Your Life’s Author

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I’m pretty sure the English translation of “May” is chaos! With all the end of the year events, good golly it’s a good thing we all have necks to keep track of our heads!! And yet this brings to mind something Scriptural of course…

In the book of Matthew we see bookend verses that practically mirror each other on the Hope filled Kingdom of God! (See Matt. 4:23&9:35) Within that we see the Kingdom way set up in chapters 5-7 and then exemplified in chapters 8-9. What is astoundingly cool is that within chapters 8 and 9 we see three sets of tirade examples! Each set separated by the call of discipleship! The Bible is written in such a fitting and orderly way, it all computes and is the very best commentary on itself!! This reflects the character of the Author!!

This Author is the same Author of your life dear one, so in all that feels like chaos, remember feelings are not facts – so don’t lean on them (Prov. 3:5-6, Matt. 4:4). Don’t allow the “feels” to steal the joy of your reality in Jesus. He is always working; and for our good (John 5:17, Romans 8:28)! Keep handing Him the pages of your life (no matter how chaotic they may seem) for His pen is always peace and His endings are always in victory!

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8

MORE POWER!

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Hello my dear friend. I’m glad you are here. Even if I cannot physically see you I’m grateful for the blessing of your presumed presence on the same page as I. Speaking of physical sight, mine falls far short of 20/20. Recently I went for a routine eye exam and like always they show me the big giant ‘E’ first (I appreciate their hopefulness). However without any eyewear this giant “E” only looks like a grayish cloud. The doctor then proceeds to flip down lens after lens asking if power 1 or 2 is better, 3 or power 4… I find myself inside my head screaming, “MORE POWER, JUST GIVE ME MORE POWER!!” Everything is just out of focus otherwise! This led to a bit of a chuckle.. the kind that just sort of embarrassingly escapes, produced from a random funny thought inside your own head. Leaving everyone around to look at you like your bird has flown the coo-coo’s nest for sure (maybe people just look at me like that). Anyway… My experience in the eye doctors office made me think of how often in life we too want to scream, “MORE POWER!”, when really in Christ we already have all the power we need we just fail to access it. It’s like me failing to put on my glasses in the morning. I have what I need but if I fail to take it up I’m left to feel powerless. 

Today dear one, I pray that you and I pay attention to the places in God’s Word that He gives us control. Like… John 14:27 (NIV) Peace I leave with you; my peace I gave you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. “Do not let…” He has given us the peace we need to keep calm. We can now choose to exercise the power He has given us to take up that peace and tame the trouble that would threaten our heart. Now get a load of this! In nearly the same address, Matthew 14:27 (we just looked at JOHN 14:27) (Gotta love when God makes it easy to commit His Word to memory!) (NIV) But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” See that part where God gave us control? TAKE courage! He has made courage available just as He has His peace, but we must exercise the control He has given us and take up the power He has made available to us. Praise Him for never leaving us stranded, more power is always available to us in Him dear one. 

When You Can’t Fix It

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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. Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) 

We tend to “santa-cize” the Christmas story, when it was, in reality, saturated with fear, doubt, dashed dreams, slander, hurt and devastation. We can realize this just reading the first 8 verses of the onset of Jesus’ life story in Matthew 1:18-25! 

  • Talk about experiencing every level of conceivable anxiety and stress when you need to have a conversation telling your betrothed that you are pregnant by the Holy Spirit!
  • Can you imagine the stares, the looks, the whispers around every corner of your community because you stay with a girl “pregnant by the Holy Spirit”?! Especially when you tell people you made your decision to stay in such a relationship based on a dream with an angel!?
  • Can you imagine every hope you had for your future, every romantic dream dashed in a moment as you choose to submit to a plan that isn’t your own; a plan that seems broken at best or at least it feels like it’s breaking you?! A plan you can’t “fix” and would have done anything to have prevented.

Maybe you can relate on some level to either Joseph or Mary. If so I pray you can take hold of the hopeful Word that was given to them in Matthew 1:23 (NIV). Our God’s name doesn’t mean “prevention” but rather the promise of His faithful presence. …Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

We live in a broken world and tragedy and trials will befall us all (John 16:33) but our God sent His Son into this broken world so that ultimately we don’t have to end in it and we can overcome by the power of His Spirit. The Christmas story brought the gift of sure and Living Hope to us all but certainly didn’t come in a perfectly shaped box easy to wrap (just ask Jesus’ parents)! 

When trials and tragedies go un-prevented we can lean into His faithful presence to find sufficient strength and grace to keep on, to look up, to finish this race strong for His glory; the glory of the One who won! And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:15 (NIV) *Remember Jesus submitted to a plan He wished would have been different in order to save our souls. He understands the strength needed to remain faithful in the pain and pressure of our trials and tragedies. (See Luke 22:339-46, Hebrews 4:15-16)

Proverbs 3:25-26 (NIV) tells us, Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared. The promise is not for the prevention of sudden disaster in this world but that by the power of His presence we will not be overtaken, we don’t have to be ruined by it! 

Daniel 3 is a thrilling read and perfect illustration of the un-prevention of a fiery trial! Yet if you read carefully you will notice between verses 21-23 and 25 the only thing burnt up were the chains that bound; and why?!… because …no other god can save in this way.” Daniel 3:29 (NIV)  Only Immanuel, our God with us, can use our worst trials and tragedies to bring about something good; to free us in ways we could not even imagine; freeing our hearts to receive and experience more of His presence and unfailing love. 

Dear one, I pray that today if you find yourself in the middle of something you did not choose, something you can not fix, that you would be given the grace to rest in experiencing the peace of His overcoming presence; that, …the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (NIV) The good news of the Christmas story is that God has a purposeful plan that includes your life and it is good even when we can’t see it, or understand it and He will never leave us alone within it. 

The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. Psalm 145:17 (NIV)

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:9-11 (NIV) 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3 (NIV) 

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:4-5 (NIV)

…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (NIV) 

God bless you muchly~

Holding And Yet Held Firm

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… you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” Genesis 32:28 (NIV) 

Ever since Genesis 3 in history when imperfection entered the world via imperfect human choices, perfect storms have been a guarantee for us all. In the guarantee of “life storms”, which by definition is anything that stresses us out, we also have the guaranteed choice to ride peacefully through if we want. So why are we so often found floundering in a flooded mess of fear, anxiety and yes, stress in our storms?! 

It’s simple… we let go of our Anchor (Hebrews 6:19). 

We let go of our Anchor then we lose our fixed focus (Hebrews 12:1-3) and we find we are fighting the wind and the waves to the point of exhaustion. We will struggle in life, the storms can hurt and wound and devastate but they do not have to take us down. Jacob was a man who struggled in life but in all the storms he did not let go of God, actually Genesis 32 records him actually in a wrestling match with God! God is not afraid to be wrestled with; He can handle your questions, stress, hurt, doubt, fear and anger – the God who created emotion can handle yours dear one. In all you can’t handle, hold on to the One who can handle you (even if it is to wrestle it out). 

When the storm seems to have drained you of strength to hold on, you will find yourself held in the Hand of peace Himself (Ephesians 2:14). The God who is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9) and good and forever loving (Psalm 136:1), will never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Our God chose to enter our storm and take on the greatest storm of all time. A storm that cost the Father His Son (John 3:16). A storm that would spill Jesus blood and break His body. Jesus held firm so that we could hold firm and yet, praise Him, it doesn’t depend on our strength. He understands and He is enough to anchor you through in peace. You are held, let Him hold you dear one.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)  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. Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

Winning

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In Jesus, you are always winning more than you are losing; in spite of how you feel or how things may appear. 

When Moses was struggling with God’s commission for him (Exodus 3, 4), God didn’t build up his self esteem saying, but Moses you have been to the palace, you even know how to speak Egyptian… No! God, instead tells Moses, I chose you, I made you, I will be with you. … Because when our confidence is in Him, and our trust is in His Word, we become more than conquerors! 

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

Deuteronomy 20:4 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” 

Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 

Root To Rock

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The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

On a run, or maybe more like a jog, or if anyone saw me they might actually label what I was doing as something more like a brisk walk (even if it felt like a run to me), anyway however I got there, I came upon all these breathtaking purple irises; thriving right out of a bed of total rock!! I thought, well now THAT is a picture of the beauty in overcoming! 

What we see as “inconvenience” (like the iris seeds may have seen the overhead rocks) may really be what God is using to shield us from stormier winds that threaten to steal His Seed from our hearts. Maybe it’s the inconvenient rock that is actually our refuge and what is holding us strong against greater storms. Maybe the inconvenience we want to complain about is actually saving us!

Jeremiah preached faithfully over 60 years without a positive response to his message! Paul sang faithfully in prison! We are all called to walk by faith and not sight (2 Cor. 5:7) so what is it that keeps us rooted in faith in the storms of life that we can’t comprehend? What prevents our total capsizing by giving into feelings and emotions that can rage on waves of doubt?!

Trust in His Word.

T.otal R.eliance U.pon S.ustained T.ruth

Feelings are not facts but His Word is. Praise God He has given us an anchor for our souls, firm and secure that will weather any storm until we arrive safely in His Kingdom (Heb. 6:19; 2 Tim. 4:18)!

Psalm 61:2-3 From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Cling to the Rock Who’s promises never fail.

When life gets “rocky” remember that every delicate bloom to every great mighty oak were all once just seeds/saplings that refused to give up ground when the storms of life raged and rocked their world. By His amazing grace may we bind our roots to the solid Rock that’s not rocking in rocky times and faithfully bloom/thrive where we are planted; for the display of His splendor dear one! 

…For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5

© Janette Kieffer redeeminggrace991ministries.com

Pasture Turned Palace in His Presence

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See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19 (NIV) 

A way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland… WHAT?! Those things are so unlikely! Who looks for steams in the wasteland?! We look for streams in the vicinity of a larger body of water! And wilderness by definition is wild, there is nothing marked, so who looks there for a way?! We look for ways in a national park with known trails but you don’t go to the wilderness looking for a way just as you don’t go looking for a stream in a wasteland; it’s just impossible. And yet… as believers in Jesus, the Word of God, we do look for the impossible in the I-M-possible! The great I AM (Ex. 3:14) in Matthew 19:26 (NIV) has said, … with God all things are possible.”  

So when we find ourselves a “wasteland” or in a “wilderness” let’s not exhaust ourselves looking for the impossible but rather looking to I AM. He is our greatest provision of peace that flows like a river through any wasteland and is our Way in and through every wilderness; we are never alone! 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, Ephesians 3:20 (NIV) 

I can do all things through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NIV) 

I wonder how often David, the shepherd boy, had to remind himself of that Truth as he wandered the wilderness, the pasture, tending his father’s sheep while all his brothers were off at battle?! Our God was working a way even as David wandered in the wilderness. David was Jesse’s 8th son and the number 8 symbolizes new beginnings! 

1 Samuel 16 finds king Saul tormented by an evil spirit and he is in need of someone to play the harp to help ease his discomfort. One of king Saul’s servants speaks up and says, … “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him.” Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 1 Samuel 16:18-19 (NIV) 

David was just serving the sheep in the pasture faithfully like he did everyday when he was suddenly pulled up to the palace for service! Even from his position in the pasture someone was able to notice that David had musical ability and was brave, not just any brave but warrior brave! They noticed that the David in the pasture spoke well and was fine-looking! Why?! Because David treated his job in the pasture like it WAS a job in the palace. He must have come dressed for success (fine looking) even in the pasture. He must have used clean, encouraging language (spoke well) even in the pasture. He must never have gotten lazy but even in the dead of night made sure every last sheep was never left unprotected, unguarded (warrior brave); even if they were just sheep and he was just in the pasture. He used his musical ability even in the pasture even if he played just to sheep. Why? Because the Lord was with him and God had put a song in David’s heart, even in the pasture! Just as God can make a way in the wilderness and streams in a wasteland… He can turn your pasture into a palace as you abide in His presence dear one.

David’s performance was not influenced by his placement; whether in the pasture or palace David was motivated by God’s presence. David brought excellence in everything because it was his God he was serving through the power of the Holy Spirit; and people couldn’t help but notice something different in Him! That influential difference began in the pasture and moved to the palace. What “pasture” has God perfectly positioned you in, to be His “number 8”, His avenue to ussure in new beginnings to the glory of His name? 

It’s never about placement or performance, pasture or palace, it’s about His presence in you. With God, Who is The Way, streams will flow even in a wasteland. If David had based his life’s perspective on his pasture surroundings he never would have made it to the palace. Allow God’s faithful presence to filter your perspective in the land of your service (even if it’s  in the pasture) and you will thrive on the journey to your Heavenly Palace dear one.

You Will Make It!

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And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be a sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” Exodus 3:12 (NIV) 

“WHEN you… you WILL worship God on this mountain.” The verse above is spoken with confidence, with assurance that the trial will be overcome, you will make it to the mountain top! You will make it and not just barely but with energy to worship! So dear one, don’t give up!! In God’s strength you can make it out of “Egypt” to the mountain top… worshiping (Philippians 4:13)! 

It was in Genesis 13:11 that Lot and Abraham parted ways (which was the beginning of Lot’s downfall). Abraham and Lot were parting to keep the peace. At first it sounds like a good idea right?! How easy is it to come up with excuses to give up, to give in to temptation, to part ways with a job, an activity, a relationship… you name it. When looking for an excuse to give up or give in, we are all sure to find one along with probably some pretty good validating points (just like Abraham and Lot)! 

Instead of parting to “keep the peace” have we first tried inviting the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) to our equation? For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the  barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, Ephesians 2:14 (NIV). Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:9 (NIV) 

Even if, even when we have fallen short and done things our own way only to find ourselves rolling downhill, we have a God who can redeem, restore, make strong, firm and steadfast again (1 Peter 5:10) by His amazing grace! Back in Exodus the Israelites journey was not perfect and yet they made it just as God had said! Even though Lot’s life took a turn downhill it was through one of his biggest debacles that Ruth, a Moabite, became the great grandmother of David through whose line our Messiah came! Praise our Redeemer! 

Our God shows no favoritism (Romans 2:11) and God sustains and protects His own. Through faith and belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior (John 3:16) we become His child (Galatians 3:26) and ALL God’s children make it to the mountain top! He won’t give up on you, don’t give up on Him. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:6 (NIV) … If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’” Isaiah 7:9 (NIV) 


Keep on dear one, you will make it, the mountain top is coming so join me in worshiping our Warrior King; the One who has won! “And I, because of what they have planned and done, am about to come and gather the people of all nations and languages, and they will come and see my glory. “I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations- to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous for archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations. And they will bring all your people, from all the nations, to my holy mountain… Isaiah 66:18-20 (NIV)

Embrace Fearlessness

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But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Luke 2:10 (NIV) 

Someone said, “The birth of Jesus was the death of fear.” What a simple and yet profound statement! Because Jesus came to earth and fulfilled the promise to become our Savior (through His death in our place on the cross, for the forgiveness of our sin) we can choose to live fearless! Jesus became the sure Way back into His perfect presence (John 3:16, John 14:6)! 

For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:40 (NIV) All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. John 6:37 (NIV) Dear one, there is nothing but sure hope in those promises for you and for me! Have you taken hold of them in your heart? Are you living out an extension of this invite to those around you? Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. John 1:16 (NIV) …“already given” dear one, we always have grace to give; by God’s grace may He help us give it!

Chesed is a Hebrew word that essentially encompasses love in action. Jesus exemplified love in action as we see depicted all over His Word! His Word comes to life in us by His Spirit empowering us to be love in action. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 (NIV) 

Romans 10:21 (NIV) is written concerning Israel but can well be applied to us all; But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hand to a disobedient and obstinate people.”  All day long… ALL day long! WOW!! No matter what we have done, or will do, God knows; and yet still chooses to extend His hand to hold us, rather than to hold our sins against us! Those willing to accept by faith, His Son, Jesus, as their Savior and Lord are set free from death, sin and Satan (Romans 8:1, John 6:36)!

There is no fear in the diagnosis, there is no fear in parenting, there is no fear in finances, there is no fear in the unknown of the future… because the One who holds your future has the victory and your life rests eternally in His good hands as a believer in Jesus. 

Where there is possibility for fear, there is opportunity for faith. Faith grows through trust. We embrace fearlessness through entrusting all we would fear, to God Almighty (1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6-7). He is ALL-mighty, ALL day and ALL night, and He loves you! There is no fear in perfect love (1 John 4:18). 

… I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV) for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV) 

A Flood Of Refreshment

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The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7 (NIV) 

Exodus 2:23-25 (NIV) matches 4 expressions of suffering by the people, with God’s compassionate responses. The people are recorded having… “Groaned”, “cried out”, “cry for help”, “groaning” to which the Scriptures record… “God heard”, “he remembered”, “God looked”, and “was concerned”. Psalm 34:18 (NIV) declares, The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Dear one, God shows no favoritism (Romans 2:11) and longs to meet you where you are at and be to you the all sufficient provision of everything you need. Yet in the flood of your need that threatens your drowning at times where do you flee for the filling and refreshing of your soul?

Exodus 2:15 (NIV) finds a man having fled to the side of a well after fleeing from a flood of fear. …but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. Dear one, if you need to flee, flee to the water of God’s Word, that His Truth would flood your heart, reviving your soul. If we root down in the rule and reign of Jesus Christ and embrace His Sovereignty as our grounding point in all situations and circumstances, streams of Living Water will flow from within us!  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:38 (NIV) 

A few verses forward from Moses’ seat beside the well finds us in Exodus 2:17 in which Moses is now administering water to others! A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25 (NIV) One thing leads to another and the refreshing word flows to the point that the one who once was fleeing from fractured dynamics is now found flourishing within family! God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun scorched land. Psalm 68:6 (NIV) Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8 (NIV) Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, Acts 3:19 (NIV) 

Today, may we run to the only One who can revive, renew, restore and redeem our lives, our hope, our situation, by the well of Truth that flows to us via the living water of His refreshing Word.  

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. Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)