Copyright © by Jodi A Woody 2016
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Walking with God isn’t always easy. Our flesh fights us; the world tempts us, and a very real enemy wages war against us. However, we are never alone and we aren’t fighting for the victory, Jesus already secured that. We are fighting from a place of victory.
When things get tough and the road looks rocky the best thing we can do is look up!
Psalm 121:1-8 (KJV), “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”
In the next 21 days, my prayer is that you begin a new habit of looking to the Lord instead of looking at your circumstances, or the world around you.
Luke 21:28 (NIV), “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
We as a whole are lacking in hope. We run through our lives busy as bees, but instead of working to bring life, we are working at self satisfaction. We see so many people who supposedly have it all, who are killing themselves with drugs, alcohol, and loose living. My theory is that we lack heroes. I know there are plenty to be found, everyday, normal people who do extraordinary things for the good of others, but they are few and far between (at least from what we can see in the media). We have a need to know that there is someone out there who can fly in and save the world, who can free us from the evil that runs rampant.
We really do have a hero, on the scale of super-duper, that died for us so that the evil inside of us is made into something good and right. He swept in, not on a web, or with cape flying, but in a manger, as a man, in weakness and frailty just like ours, and fully dependant on the un-ending love of His Father, to give him the strength to live supernaturally, and to free us from the chains of evil that bound us.
Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
I Peter 5:7 (NLV), “Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you.”
I used to worry too much! Sometimes I would worry that I worried too much! It’ll make you sick if you let it go on, which I have proved in my own life over and over. Worrying had messed up my stomach, God healed it, then I would get in the nasty habit of worrying again, and then my stomach would get messed up again. We can’t put everything on God. Sure He will continue to heal, but it would be no different than placing your hand on the wood stove, asking God to heal it, then turning right around and placing your hand back on the stove. We would call that insane behavior!
Worrying shows a lack of faith. It’s real simple, either God can handle it or he can’t. I often think to myself, “sure He can handle it, I’m the one who can’t,” but the Holy Spirit is faithful to remind me that I never have to face anything in my own strength. I have to choose to use His strength. If I find myself saying or thinking “I just can’t handle it” that is a red flag that I have stopped looking to God!
He is faithful. He is trustworthy. We have the victory. He always causes us to triumph. Why worry?
God never forgets. Never. Ever. (Except our sin!) Aren’t you glad? Did He promise you something? Well you can count on it, be patient. Of course His timing isn’t the same as ours. Being patient isn’t always easy, in fact, for me, it is usually hard, but that doesn’t change the fact that if God said it, it is a sure thing, a done deal. It was done before He even said it. Try and wrap your mind around that one! God doesn’t abide in time, He created it for us, He doesn’t need it. For Him, yesterday is now, and tomorrow is now, and the future is now. So whatever we need has already been provided for us.
Proverbs 13:12 (Jubilee Bible 2000), “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.”
II Corinthians 1:20 (AKJV), “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”
So if God doesn’t forget, and ALL of His promises are yes, then why lose hope? You’ll make yourself sick! Don’t do it! Hope in God, He’ll come through! He always has, He always will. When your desire is fulfilled you’ll find life, more life, a great life! A flourishing tree is rooted and grounded! Be rooted and grounded in the source of life!
Rom 4:17-18 (NKJV), “In the presence of Him whom he believed — God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;”
We need to call into existence what we need! Don’t speak about your debt, call forth finances! God said, “wealth and riches are in my house!”
Don’t complain about your physical symptoms! Call forth Divine Health! God says, “By the stripes of Jesus’ back I have been healed!”
Call forth what is not, as though it is!
Let’s be honest, we don’t have that much more time left on this earth, we need everything God has for us to be a light unto a dying world, to walk in the abundance God wants for us so that we can help the needy, and to stand and having done all to stand therefore! I’m still learning, thank God!
Every day He brings me up higher and higher!
Romans 4:18 (NLT), “Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”
Psalms 16:11, “You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy. At your right hand there are pleasured for evermore.”
If I was a spiritual superhero, I could say I held onto my joy all the time, but sadly I am not. I can say that I know right where to find it, because in all truthfulness, nothing can chase or steal our joy away.
We lay it down, sometimes absentmindedly, like a spare pair of reading glasses. Sometimes we willingly lay down our joy to trade it for fleeting happiness or satisfaction. Usually that comes out of willful sin, which includes harboring bitterness, and nursing un-forgiveness. We lay down our joy when we disobey God. Since we find our joy in the presence of God, we can lay it down by not spending time there.
How do we hold on to our joy? By being thankful, a heart full of gratitude. When we keep our minds fixed on Jesus, His promises, His goodness, and remember those who have gone before us, we can keep that unspeakable joy in our lives.
John 15:10-11 (ISV), “If you keep my command-ments, you’ll abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I’ve told you this, so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”
James 1:4 (KJV), “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
God stretches us…and I really don’t enjoy the experience! I know it is good for me, but…not fun. Several years ago I took a visit to my past. Went to Washington where I spent my high school and early adult years. I love to see my family, but there is so much junk from my old life that feels right “in my face.” I think I finally buried the “old me” there. Left her in Washington! I spent way too much time re-living my past, and finally God reminded me that those memories belonged to someone else! Who I am now is a “new creation” who I was then has been crucified, and is dead and buried.
I may not be who God intended to me to be just yet, but I am being conformed into His image with every stretch.
Who will I be when I am done? More like Him, more grown up, better and more beautiful!
I John 3:2 (NIV), “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
John 5:39 (KJV), “Search the scriptures for in them ye think you have eternal life: but they are they which testify of me.”
Jesus told the religious leader of his day that in their searching of the scriptures they had missed the main point-finding him. Learning who He is, what He does, His will and purpose for our lives, His blessings and His love.
Think of those scavenger hunts as a child. How I loved those! You received your first clue-that led to the next-that led to the next. The treasure was never close at hand, or easily obtained. You had to figure out the next location from a few simple words. Sometimes the clues got harder as you went along. Most of the fun was in the searching out the meaning of the clues and the next location-but always at the end there was treasure.
Deuteronomy 29:29 (NLT), “The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.”
Isaiah 40:1 (NIV), “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for…”
There are a lot of hurting people in this world, the result of the fall, Satan’s attacks and our own stupidity and wrong choices. Jesus comforted the hurting and had compassion on their plight. He told the woman caught in the very act of adultery that he didn’t accuse her. He told the woman at the well, who was living with her wrong choices, that he had living water for her that would change her life. He fed thousands who had empty bellies and empty hearts.
The good news is that what we have received from Jesus, can be shared with those other hurting people. His compassion and comfort came out of a heart filled with love. His compassion healed the man with the withered hand in spite of the consequences he would face from the religious people. His compassion drove the demons out of the Gaderine, healed the sick, cleansed the lepers and it forcefully nailed him to the cross. The compassion of Christ was so great that the grave couldn’t hold it, or the five hundred others that came up with him.
Isaiah 52:7 (NIV), “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Matthew 5:48 (AMP), “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect [that is, grow into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity].”
God see’s the end from the beginning. He can see the finish line, the finished product. He sees His children as perfect. As the Master Potter-He designed you just the way He wanted you. The whole time with the picture in His mind of what you will be when you are complete and mature.
There is work to be done. Molding. Shaping. Kneading. Glazing. Firing. The Master Potter never makes all of His vessels the same. He isn’t a mass-market-producer. He hand crafts each one individually. Some of us may have similar gifts and talents, similar calls on our lives, but we each have a special, individual personality that God uses in a unique way for his purpose. We can’t judge ourselves by what we see in others. We can’t think we are worse (or better) than anyone else. The Master Potter made you the way He saw fit.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 (ESV), “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”
Matthew 24:35 (KJB), “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
I am so glad that I have the Written Word of God!
The more I read and study His word, the closer I get to Him, the more I find out about who He is and how He sees me. His word is a plum line for my life. If I hear any voice that doesn’t line up with His word, I ignore it, or rebuke it.
One of the greatest aspects of His word is that it is settled in Heaven.
Psalm 119:89 (NIV), “Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.”
God’s word is fixed, stands firm, is firmly established, it is settled. Have you ever heard someone say, “That settles it!” What they mean is there is no more questioning, no more argument, no more reasoning, studying, putting up with something less. We can’t argue with His word, can’t change it, can’t shift or shake it. The only thing we can do is ignore it, but it is still there. Ignore the mosquitoes and see how well that works for you.
For me, this is a promise of God that I can stand on. No matter what the circumstances, no matter the situation, His word is firmly established. That’s why we can confidently stand on His word. That’s why at His word things change! They have to.
Psalm 125:1 (NAS), “A Song of Ascents. Those who trust in the LORD Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.”
We all go through stuff, from a “bad day,” to acute trauma. Its part of the human experience, part of the earth cursed system. We live in Satan’s domain, right in his territory. He doesn’t like us born-again-believers. He fights us tooth and nail, (that’s a metaphor, because Jesus has pulled his teeth, he can only roar). So, life can be hard. Loved ones pass away, jobs are lost, and sometimes we just make very bad choices with uncomfortable consequences. However, if we belong to God, if we name Jesus as Lord and Savior, we don’t have to let all that shaking dislodge us!
The great news is that if we serve Him, without being double minded, those storms pass us by. Sure there may be a few broken branches, maybe a shingle in the yard, but our house will not be moved! We can’t be shaken. In these last days God said that He would shake everything
Proverbs 10:25 (NASB), “When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more, But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.”
I may shake and tremble at times. I may stand afraid, but I will stand, and I will not be moved!
John 13:34-35 (Aramaic Bible In Plain English), “I give a new commandment to you: ‘Love one another; just as I have loved you, you should also love one another.’ Every person will know by this that you are my disciples, if you shall have love one to the other.”
Jesus clearly tells us in these two scriptures how we know if we are truly His. In fact it’s a command of the Father that we love one another, not a suggestion, and not just a good idea.
We need to be led by the Holy Spirit. He is the one who “shed’s abroad” the love of God in our hearts. That’s how I can still love the person who tried to stir up division in our church, the very one who lied about me. That’s how I can love that one that wants to always be right, the one who always wants the attention, and they can love me when I irritate them.
Something I have learned over the years is that the best way to get over an issue you have with someone is to pray for them. Not a “God get ‘em” prayer, but really intercede for them. Ask God to forgive them, pray for their well being, and bless them. You may have to ask God to show you His heart for that person. I have had to ask the Father for His love when I couldn’t find any of my own. I still chose to love.
Ephesians 5:2 (NLT), “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”
Psalm 117:2 (NASB), “For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the LORD!”
The very essence of the truth is supposed to be something we can trust, something that isn’t changeable, or corruptible. However, according to the world’s definition it is none of those things. Over the ages philosophers (and parents) everywhere have been trying to get to the bottom of this mysterious truth.
If it wasn’t obvious to you before, I hope it is now, the world has no idea what truth really is. God tells us in His word exactly what the truth is. It is not a collection of facts, it is not just something that is accepted as true, it is not elusive, it doesn’t reshape itself, and it most definitely is. The Truth is Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. God’s word is truth.
Facts can tell us that we have cancer; God’s word tells us that we have been healed by the stripes on Jesus back. Facts tell us that we can’t change who we are, but God’s word tells us that He has made us as new creations, that all things are brand new to those who have given themselves over to Him. The truth, God’s truth, sets us and continues to make us free.
God’s truth never changes, ever. It is set in stone, engraved on our hearts. Circumstances won’t change it, public opinion can’t change it, and no matter how we might try to manipulate and misinterpret it, it stands in itself, as TRUTH.
Psalm 130:6 (NLT), “I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.”
There is more of that all throughout the Bible. People who really knew who God was, so they desired Him more than anything. Do you long for Him? Does your soul pant for Him? If the answer is “no”, then you don’t really know Him. You can’t long for a stranger. “As the deer pants for the water,” it’s a need. Do you need Him more than the air you breathe? More than food, fun, and fame?
God longs for you.
You are His desire.
He loves you so much that He gave Himself to buy you back from the slavery you lived under.
If He doesn’t have your heart, He will never have your mind, your attention, your time, your thoughts, or your life. That is the simple truth.
He desires your love more than any sacrifice, or work.
Do you love Him?
He loves you.
Song of Soloman 6:3 (NIV), “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he browses among the lilies.”
Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV), “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”
We have all been in that place at one time or another, or maybe some of you are there now, where we just think our “thing” is too big for God. Sometimes we think that God can do it for someone else, just not us. There is also the thought that asking for more (healing, money, favor, etc) is greedy and we shouldn’t. I am sure we can even come up with even more ways and reasons to limit God.
God told Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” That is pretty straightforward. I think we all have to answer that same question. Is cancer too hard? Is owing no man (being out of debt) too hard? Is the salvation of our family too hard? How about recovering from divorce, death, or disease? Think of the hardest thing you can imagine and ask yourself, “is that too hard for God.” If your answer was “yes,” then you don’t really know who He is. It’s only our lack of knowledge of Him that prevents us from receiving from Him. Now, I know He is sovereign and His plan is perfect, we also live in a fallen world, and we have to go through some junk, but the key is going through. He is able, that is never the issue.
Malachi 3:6a (KJB), “For I am the LORD, I change not;”
I love learning the names of God; they tell us who He is. He revealed most of them while His chosen ones wandered in the wilderness. There are great books out there that tell us His names and what they mean. Reading through Isaiah this week and one of the names that God calls Himself is “Redeemer.” I love that name. He has redeemed us from the curse after all!
In Isaiah 47 God tells His people, thru the Prophet, how He is going to punish their rebellion and adultery and in the midst of it all, He calls Himself Redeemer. They had disobeyed His commands, ran away, and did the opposite of His will, sold themselves over to idol worshipping, and pretty much snubbed their noses at God, yet none of their (bad) behavior changed who God is! He remains Redeemer.
No matter how much I screw up, how many times I fall, forget Him, put my needs first, this list goes on…if I return to Him, repent, He has to forgive, He has to love, He has to show mercy, He has to redeem me from my sin, because that is WHO HE IS! I can’t change Him, don’t want to in fact. I like Him just the way He is thank you very much!
James 3:17 (NIV), “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
God tells us that wisdom from heaven is first of all pure. Godly wisdom isn’t motivated by anything other than love. Next, from our verse in James, we see that it is peace-loving and considerate. This kind of wisdom isn’t putting “self” first. It doesn’t have to have its own way, or demand its rights. It thinks “more highly on the things of others.” Wisdom from Heaven is submissive. I know we Americans tend to hate that word, but only because we don’t understand what it means. Submission simply means being “under a mission.” I am under the mission of God. His mission is to bring everyone to the saving knowledge of His grace. I submit to that mission. If we are using Godly wisdom there will be fruit, we will show mercy to others. God is merciful. He never gave us what we deserved, but only what would bring us to a place of fellowship with Him.
Finally, this kind of wisdom is impartial and sincere. It can’t be faked. The world is full of people who see themselves as wise. They spout off information, statistics, and opinions and expect us all to be wowed by their greatness, which is neither impartial nor sincere. You can’t fake Godly wisdom, ever. Godly wisdom’s purpose isn’t to impress anyone. Its purpose is to further God’s Kingdom here on earth.
Revelation 12:11 (Weymouth New Testament), “But they have gained the victory over him because of the blood of the Lamb and of the testimony which they have borne, and because they held their lives cheap and did not shrink even from death.”
It is clear in Revelation that two of our weapons against the enemy are the blood of the lamb and our testimony. The blood washes away our sin, protects us from evil, and made us as right as God, so now we can boldly come into the throne of Grace and we have authority over every power of the evil one.
Another weapon we have is our testimony of what God has done and is doing in our lives. When we share all the good things that God has done for us and what He has brought us through, we are showing His kindness, some translations say “goodness.” This leads hearts to repent, taking them out of the enemy’s camp and bringing them home to the Father.
Satan is trying to keep people ignorant of WHO God is. Our testimony tells people who God is! They may have heard that God is vengeful, that He makes us sick, that He sends disaster to judge people, but our testimonies of His mercy, His healing power, of His forgiveness shows who He really is.
Hosea 4:6 (ISV), “My people are destroyed because they lack knowledge of me. Because you rejected that knowledge, I will reject you as a priest for me. Since you forget the Law of your God, I will also forget your children.”
Ephesians 5:1-2 (NASB), “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
When we get saved God doesn’t snatch us out of here and bring us straight to Heaven. Why? Because we are here to set an example, to imitate Him. Jesus is in Heaven sitting at the right hand of God, so now we are the only “Jesus” they will ever see. He came to show the Father. (John 14:9). Now that is our job.
We are supposed to live from Heaven, walk in our authority as believers, and accept all the good things God has given us so that we can make others want what we have. They may shy away from our boldness, or want to hide in the darkness because of the brightness of our life, but like a stray dog who finds a dish of food and some clean water, they will come out of the shadows to take what we have to offer.
We are ambassadors for Christ. We need to live from Heaven, not conform to this world, and love on people. Loving someone doesn’t mean accepting their sin. God loved us while we were in our sin, but He didn’t leave us there, He compelled us by His love, and goodness, to let the Blood of Jesus cleanse us of all our wrongdoings.
There are a lot of people out there who haven’t come to the saving knowledge of His grace, more of those than the ones who know Him. This ought not to be!
Let’s live for Him.
Psalms 51:7 (NLT), “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
Today as my little one was sleeping, I had a mountain of dishes to do (yes left over from the day before) and while sudsing and rinsing those stuck on pots and pans I couldn’t help thinking of how God has cleansed me of all unrighteousness. I wasn’t a “just ate a bowl of soup and washed right away dish” no, I was a baked on caked on lasagna dish that was sitting on the counter for years” kind of a dish. In fact, I didn’t think I was cleanable. Thankfully God has a pre-wash cycle. His Holy Spirit! He woos us and courts us with His great love. Only love can soften a heart.
That made me think of all the fairy tales I have read over the years. The ugly duckling who finds out he is really a swan, the sleeping beauty who needs true loves kiss, how about the cinder wench who is mistreated only to marry the handsome prince? They are all allegories that show us that this life isn’t all there is. Are you that ugly duckling, you just don’t fit? That’s because you are really a beautiful swan. Are you longing for…MORE.
Well, stop singing, “Some day my prince will come,” because He already has. True love’s kiss has already smacked you right on the lips!
Philippians 3:12-14 (KJV), “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Christ has “apprehended” me. If we were playing tag, He caught me. As a lover pursues His intended, He won me. Now my job is to pursue Him, apprehend Him, I don’t have to win His love as He gave it freely to me.
Since all of this is true, I can keep going, press in to the prize. God has placed a call on my life, and though I haven’t attained it yet, as I am far from perfect, I still follow after perfection.
I have chosen to stop looking in the rear view mirror of my life. I leave the past in the past and move forward, even if it is only baby steps. This race isn’t won by the quickest, but by all who keep moving forward.
[* Revelation 3:2 (YLT), “He who is overcoming -- I will give to him to sit with me in my throne, as I also did overcome and did sit down with my Father in His throne.” *]
Thank You for Your word, that it is alive and changes hearts and minds. Let the mind of Christ be in us and Your word light our path. Your joy will be our strength as we keep running this race set before us. We will keep our eyes fixed on You and when things look tough, we won’t run away, but we will run to You and find help and safety there. We will look up into Your eyes of love. We will look to the mountain of God and help will come. We will call on angels to guard us and minister in our lives according to Your perfect will. We will allow You, the Master Potter, to conform us into the image of Jesus.