Saturday, March 30, 2013

Resurrected Living

John 12:24 (NLT)
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels-a plentiful harvest of new lives.

This is where it begins. A resurrected life is the "afterglow" if you will, of dying to self.

It is not until I am willing to die to self ; to my ideas, my past, my experiences, my desires, my feelings that I can truly live. Are you saying that I shouldn't have dreams and that I should deny my past? No , not at all! But what I have learn is this that they should not dictate my position which was predestined for me to be in.

We serve the "all-knowing"God. Therefore I have to trust he knows what's best for me. Sure I may make plans for my life but truly he is the author of my life. As you read any story there are characters, there are events, there are settings. You will never read a story that has all ready been written where the characters say, " Stop I don't like this!" And change and redirect the entire story because they didn't like where the author was going with the story line. And even if there was such a story understand it went that way because the author wrote it that way.
So how silly is it for me to trust in my own "way" of rationalizing my story when it has already been written , edited, and published?

I must say resurrected living can come as a challenge. The challenge comes as our will doesn't line up with God's. I can admit that sometimes I think my way is better. Especially when my way seems more comforting, familiar and less challenging. I also have to admit though it seems that way, it has caused me to take that much longer to see and experience the manifested promises of God in my life. It has even caused a mess that can only then be fixed by me submitting my will to God. You know the original "fool proof" plan. I am so grateful that I serve a gracious and merciful God! How about you? Did you realize that there is an account in which even Jesus had to decide whether to submit his will to the will of God.

Matthew 26:38-39,41-42 (NLT)
He told them, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." [39] He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine." [41] Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!" [42] Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, "My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done."

Now image if Jesus had continued in his will... Imagine if He had not bore our sins. Remember he was sinless.

Well how do I know God's plan for me? I read it in his Word. I stay in communion with him. I submit to him my life to him. And trust that His plan is much better than anything I could conjure up.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fruit Amongst the Thorns

God desires me to be fruitful right where I suffer.
There's nothing like mess to produce more fruit in our lives. Sometimes it's not that there isn't any fruit being produce but not enough fruit. This could mean there is a root problem. We all have them. They are the weeds that sprout up out of our souls. You know the unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, selfish ambitions, jealousy, poverty, abuse, rejection, etc. These weeds crowd and or choke the roots in which we are to intake nutrients. The results are a limitation on the amount of fruit we bear.

Joseph did not allow his root condition to keep him from bearing fruit. Look at the life of Joseph. Favored yet ridiculed, mocked and yet dismissed. His Father valued him. He valued him so much that he set him apart and clothed him in a garment that was meant only for him. However, it didn't stop his brothers from despising him nor did it stop their plot against him. It didn't matter to them what the effects of their actions would have on their father.

I don't believe Joseph fully understood just how much favor was on his life- or did he? The coat his father gave him was the confirmation of his anointing. He didn't ask for the favor or the coat. And his brothers hated it. Did you realize that the anointing on our lives can cause others to despise us? Why is that? It is because the anointing causes self-reflection; self-reflection within the anointed and those around them. So the next time I am confronted with nonsense ... Joseph was naive. He didn't realize that sharing his dreams with his family would cause so much turmoil in his life.
His root is what we are looking at. His root was a favored young man with a dysfunctional family. His father had two women and "baby momma" drama. His half-brothers despised him. His older brothers were jealous of “lil' ol' Joe”. They plotted to kill him. They sold him into slavery, handing him over to 20+ years of bondage.

Joseph didn't allow his circumstance to deny himself of being the best. Joseph's anointing was not in the coat. No, the coat was just a prophecy as were the dreams of what was to come. God did not remove his call on Joseph's life because of an imperfect route to his destiny. It was in the mess that Joseph learns what was necessary for his destiny. He learned to be a servant. He exercised integrity and diligence. The fruit was being cultivated and manifested in his life. He wasn't ready to walk in his destiny at 17 when his father clothed him in the coat. His life took a few detours! Joseph developed perseverance; long-suffering and temperance. He operated in meekness, goodness, peace and gentleness. The real test came when he meet his brothers where he displayed Love, Peace and Joy!

Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Joseph's life detoured on an imperfect route that brought him something that was even more valuable than any coat. He was a survivor that brought salvation to his father's house during the drought in their lives. No, they weren't there for him as he went through.  They couldn't.  What they had to offer wasn't and would never have been enough to nurture the destiny GOD had for him!

Genesis 50:20 (KJV) But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Joseph teaches us not to allow our roots to rot us. He teaches us not to be so unwilling to embrace what God has for us and where God has placed us so much that we refuse to expose our roots to receive the important nutrients from the manure in our lives. Joseph didn't allow his situation to keep him from receiving. He didn't allow it to cause him despair.

Genesis 41:51-52, 57 (KJV) And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. [52] And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. [57] And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn ; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.
Genesis 41:50 (MSG) 50-52 Joseph had two sons born to him before the years of famine came. Asenath, daughter of Potiphera the priest of On, was their mother. Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh (Forget), saying, "God made me forget all my hardships and my parental home." He named his second son Ephraim (Double Prosperity), saying, "God has prospered me in the land of my sorrow."

Note that when his brothers first saw him they didn't even recognize him. Could it be because he carried himself in a way that gave no indication of his past bondage? He operated in love and forgiveness, not bitterness or despair. Could it be that they didn't recognize him for so long because he didn't allow his past to identify who he was? He didn't allow his heritage (race, Culture) to dictate who he could be or limit who he was meant to be. Could it be that he bore so much fruit that he was unrecognizable? I say all of the above.
God is the perfect Father. He doesn't wish harm on any of us. However there are some detours that are in life that serve as instruments to fortify what He has placed in us. And as with Joseph, God's desire is for us to come through the valleys of life with the perspective that Joseph share with us in Gen. 41:51-52. We can forget the hardships of our past because His plans for my life his greater than that. I can bear Fruit in the time of affliction because

1 John 4:4 (KJV) Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
His seed that is within me is greater than the manure that is around me.
To be an overcomer like Joseph I have to adjust my focus.