God’s Heart for Me and You

For when the time was right, the Anointed One came and died to demonstrate His love for sinners who were entirely helpless, weak, and powerless to save themselves. Now who of us would dare to die for the sake of a wicked person? We can all understand if someone was willing to die for a truly noble person. But Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly! And there is still much to more to say of unfailing love for us!

-Romans 5: 6-9 Passion Translation

There is a song from Bethel called “Reckless Love”, I have had on replay for days!  The chorus says,

“Oh the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God. Oh, it chases me down, me down, fights ‘til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine, I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it Still You give yourself away. The next part  says There’s no mountain You won’t climb up, coming after me, There’s no wall You won’t kick down, No lie You won’t tear down, coming after me.”

The word “love” in the book of Romans in the Greek is “agape” it means divine love; what God prefers, or to take pleasure in.

God loves you! He prefers you and takes pleasure in you. He demonstrated this FIRST by sending His Son to earth, and now He just keeps chasing after us until we are found!

The end of verse 9 of Romans 5 says we now receive reconciliation. One of the definitions of this word means to return to favor. Jesus has bought us, a return to live in favor with God.

Many of us think we have to earn love. We have to be nice enough, good enough, pretty enough, smart enough to be truly loved.

I’m telling you today God loves you! He is head over heels in love with you! He is chasing you down to love you, to bless you to favor you! He has a passionate desire to show us love.

This month as we are focusing on LOVE, think about this, God loves you so much! Put Reckless love on replay until it gets way down deep and you start dancing because you finally understand! GOD LOVES ME THIS I KNOW!

 

Courage Tastes Like Mustard

It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.

— Hebrews 11:6 (MSG)


I’ve been thinking about the word “courage” lately and what it means to have it. I’ve been thinking about the song “Take Courage” that sings, “He’s in the waiting,” and soaking in Psalm 31:24 (ESV) that says, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!”

What I feel the Lord is speaking through these things is that undivided trust and steadfast faith are required in order to live from courage in our day to day. Courage is built upon a foundation of faith.

Faith that you hear Him speak.

Faith that you are held and surrounded, hemmed in, by Him on all sides.

Faith that He is faithful.

Faith that He hears your prayers and knows what your heart desires.

Faith that when you seek His beauty, everything else will become beautiful.

With this kind of faith you can boldly go in courage to share His love, to step out when He tells you to or to wait upon Him for provision, protection, breakthrough.

…All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.

— 1 Corinthians 10:13b (MSG)

Waiting takes courage, courage takes faith.

I recently witnessed a testimony of living with courage by keeping faith in what the Lord has spoken. Someone dear to me needed financial breakthrough in order to go on a mission she felt God clearly calling her to. It came down to the deadline with no possibility of the necessary funding in sight. The deadline passed with nothing changing until somehow God made a way and she was not removed from the trip. The deadline was extended and someone unexpectedly donated the remaining balance at the last minute. When she courageously released her fear to Him according to what He had spoken in the waiting, breakthrough came!

So whether you are in a season of waiting, a season of being told to move forward, a season of change or one of digging deep into the soil of your present battle, have faith. Tell your heart that He is worthy of your faith. He’s proved it over and over again. Every time. It’s who He is. Faithfulness is His very nature and cannot be separated from Him.

Allow this to give your heart permission to take courage. Faithfully put your heart in His hands, the safest place to live courageously.

Faith the size of a mustard seed will move mountains if we are bold and courageous enough to believe it and open our mouths. He is in the waiting. Have faith. Take courage.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

— Matthew 6:33 (MSG)

 

Go! by John Kitterman (Nov 12, 2017) – Video Sermon

Have you ever experienced that God gives us dreams that are bigger than ours and scary if we had to walk out that dream alone? But that’s why we’re big and scary, God wants to partner with us to accomplish those dreams!

When Jesus, in His authority, commissioned the disciples to go everywhere and preach the Good News for the rest of their lives, it was probably one of those big and scary moments for the disciples. But He promised that He would always be with them (and us!) as they went.

If you don’t have purpose, you wander aimlessly but you have been called to something! You have been called to love people around you, to love everyone with His love.

Are you purposefully leaving your familiar surroundings and looking for ministering opportunities to the lost? Because if you build relations with the lost, they’ll be more receptive of listening to what you have to say about Jesus.

The best part about the Great Commissioning is that it’s a co-mission, meaning that the Holy Spirit is partnering with us! We’ll never go it alone.

We’re also not meant to do life alone either. It’s so important to keep in communication with each other in the church body; when one stumbles, there’s another to pick the other up.

Let us be intentional about discipleship. We should be a disciple to someone who has gone before and we should have a disciple to speak into their lives, pointing out Jesus and sharing wisdom.  

Jesus is the one in charge and He equips the people that He sends, do you know what He’s given you to go out and make disciples?

Whole generations can be changed! Imagine people being set free from their hurts, addictions, and brokenness because the knowledge of Jesus made it out into the community!

We cannot keep the love of Jesus bottled up inside, nor should we, for that is not what our Good Shepherd has called us to do. For the more we share His love, the more He’ll give.

Being a disciple doesn’t mean we have to become some great orator or a great teacher, it simply means to become a great friend first, then Jesus will prompt us to say what He wants us to say about Him. As conscripts in His army, sharing His love isn’t an option.

If you’re not walking through life helping somebody understand who Jesus is and what He’s done for them, then you’re missing out! He brings freedom because it was for freedom that we’re set free so in turn we can go help other people become free.

Jesus was clear about the Great Commission- He needs us to go out to the highways and the byways to share His love. This is what we’ve been made for, dispensers of His free gift! We are a people of power and authority because He shared His authority with us.

“We’re not waiting on a move of God, we are the move of God.” — Steven Furtick

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Matthew 28:16 (NIV)

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Let the Children Come by Janna Plummer (Nov 5, 2017) – Video Sermon

There is no greater gift we can give our kids than putting them in the arms of Jesus.

Why did the disciplines feel the need to hinder the parents from reaching Jesus for their children?

Do you have a thought process that hinders you from seeking out Jesus’ blessings?

If you believe that God doesn’t care about your troubles (big or small), then your idea of God isn’t big enough.

God sees you, He sees your heart, He sees your pain, He sees what’s going on inside of you and still He says, “Please come to Me! I’m here waiting for you! Don’t be ashamed or think it’s improper! I am NOT rebuking you!”

Jesus said that children belong to the Kingdom of God and whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. How do children receive the Kingdom of God? They receive it as a relationship, not a one-time gift.

God wants to spend time with you and see your relationship with Him grow because it’s through your companionship and togetherness with Him is how you receive the Kingdom of God while here on earth.

How many times have your own thinking/ life issues/ attitudes hinder God’s children from getting to Him?

There is no greater example of God’s love for us than how loving parents take care of children despite the messes they cause. God loves us too much to give up on us or let us stay covered in our mess.

Stay humble before the Lord and start taking care of His children and you’ll understand the job God has in front of Him taking care of us.

Are you in a relationship with your expectations instead of in a relationship with the only One who can explain everything?

Ask yourself today if you’re hindering or helping the least of these to the arms of Jesus- it’s never too late to repent and begin a renewed relationship with Him today!

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Mark 10:13-16 (NIV)

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms,placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Psalm 127:3-4 (NIV)

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.

Deuteronomy 7:13 (NIV)

13 He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and olive oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.

Matthew 18:5-6 (NIV)

And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Walk In Newness

As we end our 21-Day Fast today, let me challenge you with the words of Isaiah and our word for Restoration Church in 2018!

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”

-Isaiah 43:18-19

Several years ago, I spoke on these verses at a weekend retreat.  I always liked the idea of God turning the deserts of my life into streams and making a way out of the wilderness, but truthfully, I never really understood why we had to forget the former things.  I mean, all throughout the Old Testament He instructed His people to place Remembrance Stones and make alters of Remembrance so those who passed by them would not forget.  He even told His disciples in the New Testament to, “Do this in remembrance of Me,” as they partook of communion together.  So, aren’t we supposed to remember the former things?

As I researched these verses there were several things that stood out to me as to why we needed to “forget the former things and not dwell on the past.”

God was asking the Israelites to re-focus their eyes.  Not to completely forget what He’s done but to look forward for Him doing something new, and be expectant in the new thing.

Why?

Because if they didn’t, they would miss what He was about to do. Yes, they were in captivity again, but this time was different. This was a new time, a new desert, and a new exodus for His people. The past miracles were nothing compared to what God wanted to do for them and they are nothing compared to what He wants to do in our future!

Many of us get stuck in the past by focusing on our mistakes and all that went wrong.  Some of us get stuck in the past by focusing on how great it was and want to relive our “glory days” and all that went right.  The truth is, we must be careful not to miss what God wants to do by dwelling on the past whether good or bad.  If we are continually looking behind we will miss it because we cannot see where we are going or where God is leading us. If we are ever going to move on to new things in Christ we must learn that, we cannot depend upon our past victories to sustain us.

We must forget the former things and instead, we must move forward with expectancy.  We must believe Big, and we must exercise our faith.  Testimonies of what God has done increase our faith to believe He will do it again, and He will.  But God does not repeat Himself exactly the same in every miraculous situation.  When we read the stories and testimonies of the times Jesus healed, not one is the same.  Each time, it was a different and unique experience, because God is alive and each one of us is unique.  God loves to move in fresh new ways.  He wants us to be on the lookout for what He will do next because it won’t be like the last time. God doesn’t want to us to stay focused on what He did, He wants us to look forward to what He will do next. He is always looking to do a new thing.

This year God has charged Restoration Church and those who are part of our family to “Walk in Newness!”  If we are going to get anywhere in our spiritual life we must understand that, we cannot live on yesterday’s faith and provision, it will only take us so far.  Instead, look to God – He wants to do a NEW THING!

Are you ready to look ahead and no longer focus or dwell on the things in the past?

Father God, we are ready to leave our past bondage and captivity behind.  Help us to refocus our eyes onto You. We look to You with an expectancy for You to do a New thing in us, for us and through us.  Our eyes are focused on You and we are ready for Your Holy Spirit to move.  Come God, and do a New Thing!

Planting Seeds of Encouragement and Revival

We have opportunities every day to encourage people and plant seeds of revival all around us in our sphere of influence.  I am asking The Lord to open my eyes to these opportunities.  It’s exciting to see what happens!  I look at it like a treasure hunt with the treasures all around us in plain sight.  We just need the right mind set of expectation to see them.

Yesterday I went into a store to make a specific purchase.  While waiting in line at the check stand, I heard the clerk say to some people in front of me.  “I ‘m so tired today.  I only work a 4 hour shift, but I’m ready to go home, and take a nap; maybe I need a Snickers bar.”  The candy display was right in front of me and, yes, there were snicker bars on it; I added a Snickers bar to my purchase.  

After completing my purchase I handed the Snickers bar to the clerk and said, “this is for you.”  She took the bar and turned around quickly.  When she turned back I could see tears in her eyes.  She said, so sweetly, “you made me cry, thank you.”  It blessed me as well to know such a small act of kindness could touch someone’s heart.  I believe she was touched in her heart to know someone heard and cared enough to acknowledge her.  Jesus wants to do that through us!

We are planting seeds of revival within people as we encourage them with words and deeds of kindness.  Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Let’s use our God given authority and release the power of life to all those around us; friends, family and strangers.  As we do this it brings life and hope within, reviving God’s love in our hearts, paving the way for revival in our communities, states and nations!

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for making it possible for everyone to have Your life within and release it to those around.  Show us the opportunities we have each day and give us the tenacity to step out of our comfort zones to plant seeds of revival and encouragement!