Not Just For Them


20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23 NIV

This prayer is a prayer for us. This blew me away when I understood it for the first time.  We are the ones who heard the message of Jesus Christ all these centuries later from the messages carried on through His disciples.  As Jesus was getting ready to face the most horrific of executions, here he was, interceding for us. This touches my heart so deeply.  What incredible love. He wanted us to have the relationship with God that He had. He wanted us all to be together again…even before we were born.

I have always heard the scriptures of God knowing us before we were “knit together in our mother’s womb” but this scripture made we realize very practically how much Jesus was a part of that picture too.  It made it very real for me.  It is right there in black and white.

Jesus, thank you  for Your unfathomable, unconditional love and sacrifice.  It humbles me to a point that words cannot express.

Ephesians 4:12-16; Colossians 2:2-4, 3:12-15, John 3:16

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Party On!

Dog with Birthday Hat and Balloons

1 “Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,  praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.        
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” Psalm 150 NIV

I love music. And dancing.  I love singing.  I love listening especially to live music and savor the talent of the musician.  Worship requires participation.  Engagement.  It may look different for each individual but there is no way we can worship without engaging with God.  Worship requires relationship.  When we engage with Him, He engages with us! We get a taste of what once was in the Garden and what is yet to come in heaven. So, I want to get this party started each and every day!  I want a piece of heaven now!

Praise God!  I praise You Lord with every ounce of my being, with all that I have.  If it’s my voice, let me sing for you.  If it’s my body, let me dance for You. If it’s talent, let me use it for You!

Psalm 149, Psalm 29:9, Psalm 134:2

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Hope

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“the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11

Hope: noun. A longing; dream.

Similar words:  Achievement     Ambition     Anticipation     Aspiration     Belief     Concern     Confidence     Desire     Expectation     Faith     Goal     Optimism     Promise     Wish

These are weighty words.  Do I feel confident placing all of them with God?  Do I trust that He loves me so much that He wants the best for me in every word listed?  What about my achievements? My ambitions?  My concerns?  My desires?

Well then do I believe His promises to me?  Can I take God at His Word?

These are big questions, but the answer is even bigger.  The answer is YES.  We can.  We can place every single one of these big words at the feet of Jesus.  God knows we are not equipped to handle that long list and the pressure, stress and anxiety that goes with it.  If we can release it all to Him as He intended and believe with all our heart that He loves us more than we can imagine, then we find comfort. We find our inheritance as a child of God. Our thirst is quenched.  We find mercy. We see God. We find peace.  We find the kingdom of heaven.

Lord, thank you for instilling hope in my heart. A hope to dream and reach for the very best that You have for me!

Psalm 147, Matthew 5:1-12; Hebrews 10:23

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Without A Word

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“1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.” Psalm 19:1-4 NIV

This gave me pause.  When I look at the beauty of the sky, it does speak!  When I look at stars and pictures of the universe, it overwhelms me.  It speaks volumes without a word.  God, Creator of all, You are a Mighty God!

Then I paused again.  You made me too.  Is it enough to be exactly what You made me to be?  What stops me? If I can simply be exactly what You made me to be, can I speak volumes without a word?  That is a humbling thought.

What influences me otherwise? What do I put ahead of that objective on a daily basis?

Lord help me. Take my heart. Make it new. Make it into that beautiful expression of You all over again.  I pray that others can see You in me without speaking a word.  I ask these things in Jesus Name.

Psalm 19, Psalm 8, Exodus 20:4-6

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He Always Delivers

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“10 For as rain and snow can’t go back once they’ve fallen, but soak into the ground and nourish the plants that grow, providing seed to the farmer and bread for the hungry, 11 So it is when I declare something. My word will go out and not return to Me empty, but it will do what I wanted; it will accomplish what I determined.” Isaiah 55:10-11 The Voice

When my niece was little she was afraid of storms, especially the thunder.  So when the thunder would start we used to tell her “Thunder makes the flowers grow.” It seemed to comfort her in that moment.  I think of that as I read this scripture. Sometimes we look at rain and snow as scary or a nuisance instead of the precious life-giving water that nourishes the earth.  God always delivers.

So then, what about my life?  Are there things around me that I view as a nuisance? Is there something making a lot of noise that I would like to just shut out?  Or are they necessary for me to receive the life-giving nourishment that God has for me?  It makes me realize that sometimes I have to step in a puddle to get to the Spring in my life.  Sometimes I have to put on my boots and wade through drifts of snow to get to the warmth of God’s love.  It’s all a part of the journey…and maybe helps me appreciate the destination even more.

Thank you Lord for always delivering.  You are always by my side.  Thank you for Your never ending love. Give me the patience and wisdom to complete the journey You have designed for me. I pray I see Your beauty along the way, appreciating every season.

2 Corinthians 9:9-11, Deuteronomy 31:6-8, Joshua 1:5

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He Loves Me Anyway

he loves me anyway

“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

I read this verse today and thought “Why in the world would I ask for this?” Search my heart and mind and soul and desires and put them all to the test.  Huh.  I really have to think about that.

Then I read the entire Psalm, verses 1-24. What I saw was all the beauty of intimacy and unconditional love and reliance on God. I am foolish to think that I can hide anything from Him. I am also foolish not to realize that He decided to love me long ago… anyway. He knew about every bad decision I was going to make before I did.  All of them.  And He loves me anyway.  He still showers me with love and compassion and His tender mercy.  There are days that I feel like I can wrap my head around a small piece of His love for me but I always know that it’s so much bigger than I can even imagine.  It makes me thankful and gives me encouragement to continue to stretch into the person that He designed me to be.  It also gives me courage and strength to love others the way He loves me….anyway.

Father thank you for Your immense unconditional love. Help me grasp the depth and breadth of Your love that began before time.

Psalm 139

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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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