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!
“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
This is a cry for intimacy. When we share intimate space with someone, we get to know the good, the bad and the ugly (and of course there is a preponderance of beauty as well!). The bottom line is there can be no secrets. Nothing can be hidden. There is no room for it.
I love The Voice version because you can hear the pain in this cry “Dig deeply…Put me to the test…watch how I handle the strain.” So when this happens, we get at the truth of the matter. So here is what was uncovered for me: anxiety, doubt, worry, fear of man, unhealthy connection to people, performance, rejection and fear.
This made me so angry! It was a list I was familiar with. I was so tired of the same list popping up time and time again. After a growl, I asked the Lord to deliver me. I was done with it. I prayed in the Spirit for thirty minutes because I didn’t trust my own heart to get at the ugly stuff that seemed to be hanging around. There was a shift! My heart was lighter. My mind was clearer. I had more energy. It was amazing. I’ve heard testimonies and sermons about praying in the Spirit but this application was even more validating and faith building. Cool. God gives us all the instructions and the tools. We just have to use them.
Lord, thank you for every piece of instruction and tool You have provided. I pray i exercise them all to the fullest!
“18 They are blind to true understanding. They are strangers and aliens to the kind of life God has for them because they live in ignorance and immorality and because their hearts are cold, hard stones.19 And now, since they’ve lost all natural feelings, they have given themselves over to sensual, greedy, and reckless living. They stop at nothing to satisfy their impure appetites.” Ephesians 4:18-19 The Voice
“22 then you know to take off your former way of life, your crumpled old self—that dark blot of a soul corrupted by deceitful desire and lust— 23 to take a fresh breath and to let God renew your attitude and spirit. 24 Then you are ready to put on your new self, modeled after the very likeness of God: truthful, righteous, and holy.” Ephesians 4:22-24 The Voice
Hopefully you can see the contrast. It is very interesting that this message was for believers. Paul is reminding the believers in Ephesus to shift – leave an old lifestyle behind. Leave an old hard heart behind. Change. Transform. Renew. Choose a new life. Obviously we can’t do this alone. We need to be in a Christian community with a commitment to unity and accountability to accomplish a major shift like this.
It’s not perfect or easy. As believers we have a model in Jesus. We have instructions in God’s word. All we have to do is immerse ourselves in the operating instructions! When we lose our way, just go back and read the instructions again…God is gracious and loving and kind. He never leaves us or forsakes us. Just hang on and keep referring to the instruction manual!
“24 I tell you the truth: unless a grain of wheat is planted in the ground and dies, it remains a solitary seed. But when it is planted, it produces in death a great harvest. 25 The one who loves this life will lose it, and the one who despises it in this world will have life forevermore.” John 12:24-25 The Voice
This scripture pointed out so clearly why I have to die to myself. The concept is a tough one to embrace. It boils down to what do I really want? Do I really want all the fullness that God has for me? Or am I satisfied with just a taste? His fullness requires the sacrifice of self. This helped me to understand that it’s not about me and my plan. It’s about God and His plan.
As I picture the planting of a seed, I want to be planted. I don’t want to die on the stalk and wither away, useless and wasted. I REALLY want to plant and have a shot at being part of a larger harvest. When I think about all the things in my life that I need to lay down, a few things come to mind like over-planning, over-preparing, and over-performing. These are top of mind. I have had a tendency to charge “over” the path all three ways without seeking God’s direction. Moving ahead instead of following.
Father I repent for that old pattern. I can feel it kick in. I turn to You. I want to walk in Your light. I want to understand Your ways. I want to follow Your lead. Help me relax and just walk with You. Help me keep it simple. Help me to count on You. Thank you for Your love. Thank you for making my heart sing!
“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.
“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.
“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.