Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's So True, He Repeats Himself

When was the last time you saw portions of a Bible verse bolded in your Bible? Or underlined (before you took a pencil in hand to underscore something)? You've probably noticed Bible passages don't include bold or underline. When God wanted to emphasize something, He repeated Himself.

This morning, as I read the following verse and tried to soak in all the affirmation I believe God was pouring over me, He said, "This is so true, I repeated Myself."

Let this bless you today. No matter what you think your status is with God, no matter how human (read: imperfect) you've been this week, as a believer, you are His beloved. God sees you through the righteousness of Christ.

Believe it.

It's so true, He repeated it for emphasis:

Behold, you are beautiful, My love;
behold, you are beautiful;

you have doves’ eyes.

(Song of Songs 1:15, ModernKJV)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Exclusive Time

In the right column of this blog there is a widget for devotions. "Have you had your devotions today?" it asks. I especially like that one if I've had my time with the Lord that morning. Then, there's a widget about what I'm reading. (Right now? Bob Sorge's "Secrets of the Secret Place")

On Saturday night, our church's worship team met here at our home. We watched a teaching by Bob Sorge regarding worship leaders and our responsibility before Jesus as He woos His bride. A great teaching from the recent worship leaders' conference at Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, LA. Listening to him teach stirred up a desire in my heart to read more of his book which I've been reading in chunks lately.

Last night as I read, I found a phrase I couldn't resist blogging about: exclusive time.

So many things vie for our time: family, church, work, career, service, holiday preparation, etc. Some (most?) are good. But if they crowd out time alone with God, we have to re-prioritize.

Bob explained something in his book which helped me move from legalism to grace--when we don't have our exclusive time with God, He isn't disappointed in us as if we've failed Him, He's disappointed for us because He knows what we're missing out on.

Lately, God's been drawing me aside to speak to me about my future, my calling, my life, my hangups. Amazing the information He wants to share, but I have to set aside everything else to hear, to write down what He's saying (I love to journal). He will speak to me in the day to day busy run-around. But I believe He wants to fill me up through one on one time, just Him and me. And silencing the other things around me fosters that intimacy.

I want to get alone with Him today, everyday, so I don't miss out.

But you, when you pray, go into your room,
and when you have shut your door,
pray to your Father who is in the secret place;
and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
(Matthew 6:6, NKJV)

Have you had your exclusive time with the Lord today?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Time for Giving Thanks

Several years ago, as I lay praying one night before bed, I battled negative thoughts. Somehow, in God’s grace, I thought to begin thanking God for blessings. I listed family and our home, I mentioned all the things God had done for me, the ways He was meeting me in my dreams. As I listed the ideas, I saw how God’s heart had been so tied to my own. How He had heard my pleas, and how He met me in my hopefulness—my place of dreams. God is personal. He knew what I had been dreaming for, what I had been hoping for.

The practice of thankfulness lifted my heart that night. Joy flooded me. The barrage of negative thoughts was cut off—outgunned by the joy which followed my thankfulness.

This time of year we specifically focus on that for which we’re thankful. Thankfulness can be a tool for our freedom. And we can use this strategy at any time. The psalmists often referred back to what God had done for His people. They understood the practice of reminding themselves what God had done. Thankfulness is a surefire path to encouragement.

May this season of Thanksgiving bring joy to your life as you focus on what God has done and is doing in your life.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dig In!

Last night, my preschooler sat down with her warm chocolate chip cookie in front of her, a glass of milk with a straw, and a napkin. Moments later, she popped back out of her chair to run to the kitchen drawer. What place setting is complete without a spoon and a fork? She uses colorful, plastic spoons and forks, and they’re easily within reach so she likes getting them for herself.

I love that she was so excited about her cookie that she wanted to get her “utensils” ready. That’s gusto! That says, “I’m going to dig in.”

Her actions seemed an appropriate metaphor for life. We should enjoy every little gift, every blessing.

The other night, after craving a certain type of meal for almost a week, I sat down with a friend and was about to take my first bite. Very clearly, I heard the Lord say, “Enjoy this.”

In other words, don’t rush. Don’t overlook the blessing.

Okay, that’s two food examples, let’s look at another type. Our family loves visiting the Pacific Ocean. This last summer during our trip, at the first sign of the rain letting up, we gathered our supplies and made for the dunes. Once over the grassy sand, we trekked out onto the packed sand. Wind immediately assaulted us once past the shelter. I remember my husband’s rolled shoulders, fists tucked into his pockets as he braced himself against the wind. As my older kids splashed around (nothing deters them from getting wet!) I was thinking, we can’t stay out here too long. It’s freezing! But we did. We lingered. We embraced the moment of solitude (what other family would endure those kind of elements for a moment at the water?) and the family time and just played. My preschooler used her sand shovel to explore the beach. She knows how to dig in!

Do you?

Thursday, November 5, 2009


And it will be, if you shall listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God,
to observe and to do all His commandments which I command you today,
the LORD your God will set you on high above all nations of the earth.
And all these blessings shall come on you and overtake you,
if you will listen to the voice of the LORD your God.
(Deuteronomy 28:1-2, MKJV)

This passage goes on to talk about multiple blessings for those who listen to the voice of God and do what God says--obedient children.

God promises blessings:

~~ in the city (public) and in the field (harvest) -- (see Deut. 28:3)
~~ the fruit of your body (children, your work, etc.) -- (see verse 4)
~~ your basket and store shall be blessed (foods, goods, business) -- (see verse 5)
~~ "blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out" (every season, entering new stages or seasons, moving on to other positions in the Lord, etc.) -- (see verse 6)
~~ protection (see verse 7)
~~ The Lord will command His blessing(!) on your storehouses and He shall bless you in the land your God gives you (see verse 8)

See all those blessings and that's only the beginning. I urge you to read Deuteronomy 28. The first 14 verses are all about God's blessing on the obedient ones. (The rest of the chapter are the consequences for disobedience. Motivation to obey.)

Do you need encouragement? Lots of us are struggling right now through a season of pressure--we're in the holy press where God is working on us, even bringing us to desperation and dependence upon Him. Press close to Him and hang in there. Soon, the promises will overtake us.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Listening to Love

My preschooler climbed up into my lap this morning. One of my favorite parts of our day is our post-breakfast snuggle. We make up songs together or talk about rhyming words. This morning as we rocked together, I felt love for her wash over me. I started to tell her about it--how much I love her and have always loved her. How she owns a piece of my heart and no matter what happens, that will always be true. How I can't help myself. How invested I am in her life, her happiness, her--

That's when my big kid grew bored. "Let's make up songs, Mommy." So I shifted gears.

But it hit me. How often do I divert when God is trying to love on me? When He is attempting to express His affections, do I steer the conversation or the activity in a new direction? Or do I let the words sink in?

I crave His love. I ask Him to reveal His affection to me. I need it.

I think it's time to get close and listen.

P.S. - the little punkin in the photo is not my daughter, but she sure is precious

Sunday, November 1, 2009

His Sanctuary

Last week, during my devotional time, I studied a fascinating truth. Do you ever do this? Word studies in your Scripture reading? My current Bible does not list cross references. So for the past several years I've made a hobby of connecting Scriptures, hand writing verses I feel relate in the margins of my Bible. It's fun!

Well, last Monday I took a look at this truth: God is looking for a sanctuary. That's amazing! He's God. He created everything that exists. Yet He is looking for a place to rest.

Here's the best part. You're it!

For the LORD has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His dwelling place:
“This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
Psalm 132:13-14

Since God in-dwells born-again believers, you can insert your name where it reads “Zion.”

“The Lord has chosen ____. He has desired her/him for His dwelling place.”

Look how else YOU are described in the Bible:

Like a lily among thorns, So is my love among the daughters.
(Song of Songs 2:2)

In a world where God is constantly rejected by people, imagine the joy of one person’s “yes” to His intentions, His heart, His indwelling. You offer that. You are a desirable dwelling place for God. A sanctuary.

Imagine that.