Thursday, March 24, 2011

Choosing Joy No Matter What

Here’s what I hear the Father saying today:  Joylessness is a reproach to love.  In the light of His amazing love for us, walking with a continually heavy spirit is just plain wrong.  There will be times when we are grieved.  Mercifully, the Lord is near to those whose hearts are breaking.  What I believe the Lord is asking is that we make the effort to turn our hearts deliberately toward His goodness to us.  Focusing on His love won’t change our circumstances, but it makes all the difference in how we face them. 

When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
   your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
   your consolation brought me joy.  Psalm 94:18-19

Abba Father, thank you for supporting us with Your unfailing love.  Thank you for keeping Your grip on us even when our grip on You is slipping.  Open our hearts to receive Your joy, even on the hardest days.  Jesus, thank You for proving that no situation is ever hopeless.  In Your Name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Worthy Because He Says So

This morning I woke up feeling down, depressed and unworthy of saving.  It may have been the fried chicken and frozen cheesecake I had for dinner last night. (Not a combination I recommend!)   It may have been my bedtime reading of the writings of a Chinese Christian whose harsh experiences are so far removed from my cushy life that I feel like a worm in his presence.  However, when I got in my quiet place this morning and began to tell the Lord how I felt, it didn’t take long before the Holy Spirit was reminding me that God sent His Son to save and redeem me despite my worthlessness, felt or actual.  Our Abba Father placed value on human life with the extravagant price that He paid to redeem us all – the blood of His Son.  We have no right to call worthless what He clearly values. 
Psalm 105 recounts the wonders God performed to deliver His people Israel from slavery in Egypt.  Verse 39 just jumped out at me this morning.  It says, “He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night.”  I knew from reading the story in Exodus that God had sent a pillar of cloud to guide the Israelites during the day, but I never thought about the cloud giving His people a covering.  What a beautiful thing to think that the Lord cared enough to give them shade as they trudged through the desert!  Psalm 121 also refers to the Lord as “your shade at your right hand.  The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.”   Not only did he shade them through the day, He gave them a nightlight!  Imagine what a scary place the desert was in the dead of night.  Isn’t it encouraging to know God didn’t leave them alone in the dark? 
I don’t know how you are feeling this morning, but I do know there are some truths that should make the day a little easier to face.  Your Abba Father loves you.  He has invited you to His table.  His banner over you is love.  If you have received Jesus as your Savior, then you are covered with a robe of righteousness and your sin has been forgiven, every last bit of it!  Choosing to believe it is all we need to do to turn our whole outlook around.  The enemy wants us believing the opposite so he can keep us out of the fight.  Let’s don’t give him the satisfaction! 
“And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen”.  Romans 16:20

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Time to Unwind

Do you ever find yourself feeling like a little windup toy?  Every stressful thing turns your crank one more time, until you finally reach the snapping point where you end up running around like crazy until your energy is spent and you fall over.  I’ve been there so many times I should own stock in the t-shirt company!  I think one of the enemy’s favorite tricks is watching godly women fall prey to this temptation.  Rather than waiting on the Lord in quietness and trust, we go pinballing around trying to accomplish what our humanity simply cannot achieve.  A woman on a mission is a formidable force.  If human effort could do it, it would already be done, but our Abba Father set this life up as the perfect classroom for Him to teach us that without Him, nothing good is going to come.  We need Him, not just to bless our plans, but to get us on board with His plan.  The Sovereign of the Universe has asked us to dance, but too often we want to take the lead.
I’ve been blessed this week as I’ve watched things fall into place that were completely beyond my control.  I’ve also felt my winding key being turned more than once.  Today I feel the Lord drawing us to Himself in the place of the still waters.  He is saying, “Come, sit still here in this peaceful place, and rest your soul.  Trust Me to take care of all your needs and concerns.  In quietness and trust is your strength.  I know what you need.  I see every situation that has you anxious.  In fact, I see it far more clearly than you do.  Trust Me to be the One who brings the answers for all the questions you haven’t even thought of yet.  Breathe in My peace.  Stop running.  When it is time to act, you will know and I will make it clear what to do.  Confusion and agitation are not from me.  Renew your focus on Me and My peace will be your heart’s bodyguard.  Rest, my beloved.  I’m here for you.”
Isaiah 30:15  Matthew 6:27-33
Thank You Abba Father, for being the One who has it all under control.  Thank you for the strength You give us when we rest in You.  Help us enter into the quiet place, and please help us remain aware of You as the peace within us throughout each day.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sure of His Love

March 2, 2011
Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.  Ephesians 2:13
Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.  Ephesians 2:18
Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.  Ephesians 3:12
Do you see a common theme here?  This week I hear our Abba Father saying that He wants to settle it in our hearts, once and for all, that He wants us in His presence.  He wants us near.  We were far away, but He sent Jesus to bring us near.  Not only that, He wants us coming to Him in freedom and assurance of His love.  That assurance is something we all frequently struggle to find, but enough is enough!  It is time to believe the truth!  It is time to receive with an open heart all that the Father has for us. 
If you have kids, you probably saw the movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.  It tells the story of an island where the skies rain down food.  Whenever a new cloud rolls in, everyone runs outside with whatever container they can find to catch the latest treat falling from the sky.  I’ve been thinking about this in regard to the condition of my heart toward the Father.  I imagine my heart like a big mixing bowl.  It can hold a lot, but only if it is turned right side up.  Ever had one of those days when your heart is upside down?  I hate those days!  At other times, my bowl has a lid on it.  The rain of my Father’s love is coming down, but it rolls right off the cover instead of filling up my bowl.  The lid goes on when I choose to listen to the enemy’s lies about who I am and how God sees me.  Sometimes it’s just a film of distraction, like a piece of plastic wrap on my bowl.  I’m too wrapped up in all my activity to allow the Father to fill me.  Sisters, it’s time to turn our bowls right side up and start looking for the Father to fill us up with His love, His truth, and His joy.  It may be cloudy, but there’s a certainty that we will be blessed when we do.  His resources are unlimited and so far beyond what we can imagine:  unending love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, healing, restoration, creativity, provision, peace and so much more.  Whatever we need, He has it.  Come to Him with confidence, and don’t forget your bowl!
I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.  I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.  Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.  Ephesians 3:14-18