The LORD God loves you for you. He loves you because you are His – His creation, His handiwork, His masterpiece.
He put His heart and soul into creating you – His entire being!! How do you know that Minister Benjamin? I’m glad you asked. Before He made man He said let “us” make man in “our” image, after “our” likeness. Daddy God employed the Son and the Holy Spirit too, so therefore, He used the whole or entirety of His being!! He used everything (everyone) He has to form and fashion you! When He made you He gave you His all! Isn’t that Love? Give Him your all today and everyday! Surrender your entire being‼️
Love gives up everything. Love doesn’t hold back. Love gave man – the crown of His creation, His best – His best. Selah.
Love trusts! The only time you don’t trust, which is fear, is if you have been corrupted, resulting in a distorted view of Love! But perfect Love casts out fear! (1 John 4:18) Oh my goodness; the reason why the LORD entrusted Adam with His creation was because He loved him, not because He thought or knew Adam was going to manage it well!! As a matter of truth, He knew he was going to mess up and mismanage everything, but He gave it to him anyway. Why? Because that’s what you do when love someone perfectly without fear!
Guess what? He never changes. The same thing He did when He created the first Adam is the same thing He did when He recreated the last Adam: sacrificed His best – His first begotten and unique Son – for His best – you, me, and every human being on this planet. Because when you truly love you give (up) your best, and your best is yourself!
The Word of the Lord came to me saying: “If you’re not ready to fail, you’re not ready.” As I sought the Lord continually on whether I should leave my job upon Him revealing and summoning me by His grace, this is the answer He gave me. The conversation went a little something like this:
Me: Daddy God, how do I know if I should leave or not?
ABBA: You should leave when you’re ready son.
Me: How will I know when I’m ready?
ABBA: When you’re ready to fail, you’re ready.
I knew what He was talking about.
Before the Grace of God illuminated my spirit and restored my soul, I always blamed Him and other people for my mistakes, shortcomings, and failures throughout my life. It was never me or definitely never JUST me. Oh, if my parents wouldn’t have separated/divorced, if my grandma wouldn’t have died, if my mom didn’t have schizophrenia, if I never left the town I had an affinity for, if I didn’t change high schools so much, if I could’ve played sports, if friends and family would’ve supported me more, if music would’ve worked out, if my wife would do this or that – yada, yada, yada. The list goes on. God, people, and things were the cause of my pain, so they deserved the blame. I was just trying to “make it” in the mess. Right? Wrong!! Me trying to “make it” in the mess equated to a hurt boy/man with a weak mind resolved in self-reliance and self-sufficiency, unable to own (take responsibility) my own mess or at least my part in it. You blame whenever you hide the pain (i.e. Adam & Eve). Now, the Holy Spirit revealed all of this to me upon Grace. I was totally oblivious and ignorant to what I was doing and who I had become. This is how I know the Lord has ordained and anointed me a leader and influencer because my life before Him was anything but!! So, essentially what the Lord was saying was – if I could make this decision, fail miserably, own it without fear, and still have a heart rooted and grounded in love for Him without blaming Him for the (potential) failure – then I was ready. I’m ready!!
When the three Hebrew boys were threatened by a fiery furnace they were ready to fail in their faith. In other words, they were ready to die in their faith. They were ready to die (sacrifice themselves) understanding God had the ability to save them, but not the requirement. To put it another way – Daniel and his friends loved and served the Lord God out of pure hearts absent from conditions. They placed no conditions or requirements on God, His promises, law, or anything. If He saves us He saves us. If He doesn’t He doesn’t‼️ It didn’t matter as far as they were concerned. Either way they weren’t serving or bowing to anyone or anything else‼️
The basis of our loyalty to God should not be benefit. Daniel and his friends didn’t serve Him for what they could get out of Him. They desired nothing from Him, yet were willing to present their bodies a living sacrifice to Him (Rm. 12:1). Love always gives, and this was pure, unadulterated, unconditional love. They were intimately acquainted with God and reverenced Him as such, knowing they had no business demanding or assuming He would do anything. Their hearts and minds were refined and purified by the fire (love) of the Holy Ghost BEFORE they went into that furnace. That’s why they felt no hurt DURING the furnace. I left everything for Him, not for Him to work everything out in my favor. (Note to self). If He does or He doesn’t, it’s all up to Him. One thing for sure and two things for certain – I’m not bowing to any other gods. Are you ready to fail in faith? Ask the Lord to lead you and guide you. In Jesus name.
I began writing this post two days ago. I was actually almost done with it when I stepped away from my tablet for a moment not realizing my work was not saved. You can imagine my disappointment. I didn’t even want to make the attempt to write it again because I knew it would not have the exact same wording and feel, but such is life (deep sigh). At any rate, this gives me another opportunity to honor my wife, so here I go!
Allow me to brag on my wife today. She left me a beautiful voicemail Tuesday morning telling me how much she loves and appreciates me. Now, she always tells me she loves me, but this message was different. As my custom is, whenever she goes to work I start the car, carry her work bag out for her (that thing is heavy 😂), make sure she gets in safe, and wave her off as she leaves. Well, on Tuesday morning she went to work early, so it was still dark. As I was walking her to the car I stepped on a piece of broken glass. Surveying the immediate area, I realized it was all around the car, like someone just threw a bottle without care and respect for other people or their property. Anyway, I told her to be careful as she got in and I cleaned the glass up when she left. Afterwards, I seen and listened to the voicemail, my heart smiling with joy as I sensed something different and unique in her words. You know how you get the typical “I love you” from a spouse or family member? It’s not that it’s fake or superficial, it’s just “typical.” It’s regular, the normal thing a loved one would say to another, particularly upon leaving each other’s presence. However, this voicemail was anything but. It was original, emotive – it had life in it! Honestly, I knew it was special at first listen, but I didn’t know how deeply special it was until I began writing about it.
The Holy Spirit has recently made me aware of His leading me to hear, listen, read, stumble upon, etc., exactly what I need at the exact time I need it. (This is the true evidence of the Spirit of God in the life of a believer, as He does things on time in real-time‼️) Over the past few weeks (and perhaps longer) I have been in travail, extremely burdened by the weight of the Lord – the weight of vision, the weight of my calling and purpose – the weight I put on myself to fulfill it, the weight of my decision to leave my job, the weight that decision has put on my wife and family. Honestly, I always knew I would personally be ok in everything no matter the weight, so this recent burden was less about me and more about how my various “weights” have effected my family, my wife in particular. Watching her drive off for work is both a blessing and a burden, beautiful and bothersome. I smile when I wave her off, but deep down inside my soul cries in pain every time, as I continue to labor from the deep places of my spirit to make vision reality. I’m laboring with how I can help her – should I go back to work or not, should I do this or that, or just about anything to make it easier on her! In Truth, I know these are contractions – temporary bursts of pain that will lead to the birthing of something beautiful. However, even though they’re temporary they still hurt, and sometimes can last awhile. So, as my mind began to wander from the multitude of thoughts in my head, I began to feel myself break down. Just then, by the grace of Jesus, I began to mouth out loud “I’m not going back. I’m not going back there.” You see, the Lord Jesus freed me from the depths of despair and depression, the bondage of a weak and fragile mind. The thoughts may come and Satan’s weapons will be formed, but the power is in me (the Holy Spirit) to choose to let them prosper or not. I chose and will continue to choose not, and will never return to bondage again. With that statement of faith and love, the Lord answered me from the throne of Heaven with a voicemail message through my wife I won’t soon forget. It wasn’t just a wife leaving a nice, typical “I love you” message on a husband’s voicemail. No, not a chance. It was the Holy Spirit praying and interceding on my behalf, comforting, consoling, affirming, and encouraging me through my wife to stay strong and keep going.
Baby, I know I have been hard to love throughout our relationship. I have made it hard on you with my sudden, impulsive decisions in the past, spending OUR money on MY “dreams.” What did we calculate I spent on my music career? $15,000 – $20,000?? Yikes. I apologize sincerely, and I know this decision just seems like it’s me being my “typical” self. By the Spirit of the Lord, I assure you this time is different, just like your voicemail. And just like He redeemed me He will redeem that money in His time and for His glory. Hang on baby. Trust the Lord and trust me. Thank you for loving me. In Jesus name.
It takes a big person to exercise their power. It takes an even bigger person to sacrifice or withhold their power. During Jesus’s betrayal and arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, we see Judas and the others coming upon with torches, swords, and clubs. Peter, always the one to “jump out the window,” responds by taking out his sword and cutting a servant of the high priest ear off. Jesus immediately responds by telling him to put his sword up and then says something interesting. “Do you think that I cannot call on my Father, and that He would send me more than 12 legions of angels (72,000) right now? How then would the scriptures be fulfilled?” (Matt. 26:53-54) You see, everything Jesus did or did not do was to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets – the Father’s will. He could have exercised his power as the Son of God and summoned a host of angels to help Him out and to prevent everything! Practically speaking, He also had every right to do so. It was not like He was an evil man guilty of anything! However, that would have been his will, not the Father’s! The Father’s will was for the Son of Man to go the way it was written of Him! (Matt. 26:24) So, what did He do? He suppressed, sacrificed, and withheld his will, power, and authority because He trusted in the will, power, and authority of the Father!
It is normal school of thought to believe David fled from the presence of Saul because he wanted to kill him, so he ran out of fear for his life. I beg to differ. Fear played a part, but it was not because he feared Saul. Rather, it was that he feared God! The Holy Spirit opened my eyes to something in this story. You see, Saul WANTED to kill David, but David COULD HAVE killed Saul. Big difference. In other words, Saul could have the desire to kill David all he wanted, but nothing did or would have ever happened because the Lord was with David. The anointing of the Holy Spirit was like a forcefield around him, so Saul could not have killed him no matter how much he wanted! And we know he tried many times! In contrast, Saul was finished. The Spirit of the Lord departed from him and an evil spirit (of fear) from the Lord distressed and tormented him. The spiritual forcefield around him was no longer there, so David COULD HAVE killed him. Practically speaking, he had every right to do so. It was not like he was an evil man guilty of anything! But what did he do? He suppressed, sacrificed, and withheld his power of being an anointed vessel of God, the next king of Israel, and would not touch or raise a hand against the “Lord’s anointed,” even though the Spirit of God had left him! This was extraordinary! David feared the Lord, trusting in His will, power, and authority! This was why David was a man with a heart like God’s!
“Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, for without it no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
I have read the above verse plenty of times, but a few days ago during my reading and study time the Holy Spirit enlightened me and unpacked the contents of this verse, particularly at the beginning with ‘pursue peace.’ He gave me a vision for ‘pursuing peace,’ an interpretation of it which is seared on my conscience. I am compelled to share. Interestingly, this insight at the beginning of the verse gives light to the end of it, which is also enlightening! I understand this to mean in most (or all) cases in order to understand the fullness of a thing it is necessary to break it down and take it apart. Basically, this is the essence of teaching and the true nature and evidence of the Holy Spirit as Teacher, breaking down His Word and giving us Life – insight, comprehension, and revelation! No wonder why Jesus said eternal life is knowing the Father – the only true God – and Himself! (John 17:3)
Picture a track field. It is you and the Godhead. You and the Holy Spirit are the runners, but He is a little ahead of you. Jesus, the forerunner, is way ahead of you at the finish line, having completed His course with joy – despising the shame of the cross – and is at the Father’s right side. He is cheering you on and praying for you to do the same. The Father is next to Him listening to His prayers for you, presiding over everything with love and delight. The stands are also packed full of legends cheering, a great cloud of witnesses (Heb. 11) who triumphed in trust, receiving the consummation of that trust – the salvation of their souls. (1 Peter 1:9) This is all the inspiration you and I need to pursue Him – the Spirit – the peace and holiness of God!
Pursue Like You Can Overtake
One of the definitions of the word ‘pursue’ is an interesting one, but it shows how we must trail the Spirit. The definition was “to follow in order to overtake or capture.” Do you see the significance? Of course, we can never ‘overtake’ the Spirit, meaning to catch or outrun Him. Rather, it is He who overtakes us! However, we still have a part to play, and the mindset should be to remain overtaken by Him. The only way to do this is with the conscious of mind and the attitude of heart to hotly pursue Him like we can catch Him, like it is a real possibility! So, when the Scripture says to ‘pursue peace and holiness,’ it is with this passionate persistence we consecrate ourselves in His consecration, enabling us to see the Lord! At times the Spirit leads you where you do not expect. Perhaps, it is somewhere you flat out do not want to go! Yet still at other times, we desire and have every intention on following the Lord but lack the endurance or perseverance. These moments reveal the very reason why He leads us into certain situations – to build, strengthen, establish, and settle us. The uncomfortableness will do us well at our latter end, making us fit for the Lord. Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, neither grow tired of His correction. He deals with us as sons, and the Father is better than you can imagine! So, in every situation, no matter the situation, track the Spirit. Follow Peace hard. Hotly pursue Holiness. He is building, shaping, and molding you into Jesus and for destiny. In Jesus name.
This is the Word of the Lord for 2021 and beyond: Do not be sensuous in your faith, sensual in your walk with Me! You serve me when you feel like it – when it is convenient for you! You love me when you feel me – when my presence affirms you! When you feel my presence you are happy and joyful, and I rejoice! However, when you do not feel my presence you shrivel up, doubt, and crumble, and I sigh! You wilt under pressure and crumble under the powers of difficulty and challenge! Is it a light thing to dishonor me by crumbling to powers inferior to me? My presence, glory, and love abides even when you do not feel me. Do not cause me to sigh at the hands of your superficial, convenient, self-serving love! Do not tempt me and cause me to serve in your fair-weather faith! If you were gifted my Spirit you were gifted Me – my promise, my seed, my first-begotten Son! To this child of mine will I look and be delighted: those who are confident in my Word, in my presence, and in my love! I will not leave or forsake. If you persist through, my power will get through!
Yesterday I wrote about persistent difficulty, how irritating it can be, and how we must have a controlled response to the irritancy. This morning I was listening to the late, renowned, reformed theologian R.C. Sproul. His lesson was on encountering God, which was so good I will need to expound on it in another post. However, during the lesson he told an anecdote, and it immediately struck me because it was exactly what the Lord had me write on yesterday! He told about a time he was asked to fill in at a church one Sunday on behalf of the pastor who was seriously ill in the hospital. He was asked to speak and administer communion, so he buckled down and studied hard to give the congregation a great message in the light of communion and their leader being sick unto death.
The message did not go as he felt, thought, or hoped. For whatever reason, he did not have his usual flair or energy. He did not feel like preaching and described his sermon as “flat.” In his many years of preaching, he recounted this event as one of the few moments in his life and ministry where he had an overwhelming feeling of the lack of the presence of God! When he was done preaching, he said he wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out, feeling like he let God down, the pastor, and his congregation! He went to the back of the church to customarily shake hands with the congregation members as they were leaving when the most amazing thing happened. Every person who shook his hand had a glazed expression on their face, like zombies who had seen a ghost! One by one they shook his hand firmly, thanking him for a message touched with the breath of God! Incredibly, everyone in that church felt the presence of God except him. In that moment and from that day forward, he vowed to never be a sensuous Christian – someone who needs to feel God to know He is there. If you need to feel Him you are influenced by your feelings, not by His Spirit. The members of the church did not encounter a ghost that day, leaving their faces glazed over. They encountered the Holy Ghost, the Father of spirits, the glory and power of a holy God. Get out your senses. Get out your feelings. Stay out your flesh. To remain in truth is to remain in the Spirit, for only there can we please God (Rom. 8:8). In Jesus name.
The power of God always gets through. Yesterday morning, I joined a beloved brother of mine on Facebook Live. He is the pastor of a local church and he asked me to pray before he preached, specifically for requests of members of the congregation. I gladly said yes, always ready and thankful for an opportunity to serve and glorify Daddy God. When I joined him on the call, there was some kind of technical difficulty where it was a delay. (This was due to multiple devices being opened at one time in the same app). While we were waiting a few moments for more people to tune in, I told him about it and he heard it for a moment on his end. As we continued on we thought the problem was fixed. It turned out it was fixed on his end but not on mine! Personally, I was a little annoyed by the delay, feeling like it would “affect” me while I was praying and take me out of my “zone.” Finally, I settled it in my mind – although this difficulty will persist I am going to glorify God and persist in prayer anyway!
Fast-forward to this morning. I am checking my phone looking at some unread notifications. Another brother of mine who was on the live yesterday had reached out congratulating me on the prayer. He said it was an “awesome” prayer and that he felt the Spirit! Glory to be to God for that, because when I prayed yesterday I did not “feel” like it was an awesome prayer. As a matter of fact, I mentioned to my wife afterwards how it was difficult to focus because of the delayed reaction. However, after stating that fact I also said God will be glorified anyway, and anyone who listened to the prayer would be blessed in some form or fashion. You see, our thoughts and words have power, and when we speak blessings instead of doubt ultimately the power of God will get through!
Beloved, as I was reflecting on this event the Lord showed me something. Essentially, this serves as a microcosm of the totality of our walk with God! Last year, there were persistent challenges and difficulty for all of us to varying degrees due to the pandemic, racial tensions, and other things. However, we must not allow the challenges of last year, this year, or future years, persistent as they may be, to affect us and take us out of our zone – the presence and power of God! We must settle it in our minds and resolve it in our hearts to persist in the things pertaining to God – His Spirit, ways, words, and will – amidst difficulty. Despite its persistent presence, let us love and serve God and people with a pure heart fervently. Why? Because when we persist in obeying Him in faith and love we keep open an atmosphere for His Spirit, power, love, and glory to shine through – elevating Him and crushing the power of difficulty!
Difficulty is an irritant, not a deterrent. Allow the energies of irritation to push you into the energy of God, not deter you from Him. The further away you get from the energy of God, the more powerful the energy of irritation gets, resulting in things going from bad to worse. Do not be the cause of that. Rather, be a conduit of the grace of God in the midst of it and watch Him work! The power of difficulty – technical or otherwise – is not greater than the power of God, and although this maybe known intellectually it is not always modeled experientially. I was annoyed, but I persisted, and as a result somebody was blessed by the touch of God. The power of God always gets, cuts, and shines through the fluff of life. In Jesus name.