Without A Word

without a word3

“1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.” Psalm 19:1-4 NIV

This gave me pause.  When I look at the beauty of the sky, it does speak!  When I look at stars and pictures of the universe, it overwhelms me.  It speaks volumes without a word.  God, Creator of all, You are a Mighty God!

Then I paused again.  You made me too.  Is it enough to be exactly what You made me to be?  What stops me? If I can simply be exactly what You made me to be, can I speak volumes without a word?  That is a humbling thought.

What influences me otherwise? What do I put ahead of that objective on a daily basis?

Lord help me. Take my heart. Make it new. Make it into that beautiful expression of You all over again.  I pray that others can see You in me without speaking a word.  I ask these things in Jesus Name.

Psalm 19, Psalm 8, Exodus 20:4-6

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Be A Seed

Be a seed2

“24 I tell you the truth: unless a grain of wheat is planted in the ground and dies, it remains a solitary seed. But when it is planted, it produces in death a great harvest. 25 The one who loves this life will lose it, and the one who despises it in this world will have life forevermore.” John 12:24-25 The Voice

This scripture pointed out so clearly why I have to die to myself.  The concept is a tough one to embrace.  It boils down to what do I really want?  Do I really want all the fullness that God has for me?  Or am I satisfied with just a taste?  His fullness requires the sacrifice of self.  This helped me to understand that it’s not about me and my plan.  It’s about God and His plan.

As I picture the planting of a seed, I want to be planted.  I don’t want to die on the stalk and wither away, useless and wasted.  I REALLY want to plant and have a shot at being part of a larger harvest.  When I think about all the things in my life that I need to lay down, a few things come to mind like over-planning, over-preparing, and over-performing.  These are top of mind.  I have had a tendency to charge “over” the path all three ways without seeking God’s direction.  Moving ahead instead of following.

Father I repent for that old pattern. I can feel it kick in. I turn to You. I want to walk in Your light.  I want to understand Your ways.  I want to follow Your lead.  Help me relax and just walk with You. Help me keep it simple. Help me to count on You. Thank you for Your love.  Thank you for making my heart sing!

1 Corinthians 15:36-38, Acts 4:4

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Lady Wisdom

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“2If you listen for Lady Wisdom, attune your ears to her, and engage your mind to understand what she is telling you,If you cry out to her for insight and beg for understanding,If you sift through the clamor of everything around you to seek her like some precious prize, to search for her like buried treasure;Then you will grasp what it means to truly respect the Eternal, and you will have discovered the knowledge of the one True God.” Proverbs 2:2-5 The Voice

Today, I had a sense of being stuck.  I know God is faithful to me.  He is also very patient with me.  I am thankful for that.  I have the sense I am missing something.  I cried out to God and said “What do I need to do for breakthrough?” I heard a still small voice say: “Be obedient.” So I replied, “What am I missing?” And the still small voice explained: “You are not able to sit in it.  You are not fully trusting me. Wait for me, daughter.” And yes, it’s true.  Sometimes I get in a hurry.  I don’t leave things up to God and I take things into my own hands.  I’m trying to learn to trust Him more.  It takes lots of practice.  Lots of prayer.  But it’s so much better all the way around if I will leave things with Him.

So after reading this scripture and listening to the still small voice I prayed, “Father God, help me accept what You tell me and store Your counsel and directives deep within me.  Help me listen for Lady Wisdom and tune my ears to her voice.  Engage my mind to understand what she is telling me.  I cry out to You for insight and understanding.  Father, help me seek wisdom like a precious prize or buried treasure.  Help me grasp the fullness of truly respecting You and to discover the knowledge of You, my One True God. In Jesus Name, Amen”

James 1:5, Exodus 19:3, Deuteronomy 4:5-7

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Wait

Wait

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:31 NASB

Depending on the version of the Bible you read, the first phrase may vary: those who wait, those who hope, or those who trust.  I like the word wait.

Wait: to be available or in a state of readiness

If I wait, it means I trust and hope in the Lord with enough confidence to:

(1)     not try to do it myself

(2)     not expect someone else to have the answer for me

(3)     be in a state of preparation, or get ready, for what God has for me

As I wait, I pray. I watch expectantly for God and give Him all glory for every good thing.

Father, prepare my heart for whatever You have for me.  Teach me to surrender my heart fully to You so that I can prepare each day for what You have for me.  Renew my strength so that through You I can soar on wings like an eagle and not grow weary. Restore me Father. Renew me.

Psalm 27:14, Psalm 37:34, Psalm 40:1, Isaiah 25:9

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Personal Prayer Garden

personal prayer garden

“Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:38 NIV

I have the sense that prayer creates forward motion…on many planes: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Active prayer engages with hope and anticipation.  It means we lean INTO it.  We lean FORWARD in prayer. I liken it to a suspenseful movie or conversation that makes you lean so far forward that you are on the edge of your seat.  It feels like if you move one millimeter closer, you are going to fall right out of your chair. Plop! Right onto the floor.

I believe that it is that supernatural tension that keeps us suspended in mid-air.  It keeps us from falling out of our spiritual chair, so to speak.

I have never prayed so hard that I sweat drops of blood like Jesus.  However as I have prayed during particularly hard times, I have felt the sensation that God was carrying me.  That I was staying afloat by supernatural means.  I believe the only way that occurred is through a prayer full of surrender and total reliance on God.  I still struggle.  I still mess up.  I start picking up old patterns of self-reliance.  Ugh. I know it will get better!  I am so thankful that God never gives up on me.  Sometimes I have to walk through painful reminders to get back to that place of full surrender all over again.

I remain thankful.  I know God never leaves me or forsakes me.  Even when my hard head gets in the way!

Father, thank you for Your love and Your grace and Your mercy.  Teach me to pray.  Teach me to pray like Jesus. Teach me to rely on You.  Teach me Your ways.

Matthew 26:36-45, Luke 22:39-46, Deuteronomy 31:6

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Be Prepared

Be prepared

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25:13 NIV

As I read some of the commentaries on this parable of the ten virgins, I learned that all the virgins — both the foolish and wise — knew that delays were common.  All of them rested and slept while they waited.  All of them had the same information but only half had taken steps to be prepared for the bridegroom to arrive.

The virgins had a job to do.  They were supposed to escort the bride to the bridegroom; they were supposed to light her path. Those that were not prepared were an insult to the bride.

It occurred to me that the church is the bride of Christ.  By not being prepared and diligent – we let the church down.  We are an insult to the body of Christ, the church.  I do not want to be a foolish virgin. I want my oil containers to be full.  I want my torch prepared to be lit as long as is required in order to meet the bridegroom.

Father, thank you for every preparation that You have in store for me. I welcome Your preparation, Your discipline and correction. Teach me Your ways. I surrender to Your teaching so that I can honor You and Your church.

Matthew 25:1-13, Hebrews 13:5

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Humble Me

humble me

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6 NIV

Pride has been an issue for me. This verse caught my eye because if I am prideful, I have already lifted myself up.  I have not surrendered everything to God so that He can lift me up in His timing.  Pride makes me get in a hurry to do things my own way.  Pride makes me think that I know the best way.  Pride throws patience to the curb and says “See you later, sucker!”

Pride forces its way into situations and circumstances with an expectation of entitlement.  Humility is graceful and waits patiently offering to serve others in the meantime.  Pride is rude and rash.  Humility is gentle and kind. Pride takes what is mine first.  Humility honors others first. Pride is legalistic.  Humility hears the cry of the needy.

Father, help me surrender and submit to you in every way. Let humility govern my heart.

2 Chronicles 12:6-8, Proverbs 29:23, Luke 14:11, Romans 5:6-8

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A Little While…

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Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:8-10 NIV

What is a little while? This scripture says that after we have suffered “a little while” Christ will restore us and make us strong.  Whew! I am thankful for that.  However, am I able to withstand suffering for a little while?

Sometimes it is easier to get through things if there is a goal in mind.  Saving for a big vacation or a new car. Saving for a life event like college or a wedding.  The process of saving requires choices, decisions and sometimes sacrifice.  Suffering.  Not having everything you want when you want it.  Delayed gratification.  We are not used to that in this day and age.  We’ve become a right now culture at all costs.  Do we understand what it means to wait or delay for the perfect timing?  Is that why the word “suffering” is such a turn off?

To suffer can mean to be in pain.  But it can also mean to endure or permit.  Can we endure and permit delays and wait for God’s timing? To wait for God’s best for us?

I ask myself these questions all the time.  I find that when I am feeling rushed into making decisions or choices that it gives me pause.  Pause to pray and take God’s plans into consideration above my own.  Sometimes, even frequently, the decision or choice I was in such a rush about starts to fade in importance…And I wait.

Lord, remind me to pause and not allow things to rush me.  Help me to remember that Your pause brings peace and perspective.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 1 Peter 1:3-9

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Effective Prayer

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“Do not be afraid, Daniel. From the very first day that you began to pursue understanding and humble yourself before your God, your words have been heard. I have been sent in response to what you’ve said.” Daniel 10:12 The Voice

Daniel had hope.  Even though Israel had brought on their own troubles, Daniel had hope in God. In this hope, he pleaded with God for restoration of the Israelites through fasting and prayer. It was here he received revelation through God’s word that prompted him.

Nehemiah also prayed effectively for the people of Israel in Nehemiah 9:1-11.  These prayers both had four parts.  They were:

  • Worship
  • Confession of sin
  • Recognition of the justice of God in His judgment on sin
  • A plea for God’s mercy based on concern for God’s name, His kingdom and His will

The prayers are grounded in God’s promises and offered in a spirit of contrition and humility. The Lord’s Prayer offers these components as well.

It is through worship and repentance that our hearts become pliable. They establish a welcoming environment for the Holy Spirit to operate, intercede for us, and communicate with us.

I have to admit that sometimes I settle in for prayer knowing that something is off but I don’t know what it is.  Sometimes it is in that quiet time in God’s word or just the stillness that surrender occurs.  The Holy Spirit comes and works with my heart to help me understand.  It is there that I can worship and give thanks and appreciate with awe the power, grace and love given to me and for us all.

It is amazing to me how even my requests shift at that juncture.  When my eyes are turned to God, His purpose prevails.

Father, thank you for Your Word—Jesus—both living and written, that provide such powerful instruction. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit, Your Comforter. Thank you for every promise, Father. I pray that I walk in those promises daily, embracing You and Your ways.

Daniel 9:4-19, Nehemiah 9:1-11, Matthew 6:9-13

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The Spirit Of Truth

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“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16:13 NIV

The Spirit of truth teaches and guides.  It guides us to the voice of God because that is all it hears. Not only the truth of today but also the truth of the future. In the Spirit we find wisdom, teaching, correction, praise and gratitude.

We do not have to look far.  It dwells within us. We just have to listen and wait for the voice of God that resides within us.  We have to “tune in” and develop the filter of our own voice from His.

That filter is developed through God’s Word.  All the character of God is taught there.  We can learn about the values and principles that help us recognize His voice.  We can learn about His great love for us and how to demonstrate our love. We learn how to develop a relationship that is intimate enough to recognize the truth of the Spirit readily and respectfully. We learn to value that truth above all else. We learn to wait on the Lord.  His truth. His timing.

I have had moments when I got in a hurry.  I didn’t listen. I didn’t wait.  It was not efficient.

Then I’ve had my moments when I wasn’t sure whose voice I was hearing.  It was only through God’s Word that discernment came. I found clarity and wisdom to understand the character of God more fully there.

I began to recognize the Comforter and the Counselor’s voice in my life. It reinforced that I am never alone, just as Jesus Christ promised.  It is the Spirit of truth that He promised would follow Him and that is the Spirit that dwells in me.

Father, thank you for sending Your Spirit of truth to bring Your guidance, teachings, counsel, urging, joy, peace, strength, and courage to us, directly and without reservation. Remind me to ask for Your counsel that is so readily available.

Psalm 25, Colossians 3:16, Luke 12:12

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