I Am Not Master Of The Universe

i am not master of the universe2

“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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The Comforter

the comforter2

“But look at this: You are still holding my right hand;
You have been all along.” Psalm 73:23 The Voice

God is so faithful. So faithful I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. I am so thankful that He will never leave me or forsake me.  I am so thankful that He will always be there holding my hand.  What an incredible visual!

I can picture a large warm strong hand holding mine. It feels so secure. If I stumble the grip is strong enough to steady my feet. If I’m afraid, I’ll feel protected.  I won’t be alone.  Never alone.

Sometimes I forget that He’s always with me.  Sometimes I act as though I have to handle everything on my own.  That is a big lie!  That is not what God has promised.  Satan wants us to feel alone and isolated in order to deceive us.  It’s a smooth move until we figure it out.  Once we realize the power and authority we have in Our Father that is always holding our hand, the gig is up.  God is our refuge. Our Shepherd. Our Rock and our salvation.  Of whom shall we be afraid?

Father, thank you for Your love that abides with us and in us!

1 Corinthians 10:13, Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 11:10, John 14:13, Psalm 27:1

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Before and After

before and after

Before:

“18 They are blind to true understanding. They are strangers and aliens to the kind of life God has for them because they live in ignorance and immorality and because their hearts are cold, hard stones.19 And now, since they’ve lost all natural feelings, they have given themselves over to sensual, greedy, and reckless living. They stop at nothing to satisfy their impure appetites.” Ephesians 4:18-19 The Voice

After:

“22 then you know to take off your former way of life, your crumpled old self—that dark blot of a soul corrupted by deceitful desire and lust— 23 to take a fresh breath and to let God renew your attitude and spirit. 24 Then you are ready to put on your new self, modeled after the very likeness of God: truthful, righteous, and holy.” Ephesians 4:22-24 The Voice 

Hopefully you can see the contrast.  It is very interesting that this message was for believers.  Paul is reminding the believers in Ephesus to shift – leave an old lifestyle behind.  Leave an old hard heart behind. Change. Transform. Renew. Choose a new life.  Obviously we can’t do this alone.  We need to be in a Christian community with a commitment to unity and accountability to accomplish a major shift like this.

It’s not perfect or easy.  As believers we have a model in Jesus.  We have instructions in God’s word.  All we have to do is immerse ourselves in the operating instructions! When we lose our way, just go back and read the instructions again…God is gracious and loving and kind.  He never leaves us or forsakes us.  Just hang on and keep referring to the instruction manual!

Ephesians 4

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Practice

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“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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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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Less Fortunate

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“Those who have it easy may easily scorn the unfortunate; they have their contempt already prepared for those whose feet slip.” Job 12:5 The Voice

Have you ever been in a situation where you are an observer in someone else’s life and you feel like you are watching a train wreck?  How quick are we to speak negative things over something that we don’t understand, don’t have all the facts or insight, or frankly isn’t any of our business?  I have been guilty many times of rendering an opinion on matters that did not concern me.

When I have fallen on challenging times I sometimes remember how harsh I may have been with someone else.  Not in their face, but in my attitude, judgment, or commentary.  My own arrogance made me hesitate to reach out to that friend or acquaintance in a tight spot. Not pretty.

God give me the humility not to act like Job’s friends who accused him of sin because of his trials. Show me how to help those who are struggling so that I can give the kind of encouragement to them that You give me.  In Jesus Name I pray these things, Amen.

Job 12:1-10, Matthew 5:47, 7:12; Mark 12:43-44

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Pure Heart

pure heart

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8 NIV

A right heart is the foundation for everything else. I can do a lot of things.  I can fill my task list with all kinds of “good” things but if I do not do them in love, they are not worthy.  Often in prayer I ask God to search my heart because I want to offer it up to Him and I trust Him to keep it right. Sometimes I see an element of fear or comparison or performance and I ask Him to get rid of it. I ask Him to fill my heart with things too. Like discernment and wisdom and love. Sometimes I just ask Him to make it right and then He shows me what’s going on.  I’m so thankful.  He is the best heart surgeon around! Talk about preventive medicine! I also ask that He fill me with His love.  His perfect love heals all. All we have to do is ask Him and He will do it.

Father, take my heart and make it Yours.

Psalm 7:10, Psalm 17:3, Proverbs 3:5, Matthew 22:37

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