Whenever I get an email in reply to one of my blog posts, I brace myself. Before I even open it, a sense of dread settles over me. I anticipate words that will make my heart hurt.
Oh no, I must have said something wrong.
I wasn’t helpful.
I got cited the wrong verse.
They found an issue with my perspective.
It is a completely unwarranted expectation. The number of people that write words of thanks, encouragement, and life — far, far, far, outweigh other comments. Yet, still. . .
The other day, I opened an email.
“Thanks for the emails you send. Today’s post felt like it was out there just for me. . .”
I stopped in my track. She said it was “out there”. They must have thought I pulled something out of left field. I wonder why it was “out there” to her and how I skewed things so much.
Then, I re-read it. And, as I did, I caught the true meaning of what she meant. She meant it was — out there in her email inbox — just for her.
God hit me. How often do I anticipate the worst and then find it because it’s what I feel I deserve?
How often do I see the negative in my children, because I don’t feel like “that great of a mom”? Or, how often do I hear an underlying message behind someone’s words, when they’re not even saying that?
We find what we are looking for.
I don’t want to find what is dark, demoralizing and negative. I want to find God’s goodness and light.
I want to have this attitude: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (Ps. 27:13)
I want to look for God and find Him.
I want to expectantly wait for Him and see Him.
I want to think of Him and rejoice in the blessings of His goodness.
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Is. 30:18)
If you know someone, they respond to you. For instance, if you phone someone that you know, they’ll recognize your voice. They may say, “Oh, hey there. I knew it was you.” If, however, a telemarketer calls, the voice is foreign. They may even hang up on the unknown caller.
Jesus said we respond to Him because we know Him.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—” (Jo. 10:14)
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (Jo. 10:27)
We listen to God’s voice.
We know God’s voice.
We follow Him.
The “knowing” instructs our going. Or, at least it should.
Sometimes I act quickly before seeking, praying and asking. These are the times I bang up against hard issues or react pridefully, making things more complex.
How often do you bulldoze ahead without fully knowing and seeking God’s heart? What He is saying?
The sheep know God’s voice; they “listen” to His voice.
The Greek word for “listen” — akouō, means, according to Blue Letter Bible: to understand or to perceive (with the ear) something being announced in one’s presence.
We are wise to “listen to God’s voice” being announced in our presence. As we listen. As we seek. As we read His Word. As we hear His words. As we notice what He is doing. As he takes us where He wants us to go.
In rightly perceiving God, we rightly find our way.
Beyond this, we come to understand that God really knows us — and loves us anyway. He has a plan to help us to be conformed to the image of Christ. He encourages our heart.
I believe God wants us, daughters, to hear things today, like:
You are mine, all mine.
You make me proud; I love who I created you to be.
You are my delight.
You are fully loved.
You are wholly mine.
You are chosen.
You are holy in Christ Jesus.
I love you.
What can you hear Him say about you? To you?
Every word aligning with the Word of God. But all His words – words from God’s heart, change our heart. To know God is to know peace. To hear His words is to gain courage, faith, hope, and love.
What might God hoping you perceive or understand today? What message might he want to get through to you? Ask. Seek. Knock. The door will be open unto you.
make great efforts to achieve or obtain something
struggle or fight vigorously.
Striving is sweating, worrying, fussing, toiling and trying oh-so-hard. I’ve been there.
Strivers run a hamster wheel that never stops. They tend to be tired and annoyed at all God requires of them. They “make’ like they are waiting on God, but push forward like everything will combust if they actually do.
Some may call them “eager” or “over-achievers”. Underneath all of that, they often want to feel special, loved, and are afraid of failure.
Peter was a bit of a striver.
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (Jo. 18:10)
I’ll take care of this Jesus. . .
I know what to do. . .
I have the answer. . .
I can defend the situation. . .
“Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” Jo. 18:11
Jesus doesn’t need our sword to execute His plan. He doesn’t need our ambition to see through His future. He, who sees the end from the beginning, knows how to take us to where He is going.
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. (Prov. 16:9)
We plan, God establishes.
We devise, God revises our way.
We see the great thing, God sees His greater thing through.
My latest question to God has been, “God when do you “do it” and when do you want to see me go — do it?”
His answer was, “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
If everything is from Him and through Him, all for the purposes of — His glory, why would I ever want to do something through me, and steal His glory?
Striving steals God’s glory.
Prayer: God, you are God enough for me to wait on you. You are good enough for me to trust in you. Give me peace in the wait and joy in the process of seeing you move. Your ways are greater. May they come forth. Give me a heart to give you all glory. I love you, Jesus. Amen.
Has the enemy stolen something that belongs to you?
Perhaps, you hoped for something, to go somewhere, or to be with someone. Perhaps, you expected to be further along? Or, that you would have met Mr. Right. Maybe you were close. Nearly there. Right about to do well. . . and then. . .
Or, maybe you thought God had great plans for you (you may have even had sight of them), but over time, after days, or years, they became nebulous (clouded) and out of sight. That is enemy theft too, you know.
Gradual theft doesn’t mean it’s any less a hold-up.
I am furious at the enemy. Thanks to God, I am seeing the enemy’s plans, playing out all around me in the lives of those I love, for what they are: Schemes meant to bring discouragement. To thwart us from seeing God’s goodness. To keep us stuck in the muck of “what could have been”.
No. Not on my watch.
It is written in scripture, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.” (Job 1:21). This is true. But, He never does so to ruin us, to cripple us or to steal from us.
God is love. Love repairs wrongs. It makes wrong things right. Delivers us from evil. Restores what is lost.
Take hope today.
Job was tormented, in pain, dealing with “wearisome nights” and “futility” (Job. 7:3), for months. Then, he got to a moment of restoration.
He said to God, “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.” (Job 42:2)
Look at the result: the Lord restored His fortune, He gave Him twice as much as before, people he loved gathered around him for a feast, he got the consolation and comfort he likely needed, people brought him gifts of money and a gold ring, God blessed Job in the second half of His life more than the first half, he had seven more sons and three more daughters, he lived to 140 years, seeing the fourth generation of his children. (See: Job 42:10-15) What joy!
“He died and old man who had lived a long, good life.” (Job. 42:17)
There’s nothing that was taken, that God can’t restore.
Tell God: I know you can do anything, God. I know you can restore everything. I ask you to do so. No one can stop you. You are in control. I am not powerless, Father. My daddy is power-full. He loves me. You will restore me. I trust you. Circumstances don’t rule me, you do. Amen.
Because I expect God to answer. I’ve seen him answer countless prayers. I know He has show-up and show-off power so divine — it can change anything and everything, in a split-second. I rely on prayer like breakfast.
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (Jo. 14:13)
Anyway, my husband and I have recently talked about how people — people we don’t even know — are likely praying for us. We just got the sense that God was putting us on people’s heart.
Today, I saw this come to reality. I clicked into my hidden Facebook messages (the ones I hardly ever check) and there were messages. Two said things like, “Kelly, you are on my heart. I am praying for you today.”
Bam! God knows. He sends workers out to help us harvest His fields. Often, we can’t even see them at work, we don’t even know what they are doing or how they are praying with us. You never know who has your back. Some faithful friend, I pray, has you covered.
Anyway, later, I saw another message come in my Facebook inbox. I anticipated that it was, once again, was God and more answered prayers. I immediately went to open it. No. It was not God. It was porn. In motion, playing right before my very eyes.
I clicked out of that thing as quick as my fingers could move and then I thought, “Isn’t this how the enemy works? What seed God is planting the enemy comes to steal with a message that disturbs the mind. That distracts. That pulls away what God is doing in order to replace it with shame.”
“Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!” (SOS 2:15)
What, in your life, is God blooming, where the enemy is working at stealing? What seed of prayer have you planted that the opposer wants to rip up through doubt?
Just because you see the image, hear the accusation, come under the attack, sit with the pain, feel the calling to sin, doesn’t mean you have to submit to it, to indulge in it or to give mind to it.
Greater is He who is in you, than He who is in the world. Shut down the attack. Move back to glory. Jesus is writing your story. The grapevines that ARE blossoming. Don’t pay due attention to what glory is not due to the enemy.
Prayer: God, thank you that you are greater than every obstacle. You are more powerful than any injury. You are more present than the people around us. You are alive and well, moving and healing, answering our prayer and then answering it once again. You ARE faithful. You WILL show up. For many people reading this blog, you will show up today, in awe-inspiring ways. Let them see you. Let them perceive you. Let them know you. Including me, God. Break into our lives, and break-out peace so divine it touches the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Many of us say to God, “Father, I can’t see where you are taking me or what you are doing. How do I trust, when I don’t know? What instruction do you have for me?”
I believe that wisdom wants to speak to you today, saying:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.
Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain,
and your vats will overflow with good wine.” (Prov. 3:5-10)
God encourages our heart, by reminding us: Just trust me.
“Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you.
HE WILL make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.” (Ps. 37:3-6)
You will be brought to the land, as you trust. You will be given your heart’s desires as you – take delight. You will be helped as you commit. It all goes hand-in-hand. But, the keywords are: HE WILL DO IT. All this is done by God and through God.
Prayer: God, will you increase my faith? Will you help me trust you, follow you, and take delight in you? I, today, commit my every way, every thought and everything to you. I place it all under your love, care, direction, and authority. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
My husband told my son, “Don’t go in the trunk of the car, son. It’s not safe in there.”
He explained to my 7-year old how a kid recently got stuck in a trunk; he lost his life.
My son, took my husband’s words extremely seriously. . . He turned and said to me, “Oh no, mommy you have to check the trunk every 10 minutes just in case I forget and go in. Mom, what if I forget a week later and get stuck in trunk? How many minutes will I be able to breathe for?”
Then he disappeared. Fifteen minutes later, I catch the front door slamming. My son is walking back into the house.
“What have you been doing out there?” I ask.
“I taped the trunk closed. I am coming in to get more tape.”
Oh really? You taped close the trunk?
Outside, my son worked again, furiously adding more and more packing tape to the outside of the trunk without rest. My husband watched, then asked, “Son, is that tape strong enough to protect you or is Jesus?”
Some of us need to ask ourselves the same question. . .
Is my endless worry strong enough to protect me or is Jesus?
Are my strategies strong enough to protect me or is Jesus?
Are my words strong enough to save me or is Jesus?
“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” (Ps. 18:2)
Every man-made, taped-up strategy is cuttable. Strong defenses set up by the Lord are impenetrable. Good ideas seem right in a moment. Nuggets sent from high transcend understanding. Attempts to protect our own lives are worthless. Yet, when the Lion roars enemies fall, flee or panic 7-ways.
The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. (Deut. 28:7)
Who can stop the Lord Almighty? Are you taping up life to keep it safe or are you trusting in Him who saves?
“The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.” (Ps. 20:6-8)