loves the Son because you are in Christ. Your life has meaning and purpose because you became a part of God’s legacy on earth as in heaven by that same faith. You don’t live for yourself anymore. The consuming fire that started in your heart when you surrendered to Jesus is increasing with love for all nations and generations to embrace the same oneness you have with him.
God’s family, his household exists as a fulfillment of his dream and the answer to the prayers of Jesus to the Father. Take a few minutes today to ask the Lord to increase your capacity to receive and give more of his consuming love for all nations and generations.
You are a blessing!
God’s relentless display of beauty… You (part three)
There is a resurgence rising up to engage with something more. People around us are experiencing a world that is cracking and crumbling around them. Everything from religion to politics is failing to deliver on their promise of an amazing life in an amazing world. As daughters and sons of God in Christ we possess an eternal something.
My most prized possession is God’s living word. I had no idea how powerful his word would be when it was first being planted in me as a boy. It has been a relentless slow-burning fire in me. The Holy Spirit has pursued me thousands of times in my sin and rebellion using the prophetic. The prophetic for me is receiving and sharing the living word of the Lord.
The prophetic is a powerful force alive with heaven’s glory. God uses it to infiltrate every nation with the truth that Jesus did not come into the world to condemn. He actually came to save it (John 3:16-17) He saves us by staying with us and relentlessly changing us into who we really are. His word is alive with the power to do that for every person in every nation.
And God’s strategy is you. You are his masterpiece, work of art, craftsmanship, made for the glory of heaven here and now. When you are led by the Spirit to put your faith in Jesus, your eyes are opened to see that the Father has a purpose for you. He is designing you to love his glory and to live for his reasons (Ephesians 2:10)
So, don’t allow the distraction of trends and hype to make you throw away the treasure of the prophetic. The living word of God is moving and shaping you. You were planted by God when you trusted Jesus with your life. He is intent on growing you into who you really are… and
You are a blessing!
God’s voice… through His Bride
Good morning from Saint John, NB, Canada. Last night, as I was worshipping with a room full of brothers and sisters in Jesus, I became aware of the presence of God. As we were singing with passion, there was another force coming upon us. I began to see, in the spirit, that the Lord was not waiting for us to pursue Him. He was actually coming toward us in waves. His love and glory, which were coming to us, were overwhelming our love and desire for him.
I began to understand that IT IS TIME to lay down any confidence we have placed in our ability to journey or climb up to God. Any awakening of HIS glory in the nations is happening because of his amazing grace and initiative. We have the honour and privilege in Christ of responding in extravagant worship.
Once again, I was so blessed and encouraged as I sensed the overwhelming intensity of His love for all of creation. I submit to you that
The fruit of Jesus’s prayer in John 17:20-26 will be seen and experienced around the world! How amazing is it to be alive at this time on the earth?!?
What about your vineyard?
When it comes to being a solid, life-giving Christian or Jesus Follower, we are really talking about being a faithful son or daughter. One of my favourite Father/Child stories in the Bible is the one found in Matthew 21:28-31. Jesus posed this question to some religious experts; “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted? ‘The first,’ they answered.”
For Jesus, the faithful son was the one who understood the importance of getting his father’s work done.
I see myself in this story. I have prayed hundreds of times that our Father in heaven would keep me awake to the “vineyard” he sends me to every day. I have learned to perceive my ordinary life and responsibilities as His vineyard for me to work.
God did not create you to simply behave yourself and measure up to a moral code. He designed you to work in His vineyard. The place where you live and the circumstances you are in stand ready for you to be a creative force for the kingdom of God, on earth as in heaven.
Will you say yes to your father’s call to go and work in His vineyard? It is what you were created for. Your vineyard will look different than mine. But, you are designed perfectly for it.
So, don’t lose heart! Every new sunrise brings a new call from the Father. He’s not listening for the right answer. He’s looking for you and me to step into the mundane and/or daunting day that lies before us and look for Him there.
“The Real”: Becoming more of who you really are
When I hear, “It’s easy, just be yourself” I have to laugh. It’s costly to be yourself. To be real in this world demands a grace that is beyond us. You were created to reflect the character of God into your world every day. But like the rest of us you need help. Before we go on, you need to be reminded that you have been “fearfully and wonderfully made”.
Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I had always been part of a church family. That also meant that I had to endure the pressures of religion and especially misguided religious people who put my dad and our family on a pedestal. As a result I learned very young to pretend and present the right image at the right time to keep the crowd happy. Hiding became a lifestyle for me.
By the time I was eighteen I was torn and imprisoned by the lie that I could manage my life by myself. I couldn’t. In the Fall of 1980 I finally surrendered to Jesus with this prayer; “Jesus, Whether you are happy about this or not, you are stuck with me. Because I am not going to let go of you.” What I didn’t see was that He had never let go of me. Thus a journey began. It has been a tough journey of surrender. But, I have always been sure of His presence with me.
Maybe you get my struggle. You know what it is like to feel that you can’t be yourself and follow Jesus. There is hope!
How can you discover “The Real”?
When you embrace faith in Jesus Christ, you receive something the Bible calls “eternal life”. Another way to think of it is life the way God designed it. You become part of the culture of heaven. You still live your ordinary life but your eyes open to a brand new dynamic in the world that Jesus called the “kingdom of heaven”.
Tucked into the package of eternal life is a promise. As you trust God’s agenda in your life you will grow into who you really are. The real you will actually break through the surface and shine for God’s glory.
I want to share a couple of scriptures and personal habits that have helped me break through to more authenticity.
A few life hacks on Realness:
1. Focus on the One you can trust
In Colossians 3, the Apostle Paul wrote: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Jesus Christ entered into our world as God in the flesh. If you study his life you will find that he won the war against all that is fake, toxic and dark in this world. He even faced death and came back to life in order to free you and me from the prison of counterfeit, dead existence.
In this letter to the Colossians Paul reminds his friends that their true identity is secure and hidden with Christ. He is with us and we are with Him as we face every day. If you will trust in Him you will know it for yourself.
But don’t miss what Paul said next. You can be confident that when Christ appears for everyone to see, you won’t be revealed as an imposter. Instead, because you have learned to surrender by God’s grace, the “real” you will be known and appreciated because you will shine with His glory.
Remind yourself every day that no matter how things seem, if you put your trust, faith and dependence in Jesus, He is bringing the real amazing you out into the open for all of us to appreciate. In the end the real you will be a testimony to God’s glory.
2. Encourage yourself that the best is always yet to come
In 1 John 3, while in exile, John wrote: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
The second tip is… don’t dig around in the past to try and find the real you. Following Jesus today means always believing that the best is yet to come.
John wrote to his friends and followers that who we really are is not fully known yet. But something miraculous and powerful will happen when Jesus appears to all of creation.
We will discover that we will actually be like him. The real you will be just like Jesus. You will even have a new heavenly body. You won’t be someone else. You will be yourself but even better.
The most authentic you isn’t in the past as someone to be unearthed and retrieved somewhere back there. The person you are looking for is growing right in this moment as you trust Jesus.
Make it a regular habit to remind yourself that as a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit is guiding you through a process of becoming who you really are. All of the ups and downs of this life are bringing the real you out into the open. The best is always yet to come!
So glad you took the time to read this today. If you have found it helpful, I’d love it if you would leave a comment. Also, please share it with a friend who could use some encouragement in living today with Jesus.
Live THIS Day!
Video: Be Great Soil for God’s truth to grow!
Loved teaching this message to our church family at Kings Valley Church.
If you are a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, It is “Normal” for you to be productive… for your heart to be good soil for God’s life to grow.
The Parable of the Sower.
Many great & small in importance chose to harden their hearts. Therefore they could not see or hear what these simple ordinary disciples saw heard & understood.
It is God’s design that the “normal” heart for us is good soil. Just the basic…
How can we partner with God so that our hearts become good soil?
Remember the gardener is actually our Father.
1. Surrender Our Hearts
2. Engage With God’s Word
3. Trust the Gardener
Our currency with God is our humble surrender.
Thanks for dropping in! I would love it if you leave a reply with your thoughts. If this has been helpful to you, please share it with a friend.
Live THIS day!
Not Sure How to Connect with the Spirit’s Help?
They had joined his revolution. Three years earlier they had first encountered him. They had never met anyone like Jesus. He spoke and lived with authority as if he “owned the place”. And then he demonstrated in countless ways that he actually was in control because God had given him authority to usher in a brand new day for all of creation.
But, now they had arrived at the climax of Jesus’s plan. The next few weeks would prove to be the ultimate test for these followers. Not all of them would make it. But, for those who did, it would be because they learned to trust in the Spirit of God with them.
Do you sometimes wonder what the Holy Spirit means to you? You aren’t alone in that. I want to give you three helpful tips on not missing the Holy Spirit in your everyday life. If you are up for that, lets go!
Can you imagine being one of Jesus’s best friends? It was costly to be his friend but you wouldn’t have traded one moment for all of the gold in the world.
You didn’t really see this coming, but Jesus had begun to talk about what was going to be next for him. “The Son of Man must suffer and even lay down his life”, he had told you. Through many conversations along the road he had explained that he would be taken from you and the other disciples. He hadn’t held back. It was going to get very rough for all of you.
Now the moment had come. Imagine being in the room at the Last Supper as Jesus walked his disciples through this:
“Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.”
5 Thomas said, “Master, we have no idea where you’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?”
6-7 Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!”
8 Philip said, “Master, show us the Father; then we’ll be content.”
9-10 “You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.
11-14 “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.
15-17 “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you! John 14:1-20
God’s bold move was to launch his restart of all creation through Jesus. Once it was launched he took a risk that only God would take. He handed the mission over to human beings like you and me.
Down to this moment today…
As a child of God through your faith in Jesus Christ, you have joined the same mission he started. You spread the light of heaven as you live your ordinary day… “bringing out the God-colors in the world.” When you think about it in those terms, it can be overwhelming. But, don’t miss the importance of the Spirit being with you to help fulfill your mission.
How can you make sure you don’t miss the Holy Spirit’s help?
1. Do the works that Jesus did in your ordinary day.
Jesus called us out by saying, “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you”. The Holy Spirit is with you to lead you back into accomplishing Jesus’s mission in the world. One of the best things you can do for yourself each day is to give your plans to God in exchange for what he wants to do. The Holy Spirit has a plan for your day. It will always lead you back to serving the people around you with the love of Jesus. Anything that doesn’t lead us back to the mission of Jesus is not the Holy Spirit. I encourage you to start your day with a simple prayer like this. “Spirit of God I surrender my plans to you. Lead me to accomplish the mission of Jesus in this day so that my world can see that you are real. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
2. Love being a student of Jesus for the rest of your life.
For many reasons we can get fooled into a very limited view of Jesus’s identity. One of my favorite scriptures is found in Hebrews 1:1-3. The Bible teaches us that Jesus actually reveals God to us. We know who God is and what He is like by studying Jesus. Jesus and his life are the most important message we will ever receive from heaven.
And according to John 14:26, Jesus wants us to know that the Holy Spirit is just waiting for us to set our hearts on knowing Jesus. He is an endless supply of support for us in showing and reminding us of what Jesus said and brought into our world.
3. Dig in to the teachings of Jesus in order to give the Holy Spirit the space to speak to you.
Many people will say that they aren’t sure if God ever speaks to them. If that is the way you feel, I challenge you to focus your Bible reading in Matthew, Mark, Luke & John for the next few months and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you. I know you will be surprised by the results in your everyday life.
A powerful wisdom hack for the person who wants to hear from God is found in two letters written by the Apostle Paul to two different churches in his day. His comments to his friends in these churches are very much the same with one twist. The first is found in Ephesians 5. The second is found in Colossians 3. The only difference is that he coaches the Ephesians to be filled with the Spirit while he calls the Colossians to let the words of Christ dwell in them.
A wise principle that has helped me many times is this:
Without the Holy Spirit the words of Christ won’t come alive in you. And without the words of Christ the Holy Spirit has nothing to work with in helping you know his voice. You need both.
Thanks for reading and I hope it helps you live this day with Jesus. Leave me a comment if you have a minute. And if it helped you please share it with someone else.
Live THIS Day!
Unmasking Toxic Belief – Life Hacks for Authenticity
I have always been attracted to people who according to @dustinkensrue,
“… carry the fire”.
When I encounter realness in you, my respect for you grows. There is something living in every one of us that wants to be known and embraced for who we really are.
When you read about Adam & Eve being “naked and unashamed” there is likely a sense in your heart that longs for that kind of freedom.
Is there anything that you can do with that? YES!
But, it won’t come easy. In order to possess the life of boldness and adventure you were designed for you will have to fight for it. One of the key battles is over what you truly believe. The good news is that Jesus came to set you free, bring you to life and empower you to overcome toxic, false beliefs. Are you up for it?
In the last few weeks before Jesus went to the Cross, the revolution he launched was beginning to break out into public in unprecedented ways. In Matthew 21 you get a look through the portal into some of what was happening. All of this threatened the power brokers in the community. They are classified as “the chief priests and elders of the people”.
Real people who carry the fire of God are always a threat to human power brokers. On that day they confronted Jesus asking him, “What gives you the right to do these things?”. Jesus knew that these leaders were religious and wanted to “save face”. He pressed them to say whether or not this message he carried was from heaven or simply a human agenda.
They couldn’t answer because if they admitted it was from heaven, their hypocrisy would be obvious to everyone. So he told them a story and asked them a probing question that unmasked their toxic belief:
28 “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. 30 Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go.
31 “Which of the two obeyed his father?”
They replied, “The first.”[a]
Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. 32 For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins. Matt. 21:28-32
Toxic belief is saying you will live according to what Jesus taught and not doing it.
The “chief priests and elders of the people” heard John’s message, didn’t believe or “change their minds”. Even when they witnessed the change in the “sinners” it didn’t budge them. The darkness within them was powerful & deep because they had convinced themselves that God endorsed their shallow self righteous ways.
How can you avoid toxic belief and live authentically?
Two Life Hacks for Authenticity:
1. Remind yourself every day that God has called YOU to make “AWESOME” happen.
Much like the sons in Jesus’s story your Father has come to you and said; “Go to the vineyard and work today.” So let’s camp on that a second.
The God who “fearfully and wonderfully” designed you has sent you to his vineyard today. Your Father in heaven has appointed you as his child from his heavenly family to reflect his light into earth.
It is not a small thing that Jesus has said, “You are the light of the world.”
Paul said it so beautifully in “Ephesians”:
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Since you are God’s masterpiece designed to make “awesome” happen today for his glory, “What are you waiting for”?
2. Change Your Mind from Religion to Revolution
If you are serious about unmasking toxic belief in your own life you need to change the way you think. Following Jesus as a child of God is not about being religious. Jesus didn’t come to start a religion but he DID launch a kingdom revolution. Authentic belief is all about faith in Jesus that results in daily engaging with “the vineyard” of our ordinary lives.
In his book, “With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God”, Skye Jethani wrote, “Fear and control are the basis for all human religions.” @SkyeJethani Click here to watch a 5 min video for more on this idea. The hope of the world is not found in religion. According to Jesus, the life that God honours is engaging our everyday lives in His name.
Living this day WITH Jesus according to Jethani is all about: 1. Treasuring God, 2. Being united with God through knowing Jesus, 3. Experiencing God as you engage with your world in love.
Serving ALL with the love of Jesus is a revolutionary way to live. In fact we are called to love as our Father in heaven does (Matt 5:43-48). His love is perfect because he goes beyond loving his friends to even loving his enemies. It is perfect love that led Jesus Christ to lay down his life for us.
I pray that you with make AWESOME happen in “the vineyard” of your life for our Father’s glory!
Live THIS day!