The Glory Zone

Did you know that you are a carrier of the Glory?

What is the weight of this verse to you?

When you are at your best you are displaying God’s glory. This is an act of worship. It extends beyond Sunday songs. It is where you realize you are an instrument of Heaven ready to be used by the Master Musician himself.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
Romans 12:1 NLT

Being a living sacrifice means being a vessel fit for use in the Kingdom of God. When I think of a vessel I think of somthing being used to transport from one place to another. If I want my goods to arrive safely so they can be used for their intended purpose I will not place them in just any old thing.

Carriers of the glory walk like they know who they are.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. [Exod. 19:5, 6.]
1 Peter 2:9 AMPC

Operate from the glory zone asking God, “how do you want to get the glory out of me? I’m ready to see what you have placed on the inside manifested on the outside.”

Glory Zone

The glory zone is when you are at your best and you feel most alive. It is the thing your mind tries to discourage you from doing, fearing you may go into over kill. What made you want to reign in being at your best at any given moment? Fear, stress, worry? These are robbers of the glory.

In the glory zone I run with purpose. Because of the joy I have I am constantly refreshed instead of tired.

Don’t you know that as a carrier you are unique? Did you know that as a carrier you are beautiful? Did you know you are God’s workmanship, fit for good use?

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
Psalms 139:14 KJV

When I think of the glory zone I think of thrive. There is a certain capacity God has created us for and anytime we are carrying less than what we were created for (or what we not created for) we get weary. The challenge is to work in the glory zone even when life is throwing blows that would cause us to slow down.

How do we find strength to keep running? Thankfully God foresaw theses days and declared:

I will refresh those who are weary and will satisfy with food everyone who is weak from hunger.
Jeremiah 31:25 GNT

How to Fight: Spiritual Warfare

Sometimes we feel we are given commands from God and we really don’t know how to follow through.

For me, fighting the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12), seemed abstract. Ok so how do we do that?

Thankfully God does not leave us without instructions.

Therefore submit to God.

Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Cleanse your hands, you sinners;

and purify your hearts, you

double-minded.

Lament and mourn and weep! Let

your laughter be turned to

mourning and your joy to gloom.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

James 4:7‭-‬10 NKJV

Honestly, these instructions on the surface are not for the faint hearted. It takes some patients to fight from this position. It takes some fasting and prayer in the middle of the night.

To me, this verse is clearly something Jesus did when he prayed to God before he was to be crucified.

Although this was not idea for Jesus’s human nature, it was God’s will that he sacrifice himself. We often say we want to be like Jesus, but what does it look like? Does it mean our life will be easy? No. But it does mean we will have the strength to endure.

This fight renews strength instead of draining it from you. Instead of being fought from this position:

It’s fought from this position:

Unconventional method, for an unconventional people.

And even through it all we automatically have the victory!

“The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. “The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you. “The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways.
Deuteronomy 28:7‭-‬9 NKJV

Wielding Weapons: Skilled at Spiritual Warfare

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (MSG)

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

I have gotten to the place where I am like, “Lord what is going on!” My soul is unrested and I am feeling exposed and on the defense. Things that used to come easy are now the areas where opposition is cropping up. I used to be able to blend in with the crowd, but now I feel like I am being called out into a battle.

May I submit to you that it is time for war in the spirit. There is a place called worship where our weapons are sharpened and forged. There is a stance called praise where our foundation is established and we are able to stand when hell is literally breaking loose all around us.

We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices. Yes he may be loud, but it only takes the stone of the word to knock him down and the sword of it’s truth to cut his head off. We even keep the back up stones for his minions. We don’t mind going to battle so as long as in the process our loved ones are set free, our lives are producing greatness, and we are walking in the fullness of who God has created us to be.

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There are too many Goliath’s staring us down, taunting us constantly. We can either stand in fear and wonder what we will do or we can go down to the brook with the determination that,” if God be for me who can be against me.” In 1 Samuel 17 David goes to prepare himself for battle, deciding that today is the day we end this mockery of God and his people. David grabbed five smooth stones from the brook. To me, the stones each represented a word from God, a guarantee that he was on David’s side.

The stone of knowing “all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord.”(Romans 8:28)
The stone of “no weapon formed against me shall prosper.”(Isiah 54:17)
The stone of “my help comes from the lord, the maker of heaven and earth”(Psalm 121)
The stone of “my God can do immeasurably more than I could ever ask, think, or imagine.”(Ephesians 3:20)

The word of God is a sword that when used correctly will blast through EVERY issue life tries to throw at us.


Reasons to Fight

Think of what is at stake. Is it worth doing nothing, hoping something will happen?

May I submit to you that life is not a game of chance, but action and reactions, choices and consequences. We can not afford to be using faulty weapons, weapons with no substance.

I choose to fight because if I don’t I will always find myself being pushed over every time I try and go towards what God has called me to. We can not afford to go uncovered for a moment. Some attacks come because the enemy knows where the weakness are with our weapons. Satan is a bully and he goes for those who are the weakest. He doesn’t want to mess with the one who knows how to wield her weapon.

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The one thing he will try to do is talk you out of using them. He will speak to your mind telling you your weapons are not enough. That they are not effective if they are not producing at the rate of someone else’s. If he can get to your mind he will try to corrupt it until you are no longer able to function. This is why the bible is constantly talking about renewing our minds and keeping God’s word before us daily.

Dear friends, I just want to encourage you to not back down from the challenges of life and know that the Greater One is on the inside of you and that if He is for you, nothing can stand against you. You are a winner, its up to you to last until the end of the battle to see that your living is not in vain.

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Heart Check: Don’t Forget About Grace

wp-1533606164411-625127579.jpgLately I have been seeing the places in my heart where I fall short extremely clear. For the past few years Sunday school has been my favorite part of the week next to bible study. Sunday school is, in my opinion, where we go to get a heart check. For me the heart check came from Romans 2:1-12.

In chapter one Paul talks about how the world is in a dangerous, unrighteous state and in doing so God has turned them over to themselves.

Romans 1

21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.

He goes on to discuss the consequences for their actions and for a moment the spotlight is off the church, whom the letter was intended for. For a moment we are breathing easy because the UV light is not examining the contents of our heart. But then he turns all the pointing fingers back around.

Romans 2

2 You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.

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To this we say ouch!

It’s easy to magnify someone else’s problem but its another to check yourself. When we enter the place of judge, even if it is silent judgement, we are saying that God can not possibly fix that issue for that person. The things that we shake our heads at usually are  the secret things we may have dealt with before grace found us. We did not find grace but grace spotted us and decided we could be clean. We didn’t do anything to deserve it, it is free, unmerited. Grace was God’s idea and we in our self-righteousness hog it all for ourselves when we cast judgement. I myself have found myself looking at others and shaking my head.

While in Sunday school I felt an extreme discomfort after the lesson and it forced me to turn and examine myself.

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Quick note, this was one of the worst possible moments for me to realize I needed to do  a heart check.  I am a worship leader and the flow of this portion of the service is dictated by how God’s spirit comes in to move. These types of issues are what cause worship to be dry, seeming extremely insincere.  At the moment I was holding iniquity, the sin no one can see.

It’s funny how the small things blare the loudest. If I had to decided to let it go unchecked I would have not experienced God the way that I am used to. More than depriving myself I was also risking the experience of others.  I knew instantly that I could not proceed without asking for forgiveness.  I personally felt that I could not properly display the spirit of God within me while in my heart I knew I held people prisoners for what they did, forgetting that I was once the same way.

The entire point was that I forgot grace. The thing about grace as we are all found in the same way, guilty. This helped me to realize that we can not forget that not one was clean before God, that is why he had to come himself through Jesus to right our wrong. I am so glad that God does not hold a grudge because the moment I repented the spirit of God swept through in a mighty way  and was above what I expected.

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Thank God that he is the only fair judge!

Jesus: God’s Gift to the World

I can not advocate against other religions because I do not know much about them but I can testify the difference that Jesus made and is making. I am deeply intrigued by him because he was so selfless and spoke of a kingdom that was for everyone.

My favorite parable that Jesus told was about the master’s banquet in Luke 14.

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15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

Do you see this! He said “I have empty seats and I want them full!”

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I will bet the poor were ecstatic and could not believe their good fortune that such a great man was willing to invite them in. He sent his servants into the low places to pull out all of the misfits. Thank God that he does not mind getting his hands dirty to dig us misfits out of the dirt and set us up amongst the King himself.

Even the haters of Jesus could not deny that he was different and they could not shake him. He challenged their religion and tradition. No longer could they use the law to condemn the people. The past could no longer haunt people into hell. No longer could shortcomings hang over your head. Here enters the grace of God, his unmerited favor provided to whosoever. Not a chosen few, but the whole world. No longer was God only portrayed as punisher but as a good father who gives good gifts, specifically the gift of eternal life.

Jesus brought kingdom perspective. Death had its grips on humanity ever since the garden, but then Jesus came and said, “no longer!” Death said, “take a number and get in line.” God said, “here is my son in exchange for eternity with me.” That means that ANYONE can come in and find safety in him.

His name alone freaks opposers out. They say, “call on whomever you will but mum the name of Jesus.” His name alone holds power that can not be contained or controlled. No longer is eternity in the hands of a righteous few, waving it in the air like it is the golden ticket that only they have been lucky enough to find.

The most amazing thing about Jesus is that they had to kill him because they though it would silence the hope that he had given. The plot thickened when he said,  “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:19) After three days they thought they could breath a sigh of relief and then he shows up again! He went to his distraught disciple and revealed himself. He even topped himself by promising a piece of himself to all who would receive him.

wp-15325657531452102080866.jpgLuke 24

46 And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. 47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations,[f] beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ 48 You are witnesses of all these things.

49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

God knows how to top himself. He gave the ultimate gift saying, “here is my son. He will take the punishment although he did not commit the crime.” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

His death did not silence hope but multiplied it tremendously.

 

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My Story in His Story

1532043682135_39052459-15320426131331706681472.jpgWe have to be careful about who we allow to dictate our story. There is only one author but there will always be situations that try to edit your story, trying to add in the parts that tell you who you are, what you can do, where you can not go, when you are most valuable, and why you are not enough.

We can not deviate from the original story and we must be aware that there are counterfeits. They have portions of the truth. But partial truth is a full lie. There are no half truths in God, either it is truth or it is not. They provide a plot twist and will have us distracted from the original blue print God wrote specifically for our lives. Yes things have happened to us (some our fault and others that are not) but they are not who we are.

His story says that I am a victorious . (1 Corinthians 15:57))

His story says that I am healed and whole.(Jeremiah 30:17)

His story says that he will protect me and that I do not have to fear the disaster that comes upon the wicked. (Proverbs 3:25-26)

His story says he will lead me on the path of righteousness for His name’s sake.(Psalm 23:3)

His story says He has plans for me. To give me hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

His story says that when I wait on Him he will renew my strength. I will mount up on wings like eagles. I will run and not grow weary. I will walk and not grow faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

His story says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

His story says that I am the head and not the tail. (Deuteronomy 28:13)

His story says He will never leave me or forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

I am apart of His story.

Be willing to see what His story is for you in the lines of what he has already written. He provided His word for us as a guideline for what our story is supposed to be. Don’t forget where you come from. You are a creation of the all mighty God, created in His likeness and image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

God: Our Rescuer

Let’s face it, there are many problems that we cause for ourselves when we feel like God is moving too slow. Sometimes waiting on God gets us to a place where we feel we need to clock out from him and do things our way. But to be honest those are the moments where we experience extreme setbacks.

In the bible the children of Israel felt this pain. They mixed their company with those who did not serve God and were captivated by the “new way.” It’s funny how being captivated works. Initially it is fun , mesmerizing, and exciting. But at some point you find yourself drawn to it so much and you know its not good for you but here you are again at it. Soon you become a slave to it.

And then there is God who has put his heart on the line for a people who are easily swayed. People who treated him like a revolving door. “I’ll be in when I want but I can walk away without consequences.” FALSE! The very one they walked away from is the one who they called to save them from the thing they had become entangled in.

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I am not blind your distressed, even the ones causes by your own messes.

The best thing about God is that he will rescue you from the problems that you created and love you like it never happened. In fact he forgives and throws them into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19 NIV)

I, yes I, am the Lord, and there is no other Savior. First I predicted your rescue, then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world. No foreign god has ever done this. You are witnesses that I am the only God,” says the Lord. “From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.” (Isaiah 43:11-13)

Tell God How You Feel

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I had a list of complaints tonight as I checked my mail to see that I am still behind financially and have only the promise of increase, one that has yet to be seen. I wanted to appeal my case to God and I though I had a good enough argument until I got to worship rehearsal. The first song declared the greatness of God and how there is none compared to him. During rehearsal there are usually so many technicalities we are trying to work out that it sounds like we are just practicing. But not tonight. As I sang I believed what I was saying and my God perspective rose up and put my problem right back where they belong. Even in my time of need I can still declare God has been better than good to me.

This thought led me to Lamentations 3 where the profit Jeremiah listed his complaints against God. This was not a pretty complaint but one of deep sorrow.

I am the one who has seen the afflictions that come from the rod of the Lord ’s anger. He has led me into darkness, shutting out all light. He has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long. He has made my skin and flesh grow old. He has broken my bones. He has besieged and surrounded me with anguish and distress. He has buried me in a dark place, like those long dead. He has walled me in, and I cannot escape. He has bound me in heavy chains. And though I cry and shout, he has shut out my prayers. He has blocked my way with a high stone wall; he has made my road crooked. He has hidden like a bear or a lion, waiting to attack me. He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces, leaving me helpless and devastated. He has drawn his bow and made me the target for his arrows. He shot his arrows deep into my heart. My own people laugh at me. All day long they sing their mocking songs. He has filled me with bitterness and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink. He has made me chew on gravel. He has rolled me in the dust. Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is. I cry out, “My splendor is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!” The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.
Lamentations 3:1‭-‬21 NLT

What a list! For this we could consider his sorrow valid. Sometimes it is hard to be candid with God because we reverence him. Though he is sovereign he is still father. To our father we can share our concerns. To our father we can make our request known. Even in his dispare Jeremiah still dared to hope.

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord . And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline: Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord ’s demands. Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last. Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies. For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.
Lamentations 3:21‭-‬33‬ NLT

Wow! Only worship can get us to a place where we can still put our hope in God. Only by faith can we declare that all things (yes ALL) are working together for our good because we love God and are called according to his purpose.