Are you Intense-Red Hot-Ever Present?

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Hello friends. For all of those out there experiencing true summer heat, fall should be here in about 65 days. Yes, that does seem so far away when the average temperature is around 105 or higher! Global warming has become front and center for many this year.

Intense-red hot-ever present

Refining ministry just completed the series entitled “Major Wisdom through Minor Prophets” this past Monday night. We have been on a journey studying each minor prophet for quite some time and would like to thank every person who joined us throughout this timeframe. The depth of understanding, sharing, and growth has been outstanding on many levels. (And to think we only meet online for one hour each Monday night!)

Our last study was over the book of Zechariah. The Read Scripture overview describes it as a roller coaster ride. It is filled with visions, prophecy, harsh judgment, and direct commands to name a few. Yet, Zechariah is intense-red hot-ever present in all that he delivers. He is known as the most apocalyptic and messianic of all minor prophets.

For me, Zechariah was a book which had to be digested one bite at a time. Symbolism, terminology, customs, prophetic aspects of the second coming of Christ, interpretations of visions, rituals, and the list goes on. There were times when even the commentaries and study resources were overwhelming. However, I am so thankful for Zechariah on many levels. It made me reflect on my life with the main question:

Are you intense-red hot-ever present for the LORD?

Zechariah presented his audience with hope, encouragement, warning, instructions, and the glimpse of a future King. Over the past seven weeks, I went chapter by chapter looking for direct instructions of how I could increase my spiritual walk and intensify my relationship with God. Zechariah allowed me to reevaluate my spiritual priorities and take a closer look at my daily habits.

Today, I would like to share the list with you. As you read over each item, let it wash over you and encourage you in your personal walk. Allow the Holy Spirit to highlight a couple of areas where you can crank up the heat for the LORD then take it to God in prayer. Enjoy!

  • Exercise the listening muscle
  • Be still to hear God’s voice
  • Watch out for worldliness (externally & internally)
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Return to God quickly when you stray
  • Embrace the fire (life trials)
  • Rely on the Holy Spirit
  • Stay in God’s Word
  • Encourage others to invest in Scripture
  • Recognize sinning religion (a state of spiritual disobedience)
  • Only God is holy to judge
  • Have diligent obedience
  • Worship is more important than performing a religious ritual
  • Have a sincere desire to know God
  • Fully surrender your heart to the LORD
  • Carry out His commands with a joyful spirit
  • Speak truth
  • Live peacefully
  • Exercise justice
  • Love God’s ways
  • Seek only the approval of the LORD
  • Do not be afraid because God is your defender
  • Deal with sin barriers
  • Stay under the LORD’s authority
  • Intentional spend time with the father
  • Find your identity in God
  • Connect with like-minded Christians
  • Carry out God’s work at all costs
  • Stay dependent upon the LORD

Thank you, Zechariah! I loved the summer message:

God is intense-red hot-ever present for each of us!

YIKES! Change Found Me

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Romans 12:1-2: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Happy HOT summer my friends. Boy, the change in weather occurred recently-it was 109 degrees this past weekend. I wasn’t ready for it nor the fact that it came with 20-30 mph wind gusts. It made me want to skip over the next three months and go straight to fall.

But this isn’t the only change that found me over the past week. I went from a headache to a full-blown sinus infection in less than 24 hours. Having a fever during the intensive heat was draining and once again I found myself wanting to skip over the next few days and go straight to feeling better!

And then…a change I knew would come sooner or later yet, for some reason I didn’t think it would heavily impact me. In less than a week, I have a new direction in my employment along with several others in my department. Change-I normally like it! Can I just skip to September 1st and know the end results of all of this?

Yes, I like change and I am an advocate for change. I find freshness and excitement in learning and experiencing new things. However, I want to be the agent of change and I would prefer it be on my terms! My first reaction when change finds me—well, let’s just say over time it seems to get better.

As I sit here mentally preparing for a job interview, God’s wisdom washes over me. He reminds me that none of this surprises Him. He allowed some overnight changes for a reason. The LORD gently reminds me that He is in control and my future is secure in His hands. No change on earth will alter His great love for me nor the overwhelming attributes of His character. I have a steadfast Father who has my back!

What about you? How do you handle change? When you journey from mountain top to valley low to long straight plains and repeat again and again, do you ever want to skip over the waiting, healing, unknowns, transitioning, etc.? Do you have a hope outlook or a doom and gloom perspective when unwanted change comes?

God really shared His perspective for me in all of this.

Change found Jesus Christ. He went from a perfect man to a shredded form of life in a matter of a few days. The weight of the world was placed on His shoulders. His earthly life was taken in the most painful manner and given a resting place in a tomb. Life on earth was turned upside down and a new covenant was established. Yet, it came with brokenness and blood. A change that made a way for all of humanity to be saved if they would only believe. Change found him because God loved us.

Through it all, God stayed steadfast. The LORD kept His promises, and He gave the world a Savior, the Messiah, a fulfillment of prophesy and full depth of love. Where would we all be if it wasn’t for the change? And Christ submitted to the call of change.

Romans 8:6: The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Perspective of God towards me – Relax! Change has found you for a reason. Don’t skip the experience and take each step in full confidence that I have worked out your pathway. You don’t need to be afraid, upset, or nervous in the days ahead. Live each moment with hope in ME. I will not change, and I will be beside you always. Now, go face that interview!

Stay in the right lane

San Diego, California

Do you have a new car? I am blessed to experience driving newer vehicles due to my job. The rental car agency has outstanding service and quite the variety of vehicles. I am always intrigued by what I might drive from week to week. Most of the vehicles have bells and whistles that my trusty, paid for ride lacks. Yes, occasionally a manual would come in handy. (Seriously, who puts the gas tank release on the door panel?)    

Recently, I have found myself in Nissans. Each one has proven to be a smooth ride with a roomy interior. The heated seats have definitely been an added plus on those chilly mornings when I leave before the rooster crows. Most have had the ability to control the speed and distance on the highway with respect to the vehicle ahead of me. But let’s talk about the lane departure assistance.

The lane departure warning does provide an alert if the vehicle leaves the traveling lane. The steering wheel vibrates, an audio alert occurs, and a visual appears at the slightest detection of crossing over your traveling lane. What a super feature when you aren’t driving in construction zones. After several hours of the feature, I truly wanted to disengage it.

This experience brought to mind Galatians 5. Paul highly encourages us to stay in the right lane when walking out our freedom. It is a battle to keep from crossing over into the sinful nature lane of life. The struggle is real for each of us. Galatians 5:24 says that those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Denying the acts of our sinful nature requires devoted, intentional living.

Galatians 5:25 reminds us that the Holy Spirit is in us guiding our lives but we have to stay in the same traveling lane as the Spirit. This is how we find life in the Spirit, a gift from God just like freedom in Christ Jesus. We have to rely on the Spirit to define our traveling lane and speed. It requires discipline and attentiveness to his alerts.  

For me personally, I cannot fulfill God’s will without living by the Spirit. I rely on the Holy Spirit to work in me and through me to exhibit pleasing fruit. It is through the mighty power of the Spirit that I have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. When I try to live life my way and revert to my sinful nature, I find myself off track and definitely in danger of destruction.

I cannot disengage the lane departure warning the Holy Spirit gives me. I must stay in tune to the sound of his voice, “Stay in the right lane!” What about you?

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