The Art Of Waiting

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“13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14 NIV

Wait for the Lord.  What does that mean?  I’m learning.  I’m learning that to wait for someone, you have to be in close communication.  You also have to trust their word.  If I don’t ask what their plans are, I might barge ahead with my own plans.  I might get in the way of the other person’s plans. It might mean that we miss our connection entirely. Sometimes I forget to pause and check in with God’s plans for me.  I barge ahead without hesitation thinking I know best.  Occasionally I delude myself into thinking I know a lot more than I do.  I waste time and energy worrying about things He has already worked out.  So waiting is an art.  To wait confidently and gracefully with composure.  I still struggle in this area but I am learning!  Sometimes I get too wrapped up in my head and don’t rely enough on God’s voice.  So I have to go back to square one and get quiet and listen.

Father God, I’m so blessed that You are always there waiting for me.  You never leave without me. You never leave me stranded. Thank you Lord!

Isaiah 55:2-3, Ephesians 3:17-19, Hebrews 4:16, John 8:47, James 4:7-8

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Work

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“23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23-24 NASB

Work looks a little different for everyone.  Whether an artist, musician, attorney, welder, doctor or counselor – we all have a job to do.  So, I ask myself the question, “What have I been given to do that I need to see to completion?”  This goes beyond occupation.  We have been given different gifts and talents that extend far beyond the workplace.  I have to pause and reflect sometimes about whether or not everyone sees God in me regardless of setting: work, church, social, sports, dinner, political, etc. Am I using the gifts and talents I have been given?

It is my prayer that God will help me to conceive the vision for His work and that all things will be completed to His satisfaction. I pray that my work will be an imitation of His work – strong, beautiful, graceful and excellent.  I am so very thankful for His clear instruction, divine grace and mercy.  With Him all things are possible.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, Habakkuk 2:2-3, Philippians 4:13

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Think Good Thoughts

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“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25 NIV

I am so very thankful for the riches and plans that God has for me.  I am thankful for the immense and powerful Love that He has for me.  Somewhere along the line, I realized that I had tapes playing in my head that did not reflect the love that God has for me.  It was from inside of me; an internal dialog.  It was definitely not God.  This internal dialog started to create issues with me loving myself.  When I don’t love myself, God can’t operate in me to His fullness.  It was quite an ugly snare that developed.  All kinds of things were snarled in the mix: performance, pride, rejection, comparison, arrogance, criticism.  I could go on and on.  I do not even remember where the negative words came from.  I don’t know when it started.  What I do know is that it started to snowball into a fearful approach to work and relationships because they were so loaded up with negative junk.

I had to ask God to remove the obstacles in my heart that were keeping me from fully walking in His plan for me.  I really had to sit prayerfully and meditate on some very loving and instructional scripture and let it sit in my heart for a long time. I still need to step away from things regularly for a heart check and just spend time with God.  It’s not anything that is formulaic or legalistic.  The truth is if I don’t, I miss it.  I miss the quiet time with God.  It helps me appreciate the way He made me a little more.  It helps me dig into the well that He has placed inside of me and pull from it for inspiration, creativity, focus, clarity and strategy. 

Lord, thank you for teaching me every day to love and appreciate You more and how You made me as a unique expression of You.

1 Samuel 15:24, 1 Peter 1:21, Matthew 10:26-28, Genesis 1:26-27, Colossians 1:21-22, I Corinthians 13

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Where Is It?

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“20 Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He replied to them by saying, The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display,21 nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you].” Luke 17:20-21 AMP

So the kingdom of God is IN us. As I was reading this passage, it reminded me of a passage that is also in The Lord’s Prayer: “Your kingdom come.” I got caught up reading a lot of commentaries. It occurred to me that I needed to simply be quiet and listen to what God had to say about these passages. Here is what I heard: He is waiting for us all to come into a state of obedience and alignment so that we will not continue to lay fragmented and broken as a body. That when we come together, we will no longer be vulnerable to heresy and apostacy. We will no longer be plagued with malice and strife between ourselves. We will be able to stand together, resolute for our King. And then, His Kingdom will have arrived.

Lord, I pray that Your kingdom come and that Your will be done in my heart and the hearts of all Christians. I pray that we come together as one body. Make us strong in that body so that we can stand together and stand strong, united and operating as one body in Christ, a true reflection of You.

Mathew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4

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Days Of Our Life

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“Teach us to number our days so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 NIV

Number our days.  That could be interpreted as living each day like it is our last.  But even then, what does that mean?  For me, it means perspective.  How do I live my life from the perspective of what it looks like in totality.  I have had seasons of selfishness and opportunistic pursuits.  As I am getting older, I am starting to consider more thoughtfully and intentionally what I want to do with the days I have left.  It does not feel like retirement!  I feel more of a sense of urgency in accomplishing things that make a difference.  I have a desire to tuck into God more closely so that His wisdom governs how my days are spent to accomplish His desires instead of my own.  I have put more selfish things aside as I focus more on Him. It’s invigorating.  It’s renewing.  It’s just not about me anymore. I am filled with excitement and anticipation of how God will use my days.

Father, I pray that Your will, not mine, will govern my remaining days.

Psalm 39:4, Proverbs 2:1-6

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God’s Perfection

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“He’s the Rock, and His work is perfect; everything He does is right.  He’s the God who can be trusted, who never does wrong because He’s righteous and upright.”  Deuteronomy 32:4 The Voice

This is the first time that God is referred to as “the rock” in the Old Testament. It is used 6 times in this chapter. I think God is trying to make a point! So what does that mean?

  • God is a rock: He is an impenetrable shelter. An everlasting foundation. When we operate according to His principles, they cannot be shaken.  A very safe place!
  • God’s works are perfect: Jesus is perfection. His life is our model.
  • Everything God does is right: Nothing He does can be changed. What He starts He will finish.
  • God can be trusted: He is faithful. We can rely on Him. He cannot lie.  He keeps His promises.

Father, You and Your work are perfect.  Thank you for Your grace and mercy in not holding me to those standards.  Thank you for honoring my heart and my love for You.  I pray others can see Your perfection through my imperfection. I place my trust in You.

1 Samuel 2:2, Psalm 18:2, Psalm 62:7

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Open the Eyes of My Heart

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 “Open the eyes of their hearts, and let the light of Your truth flood in. Shine Your light on the hope You are calling them to embrace. Reveal to them the glorious riches You are preparing as their inheritance.” Ephesians 1:18 The Voice

When I brought home our new Corgi puppy 10 years ago, I did not have much experience with puppies.  So in her puppy exuberance and my inexperience, I ended up with a torn cornea from a puppy claw in the eye.  The net result was several days with a patch over my eye.  The world looked really different, darker and distorted.  It reminds me of all the patches that come into our hearts to cover them up and weigh them down. God can uncover our hearts to let in His healing Light.

Father, open the eyes of my heart and let the light of Your truth flood in. Shine Your light on the hope You are calling me to embrace.  Reveal the glorious riches You are preparing as my inheritance.

Psalm 31:24, 119:10, Romans 8:27, 2 Corinthians 4:6

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Under Construction

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“3 … make straight and smooth in the desert a highway for our God! Every valley shall be lifted and filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked and uneven shall be made straight and level, and the rough places a plain.” Isaiah 40:3b-4 AMP

Picture a construction site: bulldozers, dump trucks, frontend loaders, construction crews.  The engineer has the plan that makes sense of it all.  The plan can take an area that seems impassable and rugged, transforming it.  It transforms an area full of obstacles into a main artery of activity.  God is our engineer that holds the vision and master plan.  When he clears the path: filling our valleys, making our mountains straight and level, and smoothing out our rough places — we don’t always understand that it is a period of construction.

Father, thank you for loving me so much that you made a way for me through Your Son Jesus. Thank you for removing every obstacle and making me into something new in You!

Matthew 17:20, 1 Corinthians 13:2

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Eyes of Our Heart

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“I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys.  I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.” Isaiah 41:18 NIV

Our eyes will deceive us without our heart to discern.  All things are not seen with our natural eyes.  They are limited by physiology.  Even our minds eye is limited by thinking and logic.  It is only with our hearts that all things can be seen.

Our hearts are God’s most valuable treasure.  Lean not to your own understanding and love Him with all your heart.  Do not allow the enemy to tamper with your heart.  That is what truly allows us to see —  God’s vision, dreams, hopes, and allows us to believe those things we cannot see with our natural eye. Our heart has the power to transform something that looks bleak into a ray of light. It allows us to have hope in what is to come.  Hope in God’s promises to us.  The heart of God does not miss a thing.  If we allow Him to possess our heart, we won’t either. We will simply stand in His love light.

Father, help me listen to Your voice in my heart. May it be louder than my own.

Proverbs 3:4-7, Luke 10:27

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Unleash the Extraordinary

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“Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 AMP

As I read this verse, two words sent me on a word search hunt. The two words were (1) discouraged and (2) renewed.  Their oppositional nature reminded me of the battle between light and darkness, good and evil, God and the destroyer.  I decided to dive into that oppositional construct.

I began by looking up the definition of fear: alarm and apprehension.  As I thought about the behaviors elicited by those words I imagined being frozen into inactivity. Not being able to move forward.  Growth being stunted. Then I looked at the definition of discouraged: dishearten, dispirit. Dishearten really captured me as I thought of how important our heart is to God.  That is His most valued treasure…our hearts.  Dishearten: depress, ruin one’s hope. Oh my! Now I felt like I had really stumbled onto something.  Something that erodes our heart’s health both spiritually, mentally, intellectually and physically.  Hopelessness. This truly reeked of the destroyer who comes to kill, steal and destroy.

So then I turned my attention to the word renew: start over, refurbish.  As I looked at synonyms there were two words that stood out: refresh and transform. Refresh: make like new; give new life. Transform: to change — (1) in form, appearance or structure; (2) condition, nature or character; (3) into another substance.  THIS is the power that Jesus Christ has placed IN us.  Holy Spirit renews us daily.  This is a powerful force that is readily and constantly available to us.  It is our comforter in our time of need. It is our counselor for decisions, direction, choices and challenges.  It is our strength and our salvation.  It produces CHANGE. Other words that are fun to play with:

  • REFIT: correct, improve, fix —    God knows we are not perfect.  He gives a friend in Holy Spirit to help us along the way.  We are never alone.
  •  RENOVATE: make new or as it new again; repair; restore to good condition — God gave us Holy Spirit to “renovate” us daily!
  •  REMODEL: to reconstruct; make over — We have access to a daily make over! I had never quite thought about it that way.

And then a word that really resonated with a chain of words all its own — RECREATE: create anew. CREATE: to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.  As in God “created” us in his image.  We are no accident.  We are each unique in our God-given design.  We did not naturally evolve.  We are CREATED.  We are not ordinary.  We are EXTRAORDINARY: (1) beyond what is usual, ordinary, regular or established. (2) exceptional in character, amount, extent or degree.

So let’s give thanks for the powerful, life-giving, transformational change agent inside each of us.  Let’s give thanks for our own unique design and voice that Our Father has given us. Let’s create a sound as we come together as one body in His presence to offer our gifts with singing!

Let us take the time to recognize this gift today and go be EXTRAORDINARY in all that we do or say.

Father, we thank You for Your extraordinary gift of Your Holy Spirit that You have placed in us.  We thank You for Your extraordinary act of love in giving Your Son for our sin.  We thank You Jesus for being an extraordinary and perfect man on this earth that gave Your life for us.  Thank you Holy Trinity for showing us and giving us the power to be EXTRAORDINARY in Jesus Name.  Amen

2 Corinthians 4