Not Just For Them

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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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He Will Make Me Radiant

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4 “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:4-5 NIV

Psalm 34 is beautiful.  Whether reading it or writing it, it makes my heart pound. It is full of so many promises.

  • If I seek the Lord He will answer me
  • If I look at Jesus my face will be radiant (not shameful)
  • If I call He will hear me
  • If I fear Him His angel will surround me and deliver me
  • God promises to teach me how to fear Him
  • His eyes are on the righteous attentively
  • He comes against those who do evil
  • He saves me when my heart is broken
  • He will deliver me from all my trouble
  • He will redeem me

He will make me radiant.

Father, I come today repenting for being a know-it-all. I don’t.  I don’t know it all. Thank you for all of Your promises.  I claim them! I claim the promises of my Father.  These promises are for me.

Psalm 116:1-6, Matthew 7:7-8, Luke 11:9-10

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I Am Not Master Of The Universe

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“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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Third Time is a Charm

third time is a charm

“28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

I am learning that God does not want us to walk in fear. He wants us to have fun and enjoy life! It was not His intention for us to be hampered or burdened by putting too much stock in the things of this world.  He loves to watch us operate in our gifts and talents. That’s how he made us!

I have had concerns about old patterns at times.  Sometimes operating in a new way feels unfamiliar and awkward.  I can’t build new patterns without practice. So, I look at it as exercise.  I am simply practicing my faith in a new environment.  I have to trust God.  Let go of myself and any self-consciousness. I have to let go of perfection.  I know that He would rather I take a step and fall, trusting in Him, than stand in a corner in fear.

Father, give me the boldness, confidence, courage and wisdom to continually take another step closer to You.

John 6:37, 7:37-38

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Pick One

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Come close to the one true God, and He will draw close to you. Wash your hands; you have dirtied them in sin. Cleanse your heart, because your mind is split down the middle, your love for God on one side and selfish pursuits on the other.” James 4:8 The Voice

I remember reading this one day and feeling a heaviness on my heart. In the Amplified version it says “[realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery].” That is pretty intense. This verse really describes what it looks like to have one foot in the world and one foot with Jesus, still straddling two masters.  Matthew 6:24 says we can’t serve two masters.  We have to choose.

What does that choice look like? I think a lot of people don’t understand how much God loves us.  They think of Him as the Punisher or the Judge. And don’t get me wrong, He is those things too…But most of all He loves us.  Just like a parent has to discipline a child to teach them how to live safely and prosperously and develop in character, God does that with us too.  To teach us His ways.

As a Christian we get fooled into thinking that if we let go of the world’s ways that we will be missing out on something.  Well, we are.  We are missing out on the things that we were never designed to take.  God did not design us to take on worry, anxiety, stress, bitterness, rejection, hatred and all the other burdens that we carry in our hearts.  It makes our hearts hard and heavy and our minds neurotically hyper-vigilant. God never intended for us to live like that.

If we surrender to Him we can let go of all those things.  Just like a parent, He gives us guidelines to keep us safe in His care.  When we are in alignment with His “house rules” our heart has a chance to soften and heal.  Then we have a chance to truly experience the magnitude of His love.  It is a brighter and lighter way to live.  It goes beyond existence and becomes a dynamic experiential relationship with our Creator remembering that He loved us so much that He sent His own Son to die on the cross to mend the relationship gap between us.  There is no greater love than this.

Father, help me embrace a lifestyle that holds me in Your safekeeping. Help me be so comfortable in Your arms that others want to come there too.

Matthew 6:24, Psalm 25:4, John 15:13, Mark 12:30-32

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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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Give Account

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“Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.”  Joshua 24:31 NIV

All through the book of Joshua, there are accounts of mind-blowing victories. If you have a warrior heart, this is a great read! As a leader, Joshua never took for granted all that God had delivered them from.  He never got full of himself or took credit.  He took the time to bring all the people together to pause,  give thanks and place the praise at God’s throne, not his own.

In my own life, God has delivered mind-blowing victories as well. I’m thankful. He orchestrated a victory in my heart.  Like Joshua, I can’t take credit.   It was a transformation. I realize the pause in life is very important.  Pause to give thanks.  Pause to seek God’s direction.  Pause to pray.  Pause to give an accounting for all that God has done in your life.

Father, thank you for everything You have done and continue to do for me.  I pray that I pause in gratitude and give You all the credit for every success, every provision, and the favor and promotion that You so graciously deliver. Thank you.

Joshua 24
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