“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.
“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.
1 “Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. 2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. 3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, 4 praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, 5 praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. 6 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!
“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.
“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.
“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.