Embed from Getty Images“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!
15 “If you are so numerous,” Joshua answered, “and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.” Joshua 17:15 NIV
When I read the book of Joshua, it becomes clear that there is a time for all things. It’s key to be in God’s timing. Throughout the book of Joshua there are tribes that readily took their lands and inheritance and those that did not. There were those that drove current inhabitants completely out of their land to take full ownership and those that learned to live with them.
God had just brought incredible victories to them while Joshua diligently sought the Lord’s counsel and followed it to the letter. Not everyone had the same heart to follow God’s direction to the letter. Why? I find it hard to believe….and then I realize the Israelites were more like me that I thought.
They were not perfect. God loved them anyway. They made God angry sometimes. God loved them anyway. They forgot about God. God loved them anyway. They fell back into worldly patterns. God loved them anyway. They faced consequences for their actions. God loved them anyway…
Just like He loves me.
Father, make me sensitive to Your timing in all things. Align my heart so that I walk in Your timing and instruction according to Your will. In Jesus Name, Amen.
“Explore me, O God, and know the real me. Dig deeply and discover who I am. Put me to the test and watch how I handle the strain. Psalm 139:23 The Voice
This is a cry for intimacy. When we share intimate space with someone, we get to know the good, the bad and the ugly (and of course there is a preponderance of beauty as well!). The bottom line is there can be no secrets. Nothing can be hidden. There is no room for it.
I love The Voice version because you can hear the pain in this cry “Dig deeply…Put me to the test…watch how I handle the strain.” So when this happens, we get at the truth of the matter. So here is what was uncovered for me: anxiety, doubt, worry, fear of man, unhealthy connection to people, performance, rejection and fear.
This made me so angry! It was a list I was familiar with. I was so tired of the same list popping up time and time again. After a growl, I asked the Lord to deliver me. I was done with it. I prayed in the Spirit for thirty minutes because I didn’t trust my own heart to get at the ugly stuff that seemed to be hanging around. There was a shift! My heart was lighter. My mind was clearer. I had more energy. It was amazing. I’ve heard testimonies and sermons about praying in the Spirit but this application was even more validating and faith building. Cool. God gives us all the instructions and the tools. We just have to use them.
Lord, thank you for every piece of instruction and tool You have provided. I pray i exercise them all to the fullest!
“3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.” Hebrews 1:3-4 NIV
The word radiance creates such an incredible image in my mind. There is a brilliance and effervescence to it that warms me from the inside out and makes me smile. It also humbles me. Jesus is the brilliance of God’s glory. And to think that we are created in God’s image. Blows my mind. That is a very scary thing for Satan. Any way that he can keep us from walking in the “radiance of God’s glory” he will do it.
Knowing who we are in Christ, knowing the power and authority that we have over Satan keeps him from robbing us of our radiance. God’s radiance loves everyone. It doesn’t need a label. We don’t need schematics to get it right. All we have to do is live like Jesus. He is our example. Don’t get hung up on theory. Just stay in God’s word and look at the example that He gave us. Spend time getting to know the miraculous God that created us in His magnificent image. We are wonderfully and beautifully made! He says so. Then He sent His Son to die for us to ensure that He could always be with us every step of the way…if we let Him.
Father help me to love others with Your heart. Help me hold firmly to my identity in You. Help me be a radiant reflection of You.
“For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4 NIV
When I looked at this verse today I saw a few things I didn’t see before:
God goes with us to fight. This means:
We have to show up for the fight.
He goes with us.
This gave me pause to think about how to become ready for a fight. It requires faith. We have to go into battle with a victory mindset – meaning we have an expectation of success and/or a triumph over an enemy. In order to have that expectation we cannot allow doubt or unbelief to go with us into battle. We have to make sure they are not taking up any real estate in our minds. Doubt and unbelief create internal battles that distract us from the battlefield.
God goes with us against our enemies.
So, who are our enemies? Well, Galatians 5:19-21 has a pretty good list: corrupt sexual relationships, impurity, unbridled relationships, impurity, unbridled lust, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, arguing, jealousy, anger, selfishness, contentiousness, division, envy of others’ good fortune, drunkenness, and drunken revelry. This is a war against our flesh. Satan is a spiritual enemy that uses these things of the flesh in combat.
God gives us victory. We do not fight like the world does. God has given us tools to fight with:
We have divine power to demolish strongholds
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God
Make every thought obedient to Christ
Father, thank you for going with me to fight for me against my enemies to give me victory.
“He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,” Proverbs 2:7 NIV
There have been times in ministry that I knew something was off. I knew that it was time to pull back and sit with God. Refocus. Recalibrate. Restore, Refresh. Renew. During those times the outpouring of God’s love has been immense. Truly an incredible comfort. I love how He reads my heart. He knows just how to touch it for healing, restoration, and transformation. What a Mighty God!
As I was meditating on this scripture during one of those respites, I noticed that my prayers had become weak. I was not coming directly to God with my requests. They had become passive. As I started to visualize Him as my shield with a face set like flint in pursuit of victory on my behalf, it made me more bold. My prayer shifted. I began to ask for what I wanted very specifically:
Father give me Your eyes to see all things. Give me Your ears to hear. And give me Your heart to love in all things so that I may be a demonstration of Your love and glory on this earth. Father You promise me that You hold victory in store for the upright and that You are a shield for the blameless. I claim that promise. I declare and decree that promise in Jesus Name, Amen.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
I can’t help it. “Go Boldly” sends me into StarTrek references. As I walk in faith, there are days that I do feel like I am in uncharted territories. I really have to work at quieting my own voice so that I can hear God’s. Instead of rushing ahead I have to be quiet and wait. Sometimes that is a bold move. Sometimes being obedient is a bold move. Sometimes standing firm is a bold move. Sometimes letting go of all that you know that is familiar to you is a bold move. Sometimes loving and forgiving is a bold move. Boldness in faith takes on a different look and feel. It is not brash or self-serving. Regardless, it is still boldly going where I may not have gone before!
Father, keep me wrapped in righteousness and help me be bold as a lion. No holding anything back from you!
“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.” 1 Chronicles 4:10 NIV
Jabez was trustworthy in the eyes of the Lord. He knew God’s ways. He knew to rely on God to transform his circumstances so that God would be glorified. And God did. I had to ask myself, am I trustworthy of God’s blessings? If we tune into God’s Word and His voice, He will teach us. God will teach us to walk with Him, dance with Him and wait for Him. He will teach us to pray and watch for Him. We will learn to wait for Him. As our hearts become molded into His, we will find favor. As we honor His heart, He will honor ours. Two hearts operating as one. No worry, no pity, no pride or grumbling. Just work, prayer, humility and gratitude. Gratitude for His faithfulness to meet our every need. He grants our requests.
Father God, I want to learn to walk with You, dance with You and wait for You. Help me learn to ask You for all things and be trustworthy to receive.
“1 The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord is robed, He has girded Himself with strength and power; the world also is established, that it cannot be moved.2 Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting.3 The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up the roaring of their waves. 4 The Lord on high is mightier and more glorious than the noise of many waters, yes, than the mighty breakers and waves of the sea. 5 Your testimonies are very sure; holiness [apparent in separation from sin, with simple trust and hearty obedience] is becoming to Your house, O Lord, forever.” Psalm 93 AMP
As I read this scripture today, I could imagine the Hallelujah chorus playing and bursting into the part that says “The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!” These words are so powerful! I loved all the ways this passage describes how God reigns: gloriously, powerfully, eternally, triumphantly and in truth and holiness. It reminded me that if God is with us, who can come against us? His love endures forever!
Dearest Father, thank you for Your enduring love! Thank you for the infinite characteristics of Your omnipotent care.
“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.