Empowered to Overcome~

“If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.” ~Mo Willems

I stated in the previous writing (at the beginning of the new year) that there were two words heavily weighing on my heart the latter half of 2014. While I shared some thoughts on one of the words, I also dropped a hint to the second without pinpointing it clearly to you. I knew that when the Holy Spirit challenged me to consider the meaning of these two words for my life in 2014 as a guide for 2015 that I was being pushed towards a “new normal”. I have been taking time to really assess areas of my life where I have adapted myself to the story instead of saying to myself “this isn’t my story, time to leave”…

The word adapt in the manner that was ministered to me is a call to action in itself. While I have a powerful testimony to many things He’s empowered me to overcome, there are some areas in which I’ve adapted to my circumstance. That’s huge; while it is necessary at times to adapt to certain conditions, adaptation is customarily meant to be temporary.  Adaptation is an altered state and is not designed for sojourning. We each have at least one experience in our lives that altered us, and some have in a sense deformed us… This isn’t God’s intent and plan when we go through challenges and difficulties. As I mentioned in my previous writing on “Adaptation”, we’re not designed to be “made to fit to” circumstances or to the assumptions of others; especially not to the limitations we place on ourselves. We are to allow the Holy Spirit to “make us fit for” overcoming every challenge. While some experiences have stunted our growth, it’s never too late to ask the Holy Spirit for help. He wants to nourish, nurture, and restore that area of underdevelopment so we can rise to the challenge and put it behind us. Believe it or not, until we overcome it, “it” is still there, deeply rooted, waiting for us ask Him for help to develop the strength, courage, and wisdom needed to deal with it…

Which leads to the second word: evolution. In Christ, we are empowered to move from the simplified state of consciousness of that dead spirit, into “lively stones”, demonstrating a heightened state of awareness that we are now living spirits with the regenerated mind in Christ. We are to reflect the consciousness of our Father, and Creator of all existence seen and unseen. We can no longer merely adapt to this world’s reality.

When I studied the words adaptation and evolution from a scientific perspective, I found that the gist of it is this: any condition that requires long periods of adaptation actually “weeds out” any species of any living thing that doesn’t have the ability to “evolve” in the midst of the transition to the “new normal” in which it will now exist. Which means, if it doesn’t evolve, it will inevitably become extinct. So anything that stops actively growing and evolving in the new norm, is in essence slowly dying. From a spiritual standpoint, the Holy Spirit I believe has relayed to me that evolving is the state of “transforming”, which Paul spoke of in Romans 12:2; I’ve shared several translations below:

Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God – what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect. (GNT)

Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants–what is good, pleasing, and perfect. (GOD’S WORD translation)

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you; develops well-formed maturity in you. (MSSG)

Let’s pause here…

Consider This: The Holy Spirit is ministering to me, and I pray He will minister to you also as a result of these writings, about the reality that any area of our life that remains in an unaltered, culturally-conformed state once we receive Christ, is subject to spiritual fossilization and extinction. That word, fossil, practically scared me right out of my skin. 🙂 So I looked it up: to be fossilized, from a psychological and/or spiritual perspective, is to be an antiquated or stubbornly unchanging person or thing… Areas that risk being fossilized, as He is relaying to me, end up as a mere imprint of what was; not fully reflecting what it could have been in its evolved state by the power of the Holy Spirit. I picture myself lost somewhere, in a part of my life that no longer functions and is no longer any benefit to myself, God, or anyone else… To allow ourselves to become some spiritually prehistoric, petrified, impression of someone from a time that has long past is NOT good, and completely unnecessary. We know full well this will not reflect the “better” God planned and intended for us when He redeemed us. We are all here, believers and nonbelievers alike, dealing with the same issues and struggles; yet those who have received Christ have the benefit of His Spirit… We are called out, chosen, and empowered to respond from the evolved state of an overcomer in Christ. We have a magnificent “Helper”, the Holy Spirit. Invite Him to challenge your thought processes, your reasoning; areas where life experience has caused you to adapt a mindset that does not reflect Christ. We don’t have to turn to stone in that place of pain, we can evolve; Christ brings transformation.

The Role Doesn’t Suit You~

We’re in the New Year, and I must say that I didn’t begin 2014 expecting to be writing to you each week; but here we are… 2015… Still in conversation. 🙂 This blog for me serves as a combination of the chronicling and reconciling of thoughts, experiences, challenges, conversations, prayers, and the like… I feel so blessed and fortunate to have this outlet, and I’m humbled by all who read, share, and support my site and blog.

I didn’t write last week to give myself a bit of a breather. I wanted to think about what 2015 was going to be for me, and I have come to some conclusions I’d like to write about and share with you. I have been hearing a couple of words being tossed around in my times of meditation and contemplation, yet I had not really stopped to compile my thoughts on them… I’m glad I didn’t rush into it because some thoughts need time for development and these words apply.

One of the words is “adapt”. Adaptation relates to the need to make something or someone suitable for various conditions or circumstances. It is when a situation requires something or someone to “be made to fit to” the conditions of that particular circumstance, place, maybe even to a relationship. Think of a book to film or television show “adaptation”. Most times, when you’ve read the book you see parts that seem to have become sensationalized for the movie. Possibly the screenwriter, producer, and/or director thought it added more to the story or plot. It most likely was added or embellished; something the author may not have included, or did include, but chose not to place much emphasis. On the other side of the coin, some part of a book may be diminished or left out of the adaptation; it didn’t seem to have as much meaning or intrigue- it just didn’t fit the screenwriter’s “vision” for the movie…

There have been times in my life when I’ve gone through situations, and factors that became significant drivers in that situation caused me to feel as though I was forced to adapt to the circumstances. I think of becoming a wife far too young, then a divorcee’ and single mother. Some parts of me became diminished; still there somewhere, but they didn’t suit the season and context. Other aspects of my life seemed to become sensationalized. I felt consumed by the season; suffocated by the weight and pressure… I won’t try to speak for all, but I know I’ve been a poor “screenwriter” to my own story at times as well. It happens. I’ve adapted the parts of me I thought most important to my role by making them forefront, and in hindsight realized things I diminished were critical – we don’t always grasp what’s important to the development of our life’s story until we see where that choice led us. So by the leading of the Holy Spirit, equipped with greater understanding, I’m reassessing what’s important to me at 45. 🙂

Far too often people would prefer to have the short version of our story, I guess to determine who and what we are about without the investment of the time it takes to get to know us. I don’t believe anyone can be known through a “byline”; it’s the same concept as thinking you know the story by reading a headline to an article, or that you know the book because you saw an “adaptation” of that book in a movie. While not everyone is meant to know us completely or intimately, I do believe we should choose to take control of our own story. We can’t play to the need for others to be able to surmise our lives, nor should we sum ourselves up through an experience here or there. While there are many situations that have made significant impact on who I’ve become, it’s my decision to either live as a person who experienced “this” or “that”, or to live the sum total of all that I am with honesty, dignity, and great hope for the remainder of my life. The same holds for you as well.

I know I said there were two words, but I’m not going to try and squeeze my thoughts into one writing – so let’s pause here…

Consider This: Whether we’ve just come through some trying time, or we’re in the thick of some challenge, there’s more to us than that incident, decision, trauma, or loss. Yet, we’ve allowed it to consume our life’s story. If you no longer want to be defined by that experience then decide you’ll no longer be content with being forced to adapt. The role doesn’t suit you anyway… While setting the goals and agenda for the New Year, let’s purposefully analyze and scrutinize our goals. We can’t focus fully on evolving into the person we were created to be if we’re solely focused on trying to play up or “dumb” down moments in time. Resist the pressure to “be made to fit to” any other space except that which truly aligns with who we are at our core. Reassessing our goals will ensure they are based on the truth of all that we’re destined to be…

The Hope of The Season~

I am vacationing, and hopefully recharging, resting, reconnecting with God and with myself in ways that a busy schedule and life’s daily cares often won’t allow… I feel it’s important to unplug in order to center ourselves. It’s critical to the success of our relationship with God that we find and make time to ensure we’re recalibrated, realigned and focused on what God desires. It’s critical to the success of any relationship for that matter… When we are busy with the cares and concerns of life our prayers, conversations, and even our interaction can become one-tracked; they become driven by the pace and necessities of life more than we realize…

During the Christmas season we quickly approach the New Year, and most have already begun to take stock of the year that has passed, the successes and the losses, the joy and pain. We can read and hear the conversations all around; we can even listen to ourselves. Unfortunately when we don’t take pause, we quickly overshadow what should be a Grace-focused season with what we did or didn’t accomplish, and begin setting up expectations for the New Year without sincerely resting our minds and taking proper stock of all we’ve experienced throughout the year… While we should do this periodically throughout the year, if we haven’t, it’s vital to get proper perspective before attempting to move forward. In all thy getting, get an understanding (Proverbs 4:7); it’s important to get understanding before you try to move to the next. This requires that we get God’s opinion over others through patience and prayer… You might be surprised by what God has to say about what you’ve endured, what you’ve accomplished, and what He knows should be your focus for days to come.

It’s always a good time to love on Jesus, but especially now, since it’s the season designated in our faith to recognize His life and birth. I pray that you will slow down a little and allow the Holy Spirit to rest on your heart and remind you of the glory of God’s righteousness and love that was finally revealed through the birth of our Savior. If no one else remembers, you and I remember what the real gift is this season – the gift is the wonder of His unfailing love towards us, that before you and I were born our Savior was sent to us to redeem and reconcile our lives and hearts to our Father and Creator, the Great I Am, Our GOD… What great love…

It’s critical that we stop and allow Grace, the Lord Jesus Christ, to minister to us because He is The One who has made available to us the relationship which saturates our heart and spirit with hope. He came to fulfill God’s purpose; to pay a debt we couldn’t settle and restore our relationship with Him. This season should not begin with the pressure of attempting to make up for past failures, but it should be spent celebrating, and resting in, the Peace and Goodwill that has been released to the world for all generations. His birth was the beginning of the end of an era of guilt, sin, and shame that was insurmountable apart from Him. I have aligned my prayer with Paul’s words in Romans 15:13. It’s my personal declaration;

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

God desires us to allow Him, by His Spirit, to not just fill us, but to cause us to overflow with hope, joy, and peace. The Holy Spirit has reminded me through this text that I have an advantage over anything that would try to hinder God’s plans for me; I have blessed assurance, and unwavering hope – I have HIM… We must be fully persuaded that God with us, Emmanuel, Jesus, and now the gift of His Precious Spirit, is more than the whole world against us.

The Christmas Carol “Joy to the World” has powerful lyrical references to this great hope, such as “the Savior reigns”, “The Lord is come”, “let every heart prepare Him room”, “no more let sins and sorrows grow”, and “He rules the world with truth and grace”… The fact that The Lord rules the world with “truth and grace” stirs my heart. I could write a series on the truth God wants to reveal to you and me, but let’s pause and reflect here… 🙂

Consider This: The Lord desires for us, more than anything, that we would begin to focus on grasping what is the height, breadth, and depth of His Love. It was powerful enough to become personified in Jesus Christ… Imagine a love that could literally become flesh and bone without the help of an “earthly Adam”, a man… God knew the power of His love for you and I was more than enough to literally break the laws of creation because He is the Living Word OF the created thing. Again the Lord says to us “take rest”; truth and grace are on our side now, and forevermore. Our lives and our times are in His capable hand, and we’re closer to the fulfillment of our dreams than we realize. Talk to God and allow Him to infuse the joy of confident hope into your heart this season… Merry Christmas~

Believe, Trust, And REST~

Everyone who has been through a major trauma knows how important it is to be able to reach for that “rock”, that place of safety to cling and wait for the storm to pass over. The Lord is our Rock, our Refuge and Hiding Place, and it’s His desire that we would all learn to trust in His way and rest in Him. Nothing says “Lord, I believe you love me” quite like putting your trust in Him and resting while He works His plan in your life. He wants to orchestrate times of rest in our lives, but too often we feel as though what we’re seeing and experiencing requires some kind of action, some type of response on our part, not realizing rest IS a response… When God is calling you to stand your ground while you are facing the storm of your life, more than anything you need the Holy Spirit to manage your rest. There’s no “working through” a thing when what we need is peace that passes our understanding. We need the Holy Spirit to guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7) because there’s little clarity in the storm apart from Him. There is a deep “soul rest” in God’s presence that allows us to think, NOT think, hear God and process the right things, release the others, etc…

In my previous blog I talk about being reintroduced to Elohim, Creator God, through the scriptures in Isaiah 54:16-17, but someone else in the Bible had a similar “reintroduction”. That person was Job. His issues and losses were polarizing, and while we know the end of his story, at the time he didn’t know that his current circumstances were not reflective of what he found later to be the totality of his life and future. Perspective is difficult but critical when we’re called to trust and rest, because our circumstances have the power to overshadow the good that God is working in our lives if we don’t keep our eyes fixed on “ELOHIM”, our Creator and Heavenly Father.

In Job 40 beginning at verse 15, through chapter 41 God speaks to Job about His creations. He talks about the two strongest, most feared beasts of the fields and waters; one called Behemoth, the other Leviathan. In this passage God challenges Job to an understanding of His existence, strength, power, control, etc…  He talked to Job about the strength of those two creatures I mentioned; He challenges Job to recognize that the most feared beasts in existence that any human could see or even hear of were created by the SAME God that created us.  God established in Job’s mind an understanding that everything in existence was created by Him and therefore belongs to Him… While there are things He created in the earth that may be too great for a man to control, there is NOTHING that HE can’t control.  Even Job’s “suffering”. We must understand this as well if we’re going to rest and stand our ground against the wiles of the devil. We must know in whom we believe; and know of all God has created, we are His beloved…

God is in control of everything and everyone, especially our enemies and anything that could bring harm or interfere with His purpose being fulfilled in each of our lives. Every device used, every move made by the devil; there is NOTHING outside of God’s control because he (Satan), and all of creation, belongs to God. ALL power belongs to Our Father. God may allow the enemy to do whatever he thinks or feels he needs to in order to exert the power, control, and influence he wants us to “believe” he has over us, but while we see the weapon forming, it won’t prosper in the thing it was formed to produce (Isaiah 54:16-17). Our responsibility is to yield our understanding because the little battles we face here and there are distractions from the real war.  The real war is within us, and God needs all of our attention and focus on Him in order to give us victory.

We are fighting the good fight of faith, and it requires the submission of our will and understanding; it’s where our future lies.  When we think “yield” we automatically think “give up”; most times our submission and yielding looks more like a defeated posture. I know my posture has in the past, and at times it still does; I have to correct myself when I see it because this is not the “yielding” God wants… He wants the yielding that comes from the submission Job gave.  Job responded to God’s challenge by saying in the beginning verses of chapter 42 “I have nothing in response to what has happened to me and what You’ve spoken except to say You alone are GOD; Your understanding is far too great for me to fathom.  You know all, and everything is in Your control; including my life.”

Consider This: If there was any way that Satan’s weapons could derail God’s plans for your life God would not allow that weapon to be formed at all. Again: If anything he’s doing to derail you actually COULD derail you, GOD would intervene immediately, because He is not glorified in our destruction. The way you know it won’t work is because God allowed the weapon to be fashioned and used. We must KNOW from the depths of our soul that God is in control.  Anything and anyone that has the potential to impact our lives and futures are ALL in God’s hand and working according to His purpose for our good.  This was powerful renewed revelation for me, because it really doesn’t matter how many times you’ve read or studied a scripture, passage, or story, God has the ability to bring something to your attention that will reintroduce you to the God of your current situation. I pray that as you’ve read these words, the Holy Spirit is reminding you of God’s unfailing love for you – demonstrate your belief in the power of His love right now; recommit to trust and rest in Him.

Take Rest~

When facing difficulties, there are so many different scriptures we’re taught to quote, many of them roll off the tongue with little effort or thought. Scriptures like, “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10), “we wrestle not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6.12), “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). These scriptures, and in fact ALL scriptures, most certainly work, but I just didn’t feel they were working for me as of recent. I was getting really tired, stressed, and impatient. REALLY impatient.

During what had become very demanding and distressful times, in response to my prayers and petitions for relief, I began to hear the Lord stressing at every instance to “take rest”.  This word began resonating, over and over with each passing day and confirmed in many different messages and teachings. I don’t think I’ve ever heard “rest” referenced as much as I have in recent times. I thought, “What revelation” and I really believed I got it. Seems so simple. Lord knows I needed my soul to rest, so if God said to take it, I’m taking it… Until I began to try and live it daily. I didn’t realize, but resting is HARD work. 🙂 It’s difficult to find rest for your soul when you’re being fought on every side, and the enemy seems to be winning. Most of the time we speak words that are aligned to faith, but our attitude and our prayer posture says “I need to see how it’s going to work out in order to believe it’s going to work out.”

The Holy Spirit is our Counselor and Teacher. He’s here to bring all things to our remembrance, and also show us things to come. As I began seeking His guidance on resting, I tried to be deliberate in speaking the word of God by faith and commanding my soul to receive my newfound “rest”. So in a recent moment of testing, I spoke a portion of a very familiar passage of scripture, Isaiah 54:17;

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from me,” says the Lord.

But I still struggled to find rest concerning the issue I was dealing with. I then heard the question “how do you know?” I thought how do I know? What’s that supposed to mean? I’m quoting this mighty word from God because I believe the word of God, right? I’m a witness to the truth of this passage, I’ve seen it work! But I heard the question again, and I began to question the question. Truth of the matter was for this particular challenge I was facing, I really didn’t feel as though I was confident that the weapon wasn’t prospering. With all honesty, the “weapon” appeared to be prospering right, mighty fine to me. We can’t get help with what we won’t confess. So I confessed to God, “I don’t know Lord; I feel as though the weapon is working, and it’s not working for my good… Now it’s off my chest and if You really mean for me to rest, I’m going to need some help.” I expected to get caught up in the spirit and whisked away into some vision of my future where I’d see everything turned out perfectly… Instead, the Holy Spirit led me to open my Bible and read Isaiah 54 again… And again.

At times biblical truth can become so common to us it loses its potency, or we think we’ve exhausted the revelation that can be gained. We become so busy with life that we believe it’s enough to know and recite the word in prayer and just keep moving, but this blog was started on my renewed understanding that what I thought I knew just was not going to be enough anymore. I read as I had times before, but this time verse 16 caught my attention; I realized it was an answer to the question the Holy Spirit asked me.

“See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc;”

God reintroduced Himself to me as Elohim, Creator God, in this text. I was given reassurance that the weapon won’t prosper… “How do you know?” Because the attacks we face are the works of the destroyer and God reminds us here that HE created the destroyer that formed the weapon. Since all authority is in the hand of the Creator, not the created, we can be at ease… Our enemy, the destroyer, Satan, is created by our Father and because we are His beloved, we can rest in knowing His eyes are on the situation we’re dealing with. No matter what we face, we are to remain seated in our prepared place, in the heavenlies with Christ (Ephesians 2:6-7). We rest in knowing that our Father also created Satan, and He has Sovereign control over him and all that he does. Satan may be fanning the flames and using them to build and shape a weapon specially designed to fit his plan, but with all the attacks he may wage we can “take rest” in knowing God loves us. We will see the manifested Sovereign will of God prevail over the works of the enemy against us in due season.

Consider This: The exercising of our faith is most readily seen not in how much we know, but in how fully we embrace and rest in what we know. It’s the reason I started writing… Jesus admonished us in Luke 21:19 that “in patience possess ye your souls.” Another translation says “Stand firm, and you will win in life.” The enemy appears to be winning when we don’t remember he’s a created being, and a defeated foe. We’re called to rest, wait patiently, and trust God’s way and plan; we aren’t troubled when the enemy appears to be prospering in his methods (Psalms 37:7). We already have assurance of the outcome; God has already defeated him so we prevail. But we must command our souls to rest in the truth of God’s word, by faith, despite not knowing the “how’s” or “when’s” of the outcome of our situation. His Love is the power that upholds us; it protects, provides, and exalts us in due season. We must recognize He reigns over all that is seen and unseen. Fully embrace your standing with God in Jesus Christ and rest… You’ve already won.

The Former and the Latter Rain~

It’s been a very busy month, and the last two weeks or so have been the busiest. I thought I wouldn’t even get to write to you this week, but I had a very strong impression on my heart to share one thing with you from my time at home. I spent the last week with my parents and family celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday, and enjoying a much needed vacation. While I brought clothes for church, I wasn’t absolutely certain I would make it; the first day or so of being there I knew I would be really busy. I would be getting off the road after driving a good distance for the first time alone in a VERY long time, going to a football game, meeting up with my son whom I hadn’t seen in months; mind you, the entire day and evening of the game it rained and this was an outdoor, open-air stadium. Church was far from my mind by Saturday night. 🙂

But I did pack something to wear, so I got up Sunday. As I was preparing to worship with my mom, dad, niece, and great-nephew, I caught just few moments of a message being taught by Joel Osteen that caused me to take pause and reflect on the many blessings of being born into my family, and to my parents.  Joel Osteen referenced the former and the latter rain, as spoken by the prophet of the same name. Here’s the text:

Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. Joel 2:23

This text and passage is a promise from a Merciful God to His people; He’s promising sufficiency, provision, and an abundance of resources to ensure a good harvest “in season”. This portion of text was used by Joel Osteen to remind us of the blessings of the latter rain, the harvest of our personal relationship with God, but also the blessings of the former rain, which are the result of the harvest we glean from the Godly heritage of generations before us; our parents, grandparents, and the like… It resonated deeply with me because I see clearly the harvest of the former and the latter rain in my life. I am a born-again believer, I reap the harvest of my life in Christ daily. But I am also reaping a harvest of blessings of a Godly heritage. It’s quite a legacy… When I consider all the things I’m grateful for, my relationship with Jesus Christ, my faith, is what first comes to mind; and it’s also most deeply rooted in my lineage. While I could have been lost and in sin, I’m grateful that the truth engrained in me from infancy found me; I am redeemed.

I could clearly hear the Holy Spirit prompting me to reflect on what I’ve been blessed to be a part of; an amazingly gifted family. I was chosen and ordained to be born into this family, to these parents. All my life I’ve known them to love God and love His people passionately. The mantle passed to me through them is of love, service, and ministry in the purest sense. As I consider the “former rain” of my parents, my grandparents, and all they have sown into me, I am thankful to God for honoring their prayers and their sacrifices. You may have the same testimony; our grandparents may not have lived to see it all, but we are living testaments to the power of prayer and what God can do with one seed of faith. One man, one woman, giving their lives to Christ and serving Him with their whole hearts and lives have produced several generations of sons and daughters doing the same. We are the fulfillment of God’s promises to them that training up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord would not depart from their bloodline. It’s something I hadn’t fully grasped until I listened to those 3-5 minutes of teaching on the former and the latter rain.

We have an inheritance; we are the seed of Abraham, engrafted children of God by virtue of our redemption in Jesus Christ. However, we are also able to claim our inheritance of faith from our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, second or third generation of cousins, whomever and however you can trace family who loved and served the Lord. It’s your lineage of faith, your mantle of salvation to carry on throughout your life. It is to be passed on through us into the lives of anyone and everyone we connect with whether they are part of our ancestry or are in need of being introduced to our heavenly Father and family. Paul tells us that all those who are in Christ have been blessed with “every spiritual blessing” (Ephesians 1:3), and that we were chosen “before the foundation of the world” (vs 4) to be recipients of God’s abiding love. I’m humbled by God’s infinite wisdom; He chose me to be born into a legacy of anointed men and women of God. They love deeply, serve tirelessly, and minister powerfully whether it’s in word or in deeds. I not only see who I am through God’s word, I see who I am through His chosen: my family.

Consider This: All believers, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, have the responsibility to ensure the mantle of faith is passed from one generation to another. Someone, maybe MANY some”ones” are waiting for you to sow the seeds of righteousness and truth through Christ into their lives. You may not be able to trace your legacy of faith to anyone you can readily identify in your family, but that means that someone introduced you, and now YOU are the one God has chosen to bequeath the mantle; you have now become the beginning of your family’s “faith” lineage. What an honor to be chosen by God to introduce generations to Jesus. Let’s be mindful of the charge we’ve been given; while it’s good to be able to pass material valuables and treasure in the earth, the greatest treasure we can pass on is an eternal inheritance – let’s ensure we leave “beneficiaries” of salvation and Grace in Christ through a Godly heritage.

You are perfectly YOU~

Having a relationship with God through Christ has released innumerable blessings into our lives, all by His Spirit. However, at times, we reach an impasse; we’re facing issues that hinder our ability to see how far we’ve come, and maintain our focus on the good that is ahead of us. Gratitude, or thankfulness is such a potent force in drawing God’s blessings into our lives, and the enemy will do anything he can to cause us to dwell on the wrong, and forget all that’s right in our lives. There are many promises we can use to re-position our hearts to see God’s goodness, and one I want to talk about here is what we’ve been freed from by Christ’s sacrifice. Galatians 3:14 says that Christ became the curse for us,

“In order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

If you haven’t read through Deuteronomy 28, it’s a quick reference in terms of understanding the blessings and curses pronounced by God over the children of Israel; all are directly connected to their obedience to His voice and to every commandment and statute He had given them. Now many of us accept that we’ve been freed from the curse of “blood guilt”, brought on through Adam’s sin, but we’ve also been freed from ALL guilt; it’s imperative we grasp this because we can’t be grateful and rightfully stand in our liberated lives if we don’t know we’re free. We are a people, unlike the people in Deuteronomy 28, who have been freed from constant fear – we no longer have to fear being cursed for not being able to live completely upright and faultless before God. We are guilt-free by a renewed relationship with Our Father through Christ, and this makes us blessed beyond measure. It’s not only a good reason to be thankful and grateful, but it is one of the most powerful truths we can receive through our redemption. This revelation allows us to “take ourselves off the hook”. We all have allowed something or someone to make us feel worthless or unworthy over mistakes, sins, and the like. But God doesn’t see us this way.

Let’s begin to see ourselves in a truly loving relationship with God; Father to son and Father to daughter. I sincerely believe that God sees me as I see my children; and He’s an even better parent than I could ever HOPE to be. I’ve come to see myself in God as it pertains to my growth, relationship, and worthiness in Him in a manner I hope will help you. When it comes to my sons, no one assesses my children apart from my insight. I’ve been afforded the privilege of nurturing them from conception until now, and while many may “observe” them in stages, I KNOW them in the fullness of their entire lives; their history, their bloodline, and their inheritance in heaven and in the earth. In order to love and support them into their adulthood, I fully accept and receive them as individuals, and love them to their potential at whatever stage and state they’re in. I made no expectations of my 3 year old to be able to function at the level of my 8 year old, and I never made my 8 year old feel less than accepted for his individual growth and development in comparison to someone else’s 8 year old. I hope you see yourselves in this as believers, as children of God…

We must understand that God sees us the same way. I am perfectly me in His eyes, and you are too… We’re not even “imperfectly” perfect to Him; if anything we’re growing into the image our Father has always seen in us, and “growing pains” are not only accepted by our Heavenly Father, they are EXPECTED. It’s the same with children; if you don’t have children maybe imagine yourself in the eyes of your parents or loved ones. I see my sons – intelligent, handsome, good-hearted and loyal. I see two gifted and talented young men. I’ve always seen them as they are, while also seeing the great potential in them. They didn’t always see this, however, and neither do we.

They have been subject to temptation, peer pressure, and mistakes. They have not believed in themselves always, and have succumbed to the self-esteem issues that come from comparisons to others, or harsh words from others. But none of these things changed the truth of who they really were, and I’ll never hold them to the standards of others, or the standards they take on through one bad experience or another. I hold them to the standard of who I know them to be, and watch them grow into that truth through whatever path their lives travel. No matter what comes their way, I love them without pretense, and I love them for who they are, not what they may or may not have done. I don’t have some burning anger over things they do that are out of character or identity, nor does God feel this way about us.

Consider This: Whether we’ve had the benefit of a parent or loved one to speak into our lives in this way or not, if we are in relationship with God He desires to speak these things to us daily, even now. No one knows us better than Our Heavenly Father, for even before we were formed in our mother’s womb He knew us (Psalm 139:13-18). He ordained us to come to know Him and fulfill an assignment with treasures He’s hidden deep within each of us. No matter the road we’ve traveled, or state we’re in, as long as we’re in Him we are immeasurably blessed and favored. Being thankful and grateful are rooted in knowing who we are, what we’ve been freed from, and the greatness within us that is yet to be revealed. If you’ve been having trouble considering these things, I pray after reading this you have been reminded of His good thoughts towards you. I pray that your heart will be touched by His voice saying “you are perfectly you”, and that you are drawn closer as He says “I have nothing against you, no matter how you’ve struggled.” He is not judging your weakness, so resolve to receive His Love and Grace; be strengthened by the revelation of your perfection in Him and give thanks… Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂