TABLE TALK

When I was young, my family used to sit down at the table every morning and evening for meals. In the morning, my mom would set a full table with a space for each one of us. It was a feast regardless of what we were eating. It could be oatmeal or just cereal, but nevertheless, it felt as though it were complete and I was full in more ways than I ever understood. Even yet today, I can still muster up the feeling I would have knowing that each day, when I came out to breakfast, it would be there – THE FEAST!

Now, I’m not saying we all have to create a feast for our loved ones like my mom did for us. There’s no condemnation intended! However, there is a Biblical aspect to consider.

Psalm 23:5 states, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Other translations literally use the word “feast”.

The word “table” denotes a kings table that was one of private or sacred use. The table that God presents to us is a place of intimacy. It’s a place of belonging, safety, peace and rest, if we choose to be seated. He doesn’t force us to sit down at the table. He prepares it or presents it to us so that we can choose to take part in the peace, confidence, joy and rest that a feast atmosphere carries. Also, notice it is in the “presence of the enemy”. This table is so complete – the feast so amazing – that even when placed on the battlefield, even in front of our foe, we are at peace, rest, and safety if we accept what God offers.

What a powerful visual that God has given about the posture we carry as followers of Christ. Of course, we know it’s not a literal table. Rather, it’s a spiritual one. When I am so intimately acquainted with the presence of God in my life, when I am so fully and completely enjoying His feast, my environment doesn’t matter. Even in the battle or the chaos of plain life, I will be at the table of the Lord, feasting on His Word and nourishing myself with His presence. The result will be a cup, which is my life, that overflows with power, anointing, understanding, wisdom, peace and rest.

So sign me up for the feast! Lord knows, I love to eat!!!!!

Coming and Going

Good word!

pastorneva

The Bible is full of directional commands. Don’t you wish we could discipline our minds to obey simple commands. Our willful desire to avoid looking foolish or appearing to fail, stops us every time. GO:

Mark 16:15
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

In Matthew 13 Jesus talks about the seed and the sower. This parable itself explains that inside the GO is an explanation in the Kingdom “A sower went out to sow.” Listen to Jesus explain the parable. Its not the fault of the sower, some seeds fail. BUT when the seed bears fruit –

Matthew 13:23
As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Did you…

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WHO’S GOT YOUR EAR?

Rev 2:7:  Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.

When I was young there was a group of kids around my neighborhood that all hung out. There was one guy in the group, however, that was mischievous. Actually, he was a downright bully. You didn’t want to get on his bad side because you weren’t sure what he would do. He would systematically turn each of us against each other so that, at any given time, “the group” would be mad at one of the members and we would all gang up on that person. It was fun until you were the focal point, and then it just plain stunk!  Stupid kid stuff, but I was reminded of that scene as I was reading this scripture.

Our society is so quick to give a listening ear to the whims and turns of popular culture. If it sounds good in the moment, we go with it – whether it’s based on truth or not. This leaves a lot of room to be easily manipulated. But let’s make one thing clear: whoever has your ear doesn’t necessarily have your back.

Eve, in the Garden of Eden, was easily seduced by the serpent because she turned a listening ear to him. Look at the chaos that ensued! Why was she walking in the Garden with the serpent in the first place? We all know the story in Genesis 3 where Satan asked the infamous question, “Did God really say?” A question that, when listened to, wore her down and allowed deception a place at the table. The serpent wasn’t looking out for her best interest, but rather his own. Yet she allowed him to influence her by listening to him. That decision caused her to stray away from the truth of what God had already said. He had no authority over Adam and Eve. But he could talk, and talk he did! The talked Eve into agreeing with him. The only time Satan has any authority over us is when we give it to him. How? By agreeing with what he says.

James 1:22-25 says, “…do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word  but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in the mirror, and after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does.

It’s not that we can’t listen to trusted voices. The key word here is “trusted”. But we must listen first to the voice of God, and then we can listen and agree with others if it lines up with what God has already spoken over your life. Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying! No chaos! Just victory, fruit, life!  God’s got your back, so give HIM your ear!

Start Up or Stand Firm

I love reading about all of the new “starts” for the new year. New goals, fresh perspective, new strength, epic motivation – all encouraging us to press forward toward God’s best this year. But what about those who are in the middle? Sometimes you can’t start over in a situation or relationship just because it’s a new year, whether positive or negative. There are things lingering that have to be maintained or managed. Some of these things can be draining mentally, physically and emotionally. So what do those of us who are not “starting fresh” do at this obvious open door for newness?

Well, I have an encouragement! Whether you are starting up or standing firm, what we really need is fresh perspective! The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”

The word “triumph” means to rejoice over a success or to “be victorious over”. In other words, God always leads us to be victorious over our circumstance. It can get really muddy in the middle when your vision becomes blurred and you lose our way. But here’s the truth! We can operate from a place “of” victory not “to” victory!  God always leads us into TRIUMPH!

So how does that change how we see our our current situation? For me, it transforms my perspective from, “I have to figure out how to make this work, make it right, or fix it” to “God, you’ve already given me complete and total victory in every area of my life.” So, my role is not to worry or have anxiety about how to fight, but to rest in the fact that I seek Him through the journey. I look at Him. I can rest in His ability and just “be” the sweet aroma of this knowledge in Christ! He is my victory and I rest in His presence. I follow His lead. As I take each step “with victory leading me,” I am able to stand firm, being confident and brave until God completes the story…and He will! The story is called VICTORY. And you, my friend, will be stronger, wiser, more confident, steadfast and resolved that this magnificent God we serve has GOT YOU!  He’s won the victory and, therefore, so have you!!!

Standing firm is equally as important as starting up – just so ya know!

CLEANING OUT THE CRACKS!

This morning I began my 21 days of fasting and prayer.  I absolutely love the fact that we, as a church, practice fasting together at the beginning of the year.  Whether it’s cobwebs in the heart or absolute chaos of the mind, it’s a chance to write new things on a fresh slate. He’s drawing me into His presence so I can know His heart for me this year.  Psalm 27:8 says, “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

A funny thing happened as I was reading. I put my hand down inside the big family chair I use for my quiet time and made a huge discovery. There was tons of junk under the cushion and in the cracks and crevices of my chair. Papers, coin, candy wrappers, old tissue and many more articles you really don’t want to know about. =)  It was a pile of junk and trash that was embarrassing, horrifying, ridiculous and extremely revealing!

If you know me at all, you know I’m kind of a neat freak. I follow my mom’s motto, “Everything has a place so keep everything in its place!” So, my chair looked clean and comfortable! Next to the chair is a simple lamp and a small table. It was perfect for a cup of coffee and a few small books. It’s a great atmosphere, and yet, there was junk in the cracks! It reminded me of what God had already been speaking to me about. My heart is just like the big family chair – appearing neat and clean on the outside but full of cracks and crevices that need attention. He’s all about growing us up in Him. In order to do that we have to dig deep. We must let God reveal to us what needs to be cleaned out of the hidden places of our lives to make room for a greater influence of His Presence.

During this time as I set aside food and consecrate myself from all the distractions that keep me too busy to hear His voice, I’m letting God reveal to me the junk that has become “lodged” in my life.  Some of it’s embarrassing. Some of it’s just completely unnecessary. Yet, it’s filling up space in my heart and mind which leaves less room for God. I want the junk out and God inside!

God, as uncomfortable as it may be to clean out the junk, it’s what will allow me to become more like You. Above all, I want to be filled with Your presence rather than my desires. I yield my heart to your ways and to your thoughts, not mine!  Oh, and God…thanks for the visual!