Rise, take up your cross and carry it on

I am in love with this song at the moment, it is called Wake up and it is by All Sons and Daughters.

The words of the song say that even though we have gone through so much pain and feel so much shame we are still breathing, we still get another day to try again. Despite our pain we can still see the hope of the Lord. That hope rises within in us as we draw closer to God and His light begins to shine through.

As our hope begins to rise up, we begin to wake up, stand up and pick up our cross and carry it on. We stand before God and say our hearts are yours Lord,  not our will but yours be done Lord.

I hope that you feel encouraged and inspired after this series on rising up.  Remember that the Spirit of the Lord is with you, He will go before you and you need not be afraid. Rise up and follow the call of God on your life, you will never regret it.

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Rise above the atmosphere that surrounds you

atmosphere

I began reading a new book the other week and I was only two pages in and I was enthralled by its words. The words on the page had my complete and utter attention. They spoke straight to my heart and soul and began to stir something within me. I have been reading the book for a week and I am only still a few chapters in because I just have to keep re reading those chapters over and over again so that I can fully soak up all of the goodness that they hold.

I bet you are dying to know what the book is right?! The book that has me so captivated is Qualities of a Spiritual Warrior by Graham Cooke. It is an interactive journal and I am finding it to be just what I need to read right now.

One thing Graham Cooke wrote in his book that has got me thinking is this…

The devil is the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). The enemy lives in the atmosphere. He operates to change the climate of faith into unbelief. He seeks to alter the mood of people away from the fruit of the spirit to something more negative and sinister.

This was something that I had been experiencing. The enemy working to change the atmosphere around me to one that is negative and sinister. He was trying to shift my focus and attention away from the things that were lovely and wonderful and was trying to get me to focus on the things that are negative and awful. Unfortunately he was successful.

God is calling us to rise above the toxic atmosphere that the enemy is creating. He wants us to rise above this toxic way of thinking and feeling and work to change it. We must change the atmosphere around us and create a new environment.

The new environment we create should be one that is filled with love, joy, peace and kindness. We need to release as much of God as we can into our atmosphere.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

We can use the fruits of the Spirit to push aside the schemes of the enemy. We can overcome evil with good. We can rise above the negativity and sinister thoughts that he tries to sow.

What is the battle going on around you right now? What negative atmosphere needs to be broken around you, where you live, where you work and the places that you go each and everyday?

Align yourself with Holy Spirit. Listen to His heart and His affection for the people around you. Step into the gap and become His hands and voice to change the atmosphere and create a new environment full of love, joy, peace and kindness.

Rise each and every day with purpose

do not despise the mundane

I love to hear people tell me their stories. The stories about how they came to know the Lord, how He radically transformed their life, miracles that they have encountered, breakthroughs that they have experienced and just the amazing stories of how God has showed up or crashed in on them in powerful ways.  These stories encourage me, ignite my faith and leave me wanting more of God.

I want to have amazing stories of my own, big amazing God moments to share with other people and to help ignite others faith, but my day to day life often does not feel that amazing. When I feel stuck in the mundane it can be hard to find my motivation for the new day before me. I find myself doing the same things day in and day out and I am just longing for God to crash in on me with a big God moment.

My thinking was challenged when I heard somebody say that God does not just “show up” and the big moment happens. God is working in us and all around us at all times, He is always with us. The defining moments are happening but I am just not seeing them. I am missing the moments because I despise the mundane.

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. Galatians 6:4-5 (MSG)

God began to speak to me on the condition of my heart. That I needed to stop despising the mundane and rise each and every morning with purpose in my heart and soul that God could use me even in the mundane activities of life.

Whoa! I didn’t even realize that I had let that yucky stuff into my heart but God so lovingly began to speak to me on what I needed to do. And this is what He said…

I will use you in mighty ways if you just trust in Me and listen to Me. Just go about your day, do the things I have asked you to do and I will do the rest. And as you go, remember that your life is a canvas and I am the artist. I am painting on the canvas and other people are looking at what I am creating. So even if you are doing something you really don’t want to be doing, I can still turn things around and paint a beautiful picture upon the canvas. I can use you in each and every situation that you face.

I am painting and others are looking at it, so be your very best no matter where you are. Be ready for Me to use you wherever you are. Just go and do that thing you need to do today and I will go before you and open up opportunities for you. You wont be able to perceive them but they will come, if you just open up yourself to me.

If you have the right heart and the right attitude I can do anything with you. Just align yourself with Me. I will turn your hard work days into doors of opportunity. Opportunities for you to share my words and my love.

You bring a piece of Me to your world so you need to go to the world so that they can receive it, so that they can receive Me. Go and I will go with you. Your going is worship to Me and it is honoring to Me and those who honor Me and worship Me will receive My honor upon them.

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith. Galatians 6:9-10 (MSG)

God, please help us to rise each and every morning with purpose in our hearts. To know that wherever we go You go with us. Help us to not despise the mundane moments of life but to see each and every day as an opportunity to partner with you to share your word and your love to those people who surround us each and every day. Amen

Rise to the occasion

risetotheoccassion

Deborah is a hero in the old testament and her story can be found in the book of Judges chapter four. The book of Judges is a time in the Israelite’s history where the people are rebelling against God. God would raise up a deliverer—or judge, and the people would repent and turn back to God. The people would inevitably fall back into sin again and the cycle would start all over.

Deborah was one of these Judges. She was a prophetess, a speaker of wisdom. She would hear from God and pass on His words to the Israelite’s. Her people were coming under attack by an opposing army and so she drew close to God and received a blueprint, so to speak, of how to defeat the oncoming enemy.

She calls upon one of the military leaders and spoke very direct words to him, she relays Gods blueprint. He is reluctant at first knowing that the Israelite’s were out numbered and ill equipped to be able to win at war, but Deborah takes charge and encourages and inspires him to go into battle. They carry out Gods instructions and they defeat the enemy.

Deborah is a shinning example of a woman with faith in God who arose as a light for her people. We can learn so much from this example of rising to the occasion.

Deborah listened for Gods direction. She was close to God and knew before the battle even started that the Lord would go out before them. When we are seeking answers, direction and wisdom for something we need to turn to God first and listen for His heart on the matter.

So often we try to come up with our own plan or we turn to other people for advice when really we should turn to God first. His word is always going to be so much better than anything else we can come up with. He is longing to provide us with answers, guidance, wisdom and the blue prints we need. He is just waiting for us to come before Him and ask.

Deborah takes charge. She listened to God and had complete faith in His words and then she lead the outnumbered and badly equipped Israelite army to great victory. When we hear from God we need to take charge and carry out what He has spoken to us. We need to have faith that we have heard from God and have faith that what He has asked us to do will not fail.

God honors those who have faith in Him and honors those who are courageous. We need to draw close to God and hear what He is calling us to do and then we need to step up and take charge, we need to rise to the occasion. God wants to use us in powerful ways, just like He used Deborah to set her people free, He wants to use us to deliver our own nation as well. Are you ready to rise to the occasion?

Rise again

riseagain

For though the righteous fall seven times they rise again but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. Proverbs 24:16

Sometimes we stumble and sometimes we fall. Life is full of stumbling blocks and occasionally we are going to find ourselves on the ground. The enemy throws stumbling blocks in our way so that he can keep us from our God given destinies.

But even though we get knocked down we need to rise again. The most important part of this is not that we have fallen, but how well we rise.

Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Micah 7:8

God did not promise us a life where we would never fall, but He does promise us a life where we can rise every time we fall. The secret to rising again lies in our intimate relationship with God. I find myself saying this over and over again, that the key is intimacy with the Lord but it is so powerful and so true. The more time you spend in His presence and hearing from Him, everything else will fall into place.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

When we spend time with God and develop an intimate relationship with Him he speaks to us and fills us with the grace and strength we need to rise again. We can rise and carry on even though we may be hurting or suffering or have unanswered hopes, dreams and prayers.

Spending time in the presence of God is not a one time thing, you need to continually spend time with Him so that you can be filled over and over again. When you are filled with His word and His love it is not that you will never be knocked down, it just becomes easier to rise again.

When we are knocked down it can be easy for us to forget what it is God has called us to. Those stumbling blocks are a distraction from our God given destinies. When we continually spend time in Gods presence He gives us the wisdom, strategies and determination to fulfill that calling.

He has called each one of us to live in his presence and to stop for the one he puts in front of us each day. God wants to use us, but we have to believe and act upon the revelations he gives us in the secret place. Heidi baker

But it is up to us to rise again when we have fallen and draw close to God.  We must believe that God loves us unconditionally and that He wants to use us in powerful ways even though we may feel broken and unworthy. When we hear His voice and feel His love it is up to us to respond. He longs to give us the strategies to rise and to live the life He is calling us to.