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Archive for the ‘It’s All About Jesus’ Category

I listen to a Daily Devotional, “Solid Joy”, by John Piper. I had to share this one with you my friends. You see, I believe the Word is given to us not to “show us how to live our lives”, or to give us the rules to be a “good Christian”, oh no, but rather for the one marvelous purpose of revealing God…revealing who He is and what His heart is for us. This morning it was His pleasure to open my eyes again to who He is. Oh, I love Him.

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

The reason God wants us not to be afraid concerning money or other things of the world is because that fearlessness — that freedom from anxiety — will magnify five great things about him.

First, not being afraid shows that we treasure God as our Shepherd. “Fear not, little flock.” We are his flock and he is our Shepherd. And if he is our Shepherd, then Psalm 23:1 applies: “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want” — that is, I shall not lack anything I truly need.

Second, not being afraid shows that we treasure God as our Father. “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” We are not only his little flock; we are also his children, and he is our Father. He really cares and really knows what you need and will work for you to be sure that you have what you need.

Third, not being anxious shows that we treasure God as King. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” He can give us the “kingdom” because he is the King. This adds a tremendous element of power to the one who provides for us. “Shepherd” connotes protection and provision. “Father” connotes love and tenderness and authority and provision and guidance. “King” connotes power and sovereignty and wealth.

Fourth, not being afraid shows how free and generous God is. Notice, he gives the kingdom. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” He doesn’t sell the kingdom or rent the kingdom or lease the kingdom. He is infinitely wealthy and does not need our payments. So, God is generous and free with his bounty. And this is what we magnify about him when we are not afraid, but trust him with our needs.

Finally, not being afraid — not being anxious — shows that we trust that God really wants to do this. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” It delights him. He is not begrudging. It makes him glad to give us the kingdom. Not all of us had fathers like this, who were made happy by giving instead of getting. But that sorrow is not the main thing any more, because now you can have such a Father, and Shepherd, and King.

So, the point of this verse is that we should treasure God as our Shepherd and Father and King who is generous and happy to give us the kingdom of God — to give us heaven, to give us eternal life and joy, and everything we need to get there.

If we treasure God in this way, we will be fearless and God will be worshiped.

John Piper April 22, 2018

(You can subscribe and listen to a reading aloud ever morning…I will be joining you)

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A friend recently told me about a book: “Take Hold of the Faith You Long For”, by Sharon Jaynes. In it there is a picture of the Israelites marching around the city of Jericho. Day One, Day Two, Day Three, no seeming difference. Day Four, Day Five, who knows the mocking they endured? Day Six, what discouragement might have crept like a fog into their hearts? But they kept going. And then Day Seven dawned and  the stronghold was broken; the walls came crashing down; they saw the power of the God they had been proclaiming.

My friend encouraged me about the marching I have been doing. I have prayed over a loved one for years, proclaiming God’s goodness and power and purposes over her life. But the fog had rolled in these last few months, shadowing her life in a deep darkness and shadowing my vision of it ever being any different.

Our brother Paul encourages us in Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

“Do not grow weary”….This could be day seven.

The friends of Jesus had watched their Beloved tortured and crucified and then resurrected. But they had not heard from Him in a while. Were they discouraged? In John 21:6 we see that they went back to what they knew, what was familiar. They went fishing.  As they had done for years, they threw out their nets: once, twice, three times… all night the arduous labor of throwing these heavy, water soaked nets into the sea and dragging up emptiness. Then a strong voice from the shore called out to throw their nets out once again. Weary and discouraged from a night of labor; confident in their experience that casting a net in daylight would be of no use, they none-the-less threw their nets out one more time.

Could it have been the 7th time?

You know the rest of the story.

Friends, I am praying over your hearts right now. And I thank you for praying over mine. Let us not grow weary, but keep listening to our beloved and trustworthy Shepherd. Let us keep marching around the seemingly impenetrable situation, keep casting out our nets, keep forgiving, praying. loving… For who knows?

This could be Day Seven.

 

 

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Jesus was angry, clearing out the temple, knocking over what had been “set up”.
I just love what He has shown me of His heart in this.

He said to them: It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer.”
”My house”, the place where God dwells.
This is a picture of our hearts.

Our hearts were created to be a place of prayer, a place of communion, of relationship.
Our Father wants us to pour out our hearts to Him and listen to His.
Oh friends, what have we “set up” there instead?

Too often our hearts have become a place of busyness, of bartering, and spending of the coins of our life in the exhausting desperate hope that we might have something to offer.

He does not want these offerings; our busyness breaks His heart and misses the created point of ours. His house, our hearts were intended to be a place of relationship.

Oh Spirit of Jesus, in your mercy, come and cleanse our hearts. Be relentless.

Psalm 139:23,24 “Search me, oh God, and know my heart;…see if there be any grievous way in me, (may we truly see that our busyness grieves His heart) and lead me in the everlasting way.”

Oh Jesus, lead us like the Shepherd You are. We have an enemy who deceives us and we have believed his lie. On own we cannot find the “everlasting way”, the way of relationship with You, the way our hearts were created to live. The way of Love,

We still our hearts and ask for these things in Your name.  Amen

My friends, I have been so strengthened in my “journey of the heart” in the book by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge: “The Sacred Romance”. I cannot encourage you enough to get this book and read it slowly, allowing your heart to believe it could be true for you.

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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

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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”.

 

 

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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

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