Generosity

As I sit by our Christmas tree in the quiet, stillness of the predawn morning, I enjoy looking at the glowing red lights shining a reflection on the red ornaments with gift boxes and tissue paper hiding the special gifts for our family and friends. Proverbs 11:25 comes to mind, “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.” 

I remember several years ago, we had no gifts under the tree for our children, yet they had gifts Christmas morning. Generous souls blessed our family and they were blessed in the process.     

Since then, we’ve been able to give to others and we couldn’t help but be blessed ourselves. The joy that fills your heart when you give is a true blessing from God.  What a treat it has been to see our children, who are actually young adults now, plan what they are going to give to their friends and family this Christmas. They are so excited. Little do they know the blessing and joy they will experience in their hearts as they give to others.     

How much more exciting it is to give an eternal gift; a life changing gift of a word fitly spoken in due season or an act of kindness that has a “priceless” price tag on it? You know what I’m talking about – simply showing someone the love of God through your kind actions and words!     

Kindness and giving are not just for the holiday season; it’s for everyday life!  As you give, give generously; you can’t help but be blessed generously in return.  My prayer for you is that you will not only embrace a lifestyle of generous giving, but that you will embrace God’s love for you and let Him bless you lavishly in return. His desire as your Heavenly Daddy is to pour out His love on you – and he does that through other people.     

Pride would keep you from receiving anything from God or others; however, a humble person has learned to receive by simply being like Father Abraham.  He received by faith beforehand by simply saying “Thank You!”

God Answers Prayers

In Exodus 33:12-23, Moses told God that He said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight,and he asked God to let him see His face; see His Glory so Moses and the people would know God’s way, His grace, and His presence. Then Moses told God, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.” So the LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”  And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the LORD said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

Moses wanted to see God’s face; however, that was not possible at that time. Fast forward 1500 years to Matthew 17:1-3 to the day Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. Jesus’ face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.”

Now is the time to evaluate your faith!  Do you have faith to stand and believe for 1500 years? We know the answer to that question!!  Some people can’t believe for a day while others stand in faith for years to see answers to their prayers.  As you think about Moses’ desire to see God’s face being fulfilled when he looked into the face of Jesus, know that it doesn’t matter how long it takes for the answer of your prayer to manifest – God will answer your prayer.

Keep believing; keep confessing the answer to your situation; and watch God bring a manifestation of what you are praying and asking Him for.  It will surely come to pass if you don’t faint, grow weary or give up!

Thankfulness

With this being November, it’s naturally the time of year our hearts become full to overflowing with love and we become more aware of the people and things we’re thankful for in our lives. Besides being thankful for my natural, earthly family, I’m so very thankful for my spiritual family. I’m thankful for my Pastor and His Wife for loving me enough to speak the truth of God’s Word into my life.

Recently, Pastor Tony was explaining to us that as people, we are 99% the same in every way.  It’s that 1% that makes us special and unique from everyone else. I’m so thankful there’s no one else like me; as I’m sure you’re thankful there’s no one else like you! Psalm 139 tells us that we can’t go anywhere and avoid the Holy Spirit…in the sky, underground, or the far western whether you’re coming or going! No matter where you are, He’s already there watching you.

More importantly, He shaped you and formed you in your mother’s womb!  In the Message Bible, in verses 13-22 we read, “I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation!  You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! I couldn’t even begin to count them—any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!”

In Colossians 3:15 we are told to “Cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”

As we celebrate the season of being thankful, remember to thank God that He made you uniquely special with a special plan for your life.

Relationships

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17)  Who have you been associating with over the past few weeks or months that has sharpened you spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially?  A recent trip to the Smokey Mountains presented this subject to me; as a matter of fact, it was an in-your-face presentation! Up close and personal presentation!

I will tell you straight up – I was sharpened! My flesh was in great pain. My emotions and attitudes were called to attention. Change was on the horizon!

Imagine a dull knife blade being laid on the grinding stone to be sharpened by the blade smith.  Although the metal resists, the pressure of the blade against the stone creates a smooth, razor sharp edge removing all the dull edges. A knife sharpener doesn’t always move quickly, but applies steady, consistent pressure. To sharpen a good quality steel knife that is new, he uses a high quality, diamond, knife sharpening steel. A few strokes every time before being used and it will keep the knife razor sharp.

It is the same principle when you position yourself to be sharpened by a friend. Find that “diamond” friend who will speak high quality words into your life so you’ll be sharpened to a razor sharp edge.

If the knife is very dull, a carpenter’s sharpening flat stone is very good at reviving the knife’s edge. Just be aware that the angle you sharpen a knife at is crucial. It’s best to take dull knives to a professional sharpener, and then maintain them as noted above. There will be times in our life when we get dull.  As painful as it may be at the moment, present yourself you to your “diamond” friend and allow their words to sharpen you.  At times, it may not be the words you want to hear; however, a “diamond” friend will present those hard words to turn dull edges into razors sharp tools.   

Contrary to what some people believe, sharp knives cut people far less than blunt knives. When a knife is sharp, less pressure is used to cut. Care for your knives and they will last a lifetime.  How fitting for this subject.  When you stay sharpen by the Word of God and the relationships you cultivate, you don’t hurt other people and you can help others become sharp.  The sharper you are, the less pressure you have to withstand. 

Take time to hang out with those people who will sharpen you and help you become a better person.

Provision

When you come to the end of yourself – there you are!! Usually empty handed, disappointed, frustrated, and broken hearted. Probably wondering why things are working the way you thought they should be.

Been there! Done that! Got the t-shirt!!! Wore it out!! How about you?  Well guess what, when you find yourself in this position, you can always look up and find help; usually a prayer’s whisper away, because God is always watching and listening, waiting to answer your call. He doesn’t sleep or slumber.  Psalm 121:4

At the alter, my alter – white sitting behind my car’s steering wheel driving to town – last month, I had a come to Jesus meeting! I simply ask him why I wasn’t receiving the things I’d been believing Him for.  He told me it was because I was putting my expectations in the wrong places, on the wrong people. I could hardly believe it, but knew it was, in fact, true!

I repented, asked him to forgive me for not trusting Him, made a simple heart adjustment, and the results have been amazing! 

I share the victories and blessings this past month with you because I want to brag on my Father God – El Shaddai – the God who is more than enough! The All Sufficient One!

He bought me a sewing machine in a nice wood cabinet. He brought more babycaring jobs to my daughters. He gave two of my daughters with jobs at a boutique of which they have been blessed with awesome, stylish clothes and accessories. He blessed me with a four-day trip out of town with friends. He blessed our family with unexpected, delicious food. He blessed me with the opportunity to be a blessing to someone else by doing yard work, which I love! My husband and daughters fixed an awesome dinner for birthday. And I got a raise with my job.

I’ve been overwhelmed with His goodness to me this past month…and it’s all because I changed the focus of my expectation to Him, El Shaddai – The All Sufficient One!!!  Thank you, Lord. I will magnify you because you delight in my prosperity! Psalm 35:27 

He will do the same for you because He’s no respecter of persons.  Just trust Him and believe that He is faithful to His Word.

Purpose

Have you ever wondered why you are here – right now, doing what you’re doing? You may have had thoughts that you were not planned by your parents or that they really didn’t want you, or you may be the result of a rape incident. Quite frankly, all that doesn’t matter!

According to Jeremiah 1:5, God knew you before you were ever conceived. The Word says, “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you… that’s what I had in mind for you.” Jeremiah 1:5

And, not only that, He loves you with an everlasting love according to Jeremiah 31:3. “The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love;

Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” So you see, it really doesn’t matter what your parents thought about you or how you came into existence, because God has a purpose for your life, and He loves you passionately and forever…so much so, that He knows the exact number of hairs on your head! Matthew 10:29-31

“You may not know Him, be He knows everything about you.” Psalm 139:1.He knows you intimately; to include your biggest dreams and your deepest fears. He loves you no matter what you do, how you act, or what you think! There’s nothing you can do to make Him love you more than He does right now. Plus, there’s nothing you can do to make Him love you any less! His love for you doesn’t change.

He is intimately involved in every area of your life; it doesn’t matter how insignificant it may be to you, God chose you when He planned creation and He’s promised to never leave you or forsake you. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” To Him, you aren’t just another statistic; you are incredibly unique, with a special purpose only you can fulfill.

It’s sad to say, but many of us have been taught that God sits in heaven just waiting for us to mess up and then He punishes us. We’ve been taught that He is very legalistic and there’s no room for error, which is so contrary to the Word of God. He draws us to Himself with lovingkindnes. God is a merciful God, His mercies are new every morning and they endure for forever. Actually, He’s not distant or angry, but He is the complete expression of love. “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16 ESV

The fact is this – you don’t have to do anything special to receive God’s love and grace. You just have to receive His offer of eternal life and put your trust in Him. The more you spend time with Him, the more you will trust Him, the more you trust Him the more your heart will be knit to His and His purpose for your life will be realized. And remember Jeremiah 29:11, which reads, “I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for,” because He is the perfect Father. Matthew 5:48

Gratefulness

Today is going to be a great day! It doesn’t matter what I see in the natural realm or how I feel! I decide today the type of day I’m going to have before my feet hit the floor. Before I get out of bed I thank God that He’s given me another day to experience Him and share His love with others.

As Smith Wigglesworth says, he tells himself the kind of day he’s going to have. That one statement has had such a profound impact on my life that I tell myself every day that I’m going to have a great day and it’s going to be better in every way than the day before!

I’m so thankful for what God has done, and continues to do for me. I praise Him for where He’s brought me from and of course, where He’s taking me. As I thank Him and love on Him, His presence fills my room.

Do you want to experience God’s presence? Begin by being grateful. Thank Him for the things He’s done for you – the big as well as the small things. I was reminded of the significance of being grateful this past week when my daughter put in a children’s CD we used to listen to when my children were young. The song was “Count your many blessings, count them one by one, and see what God has done!”

As I began thanking God for our new home, that we are all healthy, that our monthly expenses are taken care of, that bills are being paid off, that all our family is born again, that the lawn mower is repaired and working great, that we have hot showers, and food to eat, His presence just enveloped me and all I could do was surrender to His loving embrace.

You see, I have a lot to be thankful for because I remember at various points in my life, I didn’t have the things I was thanking God for. And then, I was reminded that my Pastor’s wife told me every time I paid a bill, had great food to eat, experienced good health, and most recently the repair of our riding lawn mower – it was a visual demonstration and reinforcement of the enemy’s defeat in my life.

So, I ask you today, what are you grateful for? What has God done for you? What can you thank God for today that will reinforce the enemy’s defeat in your life that will launch you into the realization that you were created to live the victorious life?

Take a few minutes and thank Him today for everything He’s done for you!

Rest

Hebrews 4:1-3 in The Message Bible reads, “For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith…”.

To live the victorious life God created you live as a born-again child of God, you must believe that what God has promised, He is faithful to fulfill it for you, and then rest!

This doesn’t usually come automatically, but rather, you grow spiritually and learn God is trustworthy. As you learn about and come to realize where you’re positioned spiritually and the authority you possess, it becomes easier to rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

When you ask Jesus into your heart, and believe He saves you, then confess with your mouth He is your Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside you. Because Jesus ascended into heaven, said it is finished, and is seated at the right hand of Father God – the place of authority – He promised to send you a Helper, a Paraclete (the one who comes along side you to help you), an Advocate, Intercessor; all names for the Holy Spirit.

Because you’re in Jesus Christ, seated in the place of authority at the right hand of Father God, with your enemies as your footstool; you are also seated in the place of authority. So, every situation you encounter should be approached with the attitude that you are in authority and situations have to line up with the Word of God as you declare and decree them to be!

When you realize your authority and believe that you have entered the finished work of Jesus Christ you can enter into the rest mentioned above by knowing that what you are praying for will come to pass! It is already finished, Jesus did it for you. He won the battle for you.

When you get a revelation of the finished work of Jesus Christ, you can have so much peace in your heart that you may feel guilty that you’re not worried about the situation or the outcome. That’s the way it’s supposed to be!! When you believe God and take Him at His Word, you can enter into the rest of God and have total peace in your heart!

Recompense – A Covenant Promise

What has the enemy stolen from you? Has he stolen your health; family relationships with those you love; peace of mind; finances; jobs; has he brought shame to your life; has he stolen homes or vehicles from you; material possessions?

You name it and he has probably tried to steal it from you! That’s what he does – the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. The good news is found in the second part of that verse – but I (Jesus) have come to give you life and life more abundantly. (John 10:10)  God is a God of covenant and that covenant includes recompense, or restitution!

 When I heard this from my Pastor, I got so excited because I’ve had things stolen from me, and at the same time I wanted to know more about this word “recompense” so I did some research.  I found that recompense can be used as a noun or a verb with somewhat the same meanings.  I’ll share with you what I’ve found…as a noun it means: something returned or paid back.  Synonyms include amends, atonement, bus fare, compensation, cue, damages, emolument, expiation, gravy, indemnification, indemnity, overcompensation, pay, payment, propitiation, quittance, recoupment, recovery, redemption, redress, remuneration, reparation, repayment, requital, restitution retrieval, retrievement, return, reward, satisfaction, sweetener, tip, wages.

When recompense is used as a verb it means: pay back, make restitution. Synonyms include ante up, atone, atone for, balance, comp, compensate, cough up, counterbalance, counterpoise, countervail, do business, equalize, expiate, fix, give satisfaction, grease, indemnity, make amends, make good, make up for, offset, overcompensate, pay, pay for, propitiate, put out, reciprocate, recoup, recover, redress, reimburse, remunerate, repay, requite, retaliate, retrieve, return, reward, satisfy, spring for, square, sweeten the post, swing for, take care of.

Now, with those definitions in mind, think about your covenant with God.  If you are born again, you are an heir and joint heir with Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:17) What He has you have. As God’s child you need to know the integrity of the Word of God and that it will not fail you! (Jeremiah 23:28-29) So when the Word tell us that God is a God of recompense, He will fully repay. He will ensure the enemy pays you back. That is just one of God’s promises that you can meditate on and watch it come to pass in your life. “For the destroyer is coming against her, against Babylon, and her mighty men will be captured, their bows are shattered; for the LORD is a God of recompense, He will fully repay.” Jeremiah 51:56.

I like the promise found in Isaiah 61:7-9 from the New American Standard Bible (NASB), “Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs. For I, the LORD, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; and I will faithfully give them their recompense and make an everlasting covenant with them. Then their offspring will be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples. All who see them will recognize them because they are the offspring whom the LORD has blessed.” 

God monitors our injustices, and as you have just read, His covenant promise to us is to bring recompense to our lives! Now is the time to walk in your God-given authority as a child of God and demand recompense for what has been stolen from you. Rejoice in knowing that God will bring it to pass and become too expensive for the devil to mess with!

Joy Has a Voice

…and it’s the sound of laughter! John 12:22 reads, “…your joy no one will take from you.”  When we spend time in God’s presence, He fills us with His joy.

When was the last time you laughed?  If it’s been a while, it’s time to get in God’s presence and let Him fill you to overflowing with His joy!

The Word says a merry heart does good like a medicine – have you had your daily  does of medicine today?

The Bible talks about joy being our strength; it tells us that we should rejoice, be of good cheer, and that we should laugh. We shouldn’t have any cares, be full of fear, worries or be dismayed about anything. Matthew 6:25 tells us that Jesus said “Take no thought for your life.” Therefore, as Christians, we should be the happiest people on earth. We can’t be encumbered with problems and have peace, joy, and laughter at the same time.

Sometimes, if we don’t keep ourselves in check, we’ll begin focusing on our problems instead of laughing at them.  It’s okay to laugh at our challenges because the Word tells us in Job 5:22 that “you will laugh at destruction and famine.” 

If God told Job to laugh at famine and destruction, we are no different and we can laugh at our circumstances – no matter what they appear to be!

Job realized that what he had feared came upon him because of his words. In Job 6:24-25, Job realizes that it’s his words that have gotten him into trouble and he says “Teach me and I will hold my tongue… how forceable are right words!”  However, God showed him that the way to come out of his situation was to laugh – at distruction and famine you shall laugh!

God doesn’t want us to pretend that our problems don’t exist, He’s telllng us to refuse to let the Devil steal our joy! Laughter is a natural force that releases joy which is a spiritual force.

Probably the best thing about joy, other than laughter being good medicine, is that  it confuses your enemy and puts him into such confusion that he doesn’t know how to handle you or what to do next!

As you continue to rejoice and praise God in the midst of your enemy’s attack, he won’t be able to triumph over you because the enemy doesn’t know how to handle praise and worship! It confuses him when he’s hit you with his best shot and you just keep praising and worshiping God.

Again, laughter is the way to release joy!

The game isn’t over just because the way things look right now. As you look beyond your circumstances as to what could be, don’t limit yourself, look at all the possibilities and laugh again!  Release your joy like Habakkuk did in 3:19, “The Lord is God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places.”

Look beyond where you are right now and rejoice, laugh, release your joy and be confident that you are well able to live the victorious life you desire to live!