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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My Master

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!

Proverbs 8:32, 23:26; Isaiah 55:8, Joshua 1:9, John 14:26

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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Revelation

revelation2
“1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Revelation 1:1-3 NIV

The image of John receiving this message from the angel of God is a powerful one. Wow. To see and hear from God like John – that would be incredible.

So what does it take to hear from God this clearly? Be still. I think we also have to know how much God loves us in order to fully trust what we hear.  It is critical for us to know how deep and how true He loves us.

We will be tested.  We will need to stand firm, stand firm in His life and His love.  We will be faced with ugliness. Darkness will be all around us.  In those times, the hard times, we need to trust God.  Trust His love for us.

Father, help me stand.  Help me simply stand firmly next to You. Hold my hand. Never leave me or forsake me.  I know You never will because You promised.

Ephesians 3:18, Psalm 46:10, Hebrews 2:18, Joshua 1:5

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True

True2

“4 The weapons of the war we’re fighting are not of this world but are powered by God and effective at tearing down the strongholds erected against His truth. We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 The Voice

True. One true God. Historically, true was not a word that packed a lot of punch for me.  As it becomes more and more challenging to tell the difference between pop spiritualism and the gospel, I am beginning to understand that true is a very powerful word.

True: Adjective– conforming to reality or fact; not false. Real, genuine, authentic. Sincere, not deceitful. Loyal, faithful, steadfast. Reflecting the essential or genuine character of something. Conforming to a standard. Exact, precise, accurate, correct. Legitimate or rightful. Reliable, unfailing, sure. Exactly or accurately shaped, formed, fitted or placed. Honest, honorable, upright.

As I look at these descriptions, they hold great power.  For me, it offers a word of caution.  We should be wary of things that do not reflect this description; things that are not true.

So Father, put a thirst in my heart for all things true, for all things of You.  Help me come to understand You as the One True God.  Help me embrace all the ways that You are true.  Father, I pray that I will be true to You in all things and in all ways.  Thank you for Your true and perfect love and mercy and grace.  Thank you for giving me these gifts undeservedly.  Thank you for loving me so true and unconditionally.

Matthew 6:22, 24:35; Mark 3:35, John 1:9, 3:21, 15:1

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He Will Make Me Radiant

he will make me radiant

4 “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:4-5 NIV

Psalm 34 is beautiful.  Whether reading it or writing it, it makes my heart pound. It is full of so many promises.

  • If I seek the Lord He will answer me
  • If I look at Jesus my face will be radiant (not shameful)
  • If I call He will hear me
  • If I fear Him His angel will surround me and deliver me
  • God promises to teach me how to fear Him
  • His eyes are on the righteous attentively
  • He comes against those who do evil
  • He saves me when my heart is broken
  • He will deliver me from all my trouble
  • He will redeem me

He will make me radiant.

Father, I come today repenting for being a know-it-all. I don’t.  I don’t know it all. Thank you for all of Your promises.  I claim them! I claim the promises of my Father.  These promises are for me.

Psalm 116:1-6, Matthew 7:7-8, Luke 11:9-10

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If You’re All That…

if youre all that

15 “If you are so numerous,” Joshua answered, “and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.” Joshua 17:15 NIV

When I read the book of Joshua, it becomes clear that there is a time for all things. It’s key to be in God’s timing.  Throughout the book of Joshua there are tribes that readily took their lands and inheritance and those that did not.  There were those that drove current inhabitants completely out of their land to take full ownership and those that learned to live with them.

God had just brought incredible victories to them while Joshua diligently sought the Lord’s counsel and followed it to the letter.  Not everyone had the same heart to follow God’s direction to the letter.  Why?  I find it hard to believe….and then I realize the Israelites were more like me that I thought.

They were not perfect.  God loved them anyway. They made God angry sometimes.  God loved them anyway. They forgot about God.  God loved them anyway. They fell back into worldly patterns.  God loved them anyway. They faced consequences for their actions. God loved them anyway…

Just like He loves me.

Father, make me sensitive to Your timing in all things.  Align my heart so that I walk in Your timing and instruction according to Your will. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Exodus 33:5, Ezra 9:1, Luke 12:42-48

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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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Hope

hope2

“the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11

Hope: noun. A longing; dream.

Similar words:  Achievement     Ambition     Anticipation     Aspiration     Belief     Concern     Confidence     Desire     Expectation     Faith     Goal     Optimism     Promise     Wish

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!

Psalm 147, Matthew 5:1-12; Hebrews 10:23

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