King Above All
"For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods" (Psalm 95:3, ESV).
No matter what we face in this lifetime, it's always a good thing to have proper perspective. And the perspective that all creation should have is that the Lord is a great God! Not only that, He is a great King above all gods. He's so great, He's above all else!
It's good to remember He's above every situation we will ever face. It's good to remember He's above every report, whether good or bad. He's above every force that comes against us. These are all good things to know as we engage in battle.
Every day is a battle. This is why Paul told us to put on the whole armor of God! This battle isn't against flesh and blood. It isn't against your brother, sister, friend or neighbor; this battle is against principalities and powers of the air. It's against sin, our fleshly desires and passions, and against the kingdom of darkness. This battle is a battle against the evil one, the devil.
But we must remember, we do not fight alone. We have a family, the family of God, who fights with us. Most importantly, we have the Lord Who is mighty in battle! He fights for us! He has defeated sin and death, and will return to fully defeat the adversary and the kingdom of darkness.
This is why I wanted us to focus on the verse above. We must remember that He is above, greater, and infinitely more powerful than any battle or situation we face! He is above it; He will see you through it. He will make a way for you. He's greater than it could ever be. And this, dear one, is the proper perspective for the believer. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Be encouraged; His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
-Pastor Tim Escamilla
"Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his place" (1 Chronicles 16:27, ESV).
This passage was in my morning reading. Immediately after reading it, I highlighted it and marked it so I'd remember to prayerfully write something encouraging for you. Take some time and think about the verse above.
For a while, I have been constantly reminding you I am in awe of the Lord and who He is. I believe, if you're reading this, that you're in awe of Him, too. This passage is all about His awe. I like to picture splendor and majesty going before the Lord anywhere He makes Himself known, or present; anywhere He manifests His presence. The picture I get is like that of a flower girl, spreading flowers on the floor to make sure wherever the bride steps, there are flower petals before her.
In the same way, I picture splendor and majesty being spread before Him! When we call on the Lord, when we praise and worship Him, when we come to Him in prayer, or when we gather in His name, I believe we spread splendor and majesty before Him as we invite Him into our midst. Truly, He is everywhere. But when we call on Him, by offering splendor and majesty, we welcome Him in a way He deserves.
You've almost made it through the week. Maybe you're needing strength, maybe you're needing joy; maybe you're needing both! I know I am. What we need to do is to simply BE with Him. Be in His place. Spend time with Him in intimacy. This could be in your car, your pantry, your garage or your closet. Whenever you and I are with Him, in His place, strength and joy are there. In His presence are strength and joy! Simply being in His presence fills us with strength and joy. As He fills you with strength and joy, thank Him in His splendor and majesty!
No matter what you are facing this week and no matter what you have faced; no matter how you are feeling right now, I pray you are filled with His strength and joy! I pray it in Jesus' name! If you feel led, please put your hand on your heart, and pray, "Lord, in Your splendor and majesty, please fill my heart with strength and joy. Amen!"
-Pastor Tim Escamilla
"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe" (Hebrews 12:28, ESV).
Before we get into this final post in our 21-Day Dedication, I want to say that these writings have blessed me, as they have blessed you. Everyone who wrote this year, really followed the Lord in their posts. That being said, I do want to continue posting weekly encouragements! There is no way we could make them daily, but weekly, I think that is possible. I know those who wrote would be willing to contribute, and I know many of you hear from the Lord and would like to write something for the body to be edified and built up. So we will continue this in 2023!
My final instructions for you are to continue being dedicated to the Lord in every way! Follow hard after Him!
We look to the scripture above. Be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken! This is what we have received in this dedication: an unshakeable kingdom! And because the kingdom is unshakable, WE are unshakeable. Let your faith and trust in the Lord be unshakeable! Let your dedication and commitment to the Lord be unshakeable! Storms will come, wild winds of life will come, difficulties and troubles; yet we will remain unshakeable in Him.
No matter what 2023 may throw at you, be unshakeable. No matter what the future brings, be unshakeable. No matter what hurts may come, be unshakeable!
And then, go through this year offering the Lord acceptable worship, with reverence and awe. I am so filled with awe right now. I am in awe of the One Who has made me unshakeable. He's done the same for you! Be in awe! Look at Him with reverence! Worship Him, for He, the Unshakeable One, is worthy!
Be grateful that He has not only given you an unshakable kingdom, but also has made YOU unshakeable. We haven't only been working at being unshakeable these past 21 days; we've been working on it a whole year (intentionally, at least). We heard this from the Lord in 2022, we worked on it, and will continue to walk in it in faith in 2023!
So may you and I be DEEPER, STRONGER, and UNWAVERING in Him. May we be unshakeable!
-Pastor Tim Escamilla
"Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day” (1 Kings 8:61, ESV).
As we are near the end of this dedication, I want to leave you with some thoughts. What the Lord has done in you in this dedication was never meant to fade away as we complete this dedication. I don't want you to think that the closeness and intimacy gained in this dedication will fade away because we eventually go to day 22, 23, 24, and so on. No, that will not be the case.
See, what we've done together, is we've developed habits before the Lord. We've developed godly habits of putting Him first. I pray we have gotten used to being in Scripture more, worshiping more, praying more, fasting more, and any other thing He's called us to do. This is our new normal before the Lord!
Each of these things bring us closer to Him. Each of these things WILL CONTINUE to bring us closer to Him! This is only possible because we have given Him our hearts. We go wherever we have placed our hearts. Where our hearts are is where our treasure is. My brother and sister, our treasure is Him! And here is where I remind you of the verse above: Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God! Let your heart be committed to Him. Let your heart stay dedicated to Him! Continue to put Him first, and all else will be taken care of. Keep your heart in Him, and He will continue to be your treasure.
How do we prove to Him that our hearts are His, and that we are fully dedicated to Him? By walking in His statutes and keeping His commandments. Because our hearts belong to Him, we will long to do what He wants us to do and we will NOT want to do anything He doesn't want us to. As our hearts are fully dedicated to Him, they will be fully dedicated to doing His will and walking in His ways. Even beyond this dedication, we will continue to walk in His ways! We will continue to be fully dedicated to Him in 2023. Why? Because He has our hearts. Because our hearts are wholly true, and fully dedicated to Him! Stay dedicated and stay true to Him, for He is your treasure!
-Pastor Tim Escamilla
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 1 Peter 1:22-23 (NIV)
Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the kingdom…” Matthew 13:37-38 (NLT)
Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Galatians 6:7 (NLT)
Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God. Luke 8:11 (ESV)
Let us not grow weary in doing good for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Gal 6:9 (ESV)
Seeds… I am fascinated by the concept of seedtime and harvest that the Lord has set into motion in our world. The law of sowing and reaping… and that we ourselves are part of this law. He has set us as seed into the soil around us, and with His watering, and nourishment by His Word, He grows and leads us to accomplish the good works He has prepared for us.
Whether we are there for a moment, for years, or for a lifetime, the impact that we have on those around us for the Kingdom is real. I think of how something as simple as a smile, when offered in the love of Christ, can be a seed. Aren’t we blessed to be afforded His currency?!
I am so thankful for the seeds of prayer, and that God—through Kingdom power and His creative love and breath in our lives, takes our seeds and transforms them into living reality in so many beautiful ways. As I look at the prayers I’ve prayed—those most recent to those long-term, I can see the roots, the fruit, the beginnings and the endings, and it is so powerfully encouraging to know that He hears us, builds into, and responds to the desires of our hearts for one another.
Help us, Father, to remain steadfast—when we WAIT on you, when we do not see in the natural the answers to those things for which we pray, and to stand in faith and believe that this law of your kingdom IS fruitful. Remind us that while some seeds are yet underground, waiting for their appointed time, they may be germinating—bursting forth under the soil, where we cannot see!
I pray today for our own continued wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God, and for abundant harvest for those that God has placed in our territory, whether that be for a moment, or for a lifetime.
I’m so grateful to Jesus, that He made the way for us to live in His Kingdom, and transact with His currency, and may our faith ABOUND, EXPECT, and ACTIVATE more of His power toward fruitfulness as we seek to blossom and bloom where he’s planted us.
Keep praying! Keep believing! For God is working in our midst in miraculous ways!
"3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him" (Ephesians 1:3-4, ESV).
These verses say a lot about our Lord. But they also say a lot about who we're supposed to be!
Blessed! We're supposed to be blessed because our Lord is blessed. He shares His blessedness with us! Notice we are blessed in Christ with EVERY spiritual blessing. Wow. I'll write that again so we all get it: we are blessed in Christ with EVERY spiritual blessing. It was His will and choice to bless us in this way. If you're ever feeling like you're not spiritually equipped for anything that comes your way, remind yourself of this verse and this fact: you are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ! You should memorize this right now.
Chosen! We sometimes fail to understand the Lord's concept of time. He can see the beginning, the end, the middle, and anything in between AT ALL TIMES. He sees it all at the same time. He sees your mistakes. He sees when you rejected Him. He sees all our imperfections, and yet, He still chose us. We were chosen in Him before the world was made! That's how quickly He chose us, before anything existed, He chose us! Awe-inspiring, I know.
Holy! Just like we are blessed because He is blessed, we are holy because He is holy! He is completely holy and chooses to share that holiness with us. You are holy because He makes you holy and deserves for you to be holy.
Blameless! We are blameless because He took our blame upon Himself. He took our blame, conquered it, and remained blameless! And He chooses to share that blamelessness with us. We are not to blame. There is no blame on us because HE wanted it that way.
Do you feel blessed, chosen, holy, and blameless? If not, remind yourself of Ephesians 1:3-4. Memorize it and hide it in your heart. It's the truth because it's what He's done. He's blessed you, chosen you, made you holy, and made you blameless! Pray with a heart of gratitude with me: "Lord, thank You that I am blessed, chosen, holy, and blameless. Thank You that You are glorified when I live in this truth, Your truth! Let it always be so. Amen!"
-Pastor Tim Escamilla
"33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 'For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?' 35 'Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?' 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen" (Romans 11:33-36, ESV).
One of my favorite ways to describe the Lord is with the word "Sovereign!" When I think of Him, I know He is Sovereign. What does that word mean? It means supreme ruler, a king, or a lord. But when it describes God, it means THE supreme Ruler! He rules above it all!
In reading Romans 11:33-36, I can't help but be in awe of Him. Paul is doing something here. He's basically saying there's no end to the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! They never run out, and neither will He. It's incredible that he would say His judgments are unsearchable. What it should mean to us is we will never reach the end when we search His judgments. Paul then says His ways are impossible to understand. What he's really getting at, is that we will never FULLY understand His ways. He's that great!
Paul is reminding us of the greatness of God. He's reminding us of the Sovereign's attributes; the things that make Him transcendent. Because He is Sovereign, He is entirely above all else! He reigns above it all, and He will reign and receive glory forever and ever!
As we near the end of this 21-Day Dedication, I'm giving us both a simple encouragement to put the Lord in His rightful place in our lives: above all else! It doesn't matter what you did in the past, yesterday, or even what you do today; you can still put Him first. Simply pray, "Lord, be my All in All! I put YOU above all else. Amen!"
-Pastor Tim Escamilla
"21 When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.
23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory" (Psalm 73:21-24, ESV).
If I asked you when are the times you are most likely to be mean to those you love, I bet you'd respond with, "When I'm hurt." When we've been hurt, it's easy to hurt others. We say the wrong thing, or say the right thing in the wrong way, or we go off the deep end and unload our hurt on someone we love. We do that as if it's gonna lessen our hurt. But what is that we find after we've treated a loved one in this way? More hurt. We feel worse, don't we?
It doesn't surprise me that this is a Psalm of David. David knew hurt. He had been hurt, and had most definitely hurt others. His soul was embittered; he was pricked in heart. As a result of this, he was brutish and ignorant. He, like we can sometimes, didn't know that he was trying to deal with the hurt in him by taking it out on someone else. Who is it that David loved the most? The Lord our God. So David says, I was like a beast toward you. He was like a beast toward God!
Even though he was hurt, and had treated the Lord like a beast, David knew the only place he belonged was with Him! If anything, his feelings of hurt made him run and stay and cling to the Lord harder than ever. Continually with Him! Holding his right hand, guiding with His counsel, and then receiving him into glory. No matter how hurt you are, and no matter how many people you've hurt, your place is with HIM continually! That hurt doesn't change where you and I belong. We belong with Him.
To take a little bit from yesterday's post, I want to encourage you to dedicate your place to Him. Surrender your hurt to Him, and dedicate your presence to Him. In dedicating that, simply be with Him. He's where you and I belong; in His glory.
-Pastor Tim Escamilla
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6).
As I sought the Lord for direction for this particular moment of devotion, I quickly heard “dedicate your doubts!” I promptly doubted I had heard this from the Lord! As I pondered this more, the profoundness of His leading moved me. It is only natural to be fully convinced of our own thinking. Scripture confirms this, “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord knows the hearts” (Proverbs 21:2). All of humanity is sure of their thoughts. Of course, there will always be unsure or indecisive people and yet even these people will allow their thought to dictate their decisions, it just takes them an annoyingly long time to make those decisions. Any other type A’s out there?
We are convinced in our own thought process; so much so, we never doubt our own doubts. Questioning our doubts isn’t my original thought, Tim Keller is known for instructing his congregation to do so. But what does doubting our own doubts mean? I believe Keller’s motivation for the challenge was in relation to the foundational elements of our faith: God’s existence, the need for salvation, and the reliability of the scriptures. But I do not think this idea should stop there. How often do we doubt if we are in the right jobs, relationships, right place or <fill in the blank>? We hear God prompting us to pray for someone or talk to a stranger about His love and goodness and then we think, “Did God really say that?” We take little risk because we doubt He is actually leading us. What if we spent more time obeying quickly than debating if God is actually speaking?
If you find yourself doubting God, His promises, or His direction for your life, I suggest you actually dedicate, give wholly, your doubts to Him. It is easy to see doubts as the line in the sand, placing the doubter and God on opposing sides until God somehow proves Himself. The pride in this process is astounding, and yet we all do it, but even still, God is patient and gentle with us despite our lack. The practical habit for handing our doubts to God and trusting Him to lead us into deeper understanding is found in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Let 2023 be a year where our thoughts are captured, given to God and returned to us refined!
Pray this with me:
Refresh my understanding of who I am and who You are! Take my doubts about myself, about You, about this world and align them with Your perfect plan. Renew my mind! Amen.
God will be faithful to us as we seek Him!
"What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer."
Throughout this dedication as I begin to write these posts, I begin with the thought, "What a Friend we have in Jesus." This was completely evident with last Sunday's post, focusing on the awe and wonder that Jesus produces in us. What a Friend we've found! What a Friend we don't deserve. What a Friend He is to us! He said He longer calls us servants but friends (John 15).
What a privilege to carry everything to Him in prayer! He wants us to bring all our glories and worries, all our petitions and griefs, all our restlessness and sins to Him in prayer. What a Friend He is to us, that even when we are doing things CONTRARY to His will, instead of pushing us away, He longs for us to bring them to Him, our Friend.
When we come to Him in prayer, He wants us to have the same kind of intimacy we have with our closest friends. He wants us to come to Him with everything. Every trial, temptation, and trouble should be brought before Him, our Friend. He is faithful, and He knows our every weakness; why not simply take them to Him in prayer?
I am in awe of Him. He's not only our Friend, but He's our God. He's the Creator of everything we see. He's got the whole world in His hands, and by Him all things exist! And yet, He's available to us in prayer all the time. So I encourage you: make a habit of bringing everything to Him in prayer. Bring it all to Him. He's all ears. He's listening to your prayer. And He's your Friend. He's my friend. I say this with much awe and wonder, what a Friend we have in Jesus!
-Pastor Tim Escamilla
Read encouraging posts, that will hopefully fill you with relentless hope in 2023!