Does Your Barrel Leak?

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The oak barrel sits, ready to receive its prize. No thought is given to what it has endured to get to this place. Once it was carefully constructed, the real preparation began; boiling, flushing, toasting and more, all awaited this single barrel. The importance of each step will make the difference in its ability to keep the prize – one that is full of life, rich, and desirable. The prize – New Wine!

Spiritually we talk of New Wine and with excitement and anticipation begin a frenzied chase to find it – conferences and concerts abound – though will you find it there? You may experience a manifested encounter with the presence of God and be stirred for “more”, but will it stay when you get home?

New Wine poured into an unprepared vessel leaks out.

Just as the oak barrel is prepared for its prize, we, too, are prepared.  However, it is not about “doing” things to get ready – trying to pull it down from heaven – it is about “being” made ready. Preparation for us looks similar to the barrel – we will go through the boiling, flushing, and toasting as we surrender to the loving hand of our Heavenly Father.

As we hunger for the presence of God – that hunger stirs a deep love within – that love turns to desire – that desire erupts into a longing, and that longing pushes us to the feet of Jesus.

As we spend time in silent adoration at His feet, a mindset of yielding to only what is Him, solidifies in our heart – something changes; the vessel is prepared. As we chose to lay aside all the distractions, choose to step into worship, into reading the word, into prayer, and into fasting – suddenly, we are there. All of these choices are not about coercing Gods hand, but about a love that is growing – a love that desires His presence above everything else – a love to see His face. In that place of passionate pursuit, we find His presence; there we begin to experience and hear Him – right there in our own living room His presence manifests. We become a vessel that He has prepared to carry and distribute His New Wine. We will no longer leak!

As we wait at His feet, He pours a continual flow of New Wine into and through us. Then, as we walk into a gathering of passionate pursuers’ – we will enter into an atmosphere that has been saturated in worship, word, and prayer. The love, excitement, and joy will pulse as a single heart-beat from the Father and we will find ourselves in the presence of an explosion of Glory.

Every part of our lives will begin to have one central focus – Jesus! Our alignment to the Father’s voice, His plans and purposes will stir a passion – passion to say YES, LORD as we live a lifestyle full of New Wine from heaven.  We will see others drawn to us by the intoxication we are now walking under – they will ask, “Where have you been? Why does your face shine? How can I get what you have?” – sharing the gospel will be easy. Our prayers will change as we hear and do as Holy Spirit directs. We will see His answers and miracles abounding all around us. Our faith will be WHO we are, not something we do.

Join me as we fight off the distractions, begin to walk a lifestyle of passion, and choose to daily sit at the feet of Jesus!

Be ready to say YES, LORD as He directs you to pour out New Wine to those around you.

Matt. 9:17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved. (ESV)

 

 

 

 

 

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The Moles Won’t Win!

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The weather is warming and my eyes have begun to see all that needs to be cared for in my large backyard. To my horror – it appears that the moles won! My lawn looks like a war was waged and definitely lost. My looming decision is: do I allow it – covering it up, leveling the mounds and top seeding? The result to the eye, will be nice and clean. But, walking across that lawn come July, the truth of uneven “bumpy” “ankle twisting” under-tunnels will be very obvious.

The best choice requires preparation – tearing up the old. The best choice also requires a dying process – a good seed!

The best fix begins with a choice, works through the preparation (cost and effort) and ultimately requires the re-seeding of new grass. However, if that new grass doesn’t germinate (having good soil, water, and warmth) its outside hull will not burst – it will not DIE – therefore, it will not bring forth new life.

We are rather like my lawn, spiritually speaking.

When we desire more of the presence of God – we want that, but do we really want Him? The best requires a choice, preparation and a dying – both in my holey lawn, as well as in our desire for more of His presence.

How you step into that desire is the question. Do you just apply the top seeding method – keeping those “bumpy” “ankle twisting” under-tunnels hidden? It may look good but the result is not the same. However, the complete fix – the fix that gives you a life of abundance at His feet, requires much more from you. So, making a choice is your first step.

Then the preparation begins – how much time do you want to devote? In our society we run at a chaotic speed – we are inundated with constant urgent demands. Here is where you will need to count the cost. Slowing down to sit and wait at His feet; to read, study and listen to His voice; and to set aside consistent prayer time will cost you something. You will need to make choices everyday – somethings will need to be laid aside. But here is where you will find Him! He is waiting for you to enter this place.

It is in that preparation time that you will find a seed within that is ready to germinate – but one more step will be required. It is a letting go of everything, a place of release, a place of repentance, a dying to liveAn abundant life where His presence is priority in all you say and do is where you find this process – a dying to live process. It is here that new life springs forth, free from hidden, under-tunnels. In this new life you will begin to be transformed into all that He has for you, you will find joy at His feet, you will find LIFE in His presence.

Let’s make the choice – the choice to do the complete fix – the fix that will allow us to step into the process of dying to live.

John 12:24 Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Which Will Refresh?

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Sometimes I just need a Coke – nothing else will do. I’m thirsty but choose something that actually defeats the purpose – something that dehydrates me. My body is asking for water – my flesh chooses wrongly.

We have become a “thirst-less” bride of Christ – dehydrated from choosing wrongly. We live an ineffective lifestyle – no longer true ambassadors for the Kingdom. So many of us have chosen wrongly – chosen that which has dehydrated us.

How do we become thirsty if we have allowed our thirst to be quenched with other things?

Once again we need to turn – stir up what has been lost – pant as a thirsty deer after the presence of a living God. Drink deeply from the rivers that reside within us – then we will be the bride that has made herself ready, the bride that will pour out healing for the nations, the bride whose heart overflows with living water to all those around her.

Today chose to put down the Coke and drink deeply of the water of His presence.

Psalm 42:-2a As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirst for God, for the living God. (ESV)

John 7:37-38 On the last day of the feast, the great day; Jesus stood up and cried out, “if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (ESV)

Living a Road-kill Lifestyle

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“I have such a crazy busy day, I don’t know how I’ll get everything done.”

     We have all said those words – felt the build up of stress they evoke – experienced the exhaustion as that day ends only to begin again tomorrow in the same fashion. How do we get off this crazy cycle?

     Expectations wait for you at every corner, every event, while every individual seems to elicit more of your life. Even worse, they are all good – nothing you’re involved in says, “This isn’t worth doing”. But, still the chaos swirls around you whispering “more, more, more”.

     A day must come when the brakes are applied. The screeching of tire meeting pavement must fill the air because without that application the next sound will be the uninterrupted crunch of metal and breaking glass as you become the road-kill beneath your “I can do this” chaotic lifestyle.

     Living in a constant “flurry” of activity leaves no place for the whisper of the Holy Spirit to direct you to that broken young mother, that lonely old man, that friend who needs a listening ear. No time is available to dig deep into the Word searching for the nuggets He has stored there just for you – just for today. No time left to “pray” for your friends needs that you carelessly regurgitate “I’ll pray for that”. The enemy loves to keep you at this pace for when he does you are of no threat to him and of little value to those you love.

     The application of the brakes – the NO – has to be a choice, a very specific decisive choice. It is NOT easy but once applied – in time – you will find the rhythm of walking under the grace of God. Waiting, listening, hearing and moving as He directs. Will you never again feel that “busy” day syndrome – No – but it will be with a different mindset and with an outcome that will be eternal.

     Hit the brakes today – avoid becoming the road-kill of your chaotic lifestyle – step under the peace of His presence and learn to walk in the rhythm of His grace.

Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. (ESV)

The Sounds of Summer

Tuning your spiritual ears to hear the very whisper of the Holy Spirit requires a deep place of contentment to rise from within. This contentment comes as you willingly choose to listen.

Wildlife *JKSWL049 (Resting In HIS Provision)

     Our senses play a large part in how we experience things in our lives. Summer explodes with sounds that create lasting life memories. Summer erupts on the scene with the sound of chirping birds, buzzing bees, scurrying rabbits and squirrels. With it begins to stir anticipation of new life as summer unfolds.

     As we listen we hear the contagious joyful laughter of children, the clicking metallic sound of a sprinkler that delivers life-giving water to foliage, as well as the gurgle of streams and the crash of waves.

     These sounds are only enjoyed if we listen and respond. If the busy activity of life overtakes our thoughts we can miss the enjoyment provided by these gifts of summer.

     Sound can come in thunderous explosions or in the slightest whisper. One is heard and felt – easily not missed. The other – is missed by most.

     Tuning your spiritual ears to hear the very whisper of the Holy Spirit requires a deep place of contentment to rise from within. This contentment comes as you willingly choose to listen.

     As you surrender your busyness in exchange for His plans you will step into a life that He directs. When you consistently spend time in His presence with a cry of “less of me and more of you” the listening process unfolds. These decisions will allow you to begin a journey of His direction – one that will contentedly produce a courageous life full of faith.

     Listening and responding in your spiritual life is often missed or lost because of distractions. Taking time to stop and listen to what the Holy Spirit speaks to you through the direction of Christ – requires time where you choose to stop and sit at the feet of Jesus.

     Choose today the ONE THING that is important – to sit at the feet of your Lord. Then you will truly enjoy the gift of sound – hearing Him call your name!

Isaiah 43:1 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I Have called you by name, you are mine. (ESV)

 

 

(Revised from Summers Stirring of Our Senses – The Gift of Sound  Summer’s Delight Majestic Reflection Devotional Series-Book 3 J.K.Sanchez 2015)

Faith Like Honey

Faith is like honey! It is a substance that is thick, it changes anything it touches, it draws things to it, it only requires a small amount to achieve its effect and it is addictive in its flavor.

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I recently pulled out a bottle of honey and noticed it had begun to crystallize. I dipped my spoon in anyways and it quickly adhered. However, it was so thick the spoon wouldn’t lift out, but as I placed the jar in a pan of warm water it soon softened back to it’s normal yummy consistency.   As this little morning event transpired I was drawn to a spiritual parallel.

Faith is like honey! It is a substance that is thick, it changes anything it touches, it draws things to it, it only requires a small amount to achieve its effect and it is addictive in its flavor.

Faith requires only one thing – that we believe. With honey we must believe it is sweet before we reach out to taste it; so it is with Faith.

Once we believe, faith is ignited and begins its transforming effect.

As we have looked at honey’s qualities so should our faith qualities parallel. Our faith in Christ should also be deep and thick – a relationship that has substance. A substance that transforms who we are and everything we touch. Our faith should be contagious – drawing others to us. Our faith should be sincere not pushy or overly sweet in its presentation, but full of love. Our faith should be addictive both to us as well as those around us.

This transforming effect isn’t something we can “work at” but just is – as we walk by faith not by our sight. Our love of Christ and desire for his presence will ignite our mustard seed faith and produce a tree of faith that will draw into our lives all that the Kingdom of Heaven has for us, just like the honey sucked in my spoon.

How is your faith consistency? Is it rich and thick? Is it crystallizing?

If it is rich and thick then keep it flowing and watch the transformation around you. As you dig deeper into His presence it will keep flowing, it will draw others and its addictively sweet flavor will fuel your desire and love for His presence more and more.

However, sometimes we carry our faith through years of life without using it. Like the honey, it becomes crystallized, thick and unusable. But, just like my honey; it only takes a little warming to adjust its consistency. Our faith can be re-warmed by simply stepping back to the place our faith began – the feet of Jesus.

II Cor. 5:7 (ESV) for we walk by faith, not by sight.

I John 5:4-5. (ESV) For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Training For Battle

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     This week was full of military training maneuvers that made themselves known in my home. Hour after hour the floor shook, my dishes rattled and my anxious dachshunds barked – and more then once did my own gasp escape and heart rate jump. But, today I was pondering the natural and spiritual of the training process; the training is necessary in both arenas.

     Training for battle is required for a positive outcome!

   In the natural, our military must be prepared at all times, willing and ready to obey a call in an instant as well as prepared for the job at hand. Each has a place to strategically move to and work from. Without training maneuvers the ability to instantly produce a needed outcome would not occur.

     In the spiritual it is similar. We are encouraged to be ready in season and out, to put on the armor of God, to keep alert and be watchful for the enemy’s tactics. The difference? We are not to fight under another mans armor, to fight on our own behalf, to even use our own words in the warfare. BUT – to know that the battle’s outcome belongs to the Lord. We are to stand, stand firm in faith! We are to pray in the spirit at all times – not using our own words to accomplish the battle but knowing HIS words will deliver.  Our aim in all areas of the conflict is to bring restoration and peace – and this aim must come from a place of love.

     The battle is not our own but HIS!

      HOWEVER – we must fight!

     We fight against the spiritual forces that surround, infiltrate and overcome our minds, our environment, our physical bodies and our daily lives. So how do we do that? It is all about being trained and ready for battle – knowing the place to move to and work from at the right time, and that training is found as we wait in HIS presence. When we are trained for battle the outcome is one of victory!