Life’s Challenges: God’s Answers

row of barriers on empty track
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Where do you go when faced with life’s constant challenges? It seems when one hurdle has been jumped, there before you, stands another. Whether it is depression, anxiety, grief, addiction, loneliness, divorce, illness, lack of finances, cultural differences, stress, and strife in the family and betrayal, there will be a dilemma that we are forced to face. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, there has always been distress and hardship for human beings.

In Genesis 3:16 (New Living Translation), God says to the woman [Eve]:

“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
but he will rule over you.”

To the man [Adam], God said:

“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
though you will eat of its grains.
By the sweat of your brow
will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:17-19)

I imagine there are many who are reading this post who have or are, right at this minute, going through something difficult. I know I have my fair share of hurdles! Some I’ve jumped and cleared and others I’ve tripped and fell! 

Before I get going on this post, I do want to say that I am sorry to those who are having a hard time right now (myself included) and I would love the opportunity to pray for you. Please reach out to my personal email, ourheavenlyprize@yahoo.com and I will take your prayer request to the Lord and send prayer and inspiration back to you! All prayer requests will remain anonymous. I promise. And, if not a prayer request, I would love to hear some good news. I am working on a Facebook page (this is the only social media that I am somewhat familiar with) and it would be so encouraging to share uplifting words and stories on this page. I will not use names; I know, I need a little bit of help and hope and there is nothing like a feel-good story!! Thank you!

Okay, now let me share what I have been up to the past week or so!

I am currently reading the Psalms but in a very different format as I have done in the past. I am finding much more strength, especially during this pandemic, in the faith, trust, words, and actions of David (who is the main character in what I have read so far) and in the answers of God regarding David’s prayers. God’s faithfulness to a man who has committed some terrible offenses towards God and others is certainly hopeful! 

In Psalm 7 (English Standard Version), David is feeling concerned over the words of Cush who is a Benjaminite, an enemy of David, and a kinsman of Saul. God chose Saul to be the King of Israel because he was tall and striking in appearance and was known for courage and generosity. This, however, did not mean that Saul was capable of being king. He was the ideal vision of a king but his tendencies often went against God’s commands for a king. His greatest victories came from his obedience to God’s instructions and his failures came when he rebelled against God and made his own decisions. It is because of his sinful nature that he grew jealous of David and tried to kill him. (New Living Translation, 2015). 

This is why we find David in such a state of chaotic emotion. He has enemies and they have caused him to run off and hide, to seek comfort and safety in the arms of God Almighty and God does not disappoint. In Psalm 7:1, David cries out:

“O LORD my God, in you do I take
refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and
deliver me…”

This fierce fellowship with God is good for our hearts to witness. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) and if He delivered David in his sinful circumstances, He will do the same for those who have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. David displays his trust in God effectively and beautifully; he surrenders all to God because he knows he is held firmly in his Father’s mighty and capable hands. He simply gets quiet and lays all his burdens down, fully aware that he is not alone and that God does hear his prayers and He does answer. David is confident in his requests and waits for God’s perfect peace to fill him. He will be saved from all those who pursue him. The same holds true for us because what God did then, He does today, and He will do tomorrow. 

Matthew Henry’s Commentary (1960, p. 584) says that David’s spirit was not ruffled by the anger and pursuit of his enemies and it did not jar his song to the Lord and because of David’s unshakable peace and courageous faith, we are confirmed that we may rise to the same height as David because of God’s love for us. The injuries we receive from others should not provoke vengeance, cause sorrow and bitterness, or feelings of rejection. Instead, we should be moved to get quiet with God, and while in this act of reverence for our Lord and Savior, our devoted hearts will increase, ignite and propel us forward, no matter the circumstance. Is this not a powerful and staggering promise! 

David goes on to say in vv. 3-5:

“O LORD my God, if I have done this,
if there is wrong in my hands,
if I have repaid my friend with evil
or plundered my enemy without
cause,
let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it,
and let him trample my life to the ground
and lay my glory in the dust.”

The ESV (2008, p.1061) says that David is claiming his innocence. He did not instigate the warring against him. The jealousy of Saul was something within Saul and not something brought about by David.

There is much more to this plotline but now is not the time. 

Let us take a look at the bigger picture here and that is God’s plan for restoring humanity back to its original state before Adam and Eve offended God by eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “you shall not eat [the fruit of this tree], for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). God orchestrated the chain of events in David’s life with the intention of paving the way for His Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. We know this because 2 Samuel 7 is all about the Lord’s covenant promise to David.

In short, a prophet named Nathan is instructed by God to tell David that when it is his time to die and he is buried with his ancestors:

“I [God] will raise up one of his descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house–a temple–for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do. But my favor will not be taken from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from your sight. Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever.”

God gave guidance and protection to David because it was from his line that Jesus would emerge.

Isaiah 11:1-2; 10 (NLT) confirms this:

A Branch from David’s Line

“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot-
yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him–
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
In that day the heir to David’s throne
will be a banner of salvation to all the world.
The nations will rally to him,
and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.”

Without David and most importantly without Jesus Christ, we would all be lost, eternally separated from God and John 3:16 (ESV) tells us, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Let’s explore v. 5:

“let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it,
and let him trample my life to the ground
and lay my glory in the dust.”

In all my Bibles and commentaries (not that I have a lot), I could not find a definitive explanation to this verse and for some reason, I am held in the last sentence, “lay my glory in the dust.” So, may I try and interpret it myself and if there are any Biblical experts out there, please feel free to jump in!

I take this as saying that our best posture in tough situations is to prayerfully sit and lean into God. It is when we are in this state of vulnerability that all self-glory is brought into question and swept out. This position is where God’s miraculous work occurs. We are of no use to God when we are puffed up and on a mission.

2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT), “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

That’s all I have got for now regarding Psalm 7! I am ever so grateful for my college courses, “Western Culture” and “Survey of the Old and New Testament.” In taking these classes, my eyes have been opened to God’s story rather than my own. The relief I feel inside that my story really has nothing to do with God’s and God’s story is so much better for all of us.

In summary, I am incredibly full of “want” right now and as I was trying to explain to my husband yesterday during our walk, in which I failed completely because I could not find the right words but in simple terms, I want to be used fully for the glory of God. There is not a lick of know-how within me and I am totally incapable of doing anything without the Holy Spirit’s guidance. He is with me but I keep hearing “wait” which is really hard because there is such a need to serve, in some capacity, within me. I don’t know where and I don’t know how! Like David, we must trust in the LORD, have faith that He hears our heart’s desires, and that He will answer.

The past few years have been all about self-glory, I did not realize it then, but I do realize it now (as much as I am able) and for this, I am so sorry! I am in a state of vulnerability and weakness and it is not sadness only a realization that my want is not going to be the same as God’s want and that is exactly where I want to be positioned. There is nothing in me that will make a difference. It is only by God’s glorious hand that life-saving differences happen.

We must not be rattled by our troubles, we must always be patient, always be praying, enjoying God’s presence, and allow Him to dictate our next steps. Easier said than done, I know and as I was walking this morning, my mind and heart were racing with all kinds of godly possibilities. I was jumping ahead of God’s plan and like Dr. Anthony George mentioned this morning from First Baptist Atlanta, reel in the imagination and allow God to do the rest and Dr. Charles Stanley says that we are to trust God and leave all the circumstances to Him. We cannot hurry God and when we do, discord is sure to follow. We are to wait in obedience. It may seem like nothing is happening but He is surely at work and His timing is perfect.  

Father, 

Thank you for these timely words! Thank you for your faithfulness, patience, love, guidance, and protection. Thank you for Jesus Christ. Thank you we do not have to walk this life without You, that you are always for us and not against us. You never leave us nor fail us. You are Almighty God the creator of Heaven and Earth and we praise your Holy and Heavenly Name! Thank you for your strength, perseverance, and endurance. Thank you for opening our hearts to hear you and thank you for the courage to carry out your commands. Help us to love you with all our heart, soul and mind and help us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Help us to always be full of joy in the Lord and help us to always seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously. Thank you we can ask and we shall receive. Thank you we can seek and we shall find. Thank you we can knock and the door will be opened. How good you are to us, Father. Thank you for your inspired Word. Thank you for your rescue, redemption, and restoration. Thank you Jesus, His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Thank you for the Holy Spirit.

For all those who are struggling, Father, lift them into your ever-loving arms and whisper sweet words of love into their hearts. Help them in their weakness. Provide in their lack. And help them to have greater wisdom and understanding and a deeper knowledge of you. Father,

As Psalm 7:9-11 declares:

“Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to
an end,
and may you establish the righteous–
you who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God!
My shield is with God,
who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge,
and a God who feels indignation every day.”

Father, we hold fast to your Word and we thank you for your story! In Jesus’ Name, we pray, Amen! 

References

English Standard Version. (2008). The esv study bible. Crossway.

New Living Translation. (2015). Life application study bible. Tyndale House Publishers. 

Matthew Henry’s Commentary. (1960). Matthew henry’s commentary: In one volume. ZONDERVAN ACADEMIC. 

Made in His Image

bible book business christian
Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

I found a “Two-Year Bible Reading Plan” on YouVersion and if anyone would like to join me in this plan, I would be grateful for the company. I just completed a couple of three-day studies with my small group; it is a fun and fascinating way to learn and grow intimately with God and friends. This Two-Year plan does not have the option to discuss the daily reading but perhaps we can figure out some way to communicate the things that God has shown us as we’ve read! There is much to gain from the knowledge of others!

This morning the assignment is Genesis 1 and Matthew 1. I am reading from the English Standard Version (ESV). I did, however, start out in the New Living Translation which is what I always gravitate towards but as I began my reading this morning, I felt moved to do this plan with the ESV.

I was paused at Genesis 1:27 which says:

“So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.”

I then read the Study Notes (ESV) for this Scripture:

“Traditionally, the image has been seen as the capacities that set man apart from the other animals–ways in which humans resemble God, such as in the characteristics of reason, morality, language, a capacity for relationships governed by love and commitment, and creativity in all forms of art.”

If we possess all these godly characteristics, how much more does God possess?

We were created in His image; all these characteristics are from God which is extremely reassuring because if we have them, so does God, but even bigger. It can be difficult to understand just how wonderful God is but if we can look at our own inner workings regarding love, compassion, encouragement, forgiveness, and care, we can relate them to God. These are not qualities that just spring to life. They were created, are grown, and put to good use by God, for God.

In knowing this, we can experience God because He becomes relatable.  He loves us and because our hearts are filled with His love, we love others. Our relationship with Him becomes more intimate as does our worldly relationships. God doesn’t seem so far away when looked at in this perspective! He is our Source! He is God! This brings Him up close and personal. I like this!!

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you that we are made in your image! Thank you for equipping us with love, kindness, faithfulness, peace, gentleness, joy, patience, goodness, and self-control. How truly elevating this news is! Lord grow this fruit within us. Help us to apply all these wonderful gifts to all those around us so that YOU can be seen! You don’t just reside up in heaven but YOU reside in the hearts of your children. You have come down from the heavens and you live in and through those who love and follow you. How amazing you are!

Father, this world is in disarray by our human understanding. We know that it isn’t a surprise to you. We trust and have faith that you have the whole world in your hands and you are turning what’s meant for evil into good (Genesis 50:20). Hallelujah!

Father, give us the courage, strength, power, will, and wisdom to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, in word and action. Let your love reign in our hearts and in this world. As the early Christians fought so bravely for their faith, let us do the same. Let us be filled with that same passion! Help us to release those things that belong to this world and grasp on to You. As we read your Word together, help us to gain wisdom and understanding of who YOU are, and let us come out of each reading with a deeper intimacy with you. Hold our hearts in your Truth, let nothing distract us, and keep your Holy Spirit fire burning bright!

Thank you, Jesus, and it’s in your Name we pray, amen!

Reference

YouVersion. (n.d.) The bible app: 2-year bible reading plan [Vol. 1]. Riverside Church.

*****

Thank you, CSTU and Professor A.M., for your teachings on the Early Christians!

Please note, I do not hold a degree in anything at the moment! I do know and love Jesus which is most important! He is my personal Savior and so much more. I am growing in my knowledge of Him and would love to grow with you! So, I encourage you, to speak out if I’ve said something that does not line up with Scripture, correction is good! I always welcome the thoughts of others!

God bless you and may His perfect peace always be with you!

 

 

Seed of Love

snow covered mountain during sunrise
Photo by Sagui Andrea on Pexels.com

It is God who makes us beautiful
It is God who gives us radiance.
It is God who gives us a lovely depth.
It is God who gives us honest love.
It is by God’s strength we give honest love.
It is God who makes all things glorious.

Thank you, Jesus, for your tender loving care.
Thank you, Jesus, for your persistence and patience.
Thank you, Jesus, for your constant companionship.
Thank you, Jesus, we are never alone.
Thank you, Jesus, for your death, burial and resurrection.

Isaiah 40:6-7 (New Living Translation)

“Shout that people are like the grass.
Their beauty fades as quickly
as the flowers in a field.
The grass withers and the flowers fade
beneath the breath of the LORD.
And so it is with people.
The grass withers and the flowers fade,
but the word of our God stands forever.”

Hinds’ Feet on High Places

“The Shepherd laughed and answered, Only Love can really understand the music and the beauty and the joy which was planted in the heart of all created things. Have you forgotten that two days ago I planted the seed of Love in your heart? Already it has begun to make you hear and see things which you did not notice before. As Love grows in you, Much-Afraid, you will come to understand many things which you never dreamed of before. You will develop the gift of understanding many ‘unknown tongues’ and you will learn to speak Love’s own language too, but first you must learn to spell out the alphabet of Love and to develop hind’s feet. Both these things you will learn on the journey to the High Places, and now here we are at the river, and over on the other side, the foothills of the mountains begin. There we shall find our two guides waiting for you” (Hurnard, 2018).

Reference

Hurnard, H. (2018). Hinds’ feet on high places. Christian Classic Edition [p. 32].
Epub 978-1-948648-10-3.

 

 

 

Tozer on Christian Leadership

stacked books
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Evangelism: The Desperate Personal Search

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.—Matthew 5:16

The average person in the world today, without faith and without God and without hope, is engaged in a desperate personal search throughout his lifetime. He does not really know where he has been. He does not really know what he is doing here and now. He does not know where he is going.

The sad commentary is that he is doing it all on borrowed time and borrowed money and borrowed strength—and he already knows that in the end, he will surely die! It boils down to the bewildered confession of many that “we have lost God somewhere along the way.”…

Man, made more like God than any other creature, has become less like God than any other creature. Created to reflect the glory of God, he has retreated sullenly into his cave—reflecting only his own sinfulness.

Certainly, it is a tragedy above all tragedies in this world that man, made with a soul to worship and praise and sing to God’s glory, now sulks silently in his cave. Love has gone from his heart. Light has gone from his mind. Having lost God, he blindly stumbles on through this dark world to find only a grave at the end. Whatever Happened to Worship?, 65-66.

“Lord, help me to be a light shining in this dark and gloomy cave. Let my light shine today to aid someone struggling blindly through this dark world. Amen.”

******

I read this devotion this morning and it is still with me. I feel moved to share but wasn’t sure where so here it is! I pray it blesses you as it has me 🙂

Reference

BibleGateway (2020, August 9). Tozer on Christian leadership. https://link.biblegateway.com/view/5ef564ffae8e585d9f33e4fcclcb8.6m0/da689e4b

 

Led By The Holy Spirit

 

green leafed plant
Photo by Zetong Li on Pexels.com

July 29, 2020

I woke in a panic around 2 AM this morning. My body felt funny and I could not help but imagine all sorts of terminal ailments. I was reminded of unpleasant past events; doom and gloom were fast approaching. My heart-rate was up, my breath was shallow, and I could not find a comfortable position in the bed. Scripture was not coming as quickly as I would have liked, so I repeated the Lord’s Prayer! As I meditated on each word, the peace of God came over me; my racing thoughts slowed down just enough to muster a prayer of help. I cannot remember the words but I knew in that moment of paralyzing fear, I had to be rescued and I certainly could not do it by myself. I am helpless in the grip of panic.

How faithful and good He is! In the calm of His embrace, I heard clearly the wisdom He had to share with me. I was no longer focused on my current condition but on His loving mercy and grace. I was not alone and even if I should breathe my last breath, right then and there, I still would not be alone. In my finite mind, I would be overcome and merged into His very being, removed from my body, and joined with His, covered and infused with His indescribable love and peace.

John 16:33 (ESV) says:

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Wounds in life are unavoidable. There are many unfairly taken advantage of, offended, and oppressed by very bad behavior carried out by others. I am so sorry! I pray, in the Name of Jesus, for healing on all those who struggle each day with hurt. I pray Jesus lays His healing hand upon those wounds and fills them up with his Holy Presence. Draw each one close, Father, and whisper in their ear that they are loved and well taken care of. You have a plan and it is good and I pray that you bring great faith and hope to broken hearts and give unquenchable desire to seek your face rather than turn inward and allow the hurt to rule over them! Thank you, Jesus! It’s in your Name we pray, Amen!

These wounds can become quite damaging when left uncared for, they become a part of us. As we go through life, they gain strength and dominate our thoughts, emotions, words, and actions. We are prone to seek help in all the wrong places and gravitate towards anything in the hopes of mending brokenness.  A bigger mess is often created!

At 2 AM, God showed me that I look to others to be filled emotionally and as I wrote this on July 29th, my view of personal dysfunction has become completely different.

Those heart-hurts are deep! It is an area that is untouchable by things or people; this is the territory of God. Whether we have been hurt or not, we all have a hidden space in our hearts that cannot be reached by any outside influences. No matter what we pursue and achieve in life, that spot will remain barren. There is a craving within us that yearns for something more. We do not realize this deep-seated need until we are sitting in weakness and despair (my experience). Life is no longer full and satisfying for whatever reason or maybe it never was (again, my experience). We turn from our present circumstances and look to be filled in other ways. Sinking into self-pity, our heart becomes an open door to anything that brings hope and joy; this can only come from Jesus. His love gets to our vacancy and it is unchanging, unconditional, inseparable, and incomparable. This is where He belongs! He made us this way!

I have since been in prayer over a new “escape” plan! When life hits me right in the gut and I’m left flailing in the dust, I am doing my best to remember my identity in Christ, remaining in the moment, and soaking in His presence. I do this by sitting still in prayer, reading the Bible, or one of my favorite Spirit-filled authors, listening to God-centered messages, or turning on worship music and singing with my hands raised high.

Galatians 5:16-26 (ESV)

Keep in Step with the Spirit

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealously, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, division, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

It is an impossible task to “walk by the Spirit,” in our own power and it is something I am learning but as John Piper told me this morning in his message, “Let Us Walk by the Spirit” (Piper, 10:04), “The Holy Spirit gives us the desires to walk by the Spirit,” and as Charles Spurgeon said in his sermon the Power of the Holy Ghost (2020), “The Holy Spirit has power over the will…He is able to make you willing in the day of his power,” so it is nothing we do, it is everything the Holy Spirit does.

I challenge you to lean into God in those fleshly moments and see what He does! I am putting myself in this challenge as well! I will check back in with you and give you a Holy Spirit update. To God be all the Glory!

To conclude, I want to share with you this excerpt from Charles H. Spurgeon (2020). It comes from his sermon, “The Comforter.” I found God’s peace in this and I pray you do too!

“God the Holy Ghost is a very loving Comforter. I am in distress, and I want consolation. Some passer-by hears of my sorrow, and he steps within, sits down, and essays to cheer me; he speaks soothing words, but he loves me not; he is a stranger; he knows me not at all; he has only come in to try his skill; And what is the consequence? His words run o’er me like oil upon a slab of marble; they are like the pattering rain upon the rock; they do not break my grief; it stands unmoved as adamant because he has no love for me. But let someone who loves me dear as his own life, come and plead with me, then truly his words are music; they taste like honey: he knows the password of the doors to my heart, and my ear is attentive to every word; I catch the intonation of each syllable as it falls, for it is like the harmony of the harps of heaven. Oh! There is a voice in love, it speaks a language which is its own: it has an idiom and a brogue which none can mimic; wisdom cannot imitate it; oratory cannot attain unto it; it is love alone which can reach the mourning heart; love is the only handkerchief which can wipe the mourner’s tears away. And is it not the Holy Ghost, a loving comforter. Dost thou know, O saint, how much the Holy Spirit loves thee? Canst thou measure the love of the Spirit? Dost thou know how great is the affection of his soul towards thee?”

*****

Piper, J. (2013, August 12). Let us walk by the spirit [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1iKjjkQYz4&t=604s

Spurgeon, C. H. (2020). Power of the holy ghost: Spurgeon sermons (8th ed., Vol. 1-2). Hendrickson Publishers.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2020). The comforter: Spurgeon sermons (8th ed., Vol. 1-2). Hendrickson Publishers.

 

Nothing Goes Unnoticed

white dog terrier jumping near grass field during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I am currently reading a book called, “The Lies We Believe,” by Dr. Chris Thurman. I came across a sentence yesterday that gave me pause and when I woke this morning, it was still with me. The chapter is called,  “You Are a Person of Great Worth,” and it states this:

“The father of lies wants you to believe you are worthless and unworthy of love. He wants you to think you are the reason relationships don’t go well and that it isn’t okay to be a human being who makes mistakes. These four lies are usually in play when human beings are destructive to themselves and to each other.”

(Bold-type is mine because this is how it presented in my mind)

My words:

Nothing goes unnoticed! God sees all and knows all. I had a Holy Spirit encounter this morning while outside with my dog. I noticed that another dog had done a number two in the grass and normally I would be really upset by this because I would start to imagine the person who did not pick it up. I’d envision their appearance, personality, and morals. Anger would wash over me and I’d wish they would step in it! Maybe then they’d realize their negligence and lack of care for others!

This morning was different and I knew the Lord was at work and whatever He was doing would be applicable wisdom from here on out!

Please consider: I am not trying to point out my goodness in this early morning challenge. Sin is part of human nature and this is why God came down from the heavens to save us all. I struggle just as much as the next person with temptation. It is only by God’s grace and mercy that we are able to get up each morning and face the day with goodness in our hearts. I am learning and growing too.

As I made my way to the pile I heard:

“God will take care of this person. You don’t have to get angry and imagine scenarios as you once did. He knows their heart. He takes great care of them as He does you.”

I picked it up in peace and continued on with my dog! I know this is not the cleanest of stories but God can truly use anything to get His point across. We just have to be open to His opportunities!

In prayer, ask Him for spiritual senses so that His presence is not missed! He hears and He will delightfully answer!

His Wisdom:

When someone has done something that has lit you up inside, God can immediately put that fire out and create one of His own! Hallelujah! God will take care of those people who offend. He will take care of us when we offend and not because He wants to punish us but because He loves us. We don’t want our children acting out thoughtlessly. God certainly does not want His children acting out thoughtlessly! This brings no glory to Him and after all, this is why we are here!

Instead of getting upset, pray!

I pray that this unknown dog-owner would come to know Jesus more intimately, whether they are lost, shaky in faith, or filled with great faith. May Jesus come into their heart and do mighty things! I pray for wisdom and understanding and that in this new life, created by the blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that they would be on fire to glorify and honor Him. And I pray this in Jesus’ Name!

With my walk finished and at my desk for prayer, the Lord took what I had just experienced outside and applied it to the wounds I’ve received throughout my life. Unfortunately, life is full of circumstances that create hurt within us but they don’t have to dominate. The Lord is bigger than this!

Dear Lord,

Thank you for taking care of our wounds! You are using them for your good. Those moments of hurt will only make us more pliable and obedient in your hands. You are shaping and cutting away the darkness that holds us back. For we are your masterpiece, you have created us anew, so we can do the good things you planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10, NLT). Thank you, Jesus, for your faithfulness and love.

Father, I pray for all those who are reading this Holy Spirit experience right now. I pray that you release whatever is holding them back and fill every area of their lives, their hearts, soul, and mind with your Holy Spirit. Father, open them to receive you. You are all that matters! Keep their focus on you and bless them each with your love, peace, and joy. Give them a great desire to seek you each and every day and reward them with goodness! You are for us and never against us (Romans 8:31). Your love is greater than anything we’ve ever experienced here in this world. Help us to receive your blessings! Thank you!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Let me conclude with Dr. Chris Thurman’s response to unworthiness:

“God always has an authoritative response to the Enemy’s lies, shame included. From God’s perspective, the truth is you have worth because He made you in His image, you are worthy of love as He demonstrated on the cross, you are not to blame for every relationship problem that occurs, and you are a finite human being who can’t help but make mistakes. God has the truth to counter every lie the Enemy will ever throw at you. The issue is whether you are going to believe what God says or what the liar says.”

*****

Thurman, C. (2019). The lies we believe. W Publishing Group.

 

 

 

 

No More Training Wheels

action bicycling bike biking
Photo by Roman Pohorecki on Pexels.com

But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NLT)

My prayer time is way off. I imagine I have felt like this in the past, actually, I have because I often look back to previous days to see if there was something I did that caused the lack of focus. I will try to read or write the answer to my disconnection but I’m not feeling the need to do this which is quite unusual.

I feel clear and it is certainly not from anything I did. I am confident in the Blood of Jesus; this is a new thing! Hallelujah! I do not feel the need to take inventory of the past couple of weeks in search of words or actions that would lead to ill feelings. This is a mighty miracle in itself; something like this can only point to God and His desire to make all things new!

It’s been four days of cloudiness regarding my “normal” prayer time. It has bothered me up until this morning. I was quite concerned that I was squeezing Him out. I have been praying each night that He would keep this from happening. I cannot see what is all around me but He can. So, if evil is lurking and the intention is to put a wedge between God and me, send the enemy packing immediately, gather me up, and set me straight.

After prayer this morning, I am somewhat aware of the Lord’s new thing. Details I do not have but I have the direction I need to leave concern alone and press forward with what I do know. The Lord is expanding on His teaching of the importance of prayer. He is moving me from my usual sort of prayer time into a time of patience and self-discipline. The reason for this is because I rely on my books more than I do on Him. I look to devotions and spiritual authors for my answers, help, understanding, and encouragement. I can never entirely know the mind of God but I do know something has shifted.

I guess I feel that sitting quietly without reading or writing is lazy. If I am not doing anything, I am feeling wasteful and spoon-fed. Here I am Lord, what do you have for me today and if I take no action in seeking Him then I am taking advantage of His goodness!

Forgive me of this thought, Father! It does feel so peaceful to sit and talk to you but I cannot help but feel that I must reciprocate by reading or writing. I am feeling a little unsteady!

In this moment of insight, I find I am seeking God to show me in writing or reading, a confirmation of this self-discipline of just sitting quietly with Him without action on my part. His only request is to turn my heart in His direction. I am not trusting His voice as I am designed to. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27, NLT).

An investigation is my normal start to the morning and prayer follows! I’m backward! Is a personal relationship with you really this easy? Is it my sinful state that manipulates your blessing of intimacy into something that I can understand. Are you not Lord, God Almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth? You are so much bigger than me and to understand you would be to drop you down to my level so that I could clearly see you. I do not want this kind of god! I want the God who I saw in my dream years ago, the God who held a jumbo jet in the palm of His hand, and compared to that hand, the jet was a child’s toy. Small and insignificant! This, you are not!

Each morning, I quickly get to my desk to sit with you but instead of saying good morning to my Father, I say good morning to my spiritual authors. “Good morning Mr. Spurgeon and Mr. Oswald. How are you today? What do you have for me today?” Well hello, Mr. Murray! How are you this fine morning? Will you teach me about prayer?”

Help me God to sit quietly with you. Let this time of filling come from only you. Let me not seek other resources because they are there right before my eyes. I see the book, I read the words, and by your mercy and grace, they jump to life and create newness within me. Have I made them gods? Forgive me and tear them down, in the Name of Jesus! Yes, wonderful sources but you have to be my Source. My dependency needs to be in you without interference from books. I want you to be my Source!

You are taking the training wheels off my bike, aren’t you? Hold me up, Father! Don’t let me fall. Don’t let my mind wander into fruitless territory. Teach me as you have done in the past. As I sought answers in my books, you have taken full advantage of my faithfulness to books and used them for your good. Oh, the things I’ve learned from my favorite godly authors! I do love them all but I love you more!

God, Bible, and then books!

 

 

He Will Endure Forever!

silhouette of boy running in body of water during sunset
Photo by Samuel Silitonga on Pexels.com

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you! You never leave us, your persistence never grows lazy, your pursuit is with fierce zeal. Almighty God, keep our eyes drawn to you and continue to work all kinds of miracles in our hearts, not seeking anything from this world, but only you! How truly wonderful you are! When we put our trust and faith in you, we instantly become changed. Although this is a gradual change it brings immediate hope in YOU! You are much bigger than we are. There is nothing that outlasts you! No matter where we are in life, or who we have become, or what we chase after…you are there fighting victoriously for our renewal in the blood of Jesus Christ!

You never promise that this will be easy but how doable it is because each day you give us just what we need (2 Corinthians 9:8). You are our Provider who gets us ready for all life has to throw at us. It is unkind out there; hardships are a challenge! All that we have comes directly from you, whether we see this or not. One day, all will become clear. The world we see is not all there is. There is so much more to take hold of; it starts with you. There is work that we are responsible for. It isn’t for favor or rewards. It isn’t for your love and Salvation because this is a gift to us by the death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ.

Our work or rather our pleasure is spending time with you, getting to know you on a personal level. Relationship with you requires time and just as we spend time with others, we must do the very same thing with you. We can never know anyone with a glance. It requires a commitment to the new friendship. To know you is certainly a daily commitment that is helped along by you. Yes, it is a challenge to sit before you, Father, because at first, you are not visible. This all changes as we learn more about you. As you begin to tilt our hearts in your direction, a new vision appears and we see ever so clearly and as we see, we begin to feel and that is when the holy fire desire presents itself (Psalm 146:8).

Charles Spurgeon (2013) writes of the Holy Spirit’s work in our life. He is the one who takes our eyes from ourselves and places them on Jesus. The enemy has plans that are completely opposite to our Heavenly Father’s. Satan wants us to look at ourselves, see our weaknesses, failures, and all the rest. His aim is to drive a wedge between God and His children. This takes all glory from God and places it on the evil one. We begin to worship his ways instead of God’s.

Forgive us, Father, for allowing the enemy to take hold. Free us from the snare of this viciousness and deceit and fill those places with the Holy Spirit. Bring the fruit of your Spirit (Galatians 5:22) into those dark and haunted spots. Only you can do this, Father. Lower us and show us just how powerful and lovely you are. If we’d only take a moment and give you praise and whole-hearted devoted love. Lord change our hearts and the hearts of our family, friends, and all people. Give each a heart that will love you fully (Deuteronomy 30:6). Let there be no holes within us. Filled, sealed, and saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. Do this now, in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen!

Can you imagine possessing a jammed-packed heart of love for our Father! Life would be so very different. It is coming! Wait and see (Revelation 22:12)!

We are told in Hebrews 12:1 to strip off all those things that trip us up, the sin that brings slowness to the race God has set before us. The Good News, we don’t have to do this on our own. He does not expect this of us. He will do it and by personal testimony, one of His ways is by simply spending time with Him. As we sit in quiet, enjoying His Presence, reading Scripture, thanking, worshipping, and praising Him, He is at work. He is with us and He is doing so much more than we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). He is a multitasker; He is perfection at work. He desires his children to sit before Him, loving Him.

He is our Father, Savior, Friend, Guide, Defender and so much more. We are created for God. We are the objects of His love. His plans are for good! Trust Him and lean into Him! He will not disappoint you. I promise! Give Him time, He will bless you with wisdom, understanding, and a deeper knowledge of Him (Ephesians 1:17). What more do we need? So, what are those things in life that deter you from running your race? Tell God everything you need to run in freedom and give Him thanks for all He has done to help you run to victory (Philippians 4:6).

Pursue Him each day. He brings gifts every time, gifts that will never be given by another. His peace, love, joy, and the promise of eternal life which can only come from Him. It is all guaranteed to His children. Chase after Him because He is God because He loves you (1 John 3:1), He is the creator of Heaven and Earth and before He spoke Heaven and Earth into existence, His Spirit was hovering over the surface of the water (Genesis 1:1-2). How awesome is this!! The Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the One who is, the One who always was, and the One who is still to come (Revelation 12:13).

Jesus came to this world so we could have the privilege of spending time with God. God is Holy–without blemish, all-knowing, all-powerful, and present everywhere. We, however, are not! We are born into a life of sin, selfishness, and we are very hungry individuals. We know what we like. Our flesh reminds of this every day, sometimes many times throughout the day. Our flesh will not give up until we exhale our last breath. We are filthy and we need cleansing and this only comes from the blood of Jesus. His death, burial, and resurrection is what washes us clean and makes us presentable to our Father. This is nothing we do. He has done great things, not us! He doesn’t expect us to clean ourselves! It is impossible!

God doesn’t see us when He looks at us. He doesn’t see the weight we carry due to the life we choose to lead. He only sees Jesus. If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9-10).

Spend daily time with God. He will teach you all things (John 14:26). He will open your eyes just as He’s done for so many others (2 Kings 6:16-17). We are all equal in the eyes of God. There are no favorites (Deuteronomy 10:17-18). Your life will never be the same.

There will be moments of awkwardness when sitting with God. Distractions, impure thoughts, doubt that He’s even there, and maybe even feelings of foolishness but be persistent as He is with you. He will change that empty space and capture you. He has special ways for just you. His plan for you is made especially for you. He is invested in you and He has so much to share with you. He will take hold of you and before you even know it, you are anticipating your next quiet time with Him. This is my prayer for all of us that as we draw near to God, He will draw near to us and that He will spark a flame within us that is unquenchable.

“For he is the living God,
and he will endure forever.
His kingdom will never be destroyed,
and his rule will never end.
He rescues and saves his people;
he performs miraculous signs and wonders
in the heavens and on earth…”

Daniel 6:26-27

Hallelujah!

 

References

New Living Translation. (2015). Life application study bible. Tyndale.

Spurgeon, C.H. (2003). Morning and evening. [A. Begg, Ed.]. Crossway.

Referenced Scriptures

2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”

Psalm 146:8 “The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. The Lord loves the godly.”

Galatians 5:22 “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things.”

Deuteronomy 30:6 “The LORD your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live.”

Revelation 22:12-13 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

Ephesians 3:20 “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

Ephesians 1:17 “…asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.”

Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”

1 John 3:1 “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.”

Genesis 1:1-2 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep water. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.”

Romans 10:9-10 “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.”

John 14:26 “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”

2 Kings 6:16-17 “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. ‘For there are more on our side than on theirs!’ Then Elisha prayed, ‘O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!’ The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.”

Deuteronomy 10:17-18 “For the LORD your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed.”

 

 

 

 

 

Now It Springs Forth

empty concrete road
Photo by Nathan Moore on Pexels.com

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your faithfulness, your tender care, and your gentle hand upon us. Thank you for guiding and protecting each one. You are so good and I pray that you would help each one in all areas of life. Father, you know all that is happening in our hearts and in this world and I pray that you come alongside and provide. Each morning, we come to you in great faith, knowing you have made our way clear and perfect. Open our hearts to receive you and this word that you have divinely given. Thank you and may it bless each one in abundance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

June 22, 2020

I woke up late on this particular morning and quickly headed to my desk to spend time in prayer. The last week or so was stressful and the attacks of the enemy were somewhat strong. I was bound and determined not to come before Jesus with complaints of weakness. We are told we can go to God with anything but I did not want to spend time this particular morning in a pitiful state. If you follow my blog, you already know how familiar I am with pitiful. October of 2017 was my first entry and I’ve just recently turned a corner, praise God. To be quite honest, my agendas with God have grown smaller and I’ve come to understand that I no longer what to unload on Him; I would rather He unload on me.

Just to confirm that we are given permission to unleash the entirety of our heart, regardless of the content, here is Philippians 4:6-7 (New Living Translation), “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

It is through prayer, the Bible, and other spiritual books by men and women who love Jesus, that I receive inspiration from God. As I pray and read, my heart is open to the touch of God. I am listening for His voice. My time with Him usually begins in a weakened state. I have no words, I am confused with myself and my daily purpose, and overwhelmed with those typical thoughts that we humans have to contend with at various times in our life. Sometimes, I sit at my desk and gaze out the window, speaking to Him through my heart. I wait patiently for His movement!

Something new is on the horizon and the Lord has let me know in bits and pieces. It started out as a thought and has since developed into teaching and now it is a part of me that I pray over daily. Today’s blog post is an application to what He has been showing me; I pray He leads the charge and blesses all involved. I pray that we all experience God in a way we never have before.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. The power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the new heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:18-22, New Internation Version).

Unaware of God’s direction in this time of quiet, I surrendered all up to Him and prayed for His will and purpose! In this moment of writing, I am reminded of Exodus 33:22-23, (NLT):

“As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.”

The featured Scripture from Charles H. Spurgeon’s book, “Morning and Evening” (2003), is from Zechariah 6:13 which says, “It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honor.”

As I read the devotion, here is what the Lord placed in my heart:

“Christ himself is the builder of His spiritual temple, and He has built it on the mountains of His unchangeable affection, His omnipotent grace, and His infallible truthfulness…the materials need to be prepared. All this is Christ’s own work. Each individual believer is being prepared and polished and made ready for his place in the temple, but Christ’s own hand performs the preparation-work. Our prayers and efforts cannot make us ready for heaven, apart from the hand of Jesus, who fashions our hearts correctly. Neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard because it all arrived perfectly ready for the exact spot it was to occupy, so it is with the temple that Jesus built; the preparation is all done on earth.”

After reading this devotion, I went to Zechariah 6:13 and read the Scripture from the New Living Translation Bible which says:

“Yes, he will build the temple of the Lord. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.”

After reading this Scripture, I really did not feel the touch of God and began to seek around the Scripture and noticed the parallel Scriptures (which is something the Lord just taught me. I had no idea what those Scriptures were in the margin of my Bible. They were always there but it wasn’t until now that the Lord explained). One of the parallel Scriptures for 6:13 was Pslam 110:4 and it says, “the Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow…”(NLT).

Wonderful reassurance that what God says holds true; He will not renege!

I flipped back to Zechariah 6:13 to investigate the other parallel Scriptures and Isaiah 9:6 was next in line. It says:

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (NLT).

In reading this Scripture, I felt the Lord’s Presence and His touch to stay right here and I read around those verses which were vv. 2-5 and v. 7:

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For you will break the yoke of slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire…His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor, David, for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen.”

Again, great hope that the Lord is ruling with fairness and justice. What we see now in this world is not a surprise to God. He sees everything that is happening and He will come forth and bring peace! He is the only One who can!

I especially liked the verse that spoke of breaking the yoke of slavery and lifting heavy burdens from their shoulders. This is when the quiet time turned personal. The Lord is actually holding me very close and giving me the answer to an unspoken prayer. I did not come to Him with this. He came to me with it! This is how good He is. “…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8).

And because “yoke of slavery and heavy burdens” spoke to my heart, I went to the parallel Scripture to learn more which is from Isaiah 49:26:

“I will feed your enemies with their own flesh. They will be drunk with rivers of their own blood. All the world will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel.”

I took this Scripture and applied it to the enemy. All the chaos he tries to cause in our lives, it does not go unnoticed. Almighty God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, sees what he is up to and God will have the final say. We do not have to succumb to the tactics of the evil one. We are, indeed, overcomers because we are children of God, given the power and authority by the blood of Jesus and by His Resurrection.

When I read Isaiah 49:26, I was infused with tremendous hope, not only in God’s victory over Satan but also in God’s victory that the desire in my heart, to be a reflection of God’s glory to all those around me, will come to fruition just as He said. Being yoked in slavery is not an option. We are covered by the blood of Jesus and to remain stooped over in bondage detracts from the work that Jesus did on the cross. I did not sit down in quiet this very morning to rehash my sins, to feel condemned and pitiful. I came to fully submerge in the Presence of God.

After reading Isaiah 49:26, I was on a mission to understand God’s wisdom on a deeper level. I took out The Moody Bible Commentary and looked up Isaiah 9:2-7:

“Though those who refuse to live in accordance with the Word of the Lord will live in continual distress (8:22)…”

Again, I felt the Lord give me pause and direct me to Isaiah 8:22 (NLT) but instead of reading just that verse, I backed up and started at v. 20:

“Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. They will go from one place to another weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness” (Isaiah 8:20-22).

In reading this, I felt a little troubled because I often feel this way. Roaming from place to place in search of something that will combat the darkness and all I really need is to sit down and be still in the Presence of the Lord. Seeking anything else will only cause more anguish!

I noticed on the opposite page of Isaiah 8:20-22, a previous highlighted study note from Isaiah 8:11-15. The Lord must have carried me to this teaching before but I didn’t grasp it as I should of, so He brought me around again.

“Fear is a powerful enemy of our faith and a strong deterrent to the believer’s peace of mind. Fear of war, terrorist attacks, disease, and pollution can rob us of our trust in God. God is our shelter and hiding place (4:6)” (NLT).

After reading this, I sat quietly and talked with God and it was at this point that I began to realize the point of this quiet time. It is my fear of death. It haunts me and it always has. As a child, I remember waking in the middle of the night and having terrifying panic attacks! On one certain day, I will no longer be here. I will be gone, forever! A paralyzing thought for a child and I have carried this with me. It is not as powerful but the fear is still there!

Isaiah 8:12:

“Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them. Make the LORD of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble. He will keep you safe. But to Israel and Judah, he will be a stone that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem, he will be a trap and a snare. Many will stumble and fall, never to rise again. They will be snared and captured. Preserve the teaching of God; entrust his instructions to those who follow me. I will wait for the LORD, who has turned away from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my hope in him” (vv.12-17).

Back to the previously referenced Study Note:

“For the people of Judah, fear of invasion was a constant threat. They had powerful enemies on their doorstep. Yet Isaiah said, ‘The LORD of Heaven’s Armies…is the one you should fear…He will keep you safe.’ Ask him to drive inappropriate fear from your heart and to help you fear only him.”

And because Isaiah 4:6 was included in the Study Note, I went to it which provided additional encouragement and strength:

“He will provide a canopy of cloud during the day and smoke and flaming fire at night, covering the glorious land. It will be a shelter from daytime heat and a hiding place from storms and rain.”

I flipped back to the Study Note once again and as I sat and pondered this time with God, I felt the nudge to share it with my small group and with my long-time best friend. I wished them all a good morning and prayed God’s blessing over them. I thanked God for His sweet and gentle care of us. I then prayed the Lord would help us get His wisdom deep down into our hearts so the enemy could no longer push us around. “We love you, Jesus, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with His glory” (Isaiah 6:3).

After sending that text to my friends, I could feel the quiet time ending but took one last look The Moody Bible Commentary regarding Isaiah 8:11-18:

“…reveals God’s encouragement to Isaiah to remain separate from the rest of Judah. He must not fear what the people fear, or get caught up in conspiracy theories. Instead, the Lord exhorted Isaiah to fear Him and to regard Him as holy. Isaiah must remember God as Isaiah saw Him in his initial vision, sitting on His great throne among the seraphim praising Him with the refrain of “Holy, Holy, Holy” (6:3) ringing out. By fearing God and regarding Him as holy, Isaiah recognized God as His sanctuary…sanctuary generally denoting the place of God’s dwelling, with connotations of strength and refuge…”

The commentary goes on but I felt stopped at that moment and drawn back to Charles H. Spurgeon’s devotion which I wrote about at the start of this post.

“When we reach heaven, there will be no sanctifying us there, no squaring us with affliction, no maturing us with suffering. No, we must be made ready here–and all that Christ will do He will do now; and when He has done it, we will be ferried by a loving hand across the stream of death and brought to the heavenly Jerusalem, to live as eternal pillars in the temple of our Lord.”

I couldn’t help but repeat “ferried by a loving hand across the stream of death,” over and over until my heart received this divine message.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, that you know our needs before we do. Thank you, for your constant care and delight in us. How wonderful you are! Father, sink this message deep within us and grow it into powerful fruit in order to bring glory and honor to you, all by the power of the Holy Spirit! Thank you for hearing our prayers and answering. Thank you for listening tenderly and compassionately even when we have no words to speak. Thank you! It’s in Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen!!

References

Faculty of Moody Bible Institute. (2014). The moody bible commentary. (M. Rydelnik & M.         Vanlaningham, Eds). Moody Publishers.

New International Version. (2013). The pursuit of God bible: A.W. Tozier. Hendrickson             Publishers Edition.

New Living Translation. (2015). Life application study bible. Tyndale.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2003). Morning and evening. (A. Begg, Ed). Crossway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healed, in the Name of Jesus!

pink peony flowers in bloom at daytime
Photo by César Gaviria on Pexels.com

Good morning, Jesus!

How thankful and joyful I am to be sitting here with you this morning! Your steadfast love never ceases, your mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV).

Lord, you are my God; I will magnify and praise your name. In perfect faithfulness, you have done wonderful things, things you planned long ago (Isaiah 25:1, NIV).  How truly blessed we are! You are our Father in heaven: watching, guarding, loving, saving, and healing! Thank you! Let everything that has breath praise you, Heavenly Father (Psalm 150:6) and because your love is better than life, let the words from our mouth always glorify you. Let us praise you as long as we live. Lift our hands to always be praising you (Psalm 63:3-4).

Thank you, Lord, you are my strength, my shield and my heart trusts you. I cannot help but jump for joy in knowing that you are always with me and for me (Psalm 28:7). Come Holy Spirit of Truth, instruct and teach me in the way I should go, keep your eye upon me and give me your holy counsel so I should neither look to the left nor the right but always to you (Proverbs 4:25-27). Everything pales in comparison to you! How completely filled I am by your love! I lack nothing because of your goodness! Hallelujah!

I specifically pray for the sick this morning Father. There are so many struggling with disease. Let not their flesh and heart fail, be their strength and their portion, bring comfort and peace, speak words of love and hope into their hearts. Show your beauty, Heavenly Father, to those who are brought low in sickness.

Father, heal the sick, lay your holy, heavenly, healing hand upon them, and give them new life. Bring restoration to those parts that are compromised. These afflictions are not from you so we command the enemy to let loose in the Name of Jesus and we pray, that you, Father, would fill those spaces with your presence now. Take up those vacancies and live and reign there so that no weapon formed against them shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17, NKJV).

The unfolding of your words gives light (Psalm 119:130, NIV); whatever you say will be fulfilled (Ezekiel 12:28), what leaves your mouth will not return empty. You will accomplish what you desire and achieve the purpose for which you sent it (Isaiah 55:11).

Lord, we wait patiently but expectantly on you. We put our trust in you! Father, heal the Covid, cancer, autism, cerebral palsy, degenerative hips, Alzheimer’s, ALS, neuropathy, and diabetes; heal addiction and mental illness; depression, fear, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, heal marriages and family discord between siblings and parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, heal the overweight, the high cholesterol, and heart disease, heal this country: bring peace, harmony, compassion, and respect into this world and most importantly, heal the lost. I pray each would come to know you. Draw them to you now, In Jesus’ Name! Touch each one and speak the word:

“I will restore your health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 30:17).

“I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will guide them and restore comfort…Peace, peace to those far and near, says the Lord. I will heal them” (Isaiah 57:18-19).

I believe in my heart, Almighty God: Jehovah-Rapha, you’ve spoken and those with disease are now without! Each has felt your miraculous touch and newness has come. Thank you, Father, for hearing my prayer and answering. You are so faithful!

In Jesus’ mighty Name I pray, Amen!