“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”Micah 7:7 NIV
I had a long season of waiting. Being still. Over a year I was still. My year consisted almost exclusively of reading, prayer, and journaling. Other things had gradually been stripped out of my life. Some of the stripping was easier than others. Some was downright painful. When I stumbled upon this verse, the word “hope” stood out to me. In my stillness, my one desire was to be obedient and learn a new way of life. It didn’t feel like a sacrifice. It was more of a determination to do things differently.
For years I had tried to do things my own way and that didn’t work out very well. Now I was determined not to repeat the same patterns all over again. The “hope” in this verse was as loud to me as a thunderclap. It started as a warmth in my belly. It occurred to me that I can be still and sit in hopefulness for what is yet to come. I do not have to have any direction. I can still sit quietly but hopefully. It made me want to spend the day watching Karate Kid. It made me realize that in my daily activities, small as they might be, a transformation was taking place. A kinder, gentler lifestyle that depended on someone else for a change. A hope for something better. So much better in fact, it required a purging of old patterns, relationships and hurts that I no longer needed to carry around anymore.
Hope was the beacon that lit my new path.
Lord help me to always place my trust in you and not myself, others, or material things!
4 Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; 5 it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs 6 or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! 7 Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what. 8 Love will never become obsolete. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 The Voice
One day during my devotional time I decided to let my Bible fall open and that is where I would read. It fell open to the last page of the concordance. The words “wrong” and “wronged” caught my eye. It took me to scriptures in 1 Corinthians and Proverbs. The gist of the scriptures I read was this:
Isn’t it better to be wronged than to have wronged someone else?
Love covers all wrongs
This gave me pause. I still had quite a few sticking points in my heart with some folks. They felt like rough ragged edges that my feelings would get caught on. It was a place of injury. So I started to pray. I started to ask for the characteristics of love. I asked for patience, kindness. I asked to be able to rejoice in the truth, protect always, trust always, hope always and to always persevere. I asked God to help me let go of all the junk associated with these ragged edges in my heart. I began to realize that I was not the only one injured. I was able to lift others up in prayer too.
Father, show us where the frayed and ragged edges are in our hearts. Make them more smooth from experiencing and practicing Your love.
Embed from Getty Images“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 NIV
This one has been ticklish for me. The world reinforces some very bad behavior that serves the world well. The problem is that it doesn’t serve God. It’s everywhere. The truth is, it wears me out. I read this scripture during a particularly tiring week. In addition to the demands of the week, I was struggling between my old way of operating – performance oriented, self-sufficient, frantically rushing to meet deadlines — and God’s way – a more elegant flow that is thoughtful, intentional and efficient.
In the middle of my shame attack, I recognized a nudge. I heard the words “Yes, you slip…but you catch it.” I paused for a moment to reflect. I feel when things are off. I really do try to tuck into God as a check point. The shame melted away. I realized I had cause to celebrate! There had been a shift inside of me. It had happened so subtly that it was not discernible to anyone watching. The big shift was inside. It was in my heart. My heart was searching for a better way. There were now alerts that went off inside me when I began to toil and struggle. That was my cue to check the rule book I was using. A peace washed over me. I am so thankful! I realized that God was pleased too. He knows my heart and my desires. I am the apple of His eye.
God, help me to be bold and courageous walking in Your ways. Continue to nudge me as I grow and shift. Thank you for the precious gift of the Holy Spirit as my comforter, guide and intercessor. Thank you for teaching me a new way! A kinder and gentler way of operating in You!
Embed from Getty Images 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.
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!
“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
This is a cry for intimacy. When we share intimate space with someone, we get to know the good, the bad and the ugly (and of course there is a preponderance of beauty as well!). The bottom line is there can be no secrets. Nothing can be hidden. There is no room for it.
I love The Voice version because you can hear the pain in this cry “Dig deeply…Put me to the test…watch how I handle the strain.” So when this happens, we get at the truth of the matter. So here is what was uncovered for me: anxiety, doubt, worry, fear of man, unhealthy connection to people, performance, rejection and fear.
This made me so angry! It was a list I was familiar with. I was so tired of the same list popping up time and time again. After a growl, I asked the Lord to deliver me. I was done with it. I prayed in the Spirit for thirty minutes because I didn’t trust my own heart to get at the ugly stuff that seemed to be hanging around. There was a shift! My heart was lighter. My mind was clearer. I had more energy. It was amazing. I’ve heard testimonies and sermons about praying in the Spirit but this application was even more validating and faith building. Cool. God gives us all the instructions and the tools. We just have to use them.
Lord, thank you for every piece of instruction and tool You have provided. I pray i exercise them all to the fullest!