Posts

Are You Rooted or Held?

Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:7 NLT

Appearances can be deceiving.

This morning while watering my outdoor plants, I noticed a withering vine. I couldn’t tell anything was wrong with it until I stood right next to it. From a distance, the entire plant appeared to be thriving, the little shoot disappearing into beautiful cascades of green blooming with bright pink flowers. But when I got close, a cluster of withered leaves drew my attention.

They hung there—limp—entwined and hiding among the healthy leaves.

A little investigation uncovered the cause. Strong winds from a recent storm had broken the vine at the top, disconnecting it from its life source. True to their climbing nature, leaves from the healthy shoots had wound around it, holding the broken piece in place, but their grip couldn’t offer the life it needed.

Being held in proximity to the root system is no substitute for being rooted yourself.

As I looked at the little broken piece, my heart began to stir for the church. I saw how the enemy has sent storms, strategically designed to sever our connection to Jesus. He has succeeded in more ways than we have realized.

Hidden within our churches, detached hearts languish and wither. From a distance, they appear to be growing and thriving alongside everyone else, but their prosperity is an illusion.

They are held, not rooted.

Instead of connecting to Jesus themselves, the arms of rooted believers hold them close to Him. They receive some level of strength from the people supporting them, their corporate experience of worship and fellowship offering periodic comfort to their wounded souls.

But it can’t restore them.

So, although they’re held close by loving members of the body, they continue to wither. Without personally connecting to Jesus, they will never thrive, no matter how entwined they are with the people who know Him.  

Unless we are rooted in Jesus ourselves, we forfeit our ability to bloom. Click To Tweet

Jesus said in John 15:4, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”

Jesus wants you rooted, dear one. He wants you to personally experience the depth of His great love for you. Only knowing that love becomes an anchor that sustains His life in you, even in difficult times. In Christ’s kingdom, storms shouldn’t destroy and deplete us. When we draw from the Life Giver, they only serve to strengthen us and establish victories over the enemy we didn’t know were possible.

Open your heart to the reality of God’s desires for you, beloved.

…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-18

God wants to fill you with the complete expression of who He is. It begins when you personally encounter His love for you and dare to return it. In that place of unbroken fellowship—rooted in His vast love expressed toward you—the Life He brings will begin to revive and restore what pain has left dead and broken in you.

Oh, dear one. Regardless of the condition you presently find yourself in, you can take hold of this miraculous promise. In Christ’ kingdom, broken and detached branches can be grafted back in!

And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. Romans 11:23

Precious one, don’t settle for earthly expressions of divine fellowship. Go to the Source. Dare to surrender your heart to the One who made it. Offer it to Him freely, and He will give you His in return. Confess your unbelief and invite Jesus to lead you.

And experience the love that will leave you overflowing with thankfulness.

join the klm

Community

Sign up to receive to receive our blog, news and updates, ministry opportunities and more!

My Journey into Glory, Part 2

Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:2

Grace can be a tricky thing.

We toss the word around a lot in Christian circles, but most of us don’t really know how to live in it. We don’t even really understand it, but we want it. Desperately. So, we keep striving to attain what we’ve already been given. Then we end up frustrated, because we never seem to reach the thing we’re striving for.

Can you relate, dear one? I can.

According to Scripture, only two things give us access to God’s grace and manifest the power of His promises: faith (Romans 5:2) and humility (James 4:6). No amount of striving can acquire it, only faith that submits our hearts to believe in what God has already done.

Faith and humility give us access to God's grace. #graceandglory Click To Tweet

But here’s the real root of our struggle. The deceiver tricks us into believing that we’re trusting God, while underneath, hidden from our own awareness, our faith remains firmly established in a lie that he fed us. That lie—anchored to a painful life experience or old wound—serves as a dam, blocking the flow of power that grace provides to manifest God’s promise. And while our hearts still hold onto that lie, we’ll never believe the truth we’re reaching for—and never realize the fulfillment of that promise. Beloved, your heart can’t believe two opposing things at the same time.

We always reject one to make room for the other.

That’s where I got stuck. Thinking I was leaning into the glorious image of myself God had revealed to me (see My Journey into Glory), while actually resisting it. And I couldn’t understand why I felt this growing distance from God.

I began to cry out in prayer, asking Him to reveal the obstacle I felt between us, and again I saw the image He had shown me. Only this time, I saw cracks fracturing the image, like seeing my reflection in a cracked mirror. When I asked Jesus about it, I heard, “You still pass judgment on what I’ve forgiven. Your slate is clean. The image I showed you is true. The cracked glass is a deception.”

I believe that’s a lie that many of us get caught in. We know what Jesus says about us, but we see it as a “someday” promise.

I’ll be that someday…when I get my act together.

I’ll be that someday…when I get past…

Beloved, the truth is, Jesus already did everything that needs to be done. The only thing left for you and me to do is believe He did what He says He did. And He made that pretty clear in 2 Corinthians 5:17,

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

According to Scripture, you and I have already been made new. We are presently new creations in Christ. The old version of us has passed away, and the new one is already here. I knew those Scriptures—and I thought I believed them—but this nagging feeling of separation from God continued to rob me of peace.

Eventually, I attended an intimate weekend retreat to set apart time with the Lord. After dinner the first evening, I discovered that a believer in another state had been praying over my name and had received a word from God for me. I’d never met her or even heard of her, yet God met me profoundly through her as the retreat hostess shared what God had given her for me.

She began by saying, “Welcome to your healing.” Those words alone set my heart beating with fresh hope. She went on to say that when she asked the Lord about me, she saw my hard-working hands bandaged and wrapped. Then she told me the Lord wanted to “heal the scars, swollenness, and open wounds one by one to reveal unblemished hands.”

Tears surfaced as I listened to these words and other encouragements spoken over my life by this precious stranger, relating to many of them. But I didn’t understand it’s full meaning until the following morning in worship when God showed me another vision.

This time I saw Jesus holding my limp body in His arms, my head leaning against His chest. And I saw my bloody hands, red streams trickling down my forearms from the torn flesh of my knuckles. Then the image of my cracked reflection appeared again, and I knew. I had bloodied my own fists smashing the glass, rejecting God’s image of me for a lesser one.

That’s how the enemy works, dear one. He deceives. He binds our hearts with his lies so we can’t believe the truth of what God says, and only truth sets us free. I realized I had been held so long by his lie of rejection that I had become it, pushing away the very thing I believed I was reaching for.

What happened next still astonishes me. Jesus set me down and knelt before me, preparing to dress my wounds. Only before He washed and bandaged my bloodied hands, He took them in His own and did something unthinkable. He kissed them.

Can you imagine it? My Jesus—King of Kings and Lord of Lords—sullied His own lips on the blood of my rejection. He had every right to be impatient with me, to judge my heart for rejecting His provision for me. After all, I’ve been serving in ministry for 11 years, leading others into His promises. I should’ve seen it. Should’ve known.

But He didn’t choose any of that. Instead, He simply loved me. Right where I was. In the mess. In the pain. I didn’t need to clean myself up to receive that love. He was right there, willing to give it. Kissing me in my brokenness, before He ever washed my hands.

Jesus never judges our brokenness. He restores even our self-inflicted wounds. #KnowHisHeart Click To Tweet

That’s the real Jesus, beloved. Kind, merciful, loving, and yours—if you’ll have Him. He is a King with authority to command. He brings victory in His wake. And He loves like no other. But you and I won’t experience that victorious power if we never experience Him.

We need to know Him, dear one. Not just His words, but His heart.

Love makes all the difference.

 

join the klm

Community

Sign up to receive to receive our blog, news and updates, ministry opportunities and more!

Playing in the Sand

“ . . . But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” Revelation 12:12

In case this is news to you, let me make something very clear: Satan knows he has been defeated. You should know it too.

In the great battle between good and evil, victory has already been declared in heaven. Satan and his demons have been cast down to the earth and rendered powerless by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:7-11).

You and I aren’t waiting to see who wins this thing, dear one. It’s been decided. Now we wait to see the victory God accomplished in heaven realized on this earth.

Perhaps this is a good time to remind you how Jesus taught us to pray.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10

The enemy knows full well that one day his defeat will become abundantly evident here on earth as well. So in the meantime, he has set his fury on the one thing that can hinder his movement and power here. He comes with a vengeance against Christ’s bride, the church.

Why? Because of what Jesus declared in Matthew 16:18.

“ . . . and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Notice that Jesus didn’t say that hell would not prevail against Him. He clearly states that His church will secure the victory, a church built on this rock.

It seems appropriate to ask a significant question: Upon what rock will Christ build His prevailing church?

Let’s check the context of Jesus’ statement. He had just asked His disciples a question.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:15-16

Look carefully at Jesus’ next words.

And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:17-18

Peter had only one way of knowing Jesus was the Christ, the same way we do today. God revealed the truth to him. Jesus called Peter blessed because he had discerned and trusted what the Father had spoken to his heart about Jesus.

Peter heard and believed, and Jesus proclaimed,on this rock I will build my church.” Only a church founded and built on believing God’s words will prevail against our enemy.

Jesus gave a similar message in Matthew 7:24-25.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”

Only the house established and built on hearing and living the words of God prevails.

You might be interested to read how Revelation 12:15 describes the enemy’s attack on Christ’s bride.

The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood.

What pours from the mouth, dear one? Words. The ancient serpent, the deceiver of the whole world (Revelation 12:9), spews lies at the bride of Christ to carry her away like a flood.

And he isn’t passive about it. Verse 17 reveals he is furiously making war on all who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. But the ESV, heralded to be one of the more literal translations from the original Greek, adds these words about Satan.

And he stood on the sand of the sea.

Several other translations put the phrase at the beginning of chapter 13 as if John, the writer of Revelation, were the one standing on the sand. But when I read it in the ESV, something stirred in my heart.

You see, Jesus didn’t only teach about the strength and safety that comes from building on the rock in Matthew 7. He also warned of the dangers that come when we establish our foundation on the sand.

“And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:26-27

The torrents of lies flowing from the mouth of the serpent have one agenda: to convince us to stand with him on the sand.

When we believe his words over the Word of God we willingly step from our secure position onto his ground. As we move onto his turf, we give up all authority Christ provides.

But when we stand on the Word of truth, refusing to believe the enemy’s deceptions no matter what our eyes might see, we invite the supernatural power of the Word to reveal itself.

Only believers standing on truth and living the Word of God can defeat our enemy and reveal Christ’s victory on this earth. So Satan’s plan is simple: keep us from actively believing God’s words.

Know the power you wield, dear one. It comes from aligning your life with truth.

Let’s quit playing in the sand—and crashing in the surf.

Instead, let’s stand on the Word. Let’s feed on it. Live it. Believe it. Wield it.

It’s time we tossed our enemy in his own waves.

The Word, the Rock, and the Gates of Hell

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Matthew 16:18 ESV

I’d love to see Christ’s church prevail against the gates of hell. Wouldn’t you?

In days when we see evil advancing—where atrocities set before us in the news turn our stomachs and vulgarities have become commonplace—this promise from Jesus to His eager, bungling disciple offers hope.

But do we actually expect to see it? Do we view this promise as a present hope? Or have we relegated Jesus’ words to a future assurance we won’t see realized until His return?

Beloved, what if you and I could see that prevailing church advancing in our day? What if we really did have the power to set the kingdom of evil on its heels and smash its gates?

Jesus spoke those words to Peter on a pivotal day in history, the day he first proclaimed Jesus to be, “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (verse 16).

Well done, Peter. That day, at least, he got it right. Stumbling, precocious Peter boldly proclaimed what he knew in his heart to be true. Jesus was the Promised One heralded in the Old Testament. The Christ had come. The Kingdom had come. And things would change forever.

Indeed, they did, just not exactly in the way they had expected. The army of the Kingdom of God advanced, but not against the reigning Roman government as the people had hoped. Instead, Jesus loosed His army to victoriously trample an unseen spiritual foe, the force behind the present evils they suffered.

Dear one, Jesus offers that same invitation to us today. But like the majority of Jews in Jesus’ day, many of us have set our gaze so firmly on the final earthly kingdom Christ will establish when He returns that we’ve overlooked the current one. We mutter prayers, “Come quickly, Lord,” hiding in our homes and churches, hoping the storms will pass us by.

Beloved, we’re missing the opportunity to participate in the glory of that kingdom now.

What if we chose to believe what Jesus said in Mark 1:15,

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Celebrate with me that the Kingdom of God has come near! It lives within the church (Luke 17:21). And that kingdom, loosed in the body of believers, will do in our day the very thing that Jesus promised Peter, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

Wouldn’t you like to witness a little victory? Wouldn’t you like to get your feet wet in the front lines at the turning of the tide?

Jesus’ words in our opening Scripture have led many to believe that God chose Peter to be the rock on whom He would build His church. Although Peter did become a leader and pillar of the early church, I’m not sure that’s what Jesus had in mind with His statement. After all, the church could only be built upon one Rock—Christ Himself. Jesus certainly knew better than to rest the future of the church in the hands of one man.

So what was Jesus saying to Peter that day? Let’s get a little context.

Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:16-19

One of the most significant parts of this passage often remains overlooked. Let’s read verse 17 again.

For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

Jesus’ teaching on the rock comes in direct correlation with that statement, a continuation of the thought. “And I tell you…”

Consider with me for a moment. What if Jesus’ teaching has less to do with who Peter was and more to do with the example he set in that moment? What if the rock Jesus referred to wasn’t Peter himself but rather his ability to discern what the Father was speaking and his desire to believe and live out of what he heard?

Not convinced? Let’s tune our ears to something else Jesus said.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”  Matthew 7:24-25

Hmm… “… and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Sounds like a similar promise to me. A house built on the rock withstands the storm that rages against it. And what’s the rock? Hearing and living out what Jesus speaks.

Dear one, Peter had heard what the Father was speaking into his heart about His Son, and he believed. He lived out that belief by altering his life to come into agreement with what God had revealed to Him. He stood before Jesus and boldly declared Him the Christ at a time when the majority of his fellow Jews did not.

And Jesus said, “Yes Peter. Keep hearing my truth and adjust your life to it, and you become a stone, strengthened and built upon my Rock. This is how I will build my church. Keep that up, Peter, and the gates of hell will not be able to advance.”

Could it really be that simple? Could we really become empowered to overthrow hell’s gates merely by seeking what God says and adjusting our lives to what we discover?

Well, isn’t it worth a try? Consider the alternative.

And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:26-28

How far the church has fallen since the day our Lord first spoke those words to Peter. Jesus invites us to return, beloved. His Truth still speaks, and He’s looking for men and women like Peter who will allow their lives to resonate with its sound.

Let’s tune to the voice of our Shepherd, align our lives with what He speaks, and remind the world of 1 Corinthians 4:20,

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

 

 

An Invitation to Pray

In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly . . . and the Lord remembered her. 1 Samuel 1:10, 19

It’s 6:30am on Wednesday morning. Blog day.

I should have something ready to post, but I don’t. I started writing a teaching for you last week—a message on friendship with Jesus—but I never finished it. The hours I set aside to complete it were interrupted by a phone call. Instead, I spent my afternoon with a friend in the Emergency Room.

Perhaps you’ll get to read it next Wednesday.

To be honest with you, I could have finished it up last night, but that would have meant missing my son’s soccer game. And I didn’t want to miss it. Sometimes moms just need to be moms first, especially on the hard days.

You see, people I love are hurting. I’m not talking about my immediate family. I mean my church family. Dear friends of mine are struggling with some hard things. Big things. Things that desperately need God’s touch—like finances, rebellious sons, and cancer.

It’s hard watching people you love struggle. At times the feeling of helplessness seems overwhelming—and that’s just what the enemy wants us to feel. But then I’m reminded that in Christ we are never helpless. We have a powerful gift at our disposal, one that we often take for granted . . . or use as a last resort.

We have prayer.

I believe God wants to teach us a few things about prayer. I mean, if we’re going to be honest, it doesn’t really make sense to us. How can speaking a few words really do anything?

But you and I were created in the image of a God who speaks things into being. He says it, and it’s so. So it only makes sense, really, that what we speak would also be powerful.

Beloved, our prayers release what God has willed in the heavenly realms to be poured out on the topsoil of this earth. In His desire for relationship, He ordained that His people would partner with Him to see His Kingdom come where we live.

I don’t know about you, but it wearies me that it often looks like the enemy is winning. I’m tired of it. I believe the promise of 1 John 4:4,

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

I think it’s time we showed Him we agree.

So I’m doing something a little different today. I’d like to invite you to pray with me. Would you set aside some time for intercession, dear one? Would you offer yourself to Jesus today as a vessel for glory?

He only needs a few minutes of your time and a yielded heart. You don’t need to worry about what to say. You just need to submit yourself to His authority and invite Him to lead. Allow His Spirit to fill your thoughts with His desires for prayer, and then give voice to them.

Amazing things happen when God Himself becomes the source of our prayers.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

We may just start moving mountains in the name of Jesus.

Death: The Door to Life

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24

Death scares most of us. We spend the majority of our lives trying to avoid it. And no wonder. Death represents an end, ceasing to exist in the way we’ve known. What follows is unfamiliar territory. And most of us prefer the comfort of familiarity, even when what’s familiar to us isn’t all that great.

Like the way we feel about our sinful nature.

We don’t want to let go of it; it’s what we know.

It deceives us. It hurts us. It even harms the people we love. But we can’t fathom life without it. We fear the death of it more than we fear the pain it causes. So we rebel against Jesus’ command to crucify it.

Yet Jesus forever changed what death means for us as believers. He came to the earth and shared in our humanity,

. . . so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:14-15

In Christ, we should no longer fear death. Jesus has conquered its power! Instead, He asks us to embrace it. Even seek it.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

Jesus challenges us to lose our lives for Him.

We read those words and our flesh kicks up. We don’t want to lose our lives. That’s death, and we’ve always been afraid of death.

But Jesus has freed us from that fear. In Christ, death isn’t an end, dear one. It offers a new beginning.

And Matthew 16:25 extends a clear promise: When you lose your life for Him, you will find it.

You will find your true life, beloved, when you’re willing to lose the one you have.

It doesn’t make sense to us. Logic wars against it. Everything in us screams to hold onto who we’ve always been. After all, it’s what we know.

But when you and I fear the death of our old nature and try to protect and preserve it, we settle for a less than life.

How can I say that? Jesus said it first.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Jesus wants you to experience life to its fullest extent. That happens when you stop living from your old nature and allow Christ to live through you.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

When you and I cease to live—when we put to death our sinful nature—Christ lives in its place. And that scares the enemy of our souls, because he knows he can walk all over us as long as we still live through our old nature. He governs that nature and can easily manipulate us.

But the enemy can’t do anything against the power of the living Christ. Jesus need only utter a word, and he’s undone. He’s powerless… feeble… nothing. And so he does all he can to convince you to remain in your own weakness. He whispers that you should fear death.

Beloved, Jesus has released you from that fear. It’s time to walk in the fullness of life Christ offers. Death has become your catalyst to abundant life!

Imagine it for a moment. What if you crucified your insecurity and let Christ’s assurance of who He Is reign in its place? What if you let go of bitterness and experienced the flooding of His love equipping your heart to feel joy again? What if you buried your self-centeredness so Jesus could replace your impatience and agitation with His perfect peace?

Abundant life awaits, dear one. You need only trust His Word.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:4

Will you walk through that door and trust Jesus for your new life?

Shining Like Stars

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”  Matthew 5:14-15

Jesus called you and me the light of the world. It only makes sense, really, since He is the “the true light that gives light to every man” (John 1:9) and now He dwells within us. As His body, saved and redeemed by His blood, He asks us to shine His light. And according to Matthew 5, that light should never remain hidden. Instead, it should light up the sky like a city on a hill.

Do you shine, dear one? Are you giving Jesus what He asked for?

I can’t help thinking of the song I used to sing as a little girl in Sunday school. We’d proudly hold up our hands with fingers pointing toward the heavens and proclaim, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.”

But it didn’t shine. I never let it out.

We often make the mistake of trying to act like Jesus. We think we shine His light by imitating what He would do. Only we don’t have the strength to act like Him all the time, so that inner “self” we try to hide through our good behavior reveals itself more often than we’d like it to. And the watching world looks at our version of Christianity and calls it hypocrisy.

Can we really blame them?

You and I aren’t supposed to act like light, dear one. Jesus intends for us to become light.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:21

… God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

Jesus carried the burden of our sin to the cross so that we could become His righteousness. He gave it to us the moment we put our faith in Him and received His Spirit to dwell within us. Now we need to let Him out. We need to yield to the power of His Spirit within us and let Him take over.

You see, beloved, Jesus shines through a transformed heart.

Have you offered Him your heart to mold and change, dear one? Have you told Him you’re willing to let go of your bitterness? Have you invited Him to circumcise your heart to love with His selfless love?

It’s time we stopped pretending and let Jesus set us ablaze with His light!

Times are changing. Evil seems to show itself in increasing measure. Scripture foretells of astonishing things to come—some of them terrible, some wondrous—but all of them remain certain.

Yet in Christ, we have glorious hope!

But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:1-3

When will these things be fulfilled? God made this astonishing announcement to the prophet Daniel centuries ago.

… When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” Daniel 12:7

When the power of the holy people has finally been broken? What on earth does that mean?

Consider for a moment the power struggle that rages within you. Each day you must choose whether to bow to your own self-will, or to bow to the leadership of the Spirit. More often than not, your own desires win the battle, quenching the Spirit’s power.

Yet in the last days, the power of the Spirit will rise victorious. Christ’s own will finally learn to overcome and claim the victory Jesus purchased for them through the cross. As in the days following the church’s conception, believers will choose to abandon self-will, leaving its power broken. Christ’s church will rise, yielding to His Spirit in glorious surrender, uniting in the love and unity glimpsed at the birth of the church and restored in time for the return of the King.

Beloved, you and I can hasten His return.

You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. 2 Peter 3:11-12

As we choose to surrender to the work of the Spirit in our lives, allowing Christ to sanctify our hearts and renew our minds with His purpose, we move us toward the fulfillment of God’s great plan of redemption.

Like the Disciples who first answered Jesus’ call and paved the way for us, will you choose to live radically for Jesus, abandoning all else to the rise of His glory? I pray that you will, beloved,

. . . so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. Philippians 2:15

Then our eyes will finally gaze upon our Lord and King without a veil. Glory rises, dear one. Will you allow Christ to release it through you?

 

The Power of One

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:  I in them and you in me.”  John 17:22-23a

Feeling stirs my heart as I ponder the words of our opening Scripture today. They flowed from the mouth of Jesus on the night of His arrest. You just read some of the last recorded utterances of the Word made flesh before His body dangled for you from a bloody cross.

We observe an intimate moment between God the Son and God the Father, the heart of God laid bare before us in His perfect Word. Did you know Jesus’ final prayers were for you?

Jesus had just finished praying for Himself and the disciples He would leave behind. Then in verse 20 He adds, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” That’s you and me.

What did He pray for, dear one?

 “… that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”  John 17:21

Witness the Father’s revealed will spoken through the voice of His Son. His highest priority? Unity within the body of believers. Jesus prayed that believers would be one with each other in the same way that He is one with the Father. The resulting unity would cause the world to believe that Jesus did indeed come from God.

How is that possible?

Jesus and His Father are completely one in every way. Jesus declared it in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” They share the same thoughts and desires; their actions flow from the same perfect will. So how can men and women with very different preferences and desires, longings, and needs truly share one mind . . . one heart . . . one will?

They can’t, at least not within the realm of the natural. But those who believe in Jesus and have received the seal of His Spirit within them aren’t limited to the natural. They possess the very glory of God.

Look at Jesus’ words in our opening verse. “I have given them the glory that you gave me.” According to Jesus, that glory will enable us to become one.

John 17:23 reveals His purpose in uniting us:

 “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

Unity within Christ’s church will reveal two things to the world.

  1. Jesus did indeed come from God
  2. God loves them

I have to ask you to consider something, dear one. Is our generation giving Christ what He asked for? Are we allowing His Spirit within us to crucify the desires of our flesh and unite us with His glorious will so that we can become one with our brothers and sisters? Or do we hold tightly to our own desires and allow our differences to separate us?

Beloved, our unity in Christ will release the glory of God.

Let’s visit a prayer meeting that took place in the early church after Peter and John had been arrested for preaching about Jesus. Upon their release, a group of believers united together in fervent prayer with spectacular results.

Here’s how they began.

“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”Acts 4:29-30

Do you notice anything significant about their prayer? Is that how you have prayed?

Let your thoughts settle on the words you speak when you approach God in prayer. When I did, the Spirit revealed one obvious difference about their request. Instead of asking God to rescue them, they asked God to reveal His glory.

Amazing. They didn’t ask God to take away the danger, stop the persecution, or even to protect them from the threats coming against them. Instead, they asked Him to empower them to boldly stand for Him in the midst of it. They asked for strength to speak His word with boldness in spite of the threats. They asked Him to reveal the power that comes through the name of Jesus.

These believers had one, single-minded purpose. They desired to see God reveal His glory through them. In spite of the danger, in spite of their fear, they cast aside their own desires to exalt His. And how did God respond to His humble, unified servants?

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.  Acts 4:31

Oh, that we would once again become a body so united in heart and purpose that our prayers shake our meeting halls! Notice that God granted their request. He filled each of them with His Spirit to empower them and equipped all of them to speak His Word boldly. Not one of them was exempt from the gift.

Dear one, when you submit your heart to the Father’s will instead of your own, neither are you.

© Kelley Latta Ministries | Design by