The Hungry Place

I saw myself walking on a pretty old-fashioned sidewalk. A small berm of snow was neatly brushed to the gutter, frost decorated the shop windows. It was cold, but peaceful. I looked up and saw a retro fifties style diner. The building was painted like a mural to resemble a train’s dining car. It was red and blue and green, brightly colored, warm and inviting. Delicious aromas spilled out into the street promising passersby delightful comfort food. The name of the diner was proudly sprawled across the building over the door…The Hungry Place.

I entered with anticipation, my stomach growling, my mouth watering in readiness. As I seated myself in the homey red leather booth, a friendly waitress with a beaming grin handed me a menu and a glass that was etched with a scene of a deer drinking from a cool mountain stream. The water in this glass was so good, so fresh, so different! I looked around behind the counter across the aisle. Soda fountain trappings were sparkling. A milk shake machine stood tall. I could see the freshly starched white cap of the cook behind the food delivery window. I smelled burgers and fries, apple pie baking and chicken frying.

As I opened the menu, I saw that it was huge. There were too many things to choose from. It was a joy and a delight just to look at it. I studied page after page of that menu as someone nearby dropped a coin into the mini juke box on their table. Sweet sweet music filled the air. My soul was immediately soothed; a joyful word of praise filled my lips. This is the Hungry Place! This where we come to taste and see that the Lord is good! This is it! Look, look at the menu! There’s peace, joy, love, healing, provision, deliverance! There are instructions, truth and clarity! There’s more than enough! Then I saw it, the one thing I wanted, the thing I craved with all my being. The special of the day! It was boldly featured on the last page. A serving is available for me, right here, right now! That most prized dish is intimacy with Jesus. I’m so hungry for it. I feel faint with the need of it’s nourishment. I need it to survive. I will not leave this hungry place without it.

I ordered with boldness. The waitress with the white ruffly apron smiles in approval. “Yes Hun, it’s the most sought-after dish in the diner!” “Not everyone thinks they are entitled to partake; are even afraid the serving would be too much to digest.” “Go ahead, reach out and take it! Dig in! Breathe in the fragrance of Jesus, consume every bit of this meal!” “Commit it to memory, strengthen your bones.” “Fill yourself with His love and comeback often for more!”

Oh yes. The menu is vast, but that one special dish is what I craved and what I requested. I sat with my choice for hours, savoring every nugget of His presence, delighting in every word whispered into my ear. I left that Hungry Place filled, whole, rested and satisfied. I know I can return again and again, be filled and loved, and never be turned away.

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Exemptions

    It’s January again, time to start getting my notes and receipts organized so I can think about doing our taxes. Not my favorite thing. It would probably benefit me to keep a ledger during the year, but I tend to get lazy and put it off till crunch time. The first thing I do is make a list of the deductions and exemptions I’m entitled to. Look, the IRS doesn’t exactly have a Good News Department. If you make a mistake, unless it’s in the government’s favor, you won’t know about it. The bottom line is, if you are entitled to a deduction, you must have knowledge of it and you must claim it.

    So it is with the Kingdom of Heaven. You know, Jesus gave us a list of deductions; things that we are exempt from. Just like tax information, over the course of the year, we tend to forget those things or shove them in a mental folder, then must bring them back up when it’s crunch time. The Word says, forget not His benefits. Good advice! If you don’t know what you are entitled to, you won’t know to apprehend them.

    The dictionary definition of Exemption is, the process of freeing or the state of being free from an obligation or liability imposed on others. It means immunity, exception, dispensation, indemnity, exclusion, freedom, release, relief, absolution. When Jesus took our sin upon him and died to save us, the things he saved us from, are exemptions. As a result of the cross, we have an immunity from the consequence of living on this earth where Satan rules this age. We are not subject to what the devil imposes on the earths inhabitants. Our sin is forgiven, all debt is wiped out, we are redeemed and free by the blood of Jesus if we believe in Him and ask Him to rule and reign in our lives. Without that forgiveness, we would be under the law and not under grace. The law is righteous, but almost impossible to adhere to. Grace is free, freeing and the true love of God at work.

    Let’s examine the truth a little here. We will limit the discussion to sickness for the sake of blog space. In order to claim a deduction, you have to know what you are entitled to. The word, salvation, is defined in the Greek language as meaning rescue or safety (physically or morally) welfare, prosperity, deliverance, preservation, health, salvation. Logic would remind us to remember those benefits and use those exemptions as life happens. People have been tricked into believing sicknesses are hereditary, run in families; or are just part of life. It’s tolerated, it’s feared, it’s allowed. Hold up, let’s look again at the Word. I Peter 2:24 in the Amplified Bible says, “He personally carried our sins in His body on the [a]cross [willingly offering Himself on it, as on an altar of sacrifice], so that we might die to sin [becoming immune from the penalty and power of sin] and live for righteousness; for by His wounds you [who believe] have been [b]healed.” Jesus already paid the tariff for living in this infected world, so we are exempt. He bought our sickness, it is finished. He could have just died for our sin, but He gave us more. We need to know that! Satan is going to try every trick in his book to destroy you. He will get you to accept the cold or flu. You assume you will recover, and justify it, even welcome it as time to get some much-needed rest. Your friends send sympathetic wishes on social media and hope you feel better soon. However, the flu turns to pneumonia and the little foothold became a stronghold and now you are out of commission for weeks. You are rendered helpless; your vitality is stolen, and your strength is temporarily gone. A wish and a hope based on nothing, won’t do anything. An overflowing faith filled claim of demand based on absolute truth and knowledge of what Jesus did on the cross, along with your received benefits, will. When we take our stand, the affliction has to leave. We may have to fight, but we march forward knowing the victory is already ours, and we do it before the foothold has attached.

    James 4:7 says, “resist the devil and he will flee from you”. We can go straight to the court of Heaven and request enforcement of our right to what Jesus paid for. We can simply stand in our own authority and rebuke him. The devil has no recourse but to flee. He is legally bound to bow to the authority of Jesus, and that authority has been passed down to us. He is a liar and the author of confusion. Are you confused as to why you are afflicted? Awesome! You are on your way to victory because you recognize confusion as an attempt on your life! Keep rebuking the enemy, deny him access, there is no trespass allowed! Watch your mouth, idle words can trip you up. If you say, for example, “my arthritis is hurting”, then you just opened up the door for the enemy. Arthritis is not yours. It is a name and the name of Jesus is the name above all names. That name of Jesus is your weapon, your truth, your covering. Claim that name, not the name of something useless or harmful! There is nothing owing on your account, it has been paid with blood. You have immunity! He gave us every tool and every weapon in His name, to overcome everything the enemy would bring. I will not disrespect what Jesus has done for me by allowing Satan access to my mind, my body or my spirit.

    So, what’s the bottom line? Know the Word of God. Jesus is the Word. He became flesh and dwelt among us. Know His words and you know the intentions of God. God himself came to earth to free us from our assumptions and confusions, the enticement of sin, and the terror of torment. He paid the price for our sin and set us up for divine health, life, abundant and overflowing. We have the Holy Ghost to guide us and teach us, and we have everything we need for life and godliness. It’s all there in the Bible, but it’s up to us to discover its riches, learn of His grace and devour His character. Lay claim to your exemptions and live exceedingly, abundantly. Blessings.    

The Giver

    I received a handmade pen for my birthday. The pen is fashioned by a cabinet maker, from a gorgeous piece of polished wood. The trim is gold. The grip is perfectly comfortable, the fine point tip flows beautifully.

    When the Holy Spirit opens something to me, inspires me and downloads something into my spirit, I hand write it in my journal. Today, I’m writing for the first time with my new pen. What really makes me marvel, is the one who gave this gift to me. My dear friend David chose the perfect thing for me. He knows my heart, he knows my passion for writing. David was thinking of me when he sought out a gift. It wasn’t random or an afterthought. It wasn’t an obligation or a chore. David wanted it to be special, he wanted to give me joy. It’s the giver that makes this gift so perfect.

    Is that not a lovely picture of Jesus? He gave us the ultimate gift. He continues to enrich us, grow us and bless us with gifts of grace, mercy and love. He goes farther. He inspires those around us to give into each other’s lives. Because Jesus loves Mike and me, He gave us David. Because Jesus loves David, He gave him our family to love. Together, we recognize and rejoice in God’s perfect love.

    Jesus was thinking of every one of us as He hung on the cross. He knows our deepest desires and thoughts. He lived in a human body and suffered just as we do. Jesus knows exactly what to give us to bring us joy and freedom. It’s that intimate, personal love that picks out the one special gift that brings us to our knees in wonder and adoration.

    As we enter the Christmas season, let’s think about the giver. Our father, creator of the universe, gave us Jesus, and gives us all good things. Because of His original gift, I want to remember to cherish the givers the Lord has put in my life, and give Him all the praise, honor and glory. It is an awesome thing, too much for us to comprehend. Blessings.