Friday, February 28, 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014
We have two dogs who like to visit our yard. Sometimes they will stay a day or two. I’ve grown rather fond of them. They are huge and friendly and my need for a pet is somewhat abated by their presence. I feed them scraps and even the grandkids like them. I was starting to really enjoy them and feel like they were permanent fixtures. But they’re not mine. I can’t claim them. So when they’re gone (probably to their real home) I can’t mourn or worry or fear where they are. They are in their owner’s hands, even when they’re with us at our house.
God speaks to my heart: Nothing we have is truly ours. We’re merely enjoying each and every thing. We have no ultimate rights to any of it or any person because they belong to God. He has the rights of ownership to everything. Not 10% but 100%. Our children, our spouses, our jobs, our friends, our ministries, our belongings are simply given to us for a reason or a season and that is even God’s.
While I may have a need for a dog I can’t live out of my needs. I will become needy. I’ll lose my perspective. The things God has graciously given us to enjoy cannot be hung onto as though we might lose them. We have to let them come and go in our lives knowing that God is the owner and God is taking care of every detail – from our life to our family to our vocations and our ministries.
Oh beloved, hold everything God has given you loosely. He has owner’s rights and He knows what He’s doing. He is calling you out of your needs and into His presence. The gifts, the callings, the friendships, the family, the job, the ministry are all His and He has granted you temporary custody of them all. He wants you to quit worrying and being fearful that you might lose any of it or any person. He is calling you beyond your needs. He’s calling you beyond your possessions. He wants you to turn your eyes on Him, in faith and trust, knowing that He can care for all your life, including the people and things you hold most dear, better than you can. The Owner always cares for His own. And beloved, you are His own as well. If He calls you to give up the dearest thing to you it’s for your best and His glory. He knows what He’s doing.
I know it’s hard. I’ve been asked to relinquish my hold on many things in my life. But I can tell you that each and every time it has been an opportunity not to lose but to gain – a closer walk with Him. His ultimate goal is that we have no needs so that we can minister out of Him rather than our own neediness. This makes friendships sweeter, families dearer and stuff not important. It doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want us to enjoy everything and everyone in our lives, it just means that He wants us to realize that we don’t own anything, therefore we can quit clinging to outward things and cling more closely to Him. And He wants us to trust Him to watch over, guide and care for our loved ones better than we can.
You are loved and He cares for you so you can trust Him as you give it all back to Him. Hand it over to Him today – each loved one, each precious possession, each delightful thing – and watch as He blesses you with His presence more fully each and every day.
Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to Him.
Deuteronomy 10:14 Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the LORD your God.
Psalm 50:10-11 For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine.
Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
James 1:17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down
from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Watching a lot of home remodel shows, I get excited to accomplish another remodel in my own house. Notice how I say I and my? The truth is, regardless of the ideas I get I need Danny to complete the tasks for me. I am a good helper, but only he knows the ins and outs of building, remodeling and restoring. He has experience and he is talented in that area. I am talented to look at something and want it done. LOL
As I was pondering the remodeling of my life and my home (both are ongoing) I heard God speak. Our problem comes when we believe four things that are incorrect: We can do it ourselves, It’s easy, It will be cheaper and It doesn’t take much time.
This life of faith is an ongoing remodel. I can tell you for a fact that just when I think my life is at the pinnacle of success in faith God comes in and begins to interfere with things. He looks behind a wall and says the wiring needs redoing. He looks beneath the sink and wants to fix the plumbing. He looks into my heart and says what say we kick it up a notch? He speaks so sweetly that at first I don’t know what He’s doing. Sure I want more love. But that means knocking out the cold love that has tried to settle in the cracks where hurts and indignation have come through. Sure I want more blessings. So He comes in and shakes up the good in order to make way for the godly.
The life of faith is not something we can do ourselves. We did not save ourselves, we cannot keep ourselves and we cannot make ourselves Christlike. The life of faith is not easy – we got saved, piece of cake. But the truth is dying to self is hard and resistant to change. It will be cheaper if we take matters into our own hands and ultimately God will knock that down too – for He wants us never to rely on a house of cards that looks pleasing but in reality has little or no connection to Him.
Mostly this life of faith takes time. It takes a whole lifetime. And if we are serious about it, we will be one step away from a mess on a daily basis. He will interfere, He will knock down, He will build up, He will shatter lies, He will rebuild truth, He will check our foundation, He will woo us to get closer and closer and closer to Him. But eventually, if we persevere in faith, we will one day be just like Him.
Oh beloved, do you feel like things are being torn down, torn away and torn up? Are you wondering what has happened to the happy life you were content with? You can rely on the truth that God will take the mess of your life and make it even more beautiful. He is working behind the scenes to get you closer to Him and to cause you to become more like Him. While the work seems daunting and the task looks formidable, the outcome will be grand! Trust Him in the working – for everything that gets taken away will be replaced with Him! His goal in the process is not to make you look better, but that you will live a stronger, courageous, valiant life for Jesus. Everything in His hands is beautiful workmanship including you!
He loves you and He’s for you and that’s why you can trust Him to remove and replace everything for your good and His glory. Life spent closer and closer to Him is always better and better and better.
James 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Isaiah 54:11 O storm-battered city, troubled and desolate! I will rebuild you with precious jewels and make your foundations from lapis lazuli.
Romans 8:27-28 And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will. We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. Amplified
Ephesians 2:22 …in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Every time we drive by the Barkman House and the Captain Henderson House I am amazed at how they look. Both were built in the late 1800’s. Still standing and still beautiful they are proof that the right architect building a house will help it to keep strength and remain standing for generations to come. Of course both have been taken well care of, but someone had to start with a plan. Without an architect with a plan it’s hard to conceive of anything that will be worth living in.
That is how it is with the life of a believer. Even though saved, you must still have a plan for your life. Someone has to orchestrate things so that you are built up correctly and can stand the faith test of time.
There are two major architects in the world today. They are satan and God. Both are outstanding builders. Both want your business. Both want to build your house. One wants to lock you in forever, just like a bad mortgage. The other wants you to freely come and go with no burdens to keep you stationary.
Whoever you let build your house is the one that will ultimately decide how you live. The enemy of your soul wants to build the house. He will showcase all the flaws mistakes guilt chains and locked doors. And yet even though he builds on your fears and worries and unbelief, you will get all the blame for the poor workmanship. He won't take responsibility for a thing even though he will kill steal and destroy everything. All the time he is building he will tell you about yourself and your home: no good, not enough, poor quality, reject, impossible, second hand. He will try to build you a false façade but the interior will be gutted and nothing will be there to keep you safe and warm throughout your lifetime.
If God builds the house, there is an entirely different outcome. He begins with the Perfect Plan, which is His Word. His tools are the Truth of His Word. He builds your interior first by giving you a Savior.
Jesus changes everything. Then He gives you His architectural book, He hides nothing from you. He shows you how your home will be solid as though built on the Rock. Every room will be pristine for you are washed in the blood of the lamb. He will guide you into a home full of joy and peace. He will talk to you along the way and remind you that He has made all things new, including you. Perfected, gifted, strong, courageous, invincible, first run. His workmanship will stand the test of your time on earth. And as He is the finest builder in heaven or earth, He will get all the glory. You won’t care that He gets the glory because you know that without the Master Architect you would be nothing.
I don't know about you but I'd rather choose to give God all the glory knowing that His ways are most magnificent. It’s hard sometimes because we are human. We like to take matters into our own hands and do our own choosing. But when we let God choose for us and work through us He creates a masterpiece that will show forth the praises of Himself, for He brings us out of darkness and into the light of His glory and grace.
Oh beloved, maybe you’ve been building on a poor foundation. You may have been trying to build your own house but all your co-workers have left you high and dry. Things are about to fall in. You have been crying in the mess, but it’s time to cry out to the Only One who can fix the foundation, redeem the plan and renew the interior. Jesus will come and together with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, they will work as a team to set your home in order. Your life will be polished with His Word and you will shine God’s glory for the world to see. Others will come in and out of your life to be blessed by the workmanship and you will share that God came in and changed everything. What is breaking your heart right now will be remodeled so that you can live safe and warm with the Lord no matter what.
God loves you and He’s for you and that’s why He will come and help in whatever situation. He will let you know Him like a best friend. He will care for you like a Father. And He will build on the foundation that no man can destroy. Rejoice and let Him start building again as you live in the Light of His Word.
Matthew 7:25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.
Isaiah 28:16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Colossians 1:11-13 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light. For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son. NLT
1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Monday, February 24, 2014
As we were leaving town yesterday, we drove by the old river area where everyone used to go in to swim at a favorite spot. Some would park and walk. Others would drive in. I was surprised at the amount of posted signs along the parking area. One right after another I would say there were at least 10 POSTED –NO TRESPASSING signs in bright yellow. People have protested and been very unhappy that you can’t go to the riverside from that spot anymore. Regardless of how they feel, it’s off limits. People could still stop there and park, but with the signs glaringly reminding them of the situation, they would just be more and more frustrated.
God spoke to my heart as we passed by. There are places and situations where we used to have free entry. We could come and go and were part of the scene. We had fun and the view was great. We were enjoying it all when the posted signs were put up. We can get frustrated. We can get up a petition to change it. We can prove our point that it’s unfair. We can also sit right there and stare at what we once had, but none of that matters. We are no longer welcome. We don’t have the freedom there anymore. We can cry and lament and go on and on, but that open door is closed now.
Regardless of who put the signs up, God ultimately has the say. No man can do anything except God allows it. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s time to move on. But the wonderful thing about it all is that if God has shut one door, He is opening another. You have not been banned from God’s love, God’s mercy or God’s plan. No indeed. It’s time to get closer to the Lord and let Him speak His plans into your heart. It’s time to renew your fellowship with Him so that you can hear clearly for your next place of entry. For although man may bar the way, God is the only King. He is Sovereign and He alone closes and opens doors. He is Omniscient and He alone is completely informed and aware of the present situation and your future is secure with Him.
Oh beloved, reach out to the Lord this morning. Tell Him you’re ready to move on with Him. Your situation seems hopeless, but He is your God of Hope. He’s your Abba Father and He knows best. Even if the present things do not change, you can go forward with high hopes and great expectations. God says to you this morning Move On. He’s not saying go back, He’s saying go forward. He’s not saying done with you. He’s saying beloved, we’re done with that. He’s not saying He has no use for you anymore. He’s saying better places of entry and stronger times of spiritual influence are coming your way. As long as you stay focused on the Lord instead of the posted signs you will still see the glory of the Lord as you humble yourself and rely on Him alone. He is worthy to worship and honor and obey. He is faithful, trustworthy and reliable in every circumstance.
He loves you and He’s for you, so it’s for your best that you let Him lead, give Him your heart, mind and soul and move on with Him.
Joshua 22:5 But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the Lord your God, walk in all His ways, obey His commands, hold firmly to Him, and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul.
Romans 11:33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways!
Isaiah 55:8-9 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
Psalm 31:3 For You are my rock and my fortress; For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.
Jeremiah 17:7 But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
Psalm 33:11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.
Psalm 83:18 Then they will learn that you alone are called the Lord, that you alone are the Most High, supreme over all the earth.
Romans 11:36 For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen.
Psalm 37:23 The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks. She went for a long walk in the forest. Pretty soon, she came upon a house. She knocked and, when no one answered, she walked right in. After a while she went upstairs to find somewhere to rest. The Papa Bear’s bed was too hard. The Mama Bear’s bed was too soft. But Baby Bear’s bed was just right and she fell fast asleep. When the bears returned they found that someone had eaten their porridge, sat in their chairs and Baby Bear found Goldilocks sleeping in his bed. She was startled and ran out of the house, never to return again.
Such a nice little story of a little girl finding sustenance, comfort and rest in the woods when she really didn’t know what to do or where to go. But even after she had found the three things that every human being needs and desires, she was still not at home. She wasn’t one of the bears. She was different. Ultimate rest, eternal comfort and genuine sustenance couldn’t really come from the temporary place she had found.
Life is a lot like a trip into the forest. We don’t know for sure where we are going, what we will encounter or when we will get out. But all along the way we try to find tangible things to hang onto. We are ever searching for the things that will make us comfortable – we want to feel cozy, relaxed and find relief. We also want to know that all our needs will be met – provisions, nourishment and necessities of life are our desire. And along with the other needs we as humans have, we want to find rest – that place where we can let down our guard and take a breather from life’s surprises and disturbances.
Just as Goldilocks found that she wasn’t really at home in the Bears’ cabin, we too find that, even when we think we have found just what we wanted, it isn’t really home for us. Unlike Goldilocks, who left the cabin and found her way home, we often run to the next stop and try again to find our source for all we need in people, places and things. We too are strangers, aliens in a world that isn’t meant for us. We have a home and it’s beyond this world. As we learn more about our purpose in life, we find that we fit here less and less. God wants to meet our needs and will, but fortunately for us His desire is that we find them all first and foremost in Christ. Everything we need is promised, along with somewhere to call our real home in heaven one day. We are most blessed, but at times it’s hard because the things of this world don’t really work for us.
Oh beloved, have you been upset because temporary things aren’t bringing permanent satisfaction? Don’t let it upset you – for God is your source for everything! God will give you people to love, plans to fulfill and life to live. He just doesn’t intend for you to find ultimate comfort, rest and nourishment in anyone or anything over Him. He wants to have first place because it is there that you will learn to be like Him. He will hide your soul in the cleft of the Rock. He will give you a place of quiet rest in His heart. He will lead you beside still waters as only He can restore your soul. When things are hard, He will cover you with His protective love. When you don’t know which way to go, He will guide you. Don’t trust in your senses for they can lead you away from God’s purpose. Christ came to free you from the burden of sin it is true. But He released you also from having to make your own way. In Christ there is such freedom to live loved. In Christ the chains that bind you to continually wander have been removed. You can rest in God’s promises, live in Christ’s redemption and walk in Holy Spirit power always.
God loves you and He’s for you and that’s why you can trust Him to watch over you, guide you and direct you all the days of your life. And when this life is over you will have a place of ultimate rest as you dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 62:1 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. (New International Version)
Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
I Corinthians 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.
Psalm 34:10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.
Isaiah 58:11 And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Little children are so eager to see the world around them. And yet, they have such problems focusing on things that you try to show them. Yesterday evening I was watching one grandson at soccer practice. Two airplanes flew overhead and his little brother heard it. But we could not get him to look in the right direction. Finally I asked him to look where I was pointing. At last he saw the plane. But when it was right over our heads he just couldn’t see it.
We’re like that aren’t we? We have a hard time focusing on the right stuff. We read the Word and we know it’s true but we keep looking at the circumstances instead. We hear God speak to our hearts but we feel the rejection and lose sight of His constant acceptance.
We see problems, God sees plans. We see rejection, God sees connection. We see troubles, God sees opportunities. God is the light at the end of our tunnel but we get downhearted and truly believe it’s a freight train. Fear starts to take over and pretty soon we’re sidelined. Worry keeps a guard at our hopes and we just give up. Discouragement orders us around like a soldier in a concentration camp. “You will NOT make it out of this situation you must remain this way forever”. Pretty soon we have traded all our spiritual knowledge for fleshly misinformation. We are worn out and done in. Hope has left and we can’t find it, even though we look far and wide. The focus is lost and we are unsure if we will ever see God’s presence in our life again.
Oh beloved, you are more than your circumstances! It’s time to focus back on the Lord and His Word. He has a wonderful plan for your life in spite of what you are seeing with the natural eye. Ask Joseph, who was sold by his brothers into slavery. Ask Daniel, who spent time staring down lions in a dungeon. Ask Hannah, who was humiliated because she couldn’t have a baby. Ask Jesus Himself, who was despised, rejected and ultimately crucified. These, along with the entire council of the Word of God are the ones who teach you how to focus rightly even when it all looks blurry and the clouds have settled in and your mind says give up.
Focus on the Lord! Rehearse the promises of God! Rejoice in who you are in Christ! Remember the Truth and discard the lies, for you are not living in your present circumstances forever. You are a Warrior Princess of the Most High God! You are redeemed from the law of sin and death. You are a Kingdom seeker and a Word believer! You are going through! You are overcoming! You are stepping from one glory stone to the next! You are seeing the Truth and breaking forth into joy! For beloved, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you! Get your eyes back on the prize and remember, regard and repeat all the blessings that come beyond the momentary, light afflictions. It does not matter what you’ve seen, what you’ve been through, not even the past mistakes and future fears, for God is with you! He is your Guardian and your Champion and together with Him you are going to live in the light of His Word.
He loves you and He’s for you and that’s worth focusing on every day of your life and all the way to heaven!
I John 5:4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
Psalm 98:1 Sing a new song to the Lord, for He has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; His holy arm has shown His saving power!
2 Corinthians 4:18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Psalm 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the Lord our God, Until He is gracious to us. Amplified
Micah 7:7 But as for me, I will look to the Lord and confident in Him I will keep watch; I will wait with hope and expectancy for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Amplified
Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
Psalm 37:3 Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Thursday, February 20, 2014
When you travel on the back of a motorcycle, you get a much clearer view of your surroundings. We’ve been over mountains, through tunnels, around bends and beyond borders. We’ve seen wild animals, up close, and we’ve had some near misses. Danny’s favorite trips involve hairpin curves, unknown roads and wide open scenery. My favorite trips involve moderate speed and tree lined valleys.
I was talking with another couple who have traveled as well on their motorcycle. She rides her own. As we were sharing stories of our trips she began to talk about the worst road she’d ever encountered. She said that as they planned their trip, one of her other friends cautioned her. “Whatever you do don’t take that highway.” Imagine my friend’s horror when she did in fact find herself driving on that very road. Although they were in a group, she had to ride through it herself. High mountain vistas with no barricades on the turns, above the tree line, made for sheer horror. She said it was all she could do to get through it.
Just like riding a motorcycle through the Rockies or the Appalachians, you and I are bound to encounter treacherous turns that seem to have no end. We want to avoid the hard places. We don’t want to go through anything that takes us beyond our own abilities. We may start out in a group, but they can’t go the distance with us. Well-meaning though they may be, companions will caution you not to travel that way. “Keep it safe” they’ll say. They don’t want you to go through hard times and they’ll say you don’t have to. They may want to have fun and stay in the valleys or even rock on the porch with you. But as soon as you begin the heights of affliction or rejection or turmoil they will leave you to go it alone.
Truth is we all have a road to travel. And if you travel this world long enough, you will encounter things beyond your natural abilities. You will be unsure if you can make it. You will not know if you can overcome the feelings of danger on the cliffs of life. But you don’t really have to go it alone, because God is with you. We’re never really alone. And we have an anchor for our souls and a pilot for our travels into the hardships of life. He’s with us in our turmoil, our afflictions and the summits of despair.
Oh beloved, it’s time to let God take over your travels. He has a plan and every step you make every mile you ride is going to end with His destination in mind. He wants ultimately for you to be so enveloped in Him that you no longer think independently. Awards await you as well. You will find out that you have become an overcomer as you continue to travel wherever He sends you. You will see that you are courageous as you hide yourself in His strength for the journey. You will know that you have become victorious as you travel in the light of His Word. You don’t have to have stamina or fortitude or your own set of masterful abilities to make it. You just have to rest in His truth and travel in His Spirit. You may appear weak in the flesh, but that’s when His true strength comes forth. You may be fearful in the flesh but that’s when His courage appears. Don’t let anyone talk you out of the heights of growth in Christ for it is just beyond the high places that the valley of comfort will appear. Keep on keeping on and keep on praising God as you wind
your way through this life headed for your ultimate journey's end in heaven.
Rejoice that you are traveling in the power of the Holy Spirit. Even though the road ahead, the days ahead, may find you traveling through treacherous territory, you are destined to make it all the way. God loves you and He’s for you and that’s why you can keep going, knowing that you are traveling in the light of His purpose for you!
1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
Hebrews 11:32-34 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
I Corinthians 1:31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”
Proverbs 21:31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
“So then Faith comes by hearing…and hearing by the Word of God” Romans 10:17
My husband gets tickled at me as he watches me grab bits and pieces of conversations all around the room. Problem is I just get bits and pieces. I may hear two or three words, but then if I don’t hear the whole thing I may perceive a whole different story than was actually spoken. Later I might ask him about the $90,000 house to find out that particular conversation revolved around 90 people not $90,000!
There is much to listen to in this world. Even the weather channel no longer deals strictly with weather. You can find politics and other stories if you watch for very long. And when it comes to reporters, even those who are considered conservative will wander over into views that aren’t really that conservative. So much information, only two ears and throw in muffled talk and muted voices and you could make up your own version of most any story.
When it comes to faith, though, we don’t have to take other peoples’ word for the truth. They may be speaking the truth, but for us faith comes by hearing and that hearing should be coming straight from the Word of God. Our best quality of information gathering comes when we go straight to the Word of God for our information. There are many “channels” of faith talk, but we must always sort through the Word of God for ourselves – straight to the source – to make sure we’ve heard things right.
What have you heard? Maybe you heard that you are useless, castoff, done for. You may have been given a piece of information that said you don’t fit in, you don’t have the right criteria, you are less than. You may have thought you were hearing correctly when the sentence of judgment came past your ears. Those things don’t feed your faith because they don’t line up with the Word of God. Unless you go straight to the source and find out the truth for yourself, you will be destined to live in the darkness of untruth and half-truth. Partial information hinders your walk, maims your life and keeps you fettered on the sidelines, unable to break the chains and run free.
Oh beloved, faith comes by hearing! Hearing the Word of God! Hearing the truth about you! You are not less than, you are more than. You are not beaten down, you are an overcomer. You can dance free from any chains that seek to bind you by others’ words because you are free in Christ! It doesn’t matter what others say, because it’s not about them. Keep your ears attuned to God’s Word and watch as your faith grows and grows. And when your faith grows your fears subside. It doesn’t matter what the enemy says, for you don’t have to listen to a word he speaks. He is a liar and the father of all lies. Get that - the father of, the originator of – all lies. Anything that is spoken about you or over you that doesn’t line up with the Word of God is not a word of faith. You may need to repeat the Word out loud over the lies that come your way or the half-truths that threaten to derail your faith, but lies cannot stand in the presence of Truth.
Every Word of God holds true. The more you hear the truth, the stronger your faith will be. The stronger your faith is, the better your hearing becomes. Eventually you will begin to cast out the things you hear in the background as you discern the difference. God loves you and that’s the truth, backed by the Word of God, and He’s for you – which is another truth backed by the Word, so that you can live with clear hearing and strong faith and that’s what God has for you all the days of your life.
Luke 11:28 Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.
Matthew 4:4 But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
Psalm 119:89 Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.
John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.
Psalm 119:38 Establish Your word to Your servant, As that which produces reverence for You.
Psalm 138:2 I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.
Monday, February 17, 2014
In marriage counseling couples are often asked if they want to reignite their marriage. If one or the other says yes then the counselor tells them to return to the place where you last felt the love for one another. When couples are both willing to do this it usually rekindles the truth – that they do indeed love one another. An evangelist once preached about veering off from God’s plan. “Go back to the last place you felt close to God” he said. Not a literal place, but to remember where you were spiritually when you last felt you were right with God. It is heard often that we should “Go back to our first love”.
It’s easy to let things and circumstances get in the way of the love relationship. Kids, friends, church, work, activities in general all vie for our time. Busy-ness is a robber. It will steal every moment it can. Even in the relationship between Christ and His church the robber will come in and make the busy life look profitable and productive when oftentimes it’s the exact opposite. Couples grow apart when other things crowd out alone time. Christians grow cold when they perceive productivity as godliness.
The first thing that happens when we grow apart from Jesus is we quit believing Him. Just as talk is the first thing to go when marriages are in trouble, so too talk with the Lord is the first to go in our spiritual relationship. We quit talking, we quit praying, we quit believing. Then a couple finds themselves in crisis and they want to go back and fix things. It often works when they go back to that place in their hearts they last felt the love.
Sometimes it’s a crisis of our faith that drives us back to seeking God. But where should we begin? How to we reignite the love and faith we had in the Lord? We have to go back to the beginning. And start there.
For God SO LOVED YOU…John 3:16 personalized. Yes, God loved the world, but it’s a personal thing between you and Him. He so loved you, just as you were, right where you were – just as you are, right where you are now. He loves you apart from performance, demands, and limitations. He loves you so much that He will allow a crisis to motivate you back to your first love. I know that’s hard to swallow, but ask people who have been in crisis.
You may be in crisis right now. Your faith in God may be on the line. You were perfectly content to be busy – whether it was church work or family time or friendships or your vocation. You got very busy and it looked good. You were faithful to the stuff, but God is calling you to greater faithfulness to Him. He calls us all back to our first love – each and every one of us. And each and every time He does this, we grow stronger and more faithful and more knowledgeable of God Himself. Truly many of us can say we are thankful for crisis times for they brought us new awareness of the Lord and His great love.
Oh beloved, today is your day to stop a moment and let God have your first time this morning. While it’s early, before busy-ness tries to rob your day of a real relationship with the Lord. He’s waiting for you to speak to His heart and He’s waiting to speak back into your heart. He wants your first thoughts as you lift all your needs to Him in prayer. He wants to tell you the truth about you, first and then about your situation and your life. Since He loves you, you don’t have to fear that He will speak harshly or tell you He’s done with you. God never walks away, never gives up, never runs out of love for you. Whatever it takes, it is worth it. For God’s great desire is that you get closer and closer to Him in Spirit so that your life looks more and more like His. His purpose for you is love, His call over you is love and His desire for your life is love.
For God so loved you and that’s why you can trust Him and walk in the light of His Word, staying close to Him all the days of your life, walking in blessings, talking blessings and living it all out for His glory.
James 4:8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.
Deuteronomy 6:5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength
Job 42:5 I had heard of You [only] by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eye sees You.
Psalm 9:10 Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for You.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
When I married Danny I got a new name. I also got a bank account. I got a house, fully furnished. And I got a car. You could say I racked up! But I didn’t marry him for the things I got, I married him because I loved him.
What if he had just given me two sets of keys, a checkbook and his name and then gone off to do his own thing? Would that have made me happy? Stuff? I remember us talking. Many conversations revolved around “When we get married…” We looked forward to sweet and uninterrupted fellowship with one another. We became one person, no longer two. I readily admit I became one who liked what he liked, did what he did and went where he went. I followed him and he led the way.
When we are born again, betrothed to the Lord, we too get a new name. All the old us is washed away as we become a new creation. We are very blessed as well to have all our needs met in Christ – better than a bank account because money can’t buy everything we really need, but Jesus purchased everything for us. We also have a new home. The old digs don’t work for us anymore because we’re no longer single. We need space to fellowship with God, to entertain our faith in Him and to be furnished for everything God has planned for us. God’s heart is our new home and our heart is in Him, so complete and lovely. He leads us and we follow him.
God doesn’t just furnish what we need for everyday living. He furnishes the purpose for our lives. He who has called us is plenty able to get us where we need to go to fulfill that purpose. He has furnished the Word of God to show us His ultimate plan for us – to become like Him. He also gives us the unction of His Spirit – we sense His heart leading – to go where He leads us, whether it is pastoring, evangelism, teaching, missionary service, parenting, caregiving, befriending and more.
You could say that our relationship with Christ is a marriage made in heaven. And we are entirely blessed that the One who loves us is passionately involved with us. He’s not apathetic, distant or defiant. He’s not cold or insensitive. He loves us, He chooses us, He stays with us always and provides all our needs. Who wouldn’t love Someone like that?
Oh beloved, you may not be feeling the love your heart has wanted for so long. Maybe someone who vowed undying love has disappointed you. The one you thought would be yours forever is gone. It could be that friends walked away or office politics have grown harsh. You could be trying to find love and yet the illusions of love keep vaporizing and you have nothing left to hold onto. Don’t worry. Don’t weep. God Himself has built it within you to find nothing earthly to take the place of His great love. He says He’s a jealous God and that just means that He wants first place. He doesn’t want you to have crutches or any other plan to fall back on but Him. Rejoice in this wonderful love! Open up the Word of God and read about it. Ask God to let you experience it in reality. And then, beloved, live in the light of His love. For it’s only there that you will truly live.
God loves you - really, truly deeply; and He’s for you – always, forever, into eternity. And that’s worth holding on to all the days of your life.
Philippians 4:19 And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. AMP
Psalm 107:8 Let them praise the Lord for His great love and for the wonderful things He has done for them.
Matthew 10:29-31 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
Isaiah 54:5 For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is His name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.
Luke 12:27-28 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?
John 15:9 I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Well here we are at the holiday of love. Millions of people everywhere are spending lots of money to show their love to the one they have given their heart to. I like having a special day to surprise my beloved with a card and a small gift. I also thoroughly enjoy whatever card or gift he chooses for me.
But how much does it really cost to show someone you love them? How can we be sure we are loved? How do we know that the one who says they love us will be here for the long haul? Can we trust love? Tina Turner asks us, “What’s love got to do with it?” and she goes on to call love a second hand emotion. People have sung songs about found love, lost love, unrequited love and bad love (that’s a misnomer surely). But can we find true love? And how do we recognize it for what it really is?
And what happens if we don’t have the love we so desire? What do we do with a lover’s holiday if we don’t have something to fill it? No box of candy, no bouquet of flowers, and in some cases not so much as a nod in our direction. Are we destined to live a less than life? In the shadows of could have been, would have been, should have been?
There is one who loves you beyond your wildest imagination. You cannot begin to fathom the love that the Lord has for you. You are on the ground floor of love and He is in the penthouse, so our view is often clouded by circumstances, dreams and disappointments. But God’s love pulls us up to His level. It completes us. His love transforms us. We who were destined to try to make do are now full of God’s love
Oh beloved, if I could give you one thing for Valentine’s Day it would be a real understanding of the love God has for you. There is no beginning to His love – you did not earn it. There is no ending to His love – you cannot lose it. There is no place where you live that God won’t come and show you His love. You don’t have to be anything for God to love you. You are indeed loved. And because you are loved you can rest in and rejoice about and enjoy that love.
What's love got to do with it? I'll tell you. It has everything to do with it. Because of love, God created you, Jesus rescued you, the Holy Spirit covers you and you have been given a new life, a fulfilling purpose and you can walk in the light of His love. Other people may disappoint you, reject you, belittle you, upset you. But God’s love seals your heart so that you can walk free.
Walk beloved, no dance, in the fact that God loves you and He’s for you and His love is forever and ever and then some!
Romans 8:39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.
1 Chronicles 16:34 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.
Romans 5:7-9 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, He will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.
Psalm 57:10 For Your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Ephesians 3:18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
When I was a girl the piano was my place of solace. If I was having a heartache moment I would play the Moonlight Sonata. (or Hey Jude, or Rainy Days and Mondays) Gentle melodies with lots of play across the keys were my preference as they comforted my heart and got my mind off the troubles. Playing through those songs were comforting to my heart. If I was having a lot of fun with friends or family we always ended up at the piano playing joyful songs while laughing and singing together. Although I played in church, via the organ, the piano and assisting with praise and worship, it was those times alone at the piano that brought solace to my heart.
To say that the piano has been a huge part of my life is so true. I don’t get to sit and play for my own enjoyment very often anymore. We are busy with work and play and family and friends and ministry. There’s hardly a time to just sit at the bench and let my hands have their way with the keys. But every once in a while, I still try to steal away to have a moment of alone time with the keyboard. When I let God set the tone and play by ear beautiful music happens. It may not be beautiful to anyone else, but that time with the keyboard in the hands of God makes for sweet melodies in my heart.
We are all looking for a place of solace. We try to find it through various things including hobbies, jobs, marriages, children, church. Each of these things is wonderful in and of themselves and they provide much satisfaction. But the best of them are no substitute for finding time to be alone with God. Even a marriage cannot give you the satisfaction that God alone can. A hobby is just busy work unless the Lord’s hands are in it. We cannot find the peace we’re looking for in anything else. Everything on earth is fallible. Everything we find we love can be taken from us or broken.
Yesterday God spoke to my heart. He said “The thing you enjoy so much, that one thing that you alone find reward in – that is how I want your life in Me to be like. My desire is that you will feel so one with Me that other things will not distract you. That single minded fellowship with Me comes from the confidence you have as you seek My face. It won’t happen in the busy times. This special intimacy comes only from spending time alone with Me. I am your Teacher and I have much to show you of My love, My mercy, My grace and My provision. You may be frazzled, worn out, stressed and overdoing everything yet finding no peace or joy in the doing. Come away with Me and find exactly what you are looking for. I will help you to make sweet music in your heart and your life that will spill over into others’ lives.
Oh beloved, steal away! Find time to be alone with your King. You are meant to be rested, at peace and able to do all that your life has for you to do. God gives strength to the weary, purpose to the lonely, joy to the suffering and hope to the hopeless. Only time with the King will give you what you are looking for. That love you so desire and that confidence you are looking for are found only in the Lord. Jesus is the way to the Father and the Holy Spirit can make the little time expand into great treasure for you when you spend time with Him.
God loves you and He’s for you and that’s there will always be sweet blessings in your alone time with Him.
Isaiah 55:6 Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.
Psalm 63:6-8 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 27:8 You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word]. Amplified
Acts 2:28 ‘You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.
1 Chronicles 16:11 Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.