What is Written in Your Book in Heaven?

b78b6da3cdb52d22e3971392d2d031adDid you know there are books in heaven? Or, that you have a book in heaven, specifically written for and about you? As a writer, this greatly intrigues me! When the Lord began to show these truths to me, I began asking Him to show me what is written in mine. There are several places in Scripture where these books are mentioned. Daniel 7:10 says, “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.”  This was shown to Daniel in a dream.

David spoke of personal books as well, “…Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16) Even Jesus has a book. “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come–in the volume of the book it is written of Me to do Your will, O God.'” (Heb. 10:5-7)

These books contain the plans and purposes of God for each one of us. Before we were born on the earth, even from before creation, we were each a thought in God’s mind. Immediately after David wrote verse 16 of Psalm 139, he wrote, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Ps. 139:17)  God “saw” us and wrote down His thoughts about us, what we would do in our life on earth and beyond. Paul said, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10) The word workmanship literally means a poem. A poem is a message, and our lives are also a message to the world.

The challenge for us is to discover what is written in our book, and to walk it out in the earth by God’s grace. Timothy tells us that grace has also been there, waiting for us, from before creation, “…who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” (2 Tim. 1:9) We have the ability to fulfill God’s plans and purposes through His all sufficient, empowering grace.

The Apostle John wrote, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) We know that we are created in God’s image and are now one with Him through His indwelling Spirit. Therefore, we, too, must become God’s Word – written in our book – made into flesh, so that the world can see Him in and through us. We can, by His grace, walk in the fullness of His plans and purposes, which He destined us to walk in before creation. Discovering what is written in our book, agreeing with it, and by His grace, fulfilling it, will be the most satisfying and rewarding adventure of our lives.

Changing Seasons

seasonsGod said in His Word, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecc. 3:1) There are seasons in nature, and seasons in our lives. I find it amusing though somewhat annoying at times at how we so often complain about changing seasons, especially when it comes to the weather. It’s too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too humid, etc. Often, we do the same in whatever current life season we are in. We want to finish school, or start that new job; we want our kids to become more independent so we can do what we want. We want to grow up and move out of our parents’ house, get married, have a baby, go on that mission trip…and so on.

We humans have such tunnel vision. We search for the light at the end, but totally miss the journey to get there – perhaps because it is dark and we can’t see what lies between where we are and where we long to be. We focus on the destination – on our destiny, the fulfillment of our dreams, arriving at that place where everything will be as we want it. Yet within the journey, God has stored the greatest treasures. Every season has its unique beauty and challenges. Each serves a vital purpose in preparing us for our ultimate destination – Christlikeness and spiritual union with Him.

It matters not whether we are going to school, learning a new job, raising children, supporting a family, serving on the mission field, training for ministry, running a business, being a wife, husband, mom, dad, brother, sister, friend, daughter, son, aunt, uncle…I hope you get the picture. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity. That sounds like it includes pretty much everything to me!

Colossians 3:23-24 says, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward…”  Whatever season we are in, whatever we do every day, matters to God. He sees it all, and uses it all for our good, to accomplish His purposes in our lives. Remembering this can help cure us of tunnel vision. Seeking the treasures He has for us on the journey will help us to be filled with gratitude rather than complaints. It isn’t always easy, but it is worth the struggle because we get to discover more of who He is and wants to be for us in each season. This will lead us into deeper intimacy, the greatest treasure of all and the ultimate destination we all long for. If we ask Him, He will help us learn to enjoy the journey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dealing With Disappointment With God

Charlene S Hughes

A recent conversation with a friend unearthed a topic that, I believe, plagues the mindsDepressed Man On Bench of many believers. I know I have dealt with it more times than I care to remember. It also comes up frequently with those I minister to. If not resolved, it has the potential to derail us from our destiny. The subject – disappointment with God. In Romans 9:33, Paul writes, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” The word translated “disappointed” literally means, “put to shame.” Paul was quoting from Isaiah 28:16, and the stone/rock spoken of is referring to Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone.

I would venture to say that most, if not all of us who are believers, have had times we felt disappointed with God. Why? Some reasons I’ve discovered are:

1. He doesn’t seem to…

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Dealing With Disappointment With God

A recent conversation with a friend unearthed a topic that, I believe, plagues the mindsDepressed Man On Bench of many believers. I know I have dealt with it more times than I care to remember. It also comes up frequently with those I minister to. If not resolved, it has the potential to derail us from our destiny. The subject – disappointment with God. In Romans 9:33, Paul writes, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” The word translated “disappointed” literally means, “put to shame.” Paul was quoting from Isaiah 28:16, and the stone/rock spoken of is referring to Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone.

I would venture to say that most, if not all of us who are believers, have had times we felt disappointed with God. Why? Some reasons I’ve discovered are:

1. He doesn’t seem to answer our prayers, or answers them in a way we weren’t expecting.

2. We go through difficult times and don’t understand why He seems to allow it.

3. We are wounded by other believers, the Church, leaders, etc., and feel He is somehow to blame.

4. The prophetic words or promises we’ve received haven’t come to pass.

There are probably many more reasons, but these are a few I’ve personally dealt with, and know many others who have too. There is much that could be said about each of these, but, in short, it all boils down to one thing – we don’t understand His ways. If you ponder these reasons at all, it seems evident that all of these center around “me.” We so easily forget that this life, once we have surrendered it to Him, is no longer about us; it is about Him having His way in and through us.

In truth, if we have died to ourselves and He now lives His life in and through us, we have given up our so-called “rights” to have anything. A dead person doesn’t question or object when things don’t go as they thought they would. I’m not saying we should never question God, for He can handle our lack of understanding and self-centeredness. He totally understands the weakness of our flesh. (see Psalm 103:14) But if we are going to grow up in Him, we must trust that His ways are higher, and far better, than anything we could ever come up with. (Is. 55:8-9) We must believe that everything He allows in our lives is for our good, whether we see it, feel it, or not. (Rom. 8:28)

We must remember that this life is not about having our way. I believe God loves us far more than we’re capable of comprehending. I believe He has good plans and a destiny for each of us that will bring us great satisfaction and fulfillment. But ultimately, His plan is to conform us into His image. He is preparing us now for our future assignments – ruling and reigning with Him for eternity. His consummate desire is to raise up a bride who is worthy of His Son. He has an eternal perspective, and if we are going to better understand Him and His ways, we need to have one, too. Remembering these things will help us to surrender our disappointment with Him, to Him.

How have you dealt with disappointment with God? I would love to hear your comments!

Are Toxic Beliefs Derailing Your Destiny?

As a young believer, I often listened to Joyce Meyer on the radio during my daily drive to toxic thinkingtake our kids to our church’s Mother’s Morning Out program. I can still remember her saying one day, “Do you ever stop and think about what you’re thinking about?” and my first thought was, “No, I don’t!” Then I wondered if it even mattered, and if so, why. I was genuinely perplexed!

Now that I’m a bit older and hopefully a little wiser, I understand what she was saying. As believers, our thought life is one of the most important factors of our walk with God. You may have seen this poem or one that is similar to it:

If you accept a Belief

You reap a Thought.

If you sow a Thought

You reap an Attitude.

If you sow an Attitude

You reap an Action.

If you sow an Action

You reap a Habit.

If you sow a Habit

You reap a Character.

If you sow a Character

You reap a Destiny.

–anonymous

Your beliefs and thoughts greatly affect your destiny by determining your choices, or actions. What you do is always the result of what you believe.

I’m not talking about “head knowledge,” which is facts or information we may believe or agree with. I’m referring to the core beliefs that we hold deep in our hearts and may be totally unaware of.

These beliefs often surface when a circumstance triggers a reaction that catches us completely off guard. Have you ever experienced that? Maybe one day your best friend makes a comment that your new outfit is a little snug around the middle. Suddenly without thinking, you get upset and offended, accusing her of calling you fat! And for the sake of this hypothetical example, let’s say you struggled with your weight as a teen and had a mom who made similar comments far too often, though her sincere intent was to try to help you. This is just one (though not particularly good) example of how core beliefs are triggered.

In His mercy, God allows these situations in order to show us areas that need healing in our minds. He understands our frailty and gave us a way to get free from toxic thinking – Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The word transformed is the Greek root of our word, metamorphosis – the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. It is a beautiful word picture of the radical change that takes place when we make the effort to renew our thoughts and beliefs.

In the natural, a caterpillar is bound to the earth, crawling along the ground or on plants and bushes. As the butterfly emerges from the cocoon it no longer resembles its former self in any way; it is a totally new and different creature. Free to now soar above the earth, it has a completely new perspective – a heavenly one. This is an amazing picture of what happens to us and our thinking when we make the choice to renew our minds. God doesn’t do this for us, nor does it happen automatically when we get saved, it is a lifelong process that requires effort on our part.

So how do we go about doing this? How do you renew your mind? I discovered a key a few years ago that has greatly helped me and I believe can help you if you will take time to do it. I will be writing about it in my next blog post, so stay tuned for more! How has toxic thinking affected your choices? Please comment below.

Insights From Song of Solomon – Discovering Your Identity in God

I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me. – Song of Solomon 7:10

The Church is in the midst of an identity crisis. Many believers are searching to find their Identityidentity, who God has called them to be. This search includes identifying their spiritual gifts, their calling and destiny in Him – what exactly He wants them to do. I too went through this confusing and frustrating phase. Many voices say we should know these things, but none I found explained how to discover them.  Maybe this has been true for you, too, or for someone you know.

In Song of Solomon, God reveals how to discover who He has called us to be, and what He has called us to do as His beloved children. Throughout the Song, King Solomon (who represents Jesus) showers his bride with words of affirmation and validation. These are two basic needs God created us with that must be fulfilled. Only God can provide these; if we don’t receive our unique significance from Him, we will find it in ungodly ways – through relationships, accomplishments, materialism, position, ministry, etc. These needs MUST be met.

The more he affirms her, the more she blossoms before him; this is the power of love and acceptance to totally transform us. She first sees herself as “dark, yet lovely,” (1:5). She is somewhat aware of her underlying value, but more focused on the darkness that covers it. She then sees herself as “a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valley” (2:1) While this is a small step up, these flowers  were common to the region, so she sees herself as one of many, but not unique or special. In Ch. 4:16, she first sees herself as a garden then realizes she is his garden. This is definite progress!

Then in Ch. 7:10 she says, “I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me.”  She now knows her identity; she is his beloved, belonging to him for his purposes and pleasure. She is his inheritance. (Eph. 1:18) The apostle John called himself, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”  Paul wrote, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20) When we receive this revelation, our lives will no longer be about getting or doing what we want, but doing what He wants, and going where He sends us. His agenda will be our agenda; His desires, our desires.

As he affirms her, the revelation of His nature and character leads her to discover her identity and destiny. When Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” Peter received the revelation that He was the Messiah. Jesus then shared Peter’s identity, destiny and calling, saying, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matt 16:18) Peter means “rock,” and Jesus said that this revelation of who Jesus is would be the foundation for His Church that Hades could not overcome. Jesus then called him to intercede to bring heaven to earth, just as He would teach them to pray later (Matt. 6:10).

As we seek the revelation knowledge of God, we will discover who He is and who He has called us to be. We too, are His beloved, called to love and be loved by Him and out of the overflow of that love, to partner with Him to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth. That is His eternal plan and purpose!