“Do It with Passion!”

 

There is one thing that really gets me going and that is seeing someone work their gift or talent with passion.  Oh, I have seen people operate in the blessings of the Lord with dryness and being very dispassionate about what they were doing, and can I tell you, there is no comparison.

Talent, skill and position can only carry you so far in life because if what you are working in is not a drawing force eventually people will stop paying attention to you; eventually people will become just as dispassionate about what you are trying to put forth.  John Maxwell said,

“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.”

I agree wholeheartedly.  People want to follow one that gets their soul stirred up.  People want to walk the same course as one who is set ablaze for a cause; who is consumed with a yearning to get things done and to excel to be all that God has called them to be.

That word consumes gives the idea of allowing oneself to be spent for the cause.  John 2:17 spoke of Jesus in this sense when it says, “And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house has eaten me up.”  Other versions actually use the word “consume,” (see also Psalm 69:9).  This was said after He overthrew the tables in the temple.  His passion for God’s house stirred inside of Him and would not allow Him to pass by and watch what was going on without saying or doing something about it.  Jesus spent Himself for the cause of God.

In Psalm 119:139 also talks of being taken over with passion.  “My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.”  The cause of God was so alive in him that the psalmist couldn’t help but to be cut to the heart when others would come against His word.

Where the Spirit of God operates there can be no dull or dry commitment.  It’s all the way or nothing at all.  There has to be fervency, (Rom. 12:11).  One has to be on fire with and for what God has placed on the inside of them.

“It is the Spirit who gives life,” (John 6:63, NASB).  There is no deadness when the Spirit of God is in full operation and if you are passionate about what God has given you, you should be Spirit-led, Spirit-full, and Spirit-alive!  You should be on fire with passion!

Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”  Put your all into it!  Let what God has placed on the inside of you bubble up and boil over to the outside that men “may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” (Mt. 5:16).  The things you do may or may not gain attention but the things you do with passion draws people closer to Him.  God gets the glory when people see what He is doing through you and they want to be a part of it.

Live life passionately.  Live life like the Spirit of God is alive in you; live life on fire for Him.  If you are going to sing, let your voice ring out with a burning love till it reaches the souls of others drawing them in.  If you play the drums then beat them like the heart of God beats in you.  If you are going to write, write that your words are felt more than they are read.  If you are going to preach, preach as if the cloud from the glory of the Lord has already filled the temple beckoning men to take notice of His presence.  The same is true for any gift or talent God has placed in you.  Whatever you do, whatever your gift, whatever your skill do it with passion!

I don’t know if God is calling you to overthrow some tables but I do know that He is calling you to operate like He’s alive in you.  He’s calling you to use your might and be passionate about what He has given you!

Be blessed.

“Qualified!”

“Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” – Colossians 1:12, NKJV

Too many wrestle with thoughts of a less-than attitude.  Even those who have had their lives and souls transformed by the power of the blood of the Lamb, they often succumb to the attitude of inferiority.  When those rogue thoughts mine their way into your thinking pattern it changes how you relate to yourself, this world, and others.  Those wayward thoughts begin to literally unravel the work of grace accomplished on the cross.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out if you place one piece of moldy bread in a container with good, whole bread; the moldy will start affecting its surroundings.  Meaning every piece it comes in contact with and shares the atmosphere with gets fed from those spores of decay, eating away and disintegrating everything in its path.

Outside of sin, there is nothing more damaging to one’s salvation than believing anything out of Christ Jesus got you there.  And, there is nothing more poisonous to the soul than allowing others to speak anything contrary to that great truth against you.

When you have been qualified it means you are now authorized to be a part of something or to have something.  Think in terms of a home loan.  When you are approved (qualified) it means you are now privy to obtain a said house for such and such price.  The bank or lending company looks at you as being fit to take on the responsibility of the mortgage for that property.

We, as saints of God, have been enabled to take on a greater reward than any earthly house could provide.  We have an inheritance in store for us because the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed us; because the work of His Spirit in us has transformed us; because we have been redeemed by the salvation He has provided for us.

In other words, not to sound repetitious, but we are qualified in Him.  We are approved to walk the path of the rest of the saints.  Christ has given us access to be a child of the light, for He is the Light.  Christ is over us.  Christ is in us.  And, following Christ, He daily is leading us to our eternal inheritance.

So, shut the mouth of those who speak against you saying you are not enough.  You serve the God that is more than enough, and through Christ, He has already approved you.

No matter what people say, you’re qualified.

No matter what the circumstances look like, you are fit to do this.

No matter how hard it seems, you are spiritually equipped to make it.

The mortgage lenders may have to debate back and forth whether or not they will give you their stamp of approval.  But, God only has to look at the work of Christ in your life to dip His spiritual stamp in that heavenly ink pad and declare you are QUALIFIED!

Listen, it has never been about what goes on on the outside.  It’s all about what He has done on the inside.  There, in the crevices of your heart and soul, you are who He says you are: QUALIFIED!

Therefore, remember dear friends, wherever it is that God is leading you and whatever He has called you to do – you are QUALIFIED!

He has already provided the greater reward of the heavenly inheritance that awaits all His saints.  Believe that while we are still here on this earth, He too has empowered us to do some special and amazing stuff for Him as well.

Other encouraging verses:

Ephesians 1:6 – “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

2 Corinthians 3:5 – “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”

1 Corinthians 15:10 – “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain . . .”

Philippians 1:6 – “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 2:13 – “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Psalms 138:8 – “The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me . . .”

“FRAGILE!”

 

Handle with care I wish I could post,
a stick it note to remind of what matters the most.

Distractions, directions unprofitable and robbing;
relentless in their unfocused pulling and prodding.

But my days are few upon this earth,
to make an impact of valued worth.

The reins have to be taken back;
no longer the less valuable plans to detract.

Focus, you only have one life to live.
Frail, is this only life to give.

Here today, and gone tomorrow;
let me cherish each one without resentment and sorrow.

Life is fragile and can break like a dam.
So, Lord teach me to measure my days, that I may know how frail I am.

To gain the worth of each day given.
This time on earth; this limited edition.

Invest in the works, the love and matters of the soul.
To fulfill His glory is our heavenly goal.

“LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am,” (Psalms 39:4).

“Wait on God!”

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint,” Isaiah 40:31

I must admit that patience is not a top priority on our list of must-do priorities.  Oh, you have a list and so do I, whether it’s actually written down somewhere or mentally stored in your consciousness where you are checking it off as you go through the day.  These lists are designed for us to do as much as humanly possible in one day.  They are supposed to bring order to the chaotic American schedule.  Well . . . how’s it going for you today?  That’s what I thought.  Either that list has become so astronomically large you can’t even begin to scratch the surface.  Or, your day has become so tight to adhere to the regulations of your list that there is no room to breathe or experience any joy, zapping the strength right out of you.

Now, there are some who have mastered the list and still manage to have a life.  But, they are few and far between.  For us average folk the list has become a foe.  If we don’t get everything done on it, it tends to point out our deficiencies making us feel that we will never get on top of it all.  Or, if we do complete it, we are to the point of exhaustion: physically, mentally and spiritually.

Most of us do need to tone up in the area of good organizational methods, but the drive that leads us to put so much on our plate at one time has become unrealistic.  This culture mainly thrives here in America where our nation has become success-obsessed.  This cause can be mainly contributed to our impatience.  Not waiting for things to naturally come and fall into place through a good, hard, regular work ethic.  Instead, we try to push and force success in an unnatural, over-obsessed way.

Not only does this ring true in secular society but also for us who are in Christ.  In our haste to see things happen, to see things move we try to force the hand of God.  And, when He is not moving according to our supposed schedule, the list comes out and the push to get things going unnaturally propels us to take matters into our own hands.  Though patience is a fruit of the Spirit it is a fruit that most of us have yet to develop.  I understand how hard it is to wait for anything.  But, sometimes it’s as if God is saying to us, “I’ve got this.”  For us, there is a humble submission of our will so that the promise can be completed.

Through chapter forty of the book of Isaiah God is stating His case before us.  He is listing all the reasons one can trust Him with whatever you are going through.  He is the preparer and fulfiller of our soul’s salvation (VSS. 3-5).  It is His Word that is sure and will “stand for ever,” (VSS. 6-8).  He is your God and rules in power and with Him, He is bringing a reward (VSS. 9-10).  He is our provider and has promised to care for us (vs. 11).  He has shown forth His creative power (vs. 12).  He is omniscient, possessing unlimited knowledge (VSS. 13-14).  Everything else is insufficient to handle the task (VSS. 15-17).  The works of men are useless (VSS. 19-20) in comparison to the awesome majesty of God (VSS. 21-23).  “To whom then will you like me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One,” (vs. 25).  “He is strong in power” (vs. 26) and “fainteth not, neither is weary,” (vs. 28).  He is screaming out, “I am your Help!” (vs. 29).  So the admonishment to “wait” is because He’s got this!  He can handle it!  There is no greater power – no greater resource outside of him!  So, wait!

Waiting is not always easy.  Not by a long shot.  But, the fruit it produces can really turn out to be a beautiful thing, a beautiful promise fulfilled, and a beautiful end to the story.  The lists prioritizing our lives will go on but we don’t have to force our way to success.  Life is burdensome enough without adding all the extra stresses to it.  “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God,” (Isaiah 40:1).  Today, I will wait on God.  I don’t have to force anything.  In all the prosperity messages coming across the pulpit sometimes we have to remind people, and ourselves, to just wait.  It’s not worth it any other way.

“Today, you are hidden under the wings of God!”

Today, God’s people are hidden under the span of His wings. Those who trust in the Lord are covered under the protection and power of our God. Father God, thank You for Your covering of peace and protection today. Thank You, that in You we find peace and refuge. In the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN! “He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:4)

“Please, Pray Me Through to My Deliverance!”

“For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer…” Philippians 1:19

There is so much hurt going on in the body of Christ.  Saints are going through trials and tribulations like never before.  As the days draw to a close, a time when our Lord Jesus Christ will come back to whisk us away to glory, the enemy has been on a vehement rampage against God’s people everywhere.

Paul, when he wrote his letter to the Philippian church, knew something of hardships.  He was imprisoned and he was put in a place of affliction and hurt.  So, when he writes of the faith he has, that the saints will help pray for his deliverance, he knew what he was talking about.

There is a wonderful bond in the body of Christ that is like no other.  Unity, love, and compassion mean so much to our survival that our very witness to the world depends on it.  There has been, over the past few years, an awareness of how we have hurt not only one another but our witness before the world through gossiping and the tearing down of one another.

Jesus Himself said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another,” (John 13:35).  Having sincere love toward another means that we would want what’s best for them.  Even if it means exalting somebody higher than yourself; putting the petitions of prayer that someone else so desperately needs above your own.

We often hear the encouragement that, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” (James 5:16).  To avail means that we have a God-given right to have the upper hand, through prayer, against any foe that would dare to rise up against one of God’s anointed ones.  How are we using that advantage?  Are we selfishly gleaning all the grapes off the vine of blessings for ourselves, or do we have enough Christian courage to let another feast off of your effectual, fervent prayers before you get a taste?

Paul openly admitted that on several occasions how much he was dependent upon the prayers of those who had his back in ministry.  Despite his supposed super saint/apostleship position, he realized that the sweet aromas of selfless petitions were being put up to God on his behalf.  Because of that, he was assured that he would see deliverance.

How much care and emphasis do you really put on the body of Christ when you bow the knee to the Father?  How much is that hunger in you to see the salvation of the unsaved of your family and friends being fed?  Do you really believe that not only will your prayers move mountains in your life but also in the life of another?  You may be their only hope, whether they are born or again or not, to draw near to God and receive deliverance.

Paul puts it best in 1 Corinthians 13:1 where he says, “Though I speak with tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”  Are you just making a lot of noise when you pray or are you busting the gates of hell loose because your heart is hurting for another?  It was Abraham Lincoln that was quoted as saying, “I am sorry for the man who can’t feel the whip when it is laid on the other man’s back.”

There are some “whips” being laid on others; some burdens that you can help someone else carry if only we would do as the Philippian church did and pray.  Not just any prayer, but prayers that will let our brothers and sisters know assurance of seeing deliverance, too.

If you want to see true restoration in your own life, learn to put the needs of others before your own.  Job 42:10 states, “The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.”  We are to be a people who step in that place of praying for others and petitioning heaven on their behalf.  It was not until Job prayed for his friends were his losses restored.

Let’s work today in hedging people in under the arc of safety, the covering of prayer, so they will finally see deliverance, too. There may be a hurting soul quietly pleading for someone to, “Please, Pray Me Through to My Deliverance.”

Keep praying for one another!

“God is in Your Midst!”

“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing,” Zephaniah 3:17

With the glow of the Christmas season behind us and packed away, the wonder of God coming near man should not be packed away also.  Oh, we hear it often leading up to December 25th, the promise that tells us, “They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us,” (Mt. 1:23).  What of the rest of our days?  Days past the Christmas season when trials of the mundane and every day rock your boat; when the disappointments of failure and difficulties of decisions come to war?

What then?

God is still here!

I thank God that that promise is just not for the Christmas season.  We are told over and over again in Scripture of the availability of God to draw near to man.  From Genesis through to Revelation speaks to the heart of man: “I am here.”  Exodus 17:7 asks the question, “Is the LORD among us, or not?”

The answer is a positive, “YES!”

Not only is He here but He is “mighty!”  Mighty means He is strong enough to handle whatever life throws at you.  Nothing surprises Him and nothing is impossible for Him, Luke 1:37.  “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” (Ps. 46:1).

The rest of this verse is just as reassuring.  God not only is in the midst, but He also specializes in deliverance.  In the above verse, it says, “He will save.”  To the person who yields to Him in faith, God can bring release.

Lastly, God will “rest in his love.”  God loves us.  His love is present with Him in the midst of where He is.  His love is assurance.  His love brings with it peace.  His love causes Him to “joy over thee with singing.”  Yes, God sings over the people He loves; “For God is love!” (1 Jn. 4:8).

God is here in your midst and with Him comes all His wonderful attributes of care and concern for His people.

“No Weapon!”

No weapon! It’s not hard to see,
Every one that’s formed, propelled against me.
It’s vanished, thrown into the dust.
It won’t prosper, in the Lord I trust.

I am fortified in the Holy Ghost.
Your condemning tongues falsify your boast.
Darts aimed, ready to take flight.
Target unreached, by His might.

Shielded in the heritage, I belong to the Lord.
Bought with a price I could not afford.
Redeemed and covered, renewed to excel.
All arrows and swords, He did dispel.

“No weapon formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD,” Isaiah 54:17

 

Devotional Reading – Accept God’s Forgiveness

“…Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more,” John 8:11

 Guilty or not guilty, that is the question?  Early one morning Jesus was in the temple teaching His followers a lesson or two.  Suddenly, there arose a commotion in the crowds.  Religious leaders began to furiously push their way to the front of those assembled there that day.  As they broke through the crowd, they pushed in the midst of all a woman.

This woman was no ordinary woman.  She was not considered like everyone else.  She was a woman of ill-repute.  She was an adulterous woman and there she stood, broken in spirit.  Her eyes were down knowing that if she looked up she would see her shame in the angry faces glaring back at her.  So there she stands, in the midst of her mess, knowing this time she has gone too far.  This time there is no way out.  Nobody here would dare to give her second chance.  Why should they?  She is just an adulteress, not worthy of anything from anybody.  She was guilty.

As she continues to stand she can hear all the murmuring going on against her.  She can feel the heat of people staring at her as her shame is displayed before all that are present.  Her time has come to a close as she hears the gathering of stones that are sure to end her story today.  Silent tears begin to roll down her face as she remembers every mistake she has ever committed.  She begins to remember every failure, every time she didn’t measure up.  Those same silent tears begin to flow a little harder – the pang of guilt is too much to bear.

All the angry voices are yelling at her.  They are shouting all the reasons she should be convicted.  More people gather close carrying with them, even more, stones.  The noise is rising higher as everyone seems to be emotionally charged with great anger.  Feeling faint with her own emotions, barely holding on, she glances at the one writing on the ground.  Then, with her guilt pressing all the more on her she lowers her head again.  The shame is too much to bear.

A shuffling coming from where the Teacher was stooped.  Perhaps He will be the one to cast the first stone at her.  She’d heard others speak of this man.  Some called Him the Son of God.  Surely her demise is at hand for she will not find a pardon here.  But, as He stood, the unimaginable happened.  He spoke, but not to her.  He lectured those who had gathered against her, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” (John 8:7).

In shock, she lifted her tear-stained face to see eyes that could penetrate a marred soul.  But, those eyes, they were looking at the others.  Just as before, He stooped once again.  Behind her, she heard not a murmur – not a mumbling word.  What she did hear amazed her.  Thumps!  Thump-thump; thump-thump.  The very stones that were ready to take her life lay motionless on the ground.  The crowd dispersed.

“When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said to her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?  She said, No man, Lord.  And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more,” (John 8:10-11).  She didn’t question Jesus but she accepted the forgiveness He offered and went.  Jesus didn’t justify what she did but He forgave her.  Let me make this very clear, God will never, ever condone our sin or pat us on the back for it, but we can be free from them.  Like that woman, we could be standing in the midst of our mess but He is ready, holding the keys to your release.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).   Turn to Him in all humility of heart, confess and accept it today!

Today, if you are not born again and want to be free and experience what Jesus is offering to this woman, I urge you to turn to Him immediately.  Above, I quoted 1 John 1:9 which was written to a church of believers who already knew Christ as their Savior and were being encouraged in their faith against false teaching.  If you want your confession to work you must be born again, then like the woman we too can find release and forgiveness.  “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” (John 3:5).  “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost,” (Acts 2:38).  Be blessed, turn to Him and accept His forgiveness today!