Take Number: 2022

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Many hoped 2021 was our second chance (after 2020 hit so many so hard) a “do-over” was overdue! Yet for many, 2021 has not been the comeback most were anticipating. Dear one, beloved of God (yes, that includes YOU, dear one, beloved of God) if you read no further I hope you catch that there are THREE twos in 2022, yes 3!! Because sometimes it takes more than just one second chance to get things right, am I right?! Oh, I know I’m right – living proof! Our God is a God of second chances, the fat chance, the slim chance and yes, even the 2022nd chance, dear one! 

Moses became (note – key word: “became”) one of the greatest men mentioned in the Bible for His foreshadowing of the Greatest; our Messiah, Jesus Christ. Moses walked out a process. He too needed to be called, “dear one, beloved of God”, more than once (see Exodus 4:10-16). 

When Moses was younger he found himself tangled in a web of why’s. Probably thinking to himself, “Why had life gone this way?! I clearly planned right, and things went left!!” At age 40… Acts 7:25 (NIV) Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. That’s a bummer… or maybe not, because God had not discarded His plan or purpose for Moses in spite of what other humans may have thought. What Moses figured should have worked in his present, God would progressively work out through a process; His process, not Moses’ (Isaiah 55:8-9).

For 40 years Moses would tend sheep in the wilderness before God would show up with a life changing adventure like no other! At this point Moses is about 80 and yet somehow through submission to God’s process, Moses’ life purpose had not decreased nor his passion diminished! After walking his sheep to the FAR side of the wilderness (at 80) he still found the fire of curiosity burning in his bones to walk even further! As Moses gets closer to the presence of God (and isn’t that the goal of any process of God’s; to bring us closer to His heart?!! YES!) God tells Moses to take off his sandals because he is walking on holy ground (Ex. 3:1-5). To get into the presence of God is there anything we need to remove, any sin we need to confess, turn from, in order to walk forward in faith (Hebrews 4:16)? 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NIV) As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 (NIV) 

Moses, now in his 80’s, probably when he least expected it, God commissioned him for some of the greatest work ever completed in history!! NOW Moses was REALLY ready unlike he had THOUGHT he was back in his 40’s. Glance back up Moses’ attitude recorded in Acts 7:25 and compare it to Exodus 13:3 (NIV), Then Moses said to the people, “Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the Lord brought you out of it with a mighty hand… Notice the transformation of perspective that has taken place through the process of 40 years in the wilderness! From (Acts 7:25), “Why can’t the people recognize God is using ME?! To (Ex. 13:3),  “Never forget the LORD Who has done this great thing! Never forget HIS mighty hand that has set you free!” 

Somewhere in the “process” of 40 years in the wilderness that may have often seemed like things would never get better and felt like failure had fractured any future hopes… Moses gained proper perspective. He was refined, his future redeemed, his purpose and passion fanned into a flame to fulfill a destiny only God could have defined!!! 

Numbers 12:3 (NIV) (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) NOW he was, but it came through a process. A process he was willing to persevere through to get to the point of all the questions, doubts, failures and fears. 

Dear one, beloved of God, I pray this year, with not one, not two, but THREE number 2’s in it (2022) you and I will embrace the process God is working out (Romans 8:28, John 5:17). Keep taking the new chances each breath in your lungs provides opportunity for dear one; for His good purpose will ALWAYS prevail if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9). God’s mighty hand is already outstretched toward you. So even if it’s “take number 2022”, now’s the time to take hold of His mercies that are new EVERY morning (Lamentations 2:22-23) again! 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) 

God bless you muchly~ Happy New Year 2022!!!

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Keep Me

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Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings Psalm 17:8 (NIV) 

“Keep me” is a plea in prayer, not because God could somehow forget to keep track of us (Hebrews 6:10, Isaiah 49:15, Psalm 139, Job 23:10, John 10:28), but rather somehow we might wander from Him (Psalm 119:176, Romans 7:15).

I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds. Jeremiah 23:21-22 (NIV)

…If they had stood in my council… Dear Heavenly Father, keep me in Your council! 

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NIV) 

In a world full of wonderful distractions it’s easy to be swayed from your greatest purpose in Christ wandering after something good. The enemy masquerades as the angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) not darkness! It’s too easy to distinguish good from evil, much harder to distinguish good from best. Satan didn’t entice Eve with eggplant back in Genesis 3 (sorry if you like eggplant) but rather a juicy sweet apple! Be alert and of a sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16 (NIV) 

Keep in the council of His Word and you will be kept in the Way that leads to life. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 (NIV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)  

…let the one who has my word speak it faithfully… Jeremiah 23:28 (NIV) 

I’m Convinced!

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But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel said, “I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.” Genesis 45:27-28 (NIV)

I wrestled a while with why the above verses used both names for the third patriarch.  Why not just say, …the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Jacob said… OR the spirit of their father Israel revived. And Israel said… Why use both his old name and the new name God had given him after emerging blessed through a wrestling match held in Genesis 32?! Then it hit me and I too felt like I emerged with a blessing having wrestled with this wondering thought for a day!! 

The old self, Jacob, had become downcast, distraught, distressed over life’s events YET having received a refreshing word, his spirit was revived and who emerges from the rubble refreshed, renewed and revived?!!! ISRAEL! The overcomer, just as God had declared him to be during that first wrestling match chapters ago!! The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statues of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7 (NIV)

Dear one, the sacrificial blood of Jesus speaks a better Word than our world’s system! May your spirit and my spirit be refreshed this very morning, absolutely convinced by the Spirit of the living God within us that Jesus is still alive!!! Hope lives!!! 

May His Word elevate our thoughts and move us to respond to His better Word over the world’s diagnosis of our life, our situation, our circumstances our relationships…!! By the power of His Word may we be moved to “go and see” Him too, working and moving this very moment in and through all things for the good of those who love Him!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

In our Living Christ, our Hope Eternal, Jesus, who loves you, you are more than a conquer dear one; more than a conquer – I’m convinced!

Treasure In Your Sack

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“It’s all right,” he said, “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; … Genesis 43:23 (NIV) 

I find there is an interesting similarity between… 

Genesis 43:14 (NIV) …as for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.” 

and…

Esther 4:16 (NIV) …and if I perish, I perish.” 

Both Jacob and Esther were faced with a crossroads of sorts and both had come to the conclusion as Helen Keller would put it… “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Maybe you too have found that in life we can’t always choose the music life plays, but we can choose how we dance to it. Dear one, are you choosing to dance?

Further in Genesis 43 we find Jacob’s sons begging for a pardon (verse 20) from a fiasco they caused and yet kinda they didn’t (Life can be tricky like that sometimes, can’t it?!!). However they approach their predicament from a humble standpoint. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6 (NIV) 

The boys are trying to make things right, actually going above and beyond to turn things around and yet they don’t know what the outcome will be. Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3 (NIV) 

To their surprise the man in charge responds with, “It’s all right,” … “Don’t be afraid. … Your God… has given you treasure in your sacks;…(Gen. 43:23 NIV) Dear one, in Jesus, no matter how many crossroads you may have faced and found yourself to have taken the wrong way – Jesus remains to be the Way back (John 14:6)! It’s all right, don’t be afraid to repent and turn around as He waits to receive you, wash you with His grace, mercy, forgiveness and unfailing love (2 Peter 3:9-10). Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:10-12 (NIV) 

After Jacob’s sons were told not to fear over their past they were welcomed in and their feet washed!! John 13 records Jesus washing His disciples feet. A reminder that as we walk through life we will find ourselves in fiascoes from time to time, muddied up from our own sin or other’s or just that of this broken world. However we are never without hope in Jesus! But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV) 

Jesus is your treasure of love within, and you always gain by giving Love! 

By God’s amazing grace He continues to transform sinful sacks into treasure troves of His Living Hope! Now that’s music we can all dance to! Who can you invite to this dance floor of Living Hope?

Laugh Without Fear

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Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings Psalm 17:8 (NIV) For this is what the LORD Almighty says: …for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye… Zechariah 2:8 (NIV) 

This popular phrase about being the apple of someone’s eye refers to the tiny reflection of a person in the pupil of another’s eye. To be reflected in a person’s pupil you must be close and also the object of which they are gazing upon. To be the apple of God’s eye indicates you are not only close to Him, but you have His direct attention. In fact, Psalm 32:8 describes His eye over you… I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (NIV) “Loving eye”… this description is incredible considering the rest of the verse is about teaching us. To be taught indicates a lack of knowledge or ability on the part of the pupil, hence the need for education. 

When was the last time you taught something to someone and they got it right on the first time and consistently thereafter never made even one mistake? If you were really teaching, the answer would be a hard “no” for all of us because none of us human teachers or pupils are perfect; and if we are honest sometimes being allowed to make mistakes in grace, helps us learn best.

God is infinite and thus has infinite patience and so no matter how many mistakes we make (even when we know better) He continues to choose to turn a loving eye upon us. BUT… even though God HAS infinite patience there will come a day when we won’t be allowed to try it any longer (Phil. 2:10-11). This world we broke with our mistakes beginning all the way back in Genesis 3 will be made new (Rev. 21:5)! Those that have not chosen to believe in Jesus as their Savior through His sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of their sin (John 3:16), will be called to account. 

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 2 Peter 3:9-10 (NIV) 

We will all make repeated mistakes on this side of heaven but we are not to remain in them. Rather being transformed by His Spirit upon receiving Jesus as your personal Savior to desire His better way, we can turn back toward Him with a sincerely repentant heart to be washed clean by His mercy and grace, renewed in His unfailing love! (Lam. 3:22-24, Proverbs 24:16, Micah 7:8, 2 Cor. 5:17)

If Jesus is your Savior, know without a doubt you are the apple of His eye, kept safe for eternity (John 10:28). This does not mean only good things are allowed to come to the lives of believers, world events prove that untrue. However nothing comes to us that is not first sifted through His nail pierced hand and that He can use for good (Romans 8:28). In John 19:11 (NIV) Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. … as Jesus stood on trial soon to be crucified for our sins proves even Jesus, God’s own Son, was asked to steward what He would not have chosen while on earth. Yet He chose to submit to His heavenly Fathers good, pleasing and perfect will anyway (Rom. 12:2) in total trust; trust that He would prove faithful which He did and He will for us too dear one (Proverbs 3:5-6).

It is in following the example of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, in total surrendered trust, that we too find we are clothed with strength and dignity, kept as the apple of His eye and can actually laugh without any fear of the future. (Proverbs 31:25) For He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). 

I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. Isaiah 53:12 (NLT)  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (NIV) 

…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NIV) For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

Today may you find joy in your free gift of salvation and be able to laugh without fear of the future dear one. 

Recommended songs: “Won’t Be Afraid” and “I Still Believe You’re Good” by Newsboys

“Silencio Bruno!”

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) 

Recently I had the privilege of watching the movie “Luca” with a group of kids. My favorite line was the exclamation “Silencio Bruno!” One of the characters makes his little buddy shout it over and over before explaining the meaning. Bruno is the name the older character has given the negative voice in his own head. 

We all have a “Bruno” inside our minds that tries to get us to shrink back from all God has called us out to. As God’s Word advises, take captive, silence, any voice that speaks contrary to His Truth over you.

How do you decipher the lie from the truth (because knowing the depths of ourselves, the lies can be pretty convincing)?! The only way is to hold the lie up to the fire of God’s Word. Any lie or stronghold will be demolished, burned up, destroyed, taken captive, silenced by the Word of Truth. 

If “Bruno” gets you running to the Word of Truth time and time again, then the negative pressure has become a privilege. Pressure is a privilege because it gets you to rely on the precious promises of God. God isn’t expecting perfection but a heart that desires to pick up and press in past the plummet of failings. 

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. (NLT) And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. (NIV) Hebrews 10:35-39

God only creates beautiful, creative, capable, equipped, valuable vessels He can use as a display of His splendor! He knows we ALL fall short of His glory and so He came as our Redeemer. His Word exemplifies the continued use of the imperfect that are willing to perfectly press in within the pressure for the privilege of relying on the power of His promises. 

Today, dear one, “Silencio Bruno!” (and maybe consider who you might encourage to silence “Bruno” in their own head) and press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus! (Philippians 3:14) 

God bless you muchly~

A Sure Hope

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Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5 (NKJV) 

The word hope in Hebrew is tiqva and literally means cord. In Joshua 2 the prostitute Rahab throws a scarlet cord out her window in faith that the God of the Israelites would love even her, would save even her… and He does. When the mighty walls of Jericho fall in Joshua 6, the only spot in the wall still standing is none other than Rahab’s house!! 

The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:25 (NIV) When we tie or anchor our hope to the Rock of Living Hope Himself (Ps. 18:1-2, 1 Pt. 1:3), our Immanuel (God with us in each step) our every step can be lived in unshaken confidence in the Word of God. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10 (NIV) 

What or who are you tethering your hope to? If you are reading this it’s not too late if you need to re-tie your cord of hope to the anchor of Living Hope dear one. 

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. Romans 15:13 (NIV) 

God bless you muchly~

An Incandescently Bright Future

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“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him “Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23 (NIV) 

Tis the season to search high and low for the perfect gift to warm the heart of another. After finding that gift, have you ever wondered just how many steps it took you? Probably not, even though we have a plethora of devices nowadays that readily calculate our steps for us. At the end of our gift quest it’s not the steps it took that consumes our focus, it’s the joy of the find, the reward for having not given up in the journey, no matter how many steps it took! This brings to mind a verse in Job. 

For now thou numberest my steps… Job 14:16 (KJV) WOW! The same God who keeps track of all our tears (Psalm 56:8) and knows the number of hairs on our head (Luke 12:7) ALSO counts our every step!! An electronic device only counts your steps if it is with you, so the very fact that God tells you He numbers your steps reminds you, in each step, every day, He is WITH you (Josh. 1:9)! Yesterday, today, and forever into the future – WITH you (Heb. 13:8)!

Our future in Jesus is incandescently bright because He lives! Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses (just to name a few from the Bible) spoke blessing over future generations in spite of all their current struggles and imperfections. Their sure hope was not based on faulty humanity but rather in God’s faithfulness to His flawless Word. 

The word incandescent is defined in the dictionary: “Emitting light as a result of being heated.” God declares His Word to be like fire (Jer. 23:29) so within each gifted step this new year, remember and remain wrapped in the warmth of His faithful Word, His precious promises (2 Pt. 1:4) that tell you just Who it is that cares enough to number your steps! His name is Immanuel – God with you (Matt. 1:23). He is at work in you and around you even at this very moment (Jn. 5:17)! Resting in His presence you will radiate incandescently with sure hope (Rom. 5:5)! 

Dear one, keep on in your quest toward the gift of your Heavenly home. Joy and strength are found experiencing God with you on the journey (Neh. 8:10). He …says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)

Jesus is our greatest gift that we get to keep even as we give Him away; He’s the gift that can warm every heart. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. … for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV) For God so loved the world (YOU) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV) 

YOU are loved; forever and always no matter what. 

God bless you muchly dear one and best wishes as you step into this gift of a new year filled with an incandescently bright hope for your future, because of Jesus!  

This is the NEW location for blog posts previously posted on Overflowing Hope. All blog posts will now appear HERE at Redeeming Grace 99 | 1 Ministries!!

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. Romans 15:13

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