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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Fresh Words

fresh words

“Don’t let even one rotten word seep out of your mouths. Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when they need it most. That way your good words will communicate grace to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 The Voice

What are rotten words? Words that come out of anger, rage, malice, slander, fear and are filthy. Wicked.  Lies. Evil. Deception.

What are fresh words? Words full of grace, encouragement, truth, love, compassion, gentleness, humility and meekness. Wholesome. Beneficial. Confident. Even bold.

I have heard lots of sayings that allude to the proportion of time that we should speak versus listen.  As in, “We have two ears and two eyes and one mouth for a reason.  Use them proportionately!” I used to find this amusing but now I just recognize it as truth.  Our words have the power of life and death in them.

Some of the things that are associated in scripture with fresh words: life, keep from trouble, sweet like honey, hope, wisdom, peace, love, instruction, healing, love life and to see good days. What we speak has the power to build someone up or tear them down.

Lord, do not let even one rotten word seep out of my mouth. I pray that my words will be Your words spoken in love.

Colossians 3:8, 4:6; Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 15:4, 18:21, 19:5, 21:23

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Watch For His Works

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“Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works;
be alert for signs of his presence.” Psalm 105:4 The Message

What are signs of God’s presence? It is a peace. A settling. A knowing. Sometimes it happens really quickly. It is not God’s intention for us to get bogged down in minutia.  Sometimes He just needs us to do our part and trust Him to orchestrate the rest.  We simply have to do as He asks.  His transactions are bigger, more grand and more elegant than anything we can do in our own power.  And of course a lot less stressful if we can learn to let go of our desire to control and manage outcomes.

Lord, I ask for Your help.  Do not let me overthink what You ask me to do.  Help me to simply listen and continue to move forward.  Help me to put one foot in front of the other. One day at a time.  Father, order my steps and help me to trust that You will order everything else.  You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  I am Yours, Father. I am Yours. I am Yours.

Psalm 105; Psalm 27

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I Am Not Master Of The Universe

i am not master of the universe2

“37 If you don’t want to be judged, don’t judge. If you don’t want to be condemned, don’t condemn. If you want to be forgiven, forgive. 38 Don’t hold back—give freely, and you’ll have plenty poured back into your lap—a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, brimming over. You’ll receive in the same measure you give.” Luke 6:37-38 The Voice

Have you ever had a morning where everything you pick up points to the fact that you need an attitude adjustment?  I had a morning like that. Everything I picked up pointed to issues around judging others.  Since everything appeared to be pointing that direction, I sat down for some prayer time.  I asked God to search my heart.  Things started to come to mind pretty quickly.  He had a list.

Here is what came to mind:

  • Using opportunities to position myself
  • Self-promotion
  • Striving; feeling like I had to “master” things

Once those were dealt with, it was much easier to operate in a calm, loving, giving way.  The clutter in my heart had been cleared out to make more room for Jesus. When there is more room for Jesus, everything goes more smoothly.  I strive less because I trust Him. I appreciate others more and engage more deeply because I‘m not promoting myself or performing.  I am more outwardly focused (giving, sharing, caring) and less inwardly focused (withholding, hiding, comparing).  It all starts at the heart.

Father, thank you! Thank you for teaching me Your ways.  I know that you are stretching and teaching me Your beautiful ways. Thank you for Your patience, Your grace, Your mercy and Your love. Father, I ask for more wisdom every day to become more like You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Luke 6:37-42, Matthew 7:1, Romans 2:1-2, Romans 14:3-4, 13

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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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No RSVP

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“So those who…are last will be first…, and those who…are first will be last…. For many are called, but few chosen.” Matthew 20:16 AMP

I have read this verse many times.  However, when I read this in the context of another verse it literally sent chills through me.  The second verse was this:

“23 Then the master said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges and urge and constrain [them] to yield and come in, so that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, not one of those who were invited shall taste my supper.” Luke 14:23-24 AMP

This made me stop and think.  I’m not the best at an RSVP to invitations. As a matter of fact, I have gradually fallen “off the list” so to speak.  There was a time that my social calendar was very full and it was a priority.  However, there was a shift for me.  It was not my intent to offend anyone.  It just slid down my list.  I still have coffee, lunch and dinner with intimates and associates on a less frequent basis.  My schedule has a much more leisurely pace these days….by design.

However, as I was thinking about this grand feast that was prepared as described in the scripture, the words that were bone-chilling to me were:

“…not one of those who were invited shall taste my supper.”

Have I ever not shown up for God?  Has He ever set a table for me and I made other priorities? I had to sit with that one a while.  A long while.  I’m still reeling a little.  What if in my hustle and bustle I never even looked at His invitation?  Or what if my calendar was so full of other priorities that His fell off my list?

As I step back, I realize that I have to reassess.  That is one invitation I do not want to neglect.  I also want to make sure that my relationships with others reflect His graciousness as well (i.e. treat others with respect and care).

Father, I repent for ever taking Your invitation for granted.  Help me treat You as my first priority.  Help me love others like You love me and treat them with respect and care.

Matthew 19:28-30, Matthew 7:13-14

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Peace

peace

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 NIV

I have read that faith is a fight.  I believe that is true.  It is a fight to hang on to the promises of God in spite of circumstances and what we see happening around us. This peace supercedes everything.  As I learn to release more to God to manage my life, it leaves me with more peace.  More joy.  It’s settling.  There have been days when I had an agenda all lined up with tasks to complete for the day, check list in hand.  From my perspective, it would be a good, productive day.  Occasionally, I have had the sense that God had other plans.

If I retreat to listen quietly, my plans shift sometimes.  Sometimes it results in a luxurious day that I would have missed if I had rushed to my list.  One day in particular, I had my list and everything already loaded into my car to run errands.  I was actually looking forward to it.

Then I heard a still small voice that was calling me to a much more gentle plan for the day.  It included rest, reading, sipping on hot tea and a long luxurious hot bath.  It was a warm, snuggly day inside. I had to deal with a few twinges of guilt and wondered if I was being selfish.  Then I thought of how excited I get when my daughter decides to spend a day home with me.  It doesn’t have to be full of activities.  I just enjoy being with her.  What I discovered is that God enjoys days like that with us too!  We get so caught up in staying busy that we forget about forging a relationship with Him.

I threw the checklist away for the day.  I took a nap.  I took a long hot bath. I read and sipped hot tea while bundled up in a snuggly blanket.  I sat with my Father that day and enjoyed His company.  There are many days that I can run around and do errands.  Just not today. Today I decided to stay home and spend it with Him.

Lord, I pray I pause to savor and enjoy the moments I can steal away to just be with You.

Psalm 29:11, Isaiah 9:6, John 16:33, John 14:1-3, 6-7

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