Monday, June 19, 2017

"Humility"

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I found myself remembering and going back to a piece, “Humility”, I created in 2015.  Our Christian walk is a process, a place of discovery, and a journey where there is always room for more of the goodness, humility and character of Christ to be formed in us.   

Our God is a faithful, merciful, loving Father who graciously grants to us the gift of repentance that we may humble ourselves before Him, giving over those areas where change is still needed in our lives and where He would continue to bring growth and maturity.   I'm so grateful He doesn't leave me where I am, and neither does He condemn, but forgives.

I have nothing and can do nothing of any significant or lasting value apart from my Father in Heaven.  He continues to teach me to be completely reliant upon Him and content in all things as I wait upon Him for His most perfect will and timing.   

As I yield myself and my will to God, trusting Him, walking with Him, waiting upon Him, crucifying the flesh, there is a peace and a joy that fills me; one that only He can give as I am submitted to Him and His authority over my life.  It is here that we walk in great power and authority, reflecting the face of God as we are bowed down before Him.

I pray the Lord to open our eyes to the enemy tactics, often subtle, that would attempt to apply pressure, divert our attention and direction, as he tempts with the alluring lies he spins and empty promises he makes, that will only devastate and yield no good thing.

May we deny every lust of the flesh and the enticements of this world, to fully embrace Him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light; our sole purpose and greatest desire, that One thing, to dwell in the house of the Lord forever, to behold His beauty, and to inquire in His temple in the place of holy intimacy with Him.  (Psalm 27:4)

I thank You, Lord, that I am fully known by you, every part, and that You make Yourself known to me.  I thank You for the purity of heart and transformation You bring about as You cleanse by the washing of the water of Your Word, forming us fresh and anew.

Scripture Meditation:
John 3:30 –
He must increase, but I must decrease.
Romans 12:1-3
- I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Psalm 100:3 - Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Matthew 23:6-12 - They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’  But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.  Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.  And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.  But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.  And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
1 Peter 5:6 - Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time…
Luke 14:7-11 - So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them:  “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in
the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place.  But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’  Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you.  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

1 Peter 5:8-9 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
Galatians 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 - For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.  But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
Psalm 131:1-2 - Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty.  Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me.  Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Acts 20:19 - …serving the Lord with all humility…



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Love Never Fails"


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"How Beautiful Are The Feet"


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Who will go for Us?  Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord, Your disciple, to send.
There was the sound of many waters, "How beautiful are the feet
Of those who bring glad tidings, the Gospel to preach."
They went out to every nation to baptize and teach
Casting their nets, launching out into the deep.
Where once they were unfruitful they now heard the Lord speak
They obeyed His command, they fell at His feet.
Forsaking all, they followed, their work was not in vain
In fact, their nets were breaking in the place where Jesus reigns.
The body worked together, each one in their place at the net
Operating in their giftings, astonished at the catch.
For some it meant crossing an ocean, while for others it meant crossing the street
Seizing opportunities before them, God's laborers were raised up to reap
A great and mighty harvest, they put their hands to the plow
Even for such a time as this, you are here, the time is now.
For the Lord our God is faithful, every purpose in Him is fulfilled
Forgive, where we've toiled for nothing, we bow at Your word for Your will.
For there are those hungry and thirsty, those who are bound and are weak
And so we go in the authority He's given, all our trust in the Lord to complete.

Scripture Meditation:
Isaiah 6:8 - Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”  Then I said, “Here am I!  Send me.”
Romans 10:14-15 - How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?   And how shall they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,  who bring glad tidings of good things!”
Matthew 28:18-20 - And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Amen.
Luke 5:4-11 - When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”  But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”  And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.  So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them.  And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.  When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”  For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.  And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid.  From now on you will catch men.”   So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.
Psalm 127:1 - Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
1 Corinthians 12:1-31
Luke 9:62 - But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke 10:2 - Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
Esther 4:14For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Sunday, April 9, 2017

"The Blessings of Obedience"

We are those who are blessed, our barns overflow
We are God's special people, we go where He goes.
His Word we obey, His truths, our delight
Strong in the Lord, every foe put to flight.
We are blessed in the city, blessed in the field
He grants a good harvest, abundance to yield.
He blesses our children and all that we do
In that which He's given, for Christ we pursue.
We lend to many nations but to none do we owe
God blesses our storehouse, we're on top not below.
We carefully listen and do not turn away
To the left or the right but we choose His way.
Refreshing rains fall and water our land
Father keeps every promise as we follow His commands.

(Inspired by, Deuteronomy 28:1-14)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

"The Lord is Close"


The fact of the matter is, we all go through difficulties; small stuff, big stuff, ordinary, everyday affairs that have their own set of challenges.  Then there are the life altering events that take us to places we certainly never planned or imagined that seem to knock us off of our feet.  We had a completely different idea in mind.   

But I don’t want to wallow away in my sorrows, although there are more times than I’d like to admit when I have.  The Lord said, “In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)  He calls and equips us to do the same as we are filled and empowered by His Holy Spirit.

And so, I seek a Savior who is not unfamiliar with my propensity to focus on the problem and begin to grumble; but He shifts my attention, He quiets and settles my soul as He points me to the One who is the solution and returns me to His rest as I fully rely upon His grace.
 
It's not that my situation always changes.  I live daily with chronic illness and its limitations due to the effects upon my body, mind, emotions and finances.  It has been life-changing for sure, not only to me but to those around me. 

There are times I become discouraged, feel guilty, and honestly, get downright mad!  But I know a God who is faithful to speak to me His word as I seek Him, where He helps bring me through my current condition and straightens out my tangled up thoughts; Who lifts me out of the muck and the mire and who comforts me in my distress as His truth penetrates and reforms my heart. 

It was recently as I was feeling disappointed, down in the dumps, and just so brokenhearted and isolated, when this Scripture unexpectedly came to me, followed by my art work and the devotion it inspired:  Psalm 34:18 - The Lord is close to those who have suffered disappointment.  He saves those who are discouraged.

How blessed I am to have the time to dwell in the secret place, alone with my God, to commune with Him and to hear what His Spirit is speaking.  How blessed I am to pursue the things of God as He allows me to create art work that speaks so deeply to my spirit, and I pray, into the lives of others as the Lord releases me to share.  How blessed I am that as I wait upon Him He opens my eyes to see wondrous things from His law.  How blessed I am that He puts all the pieces back together and makes me whole again.  How blessed I am as the Lord reminds me, I am chosen and a child of the King!

I pray for you, I pray for me, that God's word would go down deep to quicken and enliven our spirits, imparting His hope and a fresh, new vitality in Christ Jesus.  

And, if we should find ourselves in perhaps some very unexpected places, may we search out to discover and embrace God's most perfect plan right there in the season He's set us, faithfully walking with Jesus, our friend, as all our trust is placed in Him.  

The Lord is close, and truly, He cares.

Prayer and Declaration:
Lord, You surround me with songs of deliverance; sweet melodies that sing I am free.  You hedge me in, behind and before.  You leave no open gaps, but fill every crack.  You close the distance, drawing me near where we meet together, enveloping me with Your love, encircling me with Your army, protecting and keeping me safe. 


Your gentle hand is mighty upon me.  You lead and guide me as I hide away in You.  You restore my soul.  You have so perfectly planned the direction of my life even when I cannot comprehend or see it. 

You provide me with streams of cool, clean water in desert places; the truth of Your Word that jump-starts my heart, invigorating me as You impart to me the fresh energy of Your Holy Spirit.

In the wilderness You reveal to me a pool where healing rivers flow and where I see the power and victory of Your righteous right hand.  You fight for me.  You have dashed the enemy in pieces.  The earth has swallowed them up.  The Lord is a man of war.  The Lord is His name.  He has triumphed gloriously, bringing me through impossible situations.  

You are a very present help in time of my great need.  You allay my every fear as I put my hope in You.  I hear Your voice speaking, "Be still and know that I AM God." 

And so, boldly I come to the throne of grace; to a compassionate, kind, all-knowing and powerful God who understands and knows all of my ways, for You are the One who formed me just as You pleased, and You delight in me.

Losses and disappointments I have suffered.  Untold blows have been thrust upon me.  Many I endure still.  I have been perplexed regarding the way things have gone and confess my lack of understanding and my nearing the edge of despair.  I have been struck down but You have not allowed my ruination.  You have not permitted the enemy to lay waste of my life.

No, but You come as the lifter of my head, assuring me that You have not forgotten or forsaken me.  You breathe life to dry bones and You say, "LIVE!".  You are my defender.  You are my redeemer.  I have been bought with a price and I am Yours.

I thought I'd be crushed under the wearying weight of grief because of the multitude of trials, threats, and false accusations from foes.  The relentless assaults by tempters and tormentors of the troop sent against me to invade and wreak havoc in my life made me to wish for a swift end. 

My strength failed me, but You come as the strength of my life.  You are my light and my salvation so whom shall I fear?  Though I have been hard-pressed on every side, You have not allowed my foes to crush me, but rather, faithfully, You further manifest the life of Christ in me according to Your promise.  You are my shield, my exceedingly great reward.

You hold me steady and in a place where hope is renewed, faith is strengthened, passion is reignited and trust is restored.  You remind me once again that I am only passing through, a stranger and pilgrim in this earth, but heaven is my home.

Father, I rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory as You bring me through the fire to reveal the genuineness of the faith that You have produced to bring You all praise and glory and honor.  I wait upon You; I look to the One who bears me up, who keeps me from fainting and gives me the courage to hold tight, persevere, and believe.
 
Scripture Meditation:
Psalm 34:18
- The Lord is close to those who have suffered disappointment.  He saves those who are discouraged.
Psalm 139:5 - You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me, and You have placed Your hand gently on my shoulder.
Psalm 32:7 - You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.
 
Isaiah 30:15 -  In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.
2 Kings 6:14-18 - Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city.  And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots.  And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master!  What shall we do?”  So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.”  Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw.  And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.  So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.”  And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.
Isaiah 41:18
- I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
Exodus 15:1-19
- Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying:  “I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously!  The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!  The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.  The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is His name.  Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea.  The depths have covered them; they sank to the bottom like a stone.  “Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces.  And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath; it consumed them like stubble.  And with the blast of Your nostrils the waters were gathered together; the floods stood upright like a heap; the depths congealed in the heart of the sea.  The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my desire shall be satisfied on them.  I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’  You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters.  “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods?  Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?  You stretched out Your right hand; the earth swallowed them.  You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation.  “The people will hear and be afraid; sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia.  Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling will take hold of them; all the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away.  Fear and dread will fall on them; by the greatness of Your arm they will be as still as a stone, till Your people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over whom You have purchased.  You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which You have made for Your own dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established.  “The Lord shall reign forever and ever.”  For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots and his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought back the
waters of the sea upon them.  But the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.
Psalm 46:1-2
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God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea...
Psalm 46:10
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Be still, and know that I am God...
Hebrews 4:14-16
- Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Romans 5:1-5 - Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
1 Peter 1:3-9 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love.  Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
Psalm 139:1-5 - O Lord, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.  You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.  For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.  You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.
Psalm 139:13-16
- For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.

Psalm 27:1 - The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?   The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:14 - Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!
2 Corinthians 4:7-12 - But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—  always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So then death is working in us, but life in you.
Psalm 3:1-4 - Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!  Many are they who rise up against me.  Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.”  But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.  I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.

Ezekiel 37:14I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live...
Genesis 15:1 - “Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” 
Hebrews 11:13-16 - These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.  And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.