Watch In Hope

watch in hope

“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!

Psalm 34:5-6, 37:7-9, 40:1-3; 1 John 5:14-15

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Smooth Edges

smooth edges2

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what. 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.

Proverbs 10:12, 13:9; 1 Corinthians 13

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Carry Me

carry me

“29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40: 29, 31

Have you been at that place where you were so tired that you didn’t think you could take another step? It could be work.  It could be caring for a family member or friend. When you are too weary to carry on, that is when the darkness creeps in.  It is especially during those times that it is critical to lean heavily on God. His love light is so refreshing. He will take your burdens and worries if you let Him. He will restore your body, mind and spirit.

Glory to You, God, for the mighty works of Your hand. You reign. You rule. Teach us how to lay down our burdens for You to carry.  Father, renew our strength when we are too tired to go on. Carry us to Your throne to bask in Your love light. Be a cloud of protection around us when we are weary. Wrap Your arms around us to show us the marvel and wonder of Your might and beauty and perfect love.

Deuteronomy 33:25-29,Psalm 29:11, Job 17:9, Psalm 138:3

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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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He Always Delivers

he always delivers2

“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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Less Fortunate

less fortunate2

“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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No RSVP

no rsvp2

“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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Peace

peace

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 NIV

I have read that faith is a fight.  I believe that is true.  It is a fight to hang on to the promises of God in spite of circumstances and what we see happening around us. This peace supercedes everything.  As I learn to release more to God to manage my life, it leaves me with more peace.  More joy.  It’s settling.  There have been days when I had an agenda all lined up with tasks to complete for the day, check list in hand.  From my perspective, it would be a good, productive day.  Occasionally, I have had the sense that God had other plans.

If I retreat to listen quietly, my plans shift sometimes.  Sometimes it results in a luxurious day that I would have missed if I had rushed to my list.  One day in particular, I had my list and everything already loaded into my car to run errands.  I was actually looking forward to it.

Then I heard a still small voice that was calling me to a much more gentle plan for the day.  It included rest, reading, sipping on hot tea and a long luxurious hot bath.  It was a warm, snuggly day inside. I had to deal with a few twinges of guilt and wondered if I was being selfish.  Then I thought of how excited I get when my daughter decides to spend a day home with me.  It doesn’t have to be full of activities.  I just enjoy being with her.  What I discovered is that God enjoys days like that with us too!  We get so caught up in staying busy that we forget about forging a relationship with Him.

I threw the checklist away for the day.  I took a nap.  I took a long hot bath. I read and sipped hot tea while bundled up in a snuggly blanket.  I sat with my Father that day and enjoyed His company.  There are many days that I can run around and do errands.  Just not today. Today I decided to stay home and spend it with Him.

Lord, I pray I pause to savor and enjoy the moments I can steal away to just be with You.

Psalm 29:11, Isaiah 9:6, John 16:33, John 14:1-3, 6-7

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Building Relationships

building relationships

“3 Wisdom is required to build a house; understanding is necessary to make it secure. Knowledge is needed to furnish all the rooms and fill them with beautiful treasures.” Proverbs 24:3-4 The Voice

For me, this house is not a physical structure. This house is symbolic of relationships with people. I have many people in my life. I am to be wise with them. Be careful with people – not in a fearful way. Treat them with care. They are not disposable. I sometimes have discarded people as though they were unimportant. Regardless of what might be happening at any given moment, each person is very important to God. I am never to lose sight of that.  Always seek to see them through God’s eyes.  All things with all people have a specific purpose. I do not know what that purpose is. So I will continue to seek God in everything I do. Loving God first so that He can show me the way.

Father, continue to teach me your ways. Show me how and when to be Your hands and feet and speak Your word.

Proverbs 24:3-6

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