Loved By God, Created For God

“I am loved by God, I am a lover of God, therefore I am successful.”

– Mike Bickle

This should be our mantra day in and day out. I am going through Havilah Cunnington’s devotional, “Radical Growth” and this is a quote she uses for one of the days. However, these are words to live by.

No matter what, no matter my shortcomings, my mistakes, my failures – I am a success because I am loved by the God of the universe. I am a child of the one true King and I have the power of the Holy Spirit within me.

THIS is powerful! Something I must remind myself on the regular.

I am not defined by how I look, by what I do, but how God sees me and who I am in him. This is comforting. There is nothing I can or cannot do to gain or earn his love. He loves me anyway, through and through. I don’t deserve it, but he gives his love to me anyway. All I can do in return is give him my life.

I serve a faithful, spectacular, powerful, mighty God who loves someone like me.

When we come to realize this, nothing shall come in our way. Nothing should be able to stop us. God’s love is not going anywhere and we need to stand firm in this belief.

God has a plan for my life, for your life. Do you believe it? Do you believe he wants what’s best for you even when you cannot see it?

As I write this, I am sitting in awe of our creator. Of the one who created the heavens and the earth. The animals on the land and in the sea. The humans that walk this earth. We were all created by him and for him.

Did you know that? You were created FOR the God of the universe. This is our purpose in life. Our purpose is to live for God. When you accept the love he has given us, it’s hard not to want to live for him. When I remind myself of this, something comes alive in me. A deep desire to share the love he has given me with the world, with the person in front of me.

Let’s do this together. Let’s love the person in front of us and create a repel effect. I know God is smiling at us when we do. He loves you.

 

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The Power of Interceding

While I was in Thailand on the World Race, half of our group went to the red light district, while the other half stayed back to intercede on their behalf. The red light district is like entering a war zone. It is full of darkness, bondage, and slavery. Stepping on those streets you feel the weight of evil upon you. However, knowing you have people praying for you on your behalf, this weight seems a little bit lighter. You feel the protection.

As I walked those streets hearing the music blaring from the bars, seeing the flashing neon lights, looking up to see women trapped in window boxes dancing to draw in customers, you know evil is present, but there is a power of something greater because you carry it. The half of the group who stayed back to pray, started praying when the other group left and didn’t stop until they returned. Once the groups were back together at the end of the night, we would debrief and share our encounters. People who were on the streets said they would feel a pull to go into a certain bar or talk to a certain person, and come to find out there was someone on the other end praying for that exact thing to happen! It was pretty spectacular and made us realize we serve a big God and learned the power of intercession.

I was reading through an article I found in Grandma’s belongings and the author wrote, “Authoritative intercessors are men and women whose eyes have been opened to the full knowledge of their place in Christ.” He goes on to say these intercessors view the Word of God like a battle plan against the enemy to defend the kingdom of God. God wants to partner with us to advance His kingdom and intercession is one way to fight and through these prayers God will fulfill His promises.

I like this analogy of using the Bible as a strategic battle plan. Like Paul says in Ephesians, our fight is not against flesh and blood. We need intercessors and prayer warriors to pray in the spirit for our victory! We need to pray like it depends on God, and work like it depends on us.

In the Greek, intercession is used as a way of approaching a King for a favor. As God as our King, we need to come to Him with our requests with the act of surrender. Getting on our knees is a great position for surrender. Praying on your knees shows humility and surrender. It’s honestly so powerful, you should try it!

Intercession can be used for the repentance of a person or people group as Moses demonstrated. Moses interceded for the people of Israel and for Aaron. He laid flat on his back and did not eat or drink for 40 days and 40 nights pleading with the Lord not to destroy them for the sin they had committed. In this position of surrender, the Lord listened to him.

Sometimes, God will bring a person to the forefront of my mind. At first I didn’t know what to think, but now I view this as God telling me to pray and intercede on their behalf. Most times I have no idea what to pray, and that’s ok. The Holy Spirit will intercede. So next time a person pops into your head whoever they may be, pray for them! You may be stepping into a battle you cannot see on their behalf.

We have authority in the name of Jesus because his spirit is within us. Use the authority given to you. Rev. J. A. MacMillan says this, “The church needs intercessors who have learned the secret of taking hold of the power of God and directing it against the strategic advances of the enemy.” 

A friend of mine mentioned she felt God wanted to give her the gift of intercession. At first she honestly didn’t want it. She thought back to the times she had prayed for someone and it was exhausting. She was deliberately praying a fighting prayer. I told her intercession does not always look like this. There are times God will bring someone to mind, you say a prayer for them and move on. Sometimes there is more to it and you have to pray a fighting prayer for them, get on your knees, and be at war in the spirit. And yes, that can be exhausting! But think of the life you are praying for. It’s not about you and how you feel, it’s about listening to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and using the power of prayer. Our mission is to advance the kingdom of God.

The Holy Spirit is an intercessor and intercedes on our behalf. He alone can interpret the needs of the human heart. He intercedes for us while we are on the earth.

“… the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance to God’s will.” Romans 8:26-27

Jesus intercedes for us in Heaven. Like it says in Hebrews 7:25,

“He is able to save completely those who come to God through him,

because he always lives to intercede for them.”

(From Nikki’s book “A God You’ve Never Met” coming soon…)

 

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Feeling Insignificant?

I’m just one in a million. Who cares about my point of view? I just plug along day after day like the billions before me, and have nothing original to say.

Do you ever feel this way?

I do. I struggle with the fact that I am literally one of billions of humans in the history of mankind, yet God created me to be unique. This seems contradictory.

You are, literally, just one of billions of other humans that have walked, walk or will walk the earth. However, there is NO ONE else exactly like you. You are genetically made like none other, EVER. You also have a unique Spirit which has been fostered in a unique set of circumstances. This means your perspective is one of a kind.

DNA-strand

You are created in the Image of God, in His Likeness. He is Creative, therefore we all have the capacity to create. Your life itself is art. Art is: the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination.

I am learning to shut out the critics and negative voices within and without. What I have to say is valuable, first to God my Creator, and then to me. I learn something every time I create. Every time I snap a photo. Every time I write. Every time I interact with a stranger. Beyond that, if someone else appreciates what I say or create, it is just icing on the cake.

I must stop seeking to please others, constantly wondering what “they” will think of my life/art/writing/creation. If God is pleased and I have grown, that is all the purpose it needs. Our society values others’ opinions too highly.

My challenge to myself and to you is to stop giving credence to the “critics” and to listen to what God says about us. His voice is the one that matters most. Sure, we should have checks and balances, and there are healthy ways of achieving this. However, if your life and your art lines up with Scripture, and your unique soul is connected with your Creator as you live your life, then you are on track my friend.

I also challenge us to stop being so critical of others. Allow others to uniquely create as God has inspired them. Encourage and uplift.

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.
Aristotle

Psalm 139: 13-16 says:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 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.”

Take heart. Know you are special and that your insight into this life is unique and meant to be shared. Be empowered and strengthened by the fact that God your Creator designed you just as you are. The rest of us need to see and hear and feel what you create. Be bold and share it. You were created to do so.

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PERFECT STRENGTH

The long-anticipated Rio Summer Olympics are on TV right now. Since I had a little foot surgery a few days ago and have to keep my leg elevated, I am watching hours of swimming, gymnastics, volleyball, et cetera. I am always amazed at how far the human body can be pushed to its physical limits.

I have never been an athletic person like my daughter, sister and niece are, but I appreciate and marvel at what our bodies are capable of. The mental and physical strength it takes for some athletes to continue to break world records year after year is amazing to me!

All of this world-wide competition is great, and it is exciting to watch, but there is a strength offered to us by our Creator that goes beyond the physical. It is His strength that gets us through the daily hardship of living.

You may have experienced a difficult time in your life when you had to completely depend on the promises of God to get you through. And….there are many scriptures that promise the undergirding of our loving and compassionate God.

Paul writes that he does not boast in his strength but in God’s alone. II Corinthians 12: 7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, FOR MY STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distress, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Then how do we become strong enough to run the race of our lives in order to win the best prize……eternal life with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior?

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6

Please take time to read and re-read Ephesians 6 to give you the strength you need for each day! Don’t give up….keep on keeping on! God will give you the strength as you need it for each day.

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Warrior

I am a warrior. I am fighting. I am fighting in a battle. The enemy is fierce. He is a stealer, killer, and destroyer. He is darkness. He is evil. He is negative. He tells lies. He wants me to loose, to give up. He tries to tear down my family. He tries put curses and chains on them, on me. He wants to rip us a part. He wants us to be alone. He wants us to think we are the only ones in this dark world. He wants us to have diseases and illness. He is trying to destroy us.

 

BUT

 

I am a warrior. I am fighting. I am fighting in a battle and GOD is on my side. He is the bringer of life. He is all-powerful. He is mighty. He is light. He is joy. He is good. He is faithful. He tells us truth. He gives us hope. He builds us up. He restores us. He is the healer. He is our rock and foundation. He sets us free.

 

We have nothing to fear with GOD on our side.

 

“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

 

I know the evil one wants us to be afraid, but knowing that the all powerful GOD is on my side keeps me at ease.

 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. “ 2 Timothy 1:7
“For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deut 20:4

 

The Message version of Deut 20:4 says this,
“When you go to war against your enemy and see horses and chariots and soldiers far outnumbering you, do not recoil in fear of them; God, your God, who brought you up out of Egypt is with you. When the battle is about to begin, let the priest come forward and speak to the troops. He’ll say, “Attention, Israel. In a few minutes you’re going to do battle with your enemies. Don’t waver in resolve. Don’t fear. Don’t hesitate. Don’t panic. God, your God, is right there with you, fighting with you against your enemies, fighting to win.”

 

God is fighting with us and for us! We are not alone in this battle. I am fighting but I am not fighting by myself. I have God with me, and I also have fellow believers fighting with me. We are more powerful than evil because God’s great power is inside of us.

 

The victory is ours because of GOD!

Don’t lose hope. Don’t fear. GOD IS WITH YOU!

You are a warrior.

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(Guatemala 2014 on the World Race)

The lyrics of this song remind me of how the victory has been won. Jesus died on the cross and conquered death of the evil one and rose to life in victory!

 

“For the Cross”

Bethel Music
The life You gave
Your body was broken
Your love poured out
You bled and You died for me
There on that cross
You breathed Your last as you were crucified
You gave it all for me

Hallelujah, what a Savior
Hallelujah, what a friend
Hallelujah, King forever
We thank You for the cross

There in the ground
Sealed in the darkness
Lifeless laid
The frame of the Father’s son
In agony
He watched His only Son be sacrificed
He gave it all for me

But on that day
What seemed as the darkest hour
A violent hope
Broke through and shook the ground
And as You rose
The Light of all the world was magnified
And You rose in victory

Hallelujah, it is finished
Hallelujah, it is done
Hallelujah King forever
We thank you for the cross

And though our sins are scarlet
You have made us white as snow

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You are Enough

It’s an epidemic, really. There’s never enough.

Never enough money.

Never enough time.

Never enough energy, space, food, love… Pick one.

In our daily lives, we are constantly bombarded with more, more, MORE! It’s never enough. We have conditioned ourselves to be unsatisfied and always longing for more. And in doing so, we are also in danger of turning our dissatisfaction inward and thinking, “I am not enough.”

There are probably a million reasons why we feel we are not enough; we are less than.

There’s always more to do, more to say, more to accomplish. More than is humanly possible. And so, when it isn’t accomplished we are left with our own notion that there is something inherently wrong with us. That we are not enough.

This is an especially poignant concept this time of year, when we saddle ourselves with extra burdens and impossible intentions. Unfortunately, the Christmas season has become a springboard for feelings of inadequacy.

But you know what? It’s all a lie.

Jesus declares to us that his power is made PERFECT in our weakness.

Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

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.  (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)

YouAreEnough

I don’t know about you, but all this striving to be perfect has me thinking: what if we gave ourselves permission to just BE this Christmas? Let a few things go, be late for (or even miss) an event, not buy a new outfit when we can’t afford it, maybe even skip baking those perfect cookies in favor of a walk with a friend or a stroll hand in hand with a child. What would happen?

If  I’m reading it right, the worst that could happen when I allow myself to show weakness… to be enough, is PERFECTION. “…My power is made perfect in weakness.” Let your mind roll that around for a bit. In our need to be perfect and not show weakness, are we keeping ourselves from the perfectly powerful life He longs to give to us?

Perfect power from my weakness? I could live with that.

So let me ask you this, what permission do you need to give yourself in order to embrace your worthiness? His GRACE is sufficient for you.

You are ENOUGH.

 

 

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Walking in FREEDOM

So much talk about Freedom lately. Some of it hotly debated to the point of exhaustion. I’m not talking about freedom of this or that, so I’ll not get into that today. I’m talking about true personal over the top joyful FREEDOM. The kind that oozes from your pores. The kind that makes people want to be near you.

How can a prison inmate experience true freedom?

How can persecuted Christians around the world live in the freedom and joy when they know their very lives might be taken from them at any moment?

“They triumphed over him
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
    as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11

This type of freedom is indeed a mystery for those of us who carry so many offenses and past abuse and pain around that we don’t allow ourselves to experience the true freedom Jesus paid for on the cross. We know it’s there, but it’s not so easy to actually live in that freedom. Jesus has set us free, but we don’t live like it.

Before we can talk about freedom, we need to talk about bondage. Before we can talk about bondage, we need to know what that bondage is.

Let me just plant some food for thought for you to ponder over the next few days…

True freedom only comes from knowing what your bondage is… if Satan is going to keep you from your purpose, what’s he going to use? Here’s a hint: when looking for things that bind you, start by looking at the things that you LIKE. The things that distract you. Then move on to the nitty gritty life-sucking events like chronic illness and circumstances. ALL of these things can bind your hands and feet and keep you from walking into your purpose.

Ask God to reveal to you those things that keep you in bondage. He will do it.

Then, apply the Blood of the Lamb and KNOW you have been set free! This is what Jesus gave his life for! The ability to walk in your purpose and calling, to change lives, to set the captives free!

The part about setting others free is a sticky one for some, for it involves telling your story. Do it. Tell your story. There is someone who needs to hear it.

They triumphed over him
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony; (Revelation 12:11)

When I was a kid, we used to have testimony services where people would stand up and share what God was doing in their lives. I was just a little girl, but oh how I loved those times. I’d hear over and over again about the faithfulness of God to his people.

At my church recently, the pastor took time at the end of service for testimonies, so that we might “overcome by the blood of the lamb and the power of our testimonies.” He asked people to share by saying “God has set me free from ____________” or “God is setting me free from ______________.” Here’s what we heard:

God has/is setting me free from: suicide – porn – anxiety – depression – stressful job – self reliance – fear – shame of abortion – loving money – drugs – violence – abuse – cancer – my ideals – pursuit of perfection – fear – need to be in control – self doubt – fear of lack of finances – feeling responsible for being raped – debt – obesity & overeating – loneliness – lack of trust – abusive past – PTSD – hatred of myself – substance abuse – bipolar disorder – rage & hatred

As each person stood up to take the microphone, something began to happen. The Holy Spirit was inhabiting those testimonies with great power! People were moved to tears. Hope was restored to those who were experiencing the same bondage. God used the stories of the broken and began a miracle in the hearts of hundreds of people by bringing them HOPE.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay, jill111

Photo courtesy of Pixabay, jill111

Want freedom? The kind that makes you ooze with joy? Get to that place by dealing with the accuser and then exposing his lies. You don’t have to speak it to a crowd of people, but share your story with someone. God is in the business of deliverance. Your deliverance may have been delayed, but it has not been denied.

May our chains all be broken, in the name of Jesus. There is power in the Name of Jesus.

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Power Up! ! !

We all know what it’s like.  

Your phone dies – right in the middle of some important event while you’re snapping photos, or when you really need to make a call or check a message!

Now you search for an outlet. And if you don’t have your charger with you, you frantically ask everyone within earshot if they have the same charger you need.  

Once found, you are literally attached to that outlet if you want to use your phone. You have to let it recharge before you can be mobile once more.  

As I pondered this thought over the weekend, I related it to our spiritual lives.  

God is the source of our strength. He is the outlet into whom we must connect. His Word and time with Him are how we recharge our souls. This is where we as believers gain peace, perspective and power.  

My cousin Nikki and I were recently speaking about the way we “recharge.” We realized that people are different in that some recharge when they are alone, and others recharge by being with like-minded loved ones. But, whether you prefer alone time or time with others to gain back your strength when you are depleted, the truth remains that your “charge” can only come from The Source, God Himself.  

All of this made me realize two truths. 

If your battery drains, your device is worthless until you can plug it in to recharge it. 

If you leave your device plugged into the outlet constantly, you can’t take it with you.  

Photo by Kristin Coke

Photo by Kristin Coke

The same is true for us.  

If we run ourselves ragged and never take the time to recharge from The Source, we are basically no good to anyone. We have no energy or power left to put into service, our loved ones, or ourselves. We are depleted. Even if our days are filled to the rim with “good” activities, if we don’t take that time for ourselves to refill, we will eventually shut down.  

I think a lot of people fall into this category. Eventually they reach a breaking point. 

I also believe that some Christians spend so much time inside a church building, and only surrounding themselves with people just like them, that they live in a bubble and perhaps become just as useless as the ones who run ragged with no charge at all. These are the people who never unplug from the wall and never get out into the world that God called us to love.!

The challenge:

To find the best, most efficient and complete way for YOU to recharge. 

Absolute quiet? Reading the Word? Listening to music? Find what works best for you and make time for it. 

Then, remember to unplug and get out into the world to share your God-given power, passion and peace.  

Don’t be like the device that dies with no way to recharge, OR the device that remains in one place attached to the wall! 

POWER UP! 

1 Peter 4:11
If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

 

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