Faith

You Belong!

The longing to belong is very powerful and foundational to our sense of self. But there is an infinitely greater pull -- Father's. He is constantly seeking us out and calling our heart to his!

"My son, give me your heart." Proverbs 23:26

When we respond to this call it becomes a homecoming. The prodigal came to himself while slopping hogs and experienced a homecoming that he never imagined possible. How about you? Do you know beyond a shadow of doubt that you belong? Don't allow anyone to tell you something else.

Make sure no outsider who now follows God ever has occasion to say, "God put me in second-class. I don't really belong." Isaiah 56:2 Msg

There are religious outsiders who will judge you. Their only agenda is dissuading your journey to Father's heart. As a matter of fact they don't even understand the conversation of the heart. Belonging empowers you to embrace and live in Grace. Belonging is the path to love. And belonging is bigger and louder than the voices of rejection.

To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God's grace means. (Brennan Manning)

Even the darker parts of our journey become a homecoming. In the state of belonging we can truly rest. Read the following scriptures and settle in to belonging.

What does "Pray Without Ceasing" Mean?

Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 declares that God's will for us is that we

[p]ray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks.

To pray unceasingly does not mean spending twenty-four hours daily in prayer. >b>Rather, it means being open continually to God, sharing our thoughts and hopes with Him in mental prayer, and so on. It means, as we face a problem, praying, in a sentence, "Lord, help me with this problem"; or, "Give me patience as I talk with this trying person"; or, "Thank you for seeing me through that mess," and similar prayers.

O. Hallesby years ago wrote, "We cannot breathe in the early morning in such a way that it will be sufficient until noon. Likewise, we cannot pray in the morning so as to suffice until noon."

Continual sentence prayers are simply Christian breathing. They keep us alive and strong.

The Sea in the Ship is All Wrong

Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2


There's an old saying: "The ship in the sea is alright. The sea in the ship is all wrong. The Church in the world is alright. The world in the church is all wrong."

Everything you and I believe as Christians flies in the face of our post-modern culture. We believe in a God who has made His existence known to everyone (Romans 1:18-22) despite the strong denials of man. We believe in a God who has communicated to us in clear terms in a book called the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). We believe in absolutes, for we believe in a God who is Truth Himself, and who tells us what is right and what is wrong. We believe in the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:16, 17) who said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me." John 14:6. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the way to God and the only way to God, and we deny that He is merely a way, a truth and a life, and one of the ways to God. Understand that we do not say this because we believe our opinion is greater than someone else's, but because Christ Himself said this about Himself, and we believe His claims are valid, trustworthy and true... We believe too that if Christ is not THE way to God, then He is a liar, and not even one of the ways to God. Jesus Christ is either who He claimed to be, or else He is a fraud, or perhaps a lunatic. But what He could never be is merely one of the ways to God. If we take His words with any seriousness at all, then we have to admit that His own claims deny this very possibility.

Are You in Passionate Pursuit?

So I got up, went out and roved the city, hunting through streets and down Alleys. I wanted my lover in the worst way! I looked high and low, and didn't find him. And then the night watchmen found me as they patrolled the darkened city. "Have you seen my dear lost love?" I asked. No sooner had I left them than I found Him, found my dear lost love. I threw my arms around Him and held Him tight, wouldn't let Him go until I had Him home again, safe at home beside the fire. Song of Songs 3:2-4, (The Message)

There is always a passionate pursuit in our relationship with Jesus. It begins with Jesus wooing our hearts-without time constraint or performance clauses. It continues by our daily searching and seeking for He who is constantly romancing our heart. The word picture King Solomon portrays in this passage depicts the wholehearted devotion that must accompany authentic relationship with Jesus. Nothing less will do.

The biggest mistake of my life is when I fall away from first-love devotional desire for Jesus. It is the mistake that gives rise to any and all others. Insidious and slowly, it happens almost undetectable over a period of years. I replace my love affair with Jesus with a professional relationship with Him. How does this happen?

Is the price Jesus paid for you and me enough?

"It cost God plenty to get you and me out of that dead-end, empty-headed life we grew up in."

Is the price Jesus paid for you and me enough? Do you feel that you need to add your (good intentioned) efforts-kind of like the "Cross of Calvary", plus you? We may need to meditate on the following scriptures to sort out the before questions.

I posted this recently, but have a strong sense from God that someone desperately needs this truth, right at this moment! Please stand with me in intercession for those who truly can't live another day without the revelation of Calvary.

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And just barely free either; abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, and everything on planet earth.

Are You "Doing" or Actually Giving Your Heart?Premium Content

God is not looking for you to "DO" more for him. He is simply and passionately looking for more "OF YOU". He is looking for more of your heart.

His constant passionate cry is:

My child, give me your heart. (Proverbs 23:26)

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show HIMSELF STRONG on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to him. (2 Chronicles 16:9a, NKJV)

You are at your best resting in His loving heart and grace, not in some piety or religious service and performance. Even though it may be well intentioned. "Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into (by faith through grace) what God does for you. True freedom develops best in the fierce battle to live loved and to love others by the fruit of grace."

The Christian may be like a ship tossed in a storm. Nobody on board may be aware that the ship is making headway at all. Yet it is sailing on at great speed (but not without resistance). Great winds and storms help fruit-bearing trees. So also do corruptions and temptations help the fruitfulness of grace and holiness...corruptions and temptations develop the fruit of humility, self-abasement and mourning in a deeper search for the grace by which holiness grows strong. But only later will there be visible fruits of increased holiness. (John Owen)

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On Stormy Waters?Premium Content

(Based on Matthew 14:22-34)

Experienced fishermen shuddered when the wind howled out of the mountains and onto the sea. Then the waves became choppy and unpredictable. Men who worked these waters knew to haul their sails and make for harbor.

But sometimes-and this night was one of them-high seas would not permit sailors to gain the shore.

The small boat circled the middle of the sea, an eerie spot, wild, unsettled, dangerous-and according to some reports-haunted. In watery graves below lay the sailors' fellow fishermen waiting for them to join them, their boats reduced to waterlogged splinters,their bones picked clean by the same denizens of the deep they had come to harvest.

By three in the morning, as a false dawn dimly lit the sky, the men had been pulling on the oars for hours against the wind. No nearer shore, shelter, or sanctuary, exhaustion was setting in.

Then one man caught a glimpse of something unsettling on the seas. For a few moments, a trough obscured his vision, and while he waited for the lift of the next wave, he pondered whether he was seeing things. When the wave lofted them upward, he looked steadily over his shoulder. There it was again!

He gave a shriek of terror and pointed as the boat was again swallowed by a curl of water.

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Are You Living From a Place of Gratitude?

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G. K. Chesterton


Intentional awareness of our countless blessings will always provide fuel for a wildfire of gratitude in our soul! A fitting starting point in our quest for gratitude is to take special note of the Jesus experiences of each day. They will become kindling for that wildfire of thanksgiving. These awesome experiences continually stoke the embers of past experience into the blaze of present blessings and grandeur in Him!

Jesus did not just solve our problems by waving a magic wand from afar. He entered into the middle of the conflict, stepped into the domain of contradiction, entered our hell, faced death itself and from there He conquered. If this doesn't warm your heart and evoke gratitude, it's not likely anything will! As we consciously meditate each day upon the wonder and grandeur of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus our hearts will remain 'strangely warmed'.

Then, as we live from that place of gratitude, we also become enraptured by the moment by moment revelation of Father that Jesus brings. The masses of the world will never be converted by a second rate Christian version of itself. And neither will you or I! They will however, flock to places that give them what nothing else can; a life that won't leave them fatherless and thus thankless.

I Have No Idea Where I am Going (Prayer)

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,

Hold Your Hands OutPremium Content

Can you hold out your hands in front of you, open, palms up, with all that you have and all that you are or will ever become held in them?

Can you keep them open like this, open to the Lord?

Then you are beginning to know THE TRUE FAITH!

Will you refrain from grasping, self-promoting, or gloating? Will you love those He gives you to care for, as they continue on their journey, passing through your hands? Or will you have your own agenda for them, push and manipulate by fear or condemnation and guilt?

Will you give what He tells you to give, and let go what was never yours in the first place? All is His!

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