“you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2: 5 NIV
We are being built into a spiritual house. Jesus was the first living stone and the cornerstone of the house we are building. So what are the spiritual sacrifices that we are to offer? Our bodies, souls, affections, prayers, praises, tithes and offerings and service. All with a joyful heart!
God is not asking anything of us that His Son was not willing to give Himself. It humbles me to think of the heart of Jesus. Such a beautiful and perfect example for us to follow.
There are times that I get all wound up in a frenzy of busyness. When I begin to rush and push and force things, it’s a good indicator that I need to pause. I need to check in with the Holy Spirit to see if I’m on track or not. Most often there is a more efficient and elegant solution than my own.
The beautiful thing about being a living stone is that we have a constant spiritual guide present, the Holy Spirit. He can get me back in alignment. Get me back in the headset of listening for direction and offering every moment up in surrender to a better way. Surrender. Obedience. Sacrifice.
Lord, thank you for Your perpetual living water that washes over me and flows through me. Thank you for Your constant love.
3 “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay. 4 “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.“ Habakkuk 2:3-4 NASB
Father, thank you for Your promises, Your deliverance and Your Word. Thank you for Your love, Your power and Your might that You wield on my behalf. Thank you for going before me and coming behind me. Thank you for Your favor.
Father, please search my heart to make it right and suitable for You. Take my heart and purge it of any prideful or soulish desires. I yearn to be in full communion with You, believing Your promises and waiting patiently and hopefully for Your timing.
“For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebrews 10:14 NIV
Sometimes I feel awkward and unsure. Fear can have a tendency to creep in. When things get intense, I can be fearful of making a mistake. It can trip me up. But God is always gentle with me. He always reminds me that He loves me. He doesn’t try to set me up. He doesn’t expect me to be perfect. All He asks is that I am willing. I have to have a heart that seeks His.
The enemy wants to derail me, but God knows my heart. He knows I have a loving heart. I have to stay true to that place. Use wisdom. Use discernment. Use them both with confidence.
Father, thank you for Your encouragement. Thank you for reminding me of Your love. Thank you for making me perfect through Your Son Jesus. Thank you for showing me Your ways and using Your perfect love to chase away any lingering fear.
“The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” Revelation 1:20 NIV
The Bible is a great book of instruction and life examples. It contains just about every storyline you can imagine: murder, intrigue, love, sibling rivalry and more. You name it. It has it. Every story serves a purpose. A real life purpose for today.
As I was reading in Revelation, I began to recognize pieces that relate to this moment in time. As John was talking about the seven churches, I realized they all had their issues. And they all had characteristics that He loved. When I think of God, I think of perfection. These churches were far from perfect!
These churches hold lessons for churches today. They are roadmaps for setting things in order for the return of Jesus Christ. They represent the struggles of the churches of today and the corrections that need to be made.
When Jesus died on the cross for us, we were not perfect. We were made perfect in Him. Churches need to be operating in His Spirit in order to function and perform the work that needs to be accomplished.
Lord, perfect our faith.
21”In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Ephesians 2:21-22 NIV
I believe that God weaves His purpose and destiny into each of our lives, knitting us together in intricate ways that we don’t always fully understand. If we can just hold on to our faith in His plan, passionately and fervently in the midst of whatever challenges come our way, we have a chance to see the masterpiece He is weaving.
As God’s will unfolds in each of our lives, it happens as a journey toward a destination by His design. It’s not flat terrain. And it’s not just one person. We are all intertwined.
It’s like a ball of yarn that is beautifully wound. If it is unwound correctly, there is no damage and it can be beautifully knit. If it gets unwound too fast and is not cared for, it can get knots and it may show wear. Parts may have to be cut out and the yarn may have to be spliced together. In the finished piece it may not be obvious that there was an issue with the yarn once the damaged section is removed. It may be imperceptible and inconsequential to the finished piece.
Picture a huge piece, a tapestry, with many colors and types of thread. Picture how they all get woven together, in different textures, colors, and stitches. Each thread is a life. We don’t know that it’s been spliced together. It may cause an anomaly or irregularity in the piece but it can still be beautiful in its imperfection.
God is the master craftsman. He has deposited talents in each of us. If you are feeling talentless, please know that is not true! You are precious and have a unique purpose in the kingdom of God. You are wonderfully and beautifully made, intentionally and with purpose.
Trust that every life has purpose. Life is not happening haphazardly. There is a reason for everything.
Father God, help me love like You. Help me see every life through Your eyes with their unique purpose and talents, including mine.
For Connie. You are knit together so beautifully! So thankful for you.
“Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen.” Hebrews 11:1 The Voice
I recently began a strengths coaching certification class with 11 other individuals. We are meeting each other for the first time with the intent of learning how to apply not only our personal strengths but others. One of the core concepts is “confident vulnerability.” As I examine this concept it resonates with my faith walk on so many different levels that it makes my head feel like it’s going to explode. It’s one of those concepts that may roll around in the back of my mind for the rest of my life as I look for opportunities to exercise and apply it.
In the context of strengths coaching, confident vulnerability is defined as courageously celebrating and embracing strengths, weaknesses and needs of both self and others without judgment. Think about that and prepare to be amazed. Immediately I think of Jesus. Who better models this incredible combination? Quiet, humble confidence full of the most incredible love that this world has ever seen. A love worth dying for…and He did for each and every one of us. It was so fragrant and attractive that it was irresistible to folks from every walk of life. People were curious and wanted to know more about His teachings and way of life.
As I was reading this morning, I ran across this statement1: “The only reason a shepherd would guide his sheep into a dangerous valley would be to lead them through it to a better place.” It was reassuring to know that my Shepherd knows that better place for me. As I follow Him through what appear to be dangerous valleys, I can be confident that He is taking me there. Confidently vulnerable and trusting with absolute conviction that He can see the realities that I have never seen.
Lord, I praise you for guiding me into Your realities that are so much more than what I can see with my natural eyes. Mold me and make me suitable to serve others when called upon to shepherd them to that better place. Give me strength and wisdom and discernment to follow Your footsteps through the dangerous valleys encountered in this life.
1 “I Shall Not Want,” April 26, 2014, Discovering God’s Design