Revelation

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“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

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The Thief and The Shepherd

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“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!

Psalm 34:4-5, John 17:26, Psalm 139:14, Matthew 7:6, James 4:15-17

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Do Right

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“6 The Eternal is ready to share His wisdom with us, for His words bring true knowledge and insight;He has stored up the essentials of sound wisdom for those who do right; He acts as a shield for those who value integrity.” Proverbs 2:6-7 The Voice

I long to do right.  To value integrity. To bury God’s words so deep in my heart, immerse my heart in it, so that nothing comes out of my heart but Him.  I am so thankful for God’s Love and Grace and Mercy!  It is so rich and beautiful.  I am thankful for His guidance.

I pray that I can be a beacon of God’s Love for everyone.  I pray that His love will be palpable and fragrant and humble and gentle and kind in me.  That I can be a reflection of that Love.  I pray that I can learn how to live and walk and breathe by faith.

Luke 21:15, Ephesians 1:17-18, James 1:5, Psalms 19:8, Psalms 119:34

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Shine Like The Stars

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14 Do all things without complaining or bickering with each other, 15 so you will be found innocent and blameless; you are God’s children called to live without a single stain on your reputations among this perverted and crooked generation.  Shine like starts across the land.”  Philippians 2:14-15 The Voice

Our behavior is a demonstration of how we honor God.  It’s not about perfection.  It is about a demonstration of our love for our Father.  It’s not about performance.  It’s about our hearts desire to be like Him and operate in His ways.  It is a way to honor our Father.  When we take care not to give offense or take offense – to God, fellow Christians, or others – we honor His sanctification of our sin.

Father, help me to shine like the stars, so I can be a reflection of Your love!

Philippians 2:3, James 5:9, 1 Peter 4:9, Proverbs 13:10

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You Are Light

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“8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord.Ephesians 5:8-10 NIV

There was a season in my life that I needed God’s intervention daily to instill His gifts of the Spirit in me.  It was not something visible to others, but I knew my heart needed a supernatural intervention.  I began to pray daily: “Father, give me a thirst for all things that are Godly.  Quench any thirst for things that are ungodly.”  As I prayed this daily I began to notice a transformation.  It was subtle at first:  TV programs, music, conversations, people in my life, things I cared about and chose to invest resources in.  It was truly amazing.  He answered my prayers and began to change my heart’s desires to line up with His.  He will answer your requests!

Father, thank you for Your faithfulness. Thank you for listening to every request of our heart and giving us what we need. I pray that You continually give me a thirst for all things of You! You are my Light and my Salvation.

Philippians 4:6, Ephesians 5:13, 15-17

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Humility Means Letting Go

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1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3 NIV

I have found that my tendency toward self-sufficiency has been an obstacle to embracing humility. It caused me to hold on to things that I should have surrendered to God.  Those old habits had to be taken to God in prayer daily. It was easiest to start with those things that were precious to me or hard for me.  They were things I could only trust with God.  What I have come to understand is that everything is like that.  He wants it all – every detail, every jot and tittle.  He wants us to depend on Him totally.  That has simplified my life significantly. This simplicity is refreshing and light.  It makes life a joy.

Father, thank you for keeping things light and simple.  Thank you for always being there and accepting whatever I lay before You.  Thank you for Your undying love for me!

Psalm 149:4, Proverbs 15:33, Romans 8:28, Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 4:12-14, Matthew 10:29, Luke 12:7

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Under Construction

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“3 … make straight and smooth in the desert a highway for our God! Every valley shall be lifted and filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked and uneven shall be made straight and level, and the rough places a plain.” Isaiah 40:3b-4 AMP

Picture a construction site: bulldozers, dump trucks, frontend loaders, construction crews.  The engineer has the plan that makes sense of it all.  The plan can take an area that seems impassable and rugged, transforming it.  It transforms an area full of obstacles into a main artery of activity.  God is our engineer that holds the vision and master plan.  When he clears the path: filling our valleys, making our mountains straight and level, and smoothing out our rough places — we don’t always understand that it is a period of construction.

Father, thank you for loving me so much that you made a way for me through Your Son Jesus. Thank you for removing every obstacle and making me into something new in You!

Matthew 17:20, 1 Corinthians 13:2

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