“Come Holy Spirit, fill me with Your fire so that I can be more like You; help me, I trust You. Father, open my eyes so that I may see You clearly. Open my ears so that I may hear You soundly. Open my mind so that I may understand You plainly. Open my heart so that I may love You more. Open my hands so that I may give generously and receive humbly. In Jesus‘ name, Amen.“
Today‘s reading is: Acts 14:8-16:40
And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. Acts 14:27
Well, it‘s been seven days of getting up an hour early to spend time with God and I‘ve got to say that it‘s just been amazing! I‘ll be honest, it hasn‘t been easy pulling myself out of bed in the morning, but the reward has certainly been worth it. God has used His word in amazing ways for me and the people around me! Yesterday while I was writing I kept thinking about a friend I‘ve been praying for and how the scriptures really applied well to her situation. By the time I was done writing I was completely convicted that I was supposed to take her one of the Jeremiah 29:11 cards I told you about, with the verses from yesterday‘s blog written on the back. And the best part was that I was already planning on seeing her later in the afternoon! Talk about God‘s perfect timing!
So this morning after I‘d read for the day and I was meditating on the scriptures and what God would like for me to talk about today I was marveling at the stories. The four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) and Acts are the story or the adventures of the apostles and their lives with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I am a lover of the Original Testament; I love to read the stories of the patriarchs and their wives. I‘m not so big on the war and battle stories as much, but I can still get a word from them when God points me to them. There‘s just something about a story that pulls you in. And these stories are especially so, they make you want to know more about the people, who they were, and how God interacted with them in the lives. And when you think about it, that‘s really what Christian fellowship is all about! It‘s Christians sharing their life stories with other Christians and glorifying God by telling people how He helped them through a certain situation. It‘s what life is all about, God helping us, leading us, loving us, and saving us.
In today‘s reading most of it focused on different journeys that the apostles took to places that hadn‘t heard the gospel news yet. In Acts 14:24-28 Paul and Barnabas are basically coming back to home base for the disciples and they‘re reporting to the church all that God has done through them for the preaching of the good news. “They declared all that God had done with them“, they shared their own personal story of what God was doing in their lives… kinda like this blog!
You know, it never fails to amaze me how good it feels to sit down at the computer with the intent of writing something for the LORD, even when you really aren‘t sure what the two of you will talk about… and you‘re the one starting the conversation. Do you know what I mean? Like when you‘re going to meet with a friend you haven‘t seen in a really really long time, what are you going to say to them? Have they changed, have you changed? What will the two of you talk about? And yet, when you do get together, it‘s like you had only been apart for a moment and nothing more. The conversation just flows like it always had. That‘s what it feels like for me when I write. It just flows. Even when I have no idea what I‘ll write about when I sit down, it just flows out.
Writing is one of those things that I started doing simply because I had an insatiable yearning to write, but I didn‘t know what I was going to write. The yearning became so unbearable that I started to write down bits and pieces of my own life story, places in my life or milestones where God had made His presence oh-so-obvious. Then my husband and I started our True Intimacy fast and that‘s when all the pieces started falling into place for me. From then on I knew what kind of writer God wanted me to be; a teacher of sorts, His scribe, delivering His messages of hope and teaching His children how to have an intimate relationship with Him and with His other children, their brothers and sisters in Christ.
I find that the more I write about God, the more I get to know God. And the more I write to God, the more I hear from God. But the really amazing thing that I can hardly wait to share with you is that I have discovered that I‘m not the only one that feels like this! This last weekend I made a new friend, her name is Maurya (“Mar-ee-ah“ isn‘t that a beautiful name???), and she‘s a writer too! She writes for work, technical writing mostly, but it didn‘t take long before she shared her love of devotion style journaling with me. Together we discussed how amazing it is to write to God, or pray with your pen. And how it draws you closer to Him than you expected, perhaps because you can see what you‘re feeling through your own writing, but whatever the cause, the effect is apparently universal! Through journaling your thoughts and feelings to the Lord Almighty, you are drawing nearer to Him, He bends down to read over your shoulder and whispers His sweetness into your ears. Things that you can not hear out in the busy world that you can hear in the stillness that is conducive for writing. The scratch of a pen or pencil on paper, the tap of your fingers on the keyboard, it‘s music to His ears and eventually your own. And although it may sound different to us, it‘s not all that different from singing praises or playing them on the piano. To Him it‘s all praise and intimacy.
The more we write the more we discover Him. The more we search the scriptures for things to write about, the more we write them on the tablets of our hearts. I usually visualize it while I am inscribing the scriptures onto my rainbow colored index cards; like a feather pen writing the very words of God in supernatural permanent ink onto the flesh of my heart! They may not be drilled into my brain yet, but they‘re certainly in my heart instantly; stored there for the Holy Spirit to be able to call them forth whenever He desires to comfort or correct His children (especially this one). His words are like a refreshing balm to my soul and a cool drink to my throat. They hit their mark every time; they never miss their target simply because they are the words of God.
God‘s word is like a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. He uses it to guide and direct us when it‘s dark and we‘re lost. And that‘s when we read it! When we write about it, we start digging even deeper into the depth of God‘s love and mercy and grace. It takes time to write out a scripture, and as you are writing you are focusing on each individual word as you write it. The time it takes you to write them neatly allows you time to meditate on each word‘s purpose and function in the verse surrounding it. It allows you to ponder about its meaning and how it applies to your life. To let the word of God pour over your heart like honey allowing it to soak in and cleanse you from the inside out, well, there‘s just nothing like it. As Christians we need to be studying His word like a student studies for a test… because we‘re in the test, it‘s called LIFE! We need to be taking notes on the scriptures, whether it‘s in your bible‘s margin, your journal, or both taking notes is critical to understanding and applying the scriptures to your life. My friend Brenda shared a trick with me that I just have to pass on. She writes the date next to scriptures in her bible when they touch her. She told me once that there is a particular Psalm that is completely covered in highlighter and dates… looks like she doesn‘t have a life verse, she has a life Psalm! By keeping the dates in my Bible I have found that as I read it each day I will come back across those dates and I‘ll remember some of them, and what they meant to me on that day. God just loves when we remember what He‘s done for us throughout our lives.
Our life stories are the stories of lives filled with adventure, romance and drama. We are the main characters of our own real life Christian fiction book! Admit it; the life of a Christian is never dull. At least mine certainly hasn‘t been anyway. I know several people whose lives would make the best seller list in a heartbeat if they took the time to write it all down. And that‘s what I‘m challenging you to do today! No, not necessarily write a best seller, but to write your own story down, and to do however the Spirit leads you. Write whatever parts you think God is calling you to commemorate, and anything in between. The Lord our God is the author of our lives, He has written our stories with such tender loving care, the least we can do is write them down with pen and paper (or with a keyboard and a screen) so that our children and grandchildren can read about them some day. Did you know that no one in all of history or the future will ever live in this very time right now except you and me? So for that very reason alone we need to be recording what it‘s like to live in this day and age.
Life is an adventure, start writing it down!