Posts Tagged ‘HolySpirit’

Good morning friends,
This morning I was sharing this message with a friend of mine going through a difficult time where she has been mistreated and I felt led to share more globally. It is something I am sure many of you have heard before and already know. However, sometimes as we go through our difficulties, we are feeling low or people make us feel like we are less than we are, we forget and take God’s love for granted. I pray this will minister to someone and serve as a reminder to us all. You are loved!


Jeremiah 31:3 New International Version
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

Roman 8.26 NKJV
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Good morning! This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in this day! No matter what we are facing we are alive and God is for us! So we always win!

God is so amazing. The scripture is saying you don’t have to have fancy words to pray. Just talk to God sincerely. And sometimes when we are so distressed and don’t have the words, the Spirit of God that is in us will go to God on our behalf. Even when we don’t have the words to speak God understands when we groan, cry out or just send thoughts and prayers to Him in our mind. He knows our heart. And He has compassion for us. No matter what we do God loves us even in our flaws. Don’t try to compare God’s love to human love. Although it is hard not too. God loves us in a way that is hard for us to imagine.

He loves you when you do well or even when you mess us. He loves the murderer, the robber and the thief. He loves the liar, the prostitute and the con artist. He may not love our actions but He loves us. He loves us all. He just wants you to surrender to Him, let Him take control, heal you and change you for the better. So you can be the very best you can be.
Even when people don’t love you or treat you right remember God loves you! You are loved! You are His beloved! You are His daughter (or son), His princess (or prince), His masterpiece, His treasure, His joy! Receive and be healed in God’s love.

Everyday wake up, look in the mirror and say: I am God’s , masterpiece! God loves me! God loves me and I love me! I am loved!

With peace and blessings may you be restored and renewed in God’s love!

Stillirise323

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Ooh he/she  tried you! That was the lingo folks used growing up when somebody tested you; especially in terms of showing disrespect or pushing you to your limit. Like earlier this week between my plane landing late,  the splitting headache I had and the airline losing my luggage to boot,  I couldn’t help thinking:  man somebody is really trying me!  And I guarantee I was right. As long as you are living, breathing and existing on this earth expect to be tried.  You better believe you are going to be tested. The trial most often comes from the Enemy, but bear in mind our loving God will also test us to make us better.  The key to passing any test is preparation.  Know the material you will be tested on.   Although this list is not all inclusive, we are often tested in 4 main areas in our lives:  our strengths, weaknesses, desires and familial/generational  issues.  Let’s first look more closely at how we are tested in our strengths and weaknesses:
 
Strengths
We all have been created with unique gifts, talents and abilities. But beware!  It’s like the devil  is watching and saying:   “Oh yeah?  You think you’re so good? We will see about that.”
In the book of  Job, when Satan presented himself before God after roaming the earth afflicting mankind, God challenged Satan to test Job.  Why?  Because God could confidently say “…there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8, NKJV).   Job’s strengths:  righteousness and faithfulness toward God was what the Lord allowed Satan to attack. But as Job’s Creator, He knew how He designed Job and what Job  could handle.  As the story goes, at the Lord’s allowance Satan kills Job’s family, wipes out his possessions, inflicts him with horrible skin sores and he is ostracized from his community.  But in the end, as the Lord knew he would be, Job was faithful to God and remained righteous.  He did not curse God despite his trials and in the end God blessed him with even more than he had before he was attacked.
We have to recognize that the  same way the devil attacked Job, is the same way we may be tried in our own gifts and strengths.  For example, if you have a gift of discernment, expect the devil to send a fraud cleverly disguised  as something they are not.   If your strong point is showing mercy, someone will come that will make it difficult to show mercy to.   As a prophet,  you may be tested in how you hear and deliver the truth of God’s message.   As a teacher, a challenging student is going to try you in the teaching gift.  In any and all areas  of our gifts we  can be tested.  But rest assured that if the Lord allowed it, these challenges are designed to mature, strengthen and take us to higher levels in our talents and our abilities.  Like Job, if you allow the test to accomplish it’s purpose, you will only come out better in the end.
2) Weaknesses
Remember the devil’s ultimate goal is to kill, steal and destroy.  The best way to do that is to attack you in the areas where you are the most vulnerable and the most weak.  For example, as a person with an addictive personality, suddenly you may find yourself surrounded by opportunities to dabble with addictive substances.  If you struggle with lust, watch out for the trap sent to lure you into  dishonoring your marriage.  Is patience  your struggle?  You may have to experience some delays to beat down impatience.   With my quick temper, I’m always being tested on exercising restraint.  If I’m honest sometimes I pass; sometimes I fail.  But the key is to become stronger in those areas over time.   In cooperation with the transforming power of God’s Holy Spirit, those weaknesses will no longer be weaknesses anymore.
So yes.. the devil tests us to destroy us.  But check the flip-side with our God.   If we endure, He uses every test to sharpen us, mature us and draw us closer to Him. He makes all things, even the difficulties, work together for our good.   In our trials we are not alone.  We can always rely on His power and strength to get us through and you will never get to know God more intimately than when you are tested.   Be confident He has every answer.  With Him by your side you cannot fail.  In the next post, we will look at how how we are tested through our desires and in familial issues.  Remember in every test there is a testimony….and yet still I rise.
With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,
Stillirise323

My friend comes over to the house to visit for the first time.  Oh Lord here we go again.  My grandmother, who has no interest in trying to discreetly cover her natural dislike for the person tells me after they leave:  “Eeh eeh. Mi nuh like ar. Mi feel ar inna mi chest.” Translation:  No, no.  I don’t like her.  I feel her in my chest.  And sure enough she was always right. If my grandmother, God bless her soul, tells you she feels somebody inna di chest, pay attention. Her radar was never wrong.  What I know now, that I didn’t know back then was that my grandmother had a keen gift of discernment.  As I mentioned before, we are in this ongoing spiritual war.  Where the Enemy is relentless and the rules don’t always seem fair.  The bible says that the “weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds“(2 Cor 4:6)—meaning you can’t use natural weapons  to fight a spiritual war. You have to use supernatural weapons.  A few posts ago, you saw how the power of praise and worship can totally annihilate the devil.  Today let’s talk about that invaluable tool called discernment.

What is discernment?

Discernment is :

1) The act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/discernment)

2) (in Christian contexts) perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding (http://oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/discernment)

3) : the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discernment)

Discernment is to discover

I love how one source puts it.  In its simplest definition, discernment is nothing more than the ability to decide between truth and error, right and wrong (http://www.gty.org/Resources/Questions/QA1382)).  It is such a vital weapon in spiritual warfare, because it ultimately leads to the truth. It is wisdom and insight to perceive something beyond the surface.  Something not readily apparent or obvious at first glance. It can be a concept, a situation and more importantly people.  Even for those who are not Christian, it seems God has gifted most everyone with some natural sense of discernment.  I am sure at one time or another you may have had a bad feeling about going a particular place or even when confronted with a particular situation.  One example I came across for instance would be a car salesman trying to sell you a seemingly good car deal, but despite how great it sounds you have a gut feeling that something isn’t right.  You can’t shake that feeling that it’s a scam, a sham, a rip-off.  Your intuition for the not so obvious lie is discernment.

Discernment can be sharpened by knowledge gained from past experiences or through study of insightful resources like the bible, textbooks, articles, etc. Let’s say for example your initial encounter with a coworker leaves you feeling uneasy for no apparent reason. The conversation was pleasant enough but in plain terms, you know something ain’t right. With time you notice mood swings, paranoia and her need to always be in control.  The initial meeting—you discern something is wrong although you can’t say specifically what. But based on subtle characteristics, your prior experience with people with similar behavior patterns and previous knowledge from school and reading, you have further discerned that she has bipolar disease.  So you can see discernment brings truth on a very basic or much deeper levels.  It is something that takes on many dimensions.

Discernment Exposes Demons

Different from natural discernment above, the bible speaks of the spiritual gift of “discerning of spirits” (1 Cor. 12:10).  That is literally a gift given by God, through the power of the Holy Spirit to specifically discern spirits of other people.   Discerning of spirits is  one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, meaning this can only be done by God’s Holy Spirit.  It is not something you earn or learn.   God gives this gift to anyone and at anytime he chooses, although people  seem to possess it in different degrees. To make an assessment, people with this gift don’t even have to hear the other  person speak.  The Holy Spirit in them will automatically recognize the beauty of the Holy Spirit in someone else or the not so pleasant presence of demonic spirits in/around other individuals.  There is no stronger spiritual radar than the Holy Spirit.

Discernment Disrupts and Disarms the enemy

You can imagine how the devil is not a fan of discernment.  Remember Satan is the father of lies and deception is one of his main modes of attack against us.  Giving the appearance of truth and good, to ensnare us and lead us to destruction. It is discernment that helps to discriminate between genuine folks and counterfeits, good intentions and bad intentions, real or fraud.  Recognizing the lie of the enemy, especially at the onset can save a lot of headache, heartache and ultimately frustrate the devastation the devil tries to bring to our lives.

Discernment is not unfair discrimination

Now be careful.  Notice the second definition says it is perception in the absence of judgment (condemnation or irrational disapproval).  I heard a preacher once say a lot of people who claim to be using discernment are really just wrongly judging other people. In other words, discernment is not seeing someone in shabby clothes and from their appearance drawing the conclusion that they are a thief. Or seeing a woman in a tight, short dress and from that you “discern” that she is loose or lives a sexually immoral life. That would be judging based on appearance only and not based on the leading of the Spirit and taking all factors into account.  The bible encourages us, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment (John 7:24, ESV). True discernment is not prejudiced.

Discernment Delineates God’s voice 

When God speaks in most cases it’s not really an audible voice. He may speak through your thoughts, a feeling or idea he puts in your spirit, other people, etc.   And with the conflict of our own thoughts and the devil constantly trying to send messages to confound us, discernment is invaluable in distinguishing  God’s voice from every competing voice.  The bible warns us, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world”( 1 John 4:1, ESV).   Tap into discernment to expose every lie of the enemy and get complete clarity regarding God’s guidance, direction and will for your life.

Discernment is one of those things that gets sharper with practice (Hebrews 5:14)  Are you assessing every situation, every  interaction and every voice you encounter with Godly discernment? Remember discernment brings devastation and destruction to the enemy.  Determined to be victorious……and yet still I rise

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

stillirise323

“So I say fire! Ready, Aim Fire… These are the words to the chorus of Mali Music’s latest single Ready, Aim.  It was no coincidence I heard it for the first time 3 days ago when he performed on the season finale of the gospel talent show Sunday’s Best. The song uses creative metaphors to describe how we are attacked in spiritual warfare.  Yet he boldly proclaims to the Enemy fire all you want– you can’t stop me now and you can’t hold me down.  It’s one of those songs that motivates you to push onward and fight; I was so amped when I saw that epic performance.  A definite confirmation of what the Lord keeps telling me to write.  As I mentioned before, we are in this ongoing spiritual war.  Where the Enemy is relentless and it seems the rules are not always fair.  Where casualties are many and the endpoint of souls being sent to eternal damnation is at stake. Where the lines can easily get blurred between friend or foe.  In this kind of war you have to have the right weapons. Your artillery is instrumental in determining victory or defeat.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that ordinary weapons will help in this war.  Semi-automatics, grenades and missiles won’t cut it here.

The bible says that the “weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds”(2 Cor 4:6)—meaning you can’t use natural weapons or weapons of the human flesh to fight a spiritual war.  Remember the spiritual realm and the things of it are not apparent with the naked eye.  So to be victorious in this war, you have to fight with supernatural spiritual weapons.  And these weapons are not things you can pick up in a store, get off of a shelf or go borrow from your neighbor. These weapons are not in stock at your nearest army or naval base.  Being able to throw hands in the street won’t make you a winner in spiritual warfare.  Most of these weapons are supplied by our leader, Almighty God and requires your effort, cooperation and your complete collaboration with our Commander.   See many people mistakenly think they can just sit back, let God do all the fighting and we don’t have to lift a finger.  But God requires that we work in conjunction with Him to navigate this war and through this life.  Not because He needs anything from us or we add to His power or splendor.  You cannot add or take anything away from God.   God is absolutely perfect and complete in and of Himself.  Yet God works through and collaborates with us simply because He chooses to.   And in accepting to war with God against the devil, we grow into a more intimate relationship with Him, we grow and  mature spiritually, God demonstrates His power through us and He is glorified.

So what are the tools that give us a fighting chance to be victorious against the enemy?  Over the next several posts I will write about the weapons, in no particular order, readily available to us to win this war.  These weapons include :

Praise and Worship

Prayer

Discernment

Blood of Jesus

The Name of Jesus

Spiritual Armor

Love

Power of Your Words

Holy Spirit

First up for discussion:  Praise and Worship

 To praise  in verb form is :  To express warm approval or admiration of; applaud; pay tribute; rave about.  Every one loves a compliment right?  If you think of it that way, God is no different.  Praise is simply complimenting God.  So speaking words of love or admiration, singing, dancing, clapping/ waving or just lifting your hands in surrender and acknowledgment to God with a heart of approval and admiration just for who He is, would be considered praise.  It is in praise that we tell God of the wonderful attributes that we recognize in Him and are thankful for. When you praise God commend Him on His goodness, His faithfulness, His stable unchanging nature, His beauty, His Holiness, etc, etc,—you could go on and on.  Thank Him for what He has done, is doing and will do in the future. Even simply saying Hallelujah, which in Hebrew means “praise ye the Lord” is a powerful way to exalt God.  You know what is great about praise? You don’t have to be gifted or have some special talent to do it.  Believe me, when I’m alone in my house dancing unto the Lord, you can’t tell me I’m not some professional dancer or I shouldn’t be the next Sunday’s best or American Idol when I lift my voice. But while my way too honest family would likely tell me to go take a seat if they ever saw me, I know God is smiling.

To worship is to show reverence and adoration for a deity, an idol or a sacred object  (www.thefreedictionary.com/worship).  Based on this definition you can see anything can be worshipped.  If not careful we may easily find ourselves worshipping money, fame, power, position, our jobs and people before or instead of God. But God, being the creator and Supreme ruler of all is the only thing that deserves our worship.  Worship requires a bowing down of ourselves figuratively and sometimes literally to the majesty of God, an acceptance and recognition of our nothingness before and apart from His goodness and constantly keeping the right perspective of God’s grandeur when we deal with Him.  Because God is so accessible, so kind and so merciful, we have all been guilty of passing our place and acting irreverent or disrespectful toward Him.  But we have to keep sight of who God really is.  Yes be in relationship with Him, be honest, be yourself, be transparent.  He knows we are human and faulty,  but realize He is royalty, He is magnificent, deserving of all honor and reverence and nothing to play with.

So how do we worship God?  Some believe worship only happens on Sunday morning when you wave and clap your hands to the singing of the choir.   But anything that honors or exalts God is worship.   Submitting your life to God and trusting Him to take full control is worship. Having faith in God’s ability  is an act of worship.   Obeying and loving God is worship.  Loving and serving others is worship.  Spending time in prayer, reading the bible and offering praise is worship.  Not cussing that coworker out even though she may deserve it, is worship because it honors God. Simply submitting and drawing close to God and allowing His Spirit to transform us into the very image of Christ day by day is worship.   In short, anything that glorifies God and reflects who God is through the example of your life/living is the best way to worship and honor God.

Now keep in mind there is really no right or wrong way to worship except that God requires that “…those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24, NKJV).  Don’t worship for show or with selfish motives.  Worship with a grateful heart and authentic love for God. There may be times you really don’t want to praise and worship.  We have all been there, where based on our emotions we don’t feel like lifting a hand or saying a word. But worship can’t  always be based on a feeling.  Besides it being a weapon in spiritual warfare, praise and worship is a mandate.  The Lord requires that we praise and worship Him.  So when you have those times when you don’t feel like worshipping, do what David did–make yourself do it.   David said “Bless the Lord, oh my soul and all that is within me” (Psalm 103:1, NKJV).   Sometimes you have to command yourself, activate the drive in your soul to worship God. But when you start to recall His goodness to you, focus on His awesome attributes, thank Him for all He has done for you, it won’t be long before the praise and worship catches fire in your soul and you can’t stop.  Your praise and worship will come unsolicited, unrestrained from a pure and honest place.  Let praise and worship  be a natural part of your everyday life.

So you might say that is fine and great, but how is praise and worship of God going to help me?   I would love to share that with you.

1) Praise and worship, especially in the midst of difficulty  is a visible slap in the face to the devil. 

When you praise and worship God in good times, bad times, trials and tribulations you are essentially saying to the devil despite what happens I still honor God,  still trust Him and there is nothing you can do to pull me away from my relationship with the Lord.  Not only does that move God, but the example of your faithfulness and commitment  is a means by which others can be introduced to and drawn closer Him.  With all of that, the devil has to  raise up and flee.

2) Praise and worship keeps your mind at  peace and focused on God.

Remember the mind is a prime target that the Enemy loves to attack.   But Isaiah 26:3 says “you will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You (God)…”  Praise and worship limits the devil’s access to you and prevents him from feeding such garbage as fear, worry, doubt,  depression and  anger into your mind.  It allows you to rest in God after you have done your part  and let Him fight your battles for you. So the next time the devil tries to steal your peace and torment your mind, give him an “access denied” stamp—kill him with praise and worship.

3) Praise and worship brings confusion and chaos to the enemy’s camp

When 3 enemy nations banded together to come against King Jehoshaphat and the nation of Judah (aka God’s people), the bible says that “when they (Judah) began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated (2 Chronicles 20:22, NKJV). The next verse goes on to say that these nations that were suppose to be united together, essentially turned around  and destroyed one another.  Utter chaos.  The lesson learned:  Use your praise and worship to confuse and devastate the enemy.

 4) Praise and Worship invites God’s Presence and Power

Based on psalm 22:3 God inhabits the praises of His people.  All that means is that God dwells in our praises.  In other words when  we praise and worship, God shows up and shows up hard.  We know in  God’s presence is everything we need–joy, love, peace, healing, rest. But beyond that, His presence brings raw power.   Really and truly I don’t even think God can show up in anything but power, because His very essence is power.  Yes God is present all the time in the background.  But as I learned from Reverend Terrence McKinley sometimes “God has to concentrate His presence” to get to you.   And I don’t know if you have ever been in the concentrated presence of God but let me tell you it leaves you weak, sometimes to the point of collapse. His glory and power is that overwhelming.   And if His presence and power, which might I add is not even a fraction of the whole of Him  because we wouldn’t be able to survive God’s complete glory and presence, is that heavy and overwhelming to those of us He comes to help and benefit,  imagine the force of the power He uses in opposition to the enemy or your enemies.  Man, with that kind of power, some stuff is bound to get broken down and broken off.  Translation: Let your praise and worship call down the unrestricted, incomparable power of God for your benefit.  With it you cannot lose.

5) Praise and Worship Brings Victory

The same David of David and Goliath fame, is  also known as  a war king.  The Lord used Him mightily to defeat many nations that opposed God and God’s people.   Why was David so successful? I believe partly because He praised God consistently through all circumstances.  He was a true worshipper at heart despite His flaws and faults. That popular book of the bible called  the Psalms, which means a sacred song or hymn, are full of David’s declarations of love and adoration to God.  “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy” (Psalm 116:1, NIV), “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; (psalm 107:1, NIV) and the declaration that the “Lord is my light and my salvation…” (Psalm 27:1, NIV) are all examples of David’s heartfelt,  authentic praise to the Lord.  The writer of psalm 149 clearly recognized the necessity of praise when they wrote:  May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands,  to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples (Psalm 149:6-7, NIV).  Notice praise is listed in line as weaponry along with the  double-edged sword.  Without a doubt there is power in your praise.

So  beloved let us learn from David.  Brandish  your praise and worship to annihilate the enemy. Make up your mind to bless the Lord at all times. When your praise and worship rises, you rise too….and yet still I rise.

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

stillirise323

Greetings beloved! I write to you today from the confines of the Fort Lauderdale International Airport and ultimately while airborne in transit returning home from a wonderful vacation cruise  with my family.  As I initially packed for the trip, like most people I made sure I had all of the vacation necessities I felt needed. Sunblock…check!  Bathing suit…check!  Beach towel…check!  Jesus… uh oh!  Whoops! Wrong order! Start over.  Jesus….check! Everything else….check!  You see even on your getaways, first and foremost  you have to make sure you pack you some Jesus.  That’s right.  I said pack Jesus.  What? You don’t think our Lord doesn’t enjoy a good getaway too?  We don’t serve a God that only wants you to think about him on Sunday during church, when you’re around your “church friends”,  during your occasional bible study or daily devotion time.  We don’t serve a cruel God who rules with an iron fist waiting to punish you at the slightest slip-up  and wreak havoc in your life.  We don’t serve a God who, despite how majestic and awesome He is, sits so high that we cannot approach Him with even the most seemingly trivial and menial things. And we certainly don’t serve a God who only wants you to call on Him when in trouble, despair or doubt.  Yes He is willing, able and available to help you in your darkest hour but look around.  See all of the beauty of the creation and all of the things we are blessed to experience in this life.   The warmth of the sun on  your skin, the succulent taste of a ripe, juicy strawberry, the wonder of the Grand Canyon, the beauty of a cloud on a clear spring day, the birth and laughter of a child.  Obviously our Creator who created ALL things is a God who enjoys beauty and pleasure.

He even has a sense of humor. Has something ever happened that you just have to shake your head and laugh?  Well if you are laughing and God allowed it to happen, no doubt He is laughing too. All of the goodness of life, God IS.  After all the bible says:   “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3, NKJV) and furthermore “for in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible….all things have been created through him and for him (Colossians 1:16-17, NIV). So if He made it all and all creation is for Him, don’t you think you owe it to Him to include Him? He wants to be part of the difficult as well as the wonderful things in your life—including that dream vacation, that courtship with your true love and the celebration of that new job promotion.  He wants to partake  in every part of your life’s journey.  So when you’re going to work–He wants to be there.  In the bathroom, no matter what activity–don’t worry you can talk to Him stench and all.  Sex and intimacy in that God approved marriage–ask Him to bless that too.  Hanging with your friends…. invite him along.  He’s the best company anyway and that Holy Spirit will always be the unmistakable set of ears and eyes that you need.  The Lord is concerned with everything concerning His children.  If it concerns you, it concerns Him.  You will never find anybody who is more invested in the affairs of your life than the Lord himself.

The idea of Practicing God’s presence is a concept I first came across in reading the book  “Thirsting  for God” by Gary L Thomas, but was really made well known by an early Catholic monk named Brother Lawrence.  By the way  “Thirsting For God” is one of those books that is a must read for every Christian who is serious about growing and maturing in God and is brave enough to take an honest look at yourself as the book forces you to confront you:  the good, the hot mess and the ugly that is you.  It is a great tool you can repeatedly go back to in any stage of your relationship with God.  But in any case, when you practice God’s presence, you learn to incorporate God in every aspect of your life.  You learn to be in constant communication and connection with God.  Your spirit stays linked to His spirit:  the Holy Spirit.   The bible says, “…In Your [God’s] presence is fullness of joy. At Your [God’s] right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11, NKJV).  Complete joy and infinite pleasures people!  When we get to heaven and meet Him face to face unhindered by this human flesh and all it’s flaws, we will fully experience the complete enjoyment and ecstasy of God’s presence forever.  But why not get a taste of that here and now in this life?  There is nothing to stop you except you.  I don’t know if you have ever experienced even a sliver of the peace, joy, love and wholeness of being in God’s presence here on earth, but there is nothing like it.  It only leaves you yearning for more.

Let’s face it. Anything you’re doing, if God ain’t in it, it’s all somewhat subpar.  Yeah, you might do things that are inherently enjoyable and  people do experience pleasure and success even when they don’t serve God.  God is good–so he is kind enough where we can experience good things even when we don’t know Him or intentionally include him.  But without God you are a not getting that maximum fullness, the greatest extent of joy, the best it could be.  Without God…things can be good. But with God as the priority…things become great, euphoric, out of this world, next level.  You get it? And believe it or not, you can have joy, pleasure and fulfillment even when things are stormy and not so good.  When dark times, trouble, chaos, confusion and all manner of havoc come knocking at your door,  if you keep God at the center and as your focus, you can surprisingly experience the joy, peace and rest that only God and His presence can give.  It’s just for you to hand your troubles to Him and let Him take control.  Now my disclaimer as always is that I fully understand that this is not always so easy. I struggle with this just as anybody else.   When I am in a bad enough funk or in not such a good space, believe me I can get to the point where the only thing that I’m practicing is tuning God out.  But thank God for growth and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit where I am learning to more diligently practice God’s presence more and more.

So wherever this perpetual journey takes you in life–pack smart, pack right, pack Light. Pack the Bread of Life and you will never grow hungry.  Pack that Living Water and you will never thirst again. Pack the Son that sets you free and makes you free indeed. Pack the Light of the world who drives out every darkness. Pack Light and release those toxic ways, habits, people and situations that bring unnecessary burdensome weight.  Carry Him in your heart and let Him shine His light through you.  Jesus is one package that will never weigh you down, but only lighten you and bring you higher.  He is that oxymoron where the more of Him you get, the lighter you become.  I can’t do this thing called life unless I carry him…and yet still I rise…

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise,

Stillirise323