Lessons from Letchworth

Our favorite place to enjoy the autumn colors is Letchworth State Park. It is located in western New York state approximately an hour from our home. I want to share a few lessons I learned from the Lord while recently visiting this scenic wonderland.

Letchworth State Park covers 14,500 acres. It is the largest canyon east of the Mississippi River and is known as the Grand Canyon of the East. It is massive! As I survey the height and depth of this canyon and gaze at the tremendous trees, I am reminded of Ephesians 3:17-18. “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.

We are embedded in beauty. The accumulation of crunchy brown leaves on the ground creates a mattress. As our eyes survey the fall foliage forest on the banks of the canyon, a multicolored patchwork quilt is displayed.

Let me describe this brilliant quilt of colorful leaves. There is an abundance of yellow and gold. Gold is both a color and a commodity. I Peter 1:7 NKJV says, “the genuineness of your faith, is much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.Orange swatches are outstanding. The orange leaves remind me of flames of fire. Tongues of fire describe the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:3. “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. Patches of green are intermingled. Evergreen trees and everlasting life. I John 2:25 says, “And this is what He promised us–eternal life. The reds are not as abundant but still evident. The red leaves are precious similar to the preciousness of Jesus’ blood. I John 1:7 NLT tells us, “the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.Beautiful colors are exhibited and powerful scriptures are interwoven in nature’s quilt.

Although we are captivated by the beauty of the trees, we also watch the Genesee River wind its way along the bottom of this gorgeous gorge. I am reminded of John’s words in Revelation 22:1-2. “Then He showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.The source of the spiritual River of Life is God’s throne. Nature’s Genesee River is a tributary of Lake Ontario and it flows through the park.

Letchworth State Park features three large waterfalls – the Upper, Middle and Lower Falls. There was in abundance of water flowing from these falls this year. John 7:37-39 says, “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

We were enveloped in a mist of water vapor while standing near the Middle Falls. Suddenly, we saw a rainbow! Water droplets and rays of sun combined to create a bow of colors. God says in Genesis 9:13&16, “I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. I praise the Lord for His beauty and His promises!

We lingered at various overlooks taking in the magnificent overview of the canyon. We also lingered in the Lord’s presence. Throughout the day, He revealed multiple meandering messages. Let me continue to share a few more mini-messages.

When we stopped at the overlooks to get a better view, we saw a few burning bushes. Moses encountered a burning bush while taking care of sheep. Exodus 3:2-5 says, “The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, ‘I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.’ When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then He said, ‘Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’” I felt like we were standing on holy ground while being consumed with the scenic surroundings.

We observed the massive rock formations creating the canyon’s walls. Time for another scripture. Psalm 118:22 says, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Jesus is the rock, the sure foundation of our lives.

There was an abundance of sunshine throughout the day. The sunshine accentuated the beauty of autumn. I use a play on words while thinking of Jesus as the Son of God and Son of Man. Jesus is our Sonshine. He is with us throughout every day because according to Hebrews 13:5 He never leaves us or forsakes us.

Psalm 96:12 declares, “Let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.Today, we have heard the joyful song of the trees in Letchworth State Park. We have sung our praises along with the forest. We have experienced the grandeur of the Grand Canyon of the East and the greatness of our God!

 

 

Secret PLACE or SECRET Place

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty
Psalm 91:1 NKJV

Where is this secret place? I want to find it!

In Manifesting Your Spirit, Graham Cooke challenges his readers journal their thoughts upon the secret place.

So, I begin…

When I think about the secret place, I wonder which word to emphasize. Is it the “secret place” or the “secret place”?

If I put the accent upon place, I think about the location. Matthew 6:6 instructs, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Is the secret place where I secretly meet with God? Is it a location no one but God and I know about? Is it the spot where no one can disturb me?

If my emphasis is upon secret, I focus upon the information. The Lord says in Jeremiah 33:3 NLT, “Ask Me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.What secret might God want to reveal? I consider it a privilege and honor that God would want to share something with me that might not be evident to someone else.

Perhaps I am trying to interpret something supernatural with natural ideas. Is the secret place a spiritual location rather than a physical location? Where do I need to be spiritually in order to hear God’s secrets? Maybe I need to say like Samuel in I Samuel 3:10, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.

With my Bible and concordance in hand, I search for scriptures that refer to the secret place.

The secret things belong to the LORD our God,
but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever,
that we may follow all the words of this law.
Deuteronomy 29:29 NLT

God has secrets! As His children, He will reveal secret things to us. He shares what will be beneficial to our spiritual walk. If the secret things belong to God and He want to reveal them, we must be in a secret place to hear His secrets.

I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel,
who summons you by name.
Isaiah 45:3 NIV

This verse validates the secret place as both a location and as information. The Lord hides secrets in secret places! He personally calls us to these secret places to reveal Himself. Bill Johnson has said, “God hides things for us, not from us.”

My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me
were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:15-16

In verse 15, the secret place is a secluded spot place where physical intimacy took place. It is an emotional as well as a physical place where love is consummated. It can also be symbolic of a time of spiritual intimacy where we become one with God. I Corinthians 6:17 says, “But whoever is united with the Lord is one with Him in spirit.
In verse 16, God’s recorded plans could refer to the secrets God would reveal to David throughout his life. David would best hear these plans while spending intimate, personal time with the Lord. God desires spiritual intimacy with us so He can reveal His plans and purposes to us.

You are my hiding place and my shield: I hope in your word.
Ps 119:114 NKJV

When the Psalmist refers to his hiding place, I believe he is describing God as his secret place. God is his safe spot from his enemies.

When he calls out to Me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver and honor him.
Psalm 91:15 NIV

This can refer to a physical, emotional or spiritual troubling place. Not a good location, but a place where we all have been. It can become a good place if we use this place as an opportunity to pray. The secret is the Lord’s answer to our prayer.

* * * * * * *

We have been thinking about the secret place in regards to revelation. Another perspective can be secrets concealed. Although we want to know God’s secrets, we occasionally try to keep secrets from Him – especially things of which we are ashamed or embarrassed. However, this will not work! Scripture proves it.

For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open,
and every secret will be brought to light.
Mark 4:22 NLT

Jesus promises that EVERYTHING will be revealed. Ecclesiastes 12:14 NLT says, “God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.

Can anyone hide from Me in a secret place?
Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the LORD.
Jeremiah 23:24 NLT

God is omnipresent – He is everywhere. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus says, “I am with you always.” We may need to be in a secret place to hear God’s secrets, but we cannot keep any secrets from Him.

You spread out our sins before You— our secret sins—
and You see them all.
Psalm 90:8 NLT

God is omniscient – He knows everything. We may be able to keep secrets from people – at least for awhile. However, God knows our sins whether or not we tell Him. The amazing thing is that God will forgive the sins we would prefer He did not know. We just need to admit them to Him. I John 1:19 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” His forgiveness is the greatest secret He has not kept hidden!

* * * * * * *

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.
Psalm 27:4

David found his secret place. It was a spiritual location where he received spiritual insight.

Each of us will have our own interpretation of the secret place. If you perceive the secret place primarily as a location, you will think of the special spot where you spend time alone with the Lord. If the concept of information resonates more, you will focus upon new spiritual understanding God personally reveals.

For me, it is the place where my spirit meets with God’s Spirit. My secret place is where the Holy Spirit reveals His secrets to my spirit.

A good description of the Secret Place is found in the words of I Come to the Garden Alone by Deniece Williams. (Link)

I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses

And He walks with me and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am his own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known
He speaks, and the sound of his voice is so sweet
The birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He give to me
Within my heart is to ringing.
And He walks with me and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am his own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known

 

 

Leaves – Objects and Actions

The seasons change. Summer leaves and fall arrives. The leaves are displaying brilliant colors. Leaves are falling from the trees. People are raking piles of crunchy, dry leaves. Leaves, leaves, leaves! This causes me to think about scriptures that include the word leave. Yes, I know leaves and leave are two very different things, but let me share what I have discovered about leave. There are scriptures that assure us God will never leave us. There are other verses that instruct us to leave. Occasionally, we are told to leave something or someone alone.

While people may be creating piles of tree leaves, let us gather scriptural leaves.

God never leaves:

God told Jacob in a dream that He would not leave him. He also told Joshua He would not leave him.
What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you (Jacob) wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not LEAVE you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.Genesis 28:15 NLT
No one will be able to stand against you (Joshua) all the days of your life. As I (God) was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never LEAVE you nor forsake you.Joshua 1:5

Moses shared with the Israelites God’s promise not to leave them.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you(the Israelites); He will never LEAVE you nor forsake you.Deuteronomy 31:6

Although Jesus told His disciples He would leave them, He also told them that He would not be leaving them because the Holy Spirit would come.
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to LEAVE this world and go to the Father. John 13:1
The world cannot receive Him (the Holy Spirit), because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, for He abides with you and will be in you. I (Jesus) will not LEAVE you as orphans; I will come to you.John 14:17-18

Because of God’s faithfulness throughout history, we are assured He will not leave us.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I LEAVE you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

There are times to leave:

God spoke to Abram and Paul directing them to leave a specific location.
The LORD had said to Abram, “LEAVE your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.” Genesis 12:1 NLT
the Lord speaking to me (Paul). “Quick!’”He said. “LEAVE Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about Me.” Acts 22:18

God may instruct us to leave a particular lifestyle.
LEAVE your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight. Proverbs 9:6
Jesus’ words to the woman caught in adultery, “Go now and LEAVE your life of sin.” John 8:11
Therefore LEAVING the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, – Hebrews 6:1 NASB

Jesus shared how a shepherd might leave many sheep to find one that is lost. He was giving an example of what He would do for those lost in sin.
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he LEAVE the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?Luke 15:4

Jesus lived a life of coming and going. He left heaven to come to earth. Thirty-three years later, He left earth to return to heaven.
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to LEAVE this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.John 13:1

May we be sensitive to the Lord’s leading for when to leave a location or a lifestyle.

There are times to leave someone or something alone:

As involved as Jesus was in the lives of those around Him, there were times He told people to leave others alone.
LEAVE her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her (Mary who anointed Jesus feet)? She has done a beautiful thing to Me.” Mark 14:6

Gamaliel gave similar instructions when the apostles were persecuted.
Therefore, in the present case I advise you: LEAVE these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.Acts 5:38

Wisdom is requred to know when to act and when not to act. Paul gives good advice to us as well as the Romans.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but LEAVE room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is Mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.Romans 12:19

There are leaves in abundance whether referring to leaves of trees or leaves of scripture.

I love the promise that the Lord will never leave us. Jesus told the disciples in Acts 1:4, “Do not LEAVE Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about. Each day I receive a new impartation of this gift – the Holy Spirit. It is through the presence of the Holy Spirit in me that God never leaves me.

Referring to the Holy Spirit, Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I LEAVE with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit who never leaves me. He shows me when to leave. He also helps me know when it is best to leave a situation in His hands. He gives me peace in all circumstances.

I love the autumn tree leaves that never fail to appear during this season. I also love the promised leaves of scripture that never fail whatever the season.

Into-Me-see and Into-me-see

One definition for intimacy is closeness. With a few changes to this word, it could be phonetically pronounced “into me see”. Nothing is held back during intimacy. To spiritually define intimacy, I hear God saying “into-Me-see.” My response is “into-me-see.” God is a relational God and He desires intimacy. He created me for intimacy with Him. I am created in His image. So, I too, want intimacy.

Intimacy is often associated with love expressed between a husband and wife. I perceive four things transpiring in physical intimacy. There is penetration and receptivity. This results in consummation with the possibility of new life. I believe physical intimacy is a shadow of the spiritual intimacy God desires to have with me. These same steps apply. John 3:6 says, “Flesh is born of flesh but spirit is born of Spirit.

Do I hear Jesus saying, “Into-Me-see”? God is an open book when it comes to revealing Himself. In fact, His open book is known as the Bible. I want to dig into His written word and let it penetrate me. May I be receptive to God’s written word (logos) as well as the Holy Spirit’s pricks (rhema). Psalm 103:2 says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all His kind deeds.

The consummation of Jesus inviting me to “into-Me-see” and my response of “into-me-see” is known as faith. Ephesians 3:17 says that Christ dwells in our hearts through faith. There is new life according to II Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Although there is new life, the need for intimacy continues. God invites me to “into-Me-see”. Am I receptive in allowing God to “into-me-see”? I want to consider how well my soul (mind, emotions and will) align with God’s plan. Do God and I become one?

My Mind: What thoughts do I think?
Are they predominately positive or negative? When I allow God to “into-me-see”, then He will give me the mind of Christ according to I Corinthians 2:16.

My Emotions: What emotions do I most experience?
Do I show more love or anger? In I John 4:8, I learn that God is love. I Corinthians 13:3-7 says, “Love is patient, love is kind,etc. Ephesians 4:6 warns, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.
Do I yield to God’s peace or do I worry? Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Do I feel more joy or sorrow?
Psalm 30:5 says, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Do I spend more time believing or doubting?
Mark 11:23 tells me not to doubt in my heart but to believe and it will be done.

My Will: How would I describe my will?
Am I strong willed? Do I want my will or Thy will to be accomplished? In
Matthew 6:10 NKJV, Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.”

Graham Cooke says that the mind will reason us out of what God desires. He also says that our emotions are not dependable feelings. We need our will to connect with faith.

Intimacy involves a knowing. When the “into-Me-see” and the “into-me-see” are consummated, there is a deeper knowing that occurs. Intimacy penetrates into the heart and does not stay in the head. Heart knowledge (knowing Him) is born rather than just head knowledge (knowing about Him). In Philippians 3:10 Paul says, “I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.

My intimacy (into-me-see) with Him is based upon His intimacy (into-Me-see) with me. In Manifesting Your Spirit, Graham Cooke says, “God loves to be close. He loves to declare who He is for me. His intention is always about a deeper relationship. He is totally committed to upgrading our experience of Him and to bringing us into a deeper place of rest, joy and assurance in Him. He seeks to develop the capacity in us for trust and faith at a high level.”

Cooke also points out that worship leads to deeper intimacy. Intimacy gives birth to trust and confidence. David says in Psalm 57:7, “My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.

Psalm 86:9 says, “Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth.” This allows me to experience God’s “into-Me-see.” Psalm 22:3 says that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. This gives God the opportunity to “into-me-see”.

I want to draw near to the Lord in order to see things from His perspective (into-Me-see). I also want to know what He sees in me (into-me-see).

My Reader, do you want intimacy with God? Do you want to see into who God really is? Accept His invitation to “into-Me-see”. Are you willing to allow God to see intimately into who you are? Extend an invitation to Him to “into-me-see”. Intimacy is Christ in you and you in Christ.

Listening to the Living Water

One afternoon while on vacation, we strolled around our hotel grounds. We sat down on a bench in front of a wonderful waterfall that serenaded us with tinkling, trickling sounds. The waterfall was a sliding stream of water that became a fanciful, frolicking falls seeking to splash upon our feet. It seemed like the water was talking. It was as if I were hearing water words. I desired to see and hear with my spiritual eyes and ears as well as with my physical eyes and ears.

Living Water is a description of the Holy Spirit. In John 7:37-38, Jesus says, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” Jesus was referring the Holy Spirit.

Seeking the source of these sacred sounds, we trekked up the hill. When Jesus ascended into heaven, He returned to the presence of His Heavenly Father. Symbolically, as we ascended the hill, we were getting closer to the source of the falls and our faith.

The water originated higher up the hill. Then it cascaded down its course and rippled over the rocks. At some points, it was a tiny trickle. At other spots it was almost a rushing river. However, the water was always present. The same is true regarding the Holy Spirit’s presence. God never leaves us. He is with us at the low spots as well as the high points of our lives. He is with us during turmoil and tranquility. Jesus promised in Matthew 28:20, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

The water words I heard were Living Water. The Holy Spirit was speaking to my spirit. I may not have heard audible words but I was reminded of God’s Word.

The sounds of the waterfall were like laughter. Job 8:21 says, “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” I, too, laughed.

There was a resounding rejoicing revealed by the falling water. Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” A smile spread across my face.

I let out a sigh as I experienced a calmness. I felt like I was responding to Jesus’ invitation of Matthew 11:28. “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

I sensed a refreshing spray of Living Water in addition to wet water as we spent time by the falls. Psalm 23:2-3 says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.

Simultaneously, my heart was flooded with joy and peace and hope. I felt like an overflowing waterfall. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord promises in Isaiah 44:3, “I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and My blessing on your descendants.” There must have been a thirstiness within us that led us to this waterfall of faith. The afternoon became a time of worship at the water’s edge. The little waterfall was like liquid love that tumbled down a hill and then rested at our feet and in our souls. We were refreshed physically and spiritually.

Impossible Becomes I AM Possible

Imagine a little 2 year-old boy trying to tie his shoes. It is impossible! Dad comes along and ties the shoes for his son. It is possible.

Open your Bible to Mark 10:17-27 and read the account of the rich young man who wanted to inherit eternal life. It was impossible. Then read John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.It is possible.

Mark 10:27 says, “With man this is impossible but not with God; all things are possible with God.Matthew 19:26 makes the same statement.

In Luke 1:26-38, an angel told Mary she would have a son. Impossible – Mary was not yet married. However, Gabriel explained this would be possible when the Holy Spirit came upon her. Luke 1:37 NLT says, “For nothing is impossible with God.

Similar statements are found in the Old Testament. In Genesis 18:24, the question “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” is asked concerning Sarah’s ability to have a child. It seemed impossible because of Abraham’s and Sarah’s ages. However, it was possible because God was in control.

Jeremiah begins his prayer in Jeremiah 32:17 NASB proclaiming, “Ah, LORD God, Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You.

With man, impossible. With God, possible.

Possible” is defined as able to be done. If something is possible, it means there is the power or capacity for it to be accomplished. If something is possible, it is attainable or achievable. When the prefix “im” is added to possible, the meaning completely changes. Now it means something cannot be done or achieved.

I want to have some fun with the word “impossible” and make a spiritual application. Instead of thinking of “im” as a prefix meaning “not”, I am reminded of the contraction “I’m” for “I am”. Taking it one spiritual step further, I think of the name for God as I AM. In Exodus 3:14, God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” The impossible becomes possible when God, the great I AM, is involved!

Since it is impossible with men and only possible with God, where are we? Are we left in the realm of impossibilities? Definitely not!

Jesus says in John 14:16, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever.Just as the little boy’s father helped his son tie his shoes, Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit as our Helper. The Holy Spirit helps us do what is impossible in our own strength.

Paul shares about pleading to have his thorn in his flesh removed in II Corinthians 12:8-10. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.What Paul thought was impossible to endure became possible when the Lord helped.

Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.The limitations of our minds can make it impossible for us to know how to pray. However, the Holy Spirit prays on our behalf. Once again, the impossible becomes possible.

God helped Moses, Isaiah and Paul comprehend how the impossible could become possible. Moses declares in Exodus 15:2 NLT, “The LORD is my strength and my song; He has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise Him–my father’s God, and I will exalt Him!The Lord says in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.Paul proclaims in Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

Now for a personal application. I Chronicles 16:11declares, “Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.” Then, II Chronicles 20:15 reminds me that “the battle is not mine, but God’s.If the battle were mine, I would probably lose. However, when the battle is the Lord’s, it is possible to win. He will help me achieve victory over any area where I struggle. Nothing is impossible for God!

Since what seems impossible to us is not impossible with God, let us ask Romans 8:31. “If God is for us, who can be against us?No one! Romans 8:37 tells us, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.Being conquerors, implies possibilities rather than impossibilities. I want to echo the words of Paul in Ephesians 3:20 NLT, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Listen to Joshua 1:9. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.Declare the words Job spoke to the Lord in Job 42:2 NLT, I know that You can do anything, and no one can stop You.” There is nothing impossible for God. Invite God, the great I AM, into your impossible situations.

How can we move from the realm of impossibilities to the realm of possibilities? Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.Living by faith not only pleases God but allows Him to do the impossible for us.

Paul says in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!Remember to rejoice because I AM makes the impossibilities possibilities.

Let us close by reciting the words of Nothing Is Impossible. Sing along if you know the melody.

Nothing Is Impossible
Through You
I can do anything
I can do all things
Cause it’s You who gives me strength
Nothing is impossible
Through You
Blind eyes are opened
Strongholds are broken
I am living by faith
Nothing is impossible!

I’m not gonna live by what I see
I’m not gonna live by what I feel

Deep down I
Know that You’re here with me
I know that, You can do anything

I believe, I believe
I believe, I believe in You

 

 

 

 

 

Gates: In and Out

I paused when I read Jesus’ words in John 10:9. “I am the gate.While I meditated upon these words, I also reflected upon my childhood experiences with a gate. Two gates. Did the gate have a similar function in both instances?

A gate allows for entrances and exits.

While growing up, we lived on a farm. Our home and surrounding yard were enclosed by a fence. The fence had a gate. The purpose of the gate was to keep children in and chickens out. Children benefited from the safety of a smaller space on a big farm. While chickens needed to roam freely, we did not want them destroyubg flowerbeds near the house.

Children in and chickens out. How does this apply to Jesus?

To fully understand the function of Jesus as a gate, we need to continue reading Jesus’ words in John 10:9. “I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved.

I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He (Jesus) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” When we are purified of unrighteousness, sin is out! In addition to forgiving our sins, Jesus also functions as a gate keeping sin out. Sin and chickens out!

Ephesians 1:13 says, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.Ephesians 5:18 goes on to say, “Be filled with the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit lives within us when we enter through the gate of Christ. Holy Spirit and children in!

Let’s think about what we want to keep within our lives and what we want to throw out when Jesus is the gate to our hearts.

Out with religion and in with relationship. We experience more intimacy with Jesus when we allow Him to be the gate of our heart. Our faith is no longer simply based upon obeying religious laws.

Our soul is composed of mind, will and emotions. All three are affected when Jesus is our gate.

According to I Corinthians 2:16, we can have the mind of Christ. This is possible when Jesus is the gate protecting our minds. I Corinthians 2:14 KNJV tells us “the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.However, verse 10 says that God reveals things to us by His Spirit. So, out with the natural mind and in with the spiritual mind.

Our will undergoes a change from “mine” to “Thine” when Jesus is our gate. Jesus taught us to pray to our Heavenly Father in Matthew 6:10, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.We must let go of our selfish desires and yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  This requires humility. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves.Romans 12:16 simply warns, “Do not be proud.” Ephesians 4:2 exhorts us, “Be completely humble and gentle.Out with pride and in with humility.

Our emotions are also affected when we allow Jesus to be our gate. Negative emotions must be replaced with positive ones. We want to kick out worry and fear. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.. . . Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.Jesus says in John 14:27 NLT, I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. . . . So don’t be troubled or afraid.Then I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.Worry out and peace in. Fear out and love in.

As a child, I thought it was fun to swing back and forth on our farm gate. This activity defeated the gate’s purpose. Proverbs 4:23 NLT says, “Guard your heart above all else.Make sure Jesus, the gate, is in control of what enters and exists your heart. What we allow to enter our mind, will and emotions affects our spiritual life. Let us keep Jesus in our heart and listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Bible warns us about vacillating (swinging back and forth) in our faith. Mark 11:23 encourages us not to doubt in our heart but believe.

Whether thinking about physical or spiritual structures, we always enter and exit through gates. Physical gates remind me that Jesus is our spiritual gate. A physical gate provides for children in and chickens out. A spiritual gate keeps sin out and allows the Holy Spirit in. Let’s keep our gates in place.