Lord, do I really trust you? Have I truly surrendered my life to you? Am I just giving "faith" lip service? If I really do trust, believe, and obey you, do my actions reveal it? Am I truly laying down my life on the alter, or crawling away? Am I a living sacrifice?
God, you know my heart. Lord, you know my desires. you have placed those desires there! But, have I surrendered them to you?
Lord, I say I have surrendered my speaking ministry to you, but have I? I confess I am fearful. What if you don't bring another speaking engagement to me? What if I don't speak for the rest of this year? Am I truly resting in your will? Am I at peace about it? NO! If I truly were "trusting in the Lord with all my heart, not leaning upon my own understanding..." then I would be at peace with what you have planned. I could live my life, resting in your perfect plan for my life.
Am I looking for validation from anyone other than you, Lord? Haven't you told me (more than once!) that you have called me out to speak your Truth? If I know in my heart that speaking is a call from you, why can't trust you with the when and how? "Wait patiently for the Lord....Be still and know that I am God." These verses I know, I teach, I claim, but can I LIVE them??????
Lord, I purpose to lay it down. I choose to surrender. Help me, Lord. I can't do it in my strength. I can't put the peace in my heart. The peace comes with truly surrendering. Help me, Lord. help me to trust you. Help me to obey you. Help me to make you LORD of my life.
I love you, Lord.
Lord, do I really trust you? Have I truly surrendered my life to you? Am I just giving "faith" lip service? If I really do trust, believe, and obey you, do my actions reveal it? Am I truly laying down my life on the alter, or crawling away? Am I a living sacrifice?
Dear Lord, I am so thankful today for your grace! Thank you, Lord, that you have done all the work necessary for me to walk in liberty, joy, and peace! Thank you Lord that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in me! Thank you Lord that by your grace, by the blood shed at Calvary, I can walk in victory! Lord, you have given me everything I need and have accomplished every work needed. Jesus said, "It is finished." Jesus, you have done it all already! I am a new a creation! I am victorious! I am an over comer- more than a conqueror! Thank you, Father, for sending Jesus. Thank you, Jesus for "the joy set before you, you endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Thank you, Lord that you did not give me a spirit of timidity or fawning fear, but a spirit of love, power, self-discipline and sound mind. Lord, thank you that have blessed me in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ! Thank you that I am your Beloved. Thank you that you are my God.
God whispered to my heart that is how He feels for me.........overflowing, immense, gotta stop what you are doing, scoop you up and love on ya, unconditional love. Girls, we don't have to DO anything, He JUST loves us! He just has to pick us up, breathe us in, kiss us, love on us........... The God of the Universe feels that way for us! We don't have to perform, to be good... WE JUST HAVE TO BE!
As I finished this story, I looked over and saw a woman crying. Because of the size of the group, the intimacy, she could openly share with us why she was crying. When she was journaling, she has written the words, "I don't need to do anything, just BE." God had spoken directly to her! And I know in my heart that He brought me all the way to Baraboo, Wisconsin to tell her that!
Father God, I am so thankful for all you have blessed me with! God, you are so good!
OK- we have had been hit pretty hard here with the weather and have had so many snow days. It's been bitterly cold and the kids have been INSIDE. They have been going "stir-crazy"- bickering. They are ready for spring and so am I!
I have to admit, you know my heart anyway God, that I have been a bit negative- complaining in my heart. I have been frustrated about my schedule being interrupted, not having my alone time with you, (Mon., Wed., Fri. am is when I get lots of powercleaning done and have a "date" with the Lord- the time I have to myself when all of my kids, except for Abigail, are at school. This is the time I can fall on my face in prayer and worship, dance to the Lord, sing at the top of my lungs, and do heavy-duty intercessory prayer- praying in the Spirit, often weeping. Not the things I do with my whole family around!) But, as I caught a glimpse of my sweet kids the other day- Ashley reading to Aly and Aaron, I couldn't help but be flooded with such a wave of thanksgiving! Lord, these precious ones are NOT an "inconvenience" to my day- they are my purpose in life! I am so grateful you opened my eyes, Lord! Thank you that my attitude changed when I began to thank you and get my perspective right. Thank you for getting my heart right! We had another snow day the very next day and what a difference an attitude of gratitude makes! I made pancakes and fresh juice, we played games, watched "Little House on the Praire," snuggled, had lots of fun together! Thank you, Lord!
Preparing for speaking and praying for the body of Christ are important things I need to be doing, but the ministry that is most important is my precious family. I am so blessed to have five incredible children. "Children are a heritage from the Lord, blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." Father, forgive me for taking these incredible blessings for granted! How they fill my life with joy, excitement, LIFE!
Lord, I am thankful for your beauty. How these lovely roses have added such color and warmth to cold, white days! The contrast of the red and the white of the snow as I look out the window has been amazing. I thank you that you are a God of beauty....that you created beauty, and that you created us to appreciate it.
"May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in His works..."
Father, I am so thankful for your love, for your forgiveness..... Thank you that you have made me a new creation in Christ. I would be lost without you, Jesus. Thank you that "your grace is sufficient for me and where I am weak, you are strong." Thank you that I don't have to try to "do it" in my strength, but when I fall down, submitting, surrendering to you in my utter weakness, you are my strength. Thank you that your GRACE empowers me to live the life you have called me to. Thank you that have saved me from myself! Thank you that you have brought me out of the darkness into your wonderful light. Thank you that you are my all in all- my everything, my LIFE.........
Father God, may I live today in a spirit of gratitude. Forgive me for complaining. Help me to see with your eyes- help me to see all that I have to be thankful for- all that you have given to me. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
Father, I come before you this morning, praising your glorious name! God, you are so good, so wonderful, so loving. Help us all RECEIVE your love. All of us would say, "I know God loves me." But, do we BELIEVE it in our spirits? Do our actions reveal that we truly believe it?????
"Do you know just how deeply loved and cherished you are by your Heavenly Father?"
Hmmmmmmm. Cherished..... I am cherished by God. Say that OUT LOUD (doesn't matter who is in room!!!!)! I AM CHERISHED BY GOD!
"For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb. (God isn't surprised by our personalities! He created them! He KNIT us together- our likes, dislikes, what makes us unique- stitch by stitch in our mother's womb!). I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13-14
I used to wonder about the "fearfully" part. Did God fear as He made me? Did He think, "Oh, boy, maybe I shouldn't do this. I know how she's gonna turn out!" JUST KIDDING!!!!!! Anyway, the "fearfully" part can throw us a little, until we think about what the bible says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." So, we know this kind of "fear" means reverence, a deep respect. In that light, think of God fearfully making you as He made us with deep reverence. He wasn't just throwing something together. He was taking His time, "painstakingly" knitting us together, making us who we are. It was with a deep love and respect that He created each one of us. Isn't that humbling???? Isn't that mind-blowing- knowing God has done this for EACH and every person? How He loves us! How He loves us!
Did you think about a time when God demonstrated His love for you- a time when you really felt His love?
What God brought to my mind was an example from a couple of months ago. Abby was about 8 months old. I was making my bed and I looked over at Abby in her swing and I was filled with such overflowing, immense, unconditional love for her. It was like a wave of love washed over me. I HAD to stop making the bed, drop everything and scoop her up, kissing her from top to bottom. I thought, "Abby, you are "addicting!" Sometimes I can't even do anything else but love on ya!" I felt so much love for her. She hadn't DONE anything- hadn't performed- wasn't DOING anything........I just felt love for her.
God whispered to my heart that is how He feels for me.........overflowing, immense, gotta stop what you are doing, scoop you up and love on ya, unconditional love. Girls, we don't have to DO anything, He JUST loves us! He just has to pick us up, breathe us in, kiss us, love on us........... The God of the Universe feels that way for us! Doesn't it just bring us to our knees????????
OK. So the question is, in view of this, what is my response to God's love?
Anyway, with me, my reaction is that I want to please Him. (Now we have just said that He is pleased with me already without DOING anything!) HIS LOVE is NOT tied to my performance. In other words, I DO NOT have to "perform" and perform well FOR HIM TO LOVE ME! But, my reaction, in response to Him is that I WANT to please Him, "make Daddy proud" so to speak. I want to obey Him. I want to bring glory to His Name! I want to be a light shining for Him!
The verse from 1John that says, "If you love me, you will obey my commands" has new light. God isn't giving us a warning like some mean teacher ready to wrap our knuckles with a ruler. He is saying that when we feel such love for Him, our natural response will be to obey Him- no questions asked. We are delighted to obey every little thing He asks of us, trusting Him completely, not out of drudgery and fear and a feeling of "obligation" or legalism, but because of our love for Him.
"The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17
Father God, I want to have that radical obedience that I used to have! And, what makes me the most sad is that it IS tied to my love for you! I feel like the verse in Revelation, "...you have forsaken your first love- remember the heights from which you have fallen...." I want to fall in love you, Lord, more and more! I want you to be my everything! I want to be head over heals in love with you. I want you to be my first thought when I wake up in the morning, my last thought when I fall asleep at night, and all of my thoughts throughout the day! I want to be delighted in you! I love you, Lord, and I want to love you more. Please fill me with you! I love you. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen
I purposely split this post into two sections because I wanted to give extra attention to praying God's Word.
The Sword of the Spirit: We wield the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Our prayers will have POWER when pray His Word. Now God always hears our prayers, and we want to always just talk to God-NOT make prayer a rigid, rule-following, lifeless ritual. But, like I said, there is POWER in His Word! God spoke the Universe into existence. God said, "Let there be light" and there was light! Also, I know, sometimes my prayers need DIRECTION- otherwise I may spend too much time in the "wallowing, pity-party" stage (read Psalms- there was wallowing!). I want to pray to the solution- not the problem. And, I know there is a solution in His Word. "There is nothing new under the sun." What I am experiencing in my life, people experienced in Bible times. Sure, the exact circumstances may have changed- there weren't cars, preschool, the IRS (oops- there was- people paid taxes to Caesar!)...... but the root to the problem and the emotions, fears, doubt, principles of living, those things haven't changed. So, I go to the Source...to the One who can help me. When I pray, I don't want to get stuck focusing on ME and my problem. I don't want to make my problem bigger than my God, for goodness' sakes! I want to pray His solutions, found in His Word.
Deception..............It is soooooooo important to get an arsenal of scriptures memorized/written down, etc. so that when the enemy comes in, you have the Truth to replace His lies. When He tells you that you are a failure and you will never change- you'll always be a screw-up, tell Him, "I am a new creation in Christ! The old has gone and the new has come!" (2 Corin. 5:17, Col. 3) When the enemy tells you that you are worthless, nobody cares for you or about you, tell him, "I am the apple of God's eye! I am precious in His sight! The Lord is near. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in me. He will quiet me with His love. He will rejoice over me with singing. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Before the foundation of the earth, the creation of the world, God choose ME, I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. I am adopted into His family. I am forgiven, redeemed. For God so loved ME, He sent Jesus to die for me." (Psalm 139, Ephesians 1, Zephaniah 3:17, John 3:16, Isaiah 43:10)
And, I put God in rememberance of His promises. Jesus said, "Come to me, all who are weary and burden-laden and I will give you rest." I pray, "Thank you, Jesus, that you give me rest when I am weary. "
To worship and praise God, I pray Psalms- "Praise the Lord, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.... He stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of His upper chambers on their waters....Praise the Lord. I will extol the LORD with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly. Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are His deeds, and His righteousness endures forever." (Psalm 104, 111)
When I am under attack and feeling "beat up", I pray, "He that is in me (Jesus), is greater than he that is in the world. No weapon formed against me shall prosper. Satan, you are a defeated foe. " (Isa. 54:17)
When you need protection, pray Psalm 91 over you.
When I want to change my behaviors, I pray James, "Be slow to speak, slow to get angry, and quick to listen." And Ephesians, "Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, only words that are useful in building others up according to their needs." I pray Philippians, "Do everything (this is a big word!) without arguing or complaining....then you will shine like stars in the universe." And speaking of Philippians, when I am tempted to worry- "Do not worry about anything, but with thanksgiving, pray about everything and then the peace that passes all understanding will keep and guard your heart in Christ Jesus." To be a gentle spirit, 1Peter, ".... your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothing. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." And the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians, I remind myself that I DO POSESS these already and ask God to grow them in me, "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control."
I have found that when I am not sure WHAT to pray, the best thing to do is go to the Word, and pray that! Pick up your sword- the Bible- and use it as the best defense AND offense you have!
There are also several books I have read that help you pray His Word in all circumstances:
the books by Stormie Omartian. "Power of the Praying (Wife, Parent, Woman)" and her book, "The Prayer that Changes Everything."
Beth Moore's, "Praying God's Word"
Father, thank you that you have given us your beautiful, powerful Word to pray. Thank you that you help us pray. Father, remind us daily with your sweet, gentle Spirit to bring everything to you in prayer. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
praying God's Word
Father God, good morning! I am feeling much better. Andrew and I got hit with the stomach flu Tuesday and we were out of it for a few days. We have rebukin' the pukin' over here! The neatest thing was that Brian was initiated into the "Mommy Club." Because I was sick Tuesday night, he had to get up (several times) when Andrew got sick in the middle of the night. Bunk beds are great until the person in the top bunk leans over to be sick! It was a mess! Poor Brian had to strip Andrew and Aaron's bed (bottom bunk), clean mattresses...... He was so grossed out because vomit actually touched him! My only thought was, "well, you are not an official member unless you have it in your hair........." Anyway, we are all doing much better, praise God!
But, what I want to share with you most today was the spiritual warfare I experienced Tuesday. Because I am preparing to speak next week (please keep me in your prayers!), I know that I will be under attack. I have learned to be alert and watchful during these times. "Be self-controlled and alert- 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 your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power forever and ever. Amen."-1Peter 5:8-10. And, after I wrote the piece about Oprah, I had several people tell me to continue to pray for protection, as the enemy doesn't like us to mess with his turf. So, as I lay feverish in bed late Tuesday afternoon, my eyes bolted awake and I felt the intense need to pray, claiming every verse of God's protection over me and my family. I was reminded to put on my armor!
Ephesians 6:10-18 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when (not IF!) the day of evil comes, you may stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then with:
The Belt of Truth: This is the most important piece of armor and is what we put on FIRST. There is a reason why it is first. We need God's Truth- NOT the truth of the world, or our own reasoning. We need His Truth as Light to direct our steps, as a light for our path. There is no way to discern what are lies unless you first know the Truth.
When I ponder this verse, what God reminded me was that Jesus is the Truth. Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." (John 14:6). So, we put on JESUS when we put on Truth. God brought to my mind the picture of a body builder. When I worked out in a gym, there were guys who were serious about bodybuilding and lifting weights. They wore a very thick, wide leather belt around their waist. This belt was important to them, as it helped support them, giving them the stability they needed to put the extra pressure of heavy weights on their body. These guys would NOT have lifted unless they were wearing their belts! It made me think that, we too, need to buckle Jesus securely around us before we attempt to lift any weights of the world. We need the Truth in order for us to be firm and secure.
The Breastplate of Righteousness: What does the breastplate cover? My heart! The Bible says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." So, I want my heart guarded, protected. But, how? I put on the breastplate of righteousness. Where does "rigteousness" come from? It only comes through the atoning sacrifice, the blood of Jesus Christ. So, I put Jesus over my heart. I pray, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." I remember Phillipians 4:23 that says not to be anxious for anything, but to pray about everything, then the peace that passes all understanding will GUARD my HEART and MIND in Christ Jesus.
My feet fitted with the readiness (to be fully prepared) that comes from the Gospel of peace. The "peace" with God only comes through Jesus. So, we are to put Jesus on our feet and take Him wherever we go. We need to be ready and fully prepared to spread the sweet aroma of Christ everwhere we go, with everyone we meet. We need to witness to the world "the peace that passes all understanding," a peace that only comes from who we are in Him!
Shield of faith: Faith in what? Faith in who? In Jesus! Believing that God IS who He says He is, that He can do what He says He can do, that I am who He says I am, that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and that God's Word is alive and active in me (Beth Moore, "Believing God.") How many times did Jesus talk about faith? "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains...your faith has healed you.....your faith has saved you." Christians, we have got to start raising our shield of faith!!!!! Why? "...you can extinguish ALL the flaming arrows of the evil one." Did you hear that? ALL the arrows- all the schemes, all the plans, all the attempts to come against us. And, we EXTINGUISH, not deflect, but put out those fires! Have you ever seen movies like "Braveheart"? Get that mental picture! Shields were not wimpy circles of tin, but large, strong barriers that kept the enemy's arrows from doing any harm. The soldiers would huddle together, lift their shields as one, to form one unbreakable barrier. Also, shields would allow soldiers to run INTO battle (not away from it), shields up and wage war.
Helmet of salvation: Again, salvation comes through Jesus Christ! So, we put Jesus over our minds, protecting them. The Word says to "take every thought captive into obedience in Jesus Christ." When those negative thoughts come, when the enemy comes in with lies, take those thoughts captive immediately! Renounce the thoughts and REPLACE them with the Truth.
Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God: Go into battle with His Word! Wield the sword! Tomorrow I will be talking more about this.
Father, thank you for the armor! Thank you that you give me protection from the enemy. Help me to pray the armor everyday. Thank you for Jesus and His precious blood which makes up every piece of the armor. In the precious Name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Here is a link to another of my blogs about Jesus being my rock and protection:
Here is a link to friend from "Unequally yoked Marriage" who recently wrote a great post on the armor- check it out!
armor of God
First, I want to say that I think Oprah is a kind, generous woman who loves people and has a genuine desire to help them! I usually don't choose to blog about people, and especially with any negative commentary (there are plenty of blogs out there for that!). I usually don't watch Oprah, not because I don't like her, but because I tend to spend my time in other ways. But, when I was flipping channels looking for weather closings last Wednesday, what I saw sent chills down my spine.
OK, again, I don't know much about the guests who appeared on the show- never read their books or researched them. What I am writing about is what I saw on the show. The main guest was a woman who wrote "The Secret," Rhonda Byrne. The blurb about her book on Amazon.com says. "Supporters will hail this New Age self-help book on the law of attraction as a groundbreaking and life-changing work, finding validation in its thesis that one's positive thoughts are powerful magnets that attract wealth, health, happiness... and did we mention wealth? Detractors will be appalled by this as well as when the book argues that fleeting negative thoughts are powerful enough to create terminal illness, poverty and even widespread disasters." The other guests, too, talked about "the law of attraction." There were many testimonies of women who have followed these "techniques" and how it has changed their lives.
What is wrong with it???? The bible talks much about in later days that there will be many "false teachers" and that what they say will sound good. They will "tickle our ears." And, there will be just enough Truth in what they say to "fool" us. One of the verses that hit me the first time I read it is from 2Timothy 3, which talks about Godlessness in the last days. Paul tells us that people will be "lovers of self and utterly self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by a desire for wealth, proud and arrogant....they will be lovers of sensual pleasures (this doesn't have to mean sex- could be food, material possessions, etc) and vain amusements MORE THAN and rather than lovers of God.........(THIS IS BIG) they hold a FORM of piety- true religion(so it will sound like Christianity in some ways).......they worm their way into homes and captivate silly and weak-willed and spiritually dwarfed women, loaded down with the burden of their sins and easlily swayed and led away by various evil desires and seductive impulses. These weak women will listen to anybody who will teach them; these women are forever inquiring and getting information (boy, it sounds like the Oprah show to me!), but are never able to arrive at a recognition and knowledge of the Truth." There we go! When we fill ourselves with a counterfeit Christianity, with just enough of the Truth in it to sound good, we are trading our True God for a false god. We are picking and choosing what we like about the Truth and adding some New Age philospophy to really juice ourselves up! Remember that the Word tells us that Satan masquerades as "an angel of light." These other religions will sound like Christianity, but beware! There is only ONE TRUE GOD!
This "religion" credits the "universe" for making all of our dreams come true. Here are some quotes from the show: "the universe gives us ideas." There was much talk about science and science in relation to our "spiritual journey." (What "spirit" is this?) The universe will "make all of your dreams come true" quoted by a little girl who looked to be about 5 or 6 years old. We need to "change the energy" of our situations. At one point I was hopeful because they talked about unforgiveness and how NOT forgiving can cause negative things- sickness, anxiety, etc. But, then they "explained" forgiveness as "separating yourself from the behavior- let it go." That is not what Jesus said about forgiveness. He said to forgive others as He has forgiven us. Jesus calls us to pray for our enemies, to bless them! So, when we mix thinking like this with our Christian values, it is no longer Jesus Christ we worship and follow, but our own form of religion.
Do I know the Truth? I think the biggest problem with this is that, today we are NOT versed in God's Word! We don't know enough of the Truth to distinquish a lie. We aren't proficient enough in what God says to run away from counterfeit religions as fast as we can! Unfortunately, Sisters, we know more about what Oprah says on a subject, either from her TV show or magazine that what God says! We need to turn off the TV and open His Word!
Sisters, how my heart breaks. As Christians, we should have the "something" that the world wants so that they wouldn't want to look anywhere else but to Jesus! We should be offering such hope, love, and freedom! We should be empowered! Only Jesus "makes our dreams come true." Only Jesus is our Healer, our Provider, our hope! Here's the thing- our Father wants to bless the work of our hands- He wants to provide good things for us. Jesus came to give us abundant life! We should be such Light to the World, shouting out "Jesus" with our attitude, our love, our freedom, our joy! We should not be looking to another "answer" but to THE ANSWER!
"Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world (in other words, do NOT look to Oprah for deliverance), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." If you want transformation in your life, don't follow the ways of the world, but renew your mind. The only way to renew your mind is to fill it with the TRUTH.
Finally, in the words of Casting Crowns, "What if the life that we pursue came from a hunger for the Truth; what if the family turned to Jesus- stopped asking Oprah what to do."
And, please remember that our Abba Father, our loving Provider will "give us the desires of our heart" when we seek Him!
Father, forgive us for looking to the world to give us the answers we want. Forgive us for not hungering for your Truth. Forgive us, as a Church for not representing Jesus as the only True God, the only True Hope. Father, I cry out for your church! I do not want to be a weak willed woman swayed by popular thinking! I want to follow you alone! Help our Church. Help these desparate people find you, Jesus Christ. In the Name above all Names, Jesus Christ I pray. Amen