Speculation

Speculation

“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB

Sometimes our minds can get the best of us.  When I am struggling with my own reasoning and logic, I look at Paul.  Paul was an incredible figure in the New Testament. He was well educated and very versed in the scripture.  Acts chapters 21-30 are full of his adventures.  Here is what resonates with me about him:  First of all, he demonstrated superhuman faith.  Faith like his broke bondage in the natural world as well as the spiritual.  Imagine a prison break designed by God through praise and worship!

Second, he knew the voice of God and was obedient.  No questions asked.  He knew how to take every thought captive and step into obedience.  Even when everything around him screamed differently, he maintained his faith.  In prison. On a ship in stormy seas. In the face of angry spiritual leaders.  In front of high-ranking political authorities. He had a story to tell and he stayed true and obedient to it…No matter what things looked like.

God, give me supernatural faith to move large obstacles to glorify You.

Philippians 4:4-6, Job 6:24, 2 Timothy 2:25-26

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Laugh At Days To Come

laugh at days to come

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25 NIV

As I read this, it conjures up a picture of a super hero.  But no! It’s a Proverbs 31 woman. This woman is a dynamo.  She’s up early. She is a savvy business woman and manages the best of care for her family.  I aspire to be like the Proverbs 31 woman.

This is an aspect of her that I have not thought much about.  In strength and dignity, she can LAUGH at the days to come.  Ha! Ha! Ha!

In order to laugh, there are a few things that she cannot be burdened with: worry, fear, doubt, confusion, anxiety, stress, uncertainty, gossip, comparison, insecurity.  And I’m sure there are more.

This lighter burden and purified heart unleash this confident strength and dignity. It is confidence in a power much greater than herself. With that, she can laugh at days to come…

Lord, deposit laughter and joy deep into my heart!

Proverbs 17:22, Matthew 11:28-30, Matthew 12:13-14, 2 Corinthians 13:5

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Run!

run

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” 1 Timothy 6:11 NIV

Flee: To run away, as from danger or pursuers; take flight. To move swiftly; fly; speed.

Pursue: To follow in order to overtake, capture, kill; chase. To strive to gain; seek to gain or accomplish.

As I looked at these definitions, a comic strip started to form in my mind.  It looked a little like the old Tom and Jerry cartoons.  The pursuit was always heated!

So I picture Timothy fleeing from “all this.” What is my “all this”? What should I be fleeing from? A few years ago for me, it was a rat race in a dog-eat-dog environment. Today, it is letting go of circumstances and not permitting them to govern me. It occurs to me that growth always involves leaving something behind.  It might be an old pattern or perception. It might be something more material.

But it always requires that we pursue — chase, overtake, capture —  a different direction in some way. Grabbing hold of something new. A new learning. A new habit. A new life.

It is not possible to flee the “all this” and carry a lot of baggage in our new pursuit. It involves making choices; traveling light. The lighter yoke that only Jesus Christ can give us.

Lord, help me leave my “all this” behind to pursue righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

Acts 17:28, Colossians 2:6-7

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Hard Questions

hard questions

12 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NASB

When hard things happen sometimes they produce hard questions. Questions that we have of others. Questions that we have of ourselves.  And questions that we have of God. Hard questions have to be asked. They have to be asked in order to grow.  We have to summon the courage to face the things we don’t understand or even just don’t like.  Sometimes we go through seasons of change that are painful.  Sometimes they are longer than we would like.  They test our faith.  They test our courage and our endurance. They test our patience. Our love.

We may throw in the towel.  We may fall down.  Sometimes we have to start all over again.  And that is the beauty of it.  We can.  The price has already been paid by Jesus. He gave us the do over.  As many times as we need, He still stands there with open arms.

Through it all we have the opportunity to learn and grow.  We have the opportunity to ask for what we need and trust that it will be given.  Sometimes not in the way we think but in a new and different way.

Father, thank you for always being there with as many do overs as it takes. I pray I always get up and come running back to You.

1 Kings 10:1; James 1:5; 1 Kings 3:9-10; Proverbs 2:3-6, 27:17; Ecclesiastes 7:10, 10:10

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Assurance

assurance

“Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 3:13 NIV

By walking in faith daily — the practice of seeking God, meditating on His Word, trusting God, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and applying these teachings to our lives – we grow stronger in every way. We grow in faith – trust God more. We grow in courage – we are not gripped by fear, worry, anxiety, guilt, or shame. They cannot shut us down or hold us back. We are able to appreciate every day as a gift.  We can rejoice and be glad in it! We operate with a heart that has been healed, softened, and occupied by the love of Jesus.

Father, occupy my heart!

1 Corinthians 16:13, Timothy 3:13, Psalm 90:12, Mark 8:36, Philippians 1:21

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Loves Me Like A Rock

loves me like a rock2

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2 NIV

For a long time I thought of salvation as my ticket out of hell.  I knew about being a Christian, I grew up in church.  As a child I felt called to the mission field and had a heart specifically for Africa.  Somehow, someway I missed the bigger picture.  I missed tucking away the deep, passionate love of my heavenly Father in my heart.  When storms came into my life, I was not on firm footing.  I got blown away.

Now decades later, through some pretty incredible orchestration by God, I’m here.  I’m learning to trust Him more.  Daily I try to wrap my head around His crazy love for me…and all of mankind.  Today salvation looks very different for me.  Instead of a fear of hell fire and brimstone (which I’m not negating), I really want to come to terms with His love.  The more deeply I can understand His love, it will help me love myself and love others better.  I won’t do things out of obligation.  I will do the things He asks me to do out of love.  A deep, solid, unshakeable love.  He loves me like a rock.  Yes He does!

Lord, thank you for Your never ending, never failing love! You love me like a rock! You are my fierce protector, my shelter in a storm.

Psalm 13:5, 23, 36:7; Matthew 7:24-27; 1 Corinthians 13

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My Master

my master2

 “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 my shame attack, 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

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