Come Away and Rest Awhile

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Mark 6:31 “come away ......and rest awhile”

Burnout is something that all of us face in one form or another in life. Burnout can look like: 1) overwhelming tiredness over what needs to be done or what is looming ahead. 2) frustration at the constant needs, demands, and expectations of others. 3) lack of vision of what the future holds 4) depression, agitation, anger, stress, and anxiousness. 5) physical illness and lack of care for yourself, and 6) judgement and offense towards those you feel are demanding of your time, energy and efforts.

There are always things to do. There is always more that could be done. More that should be done. The question comes up, are these things we’ve laid on ourselves from the heart of God or our own devised plans or demands of others? Wayne Cordeiro, author of Leading on Empty, says that “people’s needs are great and their expectations are endless. You can’t base your life on the expectations of others”. He said, “It is good to wean ourselves off the need to be needed.”

In Mark 6 it says “come away...and rest awhile”. I like that because you need to actually get away from some things to truly rest. Remember, God doesn’t give you a vision for your life that will end in burnout. That will hurt or destroy relationships, or cause stress or illness. Our visions and lifestyle are to be birthed out of our relationship with the Father, therefore they are sustained by that same relationship. Even in your thoughts and your mind, it’s good to “come away...and rest awhile”. His grace is always available to keep you refreshed, renewed, and refilled! So, how about you? Whether it’s for a minute, a day, a week, or a month…when the activity of this world starts to crowd your mind and your life…stop…come away…breathe...rest awhile…then head back refreshed.

 

Happy Tails, Happy Hearts

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Numbers 6:25 “The Lord make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favor) to you”.

As I was driving recently from New Jersey to Colorado I saw a sign that said “Humane Society…Happy Tails, Happy Hearts”. Did you know that a dog wagging his tail serves the exact same function as a human smile, a greeting, or excited recognition? And what’s really cool is that for a dog to wag his tail, a person has to be in their presence. They don’t wag their tail when no one is around. This wagging of the tail means “a happy heart”. God created dogs this way!

God always looks at you with an approving look. He makes His face shine upon you, giving kindness, mercy, and favor! He is gracious to you. When He sees you or thinks about you, He overflows with intense love and joy. His greatest desires are to see you happy, joyful, and successful. God’s face is not frowning on you but shining with joy and elation over you, His beloved child. You, or nothing you do will ever change that about Him toward you. Simply smile back and receive it, soak it in!

 

May the Fourth Be With You

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Genesis 1:19 "And the evening and the morning were the fourth day" 

With Independence Day just behind us, I trust you enjoyed a day of rest and celebration of our nation’s birth, and the blessing that we have in being…the United States of America.    

However, there is another “fourth” that is very, very meaningful to all of us, no matter where we live. On the fourth day of what is called "creation week", God spoke into existence our sun, the moon, all the stars and the seasons. (Genesis 1:14) Interestingly, the Hebrew word for "seasons" is MOED, which is literally translated as "appointed times" (divine appointments).  Get ready for divine appointments in the coming days and some appointed times that are waiting specifically for you. 

“In the evening and the morning were the fourth day".  The Hebrew day started in the evening.  This means that while you are sleeping and resting, God's day has already begun.  Before you open your eyes in the morning, God is already causing favorable opportunities to be presented to you in your life, career, relationships, and pursuits.  

I really believe this means that God wants us to rest.  In the days, weeks and months ahead, as you rest in what He has already finished, divine appointments, key relationships, and Holy Ghost led associations are coming your way.  It's your appointed time.  A time where you will be at the right place with the right person.  

May the 4th be with you!...divine rest, divine activity, totally directed by the Spirit of God, that brings you to your appointed time.  So get ready and get excited because the 4th is with you, and His name is Jesus!

 

Jesus Adds Life to Your Years

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John 6:51 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he will live forever and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" 

In this powerful verse, Jesus is telling us that He has given us a conduit for HIS life to affect every area of OUR life…Holy Communion.  Jesus said, "the bread that I will give is my flesh".  The more you partake in communion, the more life is released into your physical body and every other natural part of your life. The more you partake the stronger you become, the more you partake your youth is renewed.  

He has prepared a table of benefits in the presence of all of your enemies. The more you partake the more prosperous you become. He said "as often as you do this you remember His death till He come".  When Jesus died, Colossians 2:15 says that He "disarmed" principalities and powers.  So if you're going through a battle today, release the total disarming of every enemy through Holy Communion.  Fear is an enemy, depression is an enemy, arthritis is an enemy.  

Yes, you can add years to your life and life to your years! How often? It depends, how often you want to disarm you're enemies? It depends how much life you want released into your organs, your brain, your arteries, your joints. How often do you want life released into your finances? Into your home? Into your marriage? You decide!

 

Don't Let Fear Shut You Up

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John 20:19-20  "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord." 

Why were the doors shut?  "For fear of the Jews".  Fear will always try and shut you up, close you in, and restrict you in every way.  It will try to stop you, keep you from moving forward, and from breaking free of all limitations. But be encouraged, fear did not stop Jesus when He found His disciples gathered together, behind closed doors, and it can't stop you. He came and stood in the midst of their fear.    

And what was the very first word the resurrected Jesus said to His frightened disciples?  In our English bibles, it says "peace be with you", but our Lord would have spoken in Hebrew.  He would have used the word shalom.  Shalom is taken from the root word shalam, which means, “to be safe in mind, body, or estate.” It speaks of completeness, fullness, or a type of wholeness that encourages you to give back. 

"Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side."  These were the receipts of His payment for their shalom, and of His guaranteed peace.  Jesus paid the price for your shalom. You don't have to be full of worries and cares.  For every fearful and threatening situation in your life, you can declare the same thing that Jesus said to His disciples, "shalom".  Fear can't shut you up, unless you let it.  So don't let it.  Shalom.  

 

A Blessing Going Someplace to Happen

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Proverbs 10:22 "the blessing of the Lord it makes rich, and He adds no sorrow with it" 

In the 1970's, there was a very successful sitcom called What's Happening?  It took place in Los Angeles and followed the daily lives of five young people.  The show is long gone, but the phrase lives on…Hey, what's happening?" 

In Proverbs 10:22 Solomon, the writer of the proverbs says, the blessing that's ON and IN your life, IT makes rich.  Wow!  That’s awesome.  That’s encouraging.  That’s empowering!  It's not what you DO that makes your rich, it's what's ON you, the blessing.    

That means that wherever you go, whoever you meet, whosoever hand you shake, when you go food shopping, when you go to the hair dresser, you are a blessing going someplace to manifest something great.  Something healthy.  Something awesome.  

The blessing isn’t a thing, it's not a car, it's not a house, the blessing is an empowerment that touches every single area of your life.  It's something tangible, supernatural.  If you touch something it gets affected for good.  Things last longer.  You have something in you that will make you rich in every area of your life.  Your health is rich, your family is rich, your money is rich, your days are full of riches.  Job 36:11 says you spend your days in prosperity.  

So when you wake up tomorrow, see yourself rich in every way.  Look at yourself in the mirror and say, "I'm a blessing going someplace to happen".  On your way to work say, "I'm a blessing going someplace to happen".  When you walk into that classroom or appointment say, "I am a blessing going someplace to happen".   THAT'S what's happening!

 

Wounded Time, Is Wasted Time

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by Natalie Fortunato

Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." 

"If you're going through hell, don't stop!".  Heard this line in a country song while I was waiting at the car dealership for my oil change.  Loved it!  Totally got my attention.  Such great advice, right?  

When we really mess up, totally miss God, sometimes the guilt and shame is paralyzing.  It's almost unbearable.  But the worse thing we can do is stay there. All wounded and condemned, kicking ourselves.  What a waste of time.  

The enemy loves to rehearse the incident over and over again in our minds.  How we failed.  But the Holy Spirit is the exact opposite.  When we miss it, He loves to remind us of who we are in Christ.  He reminds us that we are loved, accepted, forgiven and righteous.  He reminds us of our calling and our assignment.  

If you've messed up big time, change your mind and change your direction.  Admit where you got off track, take responsibility for your actions, take dominion and authority over the enemy, and allow the Holy Spirit to get you back on track…and move on!  

 

"Deerly" Beloved

Philippians 4:1  “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved." 

I recently read an article Deerly Beloved: Deer crash wedding, leaving newlyweds with fairytale photos about a couple in Stockton, NJ who had a herd of deer show up at their wedding.  I quote, "Outdoor weddings can be risky, but when weather and insects cooperate they can be great. And when a curious group of deer turn the photos into a scene out of Snow White they can be downright magical."  

On another note, the phrase dearly beloved shows up nine times in the New Testament.  It's from the Hebrew words meaning to breathe or long for, to prefer .The word dearly or dear in front of beloved is significant.  It means that HIS love for you is breathing life into you every day.  He is longing to be with you in fellowship.  He is preferring you in every situation you encounter throughout your day! 

Just like that herd of deer showing up in the wedding photo, God is showing up when you least expect it and most of all when you least deserve it.  You, beloved, are so dear to your Heavenly Daddy!  

 

Think Responsibly

Romans 12:2 (Amplified Bible) - "Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs] but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude]."

Especially around the holidays, you hear the phrase "Drink Responsibly" or "Don't Drink and Drive".  It's an effort to convince people to stay off the road when drinking.  I can't tell you how many stories I've heard lately about car accidents caused by drunk drivers, it's so selfish and beyond dangerous. 

However, to "Think Responsibly" is the most important principle of our lives.  Why?  Proverbs 23:7 tells us that our whole life, and how we perceive other people and ourselves, is summed up in "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he".  Your life is a product of your thinking.

Just like an alcoholic is addicted to alcohol, the "negaholic" is addicted to negative thinking.  Positive thinking is a principle of the Word of God.  It's thinking the best, the Word, in negative situations, it's a confident expectation of good. 

"Negaholism" is something that can only be combated with one thing, the Word of God.  We must be in a constant, and I repeat, constant state of renewing our minds.  Here are four types of Negaholics...

Attitudinal Negaholics:  they are successful people who are drivenVerbal
Negaholics:  they are hopeless, helpless and unable to change their negative statements about themselves, others, situations, and just about everything.
Behavioral Negaholics:  they try so hard that you don't want to fault them, but self-sabotage is written all over them.
The Perfectionist: they have high and unreasonable standards, anything short of perfection is unacceptable. 

Let's make a commitment to be transformed in our minds by the Word of God.  Let's get rid of any negative thinking patterns and replace them with positive expectations of good, which is the Word of God. 

 

Blank Slate Baby by Natalie Fortunato

Colossians 2:14 (The Message) "Think of it!  All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross".  

In 2014, Taylor Swift wrote a song called Blank Space, poking fun at all her multiple failed romances and the casualties she's left behind.  Though her relationships were at a loss, her song won a Grammy for Song of the Year..crazy! 

I'd like to put a little twist to her song title, to help you remember this very helpful principle when dealing with your close relationships.  Here it is: Blank Slate!  If God has wiped the slate clean with all our sin, how about if we wipe the slate clean at the close of every day with other's sins against us?  

Ephesians 4:26-27 says to “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil."  In other words, wipe the slate clean every night and wake up the next day with a clean slate, totally empty, no records of wrongdoing against anyone.  Don't mess up today with your wife, or husband, or best friend, or boss, or neighbor's mess ups (intentional or unintentional) from yesterday.  

Paul said there is one thing that he does…forget those things that are behind and reach forward to those things ahead (Phil. 3:13). If you need to confront something, do it in a godly way, then regardless of the outcome, move on!  Forgive!  Let it go!  Start each day with a blank slate baby! 

 

Recipe for a Tender Heart

Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you". 

I recently grilled some thin pieces of beef on skewers, marinated in a teriyaki sauce with sesames, delicious...uh, no.  Even though I only cooked them for five minutes on each side, they became a "burnt offering", really tough, dry and chewy.  Then next time, I definitely decreased the time on both sides and they came out perfect, really tender, and…delicious! 

The word tender means having a soft or yielded texture, to soften. Similarly, the word tenderhearted means easily moved with love and compassion.  And the word tenderize means to make tender or soft by applying a process or substance that breaks down the hardness. 

In Ephesians 4:32, Paul says for our hearts to be tender towards ourselves and other people, to "be kind" one to another. That simply means to be nice or to be easy with one to another.  But he goes on to say that a tender heart comes from one thing and one thing alone - forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you!  In other words, know that you are forgiven of past present and future sins, and forgive one another, as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you.  

So, here's a recipe for a tender heart!  "Cook it" the right amount of time in God's presence, listen for His voice and follow His instructions, be nice to each other and forgive one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you.  Have a kind day.  Voila!

 

Say Goodbye to Guilt

Gal 4:17 (The Message Bible)  "Those heretical teachers go to great lengths to flatter you, but their motives are rotten. They want to shut you out of the free world of God's grace so that you will always depend on them for approval and direction, making themselves important." 

The biggest curse in the body of Christ today is the enormous amount of guilt, condemnation, shame, and fear.  These destructive behaviors are totally disarming and paralyzing the people of God. Sadly, statistics have shown that Pentecostals, Charismatic's and full gospel people suffer with guilt and guilt related disorders more than any other religious group in the world. 

The dictionary defines guilt as, the feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, or crime, whether real or imagined.  The reason why is we get hooked on what I call a toxic mixture of old testament law and new testament grace.  Once you mix the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life, it will poison every area of your Christian life. 

For the majority of believers in the church today, guilt is their drug of choice.  For many, if they don't feel guilty, they wonder how they be motivated to serve God!  Some actually think guilt is a Christian emotion. IT"S NOT! Paul calls this mixture "another gospel".  Any time a person tries to earn the love, acceptance, forgiveness and favor of God, it is going to result in guilt, condemnation, shame and fear. God's unmerited favor is the answer that will deliver God's people from this addiction.  God loves, accepts, and forgives every one of us unconditionally.  It's time to kick the habit!

 

Unzip Your New Self

Ephesians 4:24 NIV "And put on your new self created after God in righteousness and true holiness" 

The other day I needed to make a copy of a document, so I placed it on the copy machine, pressed the button, and boom there was an exact copy of the document.  It didn’t change any of the words, everything was exactly, perfectly the same as the original, absolutely no difference at all. 

Similarly, if I wanted to see exactly what my born again Spirit-filled spirit was like, I know what I could do.  I could place the pages of my Bible on the copy machine and that's exactly what my spirit would look like. My born again spirit is an exact copy of what the Word says.  You have a new you! 

Ephesians 4:24 says that your new self was created in righteousness and true holiness.  That's awesome.  I often think, if I could zipper open my body and see into my spirit, I would see righteousness and holiness.  You and I are an exact grace copy of the Word of grace and favor.  Inside of you and me is health, abundance, purpose and victory.  John 6:63 says, "The Words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life".  The life of God Himself is on the inside of you!  You're a grace copy!  Time to unzip your new self!

 

The Happy God

1 Timothy 1:11 (Rotherham's Emphasized Bible) "…the glad-message of the glory of the happy God…" 

The other day I was laughing and talking with someone about the Lord, and how good He is.  We were having such a fun time.  When I walked away, someone I had never seen before, was listening to our conversation, and glared at me, then quietly cursed at me and said that I had no idea what I was talking about.  If eyes were guns and looks were bullets, I would’ve been target practice! This was not a happy person. 

I love this translation for 1Timothy 1:11 that says "It’s the glad message of THE HAPPY GOD".  This is such great news.  I can assure you today that God's definitely not glaring at you.  In fact, whenever He thinks about you, which is all the time, He's grinning from ear to ear!  To glare means to frown, to scowl, to glower, to make a nasty face (love that one), to look with daggers (like that one too) to give someone a look of disgust. 

Well, there's nothing you can do to make God glare at you.  The gospel of Grace declares that God loves you with a love you cannot measure.  To quote Philip Yancey, "Grace means there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and nothing I can do to make God love me less".  Another definition is " the good, glad, merry news that makes you want to jump and leap for joy". 

God is a happy God and has a glad message, so smile!  God's not frowning at you, He's not mad at you, and He's not even in a bad mood.  You put a big smile on His face! 

 

No More Religious Do Do

Romans 4:6 "Just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:" 

Because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross, as Christians, we no longer live a life of do, do, do.  Under grace, we live a life of done, done, done!  Everything promise in the Word of God is already ours through Christ.  

Do, do (aka: doo-doo).  Sound familiar?  It's that little "present" that your dog leaves for you when you're out of the house for an extended period of time.  

Similarly, a "performance based" Christianity, or trying to do good so that we will get good is what I call, "religious do, do".  Trying to pray long enough, or read the Bible long enough, or fast long enough, just to get good, is religious do, do.  Trying to earn God's goodness, or living in fear of something bad happening if you don't do enough, is a total "waste" of time.  Religious do,do. 

Don't get me wrong, praying and reading the Bible and fasting are all good when you are living a life of grace, and enjoying the freedom and victory you already have in Christ.  In Romans 4:6, Paul says the man who God imputes righteousness without doing anything to earn or deserve it, is blessed.  That’s powerful and liberating!   You were made righteous, it was a gift, you can't do anything to earn it.  So, no more religious do, do.  At the cross it became done, done, done! 

 

Who is the Holy Spirit? by Natalie Fortunato

John 14:16-17  "And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, so that He may be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you."

Many want to understand the gifts, fruit, voice, power and workings of the Holy Spirit without first coming to know Him as a Person.  Yes, a Person, not a human, but a divine Person, the third Person of the Godhead.  He is not an "it", or a mystical power that flows from God, He is God.  

I encourage you to take a minute and think about what place you give Him in your personal day to day life.  Ask yourself, "Do I honor and reverence Him as a Person?  Am I aware that He knows me best, and loves me most.  Or that He has made His home in my heart and wants to be actively involved in my life?  Do I long to spend time with Him, getting to know Him through the Word, and developing an intimate relationship with Him?"  

If you can honestly say that you have pretty much ignored Him, or give Him little room in your life, let me re-introduce you to the most amazing, wonderful, kind, tender, sensitive, mighty Person on the face of the earth. He is all-knowing and all-powerful.  He is a lifelong and permanent companion who is willing and able to teach, help, protect, counsel and guide you.  He is infinite in majesty, glory, splendor, wisdom, knowledge, and holiness.  He is God. 

 

So Much More

I have to say, Romans, chapter 5 has some of the most amazing truths in one portion of scripture.  Four times Paul uses the term "much more" in reference to a believer’s life after the cross…

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him - Verse 9

But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many - Verse 15 

For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ) - Verse 17 

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: - Verse 20 

God has called you to so much more.  You serve a much more God.  Much more opportunity in life, much more forgiveness toward others, much more favor on your job, much more restoration in your family.  Much more than you ever had before.  Much more than you will ever need.  So much more.

 

Thank God for My Clogged Drain!

1 Thessalonians 5:17,18 - "Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" 

During this Thanksgiving season, K-Love Radio has been giving listeners an opportunity to share on the air what they are thankful for.  I heard a great story last week after I has just dropped my wife off at work.  You see, she missed a step coming down the stairs a couple of weeks ago and broke a bone in her "driving foot".  Hence, I have become her temporary designated driver. 

I was getting a bit annoyed at all the driving back and forth…until I heard the story from a woman that said, "I'm calling in today to give thanks for my clogged drain".  Huh?  It really got my attention!  She went on to say that for two years she was homeless.  During that time, she declared 2 Samuel 7:1-7, that "no longer will you move from place to place but the Lord will build you your own house".  And He sure did, she now had a home of her own.    

That's a godly perspective folks!  In everything she gave thanks.  When she was homeless, when she was standing on the Word of God, and when she had her own home, clogged drain and all! 

 

Home "Sick"


Indeed, nearly all people miss something about home when they are away, making homesickness a nearly universal experience.  However, an intense desire to go "back" to a familiar place and time can be very debilitating.  A longing for the "good ol' days" and what "used to be" makes it impossible to look with hope to the future.
 
According to Hebrews 11:15, you follow the direction of your most dominant thought.  You don't go anywhere in the natural that you haven't first gone in your imagination. This can be good or bad, depending on where your mind is taking you.  If you spend your time meditating on God's promises in His Word, by faith you'll move forward and fulfill God's plan and purpose for your life.  If you follow thoughts that want to take you backwards, you will find "constant opportunity to return to it".  You'll be home "sick", instead of enjoying and being content with and trusting in God's goodness and faithfulness in the place He has for you today and every day to come.  

 

You're Not the Only One

1 Kings 19:14 " I, even I, only am left" 

Have you ever felt like you’re the “only one” going through a certain problem or challenge in your life? Have you ever looked around and said to yourself, everyone else seems to doing just fine, what’s wrong with me?  I’m the only one not married wherever I go.  I seem to be the only one living paycheck to paycheck. 

Anytime you’re tempted to start a sentence with "I'm the only one", you need to stop.  What you’re about to say is not true.  Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again, there is nothing new under the sun". 

Remember Elijah, in 1 Kings 19, who allowed discouragement and fear to drive him from totally fulfilling his God given purpose.  Even after he had seen fire come down from heaven and consume his sacrifice, and after he singlehandedly killed 850 false prophets with his sword.  He still allowed fear to rule him, which resulted in a series of bad decisions.  

He declared in 1 Kings 19:14, "I, even I only am left".  Well that wasn't even close to being true.  In 1 Kings 19:18, the Lord said, “I have 7,000 in Israel who have not bowed to Baal".  Elijah wasn't the only one, and neither are you.  Others have endured and won, and so will you through Christ.  Wipe “I’m the only” from your vocabulary.  Reject the "I, only I” syndrome.  That's a ploy of the devil to get you to quit.  Be encouraged today, you’re NOT the only one!  You will fulfill your purpose!