“He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,” Proverbs 2:7 NIV
There have been times in ministry that I knew something was off. I knew that it was time to pull back and sit with God. Refocus. Recalibrate. Restore, Refresh. Renew. During those times the outpouring of God’s love has been immense. Truly an incredible comfort. I love how He reads my heart. He knows just how to touch it for healing, restoration, and transformation. What a Mighty God!
As I was meditating on this scripture during one of those respites, I noticed that my prayers had become weak. I was not coming directly to God with my requests. They had become passive. As I started to visualize Him as my shield with a face set like flint in pursuit of victory on my behalf, it made me more bold. My prayer shifted. I began to ask for what I wanted very specifically:
Father give me Your eyes to see all things. Give me Your ears to hear. And give me Your heart to love in all things so that I may be a demonstration of Your love and glory on this earth. Father You promise me that You hold victory in store for the upright and that You are a shield for the blameless. I claim that promise. I declare and decree that promise in Jesus Name, Amen.
“10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11 NASB
These verses are such a sharp contrast! Verse 10 describes the thief that only takes what others have. Verse 11 describes the shepherd that will give his own life for another. I have used the words steal, kill and destroy as a litmus test to identify when darkness is operating in situations. It has really helped me to avoid personal dynamics, engagements and circumstances that had the potential for trouble. Sometimes it’s not always obvious. I have to pay attention to subtle ways that things are being taken away. It could be a conversation that subtracts from a person’s character. It could be an activity that is draining me financially. It could be a habit that starts to interfere with healthy practices. By paying attention on a number of occasions , a small change has resulted in very significant benefits. A simple contrast between what breathes life in versus what sucks life out has been an effective tool for me.
Interestingly enough, it has helped me pay just as much attention to life-giving things around me. It might be a person in my life, a favorable situation, or an unexpected gift. It’s nice to take the time to savor each one as a special treat from My Shepherd that takes such good care with me and wants only the very best for me!
Thank you Lord for showing me the difference between things that are life-giving and those that are not. Give me the wisdom to always choose life!
“13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14 NIV
Wait for the Lord. What does that mean? I’m learning. I’m learning that to wait for someone, you have to be in close communication. You also have to trust their word. If I don’t ask what their plans are, I might barge ahead with my own plans. I might get in the way of the other person’s plans. It might mean that we miss our connection entirely. Sometimes I forget to pause and check in with God’s plans for me. I barge ahead without hesitation thinking I know best. Occasionally I delude myself into thinking I know a lot more than I do. I waste time and energy worrying about things He has already worked out. So waiting is an art. To wait confidently and gracefully with composure. I still struggle in this area but I am learning! Sometimes I get too wrapped up in my head and don’t rely enough on God’s voice. So I have to go back to square one and get quiet and listen.
Father God, I’m so blessed that You are always there waiting for me. You never leave without me. You never leave me stranded. Thank you Lord!
“23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23-24 NASB
Work looks a little different for everyone. Whether an artist, musician, attorney, welder, doctor or counselor – we all have a job to do. So, I ask myself the question, “What have I been given to do that I need to see to completion?” This goes beyond occupation. We have been given different gifts and talents that extend far beyond the workplace. I have to pause and reflect sometimes about whether or not everyone sees God in me regardless of setting: work, church, social, sports, dinner, political, etc. Am I using the gifts and talents I have been given?
It is my prayer that God will help me to conceive the vision for His work and that all things will be completed to His satisfaction. I pray that my work will be an imitation of His work – strong, beautiful, graceful and excellent. I am so very thankful for His clear instruction, divine grace and mercy. With Him all things are possible.
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25 NIV
I am so very thankful for the riches and plans that God has for me. I am thankful for the immense and powerful Love that He has for me. Somewhere along the line, I realized that I had tapes playing in my head that did not reflect the love that God has for me. It was from inside of me; an internal dialog. It was definitely not God. This internal dialog started to create issues with me loving myself. When I don’t love myself, God can’t operate in me to His fullness. It was quite an ugly snare that developed. All kinds of things were snarled in the mix: performance, pride, rejection, comparison, arrogance, criticism. I could go on and on. I do not even remember where the negative words came from. I don’t know when it started. What I do know is that it started to snowball into a fearful approach to work and relationships because they were so loaded up with negative junk.
I had to ask God to remove the obstacles in my heart that were keeping me from fully walking in His plan for me. I really had to sit prayerfully and meditate on some very loving and instructional scripture and let it sit in my heart for a long time. I still need to step away from things regularly for a heart check and just spend time with God. It’s not anything that is formulaic or legalistic. The truth is if I don’t, I miss it. I miss the quiet time with God. It helps me appreciate the way He made me a little more. It helps me dig into the well that He has placed inside of me and pull from it for inspiration, creativity, focus, clarity and strategy.
Lord, thank you for teaching me every day to love and appreciate You more and how You made me as a unique expression of You.
“20 Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He replied to them by saying, The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display,21 nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you].” Luke 17:20-21 AMP
So the kingdom of God is IN us. As I was reading this passage, it reminded me of a passage that is also in The Lord’s Prayer: “Your kingdom come.” I got caught up reading a lot of commentaries. It occurred to me that I needed to simply be quiet and listen to what God had to say about these passages. Here is what I heard: He is waiting for us all to come into a state of obedience and alignment so that we will not continue to lay fragmented and broken as a body. That when we come together, we will no longer be vulnerable to heresy and apostacy. We will no longer be plagued with malice and strife between ourselves. We will be able to stand together, resolute for our King. And then, His Kingdom will have arrived.
Lord, I pray that Your kingdom come and that Your will be done in my heart and the hearts of all Christians. I pray that we come together as one body. Make us strong in that body so that we can stand together and stand strong, united and operating as one body in Christ, a true reflection of You.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” Exodus 14:14 NIV
I went through a time in my life when I felt like I needed to fight for what was mine. I needed to vindicate wrongs that had been done. I sought out attorneys. I sought out relief through government policies. I wasted a lot of money, time and worry. I was trying to fight my own battle. It was only when I became quiet that I heard God say, “I have you.” It was quiet but firm. I dropped everything. Without spending another penny, it all worked out. I was not involved at all. Things resolved and I received the compensation I was so concerned about. All the clamoring did not add one cent. All it did was consume my bank account. Had I not finally stopped to be still, it could have gone on longer and cost more. When I finally stopped, all the other noise stopped too. Sometimes these things are distractions to take us off track of walking by faith. They erode our faith and entice us into the world’s system. As Christians, our ways are different. Our standards are different. God’s way is always the best way. Sometimes we have to be willing, quiet, patient and humble to receive His direction.
Lord, let me humbly submit to You each and every day so that I can walk in Your elegant and efficient ways.