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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!

 

I was just reading a devotional that encouraged me to read John 15 4-11 and wherever it said “you” to put in my name. Here’s what I did, I invite and encourage you to do the same:

“Beverly, Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you Beverly, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. (When) Beverly abides in Me and I in her, Beverly bears much fruit, for apart from Me, Beverly can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. (now understand this is not His throwing us away, but it is the natural cause and effect of a life of striving on our own) If Beverly abides in Me, and My words abide in Beverly, ask whatever ( fruit ) you wish, and it will be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that Beverly bears much fruit and so proves to be My disciple. As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved Beverly (THAT IS THE POINT HERE! ). Abide in My love. (Oh Lord, reveal to me what it means to abide, to dwell, to remain, to live in Your LOVE) 10 If Beverly keeps My commandments, Beverly will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to Beverly, that My joy may be in Beverly, and that her joy may be full.”

My friends, I am praying for you now that you will hear Jesus’ voice calling to you to live in His love, and that your life will bear MUCH fruit, so that the world around you will know who HE is as a result of it.

With much love, Beverly

Un-offendable

Good morning friends, I just read this and it touched a core in me. I hope it will strengthen you. With much love, Beverly

Matt. 24:9-14 “…and you will be hated by all nations because of Me and at that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, many false prophets will appear and deceive many.  Because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of MOST will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come.”

“We stumble over little things not huge boulders…The scriptures tell us, that because lawlessness abounds iniquity increases and the love of MOST will grow cold…Cold love comes from a hardened heart, a heart that thinks it’s waited long enough for the promise.

A hardened heart comes because we’re looking at the problem instead of the promise Giver and disillusionment is allowed in because of disappointed expectations in God or man and its usually both. Little by little discouragement can creep into our soul and discouragement will offend and wound if taken in.  Therefore discouragement causes our love to grow cold because we cast away our confidence in the Lord, and people.

Jesus linked the cause of apostasy not to wrong doctrine, but to wrong reactions.  We get offended in our “expectations” at God or man. Like Joseph, do you realize Father will even allow brokenness to make room for our healing.  Sometimes he shows us our deep pride and has to break that thing open to cleanse us and lead us into the new pathways of humility to make room for our healing!  He still gives grace to the humble!  This is the juncture of “offense or trust” with God.  Is He mean or truly a GOOD God to us?   Our destiny unfolds or dies at this “juncture of offense” and how we handle it is the key to our tomorrow!”

“Lord, grant us a new heart that can walk as you did, through a world of offenses without stumbling.  Help us to interpret offenses as opportunities that lead to genuine transformation (which is what we actually prayed for anyway).   Grant us Lord Jesus, the pulse and beat of your UNOFFENDABLE HEART!”   Amen
Friends,  As I read this and think of you all I am overwhelmed with the reality of how broken many of your hearts have been. People you thought you could have trusted have betrayed you. Situations that you counted on fell through and your dreams were so crushed that you have put dreaming in the grave and lived in the safety of surviving. All of these things can work a slow and unseen hardness to our hearts and love becomes guarded at best. Jesus said that because of lawlessness,( because there would be such a rampant disregard for the laws and ways of God), that something would happen…not only that sin would become apocalyptic, but far worse-love would become cold. Love is His highest priority because it is the fullness of who He is ( 1 John 4:8 ) and it is His sole intention for us. I pray for myself and for you my friends, that in whatever ways we have been wounded or disappointed or offended that we would receive the grace to humble ourselves before the goodness and safety of our God and receive the promise of Ezekiel 36:26.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Believing with you, Beverly

 

The Unlikely Gift

Christmas comes and with it the search for the perfect gift for those I love. What would bless them, what would actually be helpful and not just something to cross off my list? How to choose a gift?

The Word tells us in James 1:17 that: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

And yet a few verses before, in James 1:2-4 he encourages us to: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Could it be that the difficulties we are facing, have faced, and will continue to face, are actually gifts to us?

Could it be that the brokenness of others and our own weaknesses might actually somehow, Romans 8:28, work together for “great good” in our lives?

Could it be true that these daily struggles we face while living on this planet are actually purposeful, as Paul strengthens us with his example: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

As I read this devotional today “Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldredge, I am again convinced of my Father’s hand in my life for very, very great good.

“The story of my life and the struggles I have lived with—make that “live with”—have helped to shape me into the woman I am today and the woman I am becoming. My scars, my struggles, my failures, my joys, my private lonely agonies have been forging my soul into something beautiful. Eternal. Good. Yours have, too. Now, we can fight that process—or we can yield to it. My dear mother had her rough edges; you have yours; I have mine. We can choose to let suffering soften us or harden us. We can choose whether we will allow it to make us more compassionate or let our hearts become jealous of others. We can choose whether we will love Jesus in it or resent him for it. Only one set of choices will make us more beautiful. The pain we experience, the sorrow and the agony, serve a purpose. God is working all things together for our good. He is etching a masterpiece of stunning design. The beauty being forged in us through the transforming work of suffering is one that will leave us breathless, stunned, and forever thankful. And the crowning glory will be that because of the pain we have endured, we have come to know Jesus in a way that causes us to treasure the trial as one of God’s greatest gifts to us. Amazing.”

Father, help us to believe in something greater than what we can see and to set out hope on more that what we think would please and bless us. Help us turn to You, so that we may sing as David did: ”You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand”. Psalm 16:11

By His grace may we all be open to the gift of truly finding our joy in His presence. There is nothing higher.

Merry Christmas