Conditionless Promises

This summer has been littered with challenges. I have no doubt that many of you are nodding your head in agreement. Outside of dealing with pandemics, economic stressors, and global political unrest, families still struggle with the day-to-day challenges of life. Our family is no different, as we navigate through health problems (the big C), graduations, unexpected deaths, career moves, etc., I keep going back to my favorite scripture.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:28-29

I find comfort in this passage, in God’s promises, in knowing that nothing that is happening in our lives right now, in our communities, in our country, and in the world is a surprise to Him. He knew (knows) about all of it. Not only does He know, but He has also sovereignly worked through every situation for the best interest of every person who knows and loves Him. For each of our best interest. I’m not saying that He has worked out everything the way we think it should, or might want with all our heart, He has worked it out for our good, which He knows better than we do.

I have been confronted by this promise many times, when what I wanted was not in God’s plan, but somehow, He worked it out for my good. It didn’t feel good at the time, but when I look back it is so easy to see God’s hand in all of it. Often it looks nothing like anything we’d choose, but always turns out better than we could imagine.

In the book of Deuteronomy God, through Moses, prepares His people to go into the land He promised. Over and over God assures them that there is nothing that can stand in their way, He has delivered their enemies into their hands. He has already done it.  In the midst of this book, I found a similar passage to the one I cherish in Romans.

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9

God is God and He is faithful, He keeps His promises…always. Sometimes I feel that because we so often don’t keep our word, or others don’t keep their word, that we expect God to be as fickle as we are. Someone hurts us or makes us angry and that is all the excuse we need to break our promises. Thankfully God is not that way. His promises are not dependent on us…THANK YOU LORD!

I think about how often I put conditions on my promises with my children, “yes I will do this, or we can do that, if you behave”. God doesn’t put conditions on His promises to us, but He does tell us that there will be consequences when we chose to live outside of His will. All throughout the Old Testament, you can see that when God’s people aren’t where they are supposed to be, bad things happen.

In Romans God promises to work all things for good for those who love Him, who He called and created to be conformed to the image of Jesus. If we love Him, we’ll live as Jesus did, following His commands (love God, love others), and trust that no matter what, He will work ALL things out for our good.

This is a BIG promise, and one that takes faith to follow. It goes hand in hand with James’ statement that we should, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

God doesn’t put conditions on His promises, they are absolute. We need to trust that He is who He says He is, and that He’ll do what He says He’ll do. I heard a preacher on the radio today say, “God doesn’t want to be first on a list of ten, He wants to be first on a list of one.” We need to put all our faith, all our energy, all our heart, mind, and soul into God with complete assurance that He will work all things for our good. No matter how big or how small the problem, challenge, obstacle, frustration, or pain may be, we need to, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”

Please help me share the good news of Jesus and how He can change your life, and our world!

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Receiving and Giving, and Giving and Receiving

How is it possible for God to keep loving us? We fall short, break every rule, willfully disobey Him at every turn and yet His love for us never changes. Remember the saying “love makes the world go round”. If you think about it, really think about it, there is nothing more true. Not the mushy romantic or brotherly feel-good kind of love, but God’s unconditional, completely consuming love. A love so great that God created the world just for us, so His love literally makes the world go round. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31

I feel like we are running around trying to love others as best we can, unfortunately when we’re just trying to do it all on our own, we’re kind of terrible at it. We’re following the examples and experiences of our own lives which may or may not be healthy. We demonstrate love how we feel and accept love, for some of us it may be that we don’t feel lovely or loveable, we don’t love ourselves, or we believe we only deserve a certain kind of love…the conditional kind that stays at arm’s length. If we are unable to get to a place where we can realize and accept God’s love, and love ourselves as He does, we will never be able to love others as God intends. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

For all those who grew up not feeling loved. Those who grew up feeling less than, too little, not enough, unworthy, unlovely, or unwanted, we all need a Holy Spirit intervention. As Christians we know we are all called to love others as Christ loved us, we can’t do that until we can accept that He loved us first. Not because we deserve it, or have earned it, but because we are His. It’s a humbling and comforting thought when it finally sinks in. God loves me. Not because of anything I did, but despite of everything I’ve done. He loves me. More than that, it’s the same for everyone. Regardless of what others may say or think…we’re all int he same place, “This righteousness is given through faith in[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.Romans 3:22-24. So, we don’t even have to measure up to anyone else’s expectations because we’re all equally sinful and in need of God’s healing, restorative love.

God’s love is so immense that we can’t comprehend it’s depths “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

So… if we can’t earn it, don’t deserve it and can’t fathom its vastness…how then can we possibly share it with others? Simple answer, we can’t. Not on our own anyway. We are only able to love out of the love that God pours into us. “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”. Ephesians 3:20 We are imperfect images of the original, without His help, without His first loving us, without our cups overflowing from Him onto to others we would not be capable of truly loving anyone…including ourselves.

Each of us spend much of our lives seeking to fill an emptiness within us. We want to be accepted by someone, anyone, for who we are. We are afraid that will never happen, who could love the real us? So, we craft images of ourselves, either a superhero persona or mild-mannered alter ego, anything to be what others will love and accept. However, it doesn’t work, because we know that isn’t really us, they are loving (liking and validating) something else, something other than who we are. So, we keep longing, we keep finding ways to feel loved, lovely, and valued. Nothing works, nothing will ever work. There is nothing in this world that can fill the need within us besides God.

Why is it so hard for us to accept this love, freely given, and without condition? A love that sees us for who we really are and fully embraces us as a beloved child regardless of our behavior? It seems so unlikely, too fantastical, that kind of love doesn’t even happen in the movies. If it doesn’t really exist, why do we crave it? How would we be aware of it, if indeed, it never existed? At some level we’re aware of that love, sitting there waiting for us to claim it. The only thing standing in our way is us, and the power we give to the voices we hear telling us we are not worthy.

There is nothing God loves more than His creation, there is nothing He wouldn’t do to bring us closer to Him to experience that love, not even sacrificing Himself to close the gap that separates us. Dear ones, give yourself permission to be loved. Let Christ’s love begin to permeate your heart, flow into your life and impact those around you. I promise you will not be disappointed; your spirit will be renewed, and hope will fill your heart. “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:5-8

Please help me share the good news of Jesus and how He can change your life, and our world!

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No word from God will ever fail!

my ways are not your way

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

If God is for us, who can be against us…Powerful words, words full of promise and commitment. Words to encourage and assure us, words that fully express God’s passion for His children. Just a few verses later it states, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? – Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:35-37

So, if God is for us and nothing can separate His children from Him, then why are we so fearful? Why do we doubt His love and His care? Why do we think and act if things are either out of His reach, to big for Him to handle or too small for Him to care?

Is it a lack of faith? I believe that, at least in my life, it’s a lack of understanding. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

I don’t understand why I had to struggle so much in life; death, loss, more death, trials and tribulations…why? I asked that a lot. What I have experienced recently however, is a growing sense of who God is, through my relationship with Jesus Christ, and through that, a better knowledge of how little I know, or as Socrates put it, “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.”

Isaiah 41:10“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

I can’t comprehend the passion and fullness of God’s love, or of Jesus’s sacrifice for me. I can only understand through the lenses of my life’s experiences, without the Holy Spirit. And there it is…with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in my life I can begin to experience and understand God’s ways, who Jesus is, and through that the unthinkable grace that’s been given to me.

Cory Asbury expresses this so well in his song Reckless Love“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God. Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine. I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.”

God is sovereign. Nothing gets by Him, nothing is beyond Him, nothing surprises Him, and He can and will work ALL things for His Glory and our good. More than that, there is nothing that will surprise Him, shock Him or rock Him.

Jeremiah 32:27“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?

So, back to my point, if God is with us who can be against us? Knowing that there is nothing God can’t do, nothing is too big or too small for His attention and that He will always provide for our needs, then why do we still doubt and fear? I believe it is because we have a very hard time, without the help of the Holy Spirit, fully comprehending who He is.

The remedy is easy, get to know Him better. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom to discern His ways, pray for understanding, read His words. None of us would attempt to write a biography on a famous individual without spending considerable time with that person, reading about them, studying their actions and decisions. Why then do we throw our hands up in the air and yell, “why Lord”, when we haven’t been intentional in our efforts to know him better?

The key is being intentional, you can’t read a scripture, pray Sunday morning then throw your hands up that it’s not working. It takes time, effort and commitment…the fruits of which however, will be immeasurable; thirty, fifty and a hundred-fold more than you could ever imagine.

Let God surprise and bless you in 2021 as we walk in the path He created for us!

Please help me share the good news of Jesus and how He can change your life, and our world!

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What’s inside your Tupperware?

green tupperwareYes I just asked you what is inside your Tupperware. Spoiler alert, I am old enough to still own some of the old 1970’s green and gold classic Tupperware, photo shown left. Although I am not old enough to have bought it myself.

 

I still remember being asked by my mom, “Betsy, what is in that Tupperware container in the back of the fridge?”

The only way to find out…the only way, was to pull it out, open it and see.

Yup, you guessed it, if I was lucky it was a few days old left overs. No big deal, dump in the trash, no harm done. However, I’m thinking more about the container that’s been in there since, well who knows how long. Everyone in the family keeps hoping that someone else will deal with it so they won’t have to. Days have gone by, weeks, dare I say a month. There is now a serious science project growing, a 20th century bio-hazard to say the worst.

Everyone gets into the fridge, everyone sees that container, we push it aside to get what we’re looking for. We move it from the top shelf to the middle to the back, hoping it will miraculously not be there the next time we go searching. Then it happens… “Betsy, what’s in that Tupperware container in the back of the fridge?” Oh no, not me, why is it always me?

You walk to the fridge and slowly move some things around, praying miraculously that it won’t be there. Maybe Dad already took it out and dealt with it? Maybe the boys got tired of seeing it and just threw the whole thing in the trash…yea, they’d totally do something like that. Then, you see it, still there, carefully hidden in the back, starring at you. Nope it wasn’t dealt with, now it’s up to you.

How often have we had this conversation with ourselves? How about with God? We know it’s there, the green Tupperware container. It’s hidden in the way back of the fridge. We see it but we just continue to move it around from shelf to shelf. “We’ll deal with that tomorrow, I don’t have time to take care of that today, it’s just going to make a mess and I have things to do…places to go…people to see.” We come up with so many reasons not to deal with it, all the while we’re hoping that one day we’ll open the fridge and the green Tupperware will be gone. Not just gone but emptied, cleaned, put through the dishwasher and sitting on the counter just waiting for us to use it again…it could happen…right?

Here’s the funny thing about green Tupperware, you can’t see through it like a Ziploc bag or a clear plastic container. It’s not a glass jar or plate with Saran wrap. It’s full of toxic sludge that has been there for so long, longer than we’d care to admit, however no one would ever know. There are day’s it’s hidden so far in the back of the fridge, we forget it’s there. When our friends come over all they see is a clean fridge that has some Tupperware in it. Probably last night’s dinner or leftovers from the lunch you had a few days ago. They’d never know what’s really inside.

Green Tupperware can hide a multitude of sins…and no I’m not using that word flippantly. We can often hide it in the deep recesses of who we are, keeping the sludge from being seen by our friends, co-workers, family. The funny thing is, God can see it. He wants to help us deal with it. He wants to take that container of sludge, empty it into the trash, put the Tupperware (yup that’s us) through a holy dishwasher and make us clean. That is the only way He can fill us up with all that He has in store for us. If we’re full of sin, we can’t be full of Him.

My pastor often quotes Jeremiah 29:11, it has become one of my favorite verses from the Bible, “For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the Lord”, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

God doesn’t want you to remain full of the old ‘stuff’ that you carry around inside. He is passionate about you and your life and your happiness. He doesn’t want to condemn, embarrass or humiliate you, He wants to clean you out and set you free.

Next time He asks you what’s in the Tupperware, ask Him to help you open it, you might be surprised by what happens.

I’d love to hear from you. Come back and visit at “Connectthedotblog”.

 

Language of 2021

Could you imagine just 12 months ago that some of the words so commonplace today would commandeer so much of our daily conversation?

As a child of the 80’s when someone made the comment, “they tested positive”, it held an entirely different meaning. You may have a preconceived idea, HIV, Ebola, Bird Flu, but inevitably you’d ask, “positive for what?” However, in January of 2021 you wouldn’t have to ask that question because the answer is so well known.

Terms like, testing positive, shelter in place, virtual classroom, socially distanced, lockdown, quarantine, and vaccine, all bring to mind very similar meaning and images. We don’t really need to ask what anyone means when these words are mentioned because the entire planet is embroiled in a global pandemic. We’re all facing similar challenges, though in varying degrees. Can you imagine any time in world history where the entire human population had so much in common? Unfortunately, it seems, in this unprecedented time of commonality we are more divided than ever.

I’ve struggled this year with the disconnection between what we are capable of doing when we work together and what we are capable of doing when we’re driven by our differences. On the one hand we show extravagant generosity by reaching out and supporting one another in unprecedented ways and numbers. Demonstrating our ability to love, support, uplift, and help one another. On the other hand, we continue to demean, divide, and devise ways to debase, and destroy those who think differently than we do. People we don’t even know become our enemies because of something we read, or heard, or saw on the internet or TV. How can we be at once so capable of love and at the same time capable of such hatred?

We read in scripture that when we build our lives on the truth of Jesus, “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27

When we choose to build our lives, live our lives on the foundation of Jesus Christ, our hearts full of love can change the world. When we choose to build our lives and live our lives on a foundation created by this world, created by our own hearts and hands, it will come crashing down around our ears. We’ve all witnessed it this year.

Right now, our commonality is based on a common enemy. That enemy is not other people, it’s an infection. Our common enemy is not a politician, political party, or policy, it’s an infection. Instead of fighting over who is right or wrong and creating greater division amongst people who are equally affected, lets decide that we are not each other’s enemy and allow God to work in our lives through these trying times.

Let’s decide to make our common language with words and actions guided by the Holy Spirit, not by words derived from this world.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:19-26

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, if these were to become the words that we all have in common and all understand, without question or confusion, what would our world be like? What could we accomplish, what would our conversations be? Even during a global pandemic our world be a better place than it is now because we’d work together as a united family to overcome and grow through the trials placed before us. No longer as enemies, but as friends and beloved family.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Romans 8:31-35

Let God surprise and bless you in this new year as we walk in the path He created for us!

Please help me share the good news of Jesus and how He can change your life, and our world!

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come back and visit at ListenLearn.Live Ministries

Easy and hard, we have it backwards

I was having a conversation the other day with a friend who was facing a dilemma. She knows the right decision to make, she knows the wrong decision to make. She knows the wrong decision is going to cause long term pain and suffering while providing immediate satisfaction. This is not an uncommon conversation, someone comes to you, wanting your support for a decision they know they shouldn’t make, but they give 101 reasons why it will make them happier…in the short term.

What struck me was the comment she made, it’s one we’ve all heard, and I’m sure agreed with, for the most part. She said, “Why is choosing the right path always so hard?” The right decision is always the hard decision, the decision that is going to require sacrifice or cause pain. The wrong decision is the easy decision, the one that brings the most immediate satisfaction.

As I thought about this on my way home after the conversation, I think we have this concept of right being hard and painful and wrong being easy and satisfactory, backwards. We believe that to do right we have to suffer and to do wrong we are indulging our fleshly passions. First when I state right and wrong, I’m talking about sin; specifically, when we are faced with choices to love God first, and then others as ourselves, or the choice to place our fleshly wants and needs above loving God first and others as ourselves. When you think about it, those are the only choices that really matter.

We have a mindset, and we share it with others, that to love God first and others as ourselves (that is a very important statement found in Matthew 22:36-40) means we must suffer, it will be a grueling decision that will cause short term pain and maybe long-term gain. I want you to listen to Jesus own words, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus tells us that he is humble, we’ll find rest in him and that his burden is light. The reason that we struggle with the right decision (love God first and then others as ourselves) is that we are constantly battling with the world. We are constantly at war with what our sinful nature wants, not what the Holy Spirit in us wants. The battle is self-inflicted. When we chose God, when we chose love then as long as we stand with those choices and don’t stray from that path the choice to love is easy.

“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.” Psalm 16:11

“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18

“Feet trample it down— the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor.  The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth. Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” Isaiah 26:6-8

When we follow the path that Jesus has laid out for us; Love God first and others as ourselves, our life, our choices will be dictated by love. The only pain or loss we’ll feel is that of the world, and the more we chose life over death the less we’ll feel that sting.

Doing what is right means we are giving up on the things of this world that lead us to death. Choosing right, then, should be the easy decision. Living for immediate gratification from things of this world that are temporary and will disappear, only leads to wanting more things of this world for immediate gratification from things of this world that are temporary and will fade away. This choice is a vicious cycle of insatiable want that will never end and leads to death. The pain in that cycle is eternal dissatisfaction with who we are, what we have, and how to get more, because it will never be enough.

The simplest way I can state this; love is the easy decision. Loving God first and others as ourselves is the only thing that can satisfy our souls. Truly satisfy, as in we will not want anything else. The hard decision, the one that brings unending pain and suffering is the one that seems to bring immediate satisfaction, but it soon fades and leads to greater and greater need for more to fill the never-ending gaping hole in our lives.

The choice, then, is easy; eternal life by loving God first then others as ourselves. When we are truly satisfied by Christ and that abundant blessing is overflowing from us to others, even when the storms of live are brewing around us, and circumstances are trying to make us forget that we have everything, we can stand firm knowing that the storm will pass, and we will be with Christ victorious. Storms subside, always. Trials cease, always. Christ’s love, forgiveness, peace, patience, kindness, and grace are boundless, unceasing, and eternal.

The hard choice is the one we make that keeps us in bondage to the world of suffering, pain, loss, and confusion, that always leads to death. The easy choice is Christ, that always leads to life.

Pease help me share the good news of Jesus and how He can change your life, and our world!

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come back and visit at ListenLearn.Live Ministries

Horizontal snow in the desert

God is working in the world today, people who say he is not, well I think they either need to redefine what they believe to be God’s work ,or they need to open their eyes.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20

In my short time in this life, I’ve begun to notice a pattern in how God works. No, I can’t predict the future or claim to fully know the mind of God. However, I have observed how he interacts with his creation and through my own life, and how that is mirrored in scripture.

God moves. He does not sit back waiting for all his plans to fall into place. He has made plans, and they will be fulfilled. However, we have the freedom to choose how we participate in those plans. The Holy Spirit is working every moment, every day, in every heart to bring about this purpose, which is that everyone be saved and reconciled to him. I want to point out that the battle for our salvation has already been won, Jesus dealt the decisive, irrevocable blow.

God’s plan is not a plan of defeating the enemy, that he’s already done that. His plan is ensuring your victory. The enemy knows he’s lost the war, his goal is to continue fighting and to steal victory away from as many people as he can. He wants to take you out before you realize what Jesus did for you and you welcome him in.

God moves – – toward us. Throughout the scriptures and the history of mankind, no on has ever moved toward God on their own. There is a great song out right now by Casting Crowns called “Love Moved First“, the chorus reads;

You didn’t wait for me to find my way to You,
I couldn’t cross that distance even if I wanted to.
You came running after me,
When anybody else would’ve turned and left me at my worst,
Love moved first.

The Apostle Paul reminds us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. God didn’t wait for us to turn to him, He moved toward us first, out of his love for each one of us he made a way. From the very beginning God has made himself known to his people. He walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve, he spoke with Cain and Able, Noah, and Abraham, with each subsequent generation our ability to hear him became less and less until only those deemed righteous by God  could hear him speak. Our ability to hear and see God working in the world and in our lives is directly related to how we are living.

God through the power of the Holy Spirit, is always speaking, always working, always moving, if you say you can’t see, hear, or feel his movement in your life, perhaps you need to take a good hard look at your life, your heart, your choices. The seed of God’s Spirit can’t grow in bitter, selfish, greedy and prideful soil. Those weeds that are growing and being cultivated in your life leave no room for anything else. If you are living for yourself, there is no room for God. When we live to gratify our own wants, there is no room for the Spirit of God to work in our lives, Galatians 5: 13-26. The good news is that God only needs space to plant a tiny seed. We don’t have to clear the garden on our own, we need to invite hi in and he’ll take care of the rest.

RSVP – – Respondez sil vous plait means to please respond, or to require confirmation of an invitation. The Holy Spirit is always inviting us to a relationship with God. He is always active and moving, even when it doesn’t seem that way. He moves – – toward us – – what is our response. God’s invitation is ‘open ended’ (having no determined limit or boundary). Even if we turn our back on him, he will still pursue, his invitation stands. Our response, turn toward, turn away, choose to do nothing at all, is what’s required. And choosing not to choose is a choice, not to turn toward God.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” Revelation 3:15-17

God’s invitation, though infinite in patience is imperative in nature. He requires a response, one way or the other.

“It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Romans 14:10-12

Every knee will bow and tongue confess he is Lord. Whether they bow in joyful, reverence to their Sovereign Lord or confess that they were wrong, in that moment all will know He Is Lord. The imperative nature of the invitation is that we don’t know when the moment will come, when we’ll face our Creator. Our decision to believe, not believe, or delay, doesn’t change God.  He is, and we will meet him face to face – our choice has no impact on his existence.

Having grown up in the desert, I might not believe that snow can blow horizontally. Even seeing pictures and hearing first hand stories, I may blow it off as myth, claiming, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” When I do come face to face with a blizzard blowing horizontal snow, having not believed, I would neither be prepared. I would die.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Hebrews 11:1-3

God moves – – toward us – – we respond. He’ll keep moving to will and work to bring us back to him. Ultimately the choice to receive his free gift is up to us.  It will always be our choice, to the last moment of our lives…not beyond.

Make a choice for Jesus, give him that tiny spot in your heart to move and you’ll be amazed at how your life will change. You don’t have to know everything you just need to RSVP your attendance, He’ll help you through the rest.

Please help me share the good news of Jesus and how He can change your life, and our world!

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Mission Monday – What’s your Motivation?

“I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:23-24

My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me. This is my motivation, what is yours? What keeps you moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, serving the Lord, expanding the Kingdom of God, sharing the good news?

It’s no small task committing your entire life to God, it takes daily recommitment of your life and time. Even Jesus acknowledged that we need to take time to spend with God, time set apart and intentionally reserved for him. I think of the times I’ve worked to schedule lunches with friends or time to watch TV shows or the proverbial, ‘me’, time…why don’t we have the same fervor to make time to spend with God?

Did you know, depending on the translation, in the book of Mark alone there are between 15-18 different times that Jesus went off by himself to spend time with God. Jesus set aside time to spend with God. If our goal in life is to glorify God and be transformed into the likeness of Christ, shouldn’t we follow his example?

Right now, millions of students around the world are doing their studies at home. They are learning math, science, literature, grammar, and history. They spend several hours each day on computers, at dining room tables, in spaces modified to serve as classrooms. We, as parents, tell them the importance of studying, spending time with their notes, text books, teachers and classmates. Why don’t we, with the same exuberance and expectation, impress upon them the importance of getting to know Jesus? Why isn’t spending time learning from The Rabbi, studying The Scriptures, and in fellowship with other believers just as important…or more so? Why is our faith and our relationship with God relegated to one or two days of the week? I saw a post on social media recently that stated, “with children learning from home, is now the time to put Christ back in our schools?” I would ask with all of us spending more time at home, is now the time for us to spend more time with God?

It seems like, with the increased amount of time we have from not going out as much, that the demands from the world for our time have increased. From our streaming movie services, television programming, and internet advertising, we are inundated with distractions vying for our attention with claims of instant gratification, overnight delivery, and at home convenience, no effort required.

What is our motivation to spend time with God, studying His word, praying for His people, and lifting up His Church? “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.” My salvation is secure in Christ, I want everyone to enjoy the same salvation, the same joy, and peace, that Christ provides out of the abundance of His love for us!

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:1-11

God’s love is abundant, Christ’s sacrifice is enough for all, the power of the Holy Spirit will transform the heart of every believer. What is your motivation to grow your relationship with God?

I would love to hear from you! Please let me know how I can pray for you, any questions or comments. and like.

Please help me share the good news of Jesus and how He can change our world!

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come back and visit at ListenLearn.Live Ministries