Posts Tagged With: fear

Don’t be Afraid. Keep Calm and Carry On

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Revelation 1:1-4:11

 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things. Revelation 2:19

On the way to church this morning Sean and I were discussing some travel plans we have slated for this summer and the more we talked the more I could feel fear tightening it’s grip on my heart. I have been really stressed about money the past few weeks. I signed up for some classes this past week that I thought were going to cost us $$$$. Stress. Where was this money going to come from? I didn’t know. Where is the money for this trip going to come from? We HAVE to go, it’s a close family member’s wedding and Anna is in it, we don’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter. Worry and fear were playing tug of war and I was the one losing the battle.
Then we got to church and I’m handed a buletin that looked like this:

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Keep calm and carry on. It’s been a catch phrase that has caught fire lately and I honestly didn’t pay that much attention to it, until today. As I held the bulletin in my hand we sang, and sang, and (praise God) we sang. We kept singing until my heart broke in and joined the song. Have you ever had that happen before? Where your mouth was singing but your heart just wasn’t in it. In fact, perhaps, your mind was a million miles away while your body was there singing. Or maybe like me, it was two months in the future worrying about things I could do nothing about in that moment… other than surrender them to my Jesus.
And that’s what I ended up doing. I surrendered them, I set those thoughts aside in order to concentrate fully on the gift I was being given in the present. The gift of the present!
I can’t live in tomorrow because I haven’t been given tomorrow yet. I’ve only been given today. And while I can TRY to live in two moments at the same time, it’s just not possible. And honestly, it’s pointless anyway.
And in that moment of surrender, do you know what God said to me? “Keep calm and Carry on. Calm is something that you can keep or you can let it go. KEEP calm! And then carry on.”

There was a moment in the Exodus where the Israelites had gotten their first real taste of freedom from slavery. They had witnessed all the plagues of Egypt and seen the power of the Lord. They had been released from their slavery and had journeyed to the Red Sea. When in the distance they could see that Pharoah had changed his mind about letting them go. In that moment they panicked. They were free men and women, and they had decided they liked it. But off on the horizon there was this huge dust cloud threatening to take that freedom back from them. Now, the dust cloud was not the army itself, that they couldn’t see yet, it was just the threat of the army. And yet that was enough to terrify them. They cried out to Moses, asking him why he would bring them out into the wilderness to kill them. And weren’t there enough graves in Egypt? And in that moment of preemptive fear Moses told them, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!” (Exodus 14:13-15)
God literally told them to keep calm and to carry on, to stay calm and keep moving in the direction I told you to move. But they couldn’t keep moving forward, there was an OCEAN in their way. Did that stop God? Of course not! Was that a problem for Him? NO WAY! He performed the most miraculous miracle those people had ever seen, and at this point they had seen quite a few!
2 Corinthians 4:6-18 says,
For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.
13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Press on towards the mark my friend, keep running for the goal, persevere through this trial. It will not last forever, but the strength you gain from it will!
So keep calm and carry on.

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Categories: 365 Life, Revelation, Season 3, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Are


Jeremiah 6:1-8:17

“They cling tightly to their lies and will not turn around.” Jeremiah 8:5

Lord,

I know that there are lies in my life to which I have clung relentlessly. Lies that have done nothing but hurt me mortally and yet, I’ve clung to them without daring to let go for fear of change or pain or harm. And yet by clinging to them I’ve done nothing but cause myself pain and harm which causes fear. Lord, I’m not sure what lies I’m clinging to right now, but I’m sure there’s at least one. Father I beg you to free me from that/those lies by releasing Your absolute truth into my life right now. I know that while Satan is the Father of Lies, You are the Father of Light. You are the One of whom it is said, “it is impossible for Him to lie.” Lord I am desperate for the Light of Your Truth right now. I desire it more than gold or diamonds. I need Your Truth to light the way to peace and salvation. I need to cling to Your Word, rather than his lies. His lies destroy but Your Truth builds up. Your Truth embodies Life and Peace and Passion. Your Truth is Grace and Mercy and Love. Your Truth is Love never ending, never failing, never quitting, and it never falls short when we need it the most. Lord I need that Love to hold me up right now and let me know that no matter comes next, You’re there to hold me through it.

I feel change on the horizon and I fear it. I beg for it to be a good change and yet I know that even good changes are difficult to deal with. Please help me to survive this! I know that sounds so silly to You, of course I will survive it – You’re with me. And yet that lump in my throat that threatens to choke the life from me betrays any bravado I would so love to portray at the moment. And I thank You, the everlasting, that I don’t have to portray any kind of bravado before You! I don’t have to be strong for You. I don’t have to be brave for You. It is before You that I can be weak and afraid and vulnerable and SAFE. It is in Your very arms that I find my safety and security from my weak-willed fears. Thank You for that.

Thank You for calling me to, “Come and be still” in order to know that YOU are God.

Thank You for calling me to know that You ARE God!

Lord Jesus, Thank You for calling me to know that You are GOD!

You are my Beloved, You are my portion and my prize. You are my provider and my healer, my counselor and my guide. You are my purpose, you are my song. You are my lover, you are my peace. You are my refuge when I am weary. You are my consolation when I am despondent.

You are THE I am.

You are MY I am.

Lord, when my entire world begins its chaotic spinning around me, You are The Anchor for my soul. You are the fixed point in the horizon when I am sick of this sea of tossing emotions. You are GOD and I am NOT and I PRAISE You for that!

Lord, I praise You! For I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I know that well.

Lord, I thank You for all that You are to me!

Categories: 365 Life, Jeremiah, Season 3 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Permission to Fail

Friday was an anniversary of sorts for me and my ministry. And looking back over it all I am so overwhelmed with how far we’ve come and how much things have changed. And looking forward at the calendar, things are still changing! It’s all very exciting, and a little nerve wracking as I’m trying my best to simply keep up with everything that God is doing. But He is so faithful and He has held me through it all. I am so blessed by you all and the work that I have been called to do for you. It has changed me in ways I NEVER could have expected and yet I look at myself today and I am so very thankful for the work the Father has done in me. I love myself today. I love who I have become and who I am. I don’t know that I could have said that four years ago; at least not in a completely honest way. I didn’t love who I was because I wasn’t looking at myself from God’s point of view. I wasn’t seeing my situations, my past or my faults through His eyes of complete love. I was choosing to see them through Satan’s eyes of condemnation. When I think back on how I treated myself it makes me want to weep. I never gave myself permission to fail. And when I did fail, I would lay there and let Satan beat me brutally – because I thought I deserved it.

Last Thursday I visited a home for troubled girls. I didn’t really sit and talk with any of the girls, but I was able to hear a few of their stories and experience a small nibble of their day with them. I walked the same halls they walk, I ate the same lunch they eat, and I talked with their teacher. And through it all I realized how alike we all are. We all deal with the same demons, we all fight the same Enemy, we all allow him to beat us verbally until his face turns blue. And we do that because he has us convinced that we deserve it.

There was a time when we might have deserved it, if we had lived before Christ came. But we don’t. We have the luxury and privilege of living after Christ’s death. And what a privilege it is! Because of Jesus we can look at ourselves through Son-glasses. Glasses that were forged through the fires of hell as Jesus walked through them FOR US, because He knew that they were far too hot for us to stand.

In a strange way I almost envy those girls. Because at the ripe old age of 17 (give or take a few years) they will have walked through something so tremendous, with Jesus, that their faith will be far less shakable throughout the rest of their lives. Their foundation for their life will be so much firmer having gone through what they have been through. Not to mention the works that the Lord will have them do once they have finished the program! Yes. While I do not envy their sufferings, I do envy the relationship with Christ that will come from those sufferings. These girls will be leaders, strong leaders, you just wait and see! God has big plans for them!

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Given a Spirit

1 Kings 15:25 – 18:19

Word of the Day:

“As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand,” 1 Kings 18:15

I can be such a pushover sometimes, I always have been. Honestly, Im amazed that I made it all the way through high school and college without ever being offered drugs, alcohol or a cigarette. My mom must have prayed a lot about that. As an adult, the pressures arent the same, but they’re still there. Now weve got commercials filled with Weight Watchers telling us to “diet”, hair color telling us to “dye it”, fast food restaurants telling us to “eat here”. Its enough to make a girl go absolutely insane trying to figure out the best balance for life! Everything that surrounds us day in and day out pulls at us from every possible side in a constant tug of war where were the rope! We are making decisions from moment to moment and those decisions can affect the course of the rest of our lives! So how can we know what the best decision is in each moment, for ourselves as well as our families?

We trust God. In several of my Bible Study readings this week the Word has spoken of God leading His people. He “teach[es] them the good way in which they should walk” (1 Kings 8:36). “May He not leave us or forsake us, that He may incline our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways…” (1 Kings 8:57-58) “For it was a turn of affairs brought about by the LORD that He might fulfill His word,” (1 Kings 12:15)

God has directed me to 2 Timothy 1:7 NASB for my memory scripture this week. “For God has not given us a Spirit of timidity [or fear], but of power and love and discipline.” I am going to be holding this one close to the heart, as a shield! Those who are in Christ, those who have chosen Him as their Savior have been made new. They have been born again and given the Holy Spirit of Jesus to live within them. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. His Spirit leads us and is always there to consult for any decision large or small. He is a personal God that cares about the things you care about… because you care about them. And if you feel God’s Spirit leading you to do something and it’s against the social norms or peer pressures around you; know that you have not been given a timid Spirit that is afraid to do what God leads you to do. You have been given a Spirit that will supply you with the power to stand tall and do what you’re called to do, a love for what you are doing and for whom you are doing it and the discipline to get the job done.

Hallelujah!

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Give a book bible button

I wanted to make you aware of some ministry updates. I am very excited to announce that I have a Mother’s Day speaking engagement scheduled for May 11th. I would LOVE to have books on hand for the women to buy, and even some to give away as gifts. However, the current funds in the ministry account are running drastically low. If you are able, I would love for you to prayerfully consider giving a book or Bible to someone who can’t afford one. If you are able, please click here!

Categories: 1 Kings, 365 Life, Waiting, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week 3 Video Guide

Samson

Week 3 Video Guide Printable


“And Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines.’ Then he bowed with all his strength and the house fell upon the lords and upon the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.” Judges 16:30

-Turn to Judges 13 and the story of Samson so that you can read along.

-What is Samson’s mother not to eat? “drink no ______ or ______ drink, and eat nothing ______” Why? “for the child shall be a ______ to ______ from the womb to the day of his death.”

-Manoah never doubted the word of the Lord, how can we draw strength from his story? What notes can we take that might lead us to walk with more faith in our own lives?

-God’s name is Wonderful and He is the God of wonders, what does that mean to you personally?

-What “inciting incidents” have occurred in your life lately? What “horrible things” have been done or have happened to you that may be leading you down an unexpected road to Egypt in order to save lives?

-The Israelites bound Samson and gave him over to the Philistines, how is that any different than killing him themselves? If you hire a hit man to kill someone, you are still found guilty of murder, though you didn’t commit the murder yourself. Think about this in a spiritual sense, as a brother or sister in Christ, have you ever bound someone and handed them over to the Enemy? Has anyone ever done that to you? How would that happen anyway?

-“then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands.” The imagery of this verse calls me back to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace. They too were bound hand and foot when they were thrown into the fire, yet when they emerged their clothes nor their hair smelled like smoke. The only change to their appearance was that the ropes that had bound them had been burned off. Have you been bound and thrown into a furnace of life? Know this, the angel of the LORD – Jesus, is with you in that fire. In what ways has His presence been with you and comforted you in this time?

-How are your bindings being burned off?

-What things in your life do you see as useless that God may be trying to use for your good?

-Know this, YOU are not useless. I am learning that this is the Enemy’s ploy against us. Satan wants us to believe that we are useless in the eyes of the LORD, yet nothing could be further from the Truth. We are God’s own flesh and blood and Spirit and so much more valuable to Him than we could ever think or imagine. Believe this, God wants to use you in a mighty way my friend. Perhaps through this very circumstance that life is handing you now…

-The Israelites as they came out of Egypt and were stuck between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army, they saw no hope for life. They saw no way out of the mess they were in. They said to Moses, “were there not enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out here to die”. Little did they know or understand that they were on the verge of the largest miracle they had ever or would ever see. They didn’t know that their God could part the sea; He had never done that before. All they knew was what was right in front of them, trouble headed their way and fast. But Moses, he looked to God. The One who makes ways where there are no ways. The One who sees and the One who Saves. This place that you’re in, where it looks hopeless and deadly, are you standing on the edge of the Red Sea on the verge of parting? Is God, perhaps, about to do something that He’s never done before? Raise your eyes above your circumstances. He is with you and not against you. And because God is with you then WHO or WHAT can be against you? Like Samson ripping the gates off the hinges at Hebron, is God about to rip some closed doors open for you, part some sea, light up a new path?

-Delilah was desperate to discover the source of Samson’s great strength, but we know it don’t we?

-The Spirit of the LORD is our great strength as well! Delilah has told these lords over and over again that she knew the source of Samson’s strength, only to have it be discovered that she did not. Yet she did not give up in seeking his source of strength. She was persistent in a way that many of us can glean from today. Because the very thing that she was seeking is something, someONE whom we are told to seek while He still can be found. We too should seek after the gift of the Holy Spirit diligently, because God is willing and generous in the gifting of the Holy Spirit!

-It is significant that the story mentions Delilah tormenting him before his strength left him. What does 1 John 4:18 tells us about torment and strength?

The love that it speaks of is God’s agape, unconditional, love. Not our love for Him, His love for us. In His love for us there is no fear. Rather, when we are focused on His infinite love for us, His love causes our fears to flee.

-Was Samson’s weakened state permanent?

Neither is our own state of emergency. It is not permanent, it is but a brief and momentary trouble, and it will not last forever. Praise be to God!

-The Philistine lords called Samson in to “entertain” them; they called him in so that they could mock him and torment him. Is this very thing that causes their demise?

On the day that Jesus died on the cross the Enemy mocked Him and spit at Him, yet it was this very thing that caused Satan’s demise as well. And the very same is true for us. The Enemy taunts and mocks us like the Philistines mocked Samson and like Goliath mocked David. However, the very rock he uses to trip us is the rock we use to slay him! Satan has no power over you!

Categories: 1 Kings, 365 Life, Waiting, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

No Running

Joshua 23:1Jude

Word of the Day: “Be very strong… &… cling to the LORD your God” 23:6 & 8

I’m going to be honest; I’m on the verge of losing it right now. There are some things in life that God calls us to that just aren’t easy and all you want to do is run as far away from them as you can… the story of Jonah comes to mind. Running away didn’t work so well for him so I’m going to guess it won’t for me either. God has whales in all kinds of shapes and sizes and He knows how to use them to effectively bring His runaways back around to where He wants them to be.

The saddest part of it all is that the very thing I want to run from is most likely the very thing that God is planning to use to deliver me to the place He wants me to be. It’s one of those things that I can feel in my gut that it’s right… but it’s hard to tell because at the same time the butterflies in my stomach are flapping their little wings ragged right now!

And then here is today’s reading, always perfectly timed, and all about clinging to God and reminding us of His faithfulness in the past. Because after all, He is “the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time and now and forever.” Jude 25

And we “have seen all that the LORD [our] God has done to all these nations for [our] sake, for it is the LORD [our] God who has fought for [us].” Joshua 23:3 So we’ve got to be strong and do it! We’ve got to do those hard things that God calls us to do. We’ve got to stand up and fight for Him, with Him, through Him! Why? Because, “as for [us], no man has been able to stand before [us] to this day. One man of [us] puts to flight a thousand, since it is the LORD [our] God who fights for [us], just as He promised you.” Joshua 23:9-10 God has promised to fight for us, did you catch that? He has promised to fight for you, in whatever way you need fought for, He fights for you.

We can’t forget that “not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.” (Joshua 23:14) Not one.

Categories: 365 Life, Joshua, Jude, Waiting, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apart from Me

Joshua 10:22 – 13:23

Word of the Day:

“And Joshua captured all these kings and their land at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel.” “And the land had rest from war.” Joshua 10:42 & 11:23

The other day I was feeling low and the phrase “apart from Me you can do nothing” kept popping in and out of my head. I felt like a failure, I felt like “no one” was reading my blog or my books and I felt like I was being a horrible mom. In frustration I flopped down on my bed and allowed my mind to go where God was leading it. I looked up John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” And as I allowed myself to really ponder on the message of that phrase a picture began to fill my mind’s eye. A large pink shiny heart made of rock became clear and defined. “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” Next a small part of the heart near the bottom tip broke off and separated itself far away from the heart. “A part… A part… apart… Apart from Me you can do nothing“. But then the small part of the heart slowly slid back to rejoin the heart and re-attached itself in such a way that you could barely tell where the separation had been in the first place. And this is where the Holy Spirit really got me. “A part of Me you can do EVERYTHING!” My eyes flung open in surprise and delight. Everything. I can do everything, anything, all things through Christ who gives me strength! You know, it’s one thing to hear it, or even say it, but to see it and believe it, well, that’s completely different!

Apart from Jesus we can do nothing, BUT a part of Jesus we can do everything! It was amazing and wonderful, but He wasn’t finished with me yet. As I lay there with eyes now wide open to my own potential another figure began to emerge, a pair of the bluest most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. Yet they were filled with sadness and pain. I immediately recognized them as the eyes of Jesus, pain-filled because of my current state of torment. I had fallen down into the snake-pit filled with mud and doubt-vipers that bite and cling no matter how hard you shake them. And these eyes had seen me struggling to break free from the torment of the fear of failure. He was there in the pit with me, all the time speaking the truth that would free me “apart from Me you can do nothing”. But instead of hearing those words as an assurance I received them as accusations “you’re apart from God”, “You’re not in Him”, “You’re never in Him”, “You can do nothing”…

But the love of God pursues like a dog on the hunt, that hound of heaven will not give up, on me, or on you. He will pursue you with the truth of His love for you to the day you die… maybe even after who knows!

When I finally exhausted from fighting the doubt-vipers I yielded to the Truth; apart from Him I can do nothing. Period. But I’m not apart from Him now am I? Because He has promised us to NEVER leave us or forsake us, “For I am ALWAYS with you” (Matthew 28:20)… so can we ever truly be apart from the love of God? Is it possible that height or depth, angels or demons, or anything else in all of creation separate us from the love that is in Christ Jesus? NO!

This is the truth, there is no apart from Him once you’ve decided to believe in Him! There is only “a part of Him”. And when you are a part of Him, you can do anything. Anything is possible for those who believe and are called according to His purpose.

Did you know that He has a purpose for you? Really, He does. And while you may not know what exactly that purpose is, He does. He created you for a reason, to do something that only Y.O.U. can do. No other person in all of time has ever walked your path and worn your shoes, you are 100% unique. You were created to be you, so why would you want to change who you are?

Can a baby walk before it’s ready to? No. It can try, but the muscles in its legs aren’t strong enough to hold it up and it would fall. Does the parent scold the child for falling? Absolutely not! They congratulate the toddler for trying, they cheer the child’s near success, and they encourage another attempt.

We are all God’s children, mere toddlers in the faith, trying desperately to walk in perfect Jesus-sized shoes when we haven’t even learned how to walk barefoot yet! And then the Enemy, through self-condemnation and the judgment of others, scolds us for falling. And like the snake-pit we can’t hear the words of truth for what they really are because all we can hear is the hissing of snakes breathing “failure!” often times it is in those times of utter exhaustion where we allow ourselves to be cradled in the arms of L:ove that the beating of the drum of our heart stills long enough to hear that small voice of peace saying “Apart from Me you can do nothing…but you’re never apart from Me are you? For I am always with you, I will never leave you, I will never forsake you and NOTHING you do can separate you from My love for you. I have taken you from your hiding place, from the farthest corners of the globe. I have chosen you for My very own, My Beloved and My friend. I no longer call you servant, because servants don’t know their master’s secrets. No, I call you friend, because I want to share many secret things with you today… things that I don’t tell just anyone, only you – My Beloved, my friend. Did you know that I am yours – all yours? I am. Like a husband belongs to his wife, I am all yours; to have and to hold. The two of us, you and me, we are married, bonded in a way that is ever more intimate than any human relationship, because ours is a marriage of the heart. Where My heart touches your heart and your heart touches Mine. Nothing on earth can even come close to the intimacy and satisfaction that that brings us both. Did you know that I long for you? Oh how I do! I yearn for you in ways you could never understand. But do you know what I yearn for the most? To hear you say My name. I want to touch you in ways you’ve never been touched before that make you scream My name. I want to touch you in ways that make you whisper My name with a longing for Me that aches and begs to be touched more. I want to hear you say My name at work and at home, to your friends and your family, because I want them to know Me too. I want My name to cross their lips like it does yours, in love and respect. I want to light a fire in your bosom so bright that it can not be extinguished and it can not be denied. I want that fire of My love for you to burn away all the comments of judgment others say, all the cords of lies that have entangled you. I want that fire, My fire to fill you consuming all your fears and shame. I love you, for who you are, how I made you to be, shameless and unafraid because you have been filled to the brim and overflowing with how desperately I love you. How ferociously I hunger for intimacy with you, to be touched by you and to touch you in return. My dearest love, no matter how far you run, from the depths of the seas or the heights of the mountains, from my left scarred hand or to My right, no matter where you go, I will be there, waiting for you when you arrive. I may even ask you what took so long. I am God, I am timeless, I am limitless and I am yours all yours, just waiting for you to call, waiting to help, waiting to love you the way you deserve. My Beloved, you deserve Me. You were made for Me. I love you.”

As His eyes of absolute love floated above my face, He licked His thumb, and then reached out and wiped the mud from my left eye. He licked His thumb again and wiped the mud from my right eye. And then He smiled, because He knew His attention had made me better.

He really does love us, more than we could ever hope or imagine.

In Jesus.

Categories: 365 Life, Joshua, Waiting, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Pursue

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23:6 KJV

I have a confession to make… for some reason this summer, although we’ve spent at least one day a week at the pool, I have had a fear of swimming in the deep end. Yes, I, a grown woman, was afraid of swimming in the deep end of a pool. It’s taken me all summer long to really work through it to be honest. The first few times we went swimming I wouldn’t go down there at all. But my son, a fish, was desperate to jump off the diving board, so I faced my fear and clung to a swim noodle for dear life. All the while ACTING calm and not afraid. But inside I was trembling! And all I could think about was the eight & a half feet of water beneath me! Gradually, as I became more comfortable I started venturing out without the noodle. at times, showing off. False bravado to hide the true fear quaking within me. Now lately, my FOUR-YEAR-OLD has been jumping off the diving board with her little life vest on! I couldn’t let her show me up! So the first time I jumped off the diving board I held her hand. Not to give her support, but for me! She had the flotation device strapped to her body, not me! What if I ran out of breath? What if I couldn’t get to the top fast enough? What if…(gasp)… I got water up my nose!      Now, through all this, you must keep in mind, I AM a strong swimmer. I always have been. But, I’d forgotten that. No… I hadn’t forgotten it, I was failing to remember it. I was failing to hold onto it, to believe it. I was allowing the Enemy to convince me that I couldn’t swim still. That I wasn’t going to be able to keep my head above the water and keep breathing. Thank GOD, he never gets to win!!!

So now we come to today. When I was jumping off the diving board with all those kids today, NOT holding my four-year-old’s hand for security OR safety, I did a pencil dive and actually TOUCHED the bottom of the pool with my feet! I have to admit, a loud “I TOUCHED THE BOTTOM!” did escape from my lips and betray a bit of my false bravado. But I didn’t care, because I had done it! I had faced my fear of the depth of water, held my breath, closed my eyes tightly, and took my leap of faith into that water, just to see if I could do it. AND I DID!

Now, what does this have to do with God? Why is this story in a devotional? God’s love is an ocean, with a depth that is so much deeper than anyone could EVER even imagine let alone touch the bottom. And all summer long His goodness and mercy have been hunting me down trying to catch me and bless me! But honestly, I’ve been afraid of them! I’ve gotten comfortable in my former bondage. I’ve been in it for the last 11 years, I know how to breathe there, I know how to be in that place of slavery. Have I cried out over and over for God to save me from this situation? Of course I have! Is God trying to get me to leave Egypt with Him right now? You betcha He is! Was I ready to go before? Apparently not. I wasn’t trusting Him, His goodness. And it took all summer for Him to finally chase me long enough to wear me out enough to get me to stop and let Him wash over me with His truth. He has deep pockets. Now, that’s a phrase that I’ve been saying over and over and over for the last 2 years… and I THOUGHT I believed it, until right now. I DID believe that God has deep pockets, and that they were filled with all kinds of great treats for His Beloved children. But I was not believing that I was one of those children that He was willing to treat with big gifts.

I’ve learned that God’s grace is abounding and full of mercy and forgiveness. More than even makes sense! But yet there it is. In the twenty-third Psalm verse six we read “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:” (KJV) The word translated as “follow” is special, critical, in understanding God’s goodness and mercy. In the original Hebrew text the word was pronounced “raw-daf” and according to Strong’s this same word has also been translated (in the New American Standard Bible) as hunt, follow, chase, persecute, and my personal favorite and the translators favorite, pursue! Raw-daf has been translated as some form or another of pursue, ONE HUNDRED SEVEN TIMES!!! THAT is what my summer, thus far, has been about! God pursuing me with His blessings! WHY HAVE I BEEN HIDING FROM THEM????? Can someone please tell me why in the world I have been afraid of God’s blessings??? Why I haven’t trusted that they would, or that they even could be good blessings? I’ve believed and trusted that He has plenty of good things in store for me… in the future. But, not just yet. Not right now. Not TODAY. But He does have good things for me TODAY! Lots of them! They’ve been building up all summer long, I just kept hiding under an umbrella of fear, keeping them from showering down over me like rain.

Well, Lord. I’m folding up the umbrella. I’m putting it… no, I’m throwing it away! Pour it out Lord! You no longer have to hunt me down with Your blessings, I’m going to stop running, stop hiding, stop being afraid to believe that You have good things planned out for me for TODAY! Not just my future, but for my TODAY!  I am going for a swim in Your goodness, and search for that treasure that You have hidden just for me today. I am going to dig into your Word daily to find the wisdom and grace and love that you have buried there for me to find today. I will seek You with all my heart each and every day, because Your Word tells us that when we seek, we WILL find! And when we knock the door with be opened unto us. Lord I’m knocking on the door of tremendous blessing today, expecting it to open today. Lord, by knocking, I have asked for the doors leading to tremendous blessings to be opened, and again Your Word says that when we ask we WILL receive. These are Your promises Lord. And You. don’t. lie.

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