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 a details that have to be handled, and there’s nothing spiritual about them. Work has to be done, but I can do “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 to. 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. No what happens, you 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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