Constant Love

constant love

21 No wonder we are happy in the Lord! For we are trusting him. We trust his holy name. 22 Yes, Lord, let your constant love surround us, for our hopes are in you alone. Psalm 33:21-22 Living Bible

I have an old Living Bible that belonged to my mother who went on to be with Jesus some 25 years ago. Every time I touch the pages I can’t help but think of her. I think of sitting in church together on Sunday mornings.  I think of her attentiveness to the message.  I think of her care in preparing a fabulous Sunday dinner every week.  I think of the richness and depth of her love.  Unconditional acceptance.

I still miss her. As I read these verses, I truly believe that she was happy in the Lord!  I know that she had the contentment and peace of His constant love.  She shared that contentment and constant love with me. I am so thankful to have had a praying Godly mother!  I know I am here in my walk with God as a direct result of those prayers.

As I sit and meditate on these words in Psalms, I find myself asking God what He and Enoch talked about.  That was such an intimate, loving relationship that God scooped him right up!  First, I got this picture of a pillow.  It’s the difference between a stiff decorative pillow that sits somewhere for people to look at but never touch versus a pillow that gets all smushed just right to comfortably lay your head on at night.  It seems like we are supposed to mold into God like that and He molds into us at the same time.

Then I had the picture of holding hands with God and walking and talking. Delighting in each other’s company. True companionship.  We tell each other what is on each other’s heart.  Listening intently.  Honoring each other’s desires.

Lord, forgive me when I don’t listen to the desires of Your heart.  Thank you for always listening to mine!  I adore You Almighty God.  Thank you for giving me my mom to show me how to love well and unconditionally.  Thank you for my daughter.  Help me to always love her with Your heart.  Show me how to love others with Your heart as well.

Psalm 33

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Vision For The Future

vision for the future

39” And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40 NASB

All these: Able, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, walls of Jericho, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets.  All these had a testimony of faith and did not see God’s promise fulfilled in their lifetime. They saw the promise was for the future and embraced that. They recognized a heavenly, kingdom minded purpose that God had ordained for them. So I have to ask myself, am I willing?

Am I willing to look at what God needs for His kingdom and not look at any immediate manifestation in my lifetime?  Do I have that kind of faith? Are there others that will come after me that need to be served by my heart for God’s purposes? Am I willing to even ask that question of God?

That’s a tough question.  But the tougher question is: What if I’m not willing? As I look at the young men and women in my Sunday School class, the classrooms of students in guest teaching opportunities, connections through work, online communities and blogs, speaking engagements, etc. What happens if I am selfish? What about God’s purpose?  How does it affect thousands of others I don’t know and may never know?

Lord, I pray that Your purpose will always come first in my life.  I pray that I keep my eyes set on a heavenly horizon. Thank you for always giving me Your best.  Thank you for Your grace and mercy and love.  Thank you for Your faithfulness to every need, both today and generations to come.

Hebrews 11

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Personal Prayer Garden

personal prayer garden

“Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:38 NIV

I have the sense that prayer creates forward motion…on many planes: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Active prayer engages with hope and anticipation.  It means we lean INTO it.  We lean FORWARD in prayer. I liken it to a suspenseful movie or conversation that makes you lean so far forward that you are on the edge of your seat.  It feels like if you move one millimeter closer, you are going to fall right out of your chair. Plop! Right onto the floor.

I believe that it is that supernatural tension that keeps us suspended in mid-air.  It keeps us from falling out of our spiritual chair, so to speak.

I have never prayed so hard that I sweat drops of blood like Jesus.  However as I have prayed during particularly hard times, I have felt the sensation that God was carrying me.  That I was staying afloat by supernatural means.  I believe the only way that occurred is through a prayer full of surrender and total reliance on God.  I still struggle.  I still mess up.  I start picking up old patterns of self-reliance.  Ugh. I know it will get better!  I am so thankful that God never gives up on me.  Sometimes I have to walk through painful reminders to get back to that place of full surrender all over again.

I remain thankful.  I know God never leaves me or forsakes me.  Even when my hard head gets in the way!

Father, thank you for Your love and Your grace and Your mercy.  Teach me to pray.  Teach me to pray like Jesus. Teach me to rely on You.  Teach me Your ways.

Matthew 26:36-45, Luke 22:39-46, Deuteronomy 31:6

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Made Perfect

made perfect

“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.

2 Corinthians 12:9, Hebrews 5:9, Hebrews 11:40, Hebrews 12:23

Check The Instruction Manual

check the instruction manual

“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.

Revelation chapters 1-3

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Shrinking

shrinking

He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30 NIV

There have been times when I have held back. I was slow to act.  I did not listen in faithful obedience.  I was overwhelmed by what I didn’t know. Fear and doubt crept in.  Turns out I had to come to the end of myself.  I had to come to the place where I wanted something different so badly that I was willing to let go of everything.  So…..

It wasn’t so bad!  Worries that I had held onto became very insignificant.  Fear became irrelevant.  Trust grew. Faith grew.  It’s still growing.  I’ve had enough of a taste of it now that I just don’t want to go backward.  Joy is a frequent delight.  Passion.  Compassion.  I have a thankful heart.  My heart has become more pliable and workable to do some new things.  Pride is significantly diminished.   I have found that I can love so much better!  It’s not a selfish love.  I’m willing to let go and love more completely.  It’s pretty wonderful.

In order to get there, I had to shrink and make room for God.  In that shrinking, God has helped me not only love others better, but myself too.  I have a new appreciation of how He made me.  It allows Him to position me to use my gifts and talents in a new way.

If you sign up for the shrinking process, it’s an adventure!!  But I can tell you with all my heart, it’s worth every step you take while holding God’s hand!

Father, help me to shrink to make more room for You in me.

Luke 1:79, John 3:21. Galatians 5:22-26

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We Want What We Do Not Have

we want what we do not have

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:2-3 NIV

Wow.  This is not a very pretty picture.  Wanting what I do not have so I take it. Asking for what I want and not receiving because my motives are wrong. Motives for my own pleasure.

God loves us more wildly than we can imagine. But when we are afraid we have a hard time trusting that there is no trickery in God.  Because our hearts are injured we become greedy and try to grab what we think should be ours.

To get out of my own brokenness, it helps to stay focused on the present. When I look too far out I start to flounder.  It is when I stay engaged in the present that I am in a better position to rejoice!  Savor God’s blessings. Savor His provision. Savor the abundance. It keeps me in a frame of mind to count my blessings and celebrate the moment.

Father, thank you for coming alongside me, my ever-present Help in trouble! My ever-present Guide and Counselor!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Psalm 62:5, Luke 11:13

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