Destiny Revealed

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Genesis 1:11-12 (KJB), “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” (emphasis mine)

Everything God created has the seed to reproduce in itself. Our job is to re-produce. Naturally and spiritually. We as Disciples of Christ should be reproducing disciples, sheep begat sheep. From the very beginning God gave this command to Adam and Eve.

Genesis 1:28 (NASB), “God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

After the flood he gives the same mandate to Noah (Gen 9:1, 35:11, 47:27)

Picture a seed planted in rich soul. Its destiny is hidden. The sower may remember what he planted and have great expectations, but the rest of us have to wait until the seed germinates and a little plant breaks through the dirt before we can rightly discern what kind of plant it will be, what kind of fruit it will produce. So if a seed planted is destiny hidden, then a grown, fruit producing plant is destiny revealed. That is why Jesus told His followers that they would be recognized as belonging to Him, through the fruit they bore.

Discover the seed in you.

What fruit are you producing?

Ephesians 1:11-12 (Message Bible), “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.”

Produce Love

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Galatians 5:6 (HCSB), “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything; what matters is faith working through love.” (emphasis mine)

I want to be productive in some way, to contribute. I don’t ever want to be accused of just taking and never giving. I don’t believe in distribution of wealth, or socialism. I believe everyone has something to give, something to do, some part they can play in making the world a better place.

As Christians we are to be productive. God told Adam and Eve, as well as Noah after the flood, to be fruitful and multiply. We are supposed to be about His business of furthering His Kingdom.

How do we do that? By producing fruit.

Galatians 5:22 (KJB), “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Some years back while studying for my bachelors’ degree, I took a class on “The Fruit of the Spirit.” It was at that time that I finally got a true understanding of what this ‘fruit’ was. The Spirit produces Love in us. All the other things listed in Galatians five are part of love. Think of an orange. Love is the whole fruit and each section is; joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self control. If we truly have love in our lives, we will produce the other things listed in this verse. For what is meekness without love, but false humility, what is goodness without love, only duty. Love is the motivation, the fuel that moves us to do good and to be better people. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit in us when we apply the Word to our lives. Our senior pastor, Dr. William Hohman, says it this way, “Love is produced by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us. Fruit isn’t a gift, it is produced.”

John 13:35 (NIV), “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

God has many plans and purposes for His children, but our main purpose it to multiply and bear fruit. We multiply by making disciples, by growing the family of God. The goodness of God, manifested in His love, is what turns hearts to repentance. So we have to sow love, plant the seeds of love so that we can produce love where ever we go.

Produce love! Be the Johnny Appleseed of Heaven and sow it everywhere!

Designed For His Glory

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Psalm 125:1 (NIV), “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.”

All of us who follow Christ and have surrendered our lives to Him are now the spiritual Mount Zion. We cannot be shaken, we endure forever. We are God’s house, His home. Our job is to shine. Our destiny is to carry His glory, to be like Moses who had to veil his face because the people couldn’t handle his glow. We are predestined, chosen before we were born, and designed for his glory.

Romans 8:28-29 (NIV), “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Emphasis mine)

Think about that. The One who made us designed us to hold His glory.

We are being conformed into His image. The closer we get to looking just like Him, the more of His glory will be revealed in us and on us. We are vessels that have to go through the process of firing so that we are strong enough to hold His glory. The Father’s intention is to present us as a bride to Christ. A bride that is without spot or wrinkle, one that is holy and blameless, a glorified Church.

Ephesians 5:25b-27 (NASB), “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Emphasis mine)

II Thessalonians 1:10-12 (KJB), “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Emphasis mine)

 

Each designer has a purpose in mind when they design something; sometimes it is just to look good. However, if you have ever purchased a pair of shoes that looked great, but were so uncomfortable you had to give your feet a pep talk before they would agree to wear them, you know that looks aren’t everything. God didn’t design us to shine just so we would look good! He wants us to lead people to Him. A light house shining in the darkest storm, the flood lights that light up that stage, the soft glow of a candle that brings hope and light in the darkest night. That’s us. Or it should be.

Ephesians 2:10 (TLB), “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Accepting His love for us is the beginning, then once we are truly motivated by a real love, not just a mindset to love, but genuine passion for Him, then we can do good works that stand. Those works won’t be worthless, sounding brass, or a banging cymbal (I Cor 13:1). What does a light house look like to those in darkness? A place where they can come in and be judged? A place where they feel threatened and forced to conform to a set of behaviors and standards? How about a place that is just like the darkness they want out of? No! A light house is a place of safety, a safe haven in the midst of the storm. The church is a family, one that is so full of love they just can’t contain it! It is shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit and just flows out of them, especially to those who are hurting and lost.

We aren’t sent to condemn or judge. We are not called to follow the law, we are called to love, we are sent out to Shine!

I challenge you to search out scriptures about Mount Zion. Then meditate on them. Stir them around in your heart and keep in mind that us believers are spiritual Zion. Good things come from there, people meet God there!

Isaiah 60:1-7 (ESV), “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you; the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will beautify my beautiful house.”

Mary Did You Know?

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One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Mary Did You Know” so over the years I have pondered that very question and thought about what it must have been like to be the mother of “Immanuel,” God with us.

In the book of Luke we are introduced to this young woman named Mary. She is engaged to Joseph. Gabriel, an angel of the Lord visits her and shares these words, “Greetings to you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great and be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, His kingdom will never end. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you so the Holy One born to you will be called the Son of God.”

In the book of Matthew, her fiancé, Joseph, also gets a visit from Gabriel. He had been trying to figure out a way to call off the engagement without bringing shame to Mary. The angel¬ tells Joseph, “Don’t put Mary away. What is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

The name Jesus in Hebrew means “Savior.”

The night Jesus was born in that animal shelter a great multitude of angels appear to the humble shepherds and tell them, “Unto you is born this day a Savior.” When they go to see the child, they share all that the angels told them with Mary and Joseph.
At the temple for Jesus’ dedication, two witnesses speak of who He was. Simeon had been promised by the Lord that he wouldn’t die before seeing the Messiah. When Mary and Joseph bring their little one into the temple, he gathers the baby into his arms and says, “Now Lord, you can let Your bond servant depart in peace according to Your word. For my eyes have seen Your salvation. Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples. A light of revelation to the Gentiles and the Glory of Your people.”

He goes on to share with Mary, “Behold this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel and for a sign to be opposed- and a sword will pierce even your own soul.”

The other witness at the temple is the prophetess Anna, who lives at the temple, worshipping, fasting and praying continually. She speaks to the parents of redemption in Jerusalem.

Mary at all of these things spoken to her by Gabriel, her cousin Elizabeth, the Shepherds, the Wiremen, Simeon, and Anna, treasures them and ponders them in her heart.

So, back to our question: Mary (and Joseph) did you know? I would have to say, “yes” they did. Maybe not everything, God doesn’t work that way. He expects us to live by faith after all. But those two knew who Jesus was, knew He was Holy, knew He was “God with Us.” What an awesome and awful responsibility! Yes, an honor, and yes, Mary is blessed, but think about it. We are so paranoid, partially thanks to people like Sigmund Freud, that we are going to mess up our kids. That somehow we are going to not be strong enough, soft enough, give the right advice, give the right gifts, spend enough time, the list is long, and that they won’t be who they are supposed to be. What if you had been in Mary’s shoes?

Clearly, scripture tells us that she pondered these things in her heart. It doesn’t tell us that she worried, or fretted, or ended up being some psychotic overprotective parent. The only time we read about her experiencing any anxiety is when they left Jerusalem without Him and didn’t find Him for three days. Even Jesus at that time, age twelve, expected His parents to understand that He had work to do.
Why is important to know that Mary and Joseph had an understanding of who their little one was? Because we have all been given the same task, as parents, we have been given a child to raise. Granted they aren’t deity, though we sometimes think that way in our own hearts, but they each have a purpose and God has destined them for great things. Should that stress us out? No. We should “treasure it up and ponder it in our hearts” as Mary did. Why did God choose her? The only answer I have for that is that He knew she was the best person for that job.

Isn’t that why he chose you?

It isn’t a mistake that you have the children that you do. He chose you. You are the best person for the job.

Walk in faith. Trust God and be led by His Spirit.

Your children, just like Jesus, are destined for greatness!

Who I Am

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The Holy Spirit is a amazing gift from the Father. He is a faithful teacher and guide. He reveals to us who God is. Knowing God on a personal level is important to our walk as Christians. Another wonderful thing that the Holy Spirit does is that He reveals to us who we are, not the way we see ourselves, not how the world sees us, but how God sees us. He shows us our true image and our true nature.

He can only do this if we are in a relationship with Him.

Think about when you were young, especially Jr. High and High School. This may not mean as much to you guys out there, but to us girls, having a best friend was so important, now days they call them BFF’s (Best Friends Forever). A true friend was someone you could be real with. They knew you were afraid of the dark, wet the bed, or that you had a crush on Jimmy in second period. You knew they hated math, loved pizza, and once snuck into the movies. For us girls, we stayed up and talked for hours, we shared every part of our lives and our hearts. Another thing about a best friend was that they never let us think too highly of ourselves. They held us accountable, were honest to the point of inflicting pain at times. They had the guts to say, “that dress has to go,” or “Jimmy likes cheerleaders, and you aren’t one.”

That is the kind of relationship we need to have with the Holy Spirit. We may have been hurt a time or two by people we were intimate with, maybe they shared some of our secrets, or in some way turned against us. The Holy Spirit will never be that kind of friend. He is trustworthy and faithful. We can tell Him anything! If what we have in our heart is wrong, He will faithfully convict us, or convince us, depending on what is needful.

John 16:1-11 (NIV), “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ “But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”

That is part of His responsibility, to convict of sin, and convince us of righteousness. If we believe we can’t be healed, the Holy Spirit will convince us otherwise. If we are ignoring the word, or backing away from God, He convicts us, always in love. He guides us into the truth, He doesn’t want us to live in error, deceit, or in a way that isn’t beneficial for us.

John 16:13 (NIV), “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

John 14:26 (NASB), “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

Just like that earthly friend, the Holy Spirit knows our weaknesses. He knows we tend to have anger issues, or that we “escape” into movies or books, He knows we are getting too friendly with that co-worker, or are in places we shouldn’t be. The Holy Spirit see’s the intents of our hearts, before we ever act on anything. So, He is there to help us through, to say “no” to all temptations. He lines us back up with God’s purpose and His plan for our life, if we will let Him.

Romans 8:26 (NIV), “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

He knows our minds better than we do, better than any human friend ever could, and He uses that information to help us, guide us, and even intercedes for us according to the will of God. He reveals to us the purposes and plans that God has for us. God has a wonderful plan mapped out for each one of us, and it is the Holy Spirit that reveals that map piece by piece. His Spirit has been given to us so that we can fulfill those plans.

I Corinthians 2:9-12 (NIV), “but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”

Every person born in this world ends up with an image of themselves. For the most part those images are painted from our experiences in this fallen world, from what others have said to us or about us, and from the lies that Satan has whispered in our ears. The Pharisee’s image of themselves was self importance, self indulgent, and self righteous. The woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears had a totally different self image, before meeting Christ. Over the years we have heard words like, “fat,” “stupid,” “lazy,” “ugly,” “skinny,” “poor,” “stuck up,” “whore,” and a bunch of other words that I won’t mention in Church. These words shape us. There are even people who have eating disorders who look into the mirror and see a fat person when in reality they are walking skeletons. Our images of ourselves are distorted, at best.

So God sends us His Spirit to rectify that. He tells us we are sons of God, if we are listening and following Him.

Romans 8:14-15 (NIV), “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”

As He reveals who God is, He is revealing who we are. If God is love, then we are loved, and accepted in the beloved. If God is generous, and He is our Father, then we are not orphans and He will provide for us. We know that God is Healer, so we know that we walk in divine health. Satan can whisper all he wants that we are no good, too old, too fat, too weak, too whatever…we just need to tell him to shut up and hear that other voice, the One who says, “you are beautiful, you are loved, you are special, you can do anything, you are mine. We may at times feel unloved or unlovable, but the Holy Spirit is there telling us the truth. He puts a spotlight on the lies of the devil. He also shines that light on the areas were we need strength, deliverance, and change. He wants His fruit evident in our lives.

Galatians 5:22 (NIV), “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

The Holy Spirit is God. He wants us to be free from out past, free from any wrong thought patterns, and free to be who God has called us to be. In order to be free, we have to know who we are! We aren’t our sins. He didn’t create us to sin, He created us in His likeness, for good not for evil. We are being transformed into the image of Christ.

II Corinthians 3:17-18 (NIV), “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

People find their identity in many things besides God. The problem with that is that circumstances change. The woman who finds her identity in her children doesn’t know who she is when they go off to college, or worse yet becomes an obsessive, overbearing, busy body in the lives of her grown children. The athlete who finds his identity in the sport that he plays loses that identity when he is no longer able to perform, the business man who finds his identity in his career is lost after retirement, and the woman who finds her identity in her husband is devastated when death or divorce comes knocking.

However, God never changes. How He feels about us, how He created us, never changes. His plans and His purposes are forever. The only thing that can change our identity in Him is a lack of relationship, a lack of intimacy with the Holy Spirit. Truthfully that doesn’t even change who we are supposed to be, we just “act the part” we have allowed the world to give us. Like some bad sit com. They tell us who they think we are and we foolishly play the part.

In my opinion, that is why so many of our young people think that they are gay. The world says that if you are a boy and you like to cook, shop, the color pink, have creative genes, and hate sports, you must be a homosexual. Or, if you are a girl and you likes playing in the dirt with trucks, love football, like working with your hands, and hate wearing dresses, you must be a lesbian. How foolish is that? Our likes and dislikes, (especially at the age of 5 or 6), do not dictate who we are! God made each one of us, He formed us in the womb, saying that a person is born contrary to God’s plan and purposes for our lives is in effect saying that He messed up or made a mistake. His original plans for men and women are still the same. A man who is loving and gentle is still a man. A woman who is strong and capable is still a woman.

Don’t let the world tell you who you are. Don’t let your weak flesh either. The ultimate authority on who we are, who we are created to be must be God. He made us, He designed us, He is the Master Potter and we are but the clay. Settling for anything less than God’s perfect plan for us will only lead to heartache and brokenness.

God is the one who wrote our part. It will never be contrary to His will, His way, and His word. His plan is already written for us. The part that God has imagined for us is the part of the main character; we have the lead in the story of our lives. We are the Hero, we save the day!

That is our destiny.

Sitters and Chasers

I went to a graduation at a small Christian school last night. I used to teach there and the single high school graduate had been one of my students for five years. I see her every Sunday and Wednesday at Church and the couple of days a week I volunteer, at the school in the office and the kitchen. But all of a sudden, last night, in her cap and gown, up on stage, giving her speech, she looked different. She was grown up. She wasn’t sitting in the class room waiting to graduate. She was done-she’s gone from a sitter to a chaser. Off to college in a big city in the fall, chasing her dreams. My prayer for her is that she doesn’t randomly run after whatever sparkles and looks enticing, but that she sits and listens to that still small voice as well. Time spent chasing rainbows is wasted time. Time spent chasing out destiny, is time well used.

 

After the ceremony, the little ones sang and did hand bells, super cute, 3, 4, and 5 year olds. After wards, mothers and fathers were chasing little ones down, trying to get pictures. Grandmas and Grandpas were sitting, and watching, proud of their families. Two mothers sat their three year olds next to each other on chairs for a picture. A little blonde princess in an orange dress the dark little gentleman in his vest and tie, everyone stared and smiled. She leaned in and put her head on his shoulder, he put his tongue in his cheek and got that ‘deer in the headlights’ look. The princess’s father laughed! The mothers, grandmothers, well pretty much any woman who stood there smiled at the cuteness of it all. Latter, I was thinking of the difference in boys and girls. Boys are chasers, because they love to be chased. Girls are sitters, because they love to be caught. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well that way. The boys run by and practically beg to be chased (they really don’t want to be caught, just chased) and the girls sit and look at them, longing to be captured (and they hate running in their princess dresses and glass slippers).

Sitters and Chasers. Some of us sit and watch the world pass us by. Some of us chase it down and demand all we can get out of it, only to find that it wasn’t what we really wanted, the fun was in the chase, not the capture. We look at what we caught, what we hold in our hand with a death grip, refusing to give up what we worked so hard for, only to see that it is fool’s gold. Can’t we be both? Do we only have to choose to either sit, or chase? I say yes! Sit first; hear what God has planned for you. Then when he shows you the path, run! Don’t look back to see who’s running with you, don’t look to the left or the right to see what other paths are being taken, just go for it. Sometimes, we get to sit for a spell, rest up, recalculate (like Lola-the voice of my garmen), but we always have to get back up. I guess we even slow down at times, when the road gets scary, and the path gets hairy, but still…move ahead.