May 25, 2017

Answers Aren't Everything

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.  ~ Isaiah 26:3

Too numerous to count are the times I have wanted to know precisely how God is working and when I will have answers.

Too numerous to count are the times those answers did not come on my timetable, but as I have walked longer with the Lord, I have learned more about the process of waiting. Learning about waiting is not a fun or pleasant experience. Instead, it tends to be agonizing and reveals the impatience in our hearts. Waiting is waiting, and waiting is hard.

Yet, it can be an invaluable teaching and testing tool—one God will use in our lives to grow us in our faith.

When I don’t know what God is doing, what am I doing? I am praying. I am seeking wisdom and guidance through scripture and watching for direction and movement from God. I am learning to trust. I am practicing my faith and I am filled with hope.

What does God do for me while I am waiting? He gives me peace. Suddenly, the questions and the wait become endurable because He answers my faith and trust and hope with a full indwelling of peace in my heart.

This peace God promises us is a wonderful gift with amazing benefits.
This peace strengthens our resolve for the wait.

This peace strengthens us as we continue to seek Him for wisdom, answers and direction.

Because of this, I am blessed to have a new understanding that answers aren’t everything, but peace is.

May 22, 2017

The Heart That Draws Near

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

Worship. God makes it easy. Sometimes, we make it hard. Sometimes, we make it too complicated. But it doesn't have to be. I have not yet heard a definition that I think is fully correct or fully adequate. Some things can't be described. I think worship of our Lord is one of those. Prayer would be another one that is hard to explain and define. Both are so personal. Both are essential to our walk with the Lord. Both are a privilege we should never take for granted.

Sometimes worship is made hard by distractions. God makes it easy with a simple invitation to be still and know Him, to seek Him with all our heart. Busyness gets in the way and too much activity in our lives can pull us away.

He still beckons us to be still and know Him. Out of His love for us He pursues us to draw near, and He will always be there waiting. There will always be the distractions, the busyness, the countless activities, the continual pulling us away from what our heart most needs.  The heart that draws near...will worship.

I want the quiet stillness that draws me near to You,
I want the calm serenity that lets me enter in.
With a heart of worship I come to You,
I accept Your invitation to be still and know You.

Jeremiah 29:13
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

May 17, 2017

The Fabric of My Faith

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. ~ Hebrews 11:6

Faith is woven throughout the everyday fabric of my life, in the big and small circumstances, in the hard and perplexing uncertainties, and in the quiet moments when God is calling my name, drawing me near and asking me to follow wherever He leads. I will choose faith because this is what God desires.

God wants us to have Faith.
He wants us to Trust.
He requires that we Wait.
He wants us to Believe.
He requires us to Wait patiently on Him.

All of this works with our obedience in following God, and our obedience in following Him in what He has called us to do - which is His purpose in us.

We will accomplish more through our faith than through anything else, such as works, abilities, talents, and degrees. Our faith is the outward demonstration of a heart that completely trusts God and believes He will do for us what we cannot do in our own strength.

David could not kill Goliath in his own strength. That was God’s power in the slingshot and in the stone that hit Goliath. It was David’s faith and God’s power.

Joshua and his army could not make the Jericho wall fall down with shouting and trumpets, but they demonstrated faith and obedience - and God in His power brought down the city wall.

It takes faith to navigate our lives as each day comes with challenges that force us to choose to live by faith and trust in God, or the alternative, trust ourselves and the world around us.

Some days rise up like giants before us. Do we believe that God will defeat the giants for us? It takes faith to believe He will and I want to make every effort to live out that kind of faith. I want to live a faith that pleases God.

May 14, 2017

Stop and Pray

When I hear troubling news, I cannot believe how quickly my heart fills with fear, followed by a sensation of dread washing over me like a drowning wave. My body and my emotions seem to naturally want to overreact and carry me away, until I remember to pray.

I have learned that when I start to worry, that is when I immediately need to stop and pray. I think about how important prayer is even though much about prayer is a mystery to me. Yet even in the mystery of prayer there are some things I know.

Prayer is our privilege and prayer is power.
Prayer is confidence in our Lord and in our walk with our Lord.
Prayer is comfort and peace, and resting in who He is.
Prayer is His invitation to us not to be anxious –
Prayer is faith that God is in control.

Prayer has grown my faith-
Built my trust,
Kept me in awe of a Sovereign God.
He is God and the answers are in His hands.
The timing and the methods are His.

Hebrews 4:16
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Romans 8:26-27
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Philippians 4:6-7  
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

James 5:16
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 

May 10, 2017

Will You Make the Exchange?

When we have worry, doubt, and fear clutched tightly in our hands and our hearts are ruled by anxiety, God wants to say something to us of this effect,

“Let go of your burdens and give them to me. I will put in your hands that are now empty and open...

and Freedom.”

All we need to do is give God our burdens and He will give us rest. He will give us joy, a fullness of indescribable joy we have not known before.

From my own experience, I can tell you it will not happen if we keep holding on. We have to let go of one to gain the other. I know what He has to offer is so much more than what we are holding on to, and I know this because I have walked that road before.

The joy I now have is because I finally made the exchange. When I grew weary and tired of my burdens, I finally trusted and obeyed My Father’s voice. I finally let go and I was amazed.

I don’t ever want to walk that road again. The road that says it is too hard to let go. If you want to walk in joy, make the exchange. Open your hands to Him, let go, and place your burdens in His hands. Soon you will know what it is to walk in His peace and joy. Soon you won’t be weary under the load of burdens you were carrying on your own. 

It starts with a step of faith and a heart of trust and emptying your hands of the burdens God asks you to lay in His hands.

Will you make the exchange?

Come to Me, 
all you who labor and are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest.
- - - - -
Matthew 11:28

May 7, 2017

A Drink of Wildflowers

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him.
Psalm 34:8

On a most beautiful spring day last week I treated myself to a walk around the lake at a nearby park where I hoped the wildflowers would be in bloom. I could have gone on home. I had been out most of the day and more duties were calling my name.

But the call of wildflowers was the one that beckoned louder to a heart that beats to the quiet rhythm of tranquil delights. My heart was not disappointed with my choice. Neither were my eyes.

The stunning blue skies the back drop

A field of wildflowers in the foreground

A row of strong trees standing tall between field and sky

And I know Who made it all. I know Who breathed each cottony white cloud across the horizon and Who wove the intricate beauty for each elegant flower underneath the cobalt skies.

This was one of those moments when my heart was so abundantly full and overflowing that I could not take in all the awe and wonder and majesty of our God.

The only thing that was left to do was to drink in the goodness of this beauty I cannot adequately describe, but know that by the power of His word all of it was made.

The goodness that I tasted was spring blooming in full array, and the magnificent splendor of what God has made took my breath away.

Let all the earth fear the LORD;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.
Psalm 33:8-9