Scripture: "In as much as we refute arguments and theories and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One..." (2Corinthians 10:5)
Scripture: "Be transformed by the renewal of your mind." (Romans 12:2)
Scripture: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)
Scripture: "Be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind, having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude." (Ephesians 4:23)
Scripture: "For you have need of steadfast, patient endurance so that you may perform and accomplish the will of God, and thus receive what is promised." (Hebrews 10:36)
May the grace and peace of the Holy Spirit be with you always. Let's invite the Holy Spirit into this moment. Come Holy Spirit and break open the Word for us so that we can be transformed into living words for Christ.
As we delve into the gifts the Holy Spirit has for us, none of them can take root in us if we are not minding our mind. As we look at week number seven of quarantine and all that that entails, we see fear, hopelessness, depression and anxiety, domestic violence, child abuse all on the rise. Fear is pervasive, insidious and the opposite of the love and peace the Father offers His children. Easy to say, right? But as the economy teeters on the edge, and a new strand of Covid-19 is discovered, and states are slowly opening but living in fear of another outbreak of the deadly virus, and all our plans are upside down or cancelled...how do we mind our minds? Isn't it living in a Disney world to walk around saying God's in charge, all is well? Because clearly all is NOT well. But the real question is: Is God in charge? And the real answer is, YES! No matter what it looks like, HE IS IN CHARGE!
Friends, this is our moment! Most Americans have never had to live on faith. We've had our moments, but we have never had to trust for our next meal, trust for our next step, watch with virtually no control as all of life turns upside down with no guarantees of peace and "normalcy" in the future. Most of us have never really had to walk by faith. We make our plans, we put our pieces together and we do life the way we want to do it. Even for Christians, we can successfully do life without even consulting God. We don't ask Him HIS plans...we ask Him to bless OUR plans. We may even magnanimously thank Him when all goes as WE want it to, but we've rarely put EVERYTHING in His hands and let HIM have total control of our lives. And it is one of the reasons we see so little in our lives that operates in the realm of spiritual gifts. We've never engaged them. Did I mention that faith takes risk? We've done life just fine on our own. We've loved what is comfortable and familiar.
AND THEN CAME THIS 2020 RESET! We need to get down on our faces and thank Him for showing us our arrogance, our independence that we have engineered. And these things have robbed us of seeing in another dimension...the realm of the Kingdom. We have a storehouse of gifts the Father has wanted to lavish on His children, but we've been so sure that our way would be sufficient to produce the life we wanted...that we haven't even noticed the feast laid out for us. Thank You, Father, for the RESET. Set our minds and our hearts only on You. Transform us into sold-out lovers of the living God. Make us finally really usable to the Kingdom. We give You permission to take out of our lives anything or anyone that does not honor You and put into our lives anything or anyone that does. Recreate us in Your image. Stir up the gift of the Holy Spirit that is in us, and teach us to pray, to recognize Your voice. Give us the grace to be obedient to the Word You speak, and to then DO something with what we have heard. Sometimes what You ask seems crazy to us. We love to argue with you! Please, Lord, work in us to want You more than we want anything else. Draw us, Lord, because if You don't draw us, we won't come! Teach us to give You every area of our lives, so that living by faith becomes the air we breathe.
What does living by faith look like? Living by faith means living our lives with God in charge, not us. Every minute, every day. Living by faith is not only living, but KNOWING what the Lord has promised, and then choosing to believe Him, take Him at His Word regardless of what we see, and stand on that even in the fiercest storm. So many Scriptures have promised His protection. So many Scriptures have promised His faithfulness to His children. Biblical story after story give witness to His presence, His dramatic rescues, breakthroughs that defy description, healings, miracles, radical transformations, and still we scream just like the Apostles in the storm, "Lord, don't you care that we are perishing?!" It's so important to give Him room to transform our belief, but we also have a part to play. We must engage our enemy (the world, the flesh and the devil). And our enemy at the root of so much is fear. It doesn't matter where it comes from. It matters if we let it in. There's a beautiful reflection from I HEAR HIS WHISPER by Brian Simmons, I'd like to share with you.
"Fear is not your friend, so stop agreeing with it. Stop listening to every lie the enemy throws at you, as if you don't have the power to resist it. Decline the invitation to cower in fear, while rehearsing the outcome he has envisioned for you. Declare My truth. Take up your shield of faith. It will quench the fiery darts of hell. Stand and be courageous.
You are powerful; filled with the same Spirit that raised My Son from the grave. Trust the power of My love within you. Dig your faith into the throat of fear and tear it away from your soul. Trust it before My Presence and trust Me to be who I am. Fear and faith cannot coexist. All that I do, I do through your faith. You do not have to figure this out. Don't allow the enemy to trick you into thinking that obsessing over this will change it. It will not. Simply release this into My hands and close the door to fear. I am here with you. Release the fear. Trust in Me. "
"The disciples woke Jesus and said, 'Master, don't you care that we are sinking? Don't You care that we're going to drown?" With great authority Jesus rebuked the howling wind and surging waves and instantly they stopped and became as smooth as glass. Then Jesus said to them, "Why are you so fearful? Have you lost your faith in Me?" (Luke 8:24-25)
Jesus is looking for this generation's disciples to pour Himself into. Seek the Giver even more than the gifts. The gifts will come to anyone who chooses to let Him live His life in You. Every day He is waiting for a renewed YES from each of us. Don't worry about the time it takes to become the "transformed one." That's none of your business! Don't micro-manage God. It is highly ineffective and you won't win! Just let yourself become a little one in His arms. Give Him your YES every single day, and let Him do His amazing Savior thing in you! He loves it. And we become "pencils in His hand", as Mother Teresa used to say. But we become pencils so conformed to the One who lives in us that His life, His gifts begin to flow out of us. Our part is to receive and step into that lifestyle. (aka PRACTICE!) And our job is to abide, to stay grafted to the Vine. His is to continue to pour streams of living water (Holy Spirit) through us. It's a lifetime of growing in Him, but in that growing we become so sure of who He is, so sure of His Presence and faithfulness, that even in the greatest storm we know that, "He's the hope that holds me and the stronghold to shelter me, the only God for me, and my great confidence." (Psalm 91:2)
Come weak, come tentative, come clueless...just COME! His promise is to complete the work in you. (Philippians 1:6) Yours is to show up and give Him permission. If we make the decision to mind our minds, to "take every thought captive in obedience to Christ," and to continually give Him our lives to fill and use, He will be faithful to do His part. If we make it our aim to fall in love with Him, to seek Him, to study His Word, to make His Word our new default, whether we feel like it or not, we will see the fruit grow in our lives. If we choose to be thankful, making a habit of gratefulness, we will see our love for Him grow. Whatever we thank Him for always grows.
Honor Him and He will honor you. This hunger in you right now is only a reflection of His hunger for YOU. He LONGS for YOU. Stop what you're doing right now and just praise Him for His goodness. Praise Him for His kindness and mercy. Praise Him for the untold graces He's given you in your life. Praise Him that although everything that can be shaken is in fact being shaken, we belong to a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. (Hebrews 12:28) Give the first fruits of your day to praise and worship, because He is worthy of every praise we could ever bring. What will begin to happen is your mind will be renewed. Your thinking will begin to be transformed. And you will begin to think consistently from His perspective, not yours and not the world's. THIS, my friends, will separate His disciples, make them usable to the Kingdom. And His disciples, whom He's continuously filling with Himself, will think totally differently from those filled up with the cares of the world. When we are sure of the power, the presence, the love and the faithfulness of the One who lives in us and promises to NEVER leave us...not for one moment, we become immovable for the Kingdom. "Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be firm, steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. That is, always excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not futile...it is never wasted or for no purpose." (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Declaration: I speak this word into your lives today. I declare, in the name of Jesus, that YOU will be an unshakable rock in the Kingdom...that everywhere you go the fragrance of Christ will be released from you. That you are becoming continually filled and flooded with God Himself and that He is spilling out in every word you speak, every prayer you pray, every touch you give, everything you do. I say, in Jesus' name, that your presence changes things and your words release the presence of Christ. And I thank You, Lord, that You are making each of us a monstrance for You, a living tabernacle, an unquenchable light radiating not ourselves, but only You. Thank You Lord that we belong to an unshakable Kingdom because of our unshakable King. How blessed we are to be called children and co-heirs with Christ. Open our minds to fathom this gift and our hearts to receive it and proclaim it!
This is our moment. A free and unfathomable gift offered to us from the Father. So today, what do you choose? "...You were born for such a time as this." (Esther 4:14)
I praise God for each of you and am so grateful for you. I love you and pray for that today there is a shift in the atmosphere, that heaven breaks through in your thinking, and you know yourself as radically, passionately loved by God. Who is this God that He, who has everything, longs for my love and yours? May we "get" this, and NEVER be the same again.