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My friends, I am praying for someone right now that I love dearly. I have been praying for her for years but especially during these last few months. Others have sensed  the urgency to pray for her as well and have joined forces with me. As we began, the Lord gave me this scripture: 1 Samuel. 16:7
” The Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Jesus spoke to my heart as we began this prayer assault on the enemy’s stronghold of this dear woman’s life, that I was not to look at what I would see; that things would appear disastrous and  that I would be tempted to despair. He assured me that He would be working to capture and heal her heart. I was not to be distracted by what I saw, but to keep praying, not in “my own understanding”, but to search the scriptures for His leading as to how to pray.

 I wonder if you too are praying for someone and it appears that your prayers are not  being answered and the situation is getting worse. That is how it is looking to me today. But I will be encouraged,  and I want to encourage you as well. For often, perhaps most often, God is working at a heart level, and what we can see does not represent His hearing us nor does it represent His responding to our prayers. He hears and He is moving. 

“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Gal. 6:9

Father, comfort and steady my heart; comfort and steady the hearts of my friends, and by Your Spirit remind us of Your faithfulness, power and love in these situations that we are bringing to Your  hands today. In Jesus name and with confidence I pray, Amen. 

 

 

 

Galatians 6:9

 

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Good morning friends,

I often find myself waking in the morning with self-assessment.

How did I do yesterday? Did I live the day in a way that really reflected my values? Did I truly love well, or did I just busy myself to fill the day with doing things that would cause others see me as loving and therefore think well of me?

Was I disciplined in my reading time, eating well, drinking water, exercising, household chores, checking my planner…or did I live the day doing what was easiest or what came up at the moment? How did I do? How will I do with this day?

Here it is again, daily self-assessment for the sake of a sense of well being.

Then the thought came to me, “Well, at least I ….”

“At least I read the Word and journaled.”

“At least I got my walk in and drank two liters of water.”

“At least I wrote the letter to the children I sponsor.”

“At least I cleaned my kitchen.”

“At least I spent time with my children.”

“At least I got the bills organized and paid.”

Self-assessment for the sake of a sense of well being.

What is the “At least…” that I can do today so I will feel alright with myself?

Then the Lord spoke to my heart…”Nothing, nothing is what you can do today so you will feel at peace. I love you , I gave myself for you to cover all your efforts that would never be enough to give you peace.”

I saw the two-fold danger of this “At least” living.

The constant striving to do “at least” something so I would feel less disappointed with myself  would keep me from living in the only sense of peace for which I was created…I am loved, so very loved by my kind and generous God.

And secondly, whatever “at least“ I was able to accomplish would be the measure that I would hold up in judgement against others,

“At least they should be…”.

Oh Father, free us from the quick-sand of “At least”. Cause us to be amazed at Your grace and affection towards us. Help us to stand and rejoice and live each day at peace in the overwhelming reality of Your love. Help us to live in kindness and mercy towards others.

Believing this is Your will, I pray in the hope and authority of Jesus.

Amen

 

 

I often find myself waking in the morning with self-assesment.

How did I do yesterday?

Did I live the day in a way that really reflected my values?

 

Did I truly love well, or did I just busy myself to fill the day with doing things that would cause others see me as loving and therefore think well of me?

 

Was I disciplined in my reading time,eating well, drinking water, exercising, household chores, checking my planner…or did I live the day doing what was easiest or what came up at the moment?

 

How did I do?

How will I do with this day?

Here it is again, daily self-assesment for the sake of a sense of well being.

 

Then the thought comes to me, “Well, at least I ….”.

“At least I read the Word and journaled.”

“At least I got my walk in and drank two liters of water.”

“At least I wrote the letter to the children I sponser.”

“At least I cleaned my kitchen.”

“At least I spent time with my children.”

“At least I got the bills organized and paid.”

 

Self-assesment for the sake of a sense of well being.

What is the “At least…” that I can do today so I will feel alright with myself?

 

Then the Lord spoke to my heart…

”Nothing, nothing is what you can do today so you will feel at peace.

I love you , I gave myself for you to cover all the efforts that would never be enough to give you peace.”

 

I saw the two-fold danger.

The constant striving to do enough so I would feel less disappointed with myself would keep me from living in the only sense of peace for which I was created…I am loved, so very loved by my kind and generous God.

And secondly, whatever “At least“ I was able to accomplish would be the measure that I would hold up in judgement against others,

“At least they should be…”.

 

Oh Father, cause us to be amazed at Your grace and affection towards us. Free us from the quick-sand of “At least”. Help us to stand and rejoice and live each day at peace in the overwhelming reality of Your love. Help us to live in kindness and mercy towards others.

Believing this is Your will, I pray in the hope and authority of Jesus.

Amen

Good morning friends, Today I risk the simplicity of sharing this message. I do know what it is like to walk with a broken heart, and would never want to be insensitive to the pain of others. But it is my hope that you will be lifted as I was today when a friend reminded me of the nearness and the power of Jesus. 

 In the familiar story of the paralyzed man lying by the pool of Bethesda, Jesus asks the profound question:

“Do you want to be made well?”

Thirty eight years this man had been suffering, waiting for help, watching others thoughtlessly pushby him, ignoring his pain and need. 

His response: “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

Oh friends, how often we look to others to help us, convincing ourselves that our wholeness is dependent upon their words, their actions and relationship with us. How we have believed our continued brokenness is the result of the thoughtlessness of others .

Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”  And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.

Lord Jesus, help us see today where our hope is directed, show us if we looking for help from another to finally ease the brokenness in our lives. Reveal to us, in Your kindness that You are standing here before us, You have proclaimed that You are very near to the brokenhearted and that in You presence we can truly “rise up and walk”.

 

 

Isaiah 29:13 “…their hearts were far from Me”

Luke 13:34   “…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing”.

Oh my friends, if we could only come to believe that we, (and those we loved), were not created to just be good husbands or wives, good fathers or mothers, good sons or daughters…good anything…but that we were in fact, created for Love.

Ah, to live as though we knew that our destiny was to be loved by Perfect Love, and then that we would live out our live’s destiny by loving Him and all those around us.

This is the heart of “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done…”

This is the reason that “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it…”.

This is the Battle that we were born into on this planet, (the enemy has been on a mission to deceive us about Him from the beginning in the Garden).

And that Battle is: To know and make known the truth of who God is. The truth that He is in fact Love.       1 John 4:8

I recently shared at a Women’s Retreat, a message  that I have become convinced is the heart of the Lord for us.

“What If I Really Believed I Was Loved By God?” (available in CDs at familyministries.com)

We spent 3 days together looking into the Word and praying that the truth of God’s Love would heal, delight, change and empower us to live the lives for which we were created.

The following devotion from Ransomed Heart Ministries echoes that same heart cry.

What does God want from us?

“The gospel says that we, who are God’s beloved, created a cosmic crisis. It says we were stolen from our True Love and that He launched the greatest campaign in the history of the world to get us back. God created us for intimacy with Him. When we turned our back on Him He promised to come for us. He sent personal messengers; He used beauty and affliction to recapture our hearts. After all else failed, He conceived the most daring of plans. Under the cover of night He stole into the enemy’s camp incognito, the Ancient of Days disguised as a newborn. The Incarnation, as Philip Yancey reminds us, was a daring raid into enemy territory. The whole world lay under the power of the evil one and we were held in the dungeons of darkness. God risked it all to rescue us. Why? What is it that He sees in us that causes Him to act the jealous lover, to lay siege both on the kingdom of darkness and on our own idolatries—not to annihilate, but to win us once again for Himself? This fierce intention, this reckless ambition that shoves all conventions aside, willing literally to move heaven and earth.  

We’ve been offered many explanations. From one religious camp we’re told that what God wants is obedience, or sacrifice, or adherence to the right doctrines, or morality. Those are the answers offered by conservative churches. The more therapeutic churches suggest that no, God is after our contentment, or happiness, or self-actualization, or something else along those lines. He is concerned about all these things, of course, but they are not His primary concern. What He is after is us—our laughter, our tears, our dreams, our fears, our heart of hearts.

Remember his lament in Isaiah, that though his people were performing all their duties, “their hearts are far from me”.

How few of us truly believe this. We’ve never been wanted for our heart, our truest self, not really, not for long. The thought that God wants our heart seems too good to be true.”

Father, I pray that Your Spirit would war over us to convince us of Your Love. I pray that the miracle of believing Your Love would create new brain pathways in us and cause us to become powerful in the battles we face. I pray, believing it is Your delight and intention to do this, in Jesus’ Name and  authority,   Amen

Good morning friends, I don’t know about you, but I was raised in a denominational church in which Lent was offered as a lovely spiritual practice. I don’t remember understanding anything about it really (except I was supposed to give up sugar or TV or something like that); my parents weren’t believers, but my sweet mama took the three of us girls to church because I’m sure she thought it the right thing to do. That actually defines a lot of my life now that I come to think of it…” I’m not sure why I am doing this, or not doing that, it just seemed the right thing to do”.  As I read this devotion today by David Timms, it made be hunger (no pun intended) to understand this invitation to intentionally setting apart a season to make room to hear from the Lord by saying “no” to something and “yes” to Him. Will it be saying “no” to something I eat or something I do or a way I think…(this may be anxiety or fear or an orientation to protect and provide for myself). I am asking Jesus about that right now. I just know I want to see Him more.

I hope this encourages you as it did me.

“Can you see anything now?” (Mark 8:23)

In one of the more unusual miracles in His ministry, Jesus takes a blind man by the hand, spits on his eyes…lays His hands on the man, and asks this simple question: “Can you see anything now?”

It strikes us as unusual because the man does not experience immediate and full healing. He sees better, but everything is still rather fuzzy. So Jesus lays His hands on the man’s eyes a second time to fully restore his sight. We have a rare instance of a two-part miracle.

Today is…the first day of Lent. Many of us may start this season of fasting with less than 20/20 spiritual sight. We face challenges. We carry concerns. We lack clarity. We have questions.

If only we could see better.

Perhaps you have decided to observe Lent this year because something significant looms before you. Or perhaps you’ve been stuck in spiritual apathy. That happens to us all from time to time. A cloud descends upon us like the fog that rolls in overnight. We didn’t see it coming, but when we head out the door in the morning we feel rather engulfed by a certain gloominess; disconnected from the brilliant sunshine that we’ve experienced at other times.

If only we could see better.

In so many ways, the unnamed man in the Gospel story serves as a metaphor for us all. The blind man knew of Jesus, but couldn’t see Him. Don’t we have similar days?

If we started Lent today with the assumption that we should have all of our spiritual ducks in a row, this simple short story comes with great encouragement. While we may struggle to see Christ, He is nonetheless with us. And while we may feel the burden of suffering, He comes to us with compassion and healing. It may not happen overnight, but we will see.

On this Ash Wednesday — a day of penitence — perhaps it’s our sin that has kept us from seeing Jesus. Take a moment, confess your sin, repent of your sin, and turn afresh to Him with a soul ready to receive grace and a heart eager once more for His Presence.

We will see better.”

It is His heart to reveal Himself to us. With much affection, Beverly

 

 

 

Good morning my friends. Last night as I was preparing a devotion that I would be presenting to a group of Home School moms, I was challenged with the topic I was given:

To put into 10 minutes the priority of Self-Care.

You know, in the event of an emergency while in an airplane the importance of putting on your air mask first.

In the exhausting attempt to take care of so many needs around us, we might fall into the trap laid for us: to neglect taking care of ourselves by “missing the most important thing”.

In 2 Corinthians 2:11 we are warned to aware of Satan’s schemes.

I remember when our family went to Hawaii, our host told us to be sure to use sunscreen, because the environment, even though we couldn’t see it, was dangerous. We couldn’t just get up and start running around with our family just because we were excited and there was a lot we wanted to see and do. We HAD to prepare ourselves for the environment, the hidden “battle”, that would harm us and inevitably ruin our time there.

The hidden battle that is laid for us, as it was laid for Eve in the garden, is: To give us a distorted understanding of the Father’s love and His purposes for us, and to convince us that we must determine our highest purposes and accomplish them our on our own.

I have become convinced that the highest and most necessary part of “Self Care” is to daily, or hourly if needed, go to our Father and ask Him by His Holy Spirit to reveal His great affection for us.

My life has been altered as a result of something our pastor said to us a couple of years ago. He encouraged everyone to enter into that week of 24/7 prayer with this simple direction: “Ask the Father to reveal His great love and affection for you.”. Honestly it seemed odd at first, self-serving really, and opposite to the prayers we had always thought were essential and foundational. Shouldn’t we be praying for others, praying for a breakthrough in our homes and cities, our country and the world?

Well, yes of course.

But, if in fact it is the Father’s heart to show us His love; if in fact He created us and our children for the purpose of knowing Him, really knowing Him; if in fact God actually LOVED the world so much that He sent His Son…”, then knowing His love, REALLY knowing His love for us would change everything. It would affect every need, every relationship, every motive and every attempt to find the real meaning and identity in our lives.

In Ephesians 3:19, Paul asks God for this miracle: that those he loved so dearly would KNOW the overwhelming love of Christ.

It is now what we ask everyday over our lives, over our family and today over you.

We thought we knew this already, “Oh yes, the Lord loves us”. But as we have come to believe His affection and devotion to us, we have seen our relationships with Him and with our family and with those who He brings into our lives, be radically affected. I am persuaded that He has so much more for us.

Friends, I encourage you, ask Him everyday, ask Him all day long, to reveal His love for you. His love changes everything. It is my prayer for you, and I believe it is His great delight to do so.

Yes, for “Self Care” we need to: eat well, drink more water, go to bed earlier, rise earlier, spend time with friends who bring life to us, less social media and more time in the Word. But we must make each of these choices as a response to daily (or hourly if needed ) having gone to our Father and asked Him, by His Holy Spirit, to reveal to us and convince us of His affection for us.

Look at this devotion from Ransomed Heart from today by John Eldredge:

We take folks through a discipleship program whereby they master any number of Christian precepts and miss the most important thing of all, the very thing for which we were created: intimacy with God. There are, after all, those troubling words Jesus spoke to those who were doing all the “right” things: “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you'” (Matt. 7:23). Knowing God. That’s the point. You might recall the old proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The same holds true here. Teach a man a rule and you help him solve a problem; teach a man to walk with God and you help him solve the rest of his life. Truth be told, you couldn’t master enough principles to see yourself safely through this Story. There are too many surprises, ambiguities, exceptions to the rule. Things are hard at work—is it time to make a move? What has God called you to do with your life? Things are hard at home—is this just a phase your son is going through, or should you be more concerned? You can’t seem to shake this depression—is it medical or something darker? What does the future hold for you—and how should you respond? Only by walking with God can we hope to find the path that leads to life. That is what it means to be a disciple. After all—aren’t we “followers of Christ”? Then by all means, let’s actually follow him. Not ideas about him. Not just his principles. Him

Out Of Egypt

Good morning friends, I read this devotion today and began to pray over myself and now over you: Oh Father, in Your kindness and mercy, show us where  Egypt is hiding in our thoughts and lives. Show us the delight and freedom we were meant to live in. I pray expecting and hopeful, in Jesus Name

Some time ago, I heard Christine Caine  describe how the Israelites, when they left their slavery in Egypt and headed for the Promised Land, managed to turn an 11-day hike into a 40-year odyssey!

Her one-liner that struck me most deeply was simply this: “It took a few days for the Israelites to get out of Egypt but 40 years for God to get Egypt out of the Israelites.

exodus

What a powerful and painful metaphor that is. We say “Yes” to Jesus, and are immediately delivered. But sometimes it takes years for us to experience the full freedom which He intends for our lives (Galatians 5:1).

“Delivered but not fully free” might be the uncomfortable admission for many Christ-followers. They’ve gotten out of Egypt, but Egypt has not yet gotten out of them.

Egypt, in the Bible, stands for anything that would enslave us; everything that would destroy our identity as the people of God; whatever would reduce us to nothing more than “bricklayers with mud and straw.” Each of us know the persistent taskmasters in our lives, but Christ intends so much more for us.

How often do we say “Yes” to Christ and follow Him through the Sea (1 Corinthians 10:2), but quickly realize that this deliverance means the end of the “leeks, onions, and garlic” that tasted so good in slavery (Numbers 11:5)? So we complain or we look back wistfully. Some of us may even sneak back to those old places. We’re delivered but not truly free.

If you’ve been in the spiritual wilderness a while, perhaps it’s because you left Egypt but Egypt hasn’t left you. If this be so, here are some simple (biblical) steps to consider.

One, walk away from the ways of the Egyptians; hard as that may seem.

Two, look instead to the promises of God; uncertain though they may feel at times.

Three, trust Him. Every day, trust Him. Profoundly simple; unquestionably challenging. 

It’s the difference between 11 days and 40 years; between simple deliverance and full freedom. May we have grace for the Journey!