Constant Love

constant love

21 No wonder we are happy in the Lord! For we are trusting him. We trust his holy name. 22 Yes, Lord, let your constant love surround us, for our hopes are in you alone. Psalm 33:21-22 Living Bible

I have an old Living Bible that belonged to my mother who went on to be with Jesus some 25 years ago. Every time I touch the pages I can’t help but think of her. I think of sitting in church together on Sunday mornings.  I think of her attentiveness to the message.  I think of her care in preparing a fabulous Sunday dinner every week.  I think of the richness and depth of her love.  Unconditional acceptance.

I still miss her. As I read these verses, I truly believe that she was happy in the Lord!  I know that she had the contentment and peace of His constant love.  She shared that contentment and constant love with me. I am so thankful to have had a praying Godly mother!  I know I am here in my walk with God as a direct result of those prayers.

As I sit and meditate on these words in Psalms, I find myself asking God what He and Enoch talked about.  That was such an intimate, loving relationship that God scooped him right up!  First, I got this picture of a pillow.  It’s the difference between a stiff decorative pillow that sits somewhere for people to look at but never touch versus a pillow that gets all smushed just right to comfortably lay your head on at night.  It seems like we are supposed to mold into God like that and He molds into us at the same time.

Then I had the picture of holding hands with God and walking and talking. Delighting in each other’s company. True companionship.  We tell each other what is on each other’s heart.  Listening intently.  Honoring each other’s desires.

Lord, forgive me when I don’t listen to the desires of Your heart.  Thank you for always listening to mine!  I adore You Almighty God.  Thank you for giving me my mom to show me how to love well and unconditionally.  Thank you for my daughter.  Help me to always love her with Your heart.  Show me how to love others with Your heart as well.

Psalm 33

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House of Living Stones

House of living stones

“you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2: 5 NIV

We are being built into a spiritual house.  Jesus was the first living stone and the cornerstone of the house we are building. So what are the spiritual sacrifices that we are to offer? Our bodies, souls, affections, prayers, praises, tithes and offerings and service. All with a joyful heart!

God is not asking anything of us that His Son was not willing to give Himself.  It humbles me to think of the heart of Jesus.  Such a beautiful and perfect example for us to follow.

There are times that I get all wound up in a frenzy of busyness.  When I begin to rush and push and force things, it’s a good indicator that I need to pause.  I need to check in with the Holy Spirit to see if I’m on track or not.  Most often there is a more efficient and elegant solution than my own.

The beautiful thing about being a living stone is that we have a constant spiritual guide present, the Holy Spirit.  He can get me back in alignment.  Get me back in the headset of listening for direction and offering every moment up in surrender to a better way.  Surrender.  Obedience. Sacrifice.

Lord, thank you for Your perpetual living water that washes over me and flows through me. Thank you for Your constant love.

1 Peter 2:1-10

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Accepting Wise Counsel

accepting wise counsel

“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” Proverbs 19:20 NIV

I have found that doubt and unbelief contribute to me being slow to act in obedience to God’s Word. It keeps me from moving forward. The more often doubt and unbelief weigh into my decisions, the more delays keep me from receiving my heart’s desires. It can be a vicious circle.  The more delays, the more doubt and unbelief. It may start as a little thing.  It can continue to grow and rob me of more and more of what God has for me. Sometimes others see it before I do.  Their wisdom and counsel are a breath of fresh air. They give me new perspective to take back to the Lord in prayer.

Father, I repent. Help me be sure-footed and know that You are always with me.  I am never alone! Keep me firmly rooted in Your Word as a discipline to my heart.  Give me faith to move forward and believe for the best! Keep my heart humble and accepting of wise counsel.

Proverbs 2:1-9, 8:34-35

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Vision For The Future

vision for the future

39” And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40 NASB

All these: Able, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, walls of Jericho, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets.  All these had a testimony of faith and did not see God’s promise fulfilled in their lifetime. They saw the promise was for the future and embraced that. They recognized a heavenly, kingdom minded purpose that God had ordained for them. So I have to ask myself, am I willing?

Am I willing to look at what God needs for His kingdom and not look at any immediate manifestation in my lifetime?  Do I have that kind of faith? Are there others that will come after me that need to be served by my heart for God’s purposes? Am I willing to even ask that question of God?

That’s a tough question.  But the tougher question is: What if I’m not willing? As I look at the young men and women in my Sunday School class, the classrooms of students in guest teaching opportunities, connections through work, online communities and blogs, speaking engagements, etc. What happens if I am selfish? What about God’s purpose?  How does it affect thousands of others I don’t know and may never know?

Lord, I pray that Your purpose will always come first in my life.  I pray that I keep my eyes set on a heavenly horizon. Thank you for always giving me Your best.  Thank you for Your grace and mercy and love.  Thank you for Your faithfulness to every need, both today and generations to come.

Hebrews 11

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Do Not Offend

do not offend

32” Do not offend Jews or Greeks or any part of the church of God for that matter. 33 Consider my example: I strive to please all people in all my actions and words—but don’t think I am in this for myself—their rescued souls are the only profit.” 1 Corinthians 10:32-33 The Voice

I cringed a little when I read “do not offend anyone.” That sounds impossible!  Some other versions read “do not give offense” or “do not cause others to stumble.” At first this really felt burdensome.  This goes for both outside the church as well as inside the church.

Then as I read on to verse 33, I saw clarification.  I realized I was looking at this through a people pleasing lens.  It is impossible to please people all the time.  If I look at it through the lens of God’s Word, I just have to stay true to that.  Now that’s not always easy either!  However, it is only possible to begin stepping in that direction if I let go of people pleasing.  I have to use the ways of Jesus as the filter for my actions, not other people.

I have to look at people through the eyes of Jesus to see what they need.  I have to look past behavior, choices, and circumstance. I have to simply look at a person’s heart.  That is what Jesus did best.  He looked at a person’s heart, diagnosed what they needed and met that need of their heart.  Without fail, that was found pleasing to all who would receive Him. That is what it is always about: rescuing and transforming lives.

Father, help me to keep my kingdom glasses on as I look at people. Let me see everyone through Your eyes.

I Corinthians 10:13, 23-24, Philippians 1:10, 3:17

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Believing Is Seeing

believing is seeing

“Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29 NIV

God loves love and faith.  Everything operates out of those two things.  Once we have accepted Christ as our Savior, those are two very important keys to the kingdom of God.

Love governs our relationships — most centrally, our relationship with God.  If we love Him with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength, then we want to meditate on His Word in order to be more like Him and please Him.  We will want to walk and talk each and every day with Him.  We will want to be quick to be obedient when He has a request of us.

Faith is the manifestation our love of God in us and God’s love for everyone through us.  Faith is the special sauce that creates power and momentum.  It opens up the impossible and allows God’s Living Word to flow through us to touch others, do the miraculous and change lives.

Father, stretch me.  Stretch my heart and faith muscles.  Make me fit and strong and nimble to do whatever You ask of me.  Thank you for Your Living Word and the life that flows from it.  I pray it will flow through me.

Mark 12:30, Matthew 22:37, Luke 10:27, 1 Corinthians 13:13, Hebrews 11:6, James 1:6

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Living Letters

living letters

1”Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 NIV

When I read these words, I think of every minister, preacher, missionary, evangelist – every Christian — to be surrounded by people that walk and talk like Jesus because of their personal imprint on hearts around the globe as an incredible testimony!  Wow.  Think of all the people in the world, on our block, in our sphere.   We have God’s mail we are supposed to deliver! This is why I always ask God to search my heart.  I don’t trust my heart but I always trust His.  His hand in my life can do things that I may not be able to see or touch or ever know about.  It all counts for His kingdom.  If others can simply see Him in me, He will do the rest.

Bless these words from You, Father, and make them a meditation of my heart. I praise Your Mighty Name! I praise Jesus, Your Son, the Name Above All Names! Make me into a living letter from Christ. Make me into Your image.  His image. Continue to write Your words on my heart, Lord. Make me that vessel that Your living water can flow through freely.

2 Corinthians 3

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