God-breathed

2 Timothy 3:16-17 New International Version (NIV)

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

Just as God breathed life into man’s body in the garden, God breathed life into the men that wrote each verse, chapter and book recorded in the canon of Scripture. Ordinary men were equipped by the power of the Holy Spirit to write an extraordinary love letter to the world.

Woven through the life stories of men, women and children throughout Scripture we learn who God is and who mankind is in relationship to Him. We discover love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. We realize the ramifications of sin. We are introduced to the Savior. We are warned about an enemy.

IMG_2961Each day as we study, the Holy Spirit breathes life and the words on the page become the Word written on our heart. Miraculously, we begin to receive instruction, rebuke, and correction. Through this supernatural training in humility and submission, our lives are transformed by the renewing of our mind. We are made righteous. We are equipped as a servant of God. We are able to do every good work.

If we don’t know the Word (Jesus) by studying the word (Scripture), we are not equipped to do any work. A student who is fully trained will become like their teacher (Luke 6:40). But a student who refuses to be trained, rejects the Teacher and becomes like the one they follow; Satan (John 8:44).

Reading a verse fragment a few times a week on a Bible app or Facebook post with a pretty background picture won’t thoroughly equip you. Would you give your child a handful of goldfish for the week and expect him to be sustained physically? NO! The child would be hungry and eventually, he’d starve to death because of the lack of nourishment. A child cannot live on goldfish alone. He needs the Word of God.

IMG_4461Dear child, if you’ve become malnourished, you cannot serve God. Sure, you may be able to sustain yourself and work for a little while, but the signs of starvation will eventually emerge. You may not notice it – but the people around you will. Your wife may say she feels unloved because you’re too tired to lay your life down for her. Your husband may say that he feels disrespected because you’re too busy to spend time serving him. Your kids may repeatedly disobey you because you’re too preoccupied to deal with their foolishness. The people you lead in the church may keep falling back into the same cycle of sin because you’re unequipped to shepherd their broken soul.

But don’t give up! There is still HOPE. The Good News is still the Good News. You can have abundant life. You can love your wife. You can submit to your husband. You can train your kids. You can lead others in the church. You can do every good work.

All you have to do is choose whom you will serve. God’s mercy is new every morning. Set that alarm on your smart phone to wake up 5, 15, 30 minutes earlier tomorrow. Grab your bible, pen, journal and a cup of strong coffee. Saturate your mind in Scripture. Then…do what it says.

You may feel ordinary, but Scripture will train you to be an extraordinary man or woman of God. God breathed life into your body when He saved you. God will breathe life into your soul when you study His love letter to the world.

 

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Wives, submit

Ephesians 5:22

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.

Since the garden, Satan has been deceiving the daughters of Eve. In subtle ways, he twists the Truth to steal, kill and destroy marriages, which are designed to glorify God by reflecting Christ and His Bride, the church.

Wives, submit.

Submit how?

“As you do to the Lord.”

Would our Lord ask us to sin?

No.

Would our Lord ask us to sin in order to cover up our husband’s sin?

No.

When a husband rejects Gods Truth, allowing Satan to fill his heart, he will choose to lie to the Holy Spirit (sin). When a wife has FULL KNOWLEDGE of it (by agreeing with the lie) death will come to them both. Perhaps not physically, but it will come (spiritually and emotionally).

Acts 5:1-11

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

KIM_2050_edited-1.jpgIf a wife remains submitted to the Lord in everything, her husband’s sin will affect her (because they are one), but it won’t kill her. For Jesus is her bridegroom and He will cover her, protect her and rescue her, as she hides and finds rest in the shelter of His wings (Psalm 91). Safe in His arms, she can intercede for her husband, asking the Lord to reveal Himself to him so that he will obey.

1 Peter 3: 1-2

In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.

Unfortunately, however, not all husbands are won over by the Good News. And sometimes, death must come to the marriage.

I don’t know your story dear sister, but I do know that God loves you and has great plans for you- and your marriage. His design is for you to submit to your husband as you do to the Lord. And His design is for your husband to love you by laying down his life for you, as Christ did for the church. If your husbands sin is physically or emotionally bringing death to you, or your children, please seek shelter from the Most High and ask someone in the church for help.

I Want to See!

Mark 10:46-52

46 Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road. 47 When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

48 “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him.

But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

49 When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”

So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!” 50 Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.

“My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”

52 And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.

In my short journey as a follower of Jesus I have been blind many, many times. Not physically like Bartimaeus, but spiritually and emotionally.

IMG_0602When life is hard and I find myself sitting alone beside the road of Jericho in total darkness, my mind begins to wander;

“should I lie down and wallow in my disability?

should I beg others to take care of me?

should I just sit and wait?”

Feeling helpless and angry, I begin to hear others say that Jesus is nearby. In an instant, hope springs forth and I begin to shout. The enemy attacks, convincing a few to tell me to be quiet. Knowing that HE is greater (1 John 4:4), I fight back and begin shouting even louder: “Son of David, have mercy on me!” The Lord hears my cry and sends another disciple to encourage me to go to Him. As the noise and distractions of life are silenced, I finally hear that still small voice whisper, “come….”

Desperate to see, I throw aside my coat of shame, jump up and go. He asks, “what do you want me to do for you?” Humbled, I bow before the King of kings and Lord of lords, crying out “I want to SEE! I want Your light to penetrate the dark places of my soul. I want to confess, repent and be set free!” The miraculous occurs; the Spirit of God brings Truth and I can see. I can SEE. I CAN SEE!

Once again, He tells me to to “go” (Matthew 28:19), for my faith in Him has brought healing to my soul. I will not be silent. I must get up. I must follow Him. I must tell others about the One who heals!

Matthew 15:30

30 A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all.

Wait Patiently

Romans 8:18-26

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children,[a] including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope[b] for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) 26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness…..

This weekend, while traveling the friendly skies with my husband and another couple, we had the opportunity to depend on the Holy Spirit to help us wait……..patiently.

IMG_5283On our first flight out, we were forced to sit on the plane for an additional 75 minutes after being pushed back to the gate to fix a mechanical issue before take off (I won’t bother to mention the screaming kids that were banging their feet against peoples seats & slamming the window shade up and down while their mom continued to yell at them to “stop it” and their dad sat catatonic across the aisle). As a result, the delay caused us to miss our connecting flight. After deplaning, we were told the next (& only) available flight would depart 5 hours later. After much discussion between my husband and the ticket agent, we were booked on another airline and finally arrived at our destination…4 hours later than expected.

En route to the airport two days later for our return flight, we received a voicemail from the airline informing us that our departure had been delayed. Another message, pushing the departure time back even further prompted a phone call to the airline to discuss our options. There were very few. We came to the conclusion that our best option was to proceed to the airport to talk to a ticket agent……and wait patiently for the next available flight out. Multiple conversations with multiple agents and several flight delays later, the flight was cancelled. We then made arrangements with another airline for a flight home the following day.

Early the next morning, we arrived back at the airport to check in. The airline had NO RECORD of our reservations. IMG_5286(Seriously, people, I am not making this stuff up!!!!) More waiting. More patience. More negotiating with ticket agents. With boarding passes finally in hand, we scurried through security and raced to the gate. The flight was delayed. Then delayed again…and again. More waiting. More patience. More negotiating with ticket agents. Eventually, we arrived home safely- almost 24 hours later than scheduled.

There are many scheduled departures and arrivals in my life, my marriage, my parenting and my ministry that I continue to wait eagerly for.

Will I trust that His promises will be fulfilled?

Will I trust that He knows the days, times and locations of all my flights?

Will I trust Him to pack my bags with everything I need once I arrive?

Will I trust Him to give me the tickets at the exact moment they are required to board the plane?

Will I trust Him to send the right travel companions with me for the journey?

Only if I surrender everything to the will of the Father and depend on the Holy Spirit to help me wait……..patiently.

Psalm 37:7

Be still in the presence of the Lord,
 and wait patiently for him to act…..

6 Feet Deep

Romans 7:14-25

14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power[b] within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

IMG_4845Occasionally, when we darken the doors of a building where His church gathers, we hear a convicting sermon that points to the obvious sins in our life. But what about those sins that are 6 feet deep, just like the bodies that lie in the cemetery next to those beautiful sanctuaries? How on earth do we recognize those hidden sins that live in the darkness of our souls?

We ask the Holy Spirit to use a shovel, or a backhoe, or whatever earth mover He needs to remove the layers of dirt so that His light will illuminate the sinful nature that continues to reek havoc- and bring death to our daily lives.

Every time I read this passage that Paul penned so very long ago I realize that no matter how holy I think I am or how worthy I believe my call from Him is, I am faced with the dilemma that there is another power within me that is at war. When the Holy Spirit brings conviction to the things I’ve done wrong they always, always, always reflect the sin that was committed in the garden at the dawn of creation:

-lust of the eyes (I see it)

-lust of the flesh (I want it)

-the pride of life (I justify why I should have it)

Even though I think I love Gods law with all my heart, there are still places that are not yet fully submitted to His lordship. Places where I’ve been hurt because of my wrong expectations of Him- or others. Places where I’ve sinned and not repented. Places where I’ve failed to trust Him completely and subsequently decided to taste the fruit for myself.

It all sounds terribly defeating – this cycle of wanting to do what is right, but inevitably choosing wrong. But there is HOPE….. a Savior, who is Christ the Lord! Who was born of a virgin, suffered and died for our sake, so that we could live a life free from the slavery of sin. Free from spiritual and emotional death. Free from everlasting torment.

Do you want a relationship with this Savior? Do you want to experience the freedom He offers? Then I implore you to read the following passage, and do what it says. If you already have a relationship with Jesus, but find yourself feeling 6 feet deep, retreat to your secret place and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any area of hidden sin. Then confess, repent and forgive, as He leads. If, however, the dirt is not easily lifted, ask a godly mentor to bring a shovel over to help you dig!

Romans 10:9-12

Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

10 For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation.

11 The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him [who adheres to, relies on, and trusts in Him] will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed.

12 [No one] for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. The same Lord is Lord over all [of us] and He generously bestows His riches upon all who call upon Him [in faith].

Childlike

Matthew 11:25-26

25 At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. 26 Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!

IMG_3765While sitting at Holden Beach, NC with some ladies from a ONE Flesh Small Group this weekend, I savored the sound of the crashing waves, the coolness of the wind blowing on my face and the softness of the sand enveloping my feet.

Not content to just sit at the beach, however, I finally got up and followed one of my friends, who was strolling along the waters edge, searching for unique seashells that had made their way to the coastline.

On the final day of our stay, I followed another friend who wanted to go swimming, into the cool Atlantic water. Afraid to completely immerse myself in the ocean because of an emerging head cold, I chose to stay in the shallows so that I could keep my head and shoulders above the water. But, as I continued to watch my friend catch wave after wave and float all the way to the shoreline I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing out on something….

There was no fear in her, no worry, no anxiousness of being overcome by the waves. She acted so childlike; overflowing with joy….peace….fullness of life.

As I was relaying these beach adventures to my husband last night, he wisely replied, “kind of symbolic of our relationship with God, huh?”

Yep.

Some of us are so wise and clever:

-content to sit on the beach and just look at God.

-content to walk along the shoreline with His Son to get our feet wet from time to time…. when we want something.

-content to jump into the waves for a swim, but quickly high tail it back to the beach when a massive wave of His Spirit threatens to overcome us.

And some of us are so childlike in our pursuit of God:

-wanting to soak in Our Father’s love

-wanting to be consumed by the presence of His Spirit

-wanting to become more and more like His Son.

Fortunately, there’s hope for us who are wise and clever! God promises to reveal His truth to us….IF we turn from our sins, become like a little child, and obey Him.

Matthew 18:2-4

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

“All God’s revelations are sealed until they are opened to us by obedience. You will never get them open by philosophy or thinking. Immediately you obey, a flash of light comes. Let God’s truth work in you by soaking in it, not by worrying into it….God will never reveal more truth about Himself until you have obeyed what you know already. Beware of becoming “wise and prudent.’” –Oswald Chambers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Hi-VMxT6fc