Faith and Our God Most High

As I read through scripture, I choose to focus on the amazing names of God. With the craziness happening in our world—how encouraging it is to read “God Most High”. The Hebrew word for most high is Elyon. Combing it with El Elyon, it becomes the divine title our God deserves. He is the ruler of not only the universe but of everything that touches us. There is no other God that reigns over Him. He is the MOST HIGH God! Yesterday, amid some stormy situations, I called on my Most High God. It brought such peace and trust. My mind calmed as I rehearsed many of the things that are under His feet.

Often in the Psalms we find the phrase the Lord of Heaven’s Armies (Jehovah Sabaoth). When Hannah prays for a son in 1 Samuel 1: 10, she uses this name to cry out to Him. It expresses the infinite power and resources which God acts for His people. Her situation had gone on too long and she needed to make her God bigger. He answered. When I read and meditate on this title, God becomes bigger and more firmly established as the Most High God. Psalm 80:19 Turn us again to yourself, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved. He is in charge, my friends, no matter what things may look like. When you are feeling small, call out to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. It will stir your soul. No demon in hell can stand against Him. He is Lord.

Need healing? Cry out to Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals. Jehovah Jireh is the God who provides. All these titles describe an aspect of our amazing Lord and Savior. The most precious name of all to me is Abba Father. Adopted into His family, by the shedding of His blood, opened the door to a relationship with this Most High God! Add these titles to your prayer communication and you will grow in faith and maturity. There is nothing better than curling up in the Father’s Presence during struggles and disappointments. His Comfort is there. However, I can’t stay there and see things change. I must join with Him, using His powerful Word to bring the needed change. During these darker and difficult times, we must grow in our understanding of God’s power and the authority we have as His children. Through prayer we can watch things change, but only if we release our faith and cry out to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!

Let us join to pray for our world. Do not let discouragement take over your life. Stand strong as a member of His Army. No victims here, but victors. Pulling down strongholds. Watching doors open, and lives changed and healed, in His Name.

Faith and Pressure

Lately it seems like many people I know are struggling with many different pressures of life. Financial challenges, relationship issues, physical struggles seem to be attacking so many of God’s people. Life seems to be harder for so many people right now. The winds of adversity have been blowing hard. The temptation is to want to find a way of escape from their relentless blowing–at least that is my initial response!

What is your reaction when adverse things begin to take place? Why is this happening to ME or my family? Does fear raise its ugly head and try to take root in your heart? Life here on this earth, comes with adversity. It just does. If we keep being surprised by them, then maybe we need to grow in our understanding of life on this earth versus life that will be in heaven. Scripture tells us that in this world we will have tribulation, but be of good cheer because He has overcome them.

But how do we handle the pressures of adversity? First we must understand we do not face them alone. Our God is with us, working all things together for our good. When natural winds occur, they clean the air, help distribute seeds for new plantings, and they help birds complete their migration. Strong winds test the roots of trees, causing weak rooted trees to be blown over so younger trees can take their place.

Winds of adversity in our lives often reveal our stamina or lack thereof. When things get hard and we want to quit, we have to “dig deep” as they say, and choose to stay the course. Choosing to continue on God’s path when these winds are blowing contrary takes perseverance, trust and tenacity. There are some things in life that there is no choice but to push through. I remember in the middle of laboring my son, I just wanted to quit. Since my body reacts differently than most women, I did not have the “urge to push”, so I just quit. I was tired and I didn’t want to “do it anymore”. In the midst of the pain, I lost sight of the goal. The wonderful nurse whispered in my ear, “in just a few more pushes you will be able to hold your baby, and we will all go away!” I don’t remember which was more motivating, the idea of seeing my child or the fact I could get rid of the annoying people telling me what to do, but soon our dear son was born. In reality, I had no choice but to finish that race. Other times, we must choose to renew our commitment and walk on.

When the pressures of life begin to assail, we need people around us to remind us of our purpose and plans. I am so grateful for the Holy Spirit and God’s Word that brings us hope and encouraging stability, but sometimes I need people who have been there and done that, to come along side and remind me that I, too, will make it! Storms do not last forever. As I walked the difficult journey after Darryl’s stroke, trying to come to grips with my new normal, I would have to stop and remind myself not to worry about the tomorrows. Matthew 6:34 so don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. For you young parents, remember the current season your infant, baby, toddler, pre-schooler, elementary child, high schooler–is in will pass. The night feedings, the toddler tantrums and the angst of growing up, though difficult, are best done in the present–with an eye on the future. His grace is sufficient for our today issues. If you are facing storms in your marriage remember your vows and the reason you married in the first place. Take a deep breath and remind yourself of God’s love and that He is with you in every day circumstances. Seek His wisdom and His ways. Do not let your thoughts run rampant. Capture them quickly.

If things seem overwhelming and you need help, ask for it. Somethings are too heavy to bear alone. Humble yourself, if need be. Many times just talking about how you feel will bring perspective and understanding. This is why God has placed pastors, teachers and leaders in His body–if they can’t help, they can lead you to someone who can. Too many suffer in silence in their own island because they are embarrassed to reach out. Do not be one of those people, listening to the lies of the enemy telling you no one cares. It is not true. I am available! Reach out to me, if you need a listening ear. Many times I have shouted out my prayers to the Lord, or taken time to write my thoughts and prayers in a journal.. Simply taking the time to name your feelings (cares) and then cast them back to Him brings the relief and hope needed.

In the midst of so many facing adverse circumstances I have also been amazed at how many prayers God is answering as well. He is not far off, but a very present help in time of trouble. Do not be jealous, or disappointed if you see others getting their prayers answered, but be encouraged He is not a respecter of persons! Your time is coming.

Faith and Trusting Obedience

This year, my focus word is obedience. Not normally a word that evokes warm fuzzy feelings. But having walked with the Lord for 62+ years, I have learned from experience that obedience is the safest and best place to be. If you struggle in this area, do not simply focus on what He asks, but look at who is asking you. Please know I am not claiming perfection in this area, but I think I am quicker to obey than ever before.

Deuteronomy 32:1-4 is so encouraging. It is a song of Moses, recited to the assembly of Israel. Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! Hear, O earth, the words that I say. Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on your plants. I will proclaim the name of the Lord; how glorious is our God! He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!

When doubt or fear try to thwart my obedience, it often is because I am looking at myself, including my insecurities and weaknesses. Re-focusing on Who is asking helps me change my thoughts and release my fears. I admit, I have been a slower learner in grasping this simple lesson. Last week, I watched my son working with his son. He was trying to get him to try a food he had liked before, but wasn’t wanting to eat that night. He said, “Son, do you trust me?” Our sweet four-year-old Tobi boy answered, “I don’t know”. What an honest answer! He eventually ate the Taquito, and I think he liked it. I could see the struggle in his own heart about wanting to trust his day, but then looking at this bite and being unsure. Isn’t that what often happens to us? We focus more on the task than we do our loving Savior. Scripture encourages us to come as a little child, but even little children grow in their trust.

Another way we grow into trusting obedience is by just doing it! Taking a deep breath and jumping in and going, “I trust you Lord”. No matter the outcome, the timing, or the journey, I will trust you. In Psalm 13, David cries out to the Lord, “how long?” God gets it. He gets that we often wonder where He is during our crisis. O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Turn and answer me, O Lord my God; Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. But David kept on trusting. He kept on praying. He kept on rejoicing. He reminded himself of God’s salvation. But I trust your unfailing love, I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me. As we follow David’s example, we will experience His salvation in the land of the living.

Remind yourself, like Peter, “who else has the words of eternal life?” Please, dear ones, do not grow weary in trusting Him. Do not grow weary of walking in obedience to your Savior.

Faith and “The Word of the Year”

At the beginning of every new year, often my ministry friends would seek the Lord for a “word” or focus for the coming year. Amazingly, often, they were very similar in their intent, if not the same word.   One year the word the Lord gave me was weakness! Not something I would have expected, but one that really added grace and mercy to my life. I may have been the only one with that word!

This year, when I wasn’t even asking! He spoke a word very quietly in my spirit. That word is “obedience”. He spoke with such love, care and peace that I could only receive it with joy. Of course obedience should be something we walk in all the time. A mind set every mature believer incorporates into their daily lives. But to be honest, there are times we self debate, over think, procrastinate or just plain ignore those promptings made by His Holy Spirit.

Often our reluctance to obey quickly is our fear of the cost. The cost we fear can be emotional, spiritual, relational or even financial. Imagine our friend Noah, receiving His assignment to build the ark. I wonder how long he debated in his heart before he told Mrs. Noah and the family? How long before they went public with the build? Yet, something in Noah caused him to overthrow all his concerns, and he obeyed. God’s will and purpose accomplished. Every rainbow we enjoy testifies to Noah’s obedience.

As you read through the Bible, notice the fruits of obedience. They abound. We are reaping the results of others’ obedience. Especially those who wrote all the original books of the Bible. Esther, Jeremiah, and Elijah left an inspiring legacy for us to follow. The New Testament has its heros too. Paul, of course, not only in his writings, but his example of teaching, preaching, traveling, even while suffering beatings, shipwrecks , and imprisonments. Timothy, as a young man, established churches. John, the revelator, living in exile on Patmos, encountered many visions and “revelations” by the Spirit of God. We benefit from his isolation even today. Yes, the cost of obedience can be high. It can cost our life. But it also leads to life. Living a life of obedience is a life that leaves a legacy for others. It is not a selfish life. It is a selfless life. It is a life that cultivates the laying down of “what about me?” mindset. It is a decision to live for Him, and not for ourselves.

It really comes down to our relationship with Him. If you love me, keep my commandments. John 14:15. Maybe we won’t be asked to build an ark, or safe a nation; but we may, by our obedience, bring life, hope and grace to someone else. Minimally, the fruit of our obedience will be a closer walk with Jesus. Do not stress about hearing His voice in these matters. As every good parent, He will make His will known to you. Just ask Him to speak, open your ears, eyes and heart. He is a good Father and will lead and guide us. When in doubt, remember, charity never fails, so simply do whatever you feel you are inspired to do with and in His love.

If we walk in obedience, we will surely hear “well done, my servant and friend”. How amazing that will be!

Faith and Our Light Afflictions

We all will agree that 2020 has been quite a year. Those longing for this year to be over and done with think differently than me. I have never been one to think things miraculously change just because the date does. The tests and trials will continue, they just may be different. And for many, the tests and trials of this year are continuing. I have three dear friends in the hospital right now. One in Nevada in an ICU due to Covid complications. She has been there for several weeks. Praying and believing for life and not death, that she will awake from her coma and come back to us. In Tennessee, another friend was just moved from ICU to a regular room with severe head trauma and bleeding in the brain. A third friend is in Arizona, also in ICU with doctors trying to sort out his situation. None of these situations are “light” to us or their family members, but 2 Corinthians 4:17 describes our light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. The New Living translation: for our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.

Affliction: something that causes pain or suffering. My friends and their families are enduring the pain and suffering of watching their loved ones endure these hospital stays. We are standing and believing for God’s intervention and healing to be manifest for all of them. I have been there. When my husband suffered his heart attack and subsequent stroke, it did not feel “light” or “momentary”. It shattered my world. However, I kept on looking up. Looking to Him, the author and finisher of my faith. I felt weak and insufficient to the task, but through God’s grace and the body of Christ help, we made it day by day. That situation revealed areas of strengths and my weaknesses.

I believe God desires to use all the tests of 2020 to show off the good work He has done in us. They also revealed any areas of immaturity, fear, and childishness. The “I don’t want to wear a mask”, “I don’t want to do on-line learning” or have my kids home 24/7 etc. The really difficult issues were deaths, lost jobs and businesses that were forced to close. But even those are considered “light” afflictions in the light of eternity. As we battled through “it’s not fair” or “it’s too inconvenient” we either matured, or fell into anger, frustration and resentment. It was easy to fall into the “what about me” syndrome; forgetting that this was a world wide pandemic and many had it worse than we did.

Revelation 14 describes the pouring out of God’s wrath on those who worshipped the beast and his statue and the ongoing torment that follows. Not a pretty sight. But the scripture that comes next is: This means God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. (Rev 14:12) Living through the COVID pandemic was not persecution, but if we could not walk it out in faith and trust, how will we do when real persecution happens. No matter what we face this coming year; we need to walk patiently in obedience and maintain our faith in Jesus. He is still on the throne. We are still here to manifest His glory through how we endure hardships. It is not easy, but doable.

I for one, am thankful for the lessons I learned in 2020. I am grateful for His mercy and answered prayers. I feel the Holy Spirit is getting His people out of the hot house and into the field where we will be even more fruitful. Keep on looking to Him, my friends. He is the only one who has the words of eternal life. Let’s choose to put away childish behaviors and attitudes and simply walk patiently with Him, our Lord and Savior.

Faith and Faith-filled Adaptions

We encounter situations where we need to adapt. This Covid season has given us many opportunities to adapt. A year ago, none of us would have considered mask wearing when we leave our homes. But we adapted. A few weeks ago our Governor made changes in mandates due to the rise in Covid cases here in Washington. One of those changes affected religious gatherings, was the mandate that there be no congregational singing. We could have one person on the platform singing, but that was all. Many many people grumbled, complained and felt discriminated against. However, our church leadership decided to submit to these rulings–not with mumblings and grumblings, but with faith. I can feel hackles rising in many as you read this, but please read on.

We need to remember worship is much more than singing. The focus of worship is to bring honor to the Lord. We are free to do it in many many ways. Raising hands, clapping, kneeling in His Presence, bringing an offering are all good ways to bring honor to our Great God. The first Sunday, I admit, was a bit unusual. But the presence of the Lord came. Pastor Michael Hurley (our lead pastor) set a great tone with his message. He left the submission choice up to each person, allowing us to follow God’s leading in each of our lives. He asked our worship director to pray about singing a prophetic song over the congregation at end of the service, based on Zephaniah 3:17. It was beautifully encouraging. God touched all who let go of the preconceived idea of what a worship service should look like. Each week there has been a prophetic song shared and it is wonderful.

God is using these temporary restrictions to release new freedoms and exploration on what it means to truly worship. The raising of hands has taken on new meaning. I have found myself focusing on the words of the songs that are being sung. Meditation and contemplation have deepened my love for the Lord. Quietly praying for those around me keeps me in touch with Him and them. I have, personally, begun to sing more out loud at my home and in my car on the way to church. Due to illness, when I haven’t been able to attend, the presence of the Lord overflows into my home via the online service.

We have discovered that God’s Spirit is not bound. He is free to move in our lives, even when we can’t do things as usual. I am sure these restrictions will be lifted soon and we will all be excited and blessed. But once again, God is using natural situations to teach and expand our thinking about what a real relationship with Him looks like. There are many in the body who physically can’t sing due to muteness or deafness. They have discovered how to worship in spite of those personal restrictions. Having these limitations has helped me better understand their situations.

I know other churches may ignore those restrictions and continue to sing and praise as normal. That is up to them and their conscience, no judgement. I am grateful that our church leaders chose to walk in faith in the midst of the restrictions, for it has been a learning experience for me. Romans 14:23 For whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. We choose not to sing in faith, not fear. We choose to submit to our leaders in faith, not fear. We choose to exercise our worship muscles in new ways, and that is good!

God is not bound, I am free to worship Him at any time with my voice raised high. And I do.

Faith and “Sparks”

Haggai is a very small prophetic book written during the postexilic time in Israel’s history. The people of Israel had returned to their own land after living in Babylon. One of the main reasons they wanted to go back to Israel was to rebuild the temple that had been destroyed. They began well, (building an altar and offering sacrifices) but then go distracted and stopped. The Word of the Lord came to Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the people to finish the task. In the New Living Translation Haggai 1:12 we find then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave the people this message from the Lord: “I am with you says the Lord.” so the Lord sparked the enthusiasm of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the enthusiasm of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the enthusiasm of the whole remnant of God’s people. They began to work on the house of their God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies on September 21 of the second year of King Darius reign. The word “sparked” caught my attention. I thought I want to be someone who “sparks” another into good action, and I need others to “spark” me on to good works.

I believe God desires us to do/be both. The Hebrew word that they translate “spark” is “‘ur”. It means to rouse, awaken, stir up, excite, raise up; to incite, to arouse to action; to open one’s eyes. As I was pondering these meanings, I thought we need to be sparked first by God and second by ourselves and others! The struggles of this season are real. It is hard to stir up our faith–when oppression, depression and discouragement are close at had. But, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the very time we need to move into action. Those men were sparked into action by God’s Word. “I am with you”. He is with us. He has never, nor will ever leave us. The wind and rains are blowing, but if we persevere, we can light fires in our own hearts and in the hearts of others for His kingdom. Once the fire is lit, keep it burning. To those of you who are feeling alone, you are not. To those of you who feel abandoned, you have not been. He is with you. Call upon Him and He will show you great and mighty things. Do not forsake the gathering together during these days–even if you have to do it through the internet.

I want to thank our pastors and leaders for “sparking” me. I want to thank song writers, musicians and other artists who keep on “sparking” us with their gifts and talents. I want to thank teachers and writers who inspire me to keep moving on and “sparking” others. I need you, appreciate you and pray for you to continue “sparking” others. If you are a pastor, teacher, worship leader etc do not draw back from discouragement, but press on. God is moving in and through you, because that it what He does. Speak His Word.

Faith to Prepare Him Room

This year my dear daughter Elizabeth followed her heart and created an interactive Advent coloring book called “Prepare Him Room.” The title stopped me. In fact, it began to play as a loop in my mind. Prepare Him room–what does that mean? How do we do it? What changes must occur to prepare the room? What kind of “room”? What preparations should be done? Can they ever be “good enough”? As I pondered this phrase, I felt the Lord come close. Peace began to fill my heart. Anticipation began to grow. I knew that the phrase focus emphasis was on enlarging the “room” in my heart, soul and mind for Him. So how do we do that?

Prepare–means to make ready for use or consideration. There is a sense of anticipation that comes with the preparation. Something is going to change or happen. It also includes the willingness to do something. This preparation, was not about is not preparing for a newborn baby, but the preparation needed to receive our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To welcome Him into more of the aspects of our heart and life so we can shine even brighter for Him. There was no sense of trepidation with this preparation–just a desire to make a comfortable room for a special friend. An intentional decision to make even more room for Him.

Preparing a room usually begins with cleaning. Getting rid of any clutter and dirt that has accumulated. If we are honest, we know our hearts can accumulate clutter. If we want to prepare our hearts for Him, we must get rid of the excess thought clutter as well. Unforgiveness, worry and anxiety can build up–taking up space where His Presence and peace should abide. Asking the Holy Spirit to do a deep cleaning in our souls can seem scary, but in actuality it brings freedom from negativity and fear. Throwing out old hindering insecurities as well as childish ways makes way for His new revelation and joy.

The amazing thing about this room preparation for the Lord, is that He works right along side us! He helps in every stage. He longs to fellowship with us, even in the cleaning. In fact, most of the scriptures that deal with the word prepare, refer to God’s preparation for us! Psalm 23: 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. He comforted His disciples (and therefore us) with Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. Even now He is in preparation mode! Oh my friends, let us choose to die daily to ourselves to make more room for Him and His ways. To put off the things that so easily distract and detract from Him,

We are not only preparing our hearts more fully for the Lord, but also for the things He likes. The things He cares about. He cares about widows, orphans, the homeless, the poor, the cast out, the unloved most definitely those who do not know Him.. As we enlarge our hearts, we find ourselves caring about these things as well.

I have a friend who every month when she gets paid, she takes some cash and puts it aside in her purse. When she sees or hears about a need, she quietly meets that need. It is a practical way of loving and living for Him. In this age where people don’t carry much cash due to debit/credit cards it takes intentionality to prepare to meet an unknown need. I attempt to follow her example. As you read through scripture, take time to notice other things that make Him happy as well as the things He doesn’t like (read Proverbs 6:16-19)!

Friends, I trust you will take the time to make room for our Lord and Savior in every aspect of your life. As we ponder the miracle of His birth, let us allow the Son of Man, the Lord room to rule as well in our hearts and lives.

Faith and Dry Bones

My Bible reading program brought me to Ezekiel 38 this week. As I began to read about God’s famous question to Ezekiel: “Can these dry bones live?”, I felt the Holy Spirit ask me the same thing. It was like a jolt. Faith began to arise and I began to look around at the things in my life that I have just accepted as being dry and done. No life. No faith. Just acceptance as the way it is, so it shall stay.

But as this question became my question, I began to get excited. I began to ask Him to show me what areas in my life had I just accepted the circumstances? My own health has been especially difficult for the past few months . After testing, I found out my thyroid was not doing its job. About the same time I started on thyroid meds, I had an asthma flair and I could hardly walk across the room without experiencing shortness of breath. Monday morning, I woke to a shift in the circumstances. I could actually get things done! I am believing the allergies and asthma are also coming subject to His Word as well. My breathing will come alive and I can do what He calls me to do. The drying bones of my lungs are coming to life.

My friends, what or where are your dry bones? Is it in your marriage relationship? Your job situations? Your finances? Your own life perspectives? Your health? Hopelessness? Maybe you have some bones in your life that seem to be “drying and dying”–don’t wait till they are dead, but begin to speak life into them in the Name of Jesus. Hopeless situations do not have to stay hopeless. We serve an amazing Savior that came into this world with power and might that He wants to impart into and for us. Ezekiel’s response, was “Lord, you know”. We can read that with a sense of resignation, or we can let it begin to kindle expectation. Your thoughts may have settled on if God wanted to change things, they would change. However, He used Ezekiel to prophesy to those bones. He spoke to the dead bones while they were yet dead. He spoke in faithful obedience, as we should.

Maybe your dry bones are in the area of your parenting. Your child is a struggling learner. Do not lose hope. Begin to speak faith and encouragement to them. Call for the breakthroughs needed. Maybe you feel like it is your patience that is dry and dead. Remember, we have the fruit of the Holy Spirit working within. Ask Him for insight and direction, and when you begin to speak where His Spirit is prompting, release your faith and expect change. Do not let fear paralyze you from speaking to those hard or dry things. Expect change to happen. Lift your voice and declare life, not death. I have experienced Godly intervention, and it is good.

“Can these dry bones live?” I am excited as I sense breakthroughs coming. I believe with a resounding yes–in spite of Covid, In spite of past experiences, your dry bones can and will live. It may take time. It may take tenacity, but they will live, In Jesus Name.

Faith and Childishness

If I call myself childish, that is ok…if someone else calls me childish, not so much. The definition of childish is someone who is silly and immature–or is acts inappropriately for their age. It is the Holy Spirit’s desire that every believer grows up. That we learn how to put off childish things.

So what are some of the childish things or ways that we need to put off as we grow up? The first one that comes to mind, is selfishness. Most children come into the world with a “me first” attitude. It is all about me, mine and what about me. As we grow up, we begin to understand that in God’s Kingdom, His way is others first. God uses many things to help us grow up. Selfishness is something we seem to always need to conquer: employment, marriage or parenting put us in situations where self centeredness is unveiled. To put it off takes deliberate concentrated effort to change our focus from self to others. 2 Timothy 3:2 confirms that many adults grow up with these selfish traits in tact. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. This is, unfortunately, a clear description of our world, all childish behaviors.

Another aspect of childishness is being unteachable and letting pride stand in our way of receiving truth in love that will help us. A long time ago, when we were in our early stage of pastoring, I was talking with someone about the scripture dealing with wine/and new wineskins. She had an amazing revelation about it, but due to my pride in our position, I nodded, oh yes, I already knew that. It was silly. It is embarrassing to admit it, I lied. It was a wonderful insight, and I not only missed her truth, but due to pride, I lost the revelation as well. I can’t remember the truth she said, and it still bothers me today. Pride stood in my way of learning from her. Thankfully, I have learned I don’t know it all, and can admit it! There is such freedom in learning from one another. I would ask you to ponder this thought: when was the last time you let someone else teach you something? Or received their thoughts, that were different than your own? Do not let childish pride or stubbornness hinder you from learning from others.

To put off something is to admit that we are wearing it or embracing it. Letting go of foolish jesting or dealing with our carnal mind and the works of the flesh are part of putting off childishness. Many are deceived by Satan in pursuing “freedom” which really is bondage to Satan and his ways. Seeking the pleasures of sin over purity and righteousness is childish behavior. It is time to grow up and mature. The wisdom of God gives us insight and helps us follow Him and His ways.

Putting off childishness helps us grow in discernment and perspective. It helps us run with patient endurance the race that is set before us. It isn’t easy, but if we are going to be lights in this dark world, we need to understand the blessing of maturity. It isn’t about yourself–it is all about Him and His Kingdom. It is learning to lay your life down for Him and others. Learning to speak words of life versus words of death or criticism shows growth. Developing patience in our relationships, walking in forgiveness and love are all examples of maturity.

Father, please help us grow up. Helps us not to cling to childish ways, but to put them off–receiving your righteous robes in their place. Show us where we may be inadvertently be walking in childish behavior. Thy will be done. We trust you to help us grow and mature, because we love you. In Jesus Name, Amen

Faith and “Thy Will Be Done”

Driving in the car on Tuesday afternoon, I turned my thoughts toward our election and began to ask the Lord “how do you want me to pray?” I heard very clearly, “thy will be done”. Immediately peace began to fill my heart and once again I recognized His Sovereignty. In a way, it shouldn’t matter who wins the election as far as my walk with the Lord goes.

I will seek to be a peacemaker among those who do think like I do. I will continue to pray for our leaders, even those I disagree. I will continue to trust His leadership for my country. I will continue to seek to walk in the Light and be a Light to those who are looking for His ways. I will grow in my ability to trust Him no matter what comes my way.

I will choose to trust His ways, which may not be my ways. I will choose to remember that His ways are higher than my ways, and I can trust Him. I will choose to draw nigh to Him and walk in that friendship and grace. There was always a remnant that strove to walk in His righteous ways when there was an evil king ruling in Israel. Paul and the early church stood and lived under Nero and his persecution. We can stand, no matter what. I have heard first hand, how believers stood during the Communist takeover in Hungary and Romania and continued to grow in His grace and mercy. Our Chinese brethren are standing under severe persecution, it is not easy, but they are standing. I don’t know the future, but as the saying goes, I know who holds the future.

Dear ones, let us stand, pray and seek to walk worthy of the calling we have. We can do this. I choose to walk humbly with my God as we navigate these difficult times. I choose to govern my words, so I speak the truth in love. If you are feeling out of control and anxious, remember these days did not catch Him off guard. He is still on the throne, and as we simply allow Him to remain Lord of our lives, we are and will be secure.

As of this writing, the count is still continuing. Let us be diligent to pray for clarity, honesty and truth to prevail. Settle in your heart, now, that if your candidate wins or loses you will choose to walk in faith. Disappointment, discouragement and even a bit of disillusionment may arise, but do not let them take away your confidence in your loving God. Somebody will win, some one will lose. Those are the facts we do know! Thy will be done, dear Lord, not just in this election, but in my life and in your Kingdom.