Move My Heart

When my heart is moved, I am motivated.

Ready to go.

Willing to go.

God tells us in the beginning of Ezra that he ‘moved the heart of Cyrus, King of Persia.’

I love this because Cyrus was not a believer.  He was a pagan king.  But he moved when God moved his heart.

Cyrus released the Israelites to go back to Jerusalem.  He was moved to release them so they could rebuild the temple of God.

The king was also moved to give back 5400 articles of gold and silver that had been taken from the temple of God before it was destroyed.

God moved his heart so a pagan king orchestrated and sponsored the rebuilding of God’s temple.

I have to smile.

That’s my God.

He uses everyone and everything to accomplish his will.  Even those who don’t believe in him are under his authority and direction.

His will be done.

And I want to make sure I’m right in the middle of that – don’t you?

Please move our hearts, Abba Father.

I Ask

I make requests.

I intercede.

I come to God with my concerns.

I have the privilege of talking with the Creator of the Universe – not because I am good.

But because God is good.

This picture is the wall of my garage – the first thing I see every time I get back to my house and open up the garage door.  It’s a great reminder – something I need to remember every day no matter what my circumstances.

Daniel says in his prayer, “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.”

I can’t earn God’s love.

I can’t work and save myself.

I can never be ‘good enough’ on my own.

I can’t look in the mirror to see what I’m worth – I have to look to the cross.  Jesus died so that I don’t have to be eternally separated from God because of my rebellion and sin.

This kind of mercy deserves a faithful heart.

This kind of grace deserves a heart that is submitted to His will.

This kind of love deserves a life lived in gratitude.  My life.

Amen, let it be so, dear Jesus.

Am I Good Enough?

Being ‘good enough’ is not our goal.

Getting our act together is not our goal.

Checking all the boxes – keeping busy with ‘God’ stuff – is not our goal.

The historical account of Jesus’ baptism tells us what pleases God.

We do.

When we trust in and are redeemed by Jesus through his sacrifice on the cross, we are adopted by God and become his precious children.

‘Joint heirs with Jesus’ – as an old hymn describes it.

As I read about Jesus’ baptism, I realize that he hadn’t started his ministry yet.  He hadn’t DONE anything for God except be his son.  But God was ‘well pleased’

Let’s take a moment to let that soak in, my brothers and sisters.

Jesus was God’s son and God was pleased with him – before his ministry began.  Before he did any miracles.  Before he did any teaching.

You and I are God’s children – and he is pleased with us.i-am-pleased

Feel his smile shining down on you.

Feel his unconditional love.

Feel his forgiveness for any guilt that is weighing heavy on your shoulders.

Feel his peace flow over you in a supernatural way.

Feel his strength flow through you as he walks right beside you each day.

Let his joy fill your heart today.

Don’t DO anything.  Just feel the pleasure he has as he looks at you.  He sees himself in you.  We are all created in his image, yet each one of us reflects different aspects of him – making us all uniquely his.

You are very important to him.  He has made you special.

And he is pleased.

Thank you, Abba Father.

How Do I Know?

What choice should I make?

What direction should I go?sign_roadsign_world_270309_l

What am I supposed to be doing?

We have lots of questions for God.

And there won’t be any answers unless we’re listening.  Unless we’re watching.

If I’m listening and watching – believing that God will direct my life – then I will get answers to my questions.

I don’t believe in coincidences.  When conversations/things I read/things I hear line up with each other, I call that a God-incidence.

God is speaking.

He is answering.

He is guiding.

road-closedI can choose to pay attention and relate his answer to my situation and know which way he is pointing.

Or I can just call it a coincidence and go on with my own plans, still wondering how other people hear God speaking to them so clearly.

As I read about the Wise Men going to visit Jesus, I realize they were pagan kings but they showed their wisdom when they correctly interpreted the dream they had and did not go back to Herod to tell him where Jesus was.  The Wise Men went home by a different route.  They were watching.  That’s how they saw the star that led them to Jesus in the first place.  And they were aware that a supernatural event was going on so they realized the dream also had significance.

It wasn’t a coincidence.

How about us?

Do we realize that there is a supernatural thing going on?  When we are redeemed, God’s Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us.  He resides in our mind, in our heart and in our soul.

And he guides us – supernaturally.  If we watch.  If we listen.

And the closer our relationship with God becomes, the easier it is to hear him….

because we know his voice.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

 

Can You Feel It?

It feels like the darkness around us is growing….

Or do we just hear more about it through social media?

Or is it because the overall media has become just like the tabloids?  If the news isn’t ‘viral’ enough, they sensationalize it so it gets more attention and higher ratings.

Whatever it is, it feels like the darkness in our culture is looming large and getting more perverse everyday.

The media is feeding it and, if we’re not very careful, they are filling our minds with it day after day after day.

It feels like the darkness is closer….and more oppressive.

please-shineThe Good News is that God sent his Son from heaven ‘to shine on those living in the darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into a path of peace.” Luke 1:79.

Dear Jesus, Thank you for coming to earth so we can know your forgiveness and grace.  Please shine your light of truth on our country.  Shine your light of justice into the darkest shadows of our culture.  Shine your light of love on all of the people who are living in darkness today.  And please guide us onto the path of peace – the supernatural peace that only comes from you.

Where you lead, we will follow.  Thank you, Jesus.

 

Celebration = Loud

When the wall around their city was finally finished, the people of Jerusalem rejoiced because ‘God had given them great joy.” Nehemiah 12:43.oct-13-2016-celebration-loud

Everyone celebrated!  All the men, all the women and all of the children.

And we read in the Bible that the sound of Jerusalem’s celebration could be heard far away.

That’s really loud!!

They were so filled with joy that they couldn’t keep quiet.

And this is not unusual in the Bible – God’s people celebrated a lot!  They had joy!  They worshipped God!  They were loud!

Can you even imagine how loud it was then the heaven’s were filled with thousands of angels singing for joy and praising God?

So where do we sometimes get the idea that our weekly church family celebrations and worship should be quiet?

There is certainly a time and place for reverence and meditation when we get together.

But there are also many reasons for joy and excitement and celebration as we worship together and are blessed.  Our traditions should enhance our worship, not restrain it.

Thousands of years ago, God’s people showed us how to express our joy, celebrate and worship God.

And it was loud 🙂

Please give us joy, Abba Father!

It’s Impossible!

When  the path right in front of us looks like its straight up hill.

When the issues confronting us are big

and confusing

and heart-breaking.

When we are threatened on all sides by more problems, more sadness, more darkness.

please-strengthen-my-handsThe answer is to turn to God and pray Nehemiah’s prayer, “Now strengthen my hands.”(6:9)

Nehemiah had groups of powerful people plotting against him as he led the Jews in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.  His enemies were trying to frighten the Jews so their hands would become too weak to continue to work on the wall.  But God answered Nehemiah’s prayers and the wall was eventually finished.

Is there something in your life that looks like its impossible to accomplish?  Impossible to fix?

Give it to God.  Ask him to strengthen your hands and then trust that he is answering.  He may use you like he did Nehemiah to actually orchestrate the answer.  Or  he may have a very different plan which he has already put into place where your role is to pray and wait and trust.

Either way,  God’s got this.

Please strengthen my hands, Abba Father.

 

I’ve Got Your Back!

When we want to accomplish something big, it takes a team.

One person can only do what one person can get done.

But when a group of people join energy and brainpower to tackle a goal together, unexplainable synergy happens and their efforts are multiplied.

Success rolls in when a team of people are engaged, committed to working together and helping each other achieve a goal.

And when God’s involved – there is a supernatural factor that is truly astounding to witness.  Projects turn out much better than planned.  Blessings pile up.  We see our faith growing as, together, we experience the power of God in our lives.

Has this happened to you?

I’ve experienced this many times and its exciting every time it happens.

As a result, I love reading the historical account of Nehemiah leading the Israelites in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.  The Jews were being attacked regularly by their enemies who didn’t want them to complete the wall.  They were very discouraged.

Nehemiah refused to stop building.  He knew that he had been sent back to Jerusalem to lead this project so he couldn’t stop.  He organized the men into teams – half of them did the work while the other half watched the worker’s backs with spears, shields, bows and armor.  They protected their brothers with everything they had.

Working together,

protecting each other,

they accomplished the goal together.

They could not have done it without each other.

Our Spiritual family is like this.  We need each other.  Each one of us needs to use our spiritual gifts in order to build each other up and fulfill our purpose of reaching others for Christ.

We watch each other’s backs – loving and forgiving each other in supernatural ways.

And we love those who don’t know Jesus yetblue-blob-ive-got-your-back

while our Spiritual family supports us and cheers us on.

We can do this, because He first loved us…

and He has our backs.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Test Me

“Test me in this.” God says to us in Malachi 3.test-me-in-this

It’s the only place in the Bible where God challenges us to test him.

He wants us to check him out.

Because we will find that he is faithful.

He promises that – when we bring our whole tithe to him – he will ‘throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it” (3:12)

This is not about money.

The real question is – who is God of my life?

If possessions are my god, I will not have enough money to tithe.  If ‘stuff’ is too important to me, I will never have enough money to tithe.

But- if the One True God is the God of my life, I will have enough.  I will have more than enough.

Just ask anyone who has put God in the center of their finances and has made a habit of giving a tithe back to God from their first and their best.

They can tell you story after story about God’s faithfulness in return for their faithfulness.

Checks come in the mail from places where we weren’t expecting any checks.  Do you want to see strange ‘rebates’ and ‘overpayments’ coming to you in the mail?  Become faithful with your tithing and you’ll start seeing them.

Repairs on our houses or cars that should have been very expensive suddenly cost two digits.  Don’t ask me how.  God just makes it happen.

Other generous people who are following God’s leading will give us cars and money and possessions just when we need them.

When we are faithful in giving to him, God opens the floodgates.  And many of the blessings he gives us are things that no amount of money can buy – like peace and joy and purpose.

If you haven’t tried it,  go ahead! Test God!

Thank you for your many blessings, Abba Father.

 

Now Is The Time

Not ‘later’.

Not ‘when I get around to it”.

Now.

God often brings opportunities into our lives at just the right time for us to act.  He orchestrates situations and opens our eyes to the part he is asking us to play in his plan.  And he wants us to do this now.

It’s like he is standing in front of us, holding out his hand, asking us to take a part in what he already is doing.oct-3-2016-now-is-the-time

“For such a time as this.” Mordecai told Esther thousands of years ago.  She had an opportunity to put her life on the line in order to save her people, the Jews.  Mordecai told her he believed God would deliver the Jews with or without her but this was going to be her only chance to be a part of it.  This is the reason God made her queen.

The same thing happens to us today.

God holds out his hand to me and to you – giving us an opportunity to be a part of what he wants to accomplish here on earth.

We just need to take his hand and let him lead us through it.

Queen Esther had time to pray extensively about her opportunity and get her ‘prayer team’ on it.

Sometimes we get a chance to pray about it but other times we just need to say a quick prayer of obedience before we step up and act.

God is at work all around us.

What opportunity has God opened your eyes to lately?

He has handed me a big  ‘For Such a Time as This’ assignment.  Its new.  It’s challenging.  He has put all the pieces together and now I am moving forward in faith.

You’ll be reading more about that very soon :).

Thank you, Abba Father.