“24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.” Matthew 13:24-25 NIV
As I was weeding in my yard one summer, I received insight from the dandelions I was encountering. I started to look at them more closely and here is what I noticed:
From a distance they are pretty, adorned in bright colors. They can even appear to be a flower versus a weed to the untrained eye.
As I started pulling them, I realized how deep their roots are – deep and tough. It’s hard to get the whole root off because it breaks easily. Pieces stay that will spring up again.
They spread easily – insidiously. Their multiplication system is very easy – where the wind blows, the seeds go. Indiscriminate. High volume.
It’s also tricky. I started simply picking off the flowers, and then I saw deep down in the core other buds coming up. It was almost creepy they were so hidden.
They choke out healthy grass and other plants. They want all the space. They don’t cohabitate well.
They don’t require care or nutrients to prosper and multiply. They remind me of something so ancient – like original sin. Old and ugly. Life smothering. Steal, kill, and destroy.
Still green, they blend in with the grass except when they bloom (bear fruit).
I won’t dissect every point. From a big picture level I realized this is exactly how Satan operates. By being grounded in God’s word we are not deceived. God’s word, time with Him in prayer, and praise and worship of our King is what nourishes us. They are our fertilizer, rich soil and eternal water supply!
Father, let me absorb all the spiritual nutrition that You so readily provide!
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.
“But look at this: You are still holding my right hand;
You have been all along.” Psalm 73:23 The Voice
God is so faithful. So faithful I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. I am so thankful that He will never leave me or forsake me. I am so thankful that He will always be there holding my hand. What an incredible visual!
I can picture a large warm strong hand holding mine. It feels so secure. If I stumble the grip is strong enough to steady my feet. If I’m afraid, I’ll feel protected. I won’t be alone. Never alone.
Sometimes I forget that He’s always with me. Sometimes I act as though I have to handle everything on my own. That is a big lie! That is not what God has promised. Satan wants us to feel alone and isolated in order to deceive us. It’s a smooth move until we figure it out. Once we realize the power and authority we have in Our Father that is always holding our hand, the gig is up. God is our refuge. Our Shepherd. Our Rock and our salvation. Of whom shall we be afraid?
Father, thank you for Your love that abides with us and in us!
“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.
“For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4 NIV
When I looked at this verse today I saw a few things I didn’t see before:
God goes with us to fight. This means:
We have to show up for the fight.
He goes with us.
This gave me pause to think about how to become ready for a fight. It requires faith. We have to go into battle with a victory mindset – meaning we have an expectation of success and/or a triumph over an enemy. In order to have that expectation we cannot allow doubt or unbelief to go with us into battle. We have to make sure they are not taking up any real estate in our minds. Doubt and unbelief create internal battles that distract us from the battlefield.
God goes with us against our enemies.
So, who are our enemies? Well, Galatians 5:19-21 has a pretty good list: corrupt sexual relationships, impurity, unbridled relationships, impurity, unbridled lust, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, arguing, jealousy, anger, selfishness, contentiousness, division, envy of others’ good fortune, drunkenness, and drunken revelry. This is a war against our flesh. Satan is a spiritual enemy that uses these things of the flesh in combat.
God gives us victory. We do not fight like the world does. God has given us tools to fight with:
We have divine power to demolish strongholds
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God
Make every thought obedient to Christ
Father, thank you for going with me to fight for me against my enemies to give me victory.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
Father, I thank you for this day. This is the day that the Lord has made for me and I will be glad! Thank you for the special touches that you are putting on this day. I invite You into today and all my activities. I pray that Your love will be a driving force; that I will feel and recognize Your voice in all I do today. I’m so thankful for Your hand in my life. Bless this home and all who come through it. Father I ask that Your presence reign here. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the gift of Your Son. Thank you for the provision and great care that you have provided for my family. I praise You! All praise be to You! My wonderful and powerful Father! Jehovah God! My Protector! Jehovah El! My Shepherd! Jehovah El Roi! Jehovah Rapha! Thank you for Your care and favor. May each and every step I take be Your step as I walk in wonder of You. Amen.
“He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,” Proverbs 2:7 NIV
There have been times in ministry that I knew something was off. I knew that it was time to pull back and sit with God. Refocus. Recalibrate. Restore, Refresh. Renew. During those times the outpouring of God’s love has been immense. Truly an incredible comfort. I love how He reads my heart. He knows just how to touch it for healing, restoration, and transformation. What a Mighty God!
As I was meditating on this scripture during one of those respites, I noticed that my prayers had become weak. I was not coming directly to God with my requests. They had become passive. As I started to visualize Him as my shield with a face set like flint in pursuit of victory on my behalf, it made me more bold. My prayer shifted. I began to ask for what I wanted very specifically:
Father give me Your eyes to see all things. Give me Your ears to hear. And give me Your heart to love in all things so that I may be a demonstration of Your love and glory on this earth. Father You promise me that You hold victory in store for the upright and that You are a shield for the blameless. I claim that promise. I declare and decree that promise in Jesus Name, Amen.
“But those who listen to menowwill live under divineprotection;they can rest knowing they are out of harm’s way.” Proverbs 1:33 The Voice
Those who listen to wisdom live under divine protection is a strong promise! I want to stand and claim that promise for myself, my family, my church and my friends. Divine protection is fool proof. Fail safe. Worry free. Anxiety free. It’s freedom.
So Lord, I pray that I will listen more and talk less. I ask for your direction, guidance and wisdom. I also ask for the patience and steadfastness to be obedient and operate in your wisdom so that I stay covered by your divine protection. I pray Father, that I learn Your ways. Thank you for not only Your divine protection Father, but also Your divine Love. I rest in You.
“2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people,for not everyone has faith.3 But the Lord is faithful,and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 NIV
Well-meaning people speak into our lives. Sometimes out of concern. Or fear. Or a need to control or influence. Some will scoff at faith. I think of Peter walking on water to Jesus. Peter was doing fine until he took his eyes off Jesus. He became distracted by the storm and waves around him and he began to sink. The beautiful part is that Jesus took his hand and rescued him from the waves and helped him back in the boat. Out of all the disciples, Peter was the only one bold enough to step out of the boat. He had the faith to do the impossible, making it possible. Jesus still extends His hand to us today.
In order to be delivered we have to turn off the noise in the background that distracts us from God’s voice. Then we have to be obedient and trust that the Lord is faithful. Not put our faith in what we see. Instead put our faith in what God says.
Father, thank you for Your faithfulness. Thank you for Your strength and protection. Help me hold fast to Your promises and keep my eyes on You!