Welcome to Heartsprings, where I share what springs forth from my heart for God and His people. I pray that what you find here blesses you and draws you nearer to your Heavenly Father who loves you like no other.

In His love,
Brenda :-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Trusting Is More Important Than Understanding

"Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!"-(Romans 11:33 NLT)

I read this verse and thought to myself, "how impossible is right!". So many times I have given myself a headache trying to understand something God did. His thoughts and ways are so far above mine! Who do I think I am trying to understand Him? My analytical mind wants an explanation for everything. It wants to put everything in a nice, neat little folder and file it alphabetically for future reference. When I don't "get" something, it drives me crazy until I finally decide to be okay with not understanding - and getting there is not always as easy as it sounds on paper. It usually involves a headache.

The truth is I'm limited - extremely limited. God, however, is not. That makes Him quite a bit superior to me in every way. I need to come to terms with the fact that He cannot be completely understood with my finite brain. I need to be more concerned with simply trusting Him than with understanding Him. I need to trust that HE understands what He's doing and He has it completely under control. My Heavenly Father will give me some understanding as He sees that I am ready to understand it. Step by step, one thing at a time. First the milk, then the meat. Even then, I will not completely understand Him this side of eternity. It's simply not possible. So I think I'll stop giving myself headaches, and work on simply trusting the One who created me. The One who knows exactly what He's doing, even if I don't.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Divine Affliction

“Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us, And the years we have seen evil.” (Psalm 90:15 NASB)

God is The Blessed Controller of ALL things. He is sovereign, especially in the lives of those who have asked Him to be for them. So many of us struggle with the question of supernatural healing. If God's will is that everyone be healed, if "By His stripes we are healed", then why are so many believers sick and afflicted? If God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and He healed yesterday then where is the healing today?

God's Word is truth, unequivocal truth. God IS the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. God healed yesterday and He allowed affliction yesterday. He did both of those things for those of great faith and those of little faith. The man who asked Jesus to heal "if it be Your will" -Mark 9:24(a prayer with some doubt), got his healing. The centurion who told Jesus that He need only say the word and it would be done -Matthew 8:8 (a prayer of great faith with no doubt), got his healing. I don't believe that healing depends on your level of faith. I believe it depends on God's sovereign plan for you and your life, and His glory through your life. Does God's light shine brighter through us when we are glad in the midst of affliction or when there is a lack of affliction or sickness?

There is also the matter of physical healing and spiritual healing. Salvation brings with it many benefits, some of which will not be realized until we reach eternity. The Holy Spirit is our guarantee of things to come, our seal. We do not immediately receive everything we are promised the moment we receive Christ. Some of our healing is a process. Granted, some are immediately healed upon salvation, but that is according to God's will and it is apparently not His will for everyone. Some of us get to go on a journey of healing during which we learn many things. Some of us get to live our entire lives with a thorn in our flesh of some kind through which God is glorified to many people. Dave Roever, Joni Eareckson Tada, just to name two. Are you going to tell me they don't have the faith to be healed? If you don’t know who they are, I would suggest Googling them. They are amazing people of God.

Let's study the scripture in 1 Peter 2:24 a little bit - "By His wounds you were healed." (NASB).  According to Zodhiates Complete Word Study Dictionary, the word for healed in the original language is iaomai.  It's meaning in this particular verse is as follows:  "Metaphorically, of moral diseases, to heal or save from the consequences of sin."  This is the same word used in Isaiah 53:5.  There is another word - sozo - that is used in Matt. 9:21,22; Mark 5:23, 28, 34; Luke 7:50; and a few others.  This word, according to Zodhiates, is used with the meaning to heal physically.  What I ascertain from this is that the verse that we so often quote to remind one another that our sicknesses and physical ailments are healed, is actually referring to spiritual healing; our salvation. Physical healing happens in God’s time and according to God’s purposes. Read all the accounts of Jesus healing in the New Testament. A lot of them are very different - different methods and different timing (He waited until Lazarus had been dead for several days) John 11:39-44.

I am not denying that faith plays a part in our healing.  I believe it most certainly does. What I AM saying is that even if your faith is the size of a mustard seed, you can still be healed.....IF it be God’s will for that particular time. In the end, we WILL all be healed. We will all have perfect bodies - Philippians 3:21. This will not happen, however, until the day Jesus returns for His church. Until then, God allows sickness and affliction, and He works it for good. He uses it to glorify Himself and to strengthen us - 1 Peter 1:7; Romans 5:3. It is because He loves us that he allows the trials, and sometimes those trials are in the form of illness.
I know none of us wishes illness on our children. As a mother, I hate when my kids are sick. Think, however, about what our children would be like if we shielded them from ever suffering any kind of hardship, illness, or consequence of their own actions. What kind of adults would we be sending out into the world and how would they function there? On the other hand, what would be the affect of allowing them to suffer these things while under the umbrella of our love and guidance? Now correlate those two scenarios to our relationship with God as His children.

I can speak personally from both sides of this issue. God has used illness in my life to strengthen me, to get my attention, and to work out part of His plan for my life. It was while recovering from an injury and then an ailment, that the Lord and I wrote our first Bible study and I came to understand my true identity in Him. It was through a lengthy illness that God taught me patience and forbearance. It was through healing of this same illness that God taught me about His sovereignty and how He works things for His glory. My faith in God has always been present in varying degrees. Even before I began my walk with Him, I had a level of faith in Him. I knew ABOUT Him long before I ever really KNEW Him. Regardless of the level of my faith, God works out His plans. “For the Lord Almighty has purposed and who can thwart Him?” - Isaiah 14:27

The Word of God must be taken in it’s entirety. Those who say you must only have faith to be healed, are plucking out scripture here and there and not looking at the whole. My son likens it to treating God like an intergalactic candy machine (I thought that was kind of a cool analogy). If we’re going to take God at His Word, and hold Him to His Word, then we should take Him at His entire Word. Not just the words that make us feel good and lead us to believe that God is all sunshine and roses, and only wants what makes us happy. God wants to try our faith by fire - 1 Peter 1:6-7 and through that He will never leave us nor forsake us. - Hebrews 13:5. All through the Bible, God allows His people to suffer illness and affliction. He heals them and saves them according to His timetable, and they are drawn closer to Him in the process, or at the very least forced to give Him glory. Time is not the same to God as it is to us. He has freed us and healed us, but not all at the same time or in the same way, or even this side of eternity. Oftentimes, we pray for the manifestation of our healing to come sooner rather than later because we don’t want to believe that He would allow us to suffer. That is NOT the case. If it were, there would be no martyrs. There would be no unbelievers standing in awe of the power of God at work in a believer suffering through adversity and counting it all joy!

I, personally, am tired of being told to simply claim my healing and it will be so. To simply have faith and by my faith I will be healed. I will be healed by my Heavenly Father, who loves me like no other, when He says it is time for me to be healed and not a minute before, or a minute later. I have utter and complete faith in Him to work in me according to His perfect will and purposes. Whether that means that the ailment I am currently suffering with gets healed tomorrow or next year, really doesn’t matter. I dare not be so presumptuous as to demand that He heal me right now, today. His purpose for allowing this ailment may not be fulfilled, and I don’t want to miss anything that He has for me.

On the other hand, I do not want to claim this ailment as my own. I do not want to take ownership of it and thereby allow it to remain any longer than it’s supposed to. By the free will given me, I can choose to keep this ailment longer than God intended me to have it. Therein lies another key to healing. If God ordains that I be healed today, yet I don’t want to be healed, He’s not going to force me. God knows our heart. If we’re saying with our mouths that we want to be healed, but our hearts are resisting that healing, God knows it. Remember the story of the man at the pool of Bethesda? Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed - John 5:6. I can’t imagine Jesus healing him if he had said “No”. Herein lies the great mystery of how God’s will and free will work together. A mystery I have yet to understand, so I can’t go too deep here. The Word says that we can’t add to the number of our days, but it does not say that we can’t take away from them with our poor choices.

This issue of healing can be a deep well. For me, God’s sovereignty is the key. I do not believe that we can take one scripture out of context and hold it up to God and say “See! You said right here, so I want it and I want it now!” The Word of God is so much richer and deeper than that. It requires study of the whole to truly understand it, and a little word-study know-how comes in handy as well. I don’t claim to know all of it (although I have read all of it), I have not STUDIED all of it. One thing I have come to understand without a doubt, however, is the fact that God is the boss. What He says goes. He is not an intergalactic candy machine or a genie we can conger up by saying certain Bible verses over and over again. We cannot put Him in a box and expect Him to perform according to our will. Those are dangerous attitudes and I do my best to avoid them. I also understand that He loves me unconditionally and what He allows in my life is for my good. I also understand that I have free will and if I choose to step out of his will and do things my own way, there will be consequences that I will suffer. I also know from experience that if I repent of stepping out of His will, He can also work that experience for good - and He may or may not remove the consequences.

My responsibility as His child is to stay on the path He has laid out for me, trust, and obey Him. If He tells me to pray for healing, then I will. If He doesn’t, I probably will anyway and add a disclaimer “thy will be done”. I’m just being honest here. His will is what I ultimately want because it will have the best result. None of us wants to be sick. If this illness or affliction is not God’s will for your life at this time, expect immediate healing, but if it’s an illness God has allowed for a reason, rejoice in the affliction allowed for a divine purpose (divine affliction) and watch God be glorified.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How Do You Explain It?

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. (Romans 1:20 NLT)

Even before becoming a Christian I sensed something powerful in nature. The majesty of the ocean, the wind whispering to my soul, the strength and fortitude of the tall redwood trees. The list could go on. All of nature is amazing and breathtaking. Where did it all come from? Even as an unbeliever, creation spoke to me of a Master Craftsman. It's all too detailed and creative to have just appeared.

Since becoming a Christian and having my suspicions confirmed, I've often wondered how anyone could not believe that someone wonderfully creative and thoughtful, designed this world we live in. The intricate and amazingly functional bodies that we live in, those alone have to make you wonder. I believe that if we take the time to listen, nature will tell us of it's Divine Creator. The wind will whisper the secret while the ocean roars of His majesty. Listen, then tell me.....how do YOU explain it?

Friday, July 29, 2011


Judges 6:15 NASB

In Judges 6:15, Gideon refers to God's authority in his usage of the Hebrew word for Lord, "adonay", pronounced "ad-o-noy'". The root word "adon" means "one possessed of absolute control". The Message actually uses the term "my Master" in this passage. The word most familiar to us is "adonai". Adonai is the old plural form of this Hebrew word, and was the way the Jews pronounced it when reading their scriptures, due to their superstitious reverence for the name "Jehovah".

What struck me about all of this is the absolute authority of God. It occurred to me that as Christians we are under God's authority and I thought about how that makes me feel. So many of us have trouble accepting authority. I know there was a time in my life when I completed rebelled against it, and even now I struggle with it to some extent. Truthfully though, I find a sense of security in being under God's authority. I related it to children. Regardless of what they say or how they act, children prefer structure and authority. When a child knows that there are limits and where those limits are, they have a sense of security. When they know that there is someone there who is going to be in control in a trustworthy manner, they have security. I have been caring for children for over thirty years and I've seen their behavior change when the routine changes, or when they are not sure of the rules. They exhibit much more confidence when there is a routine and they know the rules and the consequences of breaking those rules. I believe it's the same with us and God.

Think about how you would feel if God constantly made things up as He went along, or if He regularly changed the rules, just for fun. I know I wouldn't feel very secure. In fact, I would probably be pretty fearful knowing the judgment side of God as I do. Thankfully, God is the epitome of grace and mercy, and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.....and He is my ultimate authority figure. My Heavenly Father is unwavering in His stability. He has clearly laid out the rules and boundaries as well as the consequences for breaking those rules or crossing the boundaries. He has also made sure that I am aware of the blessings that come from obedience to Him.

We all answer to something or someone. Whether we're willing to admit it or not, if we think about it honestly we will see the truth in that. I believe that our sense of security and even self-worth comes from what or who has authority over us. If we answer to the things of this world; alcohol, drugs, money, sex, prestige....the list goes on, we will have little to no security or self-esteem because these things are not trustworthy authorities. They don't love us unconditionally and have our best interests at heart like God does. They make us happy in one minute and dash us upon the rocks in the next. The things of this world are unreliable at best and allowing them to have authority over us is a recipe for disaster.

Realizing that there will be something or someone in authority over me (even if it was my own ego), was the first step in my journey to accepting the peaceful authority of God. Adonai is the only truly reliable and trustworthy authority figure in all the universe. Even being my own god did not lead to the sense of security that THE GOD has given me. We CAN choose our authority figure. Who or what will you look up to today, and every day for the rest of your life? The quality of your life depends on your answer.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wrapped Up In God

Psalm 42:8 NLT

El-hayya is the name of God that refers to Him being the God of my life. It means that what I am all about is Him. He is the center of my life and He is in every aspect of my life. But, is He? That's the question I'm asking myself this morning. Sadly, and in all honesty, I think I have to answer "no".

I think my life is all about me, really. I feel as though I seek my own agenda much more than I do God's. I am much more wrapped up in seeking my own desires and my own comfort than I am wrapped up in God. I WANT to be wrapped up in Him. I WANT to know Him as my all-in-all, but I'm not sure I know how. What does that look like in practical terms? Do I spend every minute of every day with a prayer on my lips? Do I walk around talking to Him as if I had an invisible friend (which in actuality I do)? How do you not get so caught up in day to day things that you go most of the day not even thinking about your Heavenly Father?

I did this exercise once, where I asked God in the morning what He wanted me to do that day. I sat quietly with pen and paper and wrote down what I believed He was telling me and that was my to-do list for the day. Maybe I should make that a habit. Maybe some of you are thinking, "duh!". Sometimes the obvious is not so obvious to me. Not sure why, but that's how it is. :-) I'm sure there are other things I can do to make God more a part and priority in my daily life. I'll bet I could just ask Him to show me how! Another "duh!". Hahaha!

Heavenly Father, I want so much to be more wrapped up in You than myself. Please show me how to make You more a part of my day-to-day life. Show me the practical way to a closer relationship with You, because I'm a practical person (most of the time). You know me Father, and You know what I need. Guide and direct me, Lord. Wrap me up in You! In the all-consuming name of Jesus, I ask it. Amen!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Forgiving God

Psalm 99:8 NLT

The name of God that my devotion talked about this morning is "El-nasa". Not NASA....nasa. This is the Hebrew word for "forgiving" and it is pronounced "naw-saw". The word has several other meanings as well, and they all refer to forgiving or bearing in some way.

As I was reading about this aspect of God, I was put in mind of people I know who don't believe they need forgiving. They don't believe they are "bad" people, so what do they need to be forgiven for? I probably even felt that way myself at some point before becoming a Christian. Now, however, I find it amazing that any of us could ever think that we were so blameless as to not be in need of forgiveness.

Have we ever lied? Have we ever stolen something from someone, even a pen or pencil from work? Have we ever treated another human being with contempt or hatred? Have we ever allowed our anger to take us well beyond anything even resembling self-control? In essence, are we human? Every single one of us has been guilty of at least one or all of the things I just mentioned and probably some I haven't. None of those things is considered right by our Heavenly Father. Think of it as breaking one of your parents' house rules while living under their roof. Don't you need to ask their forgiveness in order to make it right? In order to restore the relationship, don't you need to repent of your disobedience? It's the same way with God. He is our Heavenly Parent and we live under His roof our entire lives. The thing is, God's forgiveness came through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and in order to receive that forgiveness we need to receive Jesus. We need to acknowledge that we broke the rules, ask our Father to forgive us, and receive that forgiveness for all of our sins; past, present, and future by asking Jesus Christ to be the Lord of our lives and help us stay right with God. WHY do we need to stay right with God? Well, that's a whole different note for another day. Let me just suffice it right now by asking you where you want to spend eternity. Whether or not you need to be right with God depends on your answer.

None of us is perfect and none of us ever will be perfect this side of eternity. We have ALL done wrong in the sight of God and we ALL need forgiveness. Whether we believe it or not, has no bearing on the validity of truth. We all need our forgiving Father God. We all need the freeing power of El-nasa in our lives.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

El Olam

I am fascinated by the Hebrew language and the names of God, in particular. So, I'm loving this part of my daily reading plan. The name we're studying today is El Olam. This name for God is very interesting. The word "olam" comes from another word that literally means "to be hidden" and speaks of something that cannot be seen or perceived. Some scholars refer to "olam" as the vanishing point.

It's like when we look out to the horizon and cannot see any further. That "vanishing point" is the limit of our sight and perception. There are actually many vanishing points in our lives; places where we reach our limit as to what we can see or do. God, on the other hand, IS that place and can see it all. El Olam picks up where we leave off and not only can He see it all, but He controls it all. And you know what else? He loves and cares about us. The One who sees it all and controls it all, has our best interests at heart. All those terrible things that we fear are just over the horizon, the things we dread and have no control over (and probably won't happen anyway) are in the hands of our loving and gracious Heavenly Father.

When we give Christ control over our lives, we become a child of God. When we become a child of God nothing comes to us without God's permission. We have the advantage of an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-on our side Heavenly Father who allows trials for our benefit. I find great comfort in that and stand in awe of my amazing Abba Father who knows and sees, and operates in love. He stands at the vanishing point, El Olam, and controls what comes over my horizon. Hallelujah!

Devotional Motivation

Why do we call it a "devotional"? Is it because we are devoting some time to reading God's Word and possibly praying as well? Are we showing our devotion to God by sacrificing some of our ever-dwindling time for the pursuit of Him? I ask myself these questions because I question my motivation for sitting in my bedroom chair almost every morning; Bible, prayer journal, and coffee in hand. My goal is to pray through my prayer list, read from today's reading plan, and gain some insight as to the purpose for my life and the person who created me for that purpose.

It struck me this morning that my devotion time seems more about me than devotion to God. Am I sitting here because I am devoted to knowing and loving Him more? Is He really all I want, or am I more after what He can do for me? The truth is I need Him to do a lot for me because there's a lot I want to accomplish that I know I can't in my own power. Therein lies part of the problem, I think. If I were to truly serve God, wouldn't it be His agenda I would be seeking? I think I should be asking Him what I can do to accomplish His purposes for me rather than asking Him to help me accomplish MY plans.

Heavenly Father, forgive me my selfish ambitions and presumptuousness. Search my heart, O' God, and cleanse me of all unrighteousness. Create in me a clean heart and bless me with a desire for Your plans and purposes, every day. May MY to-do list become YOUR to-do list. Use my "devotional" time to increase my devotion to You. In the awesome name of Jesus I ask it, Amen!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dangerous Independence??

"The biggest threat to marriage is independence. That's what destroys marriages." I read this in my devotion this morning and was awed. I never would have thought that, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I related it to my own marriage and realized how a lot of frustration comes when my husband and I are not on the same page because we are both adamant about doing things our own way. Or, when one of us makes plans without consulting the other. Doing things without considering the effect our actions will have on our partner can cause division in our marriage. It leads to a sort of mistrust and trust is imperative to a successful marriage.

God meant for husband and wife to be "one flesh", functioning as one, in harmony and agreement. Granted, that's not always possible in our fallen state, but for me, it means I should be a little more conscious and considerate of my spouse when I'm considering a course of action. Especially when it's one that will most definitely affect him. I should probably communicate more with him about my hopes, dreams, and goals. If I want to go somewhere and plan to take him with me,he should probably be made aware of the trip. Even that, however is functioning in independence. We need to decide together where we want to go and how were going to get there. I think THAT is a better example of operating as one, flowing in harmony and agreement. It's a step in the right direction anyway and every journey begins with a step, right? Protect your marriage by taking as many steps as possible, together and in unity. Amen!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mindful of Us

Mindful (Psalm 8:4) Strong's Number: 02142 - Zakar (zaw-kar') Verb
Definition: to remember, recall, call to mind

God is mindful of us - you and me. He didn't create us then move on to creating something else and forget about us. He recalls us and remembers us. He calls us to His mind. He has so many thoughts of us that we could never count them (Psalm 40:5). His thoughts are of each of us individually, not just mankind as a whole. He knows how many hairs are on my head according to Matthew 10:29-30. He knows how many hairs are on YOUR head. How amazing is that?! My husband and I are pretty close, but we have no idea how many hairs are on each others' heads. God knows us so intimately that I don't think we can truly fathom it. It's comforting to me, when I think no one understands what I'm going through and I'm tempted to feel alone, to know that God knows it all. I am not alone because GOD knows what I'm going through. He sees, He knows, He has a plan. I love a man with a plan! It gives me hope to know that what I go through in this life is not for nothing. Better yet, it fits into some divine plan. That is such an awesome thought to me and gives me such a sense of purpose. I don't believe that anything in my life is too big or too small for God. He can use it all!

God thinks of me, knows me better than anyone else ever could, knows all that I go through in life, and will use it all for His purposes. Thank You, Father, for that hope, sense of purpose, and assurance. You are awesome!

His Sovereignty Brings Joy

I read in my devotional this morning that God's sovereignty is something that should bring us joy, not apprehension. That really stuck with me because I have been one who wanted to be in control and hated the idea of relinquishing it to someone who might make me suffer. I was sure that if I turned over every area of my life to God, He would allow some terrible tragedy to befall me all for the sake of "growth". What I wasn't getting was who God is.

He is my Heavenly Father, full of love, grace, mercy, and unconditional love for me. He works all things for my good and He has plans to give me hope and a future. Anything that comes my way is for a reason and has crossed His desk first. Yes, He has allowed some trials for the sake of growth and I've survived every one of them. They have made me stronger and drawn me closer to Him. Being closer to God is worth my life because without Him I would have no life anyway. When I think of it in those terms I can indeed be joyful that my loving, merciful, and gracious Heavenly Father is sovereign.......and I'm not! Hallelujah!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Increase My Trust

The prayer of my heart today is this; "Knower of all things past, present, and future in my life, I'm grateful that You "get" everything I'm facing today and I pray You will increase my trust in You. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen."

"I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul." -Psalm 31:7.

Sometimes there are things I go through that no one can really understand. Even if I try to explain it, they just can't "get" it without having experienced it themselves. I am in such a place in my life right now and it's a lonely place to be. There is One, however, to whom I can turn and in whom I can confide. My heavenly Father gets everything I go through. He knew about it before it ever happened and He sees the light at the end of the tunnel long before I do. He IS the light at the end of the tunnel. He knows how to get to the other side of what I'm going through and He'll lead the way if I but trust Him.

Therein lies the challenge really. It's difficult to trust when you can't see where you're going. Have you ever had someone take you by the hand and tell you to close your eyes while they lead you to a surprise? Did you relax and let yourself be led, or did you hold out your hand, feeling for obstacles and stepping cautiously? Trust is a difficult issue, more difficult for some than others. A lot of us humans have terrible control issues as well as trust issues. We don't trust anyone else to control things as well as we will, or in the way we want them controlled......including God. We don't trust the Blessed Controller of all things to do a good job of controlling things. Why? I think it's because this world we live in looks anything but controlled. We see things careen out of control constantly and wonder where God is in that. it doesn't LOOK like He's doing His job. However, as children of God, we walk by faith and not by sight. We believe what God's Word says about Him and about His plans for us and this world. Our children don't always understand the things WE do. To them, it doesn't look as if we have their best interests at heart when in fact, that is our top priority. It's the same with us and our Father God. We have to trust that, in spite of how things look, our Heavenly Father has our best interests at heart and He's got it all under control.

Heavenly Father, Blessed Controller of all things and Lover of my soul, help me to keep my focus on You and not my circumstances. You have overcome the circumstances. You are greater than any challenge I face today and, in fact, You will face those challenges with me and help me through them. Thank You for loving me that much and for being The One I can always rely on to "get" me. Increase my trust in You I pray, in the trustworthy name of Jesus, Amen!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Trade Rote for Relationship

“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!" -Matthew 6:7-8

Our Father knows EXACTLY what we need even before we ask Him. Does that mean we don't need to ask? I don't think so. "..... Yet you do not have because you do not ask." -James 4:2. I think God wants us to ask, but we don't need to go on and on about it thinking that the more fervently we ask, the better the chances of getting our prayers answered. There are times when I find myself repeating myself in prayer, mostly out of passion for what I'm praying about. I don't think that's the issue. We pray to a living being, not a dead saint or a piece of wood, gold, or bronze that can't hear us anyway. In that case we WOULD need to repeat our prayers again and again, unfortunately they would still never be answered. How thankful I am that when I pray I am heard by my loving and gracious Heavenly Father who already knows everything about me, my needs, and the desires of my heart...AND He knows what's best for me. He knows exactly what to provide and when. If I never asked and just sat back and waited for Him to provide everything, what kind of relationship would we have? Not much of one, I daresay. When I come to Him with my needs and requests, it opens the door for conversation, fellowship, and communion. Our relationship grows because we have spent time together, talking and listening to one another. It's a beautiful thing. Do I sometimes come to Him excited and animated, repeating myself at times, of course. Our children do the same thing, do they not? The problem is when our prayers become rote and ritual. If we think we can say seven "Hail Mary's", and ten "Our Fathers" and our prayers will be answered and our sins forgiven, we are mistaken. God wants our hearts, not our rituals and routines. He cares nothing for human tradition when there's no heart involved.

We can say words until we're blue in the face, but if we have not come into relationship with the Father through salvation in Jesus Christ, then we may as well be speaking to a piece of wood. If we don't know Him and have not drawn near to Him and Him to us, then we are as people of other religions. "Don't be like them", He says. "Know Me as Father, a Father who knows before you even ask, but desires that you ask so that we can have relationship.". When we're in relationship with our Heavenly Father, there's no need for repetitious rote. Amen!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Forever My Bearer

Psalm 28:9 - "Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever."

"Lift them up forever". This is an amazing statement. The NKJV uses the word "bear" and this is the definition according to Strong's: Bear (lift up)- Strong's Number: 5375
Transliterated Word - Nasa'
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
naw-saw'. Verb
Definition: to lift, bear up, carry, take to bear, carry, support, sustain, endure
to take, take away, carry off, forgive, to be borne, be carried, to be taken away, be carried off, be swept away, to lift up, exalt, support, aid, assist, to desire,
to carry, bear continuously

This is what God does for us when we allow Him. Forever, He will carry; support, endure, forgive, exalt, aid, assist, and desire us........FOREVER! This is not the face of some grim entity in the sky waiting for the opportunity to throw lightning bolts down at us. I have struggled for years with replacing the face of my earthly father with the true face of my Heavenly Father.

I understand that's a common transference, to put our earthly father's face on God. That is really so unfair to God because our biological fathers can't hold a candle to Him. My biological father was critical of me and made me feel that his love was conditional upon my performance. My dad was angry and yelled a lot. I grew up feeling very intimidated and thought of God in much the same way; big, loud, and angry.

As I've grown in the Lord and read more of His Word, I see a totally different person. Certainly, God is capable of great anger and IS very big, and can also be very loud. However, that's not the essence of who He is. Love, unconditional love, is the essence of who He is and I want more than anything to get that deep in my heart. For that reason, I love verses like this that tell me of His true love for me. Getting into the depth of the words and their meanings also helps me to really get it. God loves me unconditionally and not only does He love me, but He wants to always be there for me in a way no one else can. He wants to help me, not criticize me; build me up, not tear me down. He is for me, not against me and He has good plans for me regardless of what's going on in the world around me. My Heavenly Father is my biggest fan and my greatest ally, the one who loves me with the purest, most unconditional love there is and the one who will be there for me when no one else is.......FOREVER! Amen!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Which "Pull" Will You Choose?

As I am in Christ and Christ has won victory over sin and death, then so have I. Then why do I walk around with a defeated attitude? Because I walk more by sight than by faith, contrary to what the Word tells me to do. "For we walk by faith, not by sight" - 2 Corinthians 5:7

This world has a strong pull and it WANTS us to walk by sight, but God's pull is stronger if we choose to let Him pull us - by faith. The trick is, we get to choose. We get to decide whether we're going to yield to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, or bow down to our flesh and make provision for it's lusts. "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts." - Romans 13:14. Giving in to the flesh feels good for the moment, but it can have long-term consequences. Disregarding and disobeying God and His Word is something we most certainly can do if we so desire, but be prepared for consequences every time - even long-term and eternal consequences. Obeying God, however, yields long-term blessing and eternal life. Hmmmm.....momentary pleasure with long-term consequences or defeat the lusts of the flesh and reap blessing and eternal living? It seems like a no-brainer, but its much easier said than done. Take some advice from someone who's experienced both......choose carefully. Choose very, very carefully. The consequences of disobedience can hang around for the rest of your life. You can be totally forgiven and still experience consequences. The principle of reaping and sowing stands even in the face of forgiveness. Again...choose carefully.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Jesus Servanthood

Jesus knelt before His disciples and washed their feet. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords stooped so low as to become a man here on earth, and THEN stooped even lower to become a servant of man. After washing their feet Jesus basically said to the disciples that if He, Teacher and Lord, would serve them then they also ought to serve one another. His life was about extreme servanthood, from his lowly birth to His excruciating and unjust death. If Jesus is our role model. If we live to glorify Him and serve as He served, how are we doing? Do our priorities line up with His? I Peter 4:8-10 - "Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.". 

Do we serve and love like Jesus did, or does our favorite television show have priority... or our Facebook games, or planning the next vacation, or any number of things that distract us, as my pastor talked about Sunday. We are part of a family aside from our bilogical family, to which we have obligations. We are called to so much more than just a hug and a smile on Sunday morning. We are called to be involved in each others lives. To know each others business, and not for the purpose of gossip or "one upmanship", but for the purpose of prayer, service, and love. If one of us is hurting or facing some kind of challenge, it's our business to know about it and come alongside and lift them up. Whether its by providing some kind of practical service, or by praying with them, or whatever. But we don't know what's going on if we're not involved and fervently loving.

Fervently: (S) (1619) - ektenos-intently (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance). When you love something intently you are focused on it and actively involved in caring for it. Think about that. Is that how we are with our brothers and sisters in Christ? That's how God's Word says we should be. Challenging isn't it? As is the true Christian life, not the complacent pew warmer kind of life. The life that models Jesus servanthood will always challenge and enrich us beyond anything we ever imagined. I guess what we need to decide is if it's worth it. :-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Protection from Pride

God teaches the humble His ways. That's what Psalm 25:9 tells us. The whole issue of pride has always been a big one for me. Years ago I asked the Lord to rid me of the sickening characteristic. I had no idea the process would be so painful. The pain continues today and I don't wonder if the Lord allows it to continue to protect me from the pride He has so painfully extracted from me. I still have my moments when I like to think I'm all that, but I know better really. Nothing good that's happened to me has been my own doing. Nothing that I've accomplished has been through my efforts alone, and no good that I ever do will be solely because of me and my hard work. My limitations are not only mental and emotional, but physical as well. I literally can't get out of bed every day without the grace of God. Some people who know of my limitations, marvel at how much I do in spite of them. I have to give God all the glory because none of it would be even possible without Him.

Father , I pray that You would remove this thorn from my flesh, yet if it is what's needed to keep me humble and teachable to Your ways, then leave it. I would so much rather be in pain, but humble than healed and prideful. Thy will be done, Father, on earth as it is in heaven, Amen!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Need as We Succeed

After a mission trip to Mexico, I was awed by the faith of the people there. They live in run-down shanties on mud streets. Some of their dwellings don't even have windows, yet they don't seem to notice what they're missing. I was told that their faith is so strong BECAUSE they have nothing else. They have God and that's all they seem to need. The worship services I attended were like nothing I'd ever seen. It was heavenly. Their adoration of God was so apparent in the way they sang and worshipped. It was beautiful. It was also a stark contrast to the way most Americans worship. Is it because we have so much more and therefore don't need God as much?

Our Heavenly Father is the Blessed Controller of all things. We have the ability to do the job we do that provides the income for the beautiful house, nice car, and family vacations because God gave us those abilities. We live where we live in the time we live because God put us there. We wake up breathing every morning because God gifted us with one more day. We can look forward to eternity in heaven instead of eternal death because God put all of our sin on His only son, Jesus Christ, and allowed Him to take the penalty instead of us. How pompous of us to think we don't need Him as much as anyone else and how prideful to not be as grateful as those who have less. We should be even more grateful for how incredibly blessed we are. Most of us live in nice houses with windows and everything. We drive decent cars, at least. We have access to some of the best resources in the world. Here's a scary statistic for you; 8% of the population uses over 60% of the world's resources. Guess who that 8% is? That's right, America! We are not an impoverished nation. This nation is what it is because God has allowed it to be. I am sitting in my comfortable home, surrounded by comfort and convenience because God has blessed me and my family with both natural and super-natural blessings, for His own reasons and purposes. I am thankful, and whether I have a good roof over my head or not, I need God. When I was a young mother raising small children on meager means in not as comfortable a home as I live in now, I needed God's help and guidance. Now that I'm an older mother raising teenagers and grandchildren on more generous means in a more comfortable home, I still need God's help and guidance to deal with everyday things as well as more major life decisions and changes.

No matter where we go in this life, how far up the corporate ladder or how high we go in social stature, our need for God should not change. In fact, the more we succeed, the more vulnerable we are to the temptations of this world, and the more we need God to keep us balanced and focused on the right things. I think our need for God should increase as we succeed, not the other way around. I desire to be like those precious souls in Mexico regardless of the circumstances of my life. Circumstances change, sometimes quickly and unexpectedly, but God never does. I'm putting my trust in the unchangeable and making God the One I need most as I succeed according to His plans and purposes for my life. Amen!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What If.......

"You, Lord are all I have and You give me all I need. My future is in Your hands."-Psalm 16:5

I wonder what my life would look like if I took this literally and lived accordingly. If I really believed that God gives me all I need. I struggle to believe that God will provide a new food processor when my current one no longer functions, or a new computer when this one is so full of viruses it just self-distructs. It's hard for me to see God in practical terms sometimes. Yet, I know He cares about the practical aspects of our lives as much as the spiritual. I've seen Him do things like repair the garage door of a newly widowed friend, provide lawn mowing services for another friend whose husband just up and abandoned her. I have seen Him provide the practical supernaturally, so why would there be any doubt in my mind. I think I know at least part of the answer.

I spent a good part of my life (the first 35 years) relying on myself or other people to meet my needs. I don't recall ever asking God outright to provide for me. Old habits die hard sometimes. Even after 15 years of walking with the Lord, I still forget to go to Him first sometimes. Also, there's the fact that I want what I want and not necessarily just what I NEED. I hate to say it, but I guess the bottom line is I don't trust God to provide for me the way I want Him to; according to MY will and in MY time. There's that control issue again! I guess if I would just let go of my will and trust that God really does have my best interests at heart I might be able to walk out the above scripture in real, practical life. Maybe it would help also if i would remember this portion of scripture: "Would any of you who are fathers give your son a stone when he asks for bread? Or would you give him a snake when he asks for a fish? As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"-Matthew 7:9-11.

God is such a better father than any earthly father, and I've known some earthly fathers to give some pretty awesome gifts....the exact things their kids wanted. So, why wouldn't God do even better than that? He would, if I would just give Him the chance. Father, forgive me for not trusting You the way I should and for not remembering that You are the greatest dad there ever was or ever will be. You are my Abba and You love me beyond compare. You know exactly what I want and exactly what I need. Help me to trust You completely in ALL areas of my life and with every little (and big) thing. I love You, Father, and desire all that You have for me, Your plans and purposes fulfilled in my life. I thank You that You are Jehovah Jireh, my Provider. In the ultimately provisional name of Jesus, Amen!

If Attitude is Everything...

You know the old saying, "Attitude is everything"? I think attitude is extremely important and a major factor in the way we respond to things, but what about perspective? Does not perspective affect our attitude? If my perspective is that my life should revolve around me and my personal happiness, then something bad happens, what do you think my attitude would be? Well, I can answer that from experience, it would stink. My response would be to pout and moan, and complain. I might even cry a little and I would definitely not be any fun to be around. A negative attitude would prevail as a result of my self-absorbed perspective.

"Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,"- Psalm 13:3. "Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death".......change my perspective so that I don't kill myself with negativity. The thought of dying from negativity might seem exaggerated, but it has been proven that a negative attitude and high stress level can lead to all kinds of illnesses. Negativity is not a good thing and I totally believe that it comes from a self-focused perspective. We get upset when things don't go our way. When people or circumstances don't line up with our agenda, we are offended because it's all about us. NO.....it's not all about us! It's not about me, it's not about you. It's about God and His plan for our lives to glorify Him and bless others. We need to take the focus off of ourselves and put it on God and what He wants us to do for others, to His glory and the furthering of the kingdom. How much more joy do you feel when you step out of your "norm" and help someone in need than when you just go about your daily routine? I know I feel a LOT more joy. How about your joy level during worship as opposed to staying home and vegging in front of a ball game? Ok, maybe that's not a good example. A lot of people find great joy in watching a ball game. Personally, I prefer worship because it's where I feel closest to God and for me, that's a high nothing can come close to. My point here is that when my focus is on God rather than myself, those are the times I feel the most joy. My attitude is positive because my perspective is focused on the greatest source of positive energy, my Heavenly Father.

I'm going to challenge myself for 30 days to maintain a heavenly perspective and see what effect it has on my attitude. I'm going to smile on purpose at every person I come in contact with. I'm going to play worship music all day when I'm at home doing all that lovely housework that so challenges my ability to control my perspective. I'm going to attempt to see every situation through the eyes of Christ and respond with the mind of Christ. I'm going to refuse to yell, scream, grumble or complain.....for 30 whole days! That's a long time for a melancholy personality like mine, in a body riddled with arthritis. In fact, I think I'll not even use the words "melancholy" or "arthritis" for 30 days as well. I think I'll write a blog about it too, since that's the thing to do these days. :-)

Heavenly Father, change my perspective and help me to maintain a positive attitude even beyond this 30 day challenge. Help me to keep my focus on You at all times. I desire, Father, that my actions, my life, would glorify You. Give me a heavenly perspective and the mind of Christ. I ask these things in the mighty name of Christ Himself, Amen!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nothing of Value

Apart from God we can do nothing of lasting value. Sure we can do nice things for people, and possibly accomplish something that people will remember for years and even centuries. The question is, will what we do have eternal value?

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:5

Without the Holy Spirit guiding, directing, and empowering, nothing we do matters for the kingdom of heaven. When we don't know Jesus, we don't know real purpose. I know for me, before receiving Jesus, when I did something charitable I didn't even really know WHY I was doing it other than it made me and someone else feel good. I didn't see long-term implications or deep purpose, because there really wasn't any......for me. I did nothing in the name of Jesus or for the sake of the kingdom. It was all to make me feel good, temporarily. I wasn't storing up treasure in heaven. I was battling boredom or just trying to feel good about myself. No deep purpose there. It's a whole different story when I'm doing something in the name of Jesus. When I'm being His love here on earth, His hands and feet. I'm storing up treasure in heaven and making an eternal difference in someone's life, a difference that effects that person's eternity! Whoa! That's some deep purpose! That can't happen though, without the Holy Spirit working in, through, and around me and whatever situation He has led me to. Whatever situation He leads YOU to will have eternal implications and be of infinite value. Toss aside the things of no value and follow Christ to deep purpose. Amen!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Who am I that the Creator of the universe would be mindful of me? The KJV uses the word "mindful" in Psalm 8:4. The dictionary definition of mindful is: "attentive, aware, or careful of". Almighty God is not only aware of me, but He pays attention to me. What an awesome thought, and one that begs a question. Do I pay as much attention to Him as He does to me? I would venture to say......."no". He knows how many hairs are on my head. I don't even know if He HAS hair. I would guess He doesn't since He's a spiritual being, but maybe there's spiritual hair. I don't know and that looks like too deep a well for right now. The point is, I could probably stand to pay a little more attention to my Heavenly Father. I get so caught up in the busyness of the day and all the "things" I want to accomplish, that I can sometimes go all day without thinking about Him. Does He go that long without thinking of me? I wonder. The Word tells me in Isaiah that I am etched on the palm of His hand. It would be hard to go for long without noticing something etched upon the palm of your hand. I think that God is much more attentive to me than I am to Him and I'd like to change that.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mindfulness of me; Your love, Your grace, and Your mercy. Father, may I be as attentive to You as You are to me. Give me a heavenly mindset, Lord. I desire for You to be my focus because when that happens, everything else in my life will fall into place like it's supposed to, and I want that. I want Your plans and purposes for my life, to Your glory and the furtherance of the kingdom. In the name of my ever-present Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Control Freak = Less Joy

Why are so many of us without joy? Not just those who don't know Jesus, but many believers are seriously lacking in the joy department. I think it's because we have such a hard time relinquishing control. We are juggling so many different things in our lives and we have to have our hand in everything. We feel that if we're not worrying we're not doing a good enough job. If things get out of control we're somehow a failure. If everything is not accomplished to perfection and on time, there will be disaster. Really? Is it really the end of the world? Think through the worse case scenario all the way to it's possible conclusion. Would it really be the end of the world? Even if it meant the end of life as you know it, would it really be that bad? Maybe life as you know it is not the best life for you. Maybe it's not the life God intends for you. Psalm 5:11 says, "..let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy". Part of taking refuge in God is casting our cares on Him (1Peter 5:7) and being anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6). We do our best, of course, without worrying and being anxious. Without thinking everything has to be perfect. We do our best and give God the rest. Rely on Him to pick up the slack for our imperfection and trust that the situation will turn out according to His will. He is, after all, The Blessed Controller of all things. So, let Him have control, take refuge in Him, and sing for joy that you don't have to be perfect.

Father, thank You that You are in control and I don't have to be. Help me to always do my best and work as unto You without the stress and strain of trying to be perfect or create perfection. You're the only one who has any rights to perfection anyway. So, have Your way, Father. I cast my cares upon You and choose to be anxious for nothing. I choose the joy of Your shelter today and I thank You for it in the peaceful name of Jesus, Amen!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Solid as The Rock

As I was praying this morning, I asked the Lord to make us all (all His children) as solid as The Rock we stand upon. I had been thinking earlier about all the things I say I want to do and never do. All the changes I talk about making, but never make. It's all just talk and no action. I don't want to be like that. I want to worship God in spirit and in truth. I don't think it honors God to just talk about being a better person or to just talk about doing something better. I don't want to just be a hearer (or a talker), I want to be a doer.

I'm supposed to be a representation of Christ here on earth, His ambassador. I represent the kingdom. What does it say about the kingdom when I'm lazy, or I constantly procrastinate.......or say I'm going to do something and don't do it. I don't believe that's a good or accurate representation. Jesus was not lazy and He was a man of His word. The kingdom is not a place of chaos and double-mindedness. The Word specifically speaks against those things. I realize I'm not Jesus and I have limitations, and I also realize that the Spirit of the living God dwells within me and provides me with everything I need to live a godly life. Faithfulness and self-control are two things that come standard with the Holy Spirit. All I have to do is use them. Like the stereo in my car, if I never turn it on it will never play music, but it's there. The potential and the capability are all there waiting to be utilized. There's really no excuse, no legitimate excuse anyway, as to why I can't be more God-honoring in the way I live my life. I need to be honest and not say I'll do something if I know I can't or won't really do it. That's pretty simple, really. The trick is to actually do what I honestly say I will do. Rebuke the spirit of laziness, take captive the thoughts of procrastination ("Oh, I can do that later.") and be a woman of integrity. Excellence and integrity are characteristics of Jesus. That's the kind of person I want to be, a person of excellence and integrity. Solid as a rock....The Rock upon which I stand. For His glory, Amen!