Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jeremiah 7-9: Personally and Practically, Discerning and Recognizing

Jeremiah 9:24
Amplified Bible (AMP)

24 But let him who glories glory in this: that he understands and knows Me [personally and practically, directly discerning and recognizing My character], that I am the Lord, Who practices loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.

It seems unfathomable that a mere human being could know God "personally and practically, directly discerning and recognizing [His] character."  However, God says that this is not only possible, but that He delights in those that know Him in that way.

Personally and Practically

In order to know, really know someone, we spend time with them.  Personally, I prefer face to face interactions, one on one, but in my life, it is not usually possible.  The Internet has been a blessing by allowing contact with others through email, Facebook, Blogger, Skype, etc.  

However, how do we get to know God, Most High, on a personal level?  

First, we must personally accept Jesus as our Savior, our Master, our Friend. It's as simple as just admitting our inability to save ourselves, to wash ourselves clean, asking for forgiveness and empowerment to hear and obey.

Second, spend time with Him.  PLEASE, I'm not talking about attending a church service (although that's good) or performing some godly task in service or others (also good).  I'm speaking of keeping your heart open to hear His whispers.  Talk to Him as though He is right there with you (He IS with you).  Think about Him, ask Him for His advice, and receive His Spirit to empower you to walk through life victoriously, no matter what earthly circumstances may present.

He will reveal Himself in the midst of your day.  He will whisper His heart while in the darkest situation.  He will bestow His courage to the most fearful, fainthearted of children and demonstrate His power through those whom the world counts as tainted or immature.  

God practically reveals Himself in our situations as we personally contact Him!!!

Discerning and Recognizing

Hebrews 5:14
Amplified Bible (AMP)

14 But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law.

Discerning and recognizing God occurs by practice.  We must constantly judge situations and our thoughts in light of the fact that God is Good, period.  If the situation or thought isn't good, then it is not God!

How do we know if something is good or evil? 

His Word is the best place to start, although we must read and understand the written Word with the assistance of His Spirit or we may fall to making our lives into some sort of religious expression of rules and regulations.  

God is GOOD!  God LOVES us!  

He is not some megalomaniac Who is waiting for us to break His laws so that He can punish us, NO!  He woos.  He instructs.  He pleads for us to live in the way He has prescribed for our own good.

He knows that sex outside of marriage damages the soul!

He knows that allowing fear to reign in our thoughts, will damage our body!

He Knows that those who seek after worldly possessions, often forget about Him and eternity!

He gives us instructions, so we don't have to pay the price of disobedience. He cares about our body and our soul and our spirit!!!

Lord, You have proven to be my most trusted Friend.  You have revealed Yourself personally and practically and are teaching me to discern and recognize what is You (good) and what is not (evil).  On this last day of the year 2013, I ask for a deeper revelation of You.  Teach me by Your Spirit that I might know You in an even greater measure!   In the Name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Jeremiah 4-6: Ask For the Eternal Paths

Jeremiah 6:16
Amplified Bible (AMP)

16 Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the eternal paths, where the good, old way is; then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk in it!

God's chosen people had once again turned away from Him. Their faces had become "harder than rock." (Jeremiah 5:3) A face is symbolic for one's heart. Abba's children had hardened their hearts towards Him. How could this happen?

Idolatry. But something must have been going on inside the hearts of the people before turning away from the God that had proven Himself repeatedly.

I think about our natural bodies. What causes a callus to form on our skin?

According to Medical News Today, "a callus, or callosity, is a section of skin that has become toughened and thick as a result of friction, pressure or irritation."

Now apply that knowledge to the soul. When constant pressure and friction is applied to the soul though trials, tribulations, disappointments and traumas. A callused heart (hardened heart) may result.

I think about Proverbs 4:23 where God is commanding to "keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life."

Guarding our heart should be more important to us than guarding ALL else! It occurs to me that no matter how much we attempt to guard our hearts, we cannot do it apart from His Spirit giving us direction about what guarding actually looks like as we walk through life.

Guarding our heart manifests internally by guarding our thoughts in relation to a person or situation. As a psychiatric nurse, I can tell you that thoughts really do influence our "heart" or more plainly stated, our emotions. Human science has shown that thoughts actually affect the neurochemical balance within the brain. Neurochemical imbalance is a current theory of the origins of mental illness. Emotions are moderated by these powerful brain chemicals, which then affect our behavior. Knowing this is only the first step. Doing requires the power of His Spirit. He is the One Who empowers us to manage our thoughts.

Isaiah 26:3
Amplified Bible (AMP)

3 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.

The Lord is commanding, "Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the eternal paths, where the good, old way is; then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls."

But the only way to do that is by maintaining a softened heart, but what if a heart has already been hardened, calloused. THERE IS STILL HOPE!!!

Ezekiel 11:18-20
Amplified Bible (AMP)

18 And when they return there, they shall take away from it all traces of its detestable things and all its abominations (sex impurities and heathen religious practices).

19 And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God],

20 That they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God.

Yay, God!!!

Holy Spirit, I know You are calling me to "Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the eternal paths, where the good, old way is;" I will walk in it, and I will find rest for my soul. You have showed me Your will for 2014. Soul rest 90% of the time is not what You desire for Your beloved. Lord, I receive Your call to "Go back to the start" where I first fell in love with You. The good, old way, here I come!!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Jeremiah 1-3: He Gifts Us to Minister to Him

Jeremiah 1:11-12

Amplified Bible (AMP)
11 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what do you see? And I said, I see a branch or shoot of an almond tree [the emblem of alertness and activity, blossoming in late winter].
12 Then said the Lord to me, You have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.

These verses hold personal significance in my heart.  In the post, A Branch Shall Bear and Grow Fruit, I recounted a visual experience, which the Lord gifted me.  In that experience, He revealed my primary calling, to minister to Him.  

When the Lord Almighty, Ruler of Heaven and Earth calls us to minister to Him, He does not leave us empty-handed.  He gifts us with abilities to walk out our call.  

What does that look like? 

God has specifically promised several characteristics...

  • Empowerment of His Spirit
  • Wisdom
  • Understanding
  • Counsel
  • Might
  • Knowledge
  • Reverential and obedient fear of the Lord

Isaiah 11:2
Amplified Bible (AMP)

2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the reverential and obedient fear of the Lord—

Interestingly enough, the characteristics He gives us looks like tools we would use to minister to others. Could it be that ministry to Abba, not only occurs as we sing and dance and pray and submit ourselves to Him, but ministry to God also occurs when we minister to others?

Writing a blog, posting on Facebook, speaking life to patients, serving my family...ALL of it is ministry to the Lord and ALL of it requires His gifts to flow through my being.

This life is about choosing to lay down selfishness and jealousy and the "I want" or "It's not fair" or "They hurt me" attitudes in order to pick up the awesome gifts the Lord has provided.  Our own heart wounds often are preceded by allowing our eyes to turn inward towards ourselves, rather then outward toward others. 

One of the coping skills I encourage my patients to try is to get their eyes off themselves and look for someone they can help.  Ministry to others, ultimately ministers to the Lord, which releases healing balm into the soul!

Father, we desire to serve You with ALL of our heart and soul and strength. Empower us to minister to You by ministering to others.  In the great and awesome name of Jesus, AMEN!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Forever Mine by Letters of Marque

Zephaniah: I Hear Him Singing

Zephaniah 3:17
Amplified Bible (AMP)

17 The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:19-20
Amplified Bible (AMP)

19 Behold, at that time I will deal with all those who afflict you; I will save the limping [ones] and gather the outcasts and will make them a praise and a name in every land of their shame.

20 At that time I will bring you in; yes, at that time I will gather you, for I will make you a name and a praise among all the nations of the earth when I reverse your captivity before your eyes, says the Lord.

Like most women, my self-esteem was skewed. As a teen and young woman, I saw all of my faults and few of my strengths. What broke this unhealthy assessment of myself was my Abba singing over me.

While taking a nap one Sunday afternoon almost 15 years ago, I awoke to hear the most beautiful singing and experience a love so intense that I didn't want to breath or move. I didn't want this holy experience to stop. In those brief moments, I realized that I loved myself and the woman I had become with Jesus. I marveled how one supernatural encounter with Abba had changed a lifetime of thinking.

He poured out His love on me just because...not that I had done anything to deserve it. He loved me because He made me to be an object of His affection, and my reason for life was to love Him with my worship.

Because of various life experiences, I had been blinded to the uniqueness that made me, me. God lifted the veil of deception causing me to see fully that who I am is beautiful with the Lord. No other human being has ever been or will be like me.

This truth has been tested by fire since that wonderful experience, but I stand firm.  No matter what, God's opinion of me trumps what man thinks every time!  You can know this love and acceptance too.  His love stirs the desire to live in a way that is pleasing to Him, and if you mess up (I have), He immediately picks you up, washes the soul, soothes and empowers afresh!

In my profession, I am able to speak into many young people's lives. My hope is that these ones will see themselves as God sees them and not allow other people's opinions negatively affect the way they view themselves.

Only by the power of the Holy Spirit are we able to maintain a healthy, balanced opinion of ourselves being able to see our weaknesses and remembering what God has promised. With Him, our weaknesses make His perfect strength and power evident. With Him, our lives are beautiful!!! 

It's grace that enables us to bear trouble, however that trouble manifests. Misunderstandings, faulty discernment born out of fear, and our own wrong reactions...ALL our weaknesses glorify His strength when we humbly admit what the Holy Spirit has revealed and allow Him to flow through us.  His strength and power can rest over our lives like a protective tent!  :)

2 Corinthians 12:9
Amplified Bible (AMP)

9 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

Thank You, Lord, for revealing Your intentions towards us.  It's not about what we can do for You, it's all about being with You; living and moving from that intimate place stirs us to love ourselves and others just like You!!!  Make Your name a praise as any areas of captivity remaining are reversed.  In the wonderful name of Jesus, AMEN!!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Time for a Train Change

Dream:  A woman was riding an old train used to transport goods from place to place.  This train was controlled by personnel of advanced age.  She knew her destination, but the train stopped short of it.  She disembarked into the train yard, not sure of how she would reach her final destination.  As she walked away from the train which had transported her as far as it could, she noticed the tracks it was on had just stopped. No new tracks had been laid.  The train stopped because it was unable to move farther; there was no tracks for it to move upon.

As she walked across the train yard, she noticed a beautiful blue passenger train. She climbed the steps onto the train to be met by a man who informed her that the train could indeed take her to the appointed destination, but that not enough workers had been assigned to the train.  The train could not move without the appropriate personnel.  

The woman disembarked the train and proceeded into the yard a second time, where she came upon two gorillas.  Their only motive was to fight the other. The woman watched as each gorilla worked on their car engines, each preparing their car for a head on collision with the other.  The woman found herself between the two warring gorillas.  She knew if she stayed between them she would be injured or even killed as an innocent bystander in the gorillas warfare!  Then she heard the Conductor call her.  

The passenger train had been made ready with workers.  As the woman climbed onto the train a second time, she was greeted by the train personnel.  They all had on the line's uniforms and hats. These people were multi-generational.  Young children would be working along side of those advanced in age.  The woman knew in her heart that she would reach her destination.

I am the woman.  You are the woman.

Life's journey leads us on paths, which guide us to our ultimate destination.  As the train's path stops short of the intended destination, we may need to change trains (paths).  Disembark from one train (path) in order to board the next.  Never despise the old train (path).  It did its part in getting you to the place where the new path (train) awaits.  The transition from the old to the new can be dangerous, but the Conductor (Jesus) will call us, thereby removing us from the position between those in conflict, a place of danger.  We are safe because we heeded His call and boarded the new train, which will transport us to the new destination.  All the workers come together because the Conductor called, and they responded.  They did it for the Conductor, but to also to serve the woman.  Each was happy to assist the woman get back on the path that the Conductor had set for her.

Listen for His call, friends.  Your path is changing.  Don't stay on a path because it is familiar or comfortable.  Paths end, new ones begin.  This is life.  Be flexible, hear His Spirit.  Don't shrink back from the change.  The path set before you is life and health and peace.  He is conducting you on the path set before you.  Your destiny lies along this path.  Your ultimate destination, the arriving point only occurs when you step onto the golden streets of holy city Jerusalem and behold His face for eternity.  Receive courage!  Don't listen to the naysayers!  Listen only to Him!!!  He is calling you!!!  He longs for you to receive His direction.   In the name of Jesus, AMEN!!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Trust That Love is More Powerful

Courage and Love are a tree with Hope as the trunk.  
This symbolic mural had me on the verge of tears as a patient described 
her vision of those who climb the mountain of breast cancer.

As a child, I remember being drawn to the underdog, the one who didn't fit with the crowd.  My heart would ache for one being mistreated or for the person cast aside by society, locked away by the labels others had placed on them.

About a dozen years ago, I met a woman who was most probably schizophrenic.  She had a language that sounded prophetic, but the more I conversed with her the more I realized that her mind had been assaulted to the point where reality no longer reigned.  I remember others being afraid of this woman.  I was frightened too.  We often fear what we don't understand, people and situations, but meeting that woman caused me to understand my life's calling...

Love the unlovely.  Trust that love is more powerful than evil.  Don't just talk about love, walk it out.

I remember this woman sitting by herself in a room full of people.  My heart was drawn to her.  I could sense her confusion and isolation.  Sitting by her, I noticed that when we sang worship songs, she began to weep.  Again, I could feel the intensity of her loneliness and her inability to truly connect with her surroundings.  As I moved to put my arm around her in order to comfort her I heard,

"If you touch her, you'll get the demon that's on her."  

Immediately the Holy Spirit rose up in my spirit distinctly directing, 

"Love is more powerful than evil."

I overcame fear that day with the love God had placed in me.  I'd like to say that from that point, I walked through life fearlessly loving everyone in every situation, but I cannot.  However, I do know that the path set before me is directed towards fearless love.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].

This past Tuesday, I was able to take the love of Jesus to a group of people literally locked away in a state mental hospital.  I had been invited to share my story at a breast cancer awareness event being held by the hospital.

One of the many things I love about the Lord is His specificity.  There was no doubt in my mind that I needed to accept the offer.  Abba was so good to show me His will ahead of time.

On September 20th, I received a prophetic word from a total stranger at "The Pursuit" conference.  She said, "You have a heart for the outcast.  God has anointed you to speak a word and people with schizophrenia and bipolar will be healed."  Amazing enough because I am a psychiatric nurse, but even more incredible when considering I checked my email to find that I had been invited to tell my story at the breast cancer awareness event at Danville State Hospital!!!

I really didn't have a story without speaking about Jesus.  It turns out that the administration contact person was in charge of the hospital's chaplaincy, and that's why she invited me!!!

The Christian music singer, Mandisa, gave permission for me to play her music video, "Overcomer!"

My manager at work gave me the night off so I could speak!

However, I am a story teller, not a speech maker.  It's difficult for me to get up in front of people. Even as I approach my 50th year of life, fear of man still grips me at times.  I knew I needed to ask several people to cover me in prayer.  Thank you to all who prayed!

I spoke without fear!!!

God's love prevailed and I encouraged approximately 50 patients and staff to be overcomers!!!

I spoke about overcoming mountains of adversity, whether that mountain is named breast cancer, financial difficulties, relational difficulties or mental illness.

I received many hugs and thanks on Tuesday night!  

One man said,  "I'm a Christian too.  I can't believe your boldness, coming to a secular place like this and talking about Jesus."

Another man said, "Thank you for coming to us.  You came to a mental hospital to speak to us."

One of the staff had recently had a mastectomy and hugged me tightly as I spoke blessing over her.

A young man spoke about his aunt dying from breast cancer.  He thanked me for encouraging everyone.

Another young woman hugged me multiple times.  This woman told me of her dream to go to college, get her counseling degree and open a home for children.  This woman is scheduled to be discharged from the hospital this weekend!!!  Oh, how I love the way Abba loves!!!

I hadn't been afraid to go into a psychiatric hospital, but I had been concerned about speaking in front of people...go figure.

As I spoke, the Lord encouraged me to again face the mountains in my life with the same tenacity as I faced and climbed the mountain of breast cancer. 

I have a hope, an expectation that the current mountains in my life will be overcome as well.  I don't know how God will empower me to climb them, but I know as I submit myself to Him, He will guide me.  

If those of you reading have a mountain to climb, be assured that God is with you.  He will teach you how to be an overcomer!!!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34-35: Each One Decides

King Josiah was so distraught after learning how he and his fathers had disobeyed God that he "rent" (tore) his clothes, but he didn't stop there.  He did something about the wrongful worship of idols.  He cleared idolatry from his kingdom and passed laws for the people to worship only the One True God. 

2 Kings 23:3-4
Amplified Bible (AMP)
The king stood [on the platform] by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord—to walk after the Lord and to keep His commandments, His testimonies, and His statutes with all his heart and soul, to confirm the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to join in the covenant.
And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for [the goddess] Asherah, and for all the hosts of the heavens; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel [where Israel’s idolatry began].
Josiah commanded the people to worship God by keeping the Passover celebration. 

2 Kings 23:21-23
Amplified Bible (AMP)

21 The king commanded all the people, Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.
22 Surely such a Passover was not held from the days of Israel’s judges, even in all the days of the kings of Israel or Judah.
23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem.

King Josiah was pure and passionate in his pursuit of the Lord, and he desired that his subjects would feel the same.  He did everything in his power to make things right between his people and the God he loved, but no matter how good his intentions, each person must decide for themselves whether they will submit their heart to the Lord.
Josiah's successor, Jehoiakim, immediately turned back to performing evil in God's sight!

2 Kings 23:36 & 37
Amplified Bible (AMP)
36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he began his eleven-year reign in Jerusalem. His mother was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.
37 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, like all his [forefathers] had done.

Josiah's good intentions had fallen away, because the next King had to decide for himself to serve the Lord.  The people of the kingdom had to decide to serve the Lord.
I believe the most effective way to lead people to the Lord is through a life lived well before the Lord in the presence of those around us.  
When stress comes through a personal attack, do we react by raising our voice in defense or do we take the high road of forgiveness?  When an angry person gets in our face, do we respond with a "soft answer?"
Proverbs 15:1
Amplified Bible (AMP) 

A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.

When society's norms turn against God's commands, do we bend to fit in or do we stand firm against all forms of idolatry?

Do we love the sinner by our actions or do we pridefully ostracize him/her?

Friends, people are looking for truth.  Does our walk match up to our talk?

Just the other night at work, my co-worker identified that "something was off" in my behavior.  I wasn't my "normal" self.  Friends, people watch us!  They see how we react to circumstances.   Do we actually walk, what we preach?

In this particular instance, I discerned fatigue and overwhelm in myself, which apparently was discernible to my friend/co-worker.  I apologized and asked for forgiveness.  I thanked her for calling out my behavior. 

I think about the times in which I have not walked out the things, which I know to be true.  How many people were negatively impacted by my hypocrisy? How many times have people (non-Christians and Christians alike) been affected negatively by Christians' hypocrisy?

No one can consistently live well before God and others without the empowering of His Spirit.  We ALL mess up at times.  In those times, we must seek forgiveness, and we must forgive.  Sometimes the most powerful, enduring message is a Christian asking for forgiveness from a non-Christian.  It reveals that we don't have it all together all of the time, and that we are humble enough to admit that undoneness.  Humility allows God's power to flow through us!

Josiah wanted to legislate love for God, as well as, live it out, but we can't force someone to accept Jesus.  Each one decides!

What do you decide?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Nahum: In the Whirlwind and the Storm

Nahum 1:3

Amplified Bible (AMP)
The Lord is slow to anger and great in power and will by no means clear the guilty. The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.
Friends, we give the evil one way too much credit for the "storms" in our lives. He does have a measure of power, but God has His way in the whirlwind and the storm!
When faced with a stormy situation, how do we react?  Just recently, a storm showed me that I still need to grow in various areas of my personality.  God reveals, not to shame, but for growth.  

It takes several years for one to mature physically.  Spiritual maturity takes as long as it takes until we look like Jesus.  I believe spiritual maturity takes a lifetime.  There are always areas in which we need to grow!  Pride tempts one to think he/she has grown up and that there is no more growing to be done!

Holy Spirit, please reveal the areas in which we need to mature.  I ask that only Your purposes are revealed in the storm and that we resist giving credit to the evil one for his attempts against us.  You are the God of ALL including the whirlwind and the storm.  All honor and praise and glory be to You Most High God, Who is our Daddy!!!  In the name of King Jesus, AMEN!!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2 Chronicles 32-33: What's in Your Heart?

2 Chronicles 32:31
Amplified Bible (AMP)

31 And so in the matter of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon who were sent to him to inquire about the wonder that was done in the land, God left him to himself to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart.

In the previous post, "I Have Heard Your Prayers," I wrote about the foolishness and pride of King Hezekiah as he showed the visiting Babylons the treasuries of Judah. Above we see God's plan in all of it. God was trying Hezekiah to know all that was in his heart.

The Bible can be confusing, and I am not a Bible scholar, but the Lord does give me insight.

God knows the hearts of all men. He doesn't need to set up a test in order to know us. He just does. That's part of Him being God. He is omniscient!

Romans 8:27
Amplified Bible (AMP)

And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will.

When a trial comes, what's in our heart comes to the surface. He sees what's in our heart, and He wants us to see it too. 

Oftentimes our own heart is a mystery. It takes a test or trial or temptation to allow us to see what's in it. The undoneness remaining. The parts of us that are not yet transformed to the likeness of Jesus!

Difficult times are allowed by God for our benefit. He wants us to know ourselves like He does. He desires to transform us.

Lord, I'm thankful that You love enough to reveal areas of immaturity where we are not looking like Jesus. Empower us, heal us, transform us into Your glorious image. In Jesus' name, AMEN!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

2 Kings 20-21: I Have Heard Your Prayers

King Hezekiah was deathly ill, and the prophet Isaiah told him that he would die.  Can you imagine some guy coming up to you and saying, "By the way, God said, 'you're gonna die'"? (Beautiful Grace Version).

With bitter weeping, Hezekiah begged God to spare his life.

You see, God did respond to Hezekiah.

2 Kings 20:5
Amplified Bible (AMP)

I have heard your prayer.  I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you.

God granted Hezekiah's request, but the future did not bode well because of it. Hezekiah used the extra time on earth foolishly.  He showed Babylon's embassy all the treasuries of Judah.  In reading these verses, I sense pride in Hezekiah actions.  Pride in his riches.  Pride in his possessions.  Hezekiah seemed to be showing off his expensive toys to the bully next door.  Not a smart move.

Isaiah, comes again with a severe word from the Lord.

2 Kings 20:17-18
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Behold, the time is coming when all that is in your house, and that which your forefathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the Lord.

And some of your sons who shall be born to you shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of Babylon’s king.

What is most shocking to me is Hezekiah's reaction. No tears.  No beseeching God for the generations to come, just a self-centered attitude of it doesn't affect me, so, all good.

2 Kings 20:19
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, The word of the Lord you have spoken is good. For he thought, Is it not good, if [all this evil is meant for the future and] peace and security shall be in my days?

Have you ever been in a situation where you begged God to intervene?  I have.

I have been thinking about Hezekiah because recently, because I sought God with bitter tears in regards to a situation, which I felt was intolerable.  God granted my request, a request that He had denied numerous times in the past ten years.

Will begging the Lord to do things my way impact future generations?  I pray that it would not be so.

I am on the right path at the right time! Since comparing myself to Hezekiah, I lost count as to how many times, my Father has reassured me. No, I am not Hezekiah.  I am a beloved daughter of the King of the Universe, and I do care about the future knowing that my actions will impact my progeny. 

Holy Spirit, we all have been in situations where we feel overwhelmed.  We cry out to You because that's what children do, ask their Daddy for help.  I thank You for understanding our mortal frame with all of its weaknesses.  We embrace our weaknesses knowing Your strength will be made manifest in our weaknesses. The future belongs to You, Lord.  Open our ears that we might hear Your direction and empower us to follow Your commands.  In the great name of Jesus, AMEN!!!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Isaiah 64-66: There is no God like You, Lord

Isaiah 64:4

Amplified Bible (AMP)
For from of old no one has heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who works and shows Himself active on behalf of him who [earnestly] waits for Him.

There is no God like You, Lord
by Beautiful Grace
There is no God like You, Lord.
You were.
Before I knew You, Lord.
You declared my end before my days began.
You gave Yourself for me.
I receive You.

There is no God like You, Lord.
You are.
I wait for You, Lord.
You show Yourself active on my behalf.
You whisper in the wind.
I hear you.

There is no God like You, Lord.
You will.
My future is in Your keeping, Lord.
You reveal secrets of things to come.
You paint the time to come with heavenly colors.
I see You.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Isaiah 59-63: The Spiritual Bride Radiates

Isaiah 62:1-2

Amplified Bible (AMP)
For Zion’s sake will I [Isaiah] not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest until her imputed righteousness and vindication go forth as brightness, and her salvation radiates as does a burning torch.
And the nations shall see your righteousness and vindication [your rightness and justice—not your own, but His ascribed to you], and all kings shall behold your salvation and glory; and you shall be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord shall name.

Understanding this passage literally, God called the prophet Isaiah to speak to His beloved people, the Jews.  Symbolically, I hear God talking to me, to His Bride.  The Creator of the Universe is giving His Beloved, Church a wonderful promise...
I will not rest until My Bride's imputed righteousness and vindication shine, and her salvation radiates like a burning torch!
To fully appreciate this promise, understand that imputed righteousness means that Jesus' right standing with the Father is infused into His Bride.  This unearned gift causes those who receive it to be in right standing with Abba.  That means, there is no thing between the heart of the Beloved and the God Who created her!

The Bride receives defense and even is avenged in the face of evil, but He is our Vindicator.  He is the One Who provides defense and avenges us in situations in which the evil one has designed in order to kill, rob, and destroy.  Through difficulties, the Bride shines.  She knows she has been granted salvation!

Salvation.  That word has been used by Christians to describe life everlasting, but salvation is so much more than spending eternity with the Lord.  According to Strong's dictionary, salvation means...

"something saved, that is, (abstractly) deliverance; hence aid, victory, prosperity: - deliverance, health, help (-ing), salvation, save, saving (health), welfare."

Wow!  The Bride receives deliverance from evil, aid in times of trouble, victory in the battle, prosperity in the face of lack, health is the face of sickness, help in difficulties, and a sense of peace in the midst of a storm. 

No wonder the Bride radiates like a burning torch!!!

Abba, we receive everything You desire to impart to us.  We will radiate like a burning torch!  We will shine!  All who contact us will come to You because of Your Light emanating from us!!!  In Jesus' name, AMEN!!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Isaiah 54-58: Incline Your Ear...Receive a Revived Soul

Isaiah 55:3

Amplified Bible (AMP)
Incline your ear [submit and consent to the divine will] and come to Me; hear, and your soul will revive; and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with you, even the sure mercy (kindness, goodwill, and compassion) promised to David.

Listen for God's direction in life.  Believe that He has the best for you when He directs you.  Maybe you're tired, tired of the wind, the waves, the circumstances seemingly set against you.  Yet, the promise given by the One Who cannot lie, by One Who is Truth is a revived soul.

What does a revived soul look like, feel like?  

Resuscitate our thoughts, Lord. 
The thoughts we think really matter.  Thoughts directly influence our emotions and behavior follows.  Resuscitated thoughts are life thoughts.  Abba counsels us to think on things true, pure and just.  Grab a hold of lovely thoughts, which are kind and childlike, warm and sympathetic.  Set your mind on excellence and moral courage.  Fix, stay with and meditate on things worthy of praise.  (adapted from Philippians 4:8)

Invigorate our will.  
We cannot submit our will, the choices we make to You, without Your Spirit strengthening us.  The old nature died when we accepted the new life imparted by Jesus.  Yet, the evil one whispers..."God did not really say..."  "He would never ask you to..."  "Hide, shrink back, you are alone."  With Your grace, our deliberate choices will obey You.

Impart new health to our emotions. 
The mental state stirred by the circumstances surrounding us.  The environment is the trigger at times, but those things on which we meditate can also induce certain mental states. Emotions or feelings have great power or influence over our physical bodies.  Unchecked anger can raise our blood pressure.  Sadness not given over to the Lord can result in depression.  Emotions are a great gift from Abba, but they must be utilized properly in order to maintain bodily health and healthy emotions are moderated by His Spirit.  
Bath us in Your Spirit, we want to live again.  Cause us to submit to Your will, understanding that Your thoughts and Your ways are higher.  We receive the same everlasting covenant that You promised David, the man who was after Your heart.  In Jesus name, AMEN!
I want to be known by You as one who runs after Your heart.  Allow my soul to be revived as You pour out Your Spirit into the deepest part of my being.  I want to be moved by You alone, to hear Your voice and obey always.  My family to a thousand generations will be drawn to You as I submit and consent to Your will.  Draw my heart to You, Lord.  I don't want our relationship to be mechanical.  Let what fuels my actions be the passion I have for You, Jesus.  LOVE is the highest gift.  All other things built upon love's foundation will never fail and will be known throughout eternity.  Teach me, Spirit, to love just like You.  In the great and awesome and beautiful name of Jesus, AMEN!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Isaiah 49-53: Made Whole

Isaiah 53:5

Amplified Bible (AMP)
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.

A pencil drawing of Jesus hangs on my kitchen wall and underneath it the words of Isaiah 53:5 stand out.  It is God's promise to us...

  • He was wounded for our transgressions
  • He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities
  • He bore chastisement so we could have peace and well-being in our souls
  • His wounds pave the way for our healing and wholeness

Never had these words been so real to me as when I was extremely ill after having developed a post-surgical infection.  High fever, no appetite, extreme weakness overtook my body, but more concerning to me was the assault on my soul.  I had had peace consistently through the turmoil of a breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent bilateral mastectomy, but this infection was different.  Not only was it negatively impacting my body, but it was tempting my soul to give in to defeat.  
I remember garnering enough strength to walk to the kitchen.  Sitting down and near tears, I caught sight of...

"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole."

Suddenly, peace filled my soul and a new resolve rose up.  The infection remained, but my all was well with my soul!
Soul assaults will come in various ways, but what remains eternal is God's promise.  What Jesus endured paves the way for us to be made whole in body, in soul and in spirit!

How awesome is that?

Thank You, Lord, for giving Yourself up for us.  We receive what You have obtained for us in our bodies for healing, in our souls for peace and in our spirits for a cleansing of transgressions.  Empower us to stand on Your promises no matter what circumstances present themselves.  In the great and awesome name of Jesus, AMEN!!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2 Kings 18:9-19:37; Psalm 46, 80, 135: Winds of Change

Psalm 135:7

Amplified Bible (AMP)
Who causes the vapors to arise from the ends of the earth, Who makes lightnings for the rain, Who brings the wind out of His storehouses;
Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast;
Who sent signs and wonders into the midst of you, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh and all his servants;
10 Who smote nations many and great and slew mighty kings—
11 Sihon king of the Amorites, Og king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan.
Emphasis mine.

Several weeks ago, I heard the Lord say, "The winds are changing."  I had been involved in an emotionally charged situation which waxed and waned for about 13 years.  I reacted emotionally to what I perceived to be the actions of others.  I honestly believe each of us was correct in our perceptions, HOWEVER, I also believe that satan magnified the situation in the thoughts of each concerned. 
When I heard the Lord's word, I just knew that it meant the situation would finally be resolved and true unity would arise...
I assumed that God would finally allow the others to see how satan had played all of us, BUT it didn't happen that way.  The "winds of change" blew me out of the detrimental emotional environment.  
Please don't assume that this environment was bad, no, on the contrary, these people truly love the Lord, but for me, it was detrimental to my soul, my family, my call, my destiny.
This is a cathartic post for me, but I believe each of us go through similar trials.  
The crux of what I want to impress on your heart is that I did not run away from the battle.  I prayed and waited, prayed and waited, prayed and waited until God's wind blew me out of the situation.
We need to wait for God to direct us, not take it upon ourselves to run away when things get tough.  God is the One Who is in charge, period.
His wind was the guide and sometimes a storm guides us too.
We sometimes equate a storm to spiritual warfare or punishment or an event that blows us off the set course, BUT let me submit to you, that sometimes God sends a storm to get us back on course, His course for our lives.  We cannot assume that difficult circumstances (storms) are always for our destruction.  Maybe its God's creative way to get us back on course.

Thanks, Lord, for guiding us through and by the storm, Your wind, Your voice, etc. Help us always to "see" Your hand of love in every circumstance. We love You and submit our lives to You, however, You choose to work it out however You desire. In Jesus Wonderful Name, AMEN!!!