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“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” Philippians 3:10-11
The letter to the Philippians is one of four written by the Apostle Paul while he was in prison. He wrote it to thank the Philippian church for the gifts that they’d sent to him (Philippians 4:18), and to encourage them to continue looking to Christ as the sole source of their joy and unity.
Joy isn’t something that we naturally associate with imprisonment – especially of an innocent person – yet the word ‘joy’ (or similar) occurs 16 times in his letter to the Philippians. Paul understood that Christian life calls on us not only to believe in Jesus Christ, but also to bear up under suffering for his sake.
Paul embraced the predicament as an opportunity to become a joint-heir with Jesus Christ (“we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together”, Romans 8:16).
In Philippians 3: 10 – 11, Paul says, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
The Greek word Paul uses for “know” is “GINOSKO,” an old Jewish expression referring to the union between a husband and wife (Genesis 4:1, Ephesians 3:19). In other words, Paul viewed his suffering as par for the course of forging an intimate relationship with the son of God; to experiencing the grace bought by Jesus Christ’s death (and resurrection) and sharing in the gift of eternal life, which it gives us all.
That is not to say that our journey with Christ will be one of constant suffering, but there may be times when we will be faced with challenges in our lives. At these times we should stand strong in our faith knowing that, we are not alone and we should keep looking to Christ for our joy.
What an incredible perspective we can gain when we set our sights on “the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ”. (Philippians 3: 11).
During this lenten challenge and at all times, may God grant us all the grace to rejoice and spread joy during our times of troubles, and to take heart! For Jesus Christ has overcome the world. (John 16:33).
Psalm 20:6 (NIV) Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.
I’m claiming the victory in advance. Why? Because I know that I know that God is going to give me that victory. Not only do I know it from the Word, I have lived it in my life before. I have been victorious and I will continue to praise the Lord even when I can’t see the victory ahead.
I am in no way suggesting that we simply ask God for things and He just delivers…or does He? After all, the Word says in Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Are we truly delighting in the Lord and believing in the victory? Are we doing what we should? Are we building a closer relationship? Sometimes, I think it is easy to see what is our part. If we’re praying for an A on a course, we need to study and God will help us through. What do we do in the when the solutions doesn’t seem clear? What do we do when we have no idea what to do next?
Living each day with the attitude that the victory is mine makes the day better. Living in defeat has not led me closer to the desires of my heart. Defeat causes stress and separation. God offers relief and connection. I understand that my humanness may cause me to be distracted from God’s good. However, I know that I have to gain control and bring my focus back on what the Lord confirms and what He has and will do for me.
One thing to do is to focus more on the Word. We are told in 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV) Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
Faith is crucial in the waiting time before the victory. If we are living without the victory right now, we know what it is to live without it. However, we need to remind ourselves that the victory is come. Sometimes, we may just need to praise the Lord in advance. There are moments, when that is so easy to say and requires effort to do. Those are times to sing the songs of praise and to rely on those who can lift you up. One of my favorite things to do is to listen to some Gospel music to keep me on track. Marvin Sapp’s Praise Him in Advance is perfect for those moments. If you need one now, check the video here.
During this Lenten Challenge, we are working on building our relationship with the Lord. We know His Word is true. As we align ourselves to what God wants us to do, we will see the result in our lives. Our lives will be even better than we imagine. This is not because I say so, rather it is in the Word.
Ephesians 3:20 (NIV) Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.
Malachi 3:1 (NIV) “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
Are you seeking the messenger? Do you realize that he has come? What does that mean for you, for me, for us in this current moment? During this Lenten season, our true challenge is to connect with our source in a way better than we have previously. This Lenten Challenge should build our faith and discipleship. The goal is for us to live on purpose. In order to get there, we must align our purpose with His purpose.
Please consider that the desire of your heart is placed there by the Lord. He is always there to love and support you for your highest good. Ultimately, your life in the Lord is to live the blessings that God puts on your life. Really, this sounds easy. However, this is not necessarily so. We are human with weaknesses and faults. While we strive for perfection, we will fall short. No matter how disappointing this is for us and God, God still loves us.
When we know deep within our being that the messenger has come for our salvation and abundant life, our living each day will be enhanced. We will live a life more pleasing to the Lord and more fulfilling for us. Ultimately, we all want to hear the words, ” ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Let us celebrate! The messenger is come! We are free!
Here came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. John 1:6-7 NASB
Every day we are yearning to know “How can good come to and out of our lives?” We live with dreams, visions, and goals to which we never pursue. Getting a better job, starting a blog, eating better, teaching and empowering others, etc. are some things we long to do. Taking time to understand what you are sent to this earth to do will help you with getting started with accomplishing your goals. Many times we are looking at everyone else accomplish and receive results in the things we sit and think about doing. It’s time to get moving and receive. The life you dream of is awaiting you.
John the Baptist was sent to this earth by God and so were you. John came to testify about the Light and he fulfilled his purpose. You came to fulfill a purpose as well. He fulfilled his purpose so many would believe in Jesus Christ and when you accomplish your purpose people will believe they can do it to.
You have everything inside of you to live the life you see. You would have never had the unction to desire those things if God wasn’t going to give you everything you need to fulfill them. He has already gone before you and paved the way for you to become your dream and live good. Go and fill out the application. Put down the cookies and pick up a carrot. Begin uplifting with your co-workers. Do something now. Do not wait until everything is in place because something will always come up. It’s time to push pass the thoughts of “I’ll do it tomorrow” and start now. Push pass the thoughts” I am to old”, you are still breathing. Push pass the thoughts “one cookie won’t hurt”, ten minutes of exercise won’t either. No more excuses. No more limitations, it’s time to fulfill your goals and live your dream.
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2: 38-39)
Now the reason you must be born again is because Jesus wants to transfer life. If we want to follow Christ we must do what the word of the Lord says, “repent and be baptized.” There has to be a turning away from a life of selfishness and rebellion against God’s law and at the same time a time to turn to Christ. We cannot save ourselves – only God can save us. Baptism identifies us with Christ and the community of believers. It is a condition of discipleship and a sign of faith.
Then sin says I am going to attack your body, begin to destroy the thing that God created. Fill you full of affliction and disease. That is how sin works. Sin wraps its fingers around your life and hangs on. Sins says I do all of that for one purpose. Sin eventually wants to get a hold of your soul where it can drag you to hell and work destruction on you for all of eternity. That is what sin has set its course to do.
But Peter said, “let me tell you what Jesus has come to do.”
Jesus has come to destroy the power of sin on your life. You do not have to live with your mind under continued attack. You don’t have to live with your emotions under continual attack. You don’t have to live with your body under attack. Jesus said in the book of John:
John 10:10 KJV The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. This is a word that has resonated with me personally during my weight loss journey. In the area of changing my eating habits. If don’t change the way I was eating and caring for His temple then I am going to die. That was one of the last things that I wanted to do, so I had to repent for my emotional eating lifestyle and asked God for help. He said in John 3:30 ‘He must increase and I must decrease.’ I had to learn to turn my frustrations, stresses, worries over to him and crave Him more and not food.
First of all, repentance is asking Him to be the Lord of every area of your life. Secondly repentance is admitting you are a sinner.
Inheritance means that it belonged to somebody else before it belonged to you. You have received something of great value. It is my prayer that after my 40 Day fast that many of my loved ones and new souls will receive this new inheritance and become part of the body of Christ.
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Hebrews 4:15-16 (NIV) 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
To think that Jesus understands what we are going through because he walked the earth like us and faced challenges similar to what we faced, is really amazing. Sometimes, it is really hard to comprehend that our Savior led a life similar to what we do. Jesus walked where others walked and addressed issues as others would.
Jesus took on this responsibility to be closer to us and that we could truly be connected our Lord. We should have a knowing that God truly loves us and always wants the best for us. Not only do we have the blessing of eternal life, we have the Lord everyday. The knowledge that the Lord is with us should make us bold even in times of our most dire need.
During this Lenten Season, we have the opportunity to grow and re-focus to prepare to do just as the Word says and approach the Lord with confidence. As we build our relationship with God daily, our connection to our source continues to grow. What will be able to accomplish with this power and when we are acting with the purpose that God has for us.
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“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Psalms 1: 1-2
If you want to walk in favor change your surroundings. Walk with God-inspired people. Psalms 1 reads, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly”. Some times the very company we keep is the root of our adversity. Drama queens and negative Nancy’s can hinder us by distracting us from true purpose and our goals.
Align yourself with people who not only push towards your goals but also push you towards God. Remember the ultimate purpose is pleasing God. Once we please him he will give us the desires of our heart. There’s no adversity stronger than the favor of GOD.
Meditation is an efficient method to remove yourself from the natural world and negative surroundings spiritually. It initiates communication with the high realms of Heaven of in the Spirit World. The purpose of meditation is to discover our true purpose and true selves – a spiritual being residing in a physical body; and experience true joy by feeling free from the restrictions and influences of this physical world. To meditate is to connect with source.
When we keep our minds on God he keeps us in perfect peace. With peace comes clarity. Freed minds make better decisions. Whether your goal is a physical fitness and or spiritual fitness, meditate before and during the journey. God will give you insight that will not only get you going but it will sustain you.
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Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.
– Corrie Ten Boom, author and human rights activist
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Recently, when asked what I had I given up for lent, I said “my foolishness”. My friend paused for a few seconds and said, ‘What does that mean?” I responded, “Trying to predict the future, correct the past and skipping over today.” She looked at me as said “Good Luck!”
It truly is not about luck. For me, this Lenten period is period of time to release, rejoice, rejuvenate and recommit to the Joy of being Loved by God, that He gave Jesus his only begotten son, who was crucified, buried and rose from the dead. This is a time for me to release anything that has held me back from allowing God to be my guide, the lover of my soul.
I have found that I worried about things that I could not change. I read a long time ago, that 90% of what we worry about never comes to pass. Whether that is true or not, I don’t know but there’s probably some truth to it in life. How much of our lives do we miss because we’re agonizing over what has happened and what might happen down the road? How often do we stop ourselves from doing something, –even if it’s the right thing to do–because of our fear of the unknown, second guessing ourselves, or looking for someone else’s validation.
While worrying did give me something to focus on; it was also an opportunity for me to avoid dealing with me and it did not solve any problems. All it did was to paralyze my actions and keep me in bondage – I was stressed out, mentally and physically tired and often times, worrying and anxiety sapped all the joy of what could have been a wonderful day.
Periodically, when circumstances lined up, I was happy, but not joyful and certainly not peaceful. And that’s why I decided to give up my foolishness, not just for 2013’s Lenten Season, but as a way of life. I am willing to come before God with my alabaster box and present myself, seeking the gift of joy. Because I now understand that I was being carried through life, and loved, and because He Is Lord, I can, and have the expectation that God’s peace will permeate my life. I no longer have the need to be anxious for anything, God’s peace, love and joy comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, not from what’s happening outside of me.
John 3:16 (NIV) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Every Sunday during Lent is a time to celebrate that God loved us so much that Jesus came, lived and died for us. This is truly amazing. In fact, it transforms all of our possibilities for living here on earth and for life eternally. While it is sometimes easy to say how great a gift we’ve received, we have the entire season of Lent for us to consider how we are responding to this gift of love.
Aligning our minds, bodies and spirit sounds as if it should be an easy thing to do. There are probably moments when everything is working together well. However, there are likely to be other times when things are not so smooth and we may not even recognize it nor know that God will help us to change it.
There are times when it seems we get accustomed to a little discomfort and don’t try to change it. Our clothes get a little tight, our jobs become a little annoying or our money is just a little funny. However, we might not make the effort to make a change. We may not even see away that things could be better. While we can’t see it, God can and God can make it happen.
Take a moment to examine what your goals truly are for this Lenten Season and beyond. Remember that God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to transform us. We may not have an overnight transformation, but everyday we can work with God to give us the lives that we desire and that God wants for us.
No matter how well you did on the Lenten Challenge last week, this week provides another opportunity. Praise the Lord for how far you’ve come and lean on Him all the days ahead.
Peace & blessings,
Mark 11:22-24 22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly[f] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Here we are Day 1 of the Lenten Challenge! We are so excited to get to this point in our journey with God and our journey with you. Our prayer today is that the next 46 days will bring you into a closer love relationship with the Father. Our hope is that you will be healed, refreshed, rejuvenated, and set on a path to living your best and blessed life in Him. We believe this journey is one of joy and peace, testing and discovery, and challenge and victory. Can We Talk?!
During the next 46 days you will be spending time with Jesus, reflecting on His work and purpose on the cross. Yes, Jesus was crucified. He died. They laid Him in a borrowed tomb. For 3 days there was silence. The Good News is that He got up with all power in His hands conquering death, hell, and grave. Because Jesus got up, so can we! We have the power of His spirit living inside of us. We have the power to overcome the struggles and circumstances of this world. We have the power to change our world.
If we commit ourselves fully to this next 46 days, our lives will change. Others, who we pray for will see a change in their lives. Surrender and obedience will be our food. We are going to speak to mountains and cause them to move OR we will climb those mountains in the strength of Jehovah-Tsori. We will pray believing. We will trust as if we can already see what we are asking God to do! The victory is promised to us in Jesus’ name. The promises of God are Yes and Amen! (2 Corinthians 1:20)
See you at the top!