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

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Not Just For Them

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20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23 NIV

This prayer is a prayer for us. This blew me away when I understood it for the first time.  We are the ones who heard the message of Jesus Christ all these centuries later from the messages carried on through His disciples.  As Jesus was getting ready to face the most horrific of executions, here he was, interceding for us. This touches my heart so deeply.  What incredible love. He wanted us to have the relationship with God that He had. He wanted us all to be together again…even before we were born.

I have always heard the scriptures of God knowing us before we were “knit together in our mother’s womb” but this scripture made we realize very practically how much Jesus was a part of that picture too.  It made it very real for me.  It is right there in black and white.

Jesus, thank you  for Your unfathomable, unconditional love and sacrifice.  It humbles me to a point that words cannot express.

Ephesians 4:12-16; Colossians 2:2-4, 3:12-15, John 3:16

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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Hope

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“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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Without A Word

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“1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.” Psalm 19:1-4 NIV

This gave me pause.  When I look at the beauty of the sky, it does speak!  When I look at stars and pictures of the universe, it overwhelms me.  It speaks volumes without a word.  God, Creator of all, You are a Mighty God!

Then I paused again.  You made me too.  Is it enough to be exactly what You made me to be?  What stops me? If I can simply be exactly what You made me to be, can I speak volumes without a word?  That is a humbling thought.

What influences me otherwise? What do I put ahead of that objective on a daily basis?

Lord help me. Take my heart. Make it new. Make it into that beautiful expression of You all over again.  I pray that others can see You in me without speaking a word.  I ask these things in Jesus Name.

Psalm 19, Psalm 8, Exodus 20:4-6

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Third Time is a Charm

third time is a charm

“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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No RSVP

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“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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