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More Than This - A Devotion

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Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV)
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I have a friend. She is a mighty woman of God filled with the Holy Spirit who overflows with the inexpressible joy that only comes from Jesus Christ. Watching her worship in the House of God is to experience true freedom in the Lord as she is unaffected and unaware by curious onlookers or the “Pharisee” crowd that might be quick to judge her abandonment before Him. When you talk to her, faith oozes out of her pores and you know that she is real. There is nothing pretentious in her love and affection for Jesus Christ. She is more than a conqueror. If you didn’t know her, you might think that she has had a “good” life filled with “good” things without experiencing the trials and tribulation that all Christians must endure. But the reality is that she has been tested and endured even when stripped what she held precious and dear, she found faith to be all she needed and His Grace was sufficient. No one understands how that feels until put to the test but no one really wants to pay the price to ever find out what it means to have confident hope. The potential and promises delineated for your life by God are precious and worth having but require faith. Inexpressible joy is the anointed of those who find their way into the Presence of God and choose to remain there. It is not generally a place we seek by choice but flock to for survival. A couple of years ago, my friend experienced the unthinkable. She and her husband had just moved back from another town, we were so excited when they came to church after returning. We hadn’t seen them in years. But shortly after returning, a trip to the doctor revealed cancer. It was aggressive and despite prayers, fasting and petitioning God, just three months later he stepped from this earth to live with Jesus. We had just begun our journey with our son. At that point, we had no idea that he would relapse three times and were just praising God we made it through the first time. When we finally saw each other again after each enduring such harrowing ordeals, something was different in a good way. As girlfriends often do, we share a secret that no one can tell you or show you but you must experience for yourself. We both now know that He is more than enough!

In all things, we are more than conquerors through Jesus who loves us. In order to experience such empowerment requires that I determine and am persuaded that “nothing” can separate me from the Love of Christ. This is truth. This is the reality that my faith should be based upon. You will never know such love, faith, hope, or joy without being tested and tried. The Word will not become the Truth on which you rely until every other lie has been stripped from your life. This is not a message to beat you down but rather to build you up. I saw my friend yesterday and wonder if it is at all possible that she has even more joy and peace than the last time that we saw each other. She does. Each day she becomes “more than” she ever would have been without tried faith that proved genuine in the test. As we locked hands and looked into each other’s eyes, it was electric. The Power of God emanating from her life is unimaginable. Her love for the Lord undeniable and unquestionable. Who is willing to persevere in order to endure? That is what it takes to live a “more than” life.

Deuteronomy 30:4-6 (NLT)
Even though you are banished to the ends of the earth, the LORD your God will gather you from there and bring you back again. The LORD your God will return you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will possess that land again. Then he will make you even more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors! The LORD your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live!

Sin separated us from the Lord. It is what banished us from His Presence which is where God intended us to live forever. God does not give people diseases or make their life hard. We did that all by ourselves when we chose to believe a lie and settle for something less than God’s Best all the way back in the garden. We live in the ripple of consequence created by mankind’s rebellion against God and His Kingdom. Jesus Christ came because God loved us and was making a way for us to come back. (John 3:16) The Lord is working to change our heart. He loves us and wants us to love Him back with all our heart and soul so that we can live again. Jesus didn’t come to judge us. Sin had already leveled a death sentence on our life. (John 3:17) The question has never been regarding God’s Love for people – the death of Jesus Christ determined that God does love us enough to die for us. He would stop at nothing to give us sufficient grace to make our way back into the Light of His Love. But there is a problem…”God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.” (John 3:19) Before you read another line, speak another word, or think another thought, I am going to tell you something. Before you say like Peter, I love you Lord and I would never deny you. I love the Light more than the darkness. Be ready! The enemy will make you eat those words if at all possible. He will come against you like a flood with such a declaration. He will make your life a living hell just to prove that you do not love the Light. So be careful, because you will not only be required “to put your money where your mouth is” but everything else you hold sacred. There is war for your love and affection between the darkness and Light. The Light will make you more than a conqueror. God is ready to prosper your life beginning with your soul. But the enemy is ready to “steal, kill and destroy you” before the Lord’s “abundant life” changes everything. (John 10:10)

Matthew 16:25-28 (NLT)
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.

Of course, we want to hang on to our life. It’s all that we have. But when the test takes us to the edge of death or a loved one makes it to the other side, what do we have left. It is in that moment that money, houses, cars, vacations, and every other thing that we thought might satisfy our soul is worthless. I would give up our house, cars, and every other thing the Lord has given us to have our son cancer-free. To see him reach his full potential in this lifetime, graduate from college, become a great engineer, marry the woman that God has for him and give me a whole lot of grandbabies. Medicine has not been able to do it. Now money has become an object in further treatment. All that was left was Jesus – He became everything in this plight. The only thing that gets us through this test to face another day is faith in the Lord and His Word that our son will live and not die to declare the Works of the Lord forever. I want to get past this and live our life without such hardship but I am not willing to walk away from the test and forsake His Life. Jesus is the answer. He is everything that we need to live a “more than” life, but you will still have to go through some “things” to get there. King Jehoshaphat faced an army without any other weapon but praise. He was instructed to let the Lord fight his battle that day and all he was allowed to do is stand by and watch victory come to him. He was a king. Kings were known to be great strategist. This meant putting his life and his entire kingdom into God’s Hands and then wait and watch “helplessly” on the sidelines so the people did just that singing high praise to God. The enemy was defeated. (2 Chronicles 20:15-24) But most of the time, we stop right there thinking they survived. But if you read 2 Chronicles 20:25, it says “King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing, and other valuables—more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all!” Prosperity is God’s Response to faith that is planted to grow into confident hope. Your life will become a Valley of Blessing. Not to mention Job, who lost everything only to get double for his trouble. (Job 42:10-17) At the end of the test when Job gave the only thing that he had left which was forgiveness, it says that “God blessed Job “more than the beginning.” (Job 42:12). We won’t even touch on the life of Joseph thrown into a pit by his brothers most of them hoping he would die only to be sold into slavery, falsely accused, and then forgotten. (Genesis 37-45) Daniel and the three Hebrew boys would be tested as well. The first test was regarding the food they ate according to Jewish custom. (Daniel 1) The refused to defile their relationship with God. They submitted to the authority of God and man in this test understanding the importance of faithfulness and obedience that is quiet in nature like Christ. Their reward would be God-given aptitude and understanding beyond natural comprehension. They would be found “ten times more capable than the others” employed by the King. (Daniel 1:17-20) Promotion is not in clawing your way up the corporate ladder but doing everything you do as if doing it for the Lord. Prosperity is not a manmade work but a God-given gift that is received by faith in God alone for your promise and potential fulfillment. Did this exempt them from more problems? No the three Hebrew men would end up in a fiery furnace hotter than ever before and live to declare the works of the Lord. Daniel would grow in wisdom and leadership to become a great administrator. Yep, that got him a slumber party with a bunch of lions. (Daniel 6:16-23) If you gain the whole world it means nothing if you lose your soul. What makes us think that God will give us the world without prospering our soul first? As your soul prospers, so will you. (3 John 1:2) Life and death begins in our soul. Faith is a soulful investment that allows our heart to swim in God’s Abundance. You will never find satisfaction in life until your soul begins to prosper. Prosperity is completion and maturity. We must finally come to the determination that there is nothing that can ever satisfy our soul more than the Lord. (Psalm 63:1-5) It is such a revelation that changes one’s life but comes at a very high price.

I Corinthians 10:12-13 (NLT)
If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

The greatest temptation in life is not what you may think. Our greatest temptation is to love darkness more than the Light. Anything in our life that takes a significant position over the Lord is an act of rebellion. He is not in His Proper place until He is all that we need. When your sense of security is compromised, your freedom is taken and you are barely hanging on by a thread, what is it that keeps you going? I used to say my children and my spouse. Now I know that they can be taken from me in an instant and my only way to be with them forever is that we all set our hearts on eternity. I do not pray for money because money cannot solve my problems. I pray for more of Him. This is not a “holier-than-thou-attitude” but a humble response to a near death experience. The grief that I have experienced watching my son battle this disease is turned to joy only by the peace that I have found in the Lord. The fear that stands at my back waiting to be entertained and breathing down my neck would smother me if I did not have the faith that He has given me to fortify my heart. Confident hope is what I hang on to rather than terrible statistics and the pity of a world that thinks my son will die before his time. I do not accept this. God has told me different. If his voice is the only one left in the end, that is just fine because His Truth is all that I need. God is faithful. I am not. I will fall away, fall apart and fall far time and time again – I am human. I do not make excuses but choose to hang on tight to that measure of faith, eternity in my heart, hope that is the anchor for my soul and stand on that watchtower and wait until He comes. You may think that I am crazy and that is okay. But I want more than this life has to offer – it has been a rough ride but His Grace has proven to be sufficient for me time and time again. The devil is out to get me. But I am wrapped in the Love of Jesus Christ in hot pursuit of His Presence not as a hobby but as my life’s mission. (Matthew 10:28-34) He will never let the righteous fall…and not get back up. (Proverbs 24:16) Righteousness is not anything that I can ever do, it is the One who lives inside of me. When I choose to live what I believe despite my own inability to do the right thing all that time, it is called faith. Faith becomes confident hope through perseverance. You persevere when all hell breaks loose in your life but you keep hanging on to the Light of His Love. It does not have to be pretty or religious – just a steadfast longing for Jesus Christ. He will prosper your soul and satisfy you with His Abundance of Grace, Mercy and Love.

Luke 12:27-28 (NLT)
“For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?”

The next time you are tempted to judge a book by its cover, think again. God does not look at the exterior of our life, but the interior of our heart. People should learn to do the same. When you encounter my friend, she is a beautiful, well-educated, professionally dressed business woman who exudes confidence on every level but when she opens her mouth – Jesus pours out. She is the most sincere and humble person you will ever meet. People who pass her might be quick to assume that if you took her money and power away would she feel the same way. Her soul mate was taken from her yet her soul prospers in the Lord. You can take everything that I have but as long as my children and husband are okay you can gladly have it. It means nothing to me. When challenged with losing one of them, I found that this world and everything in it mean nothing if I do not have Jesus. My faith keeps me alive and breathing. My hope is what keeps me from losing my mind. Worry, concern and stress cannot add a moment to our life but steals precious time to praise and worship the Lord. It cannot change your situation while faith will move that mountain. Confident hope holds your place when you are tempted to give up. His Righteousness puts you back in place when your grip loses strength and your knees grow weak! If only we could learn to love and trust Him to be more than enough for our everyday life. We would have the abundance that He promised and find that there really is more to life than this!

Ephesians 3:19-21 (NLT)
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Do you want more out of life than this? Do you want the Lord to do more than you can think or ask? I challenge you for the next seven days to not pray for a single thing other than for Jesus to prosper your soul. Pray that His Will comes to pass in your life. Ask for more faith to be turned to confident hope, but do not pray for a single “thing”. He knows your every need. You need to know that Jesus is your EVERYTHING. God will begin to prosper other things in your life as your soul prospers. It is all about priorities. Each act of faith and trust in God detailed in the Word of God resulted in a “more than” abundance to come to those people. It was not just monetary wealth but so much more than that. I don’t pray for money anymore. I don’t pray for supernatural increase for anything other than my faith in the Lord because I finally have decided that He knows what I need and has the ability to satisfy my soul by doing more than I could think of or ask for. He knows! He provides! He is all that I need to be more than a conqueror in this life and throughout Eternity. I will do more than survive but thrive in the land of the living. As my soul prospers…so will I.

I Peter 1:6-8 (NLT)
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.

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