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 a 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. Do 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 has come to the point for 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.

Keys to Victorious Christian Living

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