All Things Work For Our Best

Romans 8:28 (WEB)
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God,
to those who are called according to his purpose.

Promise : I will cause all things to ultimately work for your good (best).

This Bible verse has brought comfort to a countless number of people throughout the years. It is very reassuring to know that no matter what happens in our life, our God and Father is able to cause all things to work together for our good.

Of course this does not mean that everything that happens in our life is good, because we know that is simply not the case. We live in a fallen world where bad things happen to good people. Nevertheless, our God is able to redeem even the most difficult of situations and somehow, some way, He promises to ultimately work all things for our good.

We might not see the ‘good’ that He has in store for us immediately, but be assured that from God’s eternal perspective, His heart is for your best interest in the long run. May this promise of our Papa’s plan for a bright future encourage you in the midst of any hardships that you are facing today.

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The Lenten Season of 2018

Grace and peace to you from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! I pray that the One who has done great things in the past will do great things in the coming days for you! He is a wonder-worker! He is able!

We both know that God is everywhere all the time, otherwise God isn’t God. Yet as much as God is everywhere, there are ways and places in which He manifests His power that are particular.

Though God is indeed everywhere, His (what I call) “Heaven-Splitting Force” doesn’t occur everywhere at all times does it? No, there are specific and particular places where God manifests His glory, both in Scripture and in your life!

We are currently in the Lenten Season, that 40-day period prior to Resurrection Sunday when the church, since the first century, has set herself apart to seek the face of God, humble herself and prepare for the celebration of Resurrection. Despite what you probably have heard about it, Lent is a season marked by God moving in power.

Some of you may have heard negative things about Lent; however, those who “demonize” it actually are quite ignorant of church history. Usually these people just quote John Calvin from 500 years ago and his strong reaction to the pope in his day.  God was moving long before John Calvin showed up on the scene; and some of the greatest doctors of the church long before Calvin’s arrival deeply honored the Lenten Season and set themselves to seek the face of God.

Rest assured, Lent isn’t just a Roman Catholic observation. Most Protestant denominations worldwide observe the Lenten Season, and this includes Pentecostals and charismatics!

During the Lenten Season, many passages of Scripture are read that you and I love because they speak about God moving in power, about God moving in Heaven-Splitting Force.

For example, favorite Lenten passages include:

The Baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:9-13). In this passage, we read about what happened at the Jordan River, when the heavens were ripped, or “split” open (Mark’s Gospel uses that term) and the Spirit of God descended on Jesus, driving him into the wilderness to be tested and tempted for 40 days (which is what Lent focuses on).

The Crossing of the Jordan by Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings 2: 1-14). This Lenten text is about when the Jordan was split “here and there” and the two prophets walked across it on dry ground. The heavens were then ripped (“split”) open by chariots of fire and Elijah and Elisha were separated. Then Elisha returned to the Jordan with the mantle and split the river open again to return into the Promised Land with power from on high!

What if you are personally truly coming into a change of seasons? What if, in this Lenten Season, God wants to do something in particular for you that carries with it the kind of Heaven-Splitting Force that occurred when:

Elijah parted the waters of the Jordan for he and Elisha to pass over on dry ground before the mantle passed from the prophet to the protégé?
Elijah and Elisha were walking and talking and chariots of fire separated the two of them so that Elijah ascended by whirlwind into Heaven?

Elisha picked up the fallen mantle of Elijah and went back to the Jordan River and the same Heaven-Splitting Force that caused Elijah to part those waters operated in the same way in Elisha’s life?

I am persuaded that a new era is dawning that hasn’t fully come yet. I have been saying this for a while now, and though it is an in-between time, if we will continue carrying our own cross, experiencing the crucified life, allowing God to bury those things that are part of our former season, and lay aside every weight, leaning into the promise of resurrection, we will see Heaven-Splitting Force in our lives.

The Father’s Love

1 Peter 4:8 (WEB)

I like how the NIV Bible translates this verse… Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (NIV) When Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, they realized that they were naked and felt shame for the first time in their lives. It is terrible to feel uncovered and exposed. That is why so many of us try and cover our own spiritual nakedness with activities, accomplishments and possessions.

I love today’s promise because it says that love actually covers us. Not only does it cover all our sin, but love covers every area in our life where we feel naked and ashamed. The best definition of love that I know of can be found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It talks about how patient love is, how kind it is, how it doesn’t get easily angered, how love believes all things, hopes in all things, and endures all things.

The love that we were created to receive will never fail. Ever. If you are struggling today with a feeling of being uncovered in some way, be encouraged to know that love will cover you completely, for that is what love does. It always protects.

My prayer for each one of us is that we would know more of our Father’s love today than we did yesterday and tomorrow will be a new opportunity to know even more of His unending, amazing, eternal love!

Angels: Our Unseen Helpers

Psalm 34:7 (WEB)

There are many references in the Bible that talk about angels and how they relate to God’s people. In Psalm 91:11 we read that God commands His angels to take care of us. In Hebrews 1:14 angels are called ministering servants to the heirs of salvation. In today’s promise from Psalm 34:7, we read that the angel of the Lord actually camps around those who fear Him.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think of angels that often. I know they are real and I know that they are involved in our daily lives. I choose to focus on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my salvation and on growing in my relationship with my heavenly Dad through the very active work of His Spirit. But today, I want to encourage you, that God has sent His angels to minister to us and to protect us because we are His heirs.

Just because we can’t see angels, doesn’t mean that they are not close by. And the reason why they are there and active on our behalf is because we belong to God and are His kids. The presence of angels surrounding each one of us, is simply a token of our Father’s affection. What an amazing thought! The angel of the Lord surrounds you and me!

Heavenly Silence

Why Isn’t God Speaking?

Job 34:29

The Bible speaks of times when God chose to be silent—to an individual or to humanity as a whole. David cried out to Him but discerned no answer (Psalm 22:2). Then there was Job, who must have felt the Lord had abandoned him. And during the gap between the Old and New Testaments, God had no prophet for 400 years.

We don’t always hear from the Lord when we expect to. Sometimes we’re so caught up in the world and our own interests that we simply can’t detect His voice over all the noise. There are also other reasons for His silence—He may be choosing to remain quiet because …

He wants our attention. We can’t expect God to answer simply because we’ve summoned Him. Perhaps He is reminding us that He is in charge.

There is unconfessed sin in our life. When we’re willing to deal with our sin, God is ready to talk to us. To continue living in sin, however, communicates that we’re not interested in His will for us.

We’re not ready. If we’re doing our own thing and are unwilling to walk in obedience, God might be waiting for us to make up our mind to follow Him.

He’s teaching us to trust Him. If we’re motivated to love God only when there’s indication that He’s listening, our relationship with Him is based on feeling rather than faith.

He’s teaching us to distinguish His voice from others. When God speaks softly, we listen more closely and eventually recognize His voice better.

Whatever the situation, we can be certain of one thing: God’s quietness is always for our good.

The Gift of Forgivness

Matthew 22:36-40

Most of us have known the Golden Rule since childhood: We are to treat others the way we want to be treated. And for young children, this standard seems to make sense. It is logical to share if you want others to share with you, and to avoid hitting because you wouldn’t like being on the receiving end.

But as life continues and relationships become more complicated, this simple ethical code doesn’t always seem to fit our circumstances. For instance, imagine being wronged by your business partner. How can you treat him respectfully when he has taken advantage of you? What if a kind, forgiving attitude opens the door for you to be hurt again?

God’s command nevertheless does apply in this situation. Obedience can be challenging, however, because when we are hurt or mistreated, our instinct is to retaliate. This might take the form of speaking badly behind a person’s back or showing subtle disrespect to his face. Human nature wants revenge for wrongdoing. In fact, we are unable to do anything different on our own.

Thankfully, as believers, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who enables us to forgive. So while our own strength is insufficient for a godly response, we have the option to obey through the Spirit.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). Are these characteristics evident in your interactions with others—even with people who are difficult to love? Ask for the Lord’s supernatural strength so you can respond correctly.

Trust In God

Trust In God
Let nothing disturb you,
nothing frighten you,
All things pass; God does not leave.
Patient endurance attains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing
God alone is enough.