All the Good Things

Embed from Getty Images“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” Psalm 84:11 NIV

There are days that I feel off. All I know to do is to lift myself up to God. I ask for Him to show me what I need to see. I ask Him to search my heart. Then I give thanks. I express my love. When I give thanks I can always see the care that He has taken in my life; the things He has set in motion on my behalf. Then I may have to ask for patience and wisdom to continue to leave everything in His hands! Patience to follow His lead and be thankful in all things.

Lord, when I am lost or down I know I can always find you with thanksgiving and praise!

Psalm 84

Everything Is All Right

Embed from Getty Images Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?’” “Everything is all right,” she said. 2 Kings 4: 26 NIV

When I read about the Shunammite woman I am humbled. Her heart is full of hospitality and gratitude. And such faith! God blesses a heart that is right with Him – fearfully right. In the middle of seemingly hopeless circumstances, when most of us would have been tempted to crumble at the loss, she continued in faith. She refused to look at the situation. She continued to put her trust in the promise of God.

Her hospitality had been rewarded. But it was in gracious faithfulness in the midst of a personal storm that she was able to say “Everything is all right.” This storm threatened great personal loss: her one and only son that God had given her. This woman held steadfastly to the character of God.

When circumstances appeared that her son would be taken from her, she held tightly to the reward God had already given her. She did not give way to how things seemed in the natural. She held tightly in faith.

The enemy will try to take our blessings away from us. We have to recognize that the enemy does not have the final word. God does. God Almighty is the One who breathes life into our circumstances. We have to hang onto our faith and close out distractions. Just like Elisha, we have to breathe/call life into our circumstances. Call forth God’s promises.

God, give me faith like the Shunammite woman. I pray I stand steadfastly and humbly without giving up on what You have promised.

2 Kings 4:17-37

What Do You Have in Your House?

Embed from Getty Images Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” 2 Kings 4:2 NIV

This is such an incredible story. The widow of a prophet came asking for help. Elisha asked what she had. Then he multiplied it so many times that she could pay all her debts, save her home, save her children, AND continue to live off her earnings.

This gave me pause. What do I have in my own house? Our God is a God of miracles. He is a God of multiplication. He will provide a path and generate provision. Do I limit Him in my own mind? Do I think too small? Do I hold on to anything so tightly that he can’t multiply it?

God, help me let go. Show me what I have in my house to offer up to you. Help me bring it all to you and be willing to make that leap of faith to get all the containers I can muster! Breathe on all I have Lord so that it may glorify You, Your might and Your power. I want to bring every care and every concern to You.

2 Kings 4:1-7

The Stew

Embed from Getty Images“Elisha said, “Get some flour.” He put it into the pot and said, “Serve it to the people to eat.” And there was nothing harmful in the pot.” 2 Kings 4:41 NIV

In a time of famine, God told Elisha how to care for the prophets. He gave his servants instructions. However, one of them thought they needed to add a little flavor to the stew. They ventured outside of the instruction God had given. It became a pot of death!

Just like Elisha, we are to care for each other with the resources available. God will provide us the “meal” that sets things right and makes it palatable for us. And when the first fruits come, we are to share. Do not look at the amount. Simply share.

How often do we venture outside of God’s instruction in our own lives? I know I do. I think of something that seems like a good idea at the time. I throw it into the mix without prayerful consideration. It takes me down a path that God did not intend. Suddenly things may come to a screeching halt! But sometimes that is what it takes for God to get my attention.

Then, just like God did for Elisha, he gives me the correction. A little “flour” to add to the mix to settle down the chaos that I invited. God adds His own flavor at the right time and with the right ingredients to the mix of my life. I just have to trust Him.

Lord, thank you for giving me Your instruction, as well as Your correction when I mess up Your recipe for my life. Thank you for Your favor and flavor! Teach me to follow Your instructions in every detail without adding or subtracting a thing.

2 Kings 4:38-41, 42-44

The Sword

Embed from Getty Images“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34 NIV

My definition of peace: calm that supercedes all things–atmosphere, circumstances, situations. It looks beyond the immediate to embrace with certainty and confidence a better state of being based on God’s promises to me. It is based on holding fast to God and not holding on to anything else.  Everything else changes right before our eyes. Our wealth. Our job. Our health. Our home. Even our family.  God is the only constant.

So what is the sword that Jesus Christ came to bring? In looking at the context of this chapter, my heart tells me that the sword was proclaiming the truth.  This truth, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the flesh with the full authority of His heavenly Father, was going to rip apart the fabric of the Jewish culture.  The disciples were sent only to the Israelites in this chapter.  They were instructed not to go to any Gentiles.  If not accepted they were told to leave, knock the dust off their feet, and move on. I am so very thankful this gift was extended to Gentiles as well!

It reminds me of the tearing of the curtain in the temple at the time of Christ’s crucifixion.  It was torn from top to bottom, not bottom to top.  The barrier between heaven and earth was ripped apart by the Father Himself when Jesus breathed His last breath.

So we have the choice.  We can accept the truth or reject it.  We can accept that Jesus was the Word of God in the flesh. He is the Son of God. He is the perfect Lamb of God slain for each and every one of us. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He died on a cross and rose again three days later conquering death for us.

If we can accept this truth, we are free. We are more than conquerors. We are victorious. We are redeemed from the sin of this world by His sword: the Truth.  There and only there can we find peace.

Father, thank you for sending Your Truth to set us free.

Matthew 10:16-42

Riches

Embed from Getty ImagesInstruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17 NASB

God places a vision in each of our hearts.  Our culture and all the distractions around us tend to cloud that vision and take us off point.  Then there are those ugly habits we pick up along the way that cause us to compare ourselves to each other, either thinking that we all have to (1)conform, or (2)compete with each other.  We begin to judge each other, as well as ourselves.

That is not God’s intention.  We are to pursue the vision that He has placed in our heart.  We don’t need to add to it or subtract from it.  Simply embrace and become His piece of art, walking in His design.  It is an intimate journey to walk fully in His will for our lives.  We are interconnected in purpose and design. When we wander outside of that purpose it causes delays, loss, grief and frustration.

The more we focus on the vision God has placed in our hearts and the more we crystallize it through speaking it, the more real it becomes.  The impossible becomes possible.  Through prayer and meditation on His Word, the steps to make it come to fruition become more clear.  Sometimes it becomes clear one step at a time.  Sometimes a business plan develops.  Regardless, all we have to do is stay focused on God and His vision for our life.

Father, thank you for your intimate and unique vision for each one of us.  Teach us to walk in that vision, fully embracing who You made us to be. Help us to recognize the riches  you have placed within each one of us.  Give us the desire to invest those riches according to Your design.

James 1:9-18, 1 John 3:16-20

Faith Saves

Embed from Getty ImagesBut Jesus said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go (enter) into peace [in freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin]. Luke 7:50 AMP

Sometimes I can’t see the forest for the trees.  I get so caught up in a minor detail that I may miss the bigger picture.  I may miss a theme or lose track of elements in a design.

Jesus was masterful in weaving stories to demonstrate larger concepts in a very concrete way.  The woman who washed his feet in perfume was a live example.

How often have I missed an opportunity to honor Christ in some way? Was I so busy rushing around that I didn’t pause to honor His presence? Did I jump into something before prayerful consideration? Was I unwilling to wait for His answer? Did I take matters into my own hands?

I love how this woman seized the opportunity to lavishly honor Him in service.  It didn’t make sense. It wasn’t logical.  It was passionate. It was sacrificial.  It was humbling to the point that others thought she was foolish.  And she didn’t care.

Lord, thank you for loving me beyond reason.  I pray I never hold back from loving You!

Luke 7:36-50

When We Don’t Even Know

Embed from Getty Images25 But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently. 26 And in the same way—by our faith—the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don’t even know what we should pray for nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words. Romans 8:25-26 The Living Bible

Sometimes when I don’t know what to pray for, I pray that others feel God’s Presence and know that He is there with them.  I pray that they feel a fresh renewal of their spirit. Sometimes when I get an impression of someone on my heart, I simply ask God to protect them and watch over them and give them peace.

There are also times that I need to pray in the spirit to connect more deeply.  Then impressions can become even more clear and specific.

Regardless of how and when I pray, I know it is never wasted.  God hears every prayer. He hears every request. We have a powerful and divine partner!  The Holy Spirit is always present and interceding on my behalf.  He can speak for us when we don’t even know what to ask for.

John 2:23-25, Psalm 13:5-6, Romans 8:19-20

Get Your Rest

Embed from Getty Images
1Unless the Lord builds a house, the builders’ work is useless. Unless the Lord protects a city, sentries do no good. It is senseless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, fearing you will starve to death; for God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest. Psalm 127:1-2 The Living Bible

The more I come to know God, the more I come to understand who I am in Him. He is gracious and merciful. The closer I get to God and the more I operate in His ways, the more I can grow and develop into His image. If I can stay focused on Jesus and remember what He endured for me on the cross out of His great love, compassion, patience and long-suffering, it helps me to keep kingdom business as a priority in my life. Everything else starts to pale in comparison.

All the toiling and effort is nothing without recognizing that God gives us the ability to produce wealth.  The only debt He wants us to carry is the continuing debt of love for one another.  It’s not to judge or compare. It’s not to compete with one another for positioning or recognition.  All wealth and honor come from God. He gives us strength and power. He promotes and exalts us all in His timing and according to His plan. Oh to trust in Him with all my heart! Then I can rest properly.

Father I pray that I will discover more of You every day. I pray for Your image to shine through, burst through, to be demonstration of You, the One True God in this world – Our Maker, Our Creator, Our One True Love. I pray that everyone see a fragrant and beautiful expression of Your love, hope, grace and mercy in me. Help my heart to accept all that You have for me. Help me see others through Your eyes.

2 Chronicles 29:12, Romans 13:8, Deuteronomy 8:18, Romans 12:10,12

Grace

Embed from Getty Images“For while the Law was given through Moses, grace (unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17 AMP

I love how the Amplified version defines grace: unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing. There have been times in my life where God has demonstrated His grace so magnificently that I was humbled to tears.  I could feel any pride within me break at His greatness.  Any concern that I had been laced with was dissolved by His grace; in the powerful move of His hand to care for me.  It has felt like being wisked away to a place full of love that I can’t even describe.

In the midst of it, I have felt His encouragement too.  Sometimes it has been to stay on course. Or to continue slow and steady.  Sometimes it has been a reminder to schedule my time wisely and not to fill it up.

It is a dance for me. I believe as I practice walking in faith it will come more easily.  I want to enjoy it! Just like Peter walked on the water, I want to dance through this life in faith!  With my eyes on Jesus as my dance partner at every turn.

Father, help me to take one step at a time. I do not want to get mired down in questions. I want to move forward in You. Eyes forward and on You. Thank you King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Matthew 5:17, James 2:8-10