"…for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 8:11)
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Firewater

Recently, I traveled with my sweet friends Alan and Lori Caplin to Lexington, Kentucky. I have never been to Kentucky and quickly learned that Lexington is known for two things: horses and bourbon. The weather was magnificent during our stay, and I captured snapshots of the scenery in my mind. Over three days and three nights, we explored our surroundings, enjoyed fellowship with newfound friends, and prayed over those battling infirmities of the body and heart. By far, the most memorable part of our trip, however, was a visit to the distillery.

Lexington is home to more than a dozen distilleries and breweries, and travelers come from far and wide to sample their wares. Ironically, none of the three of us drink (save for a glass of wine on a special occasion, perhaps), so the tour guide’s continual efforts to have us taste various beers and spirits fell flat. The move of God, however, did not.

We learned on the tour that Kentucky is the perfect environment for making bourbon, because of the distinct seasons—they have very hot summers, and very cold winters—and because of the water. You see, Lexington sits on a bed of limestone, and the water takes on special properties as it flows through the rock. Then it is mixed with grain and distilled, continually exposed to the fire to be purified so that the resulting product tastes like fire itself.

…for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:4b NIV

During the distilling, the tour guide explained, the liquid that evaporates off is called “the angels’ share.” I envisioned the sweat of our brow rising to heaven with our prayers as we are tried by fire. Throughout the process, the master distiller also continually tests the spirits. You do not want the head (which is pure alcohol, like moonshine), our guide noted, and you do not want the tail (which is cloudy and tastes bitter). The master distiller is looking for the heart. What they call “the sweet stuff.”

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
1 PETER 4:12

When distilling is done, the process still is not finished. The refined alcohol is poured into oak barrels (which themselves have been charred by flames), and aged for at least four years, until it is mature and ready to drink. During the aging process, the product already has great value. It turns into whiskey, which many enjoy. But only when it has aged sufficiently—only when it is fully mature—does it become fine bourbon, a product of even greater worth.

As we were leaving Kentucky, Alan popped into a shop at the airport and blessed me with a last-minute gift: a baseball cap emblazoned with the brand-name Maker’s Mark. The three of us immediately knew the meaning. He has set His seal of ownership upon me. I am His masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which He prepared in advance for me to do. The Lord Almighty is His name, and I pray that wherever I may travel, all can see that I bear my Maker’s Mark.

For your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.
ISAIAH 54:5

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:21-22‬ ‭NIV

July 27, 2019   1 Comment

Walk in Authority

I have been a believer in Christ for 15 years. I did not start walking in true authority until the past few weeks. That’s not to say that I haven’t had strong faith or shared the gospel. My faith has sustained me through the most tumultuous seasons of my life, and I do not hide my light beneath a bushel. But, I lacked boldness. I struggled with fear. I didn’t fully grasp the true power that I have as a child of God. And, you have it, too.

From the moment John stepped onto the scene until now, the realm of heaven’s kingdom is bursting forth,
and passionate people have taken hold of its power.
(Matthew 11:12 TPT)

Thousands, if not millions, of Christians are passive in their faith. They are comforted by the thought of eternal life with their heavenly Father, but they are ignorant of their charge while here on earth. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are “Christ’s ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20). That means we represent His kingdom, we speak on His behalf, and we have full access to all of the resources of the One who sent us. As ambassadors, we walk in authority. We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms, according to Ephesians 1:3, and each of us has a unique purpose here on earth.

The apostle Paul instructed the disciples, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19) Many interpret this passage to mean that we’re supposed to abstain from sex outside of marriage or make sure that we work out at the gym regularly. Although sound advice, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Paul means this:

In all that we are and in all that we do,
we are called to give glory to god.

Your Maker gave you unique talents and skills for a reason. Your life is not your own; rather, your abilities and experiences are all meant to help others. That’s why you’re here–to help somebody else. More than that, you possess the ability to do remarkable things! Jesus went about healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, and casting out demons. Then, He says to His followers:

“For sure, I tell you, whoever puts his trust in Me can do the things I am doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father.”(John 14:12)

Did you catch that? Trust in Him, and YOU can do even greater things! You have the Holy Spirit indwelling you, you are an ambassador of Christ, and you have access to the same resurrection power as our Lord and Savior!

The devil will hit you with everything he can to keep you from fulfilling your mission: addiction, illness, financial lack, pornography, sexual sin. He’ll even tempt you into binge watching Games of Thrones or Downton Abbey or The Walking Dead. Satan is determined to distract you and keep you focused on your own comfort, so you are too preoccupied to step into the position of authority for which God has called you. Don’t let the devil win. Our mission is clear in the words Jesus taught us to pray:

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven”
(Matthew 6:10)

You’re on assignment. You’ve got what it takes. You have the Holy Spirit as your counselor and an army of angels at your disposal. We are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, and our job–the purpose for which we were created–is to bring heaven to earth.

What does that look like? Simple. It looks like love.

“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35)

***

Dedicated to my husband Craig Thompson, who taught me to be brave.

November 4, 2018   No Comments