My Lover

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There they sat, as the light that exposed them caused them to sparkle as the gems that they are. Waiting patiently to be discovered by whomever is willing to dig deep and unearth them. Like buried treasure they call out to be heard. The intimacy of their ancient meaning waiting to be discovered.

He invites me to come in motioning me into the palace where refreshment and rejoicing await me and he conspicuously flaunts his banner over me as the lover of my soul.

His divine love.

The next time the enemy shoots an arrow of discouragement at you, grab it with your bare hands, break it in two and declare, “Jesus’ banner over me is LOVE!”

Shalom!

 

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Infusion

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If you have ever had the pleasure of smelling jasmine you know that it’s aroma can be intoxicating. It’s fragrance is warm and exotic. Even now as I look out our big front window and watch the beginning of the falling rain on this cold, windy and cloudy day, the memory of the scent of jasmine takes me back to bright sunny summer days spent relaxing in the perfect temperature – not too hot and not too cool.

Jasmine is also a prized essential oil. One of the processes of extracting the oil from the delicate flowers is through steam distillation. Steam is passed through the flowers causing its cellular makeup to break down and burst forth with its precious oil. Actually, the liquid that comes from the break down is a combination of water and oil, which is funneled into a vat where the oil floats on top of the water and is then collected to be bottled. It takes eight million jasmine flowers to produce just two pounds of this precious oil.

This process reminds me of the ongoing work of Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, especially when we are in seasons of being broken down so who we are in Christ can burst forth and that newness floats to the top and replaces old habits and thought processes and all that remains is a sweeter fragrance of who we are and are becoming in Christ, which we can offer as a beautiful sacrifice to God.

The distillation process is rarely easy but God doesn’t ask you to go through it alone. He promises to never leave you or forsake you and at the end of each juncture you are infused with even more of the sweetest aroma of heaven.

Precious One may the fragrance of who you are burst forth onto those you come in contact with today and everyday.

Shalom!

The Clef Of His Love

 

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Many times the beauty of God’s word is enhanced when we hear Him speak to us from his ancient words. Allow the Ancient of Days to speak to your heart with his words from long ago.

Yet the LORD will command in the daytime his covenant loyalty and in the night his song with my prayer to the God of my life. Psalm 42:8.

Covenant loyalty stirs in my heart and strengthens my faith in his commitment to me, rather than “directs his love.” I no longer view, “his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life,” as two separate thoughts, rather, his song and my prayer meet together to praise Him, the God of my life.

That’s the God we serve, graciously beckoning us to join him in all that he does, even as he sings a song of ancient words over us for all the heavenlies to hear, he calls to us to join him right there with words of prayer.

Precious One, do you hear what I hear?

Shalom!

 

Apples and Oranges

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I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “that is as different as apples and oranges.” While both are fruit, their flavor and texture are very different. Some of you prefer apples over oranges and some of your prefer oranges over apples. I personally enjoy both, however, by winter’s end I have had my fill of apples and eagerly await the wonderful bounty of summertime fruit.

What about you? As a believer in Christ do you appear different than the world? As God’s human creation we are all human, but is your ‘flavor and texture’ different?

The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John. Revelation 1:1 NIV.

From Revelation 1:1 we begin to see a picture of Jesus being set apart and if we follow the path of Scriptures that connect with it we are led to John 17:19.

For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. John 17:19 NIV.

The word sanctify means to be set apart as holy and it is connected to a similar word that means to be different. We are different from the world because of our likeness in character and personality with Jesus Christ.

Growing up I didn’t want to be different because that made me feel awkward, and, well, different, like I didn’t belong.

Being different in Christ is part of your identity in Christ.

He asks us to be different and act according to His character not because he wants us to feel awkward but because he wants us to think beyond ourselves to a hurting world that needs to see the different we are and desire what we have. And, what we have is Him. Jesus Christ, who came not to judge the world but to save the world through his own sanctifying; being set apart as holy and accepting willingly the job God gave him to do.

Precious One, are you as different as apples and oranges?

Shalom!

President Elect

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Over two thousand years ago a man and a woman travelled from Nazareth in Galilee to the town of David in Bethlehem and most likely they walked the entire distance of roughly 70 miles. The woman was pregnant at the time, very pregnant, yet because Caesar Augustus had proclaimed a census to be taken over the entire Roman world, this man and woman were compelled to make this trip back to the town of the man’s birth for he was a descendent in the line of David, King David and there was no other choice.

While this man and woman were in Bethlehem in the town of David the woman went into labor and gave birth to a baby boy. A Miracle was born. A Miracle because the woman was a virgin yet here she was giving birth to a baby boy, imagine that! And, because there were absolutely NO rooms available the woman gave birth in a manger. Talk about humbleness and humility.

This boy grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. When he was a man people followed him throughout Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan, because, get this, he not only taught the good news of his Father’s kingdom he was healing people! People who were suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, just to name a few, AND HE healed them.

Sadly, the people, most of them, that he came to save; HIS chosen people, rejected Him, the Living Miracle. But God had chosen HIM for such a time as this.

Once again, God has chosen a man for such a time as this. You may ask how can God choose a man that has purportedly been accused of rape, racism and hate?

I can only tell you what God has done in the past. He used Moses, who was a murderer to deliver his people out of Egypt, He used David, who was an adulterer to be the king of an entire nation, His nation and ultimately the descendant line he chose to birth his Son into and from, God chose the birth line of an adulterer to be the ancestral line of his Son, huh. The Son who was born in a manger, who came not to judge the world but to save the world through Him.

Precious One, miracles are real and God is still in the miracle business. I pray and truly believe HE will do wondrous and miraculous things through the man HE has chosen.

Shalom!

Have You Put On Your Helmet Today?

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Every time I come into the presence of the Lord, Holy Spirit reminds me to pray the armor of God over my family and not just pray this over them but to personalize with our names. When I get to verse 17 I am always struck by the helmet of salvation. The above translation is from NASB and as you can see this translation ‘shouts’ at us to take the helmet of salvation.

At verse 17 I am always led to stop and thank God not only for the protection of his helmet but for the healing it provides for those who believe in Jesus Christ and therefore have the mind of Christ.

I decided to do a little digging into the luxuriously rich soil in the garden of God’s word and found some interesting insights. In it’s original context the word salvation means salvation by God through Jesus Christ. The word salvation is derived from a word that means Jesus saves believers from their sins and delivers them into his safety and this word is derived from the word sozo, which means to make well, heal, restore to health.

The helmet of salvation protects the continuing work of Holy Spirit in us drawing us closer and closer to Christ and his characteristics and thoughts; protecting our minds from the temptations of the enemy AND the helmet of salvation offers restoration to our health, whether that be spiritual, mental, physical or emotional health.

While the helmet of salvation and its properties are the inheritance of each believer in Christ, we do have a responsibility of staying connected to God through reading and studying his word so our minds will be continuously saturated in His truth.

Precious One, remember your helmet today and everyday, you will need it.

Shalom!

 

It Started With A Bowl Of Cereal

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One morning, when I was about eight years old, I was sitting at our kitchen table happily pouring a bowl of frosted flakes. This was a sweet treat for me because my mom rarely bought cereal in those days. For some reason, after I poured my bowl of cereal, I decided it was a good idea to also add sugar, a lot of sugar, to my cereal. I ate every bite!

Something happened to me that morning as I was pouring the extra sugar onto my cereal. There was a shift inside of me, a knowingness that I was about to get entangled in a web of deceit. Of course, eight year old me didn’t think of it as deceit, it was simply a feeling. However, as I reflect back I believe the shift was a spiritual one and I had opened the door to the enemy to begin his attack.

Fast forward to my early twenties and years of struggling with weight problems and a diagnosis of low blood sugar more commonly known as hypoglycemia. Someone afflicted with hypoglycemia produces too much insulin whereas someone afflicted with diabetes does not produce enough. The doctor that diagnosed me commented that if sugar were produced in that period of time, one would need a prescription to buy sugar, that is how bad sugar is for us. He immediately put me on a low carb diet. Wow! For the first time in my life I lost all the weight I had gained and had energy I didn’t know what to do with!

Jump with me to ten years ago. New doctor, new tests and a blood sugar reading of, wait for it…..NORMAL!! I knew in this moment God had chosen to heal me. There are some spiritual residuals left over, no pun intended. When I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed I immediately want comfort food – pizza is my favorite. When I am feeling sad, lonely, unheard or misunderstood I want sugar, specifically, candy. I have heard others say we don’t have to ask God what to eat everyday, but I do. There are some days I don’t have one iota of self-control when it comes to eating and if left to my own devices, well, it would be pizza for days!

Precious One, taking care of your body, spiritually, mentally and physically IS a sweet sacrifice to the King of the world. You have been set apart to do so. When you do it is a fragrant aroma lifted up to Him in true worship.

Shalom!