Cast The First Stone

Posted by izonprize

I often think how undeserving I am of the precious blood of Jesus. I think of the woman caught in adultery and how every person encircling her had a stone in his hand ready to condemn her...except Jesus: "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone", He said. They all dropped their weapon and walked away- beginning with the oldest to the youngest. The longer I live the more aware I am of how much Jesus paid on the cross for me:  More than i deserve.  The truth is, He died for me over 2000 years before I committed even one of
the sins credited to my account.  He wrote my name in the Lamb's Book of Life, before the foundation of the earth. He knew all I would ever do to offend God and how many times I would ask
Him to forgive me. He knew it all and yet still chose me.  And then, he chose to keep his nail-scarred hands along with his perfect, resurrected body, so He would remember what
he did for me, on the cross, on the very day I would ask him forgiveness, for the 490th time.  He would look at his hands and remember and say, "I have engraved you on the palms of my hands, how could I ever forget about you?"  And, "Though your mother and father might forsake you, I Will never forsake you". Why? Because my debt was
PAID in full and it was not dependent on my works or my good behaviour or my trying harder but based solely on God's Grace and the work Jesus did alone on that cross.  For I was dead in my trespasses and sins and it pleased Him to raise me up from the dead and put His life in me.  If I could be good enough to earn his forgiveness, then I could brag.  But in God's economy, only He gets to brag. For salvation is not by works, lest anyone should boast.  One day there will be many who will say, Lord, Lord, I did this and that
In your name! And He will say depart from Me for I NEVER knew you. Who did He never know?  The one who tried to make it to the Father based on their own good works and merit and not totally in the work of Christ alone.  Yes, I'm humbled at the scope and length and width and breath and depth of his love.  Nothing I have can compare with Him.

Faith that Builds an Ark

Posted by izonprize

I just heard a good teaching and wanted to share the parts I believe apply to those who have been called to work Plexus as a business.  When I first began taking Plexus I said I would never "work" this as a business.  I had no heart for it nor was I looking for a job.  I was already investing 30-50 hours a week in Breakthrough Ministries, teaching and writing Bible studies, discipling women and investing in my marriage, children and grandchildren.  I had no margin in my schedule for a "real job".  Well, as I have learned through hard knocks in this walk with God, never tell God you won't do something.  When Brandy asked me, "Leeanna, didn't you say Plexus was an answer to your prayers? What if Plexus is an answer to your friends prayers too?  Wouldn't you want to share it if so?"   So the answer was, "Yes".  I began to share with my FB friends and with my friends in person and all over the USA.  Guess what happened?  All of a sudden I realized I had a "real job"!  In fact, I very timidly told my husband "I am SO sorry, but I think I have a business and I didn't mean for it to happen!"   He laughed!  And eventually with the downturn in the oil and gas economy, he began to tell me with a smile, "Work it, Baby!"  
By God's grace, He's given me a passion for this "work".  I now have a team of
Hundreds, an amazing full time income and still have been able to invest 30-50 hours a week in ministry!
This brings me to the teaching I heard today that made me think of
you!  Faith Works.  God will give us an idea, a direction, a warning, an opportunity BUT He will never work that idea FOR us.  He will work within us and He will inspire us but He will never do the work FOR us.  It's our job to work out that idea.  Faith without works is dead or useless or unfruitful.  Just like when Noah built the Ark.  God told Noah to build the Ark.  God did not build the Ark FOR Noah.  Noah built as the people around him laughed and mocked him.  For about 100 years, Noah built as people mocked.  They had never seen a drop of rain so they didn't understand his "foolishness" in building a place of future refuge.  Have you been falsely seen as a fool?  What has God given YOU the faith to build?  Stop asking GOD to build it for you!  He has given you the faith and the tools and the grace to build it, but
please don't expect Him to do it for you.   If God gave you the inspiration, then He has also given you everything you need to finish the work.  Are people mocking you as you build? You will not be put to shame!   Keep building.  Keep working.  God is going to send the "rain".  One day you will look back and see the safety God created for you and your family because you didn't give up and you didn't give in to peer pressure or naysayers or mockers.  Keep you eyes on Christ.  Keep your eyes on the prize!  Build what God has told you to build and stop listening to those who don't understand and who don't follow you.  Stop looking to the right or the left and run your own race.  Noah survived the flood with only his wife, three sons and their wives.  That's it.  The rest who mocked and ignored Noah's faith and work and preaching,
perished.  Stay focused.  Build your "Ark".   Be blessed!   I am cheering you on! Love Never Fails, Leeanna.

THE PROCESS IS THE END

Posted by izonprize

I really love God's Word.  It's always on time.  In reading Mark 6 this morning about the miracle of the multiplication of the bread and fish to feed 5000, I am reminded that the miracle itself really wasn't the end goal in mind.  The end goal was trusting God in the dark place before the miracle.  Just after the miracle of the bread and fish, these same disciples faced another dark place - Jesus sent his disciples into a boat to cross to the other side, with a lesson to learn.   NOTE: JESUS SENT THEM THERE.  As they went, they faced dangerously high winds on the lake. They were troubled and fearful because the wind was against them and in all their furious rowing, they were tirelessly going NO where fast.  Then they saw Jesus walking on the sea towards them.  But instead of recognising him for who He is, they shrieked with terror thinking he was a ghost.  Jesus called to them,  "Take heart, I AM!  Stop being alarmed and afraid!"  When Jesus got into the boat with them the wind ceased.
The Word says the disciples were exceedingly astonished at this 2nd miracle in a row, BECAUSE they failed to consider or understand the teaching and meaning of the miracle of the bread.  IN FACT, their hearts had grown callous and had become dull and they had lost the power of understanding.

In all our dark places and in all our circumstances that beg for God to act, the end is not the miracle.  The end is not the healing.  The end is not the check in the mail or the sudden turn of a prodigal.  The end is what we unlearn about I AM in the dark places.  God is always aware of our circumstances.

Mark 6 says JESUS sent the disciples ahead of Him into the boat and He could see their troubled situation from the hills and the land he was praying on. When He saw they were troubled, He came to them but AS THOUGH HE WAS GOING TO PASS THEM BY.  How many times have I knew that I knew that God could see my clouded circumstances but it seemed as though He was just going to pass me by without a look?  Jesus said in Mark 6:52 that the reason for my fear in those places is because my heart has a tendency to grow calloused and I lose my power of understanding.  I forget the prior miracles of the multiplication of the bread--All the times He has miraculously fed me.
I love Oswald Chambers' insight into this passage:
"What we call the process, God calls the end....God is not working toward a particular finish; His end is the process--that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right, because I see Him walking on the sea.  It is the PROCESS not the end, that is glorifying to God....unless we can look the darkest, blackest fact, full in the face without damaging God's character, we do not yet know Him....God's end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life right now."

SEEING IS NOT BELIEVING

Posted by izonprize

Seeing is not believing.  Just because I see something doesn't mean I have faith. I saw a contrast in John 2 today that I hadn't noticed before.  When Jesus drove the money changers out of the house of God the religious Jews asked Jesus, "What sign, miracle, token, indication can you give us as EVIDENCE, that YOU have authority and are commissioned to act in this way?"  Jesus said, "Destroy this temple and in 3 days I will raise it up again!" (Speaking of his own body). It wasn't until Jesus was crucified and then resurrected on the 3rd day, that his disciples remembered what he had told the Jews and THEN "they believed and trusted and relied on the Scripture and the Word (message) Jesus had spoken!  Now that they "saw" they "believed".  But is that faith?   Right after this, during the Passover Feast (perfectly set stage I might add!) MANY BELIEVED in His name (identified themselves with His party), AFTER seeing his signs (wonders, miracles) which He was doing. BUT JESUS (for his part) did not trust himself to them because He knew all men; and He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man (needed no evidence from anyone about men) for He Himself knew what was in human nature (He could read men's hearts) (see 1 Sam 16:7).  So what is the point?  As I slowed down and really prayerfully looked at this passage again, I see that signs and wonders and miracles are amazing and awesome BUT they should not be why I believe.  I should believe just because HE SAID IT.  Even the blind can see!  Crosby, that dear saint of the last century who wrote "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!" was blind from her earliest babyhood as a result of an accident. When she was only eight years old she wrote this little rhyme,

Oh, what a happy child I am,
Although I can not see.
I am resolved that in this world,
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy
That other people don't.
To weep and sigh
Because I'm blind,
I cannot and I won't!
She lived to be over 90, and that beautiful, rejoicing spirit characterized her all her days.  

Today it's my intention to believe what I cannot see.  To trust what is promised but not yet visible.  To love and obey and believe without any sign at all.  Love Never Fails, Leeanna

THE WAY I VIEW GRACE

Posted by izonprize

We've heard a lot about grace lately.  It's been a big buzz for some time, in fact.  But when YOU think of grace, what comes to mind??

THE WAY I VIEW GRACE is by looking back at my childhood. When I was a little girl I used to like to stand on top of an old rusty oil barrel in my daddy's back yard and balance on it.  But the most fun was to walk on top of it and make it roll.  My friend Cookie and I had a ton of fun practicing our barrel walking lol.  But guess what?! What we thought was just fun, became off limits one day.  My stepmom found out what we were doing and told us we had to stop.  She was concerned we would get hurt.  Of course being children, we knew nothing about those kind of possibilities.  I was usually pretty obedient.  But that rule seemed senseless to us and  therefore, too tempting not to break.  So we did.  Cookie would lay on the grass looking under the house to keep a look out for "Ms Agnes", while I rolled to my heart's content. And then I would take my turn being the scout while Cookie had her turn at being disobedient.  We knew what we were doing was wrong but Oh what fun!  It was worth the risk!  Until we were busted.  Somehow, Cookie lost her guard and my stepmom got out of the house without her noticing, and caught us!!! The disappointment on my stepmom's face was more crushing to me than my sin.  All of a sudden, I became repentant!  Repentance doesn't mean "I'm sorry I got caught".  Repentance means a complete change of thinking that results in changed behaviour!   I never walked that barrel again.  No one had to make me.  It was internal.  That love, not fear, kept me from committing that particular sin again.  I don't remember being punished for that disobedience that day--but I surely deserved it and even EXPECTED it (namely kneeling on rice, because that was how us children were disciplined in south Louisiana in those days).  Her disappointment in me was enough.  She showed me grace I didn't deserve.  Her grace didn't become an excuse for me to disobey again.  Her grace kept me from the desire to do it again.  In the same way, I often think of God's amazing grace.  I know the right thing to do and yet I don't always do it.   I deserve God's wrath; we all do, after all, we are guilty.  But Christ took my punishment.  The chastisement of MY sin was upon HIM.  HE carried ALL my guilt and shame!  Does that make me want to sneak around and do what I know is wrong, hoping not to get caught by God?  Oh my no!  When my sin is brought to my awareness, I'm completely humbled by His grace that I won't ever get what I truly deserve because of placing my trust in Christ Jesus alone and His work on that cross for my sin, for me!  Grace and His love are what control me; not fear.  There is power in grace that fear knows nothing of.  I'm forever grateful to know God's gift of grace and the power of His perfect love.

GRACE ISN'T AN EXCUSE TO GET OUT OF YOUR SIN.  IT'S THE POWER TO GET OUT OF IT.

Understanding Life

Posted by izonprize

The parable of the Sower

Matthew 13:19
When anyone hears the message of the kingdom but does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

This is important.  If we hear the Word but do not understand it, the evil one can snatch it out of a heart.  It is ineffective.  Just reading, hearing or memorizing the Scripture will not produce good fruit.  The blessing is in the understanding.  It is important to pray for the understanding.  And, that will only come by the Spirit of Jesus Christ.  It is so important to PRAY for the Spirit of Jesus to give us the UNDERSTANDING each time we read the Bible. To not ask Him for the understanding is to lean on our own understanding, which is a waste of time.  Spiritual things are spiritually discerned.  May the Lord open our minds to understand the Word today!
Blessings! Leeanna

Luke 24:45
Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

Luke 5:20
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Luke 24:32
They asked one another, "Were not our hearts burning within us as He spoke with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

Acts 16:14
Among those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message.

1 John 5:20
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true--in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.


ARISE MY DOVE; COME AWAY

Posted by izonprize

ARISE MY DOVE, my fair one...February 19, 2016 (Leeanna Porter). 

Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come along, for behold winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have already appeared in the land; the time has arrived for pruning the vines, and the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.  The fig tree has ripened its figs and the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance   Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come along....

Because my years before Christ were sprinkled with legalistic do's and don't's of the Kingdom, after I was born again, it was a very difficult transition to go from the mind of religious legalism to freedom in the truth of the mind of Christ.  My spirit was born again, but my mind still needed renewing!

My spirit became born again the moment I trusted Christ according to Ephesians 2:8-9. Specifically that I was saved by grace through faith and NOT as a result of my own works, but it was a FREE GIFT so that no one could boast (before God, but Christ).   

Before Salvation, I had Ephesians 2:10, "You have been created for good works which God prepared (before you were born) that you should walk in them", pretty well ingrained into my soul.  Works were easy for me.  In fact, they always have been.  It's the resting in Christ part that was hard to remember.  Couple that with spiritual gifts of prophecy/pastor/teacher and VoilĂ ! I'm off to conquer kingdoms for Jesus!  Get with my program or get out of my way! God have mercy...

One of the things my flesh had learned to do very well was to self-condemn.  As easy as it was for me to expect others perfection, I expected it of myself on higher levels.  My sins - both "big" and "little", were like vomit to me: Horrid and shameful.  Even though I was born again, I had years of legalistic propaganda to unravel. 

At my conversion to Christ, I was in awe of God who had chosen to save me in my sinful state and, the fact that I didn't have to work for it, was like butter on the toast-smooth and palatable.  It calmed my fears of judgment and I understood eternal life was not my own doing but his alone.  

When I was about 25 years old and a relatively newborn babe in Christ, like everyone else, I still had a few sin habits to break.  Every time I committed a transgression, I would beat myself up for DAYS.  It was so grievous to me.  I would continually cry out to God for his forgiveness: "Please forgive me God, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! (My own self-condemnation left little room to hear God's voice of truth). 

One of those mornings when I was crying out for mercy, I heard a sweet kind Voice whisper to my heart, "Come away my dove, my fair one..".
I wiped my tears and thought, "That sounds like a Scripture; was that GOD talking to me"?  So I grabbed my Bible and looked up the word "dove" in my Bible's concordance and this is what I found:

"O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your form, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your form is lovely. Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom" Song of Solomon 2:14-15. 

For the first time, regarding God and my sin, I didn't feel condemned at all.  I felt His presence of peace and understanding love.  Although He was acknowledging I had sinned, He wasn't harsh at all.  In fact, He began our conversation with calling me His dove! THEN He encouraged me to catch those little foxes of sin for "us"!  Unity. Wow.  The Spirit walk in a body of humanity took on new meaning for me that day.  I was no longer alone when I sinned. It was no longer God in heaven disapproving of me for "being bad" and putting me "in a corner to think about it", but He was right there with me in the muck of it, gently assuring me of His commitment to walk alongside of me, as He instructed me in the way I should go.   

My voice of prayer was sweet and acceptable to God.  Doves tend to hide in rocks yet just like Noah's dove, God called me back to Himself.  Christ is my solid rock of hiding.  To hide in Him is peace. To hide in my own "rock" is fruitless.  

Faithfully consistent, He didn't leave me in that spot.  He came for me.  He heard my cries, and as my Great High Priest, He reminded me of His sacrifice and IT WAS ENOUGH.  Self-condemnation became nothing less than an attack on the finished work of Christ on my behalf. 

Deep within all of us, Beloved in Christ, is an inner sanctuary, an altar unto the Lord.  A place where our prayers are heard and the incense of our groanings arise to the Father.  It is a place of Eternity in our hearts that calls us home to Christ no matter how far we may have roamed.  This tabernacle travels wherever we go.  Because of the eternal covenant of His grace, the temple can never be torn down again.  God will finish the good work He began in me.  I am confident of this.  According to Christ (Hebrews 9:26), I "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself".  In His roll "up yonder" my sins: past, present and future, are all atoned for.  I may have been wallowing in my bed of self-condemnation that day, but His presence reminded me that Christ was already condemned in the flesh for my sin. God no longer sees me in grave clothes.  He sees me clothed in Christ; clean and white.  
He sings over me with joy! He exults over me with singing! Zephaniah 3:17, The word  "exult" in Strong's is refined this way, "to spin around under the influence of a violent emotion"!  
I am His "violent" joy and His very great reward, for enduring the humility of the cross.  I am His Pearl of Great Price.  When He sees me, He sees no flaw in me at all!

"How beautiful you are, my darling.  How beautiful you are! There is no blemish in you! Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come along. You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes. How delightful you are, my love, with all your charms! 

Come away...

Love Never Fails,
Leeanna Porter

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