Comprehensive

understandThis word has always intrigued me. I have not always considered myself to be super intuitive and smart. I do try to understand the multi-facets of issues and problems. I also try to “get my head around” the scope of issues that I or friends of mine are facing. That is really the essence of this word comprehensive – having a total grasp or understanding of certain subject matter.

I am still trying to learn and understand more of Who God is and what He’s doing in my life and the lives of others. Paul’s pray for comprehension and understanding really blessed me this morning. Check this out…

16 I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21 CSB)

I needed that prayer as I seek God’s heart.

I don’t understand everything God does.

I don’t understand everything God says.

I’m learning to trust Him more even when I don’t understand.

I want to comprehend and understand the height, depth, length and width of His love for me.

I’m joining Paul in his prayer. I want to know more about God’s heart and His love for me. I want His love to dwell in my heart consistently. I want to be deeply rooted and firmly established in love.

What I do know is that God loves me and I want to live for Him the rest of my days. I want to grow in my comprehension of His love and grace.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Battle Cry

A silhouette of a woman kneeling down with her hands in the air, praying, thanking, and surrendering to God.

Blog and song By Kristen Hicks

I love when the Father sets things up a certain way that sometimes we aren’t even aware of. For example, the Lord has really been pressing on my heart for a couple weeks now that the next song I should share should be this one: “Battle Cry.” So I recorded it last night with my brother, Matthew, knowing I was supposed to have it ready to share today. The interesting thing is that today, on my 3 days of breaking away from normal life, I would experience some good ole’ fashioned warfare.

The Lord has really placed it within me, that during these three days away, I am supposed to dream again. This is super hard for me, actually. I used to be a huge dreamer. Like I’m talking, when I was younger I had a big ole’ notebook and the cover page read “My Big Dream.” HA! It’s ok I’m laughing with you! :-) I would put things in there about things I wanted to do when I got older, what I wanted my wedding to be like, what I wanted to do as a career, literally everything I desired and dreamed of was in that book.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the moment that the Lord asked me to give Him all my dreams. I was in high school when He asked me that. Reluctantly, over the next several years, I began to give Him, little by little, everything I had dreamed up. He even asked me to give Him the things, I felt, we had dreamed up together, He and I.

I was so confused, and I felt like my life had absolutely no purpose at all. I even began to feel like the things I had desired were wrong and selfish, or that they were impractical or irrational.  Until one day, kinda recently actually, I literally woke up, and it was as if they were all back within me.

It shocked me at first. I started taking them before the Lord and laying them down again. What was funny is as soon as I would lay them down, I began to feel all twisty inside. I literally thought something was wrong with me. I kept trying to whip my heart into shape, by telling myself, “No, you have got to die to this, completely.” Finally, when that wasn’t working (shocker), I began to bring them before the Lord, and I asked Him if they were from Him or if they were from the enemy as a pon of distraction.

With every single area, He began to show me and confirm to me that He had given them back to me. He kinda got onto me actually, very gently, and told me, “Stop trying to die to things, I’m trying to resurrect.” 😉 Then that’s when He started to tell me He wanted me to begin to dream again. Only this time, I would dream up every area with Him.

The funny thing is, none of my dreams were wrong, at least at their core. They were all things that the Lord had placed inside of me since I was little. They were not exactly the same as what was in my “Big Dream” notebook, but they were similar. What I have learned about the Father, is that He takes our dreams VERY seriously. They are no joke to Him. Therefore, He asks us to give them to Him not only for safe keeping, but to teach us how to surrender.

I have sang this song “Battle Cry” in several different seasons of my life. But today, as I was dreaming up with God in every single area of my life, I noticed something. The enemy was right there also, trying to plant seeds of doubt, of anxiety, lies of unworthiness, and of fear. It got so bad at one point, that I just wanted to stop. But then I realized what was happening and I pushed through. I just kept writing and kept dreaming with God.

So, what I learned today, is that God not only kept my dreams safe from the enemy and taught me how to surrender, but He also taught me something VERY important for this process. He taught me how to fight for them. He taught me that it has never been about what I can do or not do. Meaning fighting for my dreams has nothing to do with the strength and will power that I can muster up within myself. It’s also not about who I know, or who I can connect with to make them happen. It’s about knowing Him. Knowing what He capable of. Knowing that with Him, there truly is nothing impossible, irrational, or impractical. Knowing that the best way to fight for things and fight against the enemy is to look AT HIM (The Lord) and surrender your life back to Him. Allowing Him to fight FOR you!!! This is worship actually! And worshipping an all-powerful, all-knowing, Creator is our true “Battle Cry.”

Good Work

Work Characters Shows Working Workers And Manual LaborI haven’t always believed work is good. After the Great Recession, I now hear myself saying that I’m thankful to have work. I have also learned that no matter how much work I must do or how hard some parts of it are, I can put food on the table and provide shelter for my family because of my work. I’ve also watched the TV show “Dirty Jobs” and there are much tougher jobs than any I have ever had.

I’ve learned over the years in my journey with the Lord that I can’t work my way into heaven. I can’t do enough good work to earn my salvation. Paul is clear about this. Check this out…

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-10 CSB)

I grew up hearing about all the things I needed to do and it felt like if I went to church, read my Bible and prayed often that I could be saved. I’m not sure that was the intended message, but it’s what I heard. When I discovered the grace of God a few years ago, my heart was full and so very open to this incredible concept that is the essence of Who God is. As I journey through His Word I see His heart that is full of love, compassion and grace. He is also a God of justice, but He doesn’t love to dispense justice – He loves to lavish His kids with Grace! He doesn’t want anyone to miss out on His love.

The first two words in this passage are: “But God”. Those two words have changed the trajectory of my life. He has built me and wired me to honor Him, to serve Him because He loved me. He now lives and works in me and through me. Anything I do, say or write that has value to anyone – it’s because He is in me. I’ve made wise decisions over the years that He was totally in charge of or responsible for.

I don’t work FOR my salvation, I do good work and serve Him BECAUSE of my salvation. I am more and more wowed by His Grace every day. There is no one beyond the reach of Grace. I can’t escape His reach of Grace. I am continually humbled and grateful when I think about the things I’ve done or said and He still loves me and chooses to use me for His Honor & Glory. I can’t begin to express my gratitude… words just don’t work here. I’m so thankful for grace.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Clean It Up

brain cleaning - conceptual vector illustration of to tidy up in head

Blog by Kristen Hicks

So, I have decided to take a couple days off from my normal routine and just spend some time with Jesus, letting Him do some things in me. I am extremely thankful that He has given me freedom with a job and with a life that I can do this type of thing. So I wanted to share just a little about some things that He is doing and showing me in these three days, because I think they are most definitely in relation to the “Invincible Summer.”

Well today was very interesting to say the least. Any time I ever go after some breakthrough with Jesus there is always a time that I have to spend just getting through mess. I have to clean stuff up, if you will. Normally, by this point my heart, head, soul, or whatever you want to call it is not the only thing that is a wreck. Most of the time my room, my car, my refrigerator, my trash can (because let’s be honest, I’m a girl and I hate taking out the trash), pretty much everything is a mess.

So today, as I spent time with Jesus, I also spent time doing laundry, dishes, cleaning out the fridge, taking out the trash and just cleaning really. But I also, spent time outside journaling, worshiping, crying, confronting fears and lies, and just asking the Lord to shine light on everything that is within me that is not of Him or that shouldn’t be there.

I listened to a teaching today by Melissa Helser called, “Sustainability.” It was really, really good. (Look it up.) She talked about how to sustain yourself by being thankful, seeing yourself in the delight of the Father’s eyes, and seeing yourself as having worth. You are valuable. She used an interesting example. Recycling.

She said,

“Love has to drive your daily rhythms of loving Jesus. Duty cannot drive your love for God. The goal of sustainability has to go beyond these passion-filled causes. It has to be a changed mindset. The Father wants to change your mindset, so that you can be driven to do things beyond what you ever thought, because love is pulling you… the choices that you make every day make a difference. You have to begin to see beyond yourself….Recycling is a beautiful example of you holding the plastic bottle, and you can either throw it in the trash or you can throw it in the recycling bin. In that moment you have a choice, and depending on your mindset is what you’ll do. If you believe that you are valuable and that you make a difference in every choice you make, and every day makes a difference, you will put it in a recycling bin. But if you don’t have the mindset of value, you won’t….the Father wants to shift our mindsets.”

I know for me, I don’t recycle. Not that I really think that that was her point at its core. But I think that her point was that in order to truly be sustainable in this journey, we have to let the Father change us.  We have to let Him change the way we think. We have to let Him shine light on areas that we may or may not want to deal with. He doesn’t want our lives to get so messy that it takes an entire day to clean it up. He wants us to see ourselves as valuable in the light of the smallest choices that we make and to see and understand that every choice we make needs to be driven by love. Whether those choices have to do with our job, our home, our family, our friends, our church, our community. The smallest things usually make the biggest difference.

So today was no wasted day. Today, in the beauty of making the summer within truly invincible, I learned to take a risk inwardly. I learned that I need to see myself in the delight of the Father’s eyes. To see myself as valuable. And that if I see myself as valuable then I can believe that every choice I make, big or small, can make a difference in the Kingdom. I learned that to truly sustain myself, I need to choose things that are driven by my love for God daily, not my duty to Him or anyone else, including myself. I learned that I need to call things out as they come, always placing things before Jesus, and filtering them based on His word not my own understanding. I learned that I need to let the Father shift my mindset so that I can see Him for who He truly is in ALL things and that I can see myself for all He created me to be.

Insight

Insight Light Bulb ConceptI have had many “Aha” moments in my life. I enjoy reading and learning new things. I’ve said many times before that I want to be a life-long learner. I also enjoy seeing others have that “Aha” moment and grasp a thought or insight that really opens the horizons up for them. I enjoy teaching and helping others have insight to a topic or subject.

I also enjoy teaching from my spiritual journey. I feel like that every day I open His Word, He teaches me something new or gives me a clearer and deeper understanding of a truth that I was already aware of.  I enjoy reading His Word in different versions and translations to give further insight of the context of certain passages that speak into my heart.

Paul, in writing to the church at Ephesus, pens some of the greatest truths simply tucked away in this letter. I came across this passage and I’m praying that this over my heart and the hearts of anyone who reads this little blog. Check this out…

15 This is why, since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength. (Ephesians 1:15-19 CSB)

I want an “Aha” moment regarding the Spirit of Wisdom.

I want an “Aha” moment regarding the revelation of Him.

I want an “Aha” moment regarding the knowledge of Him.

I want an “Aha” moment regarding the hope of His calling.

I want an “Aha” moment regarding the glorious inheritance.

I want an “Aha” moment regarding the immeasurable greatness of His Power.

I want the eyes of my heart to be open to see Him like I’ve never seen Him before. I want to see Him more clearly than I do now. I want more wisdom, insight and understanding of Who He is and what He’s calling me to do and be. The insight that the Lord gives is like none other. I’ve learned more from my time in His Word than the volumes of books I’ve read or seminars I’ve ever attended. The Word overflows with insight to God’s heart. I’m profoundly grateful for His heart that is saturated with Grace for His kids – like me!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Harvest Principle

 

garden harvestI really like this time of year because I love fresh vegetables from the garden. My wife’s parents have a nice-sized garden each year. They plant corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans; to name a few. I don’t usually help as much on the planting side because of work conflicts. I usually help with harvesting as we help freeze and can the vegetables for later use. It is crazy how some years, the garden produces more than others. It takes a lot of time and effort to work a garden, but it seems to me that the food taste much better than what I can purchase at the grocery store.

Paul talks about the law of the harvest in his last chapter to the church at Galatia. He declares that it’s a principle or a law of sorts. Check this out…

Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a person sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap destruction from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the SpiritLet us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith. (Galatians 6:7-10 CSB)

There have been springs and early summers where we didn’t get much rain, but we still almost always harvest more than is planted. This law is universal in all sorts of applications.

Paul is speaking clearly about my relationship with God. If I want to grow, I must invest some time and energy. He is challenging the church at Galatia to sow in the Spirit instead of the flesh. Sowing in the Spirit reaps eternal rewards as well as blessing while here on the earth. I can’t quit sowing seeds of kindness just because I’m tired. I’m paying it forward and it’s always wise to do good things even when I can’t see how it could possibly benefit me or anyone else. Doing good to others is “paying it forward” – a harvest will come from our genuine, loving, good deeds.

If I sow love and care in my relationships, they flourish.

If I ignore my relationships, they die.

If I use my money to carefully invest and give; the return or what comes back to me is a blessing.

The Lord gives me counsel often on more ways to creatively invest in others and that ends of blessing others and me. I am wealthy in relationship because I love people and do my very best to show proper respect and love. That is the harvest principle at work.

Pressing On!

Dwayne