“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!
“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.
“12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:12-13 NIV
As I read these verses, I started to imagine putting each of these characteristics on as if they were articles of clothing. A beautiful gown of compassion with a robe or jacket of kindness over it. Gorgeous custom boots of humility. Dazzling ear rings of gentleness and a necklace of patience. Then my make-up would look flawless with a foundation of forgiveness. I really had to sit with that for a while. It sounded regal and beautiful in such a stately and timeless way. It made me think of all the money I invest in clothes, shoes, the latest face creams and moisturizers. Closets of clothes are all over my house! But God’s garments are timeless, ageless classics. They never go out of style and their beauty never fades.
Lord, help me dress in these beautiful characteristics that reflect You. Help me wear each of them daily and with joy. Thank you for teaching me a new way to dress for success!
“13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14 NIV
Wait for the Lord. What does that mean? I’m learning. I’m learning that to wait for someone, you have to be in close communication. You also have to trust their word. If I don’t ask what their plans are, I might barge ahead with my own plans. I might get in the way of the other person’s plans. It might mean that we miss our connection entirely. Sometimes I forget to pause and check in with God’s plans for me. I barge ahead without hesitation thinking I know best. Occasionally I delude myself into thinking I know a lot more than I do. I waste time and energy worrying about things He has already worked out. So waiting is an art. To wait confidently and gracefully with composure. I still struggle in this area but I am learning! Sometimes I get too wrapped up in my head and don’t rely enough on God’s voice. So I have to go back to square one and get quiet and listen.
Father God, I’m so blessed that You are always there waiting for me. You never leave without me. You never leave me stranded. Thank you Lord!
“23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23-24 NASB
Work looks a little different for everyone. Whether an artist, musician, attorney, welder, doctor or counselor – we all have a job to do. So, I ask myself the question, “What have I been given to do that I need to see to completion?” This goes beyond occupation. We have been given different gifts and talents that extend far beyond the workplace. I have to pause and reflect sometimes about whether or not everyone sees God in me regardless of setting: work, church, social, sports, dinner, political, etc. Am I using the gifts and talents I have been given?
It is my prayer that God will help me to conceive the vision for His work and that all things will be completed to His satisfaction. I pray that my work will be an imitation of His work – strong, beautiful, graceful and excellent. I am so very thankful for His clear instruction, divine grace and mercy. With Him all things are possible.
“20 Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He replied to them by saying, The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display,21 nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you].” Luke 17:20-21 AMP
So the kingdom of God is IN us. As I was reading this passage, it reminded me of a passage that is also in The Lord’s Prayer: “Your kingdom come.” I got caught up reading a lot of commentaries. It occurred to me that I needed to simply be quiet and listen to what God had to say about these passages. Here is what I heard: He is waiting for us all to come into a state of obedience and alignment so that we will not continue to lay fragmented and broken as a body. That when we come together, we will no longer be vulnerable to heresy and apostacy. We will no longer be plagued with malice and strife between ourselves. We will be able to stand together, resolute for our King. And then, His Kingdom will have arrived.
Lord, I pray that Your kingdom come and that Your will be done in my heart and the hearts of all Christians. I pray that we come together as one body. Make us strong in that body so that we can stand together and stand strong, united and operating as one body in Christ, a true reflection of You.
“6 The Eternalis ready toshare His wisdomwith us, for His words bring true knowledge and insight;7 He has stored up the essentials of sound wisdom for those who do right;He acts as a shield for those who value integrity.” Proverbs 2:6-7 The Voice
I long to do right. To value integrity. To bury God’s words so deep in my heart, immerse my heart in it, so that nothing comes out of my heart but Him. I am so thankful for God’s Love and Grace and Mercy! It is so rich and beautiful. I am thankful for His guidance.
I pray that I can be a beacon of God’s Love for everyone. I pray that His love will be palpable and fragrant and humble and gentle and kind in me. That I can be a reflection of that Love. I pray that I can learn how to live and walk and breathe by faith.