Accepting Wise Counsel

accepting wise counsel

“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” Proverbs 19:20 NIV

I have found that doubt and unbelief contribute to me being slow to act in obedience to God’s Word. It keeps me from moving forward. The more often doubt and unbelief weigh into my decisions, the more delays keep me from receiving my heart’s desires. It can be a vicious circle.  The more delays, the more doubt and unbelief. It may start as a little thing.  It can continue to grow and rob me of more and more of what God has for me. Sometimes others see it before I do.  Their wisdom and counsel are a breath of fresh air. They give me new perspective to take back to the Lord in prayer.

Father, I repent. Help me be sure-footed and know that You are always with me.  I am never alone! Keep me firmly rooted in Your Word as a discipline to my heart.  Give me faith to move forward and believe for the best! Keep my heart humble and accepting of wise counsel.

Proverbs 2:1-9, 8:34-35

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Do Not Offend

do not offend

32” Do not offend Jews or Greeks or any part of the church of God for that matter. 33 Consider my example: I strive to please all people in all my actions and words—but don’t think I am in this for myself—their rescued souls are the only profit.” 1 Corinthians 10:32-33 The Voice

I cringed a little when I read “do not offend anyone.” That sounds impossible!  Some other versions read “do not give offense” or “do not cause others to stumble.” At first this really felt burdensome.  This goes for both outside the church as well as inside the church.

Then as I read on to verse 33, I saw clarification.  I realized I was looking at this through a people pleasing lens.  It is impossible to please people all the time.  If I look at it through the lens of God’s Word, I just have to stay true to that.  Now that’s not always easy either!  However, it is only possible to begin stepping in that direction if I let go of people pleasing.  I have to use the ways of Jesus as the filter for my actions, not other people.

I have to look at people through the eyes of Jesus to see what they need.  I have to look past behavior, choices, and circumstance. I have to simply look at a person’s heart.  That is what Jesus did best.  He looked at a person’s heart, diagnosed what they needed and met that need of their heart.  Without fail, that was found pleasing to all who would receive Him. That is what it is always about: rescuing and transforming lives.

Father, help me to keep my kingdom glasses on as I look at people. Let me see everyone through Your eyes.

I Corinthians 10:13, 23-24, Philippians 1:10, 3:17

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Living Letters

living letters

1”Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 NIV

When I read these words, I think of every minister, preacher, missionary, evangelist – every Christian — to be surrounded by people that walk and talk like Jesus because of their personal imprint on hearts around the globe as an incredible testimony!  Wow.  Think of all the people in the world, on our block, in our sphere.   We have God’s mail we are supposed to deliver! This is why I always ask God to search my heart.  I don’t trust my heart but I always trust His.  His hand in my life can do things that I may not be able to see or touch or ever know about.  It all counts for His kingdom.  If others can simply see Him in me, He will do the rest.

Bless these words from You, Father, and make them a meditation of my heart. I praise Your Mighty Name! I praise Jesus, Your Son, the Name Above All Names! Make me into a living letter from Christ. Make me into Your image.  His image. Continue to write Your words on my heart, Lord. Make me that vessel that Your living water can flow through freely.

2 Corinthians 3

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Appointed Times

appointed times

“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay. “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.“ Habakkuk 2:3-4 NASB

Father, thank you for Your promises, Your deliverance and Your Word. Thank you for Your love, Your power and Your might that You wield on my behalf. Thank you for going before me and coming behind me. Thank you for Your favor.

Father, please search my heart to make it right and suitable for You. Take my heart and purge it of any prideful or soulish desires. I yearn to be in full communion with You, believing Your promises and waiting patiently and hopefully for Your timing.

1 Corinthians 4:5, Galatians 3:11, Ephesians 2:10

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Watch Over Your Heart

watch over your heart

“Above all else, watch over your heart; diligently guard it because from a sincere and pure heart come the good and noble things of life.” Proverbs 4:23 The Voice

Why do you think God asks us to watch over our heart?  I think it is because it is central to everything we do, say, think and feel.  Everything that comes out of us, originates from our heart.  If we are co-dependent, it’s because of an injury to our heart.  If we are narcissistic, it’s because of an injury to our heart.  If we are angry, violent or hostile, it’s because of an injury to our heart.

If our heart is guarded, really tucked into God for safekeeping, our hearts can operate in a healthy way.  God can heal every injury to our heart.  We still have to do our part and take our hearts to Him. We have to learn His ways in order to walk through life with a protected heart that is equipped to love others and see others the way that God sees them. It is a love that is not of this world.  It is a love that supersedes any love we have ever known.  It is the love of sacrifice and eternity. It is the greatest love story ever told.

Search my heart, Father. Let me place no other thing before You. Guide me. Please keep my heart straight. Holy Spirit, great Comforter and guide, keep me close to You in all matters. Keep my heart. Tend to my heart. Guard my heart.

Proverbs 4:23-26, John 3:16

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Confessions Of An Instrument Pilot*

confessions instrument pilot

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,“ 1 Peter 1:8 NIV

I recently read an article entitled “Confessions of an Instrument Pilot.”* As I read through his points of discomfort, they really resonated with me in my faith walk.  Here are some excerpts, see what you think:

“A year ago I raced through my…training, learning just what I needed to know…according to…minimum standards.”

“I met the requirements…But that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with exercising that privilege.”

“Now I find myself anxious…without another…pilot beside me.”

“I lost faith in my abilities to interpret and visualize an approach. The idea of…deviating from what I had planned puts me on edge.”

“If I had trained harder, I wouldn’t feel so uncomfortable….”

I find that when everything is rosy and I feel God’s favor in my life, I am relaxed and calm.  However, when things get bumpy and I don’t see or understand why, I get edgy.

I can see the similarity between instrument flying and walking in faith.  Both have to trust what is unseen.  The pilot has to trust the instruments and their readings regardless of their sensations.  As a Christian, I have to trust God’s Word and my relationship with Him regardless of my desires. Just like the pilot, I can’t always see where I am heading.  I have to trust the instruments that God has given me (His Word and the Holy Spirit) to guide me.

Thank you Lord for Your tools and Your flight plan! Help me trust You more every day and not deviate from Your headings. I believe in You. I love You. You fill me with inexpressible joy.

John 20:29, 2 Corinthians 4:18, 5:7; Hebrews 1:1

*Confessions of an Instrument Pilot: 10 Steps to IFR Absolution http://flighttraining.aopa.org/magazine/2010/December/ifrtraining.html

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Personal Prayer Garden

personal prayer garden

“Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:38 NIV

I have the sense that prayer creates forward motion…on many planes: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Active prayer engages with hope and anticipation.  It means we lean INTO it.  We lean FORWARD in prayer. I liken it to a suspenseful movie or conversation that makes you lean so far forward that you are on the edge of your seat.  It feels like if you move one millimeter closer, you are going to fall right out of your chair. Plop! Right onto the floor.

I believe that it is that supernatural tension that keeps us suspended in mid-air.  It keeps us from falling out of our spiritual chair, so to speak.

I have never prayed so hard that I sweat drops of blood like Jesus.  However as I have prayed during particularly hard times, I have felt the sensation that God was carrying me.  That I was staying afloat by supernatural means.  I believe the only way that occurred is through a prayer full of surrender and total reliance on God.  I still struggle.  I still mess up.  I start picking up old patterns of self-reliance.  Ugh. I know it will get better!  I am so thankful that God never gives up on me.  Sometimes I have to walk through painful reminders to get back to that place of full surrender all over again.

I remain thankful.  I know God never leaves me or forsakes me.  Even when my hard head gets in the way!

Father, thank you for Your love and Your grace and Your mercy.  Teach me to pray.  Teach me to pray like Jesus. Teach me to rely on You.  Teach me Your ways.

Matthew 26:36-45, Luke 22:39-46, Deuteronomy 31:6

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