God of the Mundane

Lord, I can’t believe how fast flies by sometimes. The sad part is that so much time is spent on things that won’t really matter in the long run. Nearly everything I do for the pursuit of money or a clean house or even to eat seems so futile. Yet, your Word says that “whether I eat or drink or whatever I do, I should do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). That tells me that I don’t have to be spinning my wheels, and that even in mundane things, I can live to glorify You. Yet it seems so difficult sometimes. I know its all about my mindset—that I need to set my mind on things above, but it seems like things above whisper while things below scream for attention. You truly do speak in the still, small voice, and it requires getting quiet to hear it. Help me hear You now. Quiet my scattered mind, and speak.

Those who wait on Me will find new strength, so take the time to wait. I stand ready to empower you, and to help you make the most of your time. Walk with Me as you perform the mundane tasks life requires. You will find joy and peace in my presence in spite of what you are doing. If it is cleaning, then use it as time to pray for others or to praise and worship me. If it is working, then let me show you how to love the ones in front of you. Use it to let me teach you how to live in reverence to Me, rather than worrying about what people think. All of these activities can be used for my kingdom as you seek Me first. Begin the day with Me, and then walk with Me. Do not begin with Me, and then charge out the door. I care about every detail, and I stand ready to strengthen and empower you. Let’s go. 

Beyond My Expectations

Lord, I don’t know why it surprises me that You rarely work in ways I expect. I think I have it all figured out, but find that You have a completely different plan. I suppose it’s another way of keeping me dependent on You. When I barge ahead in my own strength, it’s like listening to a radio that is losing its signal, but when I abide in You the difference is amazing—it’s like a symphony. Give me ears to hear You today, so that I can share Your beauty in the midst of despair. There is so much ugliness on this earth Lord. I only see small fragments of it, but You see it all and I marvel at your patience with us. If I were in your place, I would have probably brought an end to it by now, but You are “not slow in keeping your promise, as some understand slowness. Instead [You] are patient… not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Your love for this dark world amazes me. I know that my impatience with people is just because they put a kink in my desires, but your agenda is never self-serving like that.  It is completely loving and giving. Thank You so much for your kindness towards us!

“For God so loved the world that He gave…” Abide in me daughter, and I will teach you to give. Yes, your human nature is selfish to the core, but I have given you a new nature. Open your heart and your ears, and I will use you. I put my Spirit into jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to Me, and not to you (2 Cor. 4:7). If it were your own power, how could that draw anyone to Me? Delight in the fact that I give strength to the weak. You have something to offer the world, because everyone needs strength in their weakness. Show them that it is not you, but Me. Let them know that the mighty One, the Lord of hosts stoops down and embraces his creation daily. Show them my power to redeem a life, and never let them think the power is yours. Point to Me, and I will do mighty things. I oppose the proud, but give grace to the humble. Walk humbly before me so that my love and power can be manifested. 

Flawed People, Broken Relationships & God

Lord, I want to bless others as You have blessed me. Let the abundance You have given flow out to others. I know your sweet goodness and love, and so many who claim to know You live in fear and defeat. They do not know your perfect love that casts out fear. They don’t trust in your goodness, and they are in bondage. Many I love are among that number, and as much as I would love to fix it, I can’t. I have to trust that You will use brokenness to draw them to yourself, and to teach them that your ways are higher than theirs. It is so hard to watch them flounder through life, and missing your best. Please, Lord, open their blind eyes! Help them see your great love and goodness.

Life lived with flawed people is not easy. There is always something to stress over. Yet, in your wisdom You chose to make us to live in relationship. In recent years, You have helped me see how often I contribute to each messed up relationship, and have called me to “take the log out of my own eye.” When it comes right down to it, nobody ever does anything worse to me than what I do to You regularly. I neglect You and focus on myself way too often. Please forgive me, and help me to always look at my own heart before I start judging others. Then help me to show the same grace and mercy you show me when dealing with those who are blind to their own flaws. I know relationships are the best instruments of change in our lives. The problem is that we are too often resistant to your agenda. We do not let our conflicts and relational struggles drive us to You. Instead we frantically grasp for control, and push You away. You stand ready to redeem, but we choose self-destruction. Lord, I pray for all the people I love who are in self-destructive modes right now. Help them to see their need to surrender— to humble themselves before You and others. Show them the power of yielding their broken relationships to You and finding only You have the power to redeem. Help them see that praying for an answer while striving for control is self-defeating and help them turn their lives wholly over to You, because You are good and worthy.

Dear child, be careful that you also surrender. You must give your loved ones to Me. Understanding what others need to do is wonderful, but you must remember that every teacher must lead by example. I see your stress and concern for those you love, and stress is a sure indication that you have not fully surrendered them to Me. Come to me with uplifted hands, letting go of all the cares that would weigh you down. I stand ready to carry these burdens for you. I love these little ones more than you do, and my love is perfect. Yours is flawed and mixed with selfish motives. Let go. I am able. My hand is not shortened that I cannot save (Is. 59:1), but I am fully able. Let go of the sins that block the flow of my blessings—your self-serving agendas, your worry, and your desire to control it all. I long to give you rest. Come lie down in my green pastures. Come stand beside the still waters of satisfaction in Me. Let me restore your soul, and undo the damage the world has done. Enjoy the banquet I provide for you in the presence of those loved ones who act more like enemies sometimes. Let my goodness and mercy follow you as defining characteristics of your life. Come away with me my beloved, and I will make your feet like hinds’ feet to scale the high places of life. You do not have to stay in the Valley of Defeat when I am your shepherd. Walk with me and do not fret. I am mighty to save and redeem. Leave them all in my able hands. 

Lord, Your People Misrepresent You!

Father I am so grateful for Your amazing love and patience; grateful that You would stoop down and speak to my heart. There are no words to describe how thankful I am, or how in awe of You I am. Thank You! Why would such an amazing and powerful God take the time to fellowship with sinful and self-centered people? It overwhelms me sometimes. Let me live each day in an attitude of thankfulness. Help me to be God-centered rather than my natural self-centered self. Lord, my greatest desire it to share Your amazing love and grace with others. The world is so wounded and lost, and yet, You reached down to redeem. The problem is most of us miss the beauty of Your sweet redemption, because we constantly focus on our own kingdoms rather than Yours. There are some who miss You, because of what people have done in Your name, and that is something You take seriously.

And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” Luke 17:1-4

There are many ways to cause others to stumble, and I think the worst one is representing You poorly. When we act out of pride or religion we misrepresent You and cause unbelievers to stumble—they miss the great opportunity of entering into relationship with You. And according to this passage, we misrepresent You when we fail to deal with sin, either to rebuke or forgive. It is not our job to rebuke unbelievers, but our brothers and sisters– because we love them! However, we get that all wrong. We rebuke in attitudes of self-righteousness rather than love, and we hold on to bitterness. Once again, we are self-centered rather than God-centered and it causes people to stumble. Lord, please make me sensitive to Your Spirit, and help me to see those who have been wounded by Your people. Help me to bind up the wounds and point them to Your healing love. God forgive Your people for representing You so poorly. We have boxed You in and diminished the light that is meant to shine for those stumbling in the darkness. We are supposed to be salt and light, but too often we have failed. Forgive and change us Lord. Help us to see as You see, and help us to love as You love. We need You so desperately. Amen

Little ones, I am waiting with open arms—run to Me. In my presence there is healing and strength that overcomes the world. No weapon formed against you will prosper as you hide in the shadow of My wings. Though this world is dark and cold, my light still shines— the darkness has not overcome it. My love still changes hearts. It is never hopeless, because I am Hope and I am here. This world is passing away, but My kingdom stands forever. It has been planted on this earth in you. Let your light shine before men so that they will see and glorify Me. Live for the eternal kingdom that is in you, and not for a system that will soon fade away. As you glorify me, I will draw people to myself. There is nothing that will stop my purposes. Though you fail, and though people intend to harm, nothing can stand against Me. Just be faithful to obey and do what I have asked of you. It does not depend on you, but Me. Rest in that knowledge, and do not take on burdens that are not yours. I am faithful to complete what I begin. Yes, I do want you to love Me and love people. I want you to shine your light before men, but always remember it comes from me. You cannot manufacture light— you can only direct it. Be still and wait so that I can show where to shine. You are my treasure, not merely a piece of machinery. Shine for me and reflect Me, remembering it is all about Me and not you. That will free you to become everything I desire you to be.

 

Blessed By Distractions!?

Good Morning Lord. I finally come to You after an hour of taking care of little things. Somehow my life stays full of little details that distract my focus—it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine. Please teach me to order my life so that this doesn’t keep happening. I saw an article on organization yesterday that says pick a task daily to get caught up on the “to-do’s” that constantly plague us. I need to start doing that, but it seems difficult when I have so many things to do outside the house. Anyway, I will choose to do what I can, and try not to stress over it. I think maybe I need to get a good book on time management though, because I do want to be a good steward of my time. Help me, Lord. Quiet my soul, and help me hear your voice— to listen for it. Let me breathe in your Spirit, knowing it is as necessary as the air I breathe. Let me cease striving and wait on You now. I give You my day, my time, my heart, my everything. Use me, in spite of me. Amen

My dear child, do not be discouraged. I allow weakness and struggles to remain in your life for a reason. They are instruments to drive you closer to Me. I know you see them as hindrances, but if everything cleared up the way you wanted, you would not sense your desperate need for Me. The secret is to learn to surrender these things to Me daily—your schedule, your cares, all the little details. They will only spoil the vine if you seek them rather than Me. Take time to quiet your heart and mind. Have I not been speaking to you? Why do you allow yourself so much frustration? Remember it is a choice. As you make Me your priority, I will bring order in the chaos. That is my specialty! The whole earth was without form and void, yet I brought beautiful order. Can I not do the same for your life? Is anything too difficult for Me? Of course, it is a challenge for you, but I have asked you to bring your burdens to Me. I promise rest in the midst of your chaos as you take my yoke upon you. My yoke is easy, and my burden light. Let go of the heavy load you are carrying and put it on my shoulders. I love you with an everlasting love, and it is my desire to uphold you daily. Come to me. Sit at my feet and rest. Worship is the key to the freedom from distraction you seek. Seek my face, and I will bring the order you desire. Trust in Me with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. In ALL your ways, acknowledge Me, and I will direct your paths (Pr. 3:5-6).

Note:Today and for the next few days I will be reposting old posts, since I put them up before the blog was published.

Rising Above the Storms

Lord, please use me today. Help me to open my mouth when You lead, and to shut it when you lead. I have such talent for doing the opposite. I yield myself to you right now, and ask that You give me a heart that is sensitive to your Spirit. I know that nothing good comes when I fail to seek You. Here I am, use me. You know the requests of my heart for the people I love. I put them in your hands, and ask that You would intervene in mighty ways. I pray the blessing of knowing You for the ones who don’t know You, and ask that you would remove the scales from their blind eyes. Help them to see that all their efforts to hold You back are only efforts to harm themselves. I see the emptiness and misery, and long for them to know the satisfaction and joy only You can bring. Father, if You can use me in that process, please do.

I also ask You to intervene with my loved ones who claim to know You, and are not walking in your ways. I see them bringing misery on themselves by rejecting your truth and replacing You with shallow substitutes that can never satisfy. I know, because I did it for so long, and it made me miserable. A child of God should never be miserable. There are times when we will grieve, but those who are completely yielded to You will have peace and comfort, even in the midst of grief. Sadly, I see my loved ones floundering through life, tossed to and fro by circumstances, rather than standing on the Rock. Help them to see that those who surrender all to You will not be shaken or controlled by every wind and wave of life. There are times when I fall prey to this as well—the times when I take my eyes off of You—just like Peter when he was walking on the water. Help us see You more clearly Lord, and help us all to set our gaze on You. When we do, we can overcome anything. I am so grateful for your amazing love and mercy. Pour it over my friends and family today. Help your people shine in the darkness. Amen

Dear One, it brings joy to my heart when you seek Me first. Thank you for giving Me the first part of your day. You know what happens when you do not—so much wasted time and missed opportunities to serve Me. Today will be different. Stay in my presence. I will open your mouth at the right times, and close it at the right times. I have heard your prayers, and am working with your loved ones in ways that you cannot see. Only I can see the heart, and only I know their thoughts. In the long run, I have been able to use all of your mistakes for my kingdom, and I can do the same for them. Be sure you do not take the burden of their lives on yourself. It is too heavy for you to bear, but my yoke is easy and my burden light. Entrust them to Me, and do not be anxious. I am able, and want to use these little ones to teach you to trust Me more. I can redeem anything, and my heart for them is filled with love and good intentions. Leave them in my hands, and do not try to take my place in their lives. Continue to lift them up to Me, and then let them go. For when you try to control it, I step back. The answer will come more quickly as you constantly yield them to Me. Trust me dear daughter. You know I have this, so leave it in my hands. I am mighty to save, and mighty to restore the years the locusts have eaten. You look at things from a human perspective, but my thoughts and ways are so much higher. Come up into my presence and let me help you see from here. Rise up on wings as an eagle and ride above the storms of life. It is your choice to either ride the storms or be tossed around by them. I have given you wings to fly, so choose to rise. Rest and soar with Me today. 

2013 Summary

In 2013, things in my personal life seemed to take center stage, so that public ministry was often relegated to the backseat. In December, my mother passed away, and before that she had come to the point of needing lots of extra assistance. God was so merciful, in that she barely suffered. She had bone cancer, but apparently her dementia prevented her from feeling pain up until the end. Not only that, but she never forgot her children, and was cheerful in disposition until she  became too weak to speak about 5 days before she passed. We rejoice that she is now basking in the presence of her Lord.

In December, I also completed my degree in Biblical Counseling  at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) after being a part-time student for 10 years! I cannot tell you the relief I felt in walking across that stage.

In October, I was the keynote speaker for Richland Creek Community Church’s annual women’s retreat in Myrtle Beach, SC. The retreat title was Tracing Roots to Fruits, and I decided to speak on the three topics I see most in counseling: selfishness, bitterness, and fear. We discussed Biblical truths for overcoming all 3 of these “bad” roots that hinder a victorious Christian walk. In the spring, I also taught a class at RCCC entitled “Heart Matters” that dealt with common problems women face, and keys to victorious living. My favorite class is “Knowing God’s Heart.”

Other speaking engagements in 2013 included visiting 2 counseling classes at SEBTS and teaching on domestic violence and emotional abuse. I am passionate about these subjects, and helping the church learn to handle them better, because I have seen far too often the church’s lack of knowledge in this area can make matters worse.  If you are interested in these subjects, I have written several articles and would be happy to share them if you send me your email address.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog, and supporting this ministry.

Living for the Unseen World

Lord, I come to You this morning filled with cares of the world. Forgive me. You know my needs, and I know You will meet them according to your riches in glory. Help me to stop meditating on things that are seen, and start meditating on You and the unseen kingdom instead. I surely do need You every hour. It amazes me how weak I am, and how patient You are! Thank You so much! There is nothing I could ever do to thank You enough. While I can’t earn your favor, I certainly want to show my gratitude by living in a way that honors and glorifies You. I feel like I fall so short every day; that is why I have to take the time to sit at your feet. I need your direction for my day, because I seem to have a propensity to waste time or at least to spend it on things of lesser importance. Lord, I want You to be in the driver’s seat. Why is it such a struggle? This world system just seems to take over, and I feel like I am anemic, as are so many in the American church. Father, please waken your people. Help us to shine for You in this dark world.

Dear Child, you are mine. I hold you in my able hands. Let go of the concerns and worry. Just sit and worship a while. Continue to lift your loved ones up to Me. I am more than able, even when you don’t see a way. Remember to aim your affections and passions on Me, and you will find the answers you desire. You are asking according to my will, but you must also abide in Me, and my Word must permeate your soul. Nothing is impossible when you abide in Me. You know how much you need Me, so walk in that knowledge, ever looking up and not to the left or right. I will uphold you and strengthen you. I can enable you to live far above your nature and the world in general. In the world you will have trouble, but cheer up, I have overcome the world.

Rewire Me, Lord!

Good Morning, Lord. I have been so busy lately that I asked You to wake me up early this morning. Here I am, but I’m having such a hard time keeping my eyes open. As I’m half-awake, it amazes me how easily my mind meditates on things of this world—the cares of life really do seem to choke out the eternal things that should be my focus. How I hate it! Lord, like David, I want to ask only one thing of You, and that I want to seek, “that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple” (that’s me!). Why is it so difficult sometimes? It’s my greatest desire, but I can’t seem to find the balance. I have to work; I have family and household obligations. As much as I long for Your presence, my flesh seems to have a default setting on the cares of life, and I have to force myself to do the very thing I long to do. It makes no sense! I guess it’s a struggle we all have; Paul certainly seemed to indicate the same struggle in Romans 7.

“For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate… For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want… For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner woman, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched woman that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, my flesh the law of sin. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rom. 7: 15,18,22-8:2)

That is the answer Lord, I need to walk in Your Spirit. I suppose that involves more yielding than striving. Teach me to sit still and yield. I have never been very good at being still. It’s partly my wiring I think, but nothing is impossible with You. Of course, I have had many victories; many times when I overcame my weak flesh and entered into pure worship; times when I heard your sweet voice. That is where I long to stay every moment, and I don’t think it’s impossible. I think about that book I read by Frank Laubach and Brother Lawrence—they made practicing your presence a priority, and trained their flesh to do it. I know that whatever You ask me to do, You empower me to do. Help me tap into your provision—your Spirit! Help me to yield my mind to You—moment by moment, and in the midst of the cares of life. Thank You for your provision!

Child, I am waiting with open arms. Run to me, remembering that I am your life. Without Me, you can do nothing, but with me all things are possible. That includes overcoming your weak and scattered nature. Come! That is all you must do. As you come into my presence with thanksgiving and praise, I will meet you to strengthen and empower you to live beyond life’s concerns. Your strength comes in quietness and trust. Rest in my goodness. You know it, and victory simply requires tapping into what you already know. So many are blind to who I am, to my love and goodness, to my heart for them. Though you see dimly as through a looking glass, you see enough. Be thankful— I have removed the scales from your once-blind eyes. Realize what a rare blessing that is in this dark world. The majority of people stumble in darkness. You have eyes to see and ears to hear. Use them, and let me shine my light through you. Learning to abide isn’t just for your benefit. It is your duty to a lost and dying world. Take that commission seriously. I loved the world so much that I gave my all. As my disciple, you must be willing to surrender all as well. Yet, when you surrender, you lose nothing and gain everything. It is a beautiful paradox that the world cannot understand. You are not of the world though. You understand the joy and peace that comes from dying to self and living to Me. Come to Me with these truths in the forefront of your mind. Let go of all the worries and concerns. I see them all, and will help you as you walk in my Spirit. Don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything (every stressful and worrisome circumstance) come to me with prayer and petition. Be thankful to Me as you make your requests known. As you give your burdens to Me, I will replace the worries with peace that transcends human understanding (Ph. 4:6-7). Come now my child. I am here.

Living Sacrifices

Thank You Lord! I guess I am beginning to realize that the expectations I have for myself are unrealistic. As much as I’d love to spend 24 hours a day 7 days a week serving You, that’s just not possible in this world. As it is, I have to work; I have no choice about that. Work takes up time, and even if I do it your glory and with a heart focused on You, it still means having to take time to focus on earthly things. I can set aside days or half days for You, but at this point in my life, full time service/ministry just isn’t possible. Yesterday, I began to see that, and I felt more joy in the midst of my day than I have in a long time. Obviously, You could clear my schedule, or give me financial independence if that’s what You wanted or me, but instead You apparently want to teach me something in the midst of the daily grind. There are details that have to be handled, and there’s nothing spiritual about them. Work has to be done, but I can do it “as to the Lord.” That means I do my best job, and serve people well. It does not mean I walk around irritated about the constant interruptions work brings. That is what I have been doing for some time now. Please forgive me.

Lord, I ask You to give me a real sensitivity to your Spirit, so I will know when to minister, and to whom I should minister. I continue to lift my friends to you who don’t know you. You know my desire to see these friends come to know You! Help me shine for You, and point them to You. Forgive me for being so self-occupied. Help me to walk through life with sensitivity to your Spirit that will allow me to lead others to You. Amen

Sweet Child, hold fast to what you know. You know that you must abide in Me. You know that I work best in your weakness. You know that my desire is to bring the lost to Myself. You know that I will supply your needs according to my riches in glory. Be still and know that I am God. Do not let yourself be tempted to usurp my role by trying to control everything. A branch does not strive, yet you are striving. Learn to find contentment in any and every circumstance, and trust Me to work it together for your good. Hide in the shadow of my wing, and rejoice in Me, as I rejoice over you with singing. You are treasured, and I have infinite patience that you do not have. Take on my perspective, and your attitude will improve. Let your roots go deep in my love and my Word. As you do this, your life will be established on the Rock, which cannot be shaken. Little one, you are easily shaken, because you are running to and fro trying to control everything. Roots are not meant to run, but to stand firm. Delight in my law, meditate on it day and night, and you will be like that tree planted by the water (my living water). You will yield fruit in due season, your leaf will not wither, and whatever you do will prosper. This is what you desire, and I have told you how to achieve it.  Blessing will follow obedience, so be faithful to obey all that I have commanded you to do. 

Beyond Resolutions to Full Surrender

POSTED ON JANUARY 2, 2014 BY JOY FORREST

Lord, it’s a new year and suddenly my life has changed dramatically. Mom entered glory early morning on 12/28. Oh how I will miss her, yet my joy for her helps remove the grief. Thank you for the last few months—she was stable, pain-free and happy. She kept us laughing. Now she is basking in the joy of your wonderful presence. I’m jealous of that. Today I find myself exhausted in every single way– physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. The last week has not exactly left many opportunities for much quiet time. I sure hope and pray that I will make quiet time with You a priority in this new year. After reading Mom’s journals I see it was a struggle for her too, but by the final years of her life, she was faithful to read your Word daily—for long stretches of time. I will never forget her holding that extremely heavy Bible open as she lay flat on her back reading for at least an hour each night. She did it up until a few weeks ago when she could no longer read, and then asked others to do it for her. Nina said that on the nights she didn’t read to her, she didn’t sleep as well. Lord, thank You so much for my mother! She was such an example to me! Not that she did everything right, and not that she was anywhere near perfect, but she turned to You, and she learned from her mistakes. She taught me to learn from mine as well. What a sweet blessing she was. I am forever grateful.

 

Suddenly I have something I haven’t had in years—free time. I am done with school and caring for Mom. I hope and pray this year I will use my time more wisely. You know my desires for ministry. Help me to be disciplined enough to use my time for eternal purposes.

 

Now as I enter 2014, I surrender my life anew. Fill me with yourself, and use me! I know how ridiculous it is to live apart from You, because I know I can do nothing that way. I am powerless and useless. Please Father, keep me close, and keep me diligent. I am weak, but your strength is made perfect in weakness. Let this new year be one in which I learn to wholly tap into that power and make an eternal difference in this dark world. Amen

 

My precious child, I appreciate your heart for Me. I am willing and ready to meet you as you daily yield to my leading. Do not be afraid of your weakness. I am with you, and my grace is sufficient to empower you daily. Make time with Me a habit, just as brushing your teeth is a habit. It doesn’t just happen, you must take the time. Not every day will be the same. Some days you will have more time that other days, but you should never skip it and move on. With all of your technology, you can listen to my Word as you drive, you can worship Me in song, and you can pray without ceasing. The key is having a mindset that is focused on Me rather than the demands and distractions of life. This does not mean you can’t take care of the business of life in this world, but it means you are to go about your business with Me guiding each step of the way. As you do that, I will direct you, and your days will be much more productive. Rest in Me. Have you not yet learned that walking in your on own strength only leads to frustration and wasted time? Let Me direct your days. I long to set you free from the chaos you call life and give you abundant life! Wake up each day and seek my face as you would seek a treasure. It will not be time wasted. You will find rest for your soul, strength for your day, and power for ministry. I desire to give these things to you, but they must be received actively. Passivity never accomplishes anything good. Seek the good, the better part that won’t be taken away. Seek my face, and expect miracles.

Lord, My Feelings are Hurt!

December 6, 2014

When people criticize us, it hurts. It happened to me recently, and my first reaction was to want to defend myself, and prove them wrong. But God had a different solution.

I am the Vine and you are the branches. Whoever abides in me, and I in her, she it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing… As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things have I spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:5, 9-11). Abiding is not striving. It is resting in what I have done, and what I am going to do. It is leaving the outcome in My competent hands. Every effort you make moves you away from the answer I have for you. Wait patiently on the Lord. You will not have to wait forever. I will move at just the right time. Don’t let pride move you, and realize that your pride has been wounded as well as your heart. I am near the brokenhearted to bind up their wounds, but I will not nurse your pride. That is part of the reason I have allowed this to occur in your life, because the most powerful and effective vessel is one that has been fully emptied. Yes, your past has removed many impurities, but these trying fires are designed to help you see what else you can surrender to me. I want a heart fully devoted and emptied. In that state, you will be used more mightily that you have ever imagined. Let it go, and walk in humility before Me. Be grateful for another opportunity to become more useful for my kingdom. I will use it my daughter. Let me mold you into a vessel of even greater beauty. Remain malleable and willing to surrender each impurity that rises to the surface in the Refiner’s fire. Let me remove them all so that my reflection will shine clearly in your life.

Lord, How do You Put Up with Me!?

Okay, Lord I hear You, and I SO desire to obey You! My life gets busy and I disappoint myself (and You) over and over again, but as I heard in class yesterday if something is a priority we will MAKE time for it. There have been days when I preferred sleep and days when the concerns of the day took the front seat while You were pushed to the back. Please forgive me! The great passion I have to serve You is diluted at best until it is matched with discipline to accomplish the desires attached that passion. I need You to rescue me from myself, and to help me order my life better. Part of this weakness is just my natural personality bent, and there are others who naturally tend towards self-discipline, but people like that usually tend to be weak when it comes to passion. So I am grateful for what You have given me, for what You have done in spite of me, and Your ability to perfect Your strength in my weakness. Father, remind me each day, don’t let me rush out without spending time in Your presence. I know I You are with me as I go, and I know I am praying as I go, but it is not as intentional as it needs to be. I need to make You the top priority and not just the Helper as I move forward in my own agenda. I need You to be the director and orchestrator of each and every day. Move in my life and help me to tap into the riches of Your Spirit as I yield my life completely to You. Amen

His Response:

Dear Child, I stand ready to help you and to give You strength. Don’t make this difficult, but understand how easily it is accomplished when You set your affections on Me. Remember your first love. You couldn’t wait to spend time together; you made time, even in the midst of the busiest days—sometimes even at the expense of your schedule. The things you put in “the front seat” are not usually all that important, and they certainly can wait an hour or so. Push them to the back seat, and let me do the driving. I do not merely desire to ride along as you direct the schedule and spin your wheels aimlessly. I desire to choose the direction of the day, and to lead you as you go. Learn to stop and listen for my direction. I will speak if you stop. Your constant state of urgency is so unnecessary. The things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal! Remember that, and prioritize the unseen over the seen. Recognize your desperate need for My leading. If you would just see your desperation, you would not be so quick to move on without my leading. Your impetuous nature is really an impatient nature. You don’t want to wait before Me, because it takes time, and you imagine that your agenda is more important. It is not. Wouldn’t it be nice to move through your day accompanied by my perfect peace rather than the adrenaline knot that stays in your stomach half the time? Wouldn’t it be easier to relinquish control to One who can handle it so much better than you can? Why do you strive so when I am so willing to carry you through? As you learn to rest in me, you will accomplish so much more—first of all for the Kingdom, but also in your personal life and business. Let me show you. I am willing. Are you?

Quiet Times in the Technological Age

POSTED ON DECEMBER 11, 2013 BY JOY FORREST

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 1 John 2:15-17 NLT

Lord, this world constantly frustrates me, and some days I think my age makes it worse. I remember simpler times and long for them. Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun, but I think in these last days technology is an exception to that statement. I love it and hate it. I sit here typing on my computer, because it’s so much easier to correct mistakes, and easier to pull up study resources for Bible study, yet in the midst of it the interruptions never cease. It’s so easy to remember something that needs to be added to the calendar, and of course there are continuous notifications from email, messages, and Facebook. I know I could turn them off, but then I might forget to turn them back on and miss something important—it’s almost like slavery. I think it’s made our whole society A.D.D. It certainly adds to the challenge of meditation in the modern world. Still, when I think about it, You had constant interruptions too. People followed You around and crowded You constantly, but You took the time to withdraw to “remote” places and spend time in prayer. Even though there are new forms of distraction, I know that if anyone ever understood distraction You do. You were tempted in every way, yet didn’t sin. On the other hand, I sin daily as I allow unimportant things to eclipse essential things. Thank You so much for Your grace and mercy towards me. I ask You to help me to seek Your face wholeheartedly, and to rest in Your presence. Quiet the constant “demands” that fill my mind, and let me see Your beauty. Without You I am hopeless and constantly frazzled. Yet, You offer peace if I will just take time to tap into it.

I keep thinking that one-day life will slow down, and times of meditation will happen more easily, but I think I am just fooling myself. It will never be easy until I see Your face. Once again, it boils down to self-disciple until I get into Your presence, and meet me with all the strength and peace I need. Life is short, so I need to stop making excuses and make habits instead. What a privilege it is to have the Lord of life standing ready to meet with me and equip me daily. Why in the world do I fail to apply this wonderful benefit so often? Please forgive me, and thank You for always answering when I call, in spite of my weaknesses.

My precious child, remember that my strength is made perfect in your weakness. Therefore, you need not lament over it. Rather rejoice in the knowledge that I have used and continue to use imperfect “jars of clay” for my purposes. Look at Scripture and you will find numerous examples my ability shining best in the lives of imperfect people. Even the most powerful saints had moments of extreme weakness. Remember, Elijah’s great victory at Mt Carmel was followed by an episode of extreme cowardice. David strayed, and yet was a man after my own heart. Even though Jeremiah knew me as the Living Water, he often struggled with despair. Paul and Barnabas separated after a sharp dispute, and Peter, well you know all about Peter. Why do you think these things are recorded in My Word? It is because I want you to know that I can use anyone. Yes, I desire your worship and the sacrifice of self-disciple, but be very careful about how you approach it. It can easily become the goal rather than a means to the goal. The goal is to abide in Me. Remembering who I am and meditating on my attributes will best achieve that. Set your mind on things above. Take joy in my great love for you, and you will find the focus and peace you desire. Nothing is too difficult for Me.

In the Waiting Room…

This year in my quiet time, I decided to wait on God. So often we come into His presence with our own agendas, and move through them quickly without ever stopping to listen and “hear” what He would speak to our hearts. For the past month, I decided to write down what I believe He is speaking to me, and the results have been surprising. When we know His word, He brings it to mind and He speaks directly to our daily struggles. This is a compilation of the things He has been speaking to me. I pray it will speak to your heart as well.

I am copying and pasting from another blog that I shut down.

POSTED ON DECEMBER 18, 2013 BY JOY FORREST

Lord, last night I struggled in my dreams, literally, with fistfights and all. People in the dream kept trying to steal what was rightfully mine, and I knew that I needed to fight. I knew it was the right thing to do, or I would be allowing evil to win. However, in my struggles I never landed an effective blow. There was nothing I could do to win the fights. Then I woke up and was reminded of all the obstacles in my life right now. I feel called to and long to be able to move full time into ministry. Yet, circumstances prevent me. Life goes on, and nothing seems to change. I guess I am waiting for this big “break” where I can suddenly be in ministry full-time, but I don’t suppose it will be a sudden thing. I, I, I, Me, Me, Me. Yes, I hear You. It’s not about me. It’s not about the obstacles. It’s about You. Show me how to tap into Your desires for my life. Help me to stop striving and know You more. I know I need to take more time, make more time, for Your Word and quiet time in Your presence. That is where the big “break” will come. It occurred to me yesterday that I should set aside one day a week to spend with You, to write, to study and to seek. Help me make the time to do that, and I pray for Your guidance as I do it. In that dream last night, I was never able to win, but that is because I was doing the fighting rather than You. This is Your battle, and as you told the Israelites it is Your battle. Ex. 14:14 The LORD will fight for you, and you won’t have to do a thing. Help me to stand behind You and watch the salvation of my God displayed. Far too often I have tried to lead You into the battles, and without Your protection it has not gone well. The only way to win is to let You fight. Help me be still. Help me trust. Help me wait patiently before You. You know my heart and my frustrations Lord. I surrender it all to You. Amen

Sweet child. Rest. It will not be long. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened. For everyone who seeks finds, and everyone who knocks will find an open door– when they are seeking my kingdom. Hold on to Me, and watch what I will do. You are right. This is not your battle, but mine. Don’t rush to fight when it’s not even a battle I have chosen. You will have battles to fight, but they must be fought, as you stand clothed in the full armor I provide. Prepare your heart and mind daily for the battles to come, and when the time comes I will lead you into victory. Hold on. Wait. It is coming.

 

HOW GOD SPEAKS IN A BLOG
Many people have asked about the format of my devotional blog. After reading Jesus Calling, I decided to take the time to stop and meditate after writing down my prayers. My mom did this years ago in her journal. Each day, I ask God to show me what He would have to say. Most of the time, Scriptures come into my mind, and much of the recorded response is based on Scripture. Certainly, I am not audibly hearing Him speak, but these messages are impressed on my heart, and if they line up with Scripture, I feel free to put them down. Several times, the responses have surprised me, as they have challenged me and made me think in ways I don’t believe I would have. God fills His children with His Spirit (2 Cor.1:22), and certainly He can speak to their hearts. I pray you will find these messages encouraging, and helpful in your daily walk with Him.

Keys to Victorious Christian Living

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