Oh, my Father takes me back in time today as He recalls to my mind a cartoon that I used to watch as a child. Perhaps you are familiar with the character “Popeye”? Popeye was a sailor man who often found himself in what seemed insurmountable circumstances and in those times, he gained “superhuman” strength after eating a can of spinach. On his own, he felt weak or inadequate to carry out what was before him, but put confidence in spinach to give him what he lacked. The Apostle Paul shared a similar struggle to Popeye in that Paul’s heart was burdened to bring blessing to people but on his own, he felt he lacked. Like Popeye, Paul, too, found a source of superhuman power that he came to rely on. He tells the story of how when he stepped out into life, he did so with weakness, fear and much trembling. He did so, not claiming to have wise and persuasive words. He said he resolved to know nothing except knowing Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Paul had a clear identity as to who he was and what he was capable of. Popeye was also someone who had self reflection and is known for this quote: “I yam what I yam and that’s all what I yam.” I greatly admire Paul in that despite his feelings of lack in his own ability, he stepped out to do what he knew he was called to do. Why? Because he knew a secret to being able to do the “superhuman” just like Popeye, only his spinach or strength was the power of God’s Spirit in him. Paul’s example encourages me this morning that in our faithfulness to step out just as we “yam” to serve our Father, that we can trust our Father to provide what is needed to bring Him glory. That thought makes me feel even stronger than Popeye! Therefore, I’m sailing into this day, trusting our Father to accomplish all He desires to carry out through me today. Toot, toot!
It is still dark as I write this message this morning, but it sounds like a delightful day as I can hear the sounds of my Father’s creation – chirping birds, the cooing of a dove and the bark of someone’s family dog. I don’t know how He does it! Creation is so amazing! As I think about the day before me and the many great opportunities there are presented to make a difference in the lives of many, my Father reminds me of my true source of strength and victory in this day. Sometimes as humans, our minds can slip into false mindsets that our success in life lies in our own strength and abilities or in the resources around us and it can create anxiety or fear of failure and unrest within us. Even in the days of Samuel, people looked to the outward showings for signs of strength and value, but our Father said the true strength or value lies in one’s heart. Our Father understands how easy it is for us to go there, to the unhealthy mindset and that is why He always brings us back to putting our focus on our true source of strength and success. Here is what He says: “No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his own strength; a horse is a vain hope in deliverance – despite all its strength, it cannot save.” He questioned Job about relying on the strength of a wild ox to leave his heavy work to and trusting that ox to bring in his grain and gather it on the threshing floor. Our Father points out to us this morning that His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor is His delight in the legs of man, but His delight is in our hearts that fear or reverence Him and put our hope in His unfailing love. The term unfailing love in Hebrew means “befriending.” Our Father’s befriending, open arms of unfailing love stretch as high as the heavens are above the earth to those who fear or value Him as their source of strength. Wow! My arms cannot even begin to stretch that far to love those in my life! I’m a wanna be, though! I rest in knowing that our Father’s eyes are on us who look to Him to deliver us, keep us, help us and shield us. I’m so glad He sees us! When Job was done pondering the question of where true strength and success was found, he concluded of our Father “I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted.” Ok, this gal is convinced this morning that there is no competition in terms of where my heart and eyes will focus for my success and strength in life today. I’m going with hoping in my Father who loves me unfailingly. Oh, His strength has just lifted a tremendous weight off of me. Bless Him! He rocks like nothing or none other. It beats me how He does it! He makes me smile! I’m trusting in Him with ya all today! His love, strength and success to you!
I chuckle this morning as I think about how I sometimes view myself in comparison to how my Father does. I totally agree with all that my Father says about me as His child, in that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, but my flesh or mind so often tries to overpower His view in a way similar to what I would call “arm wrestling.” It is silly to even imagine it, but arm wrestling with my Father happens when my flesh wants to tell me that I am self sufficient and too weak or imperfect to be used by God. Our weaknesses serve a good purpose in that they keep us humble and dependent on God, but our Father does not want them to disable us. Paul understood this as he had weakness that he arm wrestled God over as he asked our Father to remove it several times. I can just visualize this in my mind. If you have ever arm wrestled with another person, you know the struggle it can be. I can imagine our Father lovingly smiling at Paul as they wrestled together and I can see a twinkle in the Lord’s eyes as He showed Paul what he needed to learn – that Paul was weak, but the Lord is strong! Our Father won Paul’s heart and mindset when He said “my grace is sufficient for you!” Through this struggle, Paul came to understand that there was good in his weakness and through God allowing it to remain, our Father’s glory would be revealed. This is a good thing! If we were not needing God’s grace to enable us, who would give glory to or recognize the glory of God over man? It is great news that Paul, despite his weaknesses, stepped out in faith that God would enable him to do great things and I marvel at what our Father did through him as you read through the New Testament! He told those in Corinth that he came to them not with eloquence or superior wisdom – in fact, he resolved to know nothing while he was with them except Jesus and Him crucified. He stepped out in his weakness with fear and much trembling and recognized his message and preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power so that people’s faith would not rest on his wisdom, but on God’s power. Paul had fear and trembling in recognition that unless God worked, he could do nothing and he saw it as way cool that the power of God would rest on him in his weakness. He said he would gladly boast about his weaknesses because when he was weak, then he was strong! Knowing he was weak, with his weak arm and hand he grasped onto God’s mighty hand and extended arm of strength and found common victory with Jesus in His life. God did not let him fail to have victory! Praise the Lord! Well, our Father has me all inspired today that despite my weaknesses, if I grasp onto His mighty hand and arm of strength, together life will work out well! So thankful I’m in His grip!
1 Co 2:1-5; 2 Co 12:1-10; Ps 44:1-3; Ps 139:14; Jn 15:4-5
Oh what a delightful morning it has been with my Father this morning as I sat in the glow of the soft lights of the Christmas tree and felt His presence of love upon me! I have enjoyed reflecting upon the Christmas stories of the birth of Jesus over the past few weeks and this morning I read about Mary who was called to bear the Son of God and how she felt unqualified to carry out the task the Lord had given to her. “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” were her words to the angel who spoke to her. Reading this, I want to ask you if you as a Christian feel like Mary – unqualified to carry out a task the Lord has set before you? If so, I want to encourage you by the message that was given to her, in that the Holy Spirit would be upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her. “Nothing is impossible with God,” the angel told her. This same message is true for each of us as Christians. When we become believers in Jesus, we are filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Most High that dwells within us is capable of enabling us or “overpowering” us to carry out His will when we might deem it impossible based on our state of circumstances. Woohoo! I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel like “Supercowgirl” and I’m all “spurred” up to leap out in faith in Him to enable me to carry out His will for me this day. If you happen to be feeling inadequate, my prayer for you is “more power to you” – rest in His power to you and have a ”mighty” day in what you have to do! His blessings to ya ~
Luke 1:26-28; Ac 1:1-11, 2; Eph 2:22; 1 Co 1:25; Col 1:9-14; Php 4:13
My Father reminds me this morning of an activity that I used to participate in when I was a young girl in school. All of the kids in my class were divided into two teams and each team took hold of opposite ends of a long rope. There was a mark on the ground between us and the goal was to pull the opposing team so one of their team members crossed over the mark which brought their loss in the competition. This activity was call “Tug of War.” This is a sport that is actually played all over the world that puts two teams against each other in a test of strength. My Father has laid it upon my heart this morning that as Christians, we are constantly involved in “Tug of War” activity with the enemy, the Devil. His Word spoken to me this morning says that in the last days, there will be scoffers of the Lord Jesus who will follow their own ungodly desires. They are those who will divide us, who follow their natural instincts and do not have the Spirit of the Lord. In an effort to win this war, Our Father tells us the importance of building ourselves up in our most holy faith and praying in the Spirit, keeping ourselves in God’s love as we wait for His mercy to rescue us from this life into eternity. Being on our Father’s winning team, this means being a part of His team – being in relationship with our Father and other Christians, reading His Word (the Bible) and praying for strength to win the battles that we face that tug on us to cross over the line to the enemy’s side called sin. As we do, did you know our Father is helping us win and cheering us on? Yes, it is true! His Word tells us that His Spirit helps us in our weakness. We may not even know what to pray for, but the Lord’s Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Our Father understands our struggles as He searches our hearts and He knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will which is that we win over the enemy! Oh, I can hear that in my mind as I visualize our team tugging and tugging to win the battle between the flesh and the Spirit’s desires and our Father’s Spirit groaning as He helps us fight the fight to win over the enemy. As our Father’s cheerleader, I say to you this morning “Come on team, let’s win! Let’s tug, tug, tug and don’t give an inch to the enemy. We can do this. It will be a blessed time when at the end of the war, we can do the victory dance and reap the rewards of our efforts to apply strength for our Father’s winning team! Woohoo! It’s gonna be fun and victory will feel so sweet. Be strong. Keep going! So many need us!”
I’m off to a great start this morning as I look to my Father for His insight and wisdom. He calls us all to step out into this world and share Him with others and when I think about how magnificent and marvelous He is, I can feel pretty inadequate in being able to put into words how to describe or explain Him and His love, especially to folks of high education and intellect. In fact, if it were a job that I was applying for and it was advertised as the position needing someone who would be an Ambassador to the King of the Universe, going into the world to explain to others who He is and the plan that He has for their life, I would possibly say Yikes!!! I could never do that very well! But that mindset is not of our Father and the Apostle Paul sets a great example to me. He says that He could relate, in that when he was just getting started, he was not eloquent nor did He have great wisdom as he proclaimed testimony about Him. In fact, he said he knew nothing except Jesus and Him crucified. But Paul’s view of himself changed as he realized that it was through his weakness, fear and trembling that the demonstration of God’s power could be seen by others! When they saw his weakness, they would not end up resting upon Paul’s wisdom, but rather upon the power and wisdom of the Father to do the work. Our Father, who is after all, the God of the Universe, is capable of doing all things including putting on display His indescribable power through us. Whoohoo! That thought just gets me off to a great start this morning. It makes me feel like Super Woman! Hmmmm. I just know with my Father in me, we together can do amazing things today! Paul ended up changing the world just by being willing to step out despite his weakness and letting our Father display His power in him. It’s going to be so exciting to watch Him work! Do you ever feel weak sometimes? If so, His power to you! Have fun and don’t forget to write about all your adventures, as your stories, just like Paul’s may very well change the world!
I’m trekking through this Thursday together with ya! Togetherness with each other is a real good thing, but as we will see in Dad’s Word today, it can be a very ugly thing depending on the common denominator between people. As we see in Mark’s story, if we choose to partner with those who delight in our weaknesses, it can be to our detriment as well as to other’s. This is as it was in Judas Iscariot’s case and the end result was not worth it! He ended up with so much regret, he took his own life because he had a weakness for money and chose to partner with the chief priests to betray Jesus for pay, much to their delight. On the other hand, when we look at the New Testament and see the other 11 disciples, they delighted in each other’s strength in the Lord. As a result, there was victory for our Father’s Kingdom, without regret and with great reward – the better pay! Dad’s Word says not to join with the rebellious, for destruction will come upon them and who knows what other calamities. Yikes!!! This cowgirl certainly don’t want to end up like a “calamity Jane”. I’d rather end up Jesus sane! Are ya partnering with me? Yeehaw!!!
Mk 14:10-11; Pr 24:21; Jos 24:15; Ps 118:14
Monday, May 14, 2012
Well, I’ve made it through the weekend to Monday and so thankful to be in Daddy’s company. I know I’m not the only one who loves His presence. As Jesus performed many miracles, a crowd was always following after Him. Because of His great compassion for the people and concern for their need to eat, He miraculously fed them with seven loaves of bread and a few small fish the disciples provided. He gave thanks, broke them and gave them to the disciples to distribute, hence feeding 4,000 with food to spare. Then sending them away, He got into the boat with His disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha. The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test Him, they asked Him for a sign from Heaven. He sighed deeply and said “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.” Then He left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side. It strikes me that Jesus sighed deeply when asked by the Pharisees for a sign from Heaven. This story speaks to me that Jesus understands high expectations and disbelief. He wanted the Pharisees to believe in Him for who He was – the great “I Am.” He desired them to love Him just as He was without having to gain their approval or acceptance based on more performance or meeting their expectations. To be accepted just as I am is what we all desire, too. It is to have unfailing, unconditional love – the kind of love that Jesus gives to us. He demonstrated this kind of love for us in that while we were still sinners, He died for us. He tells us that He does not find His pleasure in the strength of the horse, nor does He find His delight in the legs of a man (man’s own ways) but He delights in those who fear Him (respect, trust, believe and reverence Him) and put their hope in His unfailing love for them. He desires we believe in Him and the message He brings, to love Him for who He is and as He is. He desires we find comfort knowing we have His love, too! I know He loves me as I am because His Word tells me these things: God so loved me, He sent His only Son to die on a cross to save me from sin and death just through my faith in Him and not of myself. I am saved as a gift from God, not by works so nobody can boast. My efforts are as filthy rags, yet I can approach His throne with confidence because He is my high priest who sympathizes with my weakness. When I confess my sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive my sins. Oh, I’m so happy God’s love for us is not based on us pulling off the impossible of living perfect! Just as we are – that’s how Jesus loves us! Whoohoo! It just makes me want to love Him right back and love others this way as well. I’m sending much love to ya’s. Have a great day just as you are! Mk 8:1-13; Eph 2:8-9; Gal 3; Pr 19:22; Ps 147:10-11; Heb 4:15-16; 1 Jn 1:9; 4:7-21; Is 64:6; Jn 8:58-59; Mt 22:34-40
>What is YOUR Potential? by PBR Pastor Todd Pierce
Have you ever wondered what YOUR potential really is? If you are a Christian, then Jesus is YOUR potential. Because of the redemption, YOU are now filled with the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave and because you have responded to that Spirit, you are a son or daughter – one who is capable of living the same character and love as Jesus. To many this may seem almost blasphemous, but hear me. Jesus showed the example of what the human potential is, when fully submitted to the Father. He came to reveal the Father to us and then invited us to follow Him in revealing the Father to those we encounter. I’m pretty sure that none of us will fully realize or reach this potential, but I want to spur you on for more. I want you to take another look at your life as a son or daughter and get a whole new hope and excitement in what our Father has for you. Too many of God’s kids have settled for lives of weakness and compromise.
If you don’t know how much the Father loves you just as you are, you may feel weighed down buy this truth and maybe even feel inadequate. But if you can understand the height, the depth, the width of God’s love for you, then you will feel inspired. This is my prayer for you. “Father, to all who read this, I pray that you would reveal yourself to them in a way that will completely eliminate any doubt of your infinite love and acceptance of them. That they would be so captivated by your presence that they would be ruined for life apart from you. Holy Spirit, help them see their worth to you and then show them their potential. We need hope that is anchored in you. Give them the courage to accept the gospel of the Kingdom and faith to see how you can take one life offered to you and change the world around them. Show us what your dream is for us. I pray this with the love You gave me, Jesus. Amen.”
We are in our third and final week of fasting and I want to give you all a glimpse of where my heart is. So often I find myself in a place where I don’t really want to walk by faith, but I want to gain the knowledge of what the future looks like and I want to feel like I have the strength and ability to walk it out. But, because of a Kingdom rule established by Jesus himself, we must walk by faith. The last two weeks specifically, I have been brought to a place of better knowing my weakness and my own inability to to do what I have been called to do. I am so grateful that we serve a Father who is attracted to weakness. He said he opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. He told us not to be thankful for our strength but for our weakness. It is in our weakness that he is shown to be strong. In the light of this truth I want each of you to know that I am very weak and you are very weak. Within myself I have no power or strength to walk out the vision our Father has given me for Riding High Ministries. The better news is that I am drawing closer to the vision giver, the vision sustainer, and the vision accomplisher. He is a King who has limitless riches and power over all creation. He is the one whom every tongue will confess is Lord, He is the slain lamb who will return as the Lion of Judah. He is the Lord our God who was and is and is to come. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And he is my Father. I pray that each of you have purposed in your heart to take this narrow road to Life. Seek Him and worship Him. He said that if we would draw near to Him that He would draw near to us. We choose to decrease so he will increase. This time of fasting is for you to draw near to him in an unusual way, to get your flesh into submission to your Spirit, and to insist on not allowing the mundane things in life to overshadow the significance of who you are. Contend for the supernatural. We enter his presence with thanksgiving and praise. Read Psalms 95. Watch this video link:
and lets make this a year of thankfulness and praise. This is our prayer: Psalm 90:16-17 “Let us see your miracles again, let our children see your glory at work. May the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful.” II Thes 3: 1-5 “Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”