2019 is here, and since turning 56 in September “perfecting new beginnings” has been reverberating in my mind. This anticipation was heightened by my recent mission trip and tours of the ministries of The Passion Center for Children in Zomba, Malawi, Africa. That trip has impacted my life in ways still to be seen and experienced while warming my heart in ways I hope to convey in my upcoming book, Awakened From Slumber.
Philippians 1:6 coupled with the ever present reminder found in Colossians 3:1-2 will be staples of this year ahead:
Philippians 1:6 – Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Colossians 3:1-2 – 1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
I want to be what God calls me to be, accomplishing what He wants to accomplish through me. For this to be accomplished I can’t self-direct my life – I need a life coach to follow who will keep me on the right road. Oh, how I thank God for providing us with his indwelling coach, the Holy Spirit, and those within the body of God who help facilitate our progression using the road maps of God’s Word.
God provided the road map that brought me into His family:
This morning I turned on the fan in my office as normal. The fan started but immediately slowed to a crawl that produced no air for dissipating the heat wave in my office. I tried switching the plug out, turning it off and on again, moving it, shaking it; but nothing worked. In semi-panic mode now, I immediately went on the hunt for another fan because not having a working fan in my office was not an option!
I found a fan in a vacant office and grabbed it with hopefulness. I came back into my office and … my fan was working … circulating as normal. I felt the difference in the atmosphere immediately.
How often and how quickly do we get anxious or panic when things in our life don’t go as we plan, expect or anticipate?
What is our first knee-jerk reaction or response to delays or detours?
Being honest with yourself, how quickly do you recover and invite God into the situation?
Do you bother God at all and just roll with your emotions?
The truth is, when we practice a behavior long enough we don’t have to think about it – we’ve trained ourselves to act in an autopilot mode to that behavior. If anxiety has always been our first response to an unexpected event, then my automatic response to anything unexpected will be anxiety. Without putting into practice a more positive response, anxiety will rule my life.
One thing I’ve learned in my relationship with Christ is thathis ways are not my ways.In the same manner, I have learned not to expect others to deal with life issues in the same way that I would. This has given me a greater appreciation for the beauty of our uniqueness as individuals. Acknowledging that God has perfect timing for the things He wants to accomplish in us and through us brings peace into our lives as nothing else will.
Don’t rush God’s processes; instead, practice waiting on the Lord, while reckoning yourself beingseated in Christ in the heavenlies. This is the only way to perfect auto responses with godly love.
I am so glad that you awakened out of your slumber (Proverbs 6:9-11). The Father was so happy when you realized that you had fallen into the conversation of the Laodiceans (Revelation 3:14-17). Even now, you never cease to be amazed at how liberating it is to die daily and empty yourself of that old man – self. You never imagined the magnitude of the plans God wanted to work through you. Thank you for learning to set your affection on things above (Colossians 3:1-2) every day. Thank you for allowing the Father to transform you into the New Creature (2 Corinthians 5:17) He created at your spiritual birth. Stay humble as you continue to put on the New Man and put off that old dead flesh. Continue to pray daily, unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:17) so your walk in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23) grows stronger as your Love for God grows more intimate.
I Love you, but I praise God for maturing you in the knowledge that no one can ever love us as much as God Loves Us, a fact demonstrated in Christ – His Son!!
To admonish beforehand; To inform previously; To give previous notice; To caution beforehand
Forewarn (Strong’s Concordance):
To exhibit under the eyes; To exemplify (instruct, admonish); To show by making known future things
This I know because it has been foretold,
That in these last days, perilous times would come,
Where me, myself & I would be lovers of their selves;
Where the heart would covet, boast, and proudly ignore.
Where blasphemers rail against knowledge to disobey parents,
Unthankful for their welfare, and unholy in their cares.
Without natural affection, trucebreakers who falsify pacts.
These false accusers fill jails; incontinent slackers they are.
Under fierce attacks, they are despisers of those that are good.
Traitors who prey relentlessly, always heady in mischief.
Highminded, they are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.
Delusional in their form of godliness, they deny the power of the source.
Beware my sisters, for they creep into houses to lead silly women captive;
Catering to those laden with sins and willingly led away with divers lusts.
Beware brethren of ever learning, when acts and deeds uncover
The inability to come to the knowledge of the truth,
Under the shadow of what is still yet to materialize …
4And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Luke 12:4-5
Lately, I find myself thinking more and more about the day when I will come face to face with Christ. I’m fairly sure I won’t be able to say anything! And, although crying is a release mechanism for me, I will have a glorified body, so I’m pretty sure that’s not an option.
It’s not just standing before him though – I’m sure of my salvation and it’s not in question. What I wonder about is if he’ll be pleased with what I’ve done with His gift over these 40 plus years, and if I have represented Him well.
Every time I think about it I remember a scene from the Bruce Willis movie “The Sixth Sense.” Toward the end, the little boy is finally explaining to his mom that he sees and talks to the dead. He tells his mom that his grandmother said her answer was “Yes” to a question the mother had. Asking his mom what the question was, the mother responds, “I asked if I make her proud?”
I only get one day at a time to make God proud. I know He doesn’t expect me to be perfect, but at the end of each day, my hope is that God is proud of something I did to magnify His glory. Daily, the thought of meeting my Savior face-to-face is a welcome desire. Yet, there are other moments when I ask myself if I am truly ready to stand in His presence?
Definitely a reflective moment worth more than just a cursory thought!
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (KJV)
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
I very much enjoy the alone time I share with my husband. Our love is deepening and growing more intimate day-by-day. One of the many niceties and intimates of our relationship is in how He embraces me, and His gentle kisses. I think one of the strongest emotional bonds we develop in the intimacy of marriage is the power of a hearty1,2,3kiss!
Let me make clear that I’m not talking about the impassioned kiss used as the prelude to the sexual doorway. Nope! I’m talking about the unsearchable intimacy that abides in the heart without the aid of the physical.
So, as I’m riding the bus this morning to work I open my book of notes to read. I’m a person who finds it hard to listen or read the Word of God or any inspirational material and not take notes! I came across a note I wrote down taken from the 52 Weeks of Pursuit commentary I am utilizing this year to read through the bible. Paraphrasing Mark Trotter’s words from Week 27, Day 1, my note says:
Utilizing Psalm 91 in its correct context for me as a Believer in this church age both devotionally and inspirationally:
“Secret Place” – intimacy w/Christ – v1 – Song of Solomon 2:3 …
As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
As a writer my mind immediately imaginedand embraced the following scenario:
I was sitting on the sofa with my husband, leaned in close to his body,
my head tucked into his shoulder, under His shadow with great delight.
His right arm holds me close and I feel safe and secure from all ills.
I am sharing my deepest, most private thoughts and cares
with Him – without fear of rejection or judgment,
knowing confidently that not only was He listening to every word intently,
but that He truly cared about all of my cares, and the things in my heart and mind.
His care for me was like a warm blanket; a cocoon I never wanted to leave.
As I was talking, He stroked my hair, caressed my shoulder,
brushed His lips tenderly across my brow, my forehead, my cheek…
Making sure that in His arms I was reminded and without doubt,
that He was my home, my fortress, my protector, my hope.
He was my King, my husband, and the man of my dreams,
FOREVER-after throughout all of eternity!
And, finding everything I needed and hoped for in His Arms,
with the sweetness of His fruit upon my lips,
I drifted into the most tranquil rest I could ever know.
Coming out of my reverie as I continued my ride into work today, I simply smiled, wiped the tears from my eyes, and gave Thanks to God for the Husband He gave me, who loves me like no other on earth or in heaven!
It is my belief that in mankind’s pursuits lays the desire for a connection to others beyond customary. Hidden beneath society’s downward spiral into moral madness, and disguised as human rights, politics, justice and the rights of the people, lies very basic needs. Every man, woman, and child has a need to be loved, a need to belong, and a need for true intimacy.
Mention the word intimacy and many things may come to mind, so let me clarify what I’m not talking about. I’m not talking about that physical imitator passed off through verbal graphics of bodies intertwined while the heart remains tucked away untouched and unaffected. I’m nottalking about sharing space or pleasantries or moments of time with another. And, I’m not talking about a surface driven state of euphoria that incites our emotions.
Nope — I’m talking about i-n-t-i-m-a-c-y …
I’m talking … a longing for; an ardent (warm, affectionate, passionate) desire
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” Psalm 42:1
I’m talking … a very eager or urgent or fervent desire for
“O GOD, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is;” Psalm 63:1
I’m talking … a deep, almost painful craving
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Psalm 84:2
This desire occurs in the deepest, most remote part of our being. It’s seated in our mind and in our heart. It has been covered, concealed and is often replaced with temporary idols in a vain attempt to escape the pain produced when it is unmet in its most genuine, sincere form.
Who on earth doesn’t crave a kindred relationship that makes your eyes light up, your heart warm over with deep appreciation, and your smile spread big and bright across your face? Who hasn’t searched out the kind of intimacy that causes you to voluntarily and unconditionally open your arms to receive, to embrace, to take comfort in, and to bask under the protective coveringof another!
As much as we crave this intimacy, we’ll continue to fall short of experiencing such depth of heart as long as we skirt entering the portal of God, where true intimacy begins. As long as we are willing to run along the edge or remain on the border of detailed knowledge and close association with God, the mind, heart, and soul will continue to have a great thirst for intimacy.
I love the way “Till I Found You” by Phil Wickham paints a picture worth a thousand heartbeats! DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT LISTENING to the video below. In it you will find two beautiful pictures for all of us:
An intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, the source of Salvation where our hunger to be known is met with the confession of our mouth, and the heart belief of God’s all-knowing, all-seeing sovereignty; and
Never lose sight of the fact that Christ came from his heavenly home specifically to create an opportunity to have intimacy with you by the redemptive power of his blood. The Plan of Salvation is available to YOU!
2: an area in which one fails to exercise judgment or discrimination
Your chest is on fire; your eyes burn with cloudiness; your breathing is labored. Your head hurts as swirls of darkness envelop you like a soft glove. You are rattled to the core and left feeling as if a sledgehammer has pummeled your chest. Surely you must be dying; surely the pain will be to your demise.
Tremors ripple throughout your body leaving you spineless. Your body, in slow motion, crumbles into a heap upon the floor. Using the last bit of strength you can muster, you wrap your arms around your body as you curl into a ball. As tears fall, draining you of any coherent thought, even death becomes a welcome idea.
You have just been blindsided by the blind spots in your life. While you were busy managing the multiplicity of life, you left yourself vulnerable to the attacks that are constant against those in Christ, and that which is common to the flesh. Sometimes, the greatest blind spot is to believe one is exempt from the very temptations and troubles that accumulate into lusts of the flesh, the eyes, and pride, even though God’s Word speaks to the contrary.
In our failure to stay spiritually and mentally alert through God’s Word and an active prayer life,complacencycreeps in like a tiny spider—unseen until its webs are anchored in the dark spaces our eyes did not see — and our lukewarm hearts did not feel. Blind spots take many forms: stubbornness, carelessness, laziness, pride, trust issues, scriptural starvation, spouses, work, multiple endeavors (spiritual & physical), worldly lusts, fear, ministry(ies), bitterness, fatigue, children, weariness, etc., etc., etc. Their development grows as one gets a little toocomfortable in their state of fellowship and worship with the Holy God.
Old Testament stories highlight this common breach in the life of those on varying levels of relationship with God. Nothing new under the sun, for there are many examples of strong beginnings of faithful servants who later falter and fall. A tour of the internet provides an increasing number of moral failures in our churches for our learning in these modern days. And, it is this faltering that creates the breach in our spiritual fortress. The story found in Nehemiah is a welcome reminder.
In learning thatThe remnant …left of the captivity…in the province… (were)in great affliction and reproach: (1:3), Nehemiah’s response provides us with a picture of one whose heart is towards God and God’s people, much like an uncompromising shepherd in this Laodicean church age. In short, verses3b-11is the hope of a heart for what God loves … his people. Note:
3 … the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. 4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, … 6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, … 11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: … and grant him mercy in the sight of this man…”
We are warned to remember the examples in the Old Testament by1 Corinthians 10:1-12– tonot lust after evil things, be idolaters, commit fornication, tempt Christ, or murmur. Nonetheless, when there are blind spots in our vision, the walls of spiritual protection fall, delivering our moral compasses into the hands of worldly versions of right vs. wrong, causing spiritual weakness and compromise.When I read “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.” (Proverbs 30:12) or the warning cry of Isaiah 5:21- “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” it is like the slap of wet hands upon the face saying, WAKE UP! Ignorant I am not – I have fallen into several pits with scars to show. I suspect there may be more. So there is a great need to minimize more damage by banishing complacency, and opening my eyes and ears. It is as good a place as any to start – at least for me.
The walls are failing, the breaches are widening, and God’s people cannot afford to abandon theirposts#2.
Lord, wipe away the haze from our eyes; open our ears to hear the crumbling of the walls that we may turn our hearts to you again. Though our fortresses are weakened by decay, help us arm ourselves with the building materials of your mighty sword (Hebrew 4:12) and vanquish the enemy of our flesh. Keep us from getting lost in the fabric of a busy life, that we may fortify the kingdom of God and secure the breaches with armed watchmen upon thy walls.
Ever come across that person who looks like they have it all together? They appear content with life as they joyfully worship and serve the Lord. You’ve seen them–-always smiling; never complaining about anything! Then, you learn one day that they have been battling some really major stuff?
Every now and then, you hear a testimony from such a person. You wonder how they maintained their quiet demeanor during their struggles. You listen as they relate how grounded they were in the power of the Holy Spirit. Their stories invoke instant hallelujahs because they are spiritual works, not flesh.
These are your Silent Prayers.
Many of us have no problem dealing with the good times in life. Truth be told, life would be so much easier if we could all live in a bubble of bliss. But, when the floor falls out from under us and life forces us to look in the mirror or reality slaps us back into the present, then what?
God is an awesome counselor who listens attentively to his children. He hears their silent prayers, and the scripture says he knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him (Matthew 6:8). We take the words we utter for granted, but God doesn’t. We forget our words are laid at the throne of God. It’s why we need to be very careful in what we ask for — we might just get it!
Everyone has Private Battles!
Some folks are prone to get stuck in their past, and some end up on a gerbil wheel their entire life. A sad reality is that many never reach their full potential. The evidence of these internal struggles can be seen in our personal or social lives. Society suffers (homelessness, poverty, foster care, debt, addictions, divorce, suicide, abuses, etc., etc.) and, these yokes are hard to break.
The scripture makes it clear people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). This becomes painfully persistent in families where the mom or dad had no vision for their family or children, or there is no sound, structured guidance. Unexpected pregnancies, unwanted children, and uncommitted parenting have overrun the traditional family structure, and everyone suffers for it.
If we are honest with ourselves, we recognize how lethargic we have become in dealing with certain areas of our lives. The traditional family has suffered as Adrienne McKayoften points out on her Facebook group “Rebuilding the Family.” She points out what we sometimes refuse to acknowledge, in her April 15 post:
“Some of our family members lose their way, and at times we may not know the reason, but Love covers all … let’s learn to cover them with love and prayer – Rebuilding the Family – it’s possible!” (emphasis added).
Perseverance can turn falls into Big Victories!
All is not lost, and now is not the time to give up or give in. We can take comfort in the Lord for the battles aren’t ours (2 Chronicles 20:15). Difficulties and hardships sometimes cause us to feel shattered when we’re in a fragile state of mind. Yet, the giver of life is also a restorer of life.
My pastor is teaching on how we can gain victory over sin (Romans 6). Reiterating that Believers fight from a victorious place because v.11 says we are dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Unfortunately, Christians often fight from a defeated positional stance. Dead things have no power! King David’s physical battles picture our spiritual battles as something that rises up against us.
For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.
We have the responsibility of bringing our members under subjection to the Holy Spirit. Only by yielding can we become instruments of righteousness. Many of us wouldn’t think of committing adultery, but that is exactly where we stand with Christ when we yield our temples to any kind of sin.
Sponsors needed to send me on my first Malawi, Africa mission trip.