Healed

Healed. Whole. Saved. Secured. Stable. Strong. Provided. Energized

Each nuance of these words impacts my heart this morning. I like them all as declarations in Jesus.

The word for salvation, the state of being saved, original Greek carries a broad meaning. Wisdom and well being body, soul, mind, will, emotions, spirit, relationships, and provisions. Sozo, the Greek word used, means it is well with all aspects of life.

Jesus spends His ministry on earth the same today as in the first century a.d. He heals the body and mind, casts out demons, preaches and teaches, prays, and mentors disciples. That is as the Bible writers reveal and that is as He is now. Once He walked bodily among us, now He walks through us into this broken, fractured, flailing world. He is the same.

Declare yourself in agreement with His word and testimony. He carried our sins and sickness no matter where they occur. He restores us in all aspects to His original design of perfect unity with Him and provision in all aspects of life. I will agree with Him totally in all my thinking and testimony. What I experience does not set my belief. His words and the testimony of His actions set my belief.

Let us pray:

O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me. O Lord , You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the Lord , you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. Now in my prosperity I said, “I shall never be moved.” Lord , by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face, and I was troubled.
Psalms 30:2‭-‬7 NKJV

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Stepping Out

Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Matthew 9:38 niv

A good shepherd knows a good path and takes his charges on it. Where are the good shepherds? Are you one?

The call to make disciples is for each Christian. Each is called in some measure to lead others in a good way deeper to a love in Jesus and love for others. That means in a way we all are called to shepherding.

Shepherds take the best path for the sheep not the shepherd. Right? A shepherd is all about the sheep. He does not eat the grass. But he takes the sheep to the best grass. He raises them to be great sheep. Healthy sheep. Cooperative sheep.

They are raised in a hillside or field fit for sheep. It is most uncomfortable for the shepherd. He would rather be in a house with a couch. But he walks the field for the sheep. He sits on the rock or wet grass. He endures the rain. It is about the sheep.

In Jesus, we are servants. I ask for a servant heart. I ask for others to walk alongside and serve. We serve each other. That is the picture of a healthy congregation.

The God of small miracles walked with us this week. Soup was great. Service to others was great. Joy serving was great. Painting was great. Office was great. Puppet stage building was great. Class assistance was great. All of the these servings are great. People served each other and the community. That is a congregation. That is a kingdom of servants.

Pray for each to serve in a way that grows them and others.

Father, here are your people. So many give of time, talent, and treasure. They serve. Bless them beyond measures of mankind. Encourage their hearts and lives and families. Call them into greater service and love and reward in all they do.

Reserves

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11 NIV

Morning Moment

Reserves in the insurance industry are the monies set aside to pay claims. A company with low reserves could be on big trouble if too many claims came at once. A company with adequate reserves is hedged against hard days. They have a future.

How are your reserves in Jesus doing?

In Jesus, we invest in reserves. Our personal devotional time, fellowship in church, Bible study, praise, and service to the local church and to others build reserves. In all of this we are depositing faith actions of life against death actions of self ideologies and the world. The world will press us. Evil will tempt us. Our natural desires will drag us. The reserves of Life in Jesus defend and build us.

Worldview is Bought

Buy a lie. Live a lie. Buy a truth. Live a truth. Simple. Reckon, count, add up, deposit in your reserves that you are alive to God and dead to sin and live a Jesus worldview. Reckon, count, subtract, extract from your reserves that you are dead to God and destined to sin and mistaken living and self rule and live a normal world view. Choose. Break the lie pattern. Buy the truth. Invest in your future.

Faith Actions

Faith actions depend on God for results while moving forward. Our actions come from the deep well of belief. Faith is active and obedient. That is why Jesus responds to a woman this way.

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
Luke 11:27‭-‬28 NIV

To say we believe in Christ, yet live against His wishes is a dangerous position. Do we really believe? We live what we believe. I can scratch my way into heaven through grace and forgiveness. I can live in joy and fulfillment through grace and forgiveness and faith and hope and love. Obedience emanates from a life lived in the love of Jesus. To say I love Jesus and live against His wishes is a dangerous gamble. My actions are based in death. I am counting myself dead.

Turn the Tables

Go ahead. Switch gears. Turn the tables. Put on Jesus, the Christ. Live in faith. Drop the self fulfillment cycle of destruction and doubt. Build reserves.

Let us pray:

Father, here I am. This is Your child. I have been bought with a great price. Let the words of my mouth and the testimony of my heart be acceptable in Your sight. Let me forsake all others and cling only to You. Let my heart lock in and live with Your heart. Build in me solid reserves against hard days that I might find only joy and peace and fulfillment in You in this life and the next.

The Prayer Has A Life: What Happened Next

One of the stops this week in my journey was the weekly breakfast of a county Chamber of Commerce in Texas.  Community Transformation Initiative is active in the area doing Life Skills and Parenting and 1-1 counseling.  Each person gets 2 minutes to speak.  Lawyers, doctors, mechanics, marketers, resorts, bankers, the county attorney, and this  community transformation/business/minister person share.  I usually give a quick story and a smile and sit down.  Something different happened this week.

Here’s the story I shared and what happened next:

In 2004, our Information Technology team was designated as number one best place to work in IT by Computerworld magazine.  That is a Super Bowl moment.  We out ranked Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and hundreds of thousands of other businesses.

As one of a handful of directors on that team, it was moment of personal pride and accomplishment.  I keep telling myself I’m going to have a ring made.  Every day and every year is not the same.

During an annual review with our CIO one year I felt defeated.  That year was okay, but nothing outstanding.  As I discussed my feelings of struggle with John, the number one CIO of the number one team, he looked at me and said, “Phil, you will find during your toughest times, you grow the most.”  He was less concerned about  the areas I directed and managed than he was about me.  That attitude is part of what made us number one.

After the story was shared, the prayer was shared.

As I finished the prayer, the Chamber of Commerce breakfast group spontaneously and loudly said “Amen.”

More people on social media are responding to this prayer than anything I’ve every posted. I pray it over you. I pray it “Amens” in your life.

 May the gentle breath of God’s Spirit lift you, friend, beyond your problems.

May the forceful shaking of His power break barriers that hinder.

May the excitement of His love impassion you, friend, with joy.

May you find Him waiting in your path with answers.
www.evotions.org

Meet Jesus: Pure In Heart Matthew 5:8

Matthew 5: 1: And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, ….. 8: Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Jesus truly is pure in heart. His heart has always been to build us. His heart has always been to redeem us. His heart has always been to receive us. And certainly He saw God regularly.

What does it mean to see God? To see Him in that same pure heart is a great privilege. In the book of Genesis, it is common for men to get direct communication from God about circumstance and decisions. Today, that seems uncommon. Many will say, “God told me”, and have no concept of what they are saying. It can be interpreted, “I want to hear this so I did”. Others really did “hear from God” as evidenced in real results consistent with His way and voice.

The pure in heart see God. They have clarity to receive when He speaks. They have a consistency unfiltered by their own desires. Seek purity that thinks of God’s ways not yours.

One study class in a morning gives questions about life and church. They reflect purity of heart. There are a few funny questions meant to make me laugh. Most were direct to the heart. One asked the question, “Why do we interpret the scriptures in different ways and always think we have the correct and only answer?” That one cut to heart. How many times have I been guilty of the answer to that question? This week one of my sons questioned a doctrine I hold dear. Why did it hurt? It isn’t an important doctrine. It is just something special to me. Purity of heart would not be hurt. In a recent sermon picked up over the internet, the minister of a large congregation preached as truth strongly questionable interpretation of unclear verses against another denomination. Maybe he has a little inferiority. I don’t know. But why do we do it? Purity of heart would not want to be right on small matters to the point of being hurt and hurting others.

In the parking lot of a church I was visiting, I met Lillian. This cute, bright girl was about eight. She was part of a group of adults and kids walking from their home to go shopping. The group of four looked inviting so I walked over and introduced myself. The group I was teaching was not ready yet, so I just wandered in the parking lot with a little figgetyness. Lillian bounced and bounced. She figeted, too. She locked on to two of my fingers. Her longing for an adult male figure was evident. She asked if she had to get new cloths to go to a church. Would she have to wear a dress? We laughed and played a little as I told her she only needed to wash her face. Her face was dirty but her heart was hungry. She has a pure motive to come not to a church but to a Jesus living in the members. She just wants love. That is pure. As they walked away Lillian proclaimed loudly, “I have a dress. I’ll wear my dress.” Pure heart.

ACT! Question yourself. Where have you declared “truth” that really was questionable and needed to be questioned and polished before spoken? Is there a way to clear up with those who heard? Do you want to see God? Would you be able to drop all pretense like Lillian and ask simple questions?

PRAY! Father, it is my soul that is wounded when I reach for impurities. Create in me a clean heart. Cause your Holy Spirit to breathe in my soul freshness. Give us clean hands. Give us pure hearts. Let us not lift our souls to another. We bow our hearts. We bend our knees. Make us vessels of honor and love. We cast down the idols that are impure. We cast down ideas that stand against freedom and peace within the kingdom. Let us be a generation that seeks Your face and Your face alone. Let us put down our ways and wants. Humble us, we humble ourselves. Then we will see You. Let us see You in others. Let us see You in the Lillians in the parking lot.

Meet Jesus: Poor in Spirit Matthew 5:1

Matthew 5: 1: And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

 Poor by Choice: For Jesus, there is a route to blessing that is markedly different than our thoughts.  The poor in spirit are those who purposefully humble themselves in relation to God.  These are those that rightly discern their poverty in relation to a great God over all the earth.  They do not pursue arguing with God, because they acknowledge Him as above and themselves as below.  Jesus is that way.  He confirmed that He only said what His Father told Him and only did what His Father instructed in the gospel of John.  He was one that did not consider it something to grab hold and keep to be equal with God, but humbled Himself in relation to the Father and became a man.  He exampled poor in spirit for us to see.

 One Family’s Test:  A situation comes to mind as I ponder this scripture.  One family came to me rocked with enigmas. Questions about life and death and healing and answers to prayer were coming with forcefulness.  Like all of us they faced a reality they did not want to face. The person had died.  This mother of four had her life cut short.  How could God allow such a thing?   Why did He not do as we imagined and simply grant a request for healing here on earth?  Did the scripture not say we could have whatever we willed?  Surely God must do what we ask?

These are all valid questions that seem to have no answers.

 The second question posed stronger.  What did God want us to do today?  Regardless of our understanding or lack of understanding of the situation at hand, what did He want us to do now?  Now that this mother and grandmother was gone, what was to be our walk in the kingdom of heaven this day?   Do we quit praying and believing?  Do we continue in prayer?  If He did not heal here and now would He hear our prayers for peace of mind and acceptance of a life without our lifelong friend? On the flip side of the coin, could we experience more of His kingdom by giving Him the benefit of our doubt or by doubting His benefit?

 Answers: It is tough stuff, but the kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit. Life requires us to relinquish our rights and demands and allow the wisdom and the hand of God to play out.  A heart of Jesus leads us to absorb the pains and confusions and admit we just don’t know all the answers, yet we will trust Him.  In the beginning of the new life with a loved one gone, this family chose to continue in trust with questions unanswered.  Sometimes that is all we can do.  It requires making a choice to be poor in spirit and large in faith.

 ACT!  Can you lay down your understanding and demands to find the newer will of God for your walk in the kingdom?  What does it take to become one poor in spirit and committed to His will being done on earth as it is in heaven, unquestioningly?  Test Him out.  Volunteer your ideas for His.

PRAY! God, You are God.  Me, I’m just me.  You are the greatest God of life and living.  The answers I don’t understand, You create.  Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts.  When I just about figure out life, You are bigger and greater than my wisdoms.   Teach me to obey.  Teach me to walk close to Your breathing.  Teach me to walk in Your ways even when I do not understand.  Then You will open new wisdoms for me.  Then You will open the windows of understanding on the other side of obedience.