Right now, give everything over to God. Pay attention to what will happen when you rely on God and exchange your worries for faith in Him.
Your children… give them to God
Your finances… give them to God
Your health… give it to God
Your spouse… give him/her to God
Your career… give it to God
Your aging parents… give them to God
Your addictions/dependencies… give them to God
Your unspoken thoughts… give them to God
Your heartaches… give them to God
Your ministry… give it to God
Your dreams… give them to God
Your desires… give them to God
Your sadness… give it to God
Your thankfulness, give it to God
Your gratitude… give it to God
Your happiness… give it to God
Your love… give it to God
Your heart… give it to God
Your life… give it to God
His Love endures forever. He is Yeshua, and He is GOOD.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 107:1
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5: 6-9
So give yourselves completely to God. Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you.
Come near to God, and God will come near to you. You sinners, clean sin out of your lives. You who are trying to follow God and the world at the same time, make your thinking pure. James 4: 7-8
The past few weeks have been very exciting around our house. Once back from an overseas trip, I noticed there was a bird that had set up shop in a plant on our balcony. I leaned in to get a closer look and noticed that it looked like a Dove, but either we were having a staring contest, or he/she was not alive.
Not thinking much of it, I tossed a few pairs of shoes out on the balcony to dry, scaring the bird out of the staring contest as she flew away, and to my horror, I watched the lone egg she’d been protecting tumble off our balcony to the one below. I was beside myself. I knew this was part of nature, but I felt terribly guilty, that if I hadn’t been so careless, that one egg would have developed into a baby bird.
Fast forward a few days, I had a medical procedure done and was home for about a week and a half to recover. I found myself with lots of time to dig into the Word of God and lots of time watching the dove, who I named Debbie (after Deborah in the Bible), who trusted us enough to set up her nest in our plant a second time. (Make note of that.)
In my studies over that week and a half I kept hearing the words “double portion”. I felt as though God was reminding me that he’d repay what has been lost and stolen in my life, two fold. A few days after my surgery, my husband pointed out that there were now two eggs where Debbie was usually sitting! Double portion!
A few weeks later, the two eggs hatched. One bird was strong and determined, the other smaller and weaker. I so enjoyed peeking outside to watch Debbie feeding and keeping her babies warm. I had regained Debbie’s trust, moving very slowly if I had to go outside.
Earlier today I went outside and set some artwork down gently to dry on the balcony. I hadn’t seen the baby birds in a few days, as I’d been gone or engrossed in work. As I moved carefully, Debbie flew about a foot away, keeping close eye on her nest. I noticed that only one baby bird was there, and saw the general shape of a lifeless baby bird on the balcony below.
That is not what I had in mind for “double portion,” but I know that God is still good and that sometimes nature is violent. God is restoring all of creation along with humanity. I trust that. I trust God. He gave His life so that we can live. I trust that He has and will continue to repay what has been lost, stolen, or broken with His greatest double portion.
Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. Isaiah 61:7
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5, NLT
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17
The Muddy Shoe
I recently found myself in the position where I needed to wear a boot on my right foot. The kind that cushions and protects your foot from further injury? It’s terribly un-fashionable. Yep, that one. As I strapped my right foot into the boot, I wondered what I could wear on my left foot so as to stand with square hips. I felt like I’d need a low high heel on the left foot to even out the difference. Then I remembered a pair of shoes that have about 1.5 inches of support, which would mostly even out the difference between my two different “shoes”.
I picked up the left shoe and noticed mud on the white sole and edges from a recent walk I took. It was late and I wanted to go to bed, so I decided to clean off the outside of the shoe only. After all, that’s the only part that people would see! Only I would know that the inside of the shoe (the curved part which helps you discern the left from right) also had mud on it. In that exact moment, God revealed to me that this is the same as putting on a Band-Aid when one needs surgery; that we cannot only clean up our sin on the outside. We must dig down deep and let God clean out the sin from the inside out. We must rely on God and lean into Him as He cleanses us and forgives us for our sin. What a loving Father we have, one who love us unconditionally, no matter how many times we cover ourselves in mud.
Taking that one step further, is there someone in your life whose shoes you could wash for them? Show them the loving kindness that God our Father shows us. Forgive them of their sins against you, and show them your Christ like heart.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:2
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God. Ezekiel 37:23
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
The man with the cup
I was standing in line for a Customer Service representative at my local supermarket. In front of me, a man who appeared as though he’d seen better days; days with fresh clothing, a shower, a family, and maybe even a career. It also smelled as if he’d perhaps soiled himself. I couldn’t help but notice that he had a cup in his hand, the kind that you get a fast-food joint. I couldn’t figure out what he was waiting in line for (not that it was my business), since his cup appeared empty, and there was no fountain-drink refill in the supermarket.
The customer in front of the man with the cup was taking painfully long and I used the time to think of what this man might need and how I could help him. My thoughts covered everything from “Buy him a grocery gift card,” to “give him one of the homeless packs in your trunk,” but oh! The audacity. How could I simply assume someone was homeless or in need? What if he was perfectly content and already knew Jesus? What about the people in my life who do not appear or smell similar to this man. They’re in need too! With what is he trying to “fill his cup”?
By the time it was his turn, a second Customer Service rep stepped forward to help me, so I moved forward and tried to continue with my business by putting the man in the back of my mind. I won’t tell you what this man was doing or buying, etc., because it’s simply his business, not mine or yours, but what I will tell you is that I did not help him in any way. I put so much thought into what I could/should do, that I didn’t think to simply say, “Hi, how are you? What was the best part of your day? Is there anything that I could do for you today? Isn’t this sunshine beautiful? God is good.”
How often do we ignore the signs around us of those in need? Have you ever over-thought a situation where you later thought of a simple solution to help a brother or sister in need? Have you ever resisted helping someone due to pride, fear, lack of funds, lack of time, or even lack of heart?
Is there someone who has been coming to mind for you, someone who you just know you should send a card to, bring a warm plate of brownies to, or mow the yard? I pray that you care for your brother or sister and bless them, whether you have confirmation or not that they “need” it.
Oh precious Father, I pray that we may have our eyes and minds dialed-in to pay attention to the needs of your children. Let us feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and share your everlasting water with them. In your holy name, amen.
My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action. (1 John 3:18)
And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 2:8
Oh Lord, let my words be pleasing to you.
Imagine if you will, you are a newly hired travel guide in the desert. You position yourself at a fork in the road, where travelers have a clear choice to go in one direction or another. Two choices: to speak life or death (according to Proverbs 18:21). You are happy in your new role as travel guide. You make conversation with the caravans as they pass, greeting them, and telling them to “be blessed” and “be well” and “God bless you.” You tell caravan after caravan to “turn right onto the path of righteousness and truth, life and light.” Turn right. Turn right. Turn right.
After a while of standing in the hot desert sun you become thirsty. The next caravan draws near and you shorten your pleasantries, simply saying “Right,” and point in the direction the travelers should go. You ask them for water as they pass, but they have none to spare.
Time passes. The road is empty of travelers. You grow weary. You’ve not had a drink in far too long. You grow angry. “Why won’t someone bring me water,” you think to yourself. Night falls and morning rises. No travelers.
Time passes. On the horizon, you see a caravan. You are beyond weary. You’ve had no fulfillment of bread or water. You are grumpy, beaten down, confused by the enemy. The caravan grows closer and closer still. You ask if they have water, but they have none to spare. Out of spite, you tell them to “Turn left,” even though you know that path leads to destruction, unhappiness, darkness, and death. You don’t care. It’s not really your problem. They still could have chosen to “Turn to the right.”
Isn’t it easy to get sucked into negative things we can do with our words? Take for instance – in our modern world- gossiping, lying, name-calling, sarcastic “joking,” and disrespect. The Bible tells us “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Proverbs 18:21 That means all of those things we dismiss as “no big deal” are actually a very big deal. If our words do not invite the light of Christ to permeate the atmosphere, then we are not speaking life.
Imagine what our workplace, families, and Bible study groups would be like if we spoke life into people instead of death? What if we complimented instead of judged? What if we encouraged instead of criticized? “The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just.” Psalm 37:30
What if, instead of complaining to God, we praised Him? “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Oh Lord, I pray that our words reflect your light and glory. Let us choose to speak life, and not death. “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord: keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3
Feeding the Hungry
Working in the food industry has surely given me an amplified perspective on people and hunger, as well as the necessity of food and nourishment in life.
It may be a surprise to some that even in 2014, people around the globe go to bed hungry at night. I’m grateful and blessed to work for a company that works ardently to feed people around the world and cut down on the problem of world hunger.
It’s not news that the word of God is considered “food” and that as we read the Bible, go to church, or listen to sermons we are nourished and fed.
So we do those things and check the box and our spiritual bellies are full, but what are we doing to feed others? If those in our circle of influence were to sit at a proverbial banquet table, would they, too, be fed? Or would they be starved?
Let’s invite them to have a seat with us at the banquet table of Christ.
We should be inviting, encouraging, uplifting, loving, and giving to others, feeding them with the everlasting nourishment of Jesus Christ.
“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14 NIV)
“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38 NIV)
“Come near to God and He will come near to you.”
Our Father, the cry of our hearts tonight is that we may draw near to you. Let us be ravished by your love and changed by your mercy. An exhale: How great is your love for us.
God it’s so easy for us to move far away from you when we become distracted by this fallen world. So often we are too busy for you, the One who gave His Son for us; the One who spends every second surrounding every detail of our lives. We separate ourselves from you with our sins, our idols, our pride, even our self-idolatry. Let us be cleansed of this so we may have pure hearts before you. We beg you to shine down upon us and put your laws in our mind, write them on our hearts; be our God and we will be your people. -Hebrews 8:10
We want the glory of your name to erupt in our lives, we want to see your people in a closer relationship with you. We want to see those who don’t know you fall on their knees and profess your name, King Jesus.
Put your laws on our minds. Captivate us. Revive us. When you put your laws on our minds we will be less likely to divert our attention from you, our Sovereign God and great Creator. Draw us near Lord. Whisper the breath of heaven into our ears, telling us how much you miss us when we stray. Send your Holy Spirit to reign down on us, comfort us, and usher us like a flood closer to your throne.
Let us worship you in a new way, Lord. We ask that we may have an encounter with you that will forever change us. Through that encounter, we pray that we will feel forever closer to you, and that your light would spill out of us, over us, under us, through us: all for you.
Compel us to live for you and to lead lives that bring you glory and honor. We come before you now to reconcile our minds with yours, Father. “If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:13,15.
All our love is for you.
“Come near to God, and He will come near to you.” James 4:8
In your Holy name we thank you for drawing us into your heart.
We love you Lord and pray this in the name of your Holy Son, Jesus Christ, amen.