Let it marinate

Let it marinateLindsay Roberts is an awesome teacher of the Word. She always serves up a thought-provoking message with a side order of pull your head out. I love her. She’s just my style.

Years ago she preached a sermon called, “Go to the throne before you go to the phone.” It’s so simple and yet so profound. We rush off and tell someone our troubles when we’re still all riled up in the heat of the moment and it gets us nowhere… or even makes it worse.

Sometimes you really need to let it marinate for a while before you dive in. Let the Holy Spirit have a chance to soften hearts and bring understanding to an otherwise difficult situation. He is infinitely smarter than us. We may contemplate a thousand scenarios to neutralize the problem, but still He has a better solution. He always does… if we’ll invite Him into the situation and then wait. That’s the hard part.

Marinades take time to do their work, but they can turn the toughest cut of meat into a tender lump of love if we give it time. The Holy Spirit is the most powerful marinade there is.

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27 NIV)

Whatever tough cut has you tied up in knots, I encourage you to let it marinate. See what wonderful things God can do.

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Fruit check

Fruit checkI’ve been thinking a lot about fruit lately. And no, not just because I’m on a diet. I’ve been on a diet since I was 20 so that’s not new. I’m talking about the fruit of my life, the fruit I see in others’ lives. I think for many of us, it’s time for a fruit check.

Do you leave a situation better than you found it? Might be time for a fruit check.

Do you encourage people or dishearten them? Might be time for a fruit check.

Are people glad to see you coming or do they run? Might be time for a fruit check.

If I am known by my fruit, then I want it fresh and lovely. Healthy fruit is a blessing, rotting fruit is a curse. I want to bless people and not hurt them. I want to create a sweet atmosphere wherever I go. I want to attract kindness instead of flies. And I want to spread kindness instead of hurt. There is enough hurt in the world without me adding to it.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

If this is God’s kind of fruit, then that’s what I want to fill my world.

In all your ways?

In all your ways?God got me again. For real. I was struggling with something… imagine that, me struggling. Anyway, my spirit settled on Proverbs 3:6: In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Sounds easy enough, right? But have you ever thought about what it really means to acknowledge Him in all your ways? All my ways? Everything I do? Everything I contemplate? Everything I struggle or succeed with? Everything?

All my ways is a lot. I don’t know how to do that. I acknowledge God a lot, even every day, but I know I’m not doing it in all my ways. Here’s where I have to make an adjustment.

I have to ask the Holy Spirit to remind me to acknowledge God in all my ways. I know I’m not smart enough to remember that on my own. It has to become second nature… something I do in all things and without thinking.

How can He work everything together for my good if He’s not part of everything I do?

In order to walk the path that He’s chosen for me, His perfect path, then He’s got to be part of the equation. I know if I can get that deeply rooted in my heart and my corresponding actions, things will turn out much better. And I will spend much less time struggling.

Woe to me?

Woe to meHave you ever read something in the Bible that made you think, “Oh, crap. That’s harsh?” Have you ever slammed the Book shut and just said, “I cannot even handle that right now?” Well, I just did.

Matthew 18:7 says, Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

Woe to that man by whom the offense comes? Woe to the person who does the offending? Do you even know what that word means? Some synonyms for woe are: Misery, sorrow, distress, wretchedness, sadness, unhappiness, heartache, heartbreak, despondency, despair, depression, regret, gloom, and melancholy.

This scripture does not make me feel good! I have zero warm fuzzies!

I have learned a lot about getting over being offended, but being the one who caused the offense? I have to admit, I’ve not given that much thought. Have I caused someone to be offended? Then the Bible says woe to me. Wretchedness, unhappiness, despair? No thank you! Even from a purely selfish standpoint, I don’t want to cause someone to be offended because I don’t want the woe to me!

So, what now?

Oh, Holy Spirit, search my heart. Search down deep in the dark corners where I’ve swept away my secrets and show me when I’ve been the offender. I repent of sin and ask You to forgive me. I ask You to show me when I’m causing offense in someone’s life, when I’m doing something that hurts them, whether it’s intentional or not. And I ask You to help me be more sensitive to what You may be trying to accomplish in someone else’s life.

I know I don’t have it all together and I’m a work in progress, but each time I get these little course corrections from my Father God, I’m getting better. If I weren’t growing, and if I didn’t have things to accomplish for Him, why would He waste His time?

She did something

She did somethingWhat exactly is an issue of blood? Actually, strike that. I don’t want to know. The point is, whatever malady she was tormented with for twelve years, Jesus healed her.

I read the accounts of this woman in the Gospels as I was helping ORM put together a workbook to correspond with my Dad’s School of Miracles courses. They are awesome and FREE, by the way. (www.SOM.OralRoberts.com)

I’ve read her story, heard her story, and been preached countless sermons about her story, but I never saw it quite like I did today. This woman did something to get what she needed. Actually, she did three things:

She said she’d be made whole, she pushed through the crowd, and she touched Him.

She used her mouth; she got confession working for her. (Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:1) She pushed through her circumstances, no matter how difficult. (And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28) And finally, she reached out her hand and touched Him. She touched Him, believing that she would be healed. (all things are possible to him who believes. Mark 9:23)

She did these things. She didn’t sit on her can and wait for her healing or deliverance or breakthrough or miracle to come. She did something.

You may ask, “What am I supposed to do?” Well, God is infinitely able to move heaven and earth on your behalf, why don’t you ask Him? He’s got all the answers before we even know the questions. He knows what we need to do. He knows how to fix our messes. He knows how to turn our boat right-side-up when we capsize. We just have to ask Him, and then we have to do what He says.

Draw the line

Draw the lineJohnny and June walked the line. Last night, I had to draw the line. They say trouble comes in threes, and while I do not subscribe to sayings like that, I have experienced a painful windfall of troubles. I got shingles, my precious mother-in-law went to Heaven without my permission, my heating system went caput, my dog got very sick, and a couple more unmentionable issues from which I will spare you the details but caused me major consternation. These storms hurt my body, broke my heart, scared the crap out of me, and attacked my finances.

Last night I got mad. Mad at the devil. Because that is who brings things meant to steal from us and bring death and destruction into our lives. Why?

Because we let him. Because bad things happen. Because we live in this fallen world. Because a lot of things, but we can fight back.

That’s not to say that I don’t pray over my family and believe God in many, many areas all the time, because I do. But last night I reached a moment where in the spirit realm, I drew a line. I told God where I stood and I told the devil where I stood. I pointed arrows of scripture and fired them. And then I thanked God that this storm and future storms were dead in their tracks.

The Bible says we perish for lack of knowledge, (Hosea 4:6) and God knows sometimes I’m very slow to realize I’m under attack and it’s up to me to engage in the fight. But I engaged and I won.

God wins. We win. And I’m not letting anyone forget it.

The perfect combination

I’ve been pondering grace and mercy and faith and repentance; the balance of which entire theologies are being made of… a little of this, a lot of that; finding the perfect mixture that answers our questions and makes us feel like we’ve got it all figured out.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t have it all figured out. I know that all these elements work together in the life and walk of a Christian, but I’m not sure when you cross the line and you’ve got too much of one at the expense of another.

I know that I cannot perpetually walk in sin in an area of my life without having to pay the wages of that sin. The Bible assures me that the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) I know that’s when I’m in danger of being out from under the protection of my Father God. But the Bible also tells me that when I repent of my sin, He is faithful and just to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9) If I sin and repent, and sin and repent again, I know His forgiveness will be there for me.

I stumbled upon an amazing scripture the other day and as I’ve let it roll around in my head, I love it more and more. It is found in Psalm 94:18-19, If I say, “My foot slips,” Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul. It is the perfect scripture for an imperfect person, like me.

The Lord’s mercy is astounding. His grace is a precious gift. But I believe it has a lot to do with the attitude of the heart; an attitude of repentance, a willingness to say, “I blew it.”

When I blow it, He’s got my back.

But in addition to repentance, I have to receive the forgiveness that He so quickly and consistently provides. I can’t move forward without using my faith to accept His mercy. Only then can I pick myself up, dust myself off, and move forward.

I cannot do without God’s grace and mercy… and He cannot do without my faith and repentance. It’s the perfect combination of His job and mine that makes it work.

What do you do in the meantime?

What do you do when you’re waiting on God? How do you fill the time when you’re seeking direction? What do you do in the meantime? The Word of God tells us to occupy until He comes (Luke 19:13), the Word of God tells us to set our hands to the plow and not look back (Luke 9:62), the Word of God tells us to work, be prosperous, multiply, do something!

I have this adorable little rocking chair sitting in the corner of my living room. It is just the right size for a two-year-old. I know this because my precious god-daughter fits perfectly in it. She gets her little sippy cup of milk and runs over to it, sits herself down and rocks. She’s occupying until Mama comes. She rocks in that chair until her Mama says it’s time to go home, or it’s time to eat dinner, or it’s time to go night-night. But in the meantime, she rocks in that chair. She does what she can, she uses that gift. She rocks in the chair, she puts it to use. She doesn’t have all the answers, she doesn’t know exactly what’s coming next, but she rocks in that chair until direction comes.

And when she comes back to my house again, she’ll go straight to that chair and have a little rock.

What is it in your life that you can do? What is it that you are gifted with? What are you especially good at?

Do it.

Do it until you hear further instruction. Do it until you get your answer. Do it and do it well. You never know who is benefitting from your gift.

No gift is more valuable than another. Don’t let the devil lie to you and tell you that you can’t do anything special. You know what? He’s a liar, he’s good at it. He’s done it for eons of time.

But don’t let him stop you.

Are you seeking God in an area of your life? Are you asking Him for direction? I encourage you to occupy until He comes. Do something in the meantime. Use what God has given you until further direction arrives. And while it may come much later than we would like, further instruction will come. God is faithful. Always.

Options

OptionsIt’s so hot here today, nothing should be subjected to this heat with the exception of snakes and scorpions, and maybe tarantulas. It is violently hot. It is hellishly hot. Me no likey. I doubt the snakes even like it. Thankfully, I have an air-conditioned car to take me to my air-conditioned office and back to my air-conditioned house. I have options.

We always have options.

We get to make choices along the way that shape our lives. Whether they be good or bad, it’s the choices we make that define who we are and the kind of life we lead. I’ve made some good ones, and I’ve made some real stinkers. And I’ve been through plenty of storms that have toughened me, and proven to me over and over again God’s faithfulness.

Psalm 57:1 says, “. . . Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until [these] calamities have passed by.”

Do you see the key word there? It’s “make.” I will make the shadow of your wings my refuge. It doesn’t say He will take me under his wings, it says I choose to get under there. I CHOOSE.

Again; options.

I choose to keep my thermostat at 68 degrees. And I choose to pay the consequence each month when the electric bill comes.

I choose to hide under the shadow of His wings when calamities come. And there’s a calamity either coming or going pretty much all the time. It’s called life.

Choose to get under His wings, it’s cooler under there, and there aren’t any snakes.

Don’t jump the gun

It was 95 degrees this afternoon. My three exits from work were down to two and each one about 6 cars deep. There was road construction everywhere. People were agitated, you could just feel it. I pulled up to a stoplight and the guy in the car next to me jumped out and started yelling at the guy behind him. The dude didn’t even acknowledge him. When I finally found a stretch of relatively open road and I unclenched my hands from the ten and two position, I sighed in relief, glad to be headed toward home.

All these people around me seriously needed to chill out. They needed to get out of the cycle of hitting the gas only to slam on the brake a moment later. The stop and go, herky-jerky phenomenon didn’t get anyone home any faster; it was pointless.

While this road rage was going on around me, I was lost in thought.

Why do we push so hard to make things happen in our lives? Why do we find it so hard to be patient and wait for God’s plans to be realized? We want it now, we want it fast, and we usually think our way is the best way.

We jump the gun.

How do we not jump the gun?

Jesus told the waves to be still. He took authority over negative circumstances.

Jesus continually told His disciples not to fear. He refused to allow fear around Him.

Jesus confounded them with His wisdom. He was full of the Word of God for each and every situation.

Jesus never jumped the gun. His timing was, is, and always will be perfect. We have to get on board with His timing. When we’re going through a storm, or when we’re searching out an answer, or when we’re seeking direction, we have to settle down, ask Him our questions, and then be quiet long enough for Him to give us the answers.

God doesn’t operate on our time-frame.

The Bible says to be still and know that He is God (Psalms 46:10). The Bible says that He has plans for me, to prosper me, to give me a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). The Bible says God will show me His salvation (Psalms 91:16).

God’s answers are the right answers and they come at the right time. I know I will get where I need to be, I know I will learn what I need to learn and do what I need to do. I will fulfill His plans for my life and so will you, if we just don’t jump the gun.