Smooth Edges

smooth edges

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what. Love will never become obsolete.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 The Voice

One day during my devotional time I decided to let my Bible fall open and that is where I would read.  It fell open to the last page of the concordance.  The words “wrong” and “wronged” caught my eye.  It took me to scriptures in 1 Corinthians and Proverbs.  The gist of the scriptures I read was this:

(1)     Isn’t it better to be wronged than to have wronged someone else?

(2)     Love covers all wrongs

This gave me pause. I still had quite a few sticking points in my heart with some folks. They felt like rough ragged edges that my feelings would get caught on. It was a place of injury.  So I started to pray.  I started to ask for the characteristics of love.  I asked for patience, kindness. I asked to be able to rejoice in the truth, protect always, trust always, hope always and to always persevere.  I asked God to help me let go of all the junk associated with these ragged edges in my heart. I began to realize that I was not the only one injured.  I was able to lift others up in prayer too.

Father, show us where the frayed and ragged edges are in our hearts. Make them more smooth from experiencing and practicing Your love.

Proverbs 10:12, 13:9; 1 Corinthians 13

My Master

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 NIV

This one has been ticklish for me. The world reinforces some very bad behavior that serves the world well.  The problem is that it doesn’t serve God. It’s everywhere.  The truth is, it wears me out.  I read this scripture during a particularly tiring week. In addition to the demands of the week, I was struggling between my old way of operating – performance oriented, self-sufficient, frantically rushing to meet deadlines — and God’s way – a more elegant flow that is thoughtful, intentional and efficient.

In the middle of the shame, I recognized a nudge.  I heard the words “Yes, you slip…but you catch it.” I paused for a moment to reflect.  I feel when things are off.  I really do try to tuck into God as a check point. The shame melted away.  I realized I had cause to celebrate! There had been a shift inside of me.  It had happened so subtly that it was not discernible to anyone watching.  The big shift was inside. It was in my heart.  My heart was searching for a better way.  There were now alerts that went off inside me when I began to toil and struggle.  That was my cue to check the rule book I was using.  A peace washed over me.  I am so thankful! I realized that God was pleased too. He knows my heart and my desires. I am the apple of His eye.

God, help me to be bold and courageous walking in Your ways.  Continue to nudge me as I grow and shift.  Thank you for the precious gift of the Holy Spirit as my comforter, guide and intercessor. Thank you for teaching me a new way! A kinder and gentler way of operating in You!

Proverbs 8:32, 23:26; Isaiah 55:8, Joshua 1:9, John 14:26

Not Just for Them

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23 NIV

This prayer is a prayer for us. This blew me away when I understood it for the first time.  We are the ones who heard the message of Jesus Christ all these centuries later from the messages carried on through His disciples.  As Jesus was getting ready to face the most horrific of executions, here he was, interceding for us. This touches my heart so deeply.  What incredible love. He wanted us to have the relationship with God that He had. He wanted us all to be together again…even before we were born.

I have always heard the scriptures of God knowing us before we were “knit together in our mother’s womb” but this scripture made we realize very practically how much Jesus was a part of that picture too.  It made it very real for me.  It is right there in black and white. Jesus, thank you  for Your unfathomable unconditional love and sacrifice.  It humbles me to a point that words cannot express.

Ephesians 4:12-16; Colossians 2:2-4, 3:12-15

Carry Me

“29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40: 29, 31

Have you been at that place where you were so tired that you didn’t think you could take another step? It could be work.  It could be caring for a family member or friend. When you are too weary to carry on, that is when the darkness creeps in.  It is especially during those times that it is critical to lean heavily on God. His love light is so refreshing. He will take your burdens and worries if you let Him. He will restore your body, mind and spirit.

Glory to You God for the mighty works of Your hand. You reign. You rule. Teach us how to lay down our burdens for You to carry.  Father, renew our strength when we are too tired to go on. Carry us to Your throne to bask in Your love light. Be a cloud of protection around us when we are weary. Wrap Your arms around us to show us the marvel and wonder of Your might and beauty and perfect love.

Deuteronomy 33:25-29, Psalm 29:11, Job 17:9, Psalm 138:3

Revelation

Tropical island, Thailand

“1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Revelation 1:1-3 NIV

The image of John receiving this message from the angel of God is a powerful one. Wow. To see and hear from God like John – that would be incredible.

So what does it take to hear from God this clearly? Be still. I think we also have to know how much God loves us in order to fully trust what we hear.  It is critical for us to know how deep and how true He loves us.

We will be tested.  We will need to stand firm; stand firm in His life and His love.  We will be faced with ugliness. Darkness will be all around us.  In those times, the hard times, we need to trust God.  Trust His love for us.

Father, help me stand.  Help me simply stand firmly next to You. Hold my hand. Never leave me or forsake me.  I know You never will because You promised.

Ephesians 3:18, Psalm 46:10, Hebrews 2:18, Joshua 1:5

True

“4 The weapons of the war we’re fighting are not of this world but are powered by God and effective at tearing down the strongholds erected against His truth. We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 The Voice

True. One true God. Historically, true was not a word that packed a lot of punch for me.  As it becomes more and more challenging to tell the difference between pop spiritualism and the gospel, I am beginning to understand that true is a very powerful word.

True: Adjective– conforming to reality or fact; not false. Real, genuine, authentic. Sincere, not deceitful. Loyal, faithful, steadfast. Reflecting the essential or genuine character of something. Conforming to a standard. Exact, precise, accurate, correct. Legitimate or rightful. Reliable, unfailing, sure. Exactly or accurately shaped, formed, fitted or placed. Honest, honorable, upright.

As I look at these descriptions, they hold great power.  For me, it offers a word of caution.  We should be wary of things that do not reflect this description; things that are not true.

So Father, put a thirst in my heart for all things true, for all things of You.  Help me come to understand You as the One True God.  Help me embrace all the ways that You are true.  Father, I pray that I will be true to You in all things and in all ways.  Thank you for Your true and perfect love and mercy and grace.  Thank you for giving me these gifts undeservedly.  Thank you for loving me so true and unconditionally.

Matthew 6:22, 24:35; Mark 3:35, John 1:9, 3:21, 15:1

Watch for His Works

watch for his works

“Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence.” Psalm 105:4 The Message

What are signs of God’s presence? It is a peace. A settling. A knowing. Sometimes it happens really quickly. It is not God’s intention for us to get bogged down in minutia.  Sometimes He just needs us to do our part and trust Him to orchestrate the rest.  We simply have to do as He asks.  His transactions are bigger, more grand and more elegant than anything we can do in our own power.  And of course a lot less stressful if we can learn to let go of our desire to control and manage outcomes.

Lord, I ask for Your help.  Do not let me overthink what You ask me to do.  Help me to simply listen and continue to move forward.  Help me to put one foot in front of the other. One day at a time.  Father, order my steps and help me to trust that You will order everything else.  You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  I am Yours, Father. I am Yours. I am Yours.

Psalm 105; Psalm 27