Sweet or Sour Grapes?

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The sweet burst of flavor is anticipated as you hold a cluster of grapes in the palm of your hand. We have grown accustom to enjoying this late summer fruit uninterrupted by the hard, woody appearance of the dreaded “seed”, within our mouth. My preference is always “seedless” – how about you?

Spiritually, your fruitful growth, comes by laying down your past at the feet of Jesus. You grow as you walk through trials with your eyes focused on His face. Faith then says to persevere – your persistence builds a trust that He has a specific plan for your life.  Ultimately the growth of sweet seedless grapes comes from a place where your faith – your trust in Jesus only – has been built over time.

Over the last decade my husband and I have tried our hand at growing grapes; at one time having seven vines containing five different varieties. All have grown prolifically but we found that even those who were tagged as “seedless” still touted that woody seed. So, several years ago with chainsaw in hand, we took them to the ground.

Each year we have fought with those roots that have continued to shoot up. This year, three finally conceded and died, two only produced leaves but two, again took off. Our diligence lapsed and those two suddenly had clusters growing. “Oh well, two wouldn’t be too bad to clean up after.”

To our great surprise – they matured and the desire to “taste and see” outweighed the dreaded seed. The sweet burst of flavor was an unexpected experience but the joy came when we found them “seedless”. How did that happen?

As we learn to walk with our eyes focused on Jesus, not our circumstances or our past; amazing transformations occur in and around our lives. Our internal and external environments shift and to our great joy our sour grapes become sweet and our woody seeds disappear. These changes come from persistence to sit in His presence, allowing His transformation to occur. He does all the cultivating, He feeds, sends the sun and the rain; we say “YES”, receive and grow. And suddenly we taste the sweet burst of flavor and with great joy we find that we are “seedless” and full of His sweetness.

Join me by laying down your past and your current trials. Let’s persistently pursue the presence of Holy Spirit at the feet of Jesus. The transformation will be sweet!

II Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (ESV)

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there if fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (ESV)

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And the Walls Come Down!

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     Walls are meant to protect, to keep out or to keep in.

 But unbeknownst to us we find that outside forces have placed walls around us. Walls that set limitations on who we are – such as physical or mental illnesses, financial barriers, broken toxic relationships, and even environmental constraints; these are walls that must be broken down to allow freedom in our lives.

The story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho is a great example for us to consider. Joshua knew Jericho was promised territory but with thick tightly shut walls there was no way in. They had natural options just like we have – battle through with all the weapons and strength available, negotiate and manipulate to make a deal that allows a win or to listen and obey the voice of the Spirit of the living God.

Here, for Joshua and for us lies the rub! To run ahead and do all that is naturally possible makes the most sense – for isn’t that what makes a strong independent people?

The hardest thing to do is to choose to believe what you cannot do or see! Having faith in God – stopping your own striving, working, and trying – it is not easy but it is the only way that HE can come in and show himself strong on your behalf.

And the Walls Come Down!

 Joshua and all of Israel chose to listen and obey – to do what didn’t make sense. They were to quietly walk around the city once a day for 6 days then on the 7th day walk around it 7 times and at the sound of the trumpet shout and rejoice that GOD was delivering the city into their hands. Now remember, they did these things before they saw those walls start to shack, crumble and fall down – they rejoiced BEFORE – for they knew a God that was faithful to His promises. That sound, the sound of rejoicing erupting from them was the key! We too, can listen and obey – and as we rejoice BEFORE we see results the shaking is occurring in the heavenly’s .

And the Walls Come Down!

Freedom can be found! The walls that have blocked you in – limiting you in that which God has chosen for you to do must come down.

The lies of the enemy of your soul can be set back! As you accept and stand up with the authority that you have been given as a child of the King of Kings, a believer in all that the blood of Christ purchased for you, you too can listen and obey the voice of the Spirit of the living God.

And the Walls Come Down!

Rejoicing BEFORE you see the outcome because HE is faithful, because He is a good father and because He is always for you – that is where freedom begins, that is where the battle is won, that is where peace in all circumstances begins!

     Only then do you look and find that the miraculous has occurred.

And the Walls Come Down!

“Touchdown” Worship

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As you see the stands explode with jumping and screaming fans you too erupt with cries of joy as the quarterback plows through the waiting wall of defense- making the final winning touchdown.

My recent enjoyment of football has my family grinning at me as I jump, shout and scream throughout – a newbie to the game. We all find ourselves expressing these same extravagant behaviors at many events in our daily lives – births, weddings, and birthdays, to name a few. These celebrations are in fact a type of worship.

Comparing these celebrations with our worship of the King of Kings brought a smile to my face; I remembered David’s extravagant – all out there – worship in the streets. Shouldn’t we have that same exuberance and freedom as we express our love and adoration in the presence of the Lord?

Our love for Jesus and our wholehearted worship of him both at church and home can be just as energetic, powerful and life giving.

The psalms are filled with life’s rough times – betrayals, persecutions and trials of every sort but the psalmist voice always comes back to a place of worship and awe for the goodness and steadfast love of the Lord.

As we look up – the very air we breathe crackles with His life. We see His glory and power in all of creation, from the towering mountains, thundering waterfalls and crashing waves to the tiny ants diligence, the bees’ productivity and the ever re-producing seeds around us. His glorious creativity blooms – the awe of who He is stirs a depth of worship beyond a song, a shout or a dance.

It’s this depth of worship that gets you through times of trial! As deep calls to deep within your spirit you can suddenly see that this type of worship is far bigger then you! It’s a response crying from within, it’s a response that brings life and freedom, and it’s a response toward your Lord whose steadfast love continually carries you. When that awe begins to grow inside of you suddenly it is just like that “touchdown”; the exuberance erupts with joyous shouts, songs and dancing.

It’s this place – this place of unabashed expression of how good God is that brings freedom, life abundant and power to overcome the “stuff” of this life.

Reach up, dig deep, go long with all that is within you – rejoice and worship at the feet of Jesus. Leave the rest behind and dive for the touchdown!

Psalm 150:1-6  Praise the Lord!  Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!  Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!  Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!  Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!  Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord. (ESV)