Life’s a Journey

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Life is a journey…

Made up of peaks and valleys, many roads-some long and narrow, some bumpy, some treacherous, some winding, and some seem never to end!

Many times, we start on our path, believing we know the destination-but as we go-we realize each curve in the road, each intersection-is more challenging than the last.

All the variances and places in between ‘here and there’ in the roads we travel in life are being used by God in shaping us, molding us, into His image.

Sometimes, we set our cruise control, sit back, and enjoy the beauty in our surroundings!

Sometimes, the scenes are splendorous and breathtaking!

We travel through so many different sceneries!

The snowy peaked mountains, rolling hills of countryside, changing fall colors, the plains…

Miles of corn fields, and wheat farms-sometimes even alongside the oceans… sweet fragrances to enjoy, and we reflect on Gods beauty everywhere.

Not every road in our life’s journey offers beautiful scenery-

Not every stretch is pleasant…

(Or enjoyable.)

Sometimes- when we are traveling, we get stuck in traffic.

It’s NEVER convenient. NEVER planned. Just as we thought we were making progress…bam!

In one hundred degree temperatures.

Sometimes, the air conditioning stops working-and life gets sticky, unpleasant.

Sometimes we have to roll our sleeves up, and our windows down.

Sometimes, instead of the enjoyable fresh country air, and sweet aromas of honeysuckle- instead, is the stench of cow manure from the dairy farm, or from the garbage truck next to you!

This IS life.

God will use each part- every mile of our travel, especially the little side trails where we wander- and will use them for His glory.

It may not ‘make sense’ to us-and may not always ‘feel’ good…

Sometimes, part of our ‘journey’ seems as if we are stuck in a tunnel for miles and miles…with very little light surrounding us to help navigate clearly through.

Yet, as the song ‘Waymaker‘ goes-

‘Even when I don’t see it, He’s working-

Even when I don’t feel it-He’s working-

He never stops-never stops working, He never stops! Never stops working!’

God takes the little things we don’t usually understand and works them out for our good.

Listen-

Hear His voice, the still, small voice on the inside-

Rest in Him.

Trust in Him.

Do what is right, even when it’s hard.

Don’t compromise.

When the rose bush is being trimmed, the pruning process is painful at the time-but it’s so necessary for the growth and blooms about to follow!

When God’s doing the pruning, He will make it right.

I read a devotion this morning that made me think along this lines, ‘Simple Living’ (TearFund). Here’s an excerpt:

God is in the business of taking small, tiny offerings and using them to create a huge impact. The small, smooth stones in David’s sling. A little boy with five loaves and two fish. The tiny mustard seed. A widow’s last few drops of oil and flour for a final meal with her son.

We often think of what we lack. The problems are too big; the world is too broken. But God is able to do abundantly more than all we could ask or imagine. He’s blessed us with creativity, ingenuity–and each other.

In considering the small things we can do and when we are uncertain of the way ahead, we can be encouraged that God takes our small steps–and our offerings along the way, inadequate though they seem–and breathes His life through them for His glory.

Chew over the words in Psalm 84:5 and thank God for the blessings He gives to those who set their hearts on pilgrimage.

God is for us! He is with us-through every step of our journey. He is faithful, and will never leave us or forsake us.

It’s easy to enjoy the enjoyable seasons of our lives… trusting God during the difficult times is where we see our inner character outwardly.

When we are stuck in a season when everything seems to be crumbling around us- the spotlight highlights us in moments of raw transparency-

Remember… the journey of life continues… this particular ‘mile’ will fade., bringing us closer to our destination.

Like a road map, so are the days of our life. All have meaning and purpose.

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“IF”… Faith ACTS

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How does a VITAL CHURCH grow?

It becomes LIFE to ALL.

“WHEN Christ who IS our life. (Colossians 3:4)… then you shall also appear with Him in all glory.”

“Vital” means LIFE.

“If” we truly are born again, Christ IS our life.

I sincerely and without no disrespect say “If” because God says this.

It’s NOT automatic- this ‘salvation’ or ‘born again’ experience I’m referring to.

Something actually happens in the spiritual realm to our spirits, we become a brand new, never before existed, created spirit. (1 Corinthians 5:17).

Just because we believe in God, and have knowledge that Jesus is God’s Son- doesn’t mean we have been born again, or saved.

Just because we go to church, doesn’t make us a Christian, no more than going to McDonald’s makes you a Bic Mac! God’s gift of salvation is 100% FREE, but cost God EVERYTHING.

But He doesn’t force it on us- it’s been offered, and is waiting for each of us to individually receive it, to receive Christ, who IS the gift of eternal life; as our individual Master, Lord, Savior, Redeemer, Deliverer, Healer, Provider, OUR LIFE!!!

It’s conditional, based on each of our individual choice.

He is The Way, The Truth, and THE LIFE.

First thing first responders do upon the scene of an accident is ‘check your vitals.’ They are determining whether or not there is LIFE in us.

Life is a gift, and as believers, CHRIST is our life, and His GIFT of life is to be shared and multiplied. God is a God of increase.

Friends, we all have goals, and most include financial goals. And this is good. But what good is it to gain the whole world and lose our souls??? (Mark 8:36/Matthew 16:26)

As CHRISTians, our main financial goals in life is not to pack away as much wealth as we can FOR OURSELF; but to be able to give without end to those in need all over the world. To spread the gospel into all the world cost money.

The purpose of wealth is NOT to hoard it to ourselves.

I don’t want money for myself. I want it so that I am give it away, so that I can feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, give drink to the thirsty- bless those in need, IN THE NAME OF JESUS.

I’m not talking about those capable of helping themselves but don’t., or those trapped in addiction spending every donated dollar on their habit- they need help., too, but a different type of help. For those- I love them and pray for them to receive revelation of God’s presence, power and indescribable gift!

I speak LIFE over them, and plead the blood of Jesus over them. In their presence I speak ‘Jesus.’ ‘JESUS!’ At the name of Jesus, the demons tremble and every knee must bow. And His power is released! (James 2:19/Philippians 2:11/ Luke 10:17/ Mark 16:17-17)

I’m talking about the majority of our world struggling to find clean water to drink; food to eat, shelter- who need our answer, their answer, JESUS.

We must go TO THEM, and TELL THEM. We must SHOW THEM. We must CARE for them, and LOVE them, like the Jesus we confess.

This is why I desire money.

This is why I give what I have. And to keep on giving what I have. It’s not a one time done. check off list thing. It’s GODS WAY. It’s a lifestyle of a Christian.

This is why I am passionate about being part of “THE CHURCH”, and seek a ‘vital’ church (THE BODY OF CHRIST) who gets this!!!

Faith ACTS. It doesn’t sit still. It doesn’t remain in one place, content, like a ‘fat baby.’ I remember back in my singing days, singing an Amy Grant song called ‘Fat Baby.’ It’s time to resurrect this song, folks!!! It’s TIME FOR A GREAT AWAKENING!!! RISE UP!!! Get busy!!!

Here’s the lyrics- read them. Let them get deposited in your spirit. Are YOU a fat baby???

“I know a man, maybe you know him, too

You never can tell; he might even be you

He knelt at the altar, and that was the end

He’s saved, and that’s all that matters to him

His spiritual tummy, it can’t take too much

One day a week, he gets a spiritual lunch

On Sunday, he puts on his spiritual best

And gives his language a spiritual rest

He’s just a faaa…

He’s just a fat little baby!

Wa, wa, waaaaa…

He wants his bottle, and he don’t mean maybe

He sampled solid foods once or twice

But he says doctrine leaves him cold as ice

Ba, ba, ba, ba…ba, ba…ba, ba!

He’s been baptized, sanctified, redeemed by the blood

But his daily devotions are stuck in the mud

He knows the books of the Bible and John 3:16

He’s got the biggest King James you’ve ever seen!

I’ve always wondered if he’ll grow up someday

He’s momma’s boy, and he likes it that way

If you happen to see him, tell him I said,

“He’ll never grow, if he never gets fed”

He’s just a fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fa-at, fat…

Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fa-at, Fat…

Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fatttt…

Baby…”

Don’t wait until you have ‘enough of the wealth’ YOU think is enough to start giving- you’ll never become a giver if you wait. Start now. Learn to sacrifice now. Become a giver now.

You have to give by faith, with your heart, with what you have now. Trust God. Hey, ALL of the earth is the Lords and the fullness therein. ALL belongs to God… we are only stewards of what He has entrusted us with.

Are we being faithful with it? Are we holding onto it with stingy fingers, even more tightly when the Holy Spirit touches our hearts to give, then we don’t?

Or are we trusting God with EVERY area of our life, including our finances? Are we???

God will take your gift, and will supernaturally multiply it; and will increase your ability to gain more; once your heart lines up with His.

The value of something is determined by what one is willing to pay.

God’s determined our value, ALL of mankind’s value, even in our imperfect condition, was the life of His only Son.

God is a giver. He held nothing back.

We are to follow His example, if indeed He is in us… we are made in His image. We are made to multiply, to increase.

Let’s give all we can selflessly, and see our world changed.

All of the worlds poverty, starvation, need- is solvable through the Christ who is in us…

IF we would but learn to see people as HE sees people…

IF we would but learn to love people as HE loves people…

IF we TRULY would obey and do what HE instructed us to do-we will see in God’s Word WHO we are in Christ, WHOSE we are in Christ, and WHO WE ARE CONNECTED TO IN THE BODY OF CHRIST.

Our body is the ‘new’ temple the Holy Spirit dwells in, if we are truly born again. Our body IS the ‘house’ that our spirit, and God’s Spirit IN OUR SPIRIT, contains.

May ALL our eyes open to this truth!!! May HIS Holy Fire consume us, and His passion ignite us!!!

“Now ALL who believed were together, and had ALL things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among ALL, as anyone had need…”

IF we truly desire to be obedient and to become THE church, THE bride of Christ, we need to do what He has instructed us to do, then we will be the vital “church” that grows!

This is how we will know- read what is written, when Peter was with the rest of the other apostles (followers of Christ, who were ALREADY BORN AGAIN):

“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. 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.”

“Then THOSE WHO GLADLY RECEIVED HIS WORD… So continuing daily with ONE ACCORD in the temple, and breaking of bread from house to house, they are their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with ALL the people. AND THE LORD ADDED TO THE CHURCH DAILY THISE WHO WERE BEING SAVED.”

(Acts 2:37-47)

Blood Covenant… let’s go there.

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Good morning! God woke me up at 5:15am this morning with the thoughts of the blood covenant that takes place between God and us through Christ, and that also takes place within a godly marriage.  
I firmly believe this reminder is not only for myself, (I thank God for my help mate of 32 years and best friend of 37 years, Doug Roundy!!!) but for someone else out there who may need a word of encouragement! If that’s you- then set aside time to read this in its entirety, grab your coffee and your bible- and dig in!!!


A gift from God is worth fighting for. Trust me- Satan is doing everything he can to tear apart all the blessings we are entitled to in the blood covenant! We need to show him who we are in Christ and fight back for what’s rightfully ours!!!
Many of us in the USA DO NOT understand the depth of blood covenant… It’s not really talked about in the USA as it is in most other countries… As a child, I remember friends becoming ‘blood partners’ by pricking their pinkies and bringing them together mixing the blood with pinky promises… But I don’t really remember growing up hearing about the biblical side to what blood covenant truly means and how it relates to a marriage and how that marriage relates to God in our relationship with Him.
A marriage in Gods eyes is different than two people who love each other and choose to live together.  
It’s not just a committed relationship, because people can love each other outside of marriage and be committed to one another.
Marriage in Gods eyes is a covenant relationship, and is spiritual. It goes beyond the physical relationship. It’s giving up ones place of self and becoming one. And being one in Christ, made righteous because of being in Christ. 

A marriage in Gods eyes is a foretaste of Christ’s relationship with the Church, which is the bride of Christ. A marriage in Gods eyes is an eternal blood covenant between two parties-just as our covenant is with God!
We have cut a NEW blood covenant with God, and this means it’s the closest, most enduring, most solemn and most sacred of all contracts. We do the same thing in a spiritual marriage-a blood covenant absolutely cannot be broken. 
When you enter into blood covenant with someone, you promise to give them your life, your love, and your protection forever… Till death do you part. God says this in Malachi 2:14/Proverbs 2:17.
The spiritual ramifications of cutting a blood covenant is deep, biblical, and irreversible. There’s 9 steps, which I’ll highlite but encourage individual study:
#1 exchanging of coat/robe (1 Samuel 18:1-4)- the robe represents the person: “I’m giving you all myself. My total being in my life, I pledge to you.”
#2 exchanging of belts (1 Samuel 18:1-4)- the belt holds the armor together- and weapons: dagger, bow & arrow, sword-symbolizing giving all of your strength and pledging all of your support and protection to each other: 

“here is my strength in all my ability to fight. If anybody attacks you there also attacking me. Your battles are my battles and mine are yours. I will fight with you, I will help defend you and I will protect you.”
#3 cut the covenant (Genesis 15:1-9; Jeremiah 34:18-19). In biblical covenant when it’s cut an animal is split down the middle in two, then each half is laid and the two parties stand between the two bloody halves, walking through them making a figure 8 and then stopping to face each other. It’s very solemn and sacred and means:

“we are dying to ourselves, giving up the rights to our own life and beginning a new walk with our covenant partner onto death.” Then each part points to the bloody animal cut in two saying 

“God do so to me and more if I ever try to break this covenant. Just split me down the middle and feed me to the vultures because I tried to break the most sacred of all covenants.”
#4 raise right arm & mix blood (Isaiah 62:8) standing before one another raising right arms you cut palms bringing them together and blood intermingles, swearing allegiance to each other. As blood intermingles you are believing your lives are intermingling and becoming one life, because blood is our life, so intermingling blood is to intermingle life. Putting off old nature and putting on the new nature of a blood covenant partner to truly becoming one.
#5 exchanging of names (Genesis 17:5,15; 32:18). Standing before one another with the blood intermingling names are exchanged you’re saying:

 ”I take your last name as part of my name when you take my last name as part of your name”
#6 make a scar. (Isaiah 49:16) The next step is rubbing blood together and making a scar as a permanent testimony to the covenant. The scar bears witness to the covenant that’s been made and is always there to remind us of covenant responsibilities to each other, a guarantee of the covenant. If anyone tries to harm us, all we have to do is raise out the right arm and show the scar which represents in saying: “there’s more to me than meets the eye if you’re coming after me you’re also going to have to fight my blood covenant partner and you don’t know how big he is. So what are you going to do? Are you going to take your chances are back off?” This scar seals and testifies the covenant. (I love this part!!! While during Bible school when this was taught, to me I’ve visualized our physical hands being the hands connected to the body of Christ and Christ, His hands are nail scarred because of what He endured at the cross, so symbolically, when we raise our hands in praise,we are showing Satan the nail scarred hands which testifies of the covenant we are in with Jesus Christ!)
#7 give covenant terms (Genesis 31:52-53; 21:23; Joshua 9). Then we stand before witnesses and give the terms of the covenant saying: “all of my assets are yours. All my money, on my property and all my possessions are yours. If you need any of them you don’t ever have to ask just come and get it what’s mine is yours and what yours is mine”
#8. Eat memorial meal. (Genesis 26:28-30; 31:44-54) then a memorial meal and share to complete the covenant union. In place of the animal and blood, we have bread and wine. In the Bible, wine is called blood of the grapes (see Genesis 49:11). It represents our own life blood- since Christ blood was pure, this one must be unfermented and also pure, thus; fresh picked grapes squeezed into juice, unfermented. The bread represents our flesh. Taking a loaf of bread and breaking it in two, feeding to one another saying “this is symbolic of my body and I’m now putting it in you.” (This is where the wedding cake custom came from!) Then, serving each of the juice and saying “this is symbolic of my life blood which is now your blood-symbolically I’m in you and you’re in me-we are now one together with a new nature”
#9 plant a memorial (Genesis 21:27-33; 31:44-54) leaving a memorial to the covenant is so that it can always be remembered. This is done by planting a tree that’s been sprinkled with the blood of an animal. The blood sprinkled tree along with the scar will always be a testimony of the covenant symbolizing the end of the ceremony and recognition of being friends. In Bible times one did not use the word friend as loosely as we do today – only become friends after cutting the covenant; and in the covenant, all children- even unborn ones- are included in the covenant.
Read about the covenant cut between David and Jonathan, beginning 1 Samuel 18:1-9…and then later of David with Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 4; 2 Samuel 9)!   
After all the hardship between David and Jonathan and wrong thinking on Jonathan’s part passed onto his family, David tells Mephibosheth “I know you don’t understand and I know you don’t deserve it and there’s nothing you can do to earn a make up for all of your thoughts and actions against me. You could serve me 1000 years and never make it up but this has nothing to do with you. You see this scar my hand? I’m not doing this because of you. I’m doing this because I have sworn by my own blood and entered into an everlasting covenant with your father. This scar in the palm of my hand is the guarantee and seal of the covenant. And here are the terms of that covenant. I will restore all your land. I will bless you. I will forgive your past wrongs against me. My house is your house and you will live here at this place I will be a father to you and I got to use my own son. This scar is the testimony and witness to my covenant with you.”
Wow. Can you see yourself in any of this?
Imagine being Mephibosheth… 
Perhaps some of you are in a marriage like this and you resonate with how he is feeling. After everything he did, he can’t believe it m-but he must make a choice: either enter the covenant with David, or go back into the desert. It doesn’t sound like much of a choice does it? The man he’s hated all of his life and misunderstood, he must now love with all of his life. He must now become one with this man he ran away from, of whom he was afraid. He must swallow his pride, and humble himself, he must admit he was wrong and turn his back on all of his old ways of thinking about David. All of his old friends will ridicule him, make fun of him, and call him a weakling for giving into David. They would say that he didn’t have enough guts to die and be done with it is his choice, his free will- it cannot be forced on him…but he chose to enter the covenant with David and immediately all the things David promised took place in all of his descendants were a blast because they two were in the same covenant.
So if you’re still with me and reading all of this you’re probably wondering “what does this have to do with my relationship with God or my marriage?”
In this Biblical account David represents God. God loves His creation with all of His heart and He wants to show us His mercy and kindness… He wants to take us out of the desert, in the wilderness of life, and adopt us into His own family… to be His own children… to sit at the table with Him, and to live in the mansion He’s prepared for us…but unfortunately we’re still in the family of Solomon and Jonathan. We’re rebellious and want to do our own things, and we don’t want anybody telling us what to do-especially God . Or our spouses.
Ouch.
There are times when our spouse just plain out infuriates us. We must recognize that they are not perfect and neither are we. 
The more we choose to dwell on the problems, (and let’s face it- every relationship has them- LIFE has them!) the bigger the problems will grow in our minds, and the bigger the distance will grow between us.  
Just like when we do wrong against God, we feel inferior and condemned, unworthy of His love and mercy, undeserving of compassion and forgiveness. (Remember where these thoughts come from- not from God!) 
But God will reply “My child you still don’t understand. I know you don’t deserve it, and can’t make up for your thoughts and actions against Me. You could serve me 1000 years and never make it up; but this has nothing to do with your deserving it.  
I’m doing this because I’ve sworn by My blood-My own blood and entered into an everlasting covenant with Myself on your behalf through Jesus. The nail scars in His hands are the guarantee and seal of the covenant and you were there- you were in Me when I gave my life for you and now I want to give my life to you.”
When we entered our God Marriage with our spouse, we entered a blood covenant with them. A sacred, lasting covenant ’till death do us part.’ There are going to be times when we won’t feel like staying in the relationship. (the enemy will make sure of that!)
There are going to be times when the other does something against us that hurts our feelings or makes us angry, because we’re human and not perfect. But the One Who has bound us together in blood covenant is perfect.  
When we step out of ourselves, and step into Christ, everything, every perspective, changes.  
This goes for ALL relationships.
This is something that goes far beyond our own understanding or reasoning of the our natural minds.  
In and of ourselves, none is perfect. We are all flawed. We all have issues.
Our biggest problem is ourself. Our biggest answer is our God.
The devil will capitalize on our flesh, on our thoughts- knowing that we know we aren’t perfect- and rather than have us focus on OUR problems, he will have us (if we let him) focus on our SPOUSES problems. Or whoever else beside ourself.
The more we dwell there- the more we focus on these thoughts, the bigger their problem grows in our minds, and a wedge is formed, separating the ‘one’ God put together into two again, and then thoughts of wanting to give up form., and, like unattended weeds, will begin to choke the life out of relationships.
DONT SETTLE. Don’t listen to Satan, the deceiver and father of all lies!
Renew your minds to Gods Word, which is truth!!! Apply what you read. Gods Word works!!!
I want to encourage Christian marriages to be mindful of the COVENANT of our God-kind of marriage. It’s DIFFERENT than the worlds marriage, it’s different than other committed relationships.  
The ‘perfect’ part of marriage has nothing to do with us-the man or the wife, but everything to do with the Christ, who is in each of the two, drawing them into one.

Love never gives up, never quits, always perseveres, and keeps going to the end, depending on one another and on the God within to keep the covenant strong. God bless❣
(Covenant terms taken from the book  “The miracle of the scarlet thread”)