Raising the Bar – Dare to Dream


Are you satisfied with mediocrity and middle of the road or do you long to rise up with wings like an eagle?  As the years go by are you too longing to see restoration and the days of your lives crowned with the loving kindness of God?

Then it is time to raise the bar!  What we believe determines the height of the bar. For a hurdler and a high jumper, their key to victory lies in aiming at that which is unseen to others.  They are looking above the hurdles’s height and the bar’s barricade and in their mind’s eye they have made a successful jump.

We can use this application in every aspect of life.  For instance in our marriages, so often we focus on the flaws of our spouse and harp on those little irritations until they become all that we can see.  They blind us to the beauty and wonder of the love we share.

Peace in our relationships creates intimacy

Love causes us to bless the gifts and talents  in our spouse, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, and love compels us to live what the Word of God says and call those things that are not as though they were.  We cease looking at the flaw and begin instead to consider the handiwork of God as we speak to and call forth the gifts and talents God has placed in that person.  We continue to bless those gifts because the flaws that are grown out of today will leave room for new ones to sprout and flourish tomorrow!  In other words it is easier sometimes to pick out the worst in someone else than it is to learn to speak the Word of God.  When we do speak the Word, we are truly speaking the language of love.

It is time to shift our focus and become steeped in blessing – the blessing of the Father heart of God, His kind intentions towards us, His amazing, matchless love for us and His glory revealed in us.  Blessing brings healing as the words of life affirm and create in us the Image of Christ in us the hope of glory.  Blessing brings forth worth, unity and a sense of belonging.

When we seek the face of God to receive knowledge of His way of loving, when we seek first the Kingdom of God and understand in our spirits His righteousness, this is raising the bar in our lives for then our actions will be governed  and controlled by His righteous, holy love.

Raising the bar in our lives will look different for each one of us because the “bar” is also the dream in our hearts as well as discovering the dream in God’s heart for us that He wants us to live out so we experience abundance and satisfaction in our life.

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Psalm 119: 1


Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the Law of the Lord.  Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart. 

Isn’t this just an amazing testimony for way back when in the time of David, Anointed Shepherd and King?  Before Jesus, before the Holy Spirit, before even the time when we had the luxury to read our Bibles, use different versions and cross references and concordances?

The author of Psalm 119 is telling us straight out that as he looked upon people’s lives, he saw a difference with those who were devoted to God and who chose to keep the Law of the Lord.  These words are showing us the heart of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  It is a heart full of love for us, the precious and beloved work of His hands.  These few words reveal the richness and depth of His thoughts towards us and they reveal that He has plans of goodness to pour into our lives.  The unspoken admonition is “When you hear His call, heed the Voice”.

In every society we have signposts that mark our level of prosperity and often they drive people into overwork and debt.

We can become so caught up in our lives, in the materialistic side of life, always looking at the green grass on the other side of the fence, trying to attain the achievements of another, that we completely miss and and miss out on the blessing of God within our own life.

We are called to a singleness of heart, to pursue truth, to live the Law of the Lord. If the giants of faith in the Old Testament could do it, how much more can we who have the ever present help of the Holy Spirit and a Bible?

Just as David watched the lives of others, so too, people are watching the progress of our lives.  Can satisfaction and contentment, peace and joy be seen upon us as we walk through the daily routines of life?

How many times I have looked at the lives of other Christians, seen the evidence of the blessing of God upon them and wondered if I would ever reach that state of blessedness.  Did I ever give thought to what it cost them?  The answer is Yes! and I wondered how we become so personal and intimate with Almighty God that His will is actually known and lived out by me.

Over the years I have learned that part of growing in intimacy with God comes through my repentance.  My acknowledgement of sin and even greater, my acceptance of His forgiveness.

My heart was apprehended by His love when I experienced the reality and freedom of forgiveness, felt the buoyancy in my heart when I realized the truth – that the power of the shed blood of Jesus had cleansed my conscience from acts that lead to death in order to serve the Living God. Hebrews 9:14    No longer did I need to bemoan and lament over the things I had done wrong in my life – the Scripture was clear – it became a light to my pathThe Blood of Jesus not only brought me forgiveness of sin, it went even farther and deeper and brought beautiful cleansing to my conscience.

The result of accepting this cleansing is humility within our hearts and unity with the undefiled who walk in the way of the Lord.  We are no longer stubborn and bullish in our attitude toward repentance.  We are no longer stiff necked and proud thinking we can do our own thing and go our own way.  One of the miraculous things that happens when we choose whole hearted repentance and obedience is the yoking that takes place with other believers.

There is a strength imparted to us when we yield to that yoking, together we can work through difficult areas in our lives, together we can overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  Together, with the Holy Spirit’s help and the Word of God to light our way we can plow through the untilled land of our lives. With the Lord’s help, the crooked places will be made straight and the high and unholy places of idolatry shall be cast down, no more to be rebuilt, for we have given the first place in our hearts to the Lord who is our God.

Psalm 119:1 cont.


Blessed are the undefiled in the the way, who walk in the Law of the Lord.    Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart.

When we make a decision to walk in the ways God has set out for us we soon realize several things that melt our hearts with love for Him. As Lord of All, He is Kind, Benevolent, Merciful and Gracious – He is these things towards us and we are the first in His heart.

Do you know how much He is always thinking about you and how He considers you to be the shiny, untarnished, unblemished apple of His eye? His heart is set on you and He is determined that the good and perfect plans He has made for you and for me come to pass in our lives.  He has our very best interests uppermost in His heart – how can we hold onto stubborn, stiff necked pride in the face of the pure love of the King?

As we learn the art and discipline of yielding to the Lord’s Word, we will begin to see the level of purity rise up in our life.  Sin no longer holds the sparkle of excitement that it did in times before we discovered the joy of repentance.   Instead we are filled with a greater desire to press into the Lord, to accept the taking of His yoke upon us and shoulder the ease of His burden and the lightness of His yoke.  A yoke keeps us in step with one another and brings balance to the work that needs to be done.  It is no longer all my thing, all my doing.

Can’t you just imagine it – you and Jesus walking the way of life – His wisdom whispered in your ear always guiding and leading you.  Your life full and rich with the blessing of God because you have chosen to heed His directives.   There may come times when we want to wander off for a spell in the pastures that look lusher and greener on the other side of the fence and yet His yoke ever so gently reminds us of our need of repentance, and to just allow Him to shower and enfold us in His love.  Soon we will find that our energies and focus are on living a life of obedience to Him.

Learning to be obedient to His Voice and to His Word helps us to walk in step with Him and brings us that much closer to fulfilling the highest law of all – the Law of Love.   In verses 5 & 6 of Psalm 119, the Psalmist’s words of desire give us a very clear picture when he says, with great passion in his heart, “Oh that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes, then I would not be ashamed when I look into all Your commandments”.   He,  like me, and maybe just like you, is recognizing traits about himself that are ungodly, displeasing even to himself!

Shame will not triumph over us!  We have the overcoming victory by choosing to obey the Word of God! The gentle leading of the Holy Spirit at work in us has a purpose – to overcome our natural, unrestrained by the Word of God behavior!   I have learned that gentleness, an active force of of the Holy Spirit, creates something new in my soul.  It tames the unruliness within me and brings me into subjection to the Word of God.  I like it when that happens!  Praise begins to flow from my lips and I thank God for teaching me how to live His Word.

They are no longer rote words of law – I have experienced and seen the change they have brought to the hidden, inner parts of myself that I would rather not have to deal with.  I have been learning the perfect love of the Lord.  Have you?  Let’s commit to allowing the Holy Spirit access to our souls where our lack of restraint has run rampant.  In our day to day lives let’s learn to be sensitive to what He is speaking to us so that His Voice becomes the loudest voice in our days and then, let’s hasten to obey.  Soon we will find that our obedience to His leading and to His Word become a superbly natural part of the way we live.

Will you let Him reign in all aspects of life so that in turn He can bring blessing to every area of your life?

The Rest of God Cont…


In the book of Philippians Paul says to ‘delight yourselves in the Lord and to continue to rejoice in Him”. He tells us that making this a repetitive statement is not irksome for him because our choice to rejoice in the Lord on a continual basis, as a lifestyle is a “precaution for our safety.”

Joy then, truly is a guardian over the content of our soul.  In other words, our mind, our thought life is ruled by Joy.  Our will and our determinations are guided by Joy and our emotions, those unruly attributes that rise up and catch us off guard are held captive by Joy.

The joy of the Lord becomes our strength to stand fast, to hold fast to our confidence in Him.

Paul in repeating his words was adamant that we should hear his words.  Really hear his words and believe them.  Believe them to the point of putting them into action.

Its very likely that every single one of us could say we’d like to feel happier, free from the burdensome things of life that upset our moods.  I know I sure do.  I wish that I could maintain my peace, my joy and my love in the midst of unsettling situations.  So many times when I cook or bake I do not use or follow a recipe exactly – just as many times no matter how it turns out – I cannot – have not been able to repeat the same flavors and texture…  I know I should follow the recipe, after all it has been tried and tested and found to be true!  My way is definitely not better!

In order for us to maintain and keep our joy, Paul is giving  us the recipe for a sure thing.  It is our responsibility to follow it if we desire the end result of Joy, joy unceasing, joy unspeakable and being full with the glory of God.  Joy enables us to carry the glory of God!

The recipe is simple, he is so simplifying life for us by instructing us to rejoice that “we are in Christ”.    Jesus will never look at us on our bad days and tell us He doesn’t want us “in Him” anymore, just the opposite is true.  He is continually drawing us closer to Himself with His everlasting love.

To make that blessed state of rest yours, will you just let Jesus love you today? Would you just cry out to Him and allow Him to carry your burdens and give you rest?

He loves you more, far more than you can comprehend. It is only by experience that we enter in to an intimate love relationship with the King.  It is experiencing the joy of a devotional life on a regular basis that builds and strengthens our intimacy with God.

Daring To Dream


How well do you think you are doing at aligning yourself with the plans and purposes God has established for your life?

When we seek the face of God and take the time to listen to His heart, with gentle firmness He always shows us the areas He wants correction to come.  Then with His amazing grace He gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to make those changes.

He simply wants us to purpose to seek His heart daily – habitually so that we walk in step with the Holy Spirit.  Can that really be such a difficult thing to do when Jesus said that in His Presence is fullness of joy?  Intimacy with God – nothing is sweeter!

It’s time to activate our faith  by choosing a  walk with the One who has our very best in mind.

I hope that there is a passion and desire for our hearts to be in a deeper place with Jesus.  Can we attest to that being the case by looking at where we were last year?

Hopefully, we all have hopes and dreams for our lives and a way we can make them a reality is to write down what you see on the inside.  Begin to get yourself ready by setting time aside with God so that there is an aligning of our dreams and His purpose.

Remember, God had a dream.

He shared it with Moses who wrote it all down – the first five books of the Bible include the dream of God’s heart for you and me.

We can follow that same example by writing our dream so that the dream is clear and in focus and becomes something solid and achievable.

We can then sow seed toward that dream.  We can sow seed today by taking the time to schedule the time into our daily agendas to pursue the goal of our dream.

God is the One Who has placed dreams and desires within our hearts.

For each one of us there is a specific and appropriate time and place for its accomplishment.  Putting our dreams on paper, to bring them into clearer focus is raising the bar in our lives.  It will cause us to set our priorities in certain orders and it will allow us to determine what we need so that we can prepare ourselves in certain ways.

Most of all it will cause us to refuse to open the door when discouragement comes knocking.  Any failure will not deter our progress for we will understand that those times of difficulty bring a depth of richness and compassion to our lives that will be a benefit as we relate to others.