Smooth Edges

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Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what. Love will never become obsolete.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 The Voice

One day during my devotional time I decided to let my Bible fall open and that is where I would read.  It fell open to the last page of the concordance.  The words “wrong” and “wronged” caught my eye.  It took me to scriptures in 1 Corinthians and Proverbs.  The gist of the scriptures I read was this:

  • Isn’t it better to be wronged than to have wronged someone else?
  • Love covers all wrongs

This gave me pause. I still had quite a few sticking points in my heart with some folks. They felt like rough ragged edges that my feelings would get caught on. It was a place of injury.  So I started to pray.  I started to ask for the characteristics of love.  I asked for patience, kindness. I asked to be able to rejoice in the truth, protect always, trust always, hope always and to always persevere.  I asked God to help me let go of all the junk associated with these ragged edges in my heart. I began to realize that I was not the only one injured.  I was able to lift others up in prayer too.

Father, show us where the frayed and ragged edges are in our hearts. Make them more smooth from experiencing and practicing Your love.

Proverbs 10:12, 13:9; 1 Corinthians 13

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Carry Me

carry me

“29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40: 29, 31

Have you been at that place where you were so tired that you didn’t think you could take another step? It could be work.  It could be caring for a family member or friend. When you are too weary to carry on, that is when the darkness creeps in.  It is especially during those times that it is critical to lean heavily on God. His love light is so refreshing. He will take your burdens and worries if you let Him. He will restore your body, mind and spirit.

Glory to You, God, for the mighty works of Your hand. You reign. You rule. Teach us how to lay down our burdens for You to carry.  Father, renew our strength when we are too tired to go on. Carry us to Your throne to bask in Your love light. Be a cloud of protection around us when we are weary. Wrap Your arms around us to show us the marvel and wonder of Your might and beauty and perfect love.

Deuteronomy 33:25-29,Psalm 29:11, Job 17:9, Psalm 138:3

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Revelation

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“1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Revelation 1:1-3 NIV

The image of John receiving this message from the angel of God is a powerful one. Wow. To see and hear from God like John – that would be incredible.

So what does it take to hear from God this clearly? Be still. I think we also have to know how much God loves us in order to fully trust what we hear.  It is critical for us to know how deep and how true He loves us.

We will be tested.  We will need to stand firm, stand firm in His life and His love.  We will be faced with ugliness. Darkness will be all around us.  In those times, the hard times, we need to trust God.  Trust His love for us.

Father, help me stand.  Help me simply stand firmly next to You. Hold my hand. Never leave me or forsake me.  I know You never will because You promised.

Ephesians 3:18, Psalm 46:10, Hebrews 2:18, Joshua 1:5

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Fresh Words

fresh words

“Don’t let even one rotten word seep out of your mouths. Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when they need it most. That way your good words will communicate grace to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 The Voice

What are rotten words? Words that come out of anger, rage, malice, slander, fear and are filthy. Wicked.  Lies. Evil. Deception.

What are fresh words? Words full of grace, encouragement, truth, love, compassion, gentleness, humility and meekness. Wholesome. Beneficial. Confident. Even bold.

I have heard lots of sayings that allude to the proportion of time that we should speak versus listen.  As in, “We have two ears and two eyes and one mouth for a reason.  Use them proportionately!” I used to find this amusing but now I just recognize it as truth.  Our words have the power of life and death in them.

Some of the things that are associated in scripture with fresh words: life, keep from trouble, sweet like honey, hope, wisdom, peace, love, instruction, healing, love life and to see good days. What we speak has the power to build someone up or tear them down.

Lord, do not let even one rotten word seep out of my mouth. I pray that my words will be Your words spoken in love.

Colossians 3:8, 4:6; Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 15:4, 18:21, 19:5, 21:23

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Be A Seed

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“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!

1 Corinthians 15:36-38, Acts 4:4

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Practice

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“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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Walk This Way

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“15 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people)…17 Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15, 17 AMP

The only way I can stay in a thoughtful, purposeful and wise pursuit of the will of the Lord is to stay in His word and in prayer.  Those two components are critical to keep me on track.  His word provides instruction and insight.  Prayer allows me to empty my heart to Him and allow the Holy Spirit to pour the heart of God into me.  Only then can I begin to walk the way this scripture describes.  I have to practice this every day.  It’s a commitment.  It has been a commitment that has and continues to transform my life.  It’s no different than working muscles to make sure they are fit and strong.  I have to exercise my Spirit woman to make sure she is fit for the daily sparring matches the world brings my way on a spiritual level.  I’m thankful for the daily workout and refreshment that God gives me in prayer.  I’m thankful that even on days when I know something is off but can’t put my finger on what’s wrong, the Holy Spirit can turn it all around.  All I have to do is surrender my heart.

Father, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide me every day.

John 7:38, Ephesians 5:19-20, Psalm 27:13-14

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