P2446 Jump into joy by enjoying our God!
“Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 TPT. You know, sometimes we can get so busy trying to get this thing called Christianity right — that we forget all the blessings and benefits of belonging to Jesus Christ! We are a blessed people. Our God loves us by choice. Our joy and thanksgiving needs to stay on that fact, rather than anchored in the things of this earth that can be stolen away - by inflation and circumstances.
It says in Psalm 103:2 “Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things He does for me!” Incredibly, Father God has done so much for His people to win our hearts and love, and yet we can “spit the dummy” so to speak because He hasn’t answered this or that prayer we deem important! Instead we allow our emotions to rule and keep score on what gets answered and what doesn’t. Whatever we focus on gets bigger. Let's deal with our souls instead! "Why are you cast down O my soul ... hope thou in God!"
Human beings can be so insular that we cannot see the beauty of the ordinary things that are with us every single day. Instead we wander up side-alleys of discontent and despair because we have become fixated on one aspect of our lives. Let. It. Go! Our God never sleeps or slumbers - He’s got whatever it is we need in His hands, let it go and start deliberately counting His benefits. Shifting our focus changes our responses and promotes enjoyment of His grace.
Psalm 16:11, David states: “You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your Presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” David knew all about enjoying God, and how to appreciate Him. Right now, I just want to point out that King David didn’t exactly live a happy happy joy-filled life! Before he became king, his earthly father forgot all about him! Then after David is anointed by Samuel, he was sent right back out to take care of the sheep … again. No celebration there!! 😳
The reigning king, Saul, got jealous of him and repeatedly tried to kill him. And then David lived life on the run from this man for 25 years. He is not permitted to build God’s temple, because he is a warrior. Two of his kids died, one in infancy and the other who grew to be a man, and he did not share God as his priority, like his father did. Ambition killed Absalom. Yet King David wrote some of the most beautiful words of praise and worship in the bible. He enjoyed God … even when he was running for his life! (Read the Psalms.)
We need to stop wasting our energy on petty things and open our eyes to all we have. Then we can let God change us from the inside out! Here’s some joy-filled news - “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” You and I can’t buy that kind of favour! Joy comes when we know our place in God’s plans for our lives. Joy overcomes us when we can see that we have changed… even if we have no idea how it happened or why! Joy floods us when we realise that we know that we know … we are loved by Him. Warts and all!
Joy and contentment go together in my mind. Paul says: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation …” I think His secret for that statement is in Genesis: “In the beginning GOD…” In other words … God was here before I came and He will still be here after I am gone! He can handle whatever comes at me!! We must throw away our desire to have a so-called perfect life, and simply follow and obey Jesus. There is no such thing as a perfect life. It is an illusion. Following Jesus every day. .. into: “joy unspeakable and full of glory!”
As we follow the bible we start to clearly see Jesus… His way of thinking, His priorities, His love for other people … That stuff begins to eclipse everything else that rumbles around us and tries to wrangle with our hearts. Enjoying God means I look for the best in each day as it unfolds before me. I’m actively looking for His hand in my life.
Hubby and I have found ourselves recently laughing like loons for no real reason. And just like the scripture says: “The joy of the Lord has become our strength.” I think the Lord is helping us to enjoy Him in this life even though moment by moment it can be fraught with difficulties. It's been a tough year. I wonder what He has for you? “Ask and you shall receive …” OR ... Maybe we have not because we ask not because we are asking to support our own passions! Bye. 😂
P2445 Have you got the wrong driver?
“Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts. Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection.” 1 John 4:18 TPT. Now that's what I am talking about ... having the right driver! Pause and think on: ‘love never brings fear!’ 🧐
Today I want to talk about allowing the Holy Spirit to drive the ‘car’ of our lives. It is good to stop and prayerfully assess what is behind some of our thought processes regularly, because all kinds of sneaky Pete things can hide in places that we cannot see. Unfortunately, sometimes we can take our thoughts very casually. The answer of course, is to run our thoughts by Him.
After we have given our situation to Him - the secret to overcoming those things, is to LEAVE THEM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. Refuse to pick stuff up again - unless He gives you specific instructions. Then you should carry them out! Tell yourself: "That's that thing I gave to God and He is acting on my behalf." Once you have handed stuff over, don't start trying to figure it out. Leave it with Him. That's what trust looks like. Make room for time with the Holy Spirit when you are reading the bible, that's how we renew our minds. Simply reading the bible does not do that. Pray, wait for answers, and then act on what He says. If He says do nothing - then do nothing.
You know, most of us learnt our thinking patterns before we met Jesus — little babies do not have filters that can keep out fear. Fear can also be handed down from one generation to the next. Things like over protective parents, absent parents, disinterested parents -- all these things can create situations where fear will take advantage of us. Obviously parents try very hard to avoid those kinds of scenarios - I know I did! But kids pick up on the darndest things and what frightens one will make another one laugh. Fear is sneaky, it takes advantage of innocence and trust and our minds go spinning off into mental situations that actually don’t apply.
Like the above scripture says: the antidote to fear is His LOVE. I cannot stress enough how important it is for His love to go from being a theory, or even a pretty thought, into being something we can cling to when the whole world is madly swinging and swaying and nothing seems to be where you want it to be. His love needs to undergird everything we know and do… because God’s love is always constant and He loves us consistently. The river of His love flowing toward us never ever alters. We must get rid of the idea that answers to prayer prove His love toward us. His love is established by what He did when He sent His Son Jesus to die. It is clearly documented for all to see in the bible.
Fear can be a paralysing emotion. For years, certain bodily symptoms would send me into fear. Fear of pain, fear that I would not be able to escape from it. Even fear of being trundled off into hospital! Sometimes fear can even be ruling our lives; yet we can be totally unaware of it. Someone might say: “I am not afraid of heights” … But they don't go anywhere near the edge when they are in high places, or look down. Another person might have more than enough money to manage their lives comfortably, but they live in severe restricted conditions and refuse to spend a penny unless they absolutely have to. That's FEAR!
If we are afraid, and we know it, the antidote for that malady is to ask, and keep on asking, for a real revelation of the love of God. Make this subject for study, every time you read the words “God loves you” ...highlight them. MAKE A LIST. Read it often. Keep deliberately adding to those revealed truths you have. We can never have enough insight into how powerful and all encompassing God’s love is.
Obey what He tells you to do. We can do nothing without Him, and fear will restrict us from stepping into this new life He died to give us. That includes fear of punishment, fear of loss, fear of error, fear of missing out , fear of being cheated or mistreated, fear of losing self… all of these things can rob us of the certainty that God loves us so dearly and nothing can separate us from His kind of love.
We must not beat ourselves up when we are afraid - that's called compounding the felony!! It is a huge mistake to tolerate fear, and hide from what it does to us internally. The verse above gives us the diagnosis of where we are with fear: “Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts. Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection.” Keep walking toward His love, and choose the right driver for your daily walk with Him. Bye. 👋🏻
P2444 You can never have too much wrapping paper!
1 Peter 4:8-11 MSG “…Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright Presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and He’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!”
My precious mother-in-law used to love to hoard non-perishable items. As she has aged and become less mobile she can’t do that anymore - but boy did she have fun back way back when! She once opened up a cupboard up at her house so I could see inside it, and it was filled to the brim with large packets of toilet paper. There must have been at least 30 large packets stacked neatly inside. As there were only two people in the house at the time, I was kind of astonished. “It was on special,” she said, cheerfully ... as if that explained everything!
At the same time she also collected enough Christmas wrapping paper to supply a major chain store … “It’s cheap after Christmas,” she said giggling. All of this hoarding was, of course, meant to be a big secret from my father-in-law … but I strongly suspect that he knew. We could not go to their house without collecting more toilet paper and Christmas wrapping paper than we could fit into our luggage on the return trip home! Somehow, the fact that she thought it was a secret that she successfully hid from her husband, made the whole thing so much more fun.
At the same time, my father-in-law’s favourite gift to his son was undies, and sometimes shoes. We have had some adventures with that stuff too. In the end my hubby had to tell his dad that he didn’t wear spiderman undies anymore - like the ones he wore when he was 10! So his dad was wasting his money. That raised some eyebrows, because Chinese parents are extremely old fashioned in their taste and my hubby is not! In the same vein, my father-in-law also occasionally sends hubby a pair of his own very expensive shoes, comfy ones, that he has only worn once or twice. I gather when you come through a war, as they had in Singapore, it makes you very frugal …
…Meanwhile, my own mother was always trying to give me her old clothes. That went on for years, because she was sick of them, but apparently they still had “wear" in them. I was sorely tempted to walk about saying 'Lifeline' and 'St Vincent de Paul' a lot! The fact that there is 20 years difference in our ages - and taste (!) didn’t seem to matter much to her. In the end, I had to go right past “I’m insulted” to “She’s just being generous and hates waste.” 😂 There could sometimes be a very very long journey between those two emotions, and those times were fraught with a whole lotta angst!
Now let's go back to my father-in-law’s almost new, hardly worn shoes.They started an adventure. The Lord told us to take this pair of very expensive shoes with us as we set out on one of our trips. … they were Rockports, BTW. So we stuffed them in the leg space under the back seat and wondered what God was up to now! We asked Him to point out the new owner when we met them. It transpired that the Lord had His gracious loving eye on a very tall sparrow in a tiny place called Inglewood. In the end, would you believe, those shoes went to a man we briefly met at a cafe as we were passing through?
Incredibly, they were his favorite colour and his exact size! Plus he had prayed in desperation and asked God for a new pair of Rockport shoes for his work, just the night before, because his old ones were falling off his feet! Trust me, you can’t easily buy that kind of specialist shoe in outback Queensland! The man gave his life to the Lord on the spot - he was so excited to meet a God Who answers that kind of prayer. When we thought about it later, we gave almost new shoes that had been previously owned by a Chinese man in Melbourne, to a Middle Eastern man in outback Queensland!! Go figure!
We will never know where generosity will take us or what it will teach us. Until I read the above verse today I had no idea that God actually approves of this kind of recycling of clothes and goods. All our individual parents were doing, apparently, was obeying the word of God. Who knew? NOT ME! They were just being God’s ‘hearty helpers.’ Then the Holy Spirit kissed the whole thing by leading someone else to Jesus.🙌
The semi-illicit Christmas wrapping paper and copious toilet paper rolls have long since run out, and we no longer get spiderman undies through the mail ... praise the Lord! My father-in-law’s old shoes still occasionally turn up via the postman, but the last pair were just perfect for hubby’s very sore feet. 🙌 However the lessons learnt will not quickly fade. Our God loves us to share and be generous with whatever we have at hand. Meanwhile, maybe our parents aren’t trying to interfere. Maybe they too are just trying to be hearty helpers. Bye. 👋🏻
P2443 Stand on His love for you.
“And I pray that He (the Holy Spirit) would unveil within you the unlimited riches of His glory and favour until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with His divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life. Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is His love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!” Ephesians 3:16-19 TPT
This scripture has so much in it, it just blows my mind whenever I read it. Today I want to think about the word continually, as in on purpose (!) ... reminding ourselves of the ever-present presence of God’s loving favour in and on our lives. Oh how He loves us! And His love is an utterly committed love. The price He paid to buy us back from hell and damnation is beyond our understanding, far more than we could ever ask or think. You know, my opinion of my performance and who I think I am, does not matter to Him. Neither does yours. His opinion is the one that matters.
You may like me, you might not. The main thing I have to wrap my heart around is that Father God utterly loves me. In order to walk with the Holy Spirit, Who is the revealer of these great truths, I will need a firm foundation to stand on. Jesus died for my sins, once and forever, to make all this possible, is that foundation. Now we have to let that love sink down into our hearts so we become so completely saturated by it and there is no room for insecurity. Otherwise if my life does not go well, I might end up blaming Him, or other people … like you, or my family, my circumstances etc. And then the ground I am standing on becomes shaky. Our houses (lives) are only as good as their foundations!
We cannot start out with anyone else's performance but HIS. What Jesus did was perfect. Anything else is this world’s measuring stick. Christ is now the perfect illustration of what mankind can look like. We can’t afford skip, or dismiss lightly this truth about how much God loves us. As soon as we dismiss it, or water it down with provisos, we miss the magnitude of how wide, how deep, how all encompassing and powerful God’s love is! We dare not build on the wrong foundation, because His demonstrated Love is the only foundation that is eternally stable.
Many human beings don't value love, except as a feeling —because this world’s idea of love is fickle, selfish and unpredictable. Humanity can be so unfaithful that our Father’s eternal faithfulness hardly registers in our hearts and lives. But it must. Otherwise we are moved around by circumstances and the winds of change too easily. We cannot use OUR measuring sticks to put a value on God’s love. It is far too easy, in these times we live in, to think that real love means permissiveness.
Self-sacrificing, altruistic love wants only the very best for the one it loves. Father God’s incredible vibrant love has provided all of us with the means to be transformed. And all we need to do is to live for Him the way Christ lived for us. We have all the needed illustration and demonstration of that, in the book! Comprehending that sort of ongoing loving grace gives us a firm footing, as we walk through a weak wobbly world with no stable footholds.
I have learnt, from experience, that WE WILL GIVE OUT TO OTHERS WHAT WE STORE UP! If we store up our own mistakes, our wrong attitudes, our own idea of what love looks like ... OR ... spend our lives concentrating on someone else’s sins, their mistakes, and their wrong attitudes, we are no longer standing firmly on LOVE. The Holy Spirit was sent here to teach us to how to walk, talk, sit, and stand totally saturated with God’s love. He’s an expert. Re-read today's scripture it entertains no doubts.
We must mature enough to understand that real LOVE corrects, it shapes, it guides, it teaches, and … it helps us. Love always fosters connection. Father God's love is with us in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not leave us alone to muddle along without Him - He sent back the Holy Spirit to help, teach, guide, correct, counsel, and comfort us into His Way of Love. We must let the love of God live in us, and make us so rich in love we can easily give it away! We need to learn to stand on these things, gratefully. 🕊❤️🔥
P2442 What are we wearing?
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offence. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” Colossians 3:12-14 (MSG)
First of all, please don’t go past that word ‘chosen’ in the first line of this scripture. We’ve been chosen to be these people, who choose to dress like this. It’s not a requirement - it’s a blessing! Feel free to pause and thank Him. 🙌 Jesus loves thank You. Meanwhile it’s good to meditate on the fact that we were chosen for something. The way I’ve heard some people talk about Christianity, it is as if we were chosen to be the people who don’t do lots of stuff. Christianity is not a list of dos and don’ts ... it is about walking with Jesus. We get to walk with Him like His disciples did thousands of years ago.
The first bit of clothing I like to put on is … my under wear. Yeah, pass the sharp stick so you can poke out your eye! I’m talking about beginning with gratefulness. I find gratefulness helps me to prepare for what God wants me to wear today. I want to be clear right at the beginning of this blog. I could end up getting changed spiritually speaking a number of times during a day - depending on what happens at my house and which quality I need most at any one time! There are times I am careless, and I end up repenting because I haven’t chosen to wear what the Lord chose for me … I was too busy feeling sorry for myself, or something similar.
So let’s quickly look at our spiritual clothes. The first five attributes set us up, so we know how to wear the next ones. “Compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.” I put these on by asking for them. To start with I know I haven’t got these things inside me, but I have found that being disabled is a fantastic teacher… if I let Him help me. So I ask the One Who is perfect in these things for help. My prayer goes like this: “Holy Spirit I can’t do this day unless You help me, please.” Otherwise I’m sunk. I will get judgmental at the drop of a hat, and kindness becomes something I expect other people to give me!
Sad sack stuff sometimes bubbles up inside first thing in the morning: ‘Poor me, I can’t do stuff for myself anymore, blah blah blah, woe is me.’ I can get on quite a roll rattling on about those things I think I lack … until the Lord clears His throat … so to speak. However, as the day goes on I don't always register that I don’t have these precious qualities - until I am tested. And by the time I get to the test, if I am relying on my own strength, it’s often too late!
I just want to say that I’ve learnt that phrase — “too late” is very hard to come back from. By the time I’ve gotten stuck in: “Poor me, it’s too hard, I’m so weak and I don’t want to deal with my own feelings …" I may as well go back to bed and start that day all over again. I get stuck there otherwise, and there's my day gone! Moo-ving on to nicer things like …“Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offence. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.”
Have you ever noticed that your temper is the first thing to go, especially when you feel guilty? Me too. Rapidly followed by comparison …EG. “What I did is not as bad as your response was!!” That’s a dumb plan called … ‘let’s quickly shift the focus and blame onto the poor schmuck whose only crime was being in the room at the time!!’ The reason the scripture says be quick to forgive an offence is … if I'm not quick, I will miss my opportunity to escape and then I end up vomiting all over whoever is around, instead. Plus I can end up digging holes all the way to hide from my own chosen attitude. I've met people whose lives look like opal mine-fields - they spend so much time avoiding stuff that needs to be changed. These people spend so much time in avoidance they don’t actually get anywhere.
Which is why those last two lines of Colossians 3 are so brilliant. “And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” Love is my short-cut thought. Like Paul said .. it is an all-purpose garment. I have no time to analyse my short comings according to Colossians 3 some days, so I go straight to LOVE AND PARK THERE. “Is it love?” If not repent. If yes, then thank the Holy Spirit for His help. The thing is, I never want to hear Him say: “What IS that you are wearing??” 😶
P2441 Faith steps are essential.
“IF the Spirit is the source of our life, we must also allow the Spirit to direct every aspect of our lives.” Galatians 5:25 TPT. And here’s the NIV version: “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” And the last one, the MSG bible: “Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.”
We must always remember, salvation is not a one off - it’s an ongoing, active, co-operative process. You see, the problem is that we think that because we have been given an option, a choice, we can still opt out of obedience and it will make no difference to our walk with Jesus. Just because the owner of the vineyard is absent that does not mean we can do whatever we like! We can ignore His directives, but we do that at our own peril. This is why…
It is the Spirit of God Who leads us and inspires us, and when we ignore Him, or whatever God is saying to us, we are actively rejecting Him. We are telling Him we don’t want His help. Remember Samson? That guy wanted what he wanted, and due to God’s investment in his life, he could get most things without any consequence. Boy, is this man’s life a cautionary tale! He shows us that disregarding the Lord’s instructions can have dire results. We can walk with the Holy Spirit and experience His power through our lives, and if we are not careful, we can see His power flowing through us as His approval of WHATEVER we do. Our God doesn't take His gifts back - He's not an Indian giver.
Samson was accustomed to the power of God being with him in whatever battle he faced. Then he got careless. A beautiful woman wore down his resolve and he disobeyed God’s instruction not to cut his hair. Because of this Samson lost his connection with the Holy Spirit … and he didn’t even know it. Like I said - a cautionary tale! Judges 16:20; "Then she called out, “Samson, the Philistines are here!” When Samson awoke from his sleep, he thought, “I will escape as I did before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him." The ‘she’ in this story BTW, is Delilah, who would not stop until she rendered him helpless! …To return to the most important line in the whole story … SAMSON DID NOT KNOW THAT THE LORD HAD DEPARTED FROM HIM. Pause and think on that!
Sincere repentance is great, do it! But making allowances for our pet sin(s) is not! We are treating the Holy Spirit badly when we act like that…He will leave AND WE WILL NOT KNOW IT - Samson didn’t. The Holy Spirit is not like a plane or a train! He does not announce His departure … He just quietly … leaves. This BTW explains the people you know who claim they are definitely Christians but they stay the same day after day, year after year. There are people who pay lip-service to God but they are not fooling Him. Transformation is always our own personal choice, and our responsibility - it is our response to Christ's sacrifice. He will ALWAYS help us if we will just take a step of faith.
Friendship with the Holy Spirit is to be desired and sought after. Those people who like to appear righteous, however, are living in presumption. All we ever need to do is ask for His help. Um… you and I cannot be independent and walk with the Holy Spirit, all at the same time. HE. WILL. LEAVE. The very purpose of being saved includes actively relying upon Him. Here’s another news flash … the Lord’s silence does not mean that He agrees with us.
Almighty God is always looking for us to use our faith. Ask for His mercy and grace, and then stop doing whatever it is that you know you should not be doing. Leave the room. Stop thinking someone else is going to make the difference and use your own faith. Nobody is making anyone do that stuff, and SomeOne, oh so precious, is right there, wanting to help you overcome.
We are saved to walk by faith and serve Him, and that always includes our transformation. When we tell Him “I can’t” - our unbelief in His power to SAVE us from ourselves, will be our downfall. Tell Him, "I can't, but I want to, please help me!" - and then do something differently. The Holy Spirit will show us the way through any trouble, one step at a time. Otherwise we are parking our lives in the middle of satan’s freeway. Change is hard but necessary - God has work for each one of us to do.
However simply praying God will change us, and then walking away and still acting like our mean old sorry self is not the way to be changed. Nobody else is going to put their hand over anyone’s mouth to shut them up when they’ve wandered off into giving people a piece of their mind. Our choice to disobey is our choice. Faith steps are not optional they are essential. Bye.👋🏻