Migrating Prayers

As I was praying today, one of the items on my list was for the unaccompanied minors at the U.S. border. I have prayed a lot for them over the past few years as the need came before me. I am usually praying for their safety. That the process and separation will not leave any permanent scars on them from the trauma of being separated from the only people and country that they know. I pray for wisdom for those who are working with these children and for the leaders that are making decisions that could impact these children for the rest of their lives.

This time I felt a different prompting than I typically have. Today as I was praying, my heart swelled with empathy for the parents. It was hard for me to allow my barely adult child to move across the country. I can not image, as a parent, feeling like my only option was to send my small child alone to another country.

My eyes were really opened to the fact these children are fleeing and their parents are sending them because they want a safer, better life. It is easy for me to criticize and question “why would a parent send their child on a 3,000 mile journey alone?” Yet, the answer is they are trying to protect their children the best that they can.

So today my prayer was not one just for the safety of these children but for these parents. I prayed for the parents and other adults to unify against the oppression that is occurring that leaves them feeling so hopeless. That the spirit of oppression that these people are under would be bound, and the Spirit of power and wisdom would be loosed in these countries so many are fleeing. That the Lord would bind on earth the spirit of desperation in these countries that have left parents in desperate situation where the only thing that they can think is to send their child to another country by themselves for protection. I pray that oppressive systems would be torn down and replaced with leaders who would promote safety and economic security in the lives of families.

Only God can change the direction that this world is headed. He won’t do it alone though. His children have to rise up and stand in the gaps in prayer. We have to lift our voices for those who have been silenced. We have to empower them to make changes to their environment, to come along side them and be a helping hand where they are instead of a screaming voice at the border.

Our country was built on immigration. When people are seeking refuge by the thousands we have to ask, what else can be done? For every child at our border, there is a parent or care taker that felt it was the only option. What can we do as God’s people to create more options? I know the first step is seeking God in prayer on their behalf.

What if we spent more time praying than complaining about the problem? God changed my prayers, He migrated them from the children that are flooding the news. He took my prayers to the parents who are sending them in desperation. He led me to the underlying issues in the countries that are causing people to flee. He directed me to pray for solutions, not just the problem everyone is focused on. This is just one little issue (all issues are little to God), imagine if we let God migrate our prayers to where He can move in response!!

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Word and Power, not either/or

“Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?”
‭‭Mark‬ ‭12:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It is not enough to know Scriptures, the Pharisees and Sadducees both to quote them. We must walk in the truth of the Word and in the power of the Spirit. They cannot be separated.

I grew up in a denomination that taught me scripture. They failed to teach me about the relationship and the power that comes from walking intimately with God. I don’t believe that you can walk that close to God and not have a demonstration of power in your life, even if it comes through answered prayers and not through public demonstration that power is so easily confused with at times. I think about the examples in my life of people who were not Spirit-filled but certainly were Spirit-led. Those people who walked closely with God, but did not necessarily believe in gifts of the Spirit that are in demonstration, like tongues. People who had the gift of wisdom and knowledge, but did not necessarily claim it as such.

I can see the answers to prayers they prayed. I know lives were healed through their affective prayers that availed even when it wasn’t done by the laying on of hands. God met them where they were. He joined their faith in the scripture and of Him with His power. Their lives are a testimony of his faithfulness to his promises, I was blessed to learn from them.

And yet, I long for the active demonstration of God‘s power that can only be attributed to His glory and His will in others lives. I want to see cancer eradicated, addiction broken, depression turned to joy, anxiety turned to peace, mania turn to self-control. I long to see His miraculous power, in the moment. The answers to right now prayers, right now. Just as Jesus and His disciples saw. It takes knowing the Word to have that demonstration of power. That power has been weakened by religion, rules in theology that distract from what God wants to do. His power accompanies God’s way, not man’s way.

I want to walk in the Word and in power. Jesus is the Word and His Spirit is the power. Both are available. Both are in my life. So where and why does the flow stop? Is it my fear and insecurities that keep me from stepping out? Is that why I have felt the focus of the new year will be stepping out?

Prayer – Lord, You know I have so many questions I want answered, but I also know that You know the answers. I can trust You. Lord, I want to walk in the fullness of Your Word. I want to walk in the fullness of Your power. I know that means stepping out of my comfort zone in obedience. Help me to hear Your voice clearly and to obey quickly before reason can set in so that I can walk in Your purpose for my life. Lord, I want to see Your power. I want to see my nephew healed miraculously. I want to see my family giving you glory and honor serving you whole heartedly all the days of your life.

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My Father’s House

““Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.John‬ ‭14:1-3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I think this passage really hits home for me because I am awaiting being able to move to my new home in New Mexico with my husband. He went before me to prepare the place for me. I’ve had people ask about that decision. But I trust him and he knows me well enough to know what I would like and what I want.

As I wrote about this, I was thinking about mansions that is how I learned this passage is a child. I thought about mansions versus rooms. There is a time that mansions would excite me. The idea of a big giant house that was designed just as I would like. After Covid, and being separated for more than two months from my husband, the idea of being in God’s house in a room He prepared for me is much more appealing.

As a child, I wanted my own room. The youngest of five, I had to wait my turn. A room means I can have my own space. Yet it also means I can still be included. God designed and prepared my room in His house. He wants to include me, to keep me close, and be available if I need Him.

It also means a lot to me because I am particular about who I let stay in my house. It is mostly family, because I feel the need to make sure everything is spotless when others come to my house. I don’t feel like I have the gift of hospitality. I don’t like small talk. I like deep conversation or silence. I love to serve, and am okay with preparing and cleaning up. It’s the stuff in the middle that trips me up. With family, we can just be. I can do what needs to be done, and know they can be comfortable doing whatever they like while they are there. God invited me as family to stay in His house. He wants me to feel comfortable with Him.

The other thing is, at my house my family is always welcome. Whether I am there or not, my door is always open to them. There is always a place for them, regardless of what else is going on. If I know their coming, the sheet are freshly washed, and I plan a special meal. God makes His children a priority. He’s been getting the room perfect for my arrival (and yours too). He’s making all my favorites, because He is a good Father.

Prayer – Jesus, I thank You for going to prepare a place for me, in Your house. Thank You for including me in Your plans, for calling me to be a part, because you know too often I felt rejected and excluded, but You have a place for me.

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A Mother’s View

Last night we watched Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ for Resurrection Sunday. I couldn’t help as a mother having empathy for Mary. I know that much of her role is has been added to for the drama, but I just can’t imagine watching my child go through such torture. I had the thought, as Mary prayed “why, when, how Son will you deliver yourself?” did Mary realize as she asked “why” her son had to go through the beating and death? Was she aware that it was also for her that He shed His blood? Did she realize during the process or after that He could not turn back from the path before Him? I can’t fathom my son being beat, let alone killed in my place, even if only in part for something I did.

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:4-5

We don’t have a lot of insight into Mary and Jesus’s relationship from the Scriptures. We know of the virgin birth and how she pondered things that were said about Jesus by others. We see a glimpse of Mary’s concern when Jesus is twelve and stays behind at the temple. These are the first words that we see between the two:

“And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:42-50‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Then there is silence again, but we see that Mary was present and active in the first mircle of Jesus’ public ministry.

“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it. ” Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.” ‭‭John‬ ‭2:1-11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

There are a few references to Mary being present, but no written conversation between the two. We know that she showed up, and wanted to speak with Jesus with a response that if I received from my son, might have really hurt my feelings.

“Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.‭‭Matthew‬ ‭12:47-50‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

And then we see their last interaction at the cross. He appears to be making sure that she is cared for after His departure from the world.

When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.‭‭John‬ ‭19:26-27‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Jesus started His ministry at the temple, listening and questioning the the teachers. His first miracle was at the direction of His mother. Some of His last words recorded before His death were to His mother. She was there in the upper room when the Holy Spirit fell on the day of Pentecost. She was involved, there by His side during His ministry. How helpless she must have felt as a bystander as she watched her Son be beaten and killed. How she must have really questioned the things that had been said about Him, did she misunderstand what was said about who He would be? The pain that she must have felt for her child, not even realizing that He was experiencing her grief and her sorrow, in addition to the rest of the world’s. I know how it hurts my heart to know Jesus paid that price for me, I can’t imagine the weight of carrying that for three days from a mother’s view.

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Drives, Dirt Devils, and the Abiding Spirit

God usually speaks something to me on long drives. There is something about the open road that clears the mind and allows me to turn my focus more clearly to His voice. Likely, it is more because I live the rest of life on such a schedule that my mind rarely has time to just clear of all the daily noise.

We were driving to pick up our grandchildren for Spring Break week. As I looked out across the great expanse of land, I saw little whirlwinds of sand or dirt. I have grown used to the big sand/dust storms in New Mexico that make visibility low and car washes a necessity. This was different, they were small whirlwinds popping up between the greenery, and disappearing just as quickly. I saw this several times in a short time span.

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Photo Credit: thomasina (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

After I returned home from dropping the kids back off, I took time to look up what these little things were. According to the American Meteorological Society (AMS), this is called a dust devil. It is defined as, “a well-developed dust whirl; a small but vigorous whirlwind, usually of short duration, rendered visible by dust, sand, and debris picked up from the ground.

During the initial drive though, I thought about how the Holy Spirit is often portrayed in the wind:

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts‬ ‭2:1-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

How often I seek His presence, the mighty rushing wind; instead of allowing His Spirit to remain, I am content with a quick visitation. I have allowed myself to be satisfied with a quick imitation instead of His abiding presence. He desires for His Spirit to rest on us and live in us.

How appropriate that this little whirlwind is called a dirt devil. The enemy tries to counterfeit everything that is Holy. God longs to satisfy me and fill me, but there are times that I am satisfied with the quick refreshment of His wind. The wind of the Spirit picks up what is on me, the debris of the world that I have allowed to rest upon me. He longs to remove it completely, but I allow it to be lifted and then quickly move on to something else. The debris is dropped back on me, usually with more added to it.

“For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” Psalm‬ ‭107:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God keeps bringing me back to the longing, the hungry. God wants to satisfy and fill His children. Yet, so often I am so full of worldly things that I don’t know what it is to long for Him. I occupy my every waking moment with the schedule that leaves me longing for rest. God offers it. I settle for being lazy, and sleep that still leaves me exhausted.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Matthew 11:28

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I look for connection, when I have a Father who longs to connect with me without demands. Instead, I occupy my schedule with things that give a false sense of connection but are of no eternal value that often leave me needing to decompress.

They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. Colossians 2:19

I look for relationships to satisfy me, when I have Savior who was willing to die for me so that I could be in relationship with Him.

 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:10-11

I look for success in the things of this world to satisfy, and God promises a deeper level of satisfaction through meditation on His Word and obedience to Him.

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:7-8

I hunger for savory foods to fill a Bread of Life hunger.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. John 6:35

We have a choice of what we allow to fill our lives, what we give our time to. We can choose to rest in His presence, be filled with His Spirit, abide in His love and be filled by the Bread of Life. He will never force us to stay there, even after we accept Him into our lives. He will direct us, but He will never force us to listen or obey. May we not be satisfied by passing dust devils, but rest in His abiding Spirit.

Prayer – Lord help me to strip away the things that keep me from longing for you. Not because I need you to take them from me, but because I want to be satisfied by you. Allow my hunger to grow for you and to help me to stop feeding that void with food that never fails Lord let your spirits wind blow and let it remain on me. Help me ot be satisfied with a cheap imitation of your Spirit, or with a visitation, but allow your Spirit to rest on me as I abide in You and Seek you with my whole heart.

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Pondering Thought

“So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭27:24-25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I have read this passage before, the commentary today mentioned that this passage has been used to justify the slaughter of the Jews. Maybe it has been, but could it also be a prophetic word? That one day the Jews will accept Christ as Savior and His righteous blood will cover them?

Christ died for the Jews that crucified Him, although not all will accept Him as Lord and Savior, maybe some of the very people who crucified Him recognized Christ was the Messiah.

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Can I accept the steak to get to the cow?

I love when God uses every day work things to create a parallel process in my life. I was going about my workday, and boom, I get that slap on the behind to wake me up and move me out of my stinking thinking. The doctor was answering a question posed about the training he was doing. He was giving an example of how we think things should be. He shared about how sometimes we want the whole cow, and won’t allow ourselves to settle for anything less. When in reality, we are going to butcher the cow into pieces and we’re going to make steak, ground beef, and ribs. We are going to make a lot of different things out of the cow, and a lot of it we will not even use. Yet, we’re so focused on obtaining the whole cow, that we can’t grasp the idea that we could buy one section at a time. We could just buy the steaks, then the ground beef, and the ribs and eventually get the whole cow through the process of buying one piece at a time. The end result will be the same, but we can’t let go of the whole cow to get what we really want and need.

And just like that, my mind trailed off to my own life. Clinically I know his description is a cognitive distortion, called all or nothing thinking. “If I can’t have all of it then I shouldn’t or can’t have any of it” is the thought. I recognize it a lot as I talk to clients, friends and family. Yet, obviously I needed my own parallel processing because have been blind to my own thinking patterns. It took a story about a cow and a steak for God to open my eyes.

What do I mean? I want to walk in my calling. I know that God created me on purpose and for a purpose. I want to know what it is and have believed that I will find contentment when I am fully surrendered to the call. I realized in the doctor’s story, I am looking for the cow and God keeps handing me steaks and ground beef. I have definitely had some stinking, all of nothing thinking going on.

But when He who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by His grace,”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭1:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Earlier this week I started a Bible study by John Bevere called “Called” about how to discover and live out your calling. This passage was one he referenced in regards to our specific calling. He shared Webster’s dictionary definition of calling “A strong inner impulse towards a particular course of action or vocation especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence.” I’ve watched a few episodes so far.

When I learned I will be moving to New Mexico I knew that God had a plan and purpose for it. New Mexico had not even been on my radar even six months before. Yet God knew before I was born that I would come here.

By His grace when I cross the state line, I felt at home. They are transition over the past three months has been smooth. Although I miss my friends and family I have a deep peace within me. I feel like I am called to be here, my God will use this time to help me step in to my calling. I’m trying to be obedient to his voice and find out what that really means in my life.

Every move that I have felt led to do, I have stepped out and done. Going, applying, inviting, giving, sharing, etc. I don’t feel like I have held back. Still I have felt underwhelmed. I want more. I need more. I am looking for the cow, and all I see is steak.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith.
‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Lately, I have felt like everything but an overcomer. I have felt weighted, discontent, and depressed. I hate feeling this way. I’ve been looking for the underlying cause. Things like missing my family, feeling isolated and alone, the anniversaries of my parents’ and grandmother’s deaths, not feeling completely challenged in my job, not feeling connected with Tim, not feeling God’s presence as clearly as I am used to, and not feeling passionate about anything.

Regardless of all of those factors, the cause is not going to help me overcome it. I need child like faith, an innocent faith to overcome where I am at right now. I am born of God. His word says I overcome the world. My victory to overcome is through my faith.

Faithpistisconviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it. “G4102 – pistis – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (KJV).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 3 Apr, 2021. https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4102&t=KJV.

I believe in Jesus and His Word. I need to except iHis truth into my current emotional state so that I can overcome. I need to look at the little blessings, and the small steps that I am taking that lead to eternal outcomes. It doesn’t look like I think it should, I don’t see the cow. I do see that God keeps handing me steaks.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.” Psalm‬ ‭37:4-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Delightʿānaḡ– to be soft, be delicate, be dainty. “H6026 – ʿānaḡ – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (KJV).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 3 Apr, 2021. https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6026&t=KJV.

Those words don’t typically describe me. When I come to the Lord though I am usually softer but I wouldn’t say delicate or dainty. When I am impassioned and feel tender about something, I come to Him softly, almost in tears. I am often told to speak up if praying corporately. When something hits too close to home or to close to my heart, I come softly to the Lord.

After a while it can become a bold declaration, as I pray with authority and it becomes a deep desire of my heart. Sometimes, in those moments I am able to accept the steak. Yet, I quickly find myself looking again for the cow.

Commit – gālal – to roll, roll away, roll down, roll together. To transfer what is rolled away from ones self to another “H1556 – gālal – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (KJV).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 3 Apr, 2021. https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H1556&t=KJV.

As I thought about Psalms 37:5 To transfer my way, rolling it away from me to God, and if I trust Him, He will act. Immediately I pictured a large boulder that I will call “my way.” If I roll it away from me, the person on the other side is going to react.

I am growing weary holding the boulder, attempting to keep it from rolling away. I don’t want to let go of control. Despite the fact that my boulder is too heavy for me to sustain it long term in one spot. I know it has a tendency to roll and could crush me under its weight. I still insist on my way.

God is patiently waiting for the opportunity to react to my rolling boulder. God is not concerned about the size of my boulder, it is not going to crush him. He is there waiting to catch it almost like parent would catch a child’s foam ball. He is waiting for me to commit my way to His. He wants to release the weight.

Yet, I have been holding out for the cow. Steaks don’t seem like they are enough of Him for me. I am sure that He wants me to just have the whole cow all at once. He can’t just expect once piece at a time. Even though I can’t hold the whole cow, I just assume that is what He expects of me; because I expect it of me.

The reality is, I only have two choices. The boulder will eventually roll. Once the momentum gets going the boulder will either crush me or keep moving towards God as I trust Him to act through me. The question is will I accept that God’s way is one steak or piece at a time, or will I keep up my all or nothing thinking holding out for the cow?

Prayer – Lord, speak I am listening. I want to fulfill the calling that you have placed on my life, in the fullness of your grace. I am tired of feeling miserable when as your child I am called to be an over comer! Help me to walk by faith, to joy unspeakable, peace that surpasses all understanding, in your wisdom and power overcoming the world. Help me to truly commit my ways to you and delight myself in you that you can act on the desires of my heart because they match the desires of your heart. Remind me often Lord to accept the steak and realize that the cow is still in your hands, to give to me as I can handle.

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Refusing God

““Then we set out from Horeb and went through all that great and terrifying wilderness that you saw, on the way to the hill country of the Amorites, as the Lord our God commanded us. And we came to Kadesh-barnea.

And I said to you, ‘You have come to the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God is giving us. See, the Lord your God has set the land before you. Go up, take possession, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has told you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’

Then all of you came near me and said, ‘Let us send men before us, that they may explore the land for us and bring us word again of the way by which we must go up and the cities into which we shall come.’ The thing seemed good to me, and I took twelve men from you, one man from each tribe.

And they turned and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshcol and spied it out. And they took in their hands some of the fruit of the land and brought it down to us, and brought us word again and said, ‘It is a good land that the Lord our God is giving us.’

“Yet you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. And you murmured in your tents and said, ‘Because the Lord hated us he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us. Where are we going up? Our brothers have made our hearts melt, saying, “The people are greater and taller than we. The cities are great and fortified up to heaven. And besides, we have seen the sons of the Anakim there.”’

Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them. The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ Yet in spite of this word you did not believe the Lord your God, who went before you in the way to seek you out a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night and in the cloud by day, to show you by what way you should go.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭1:19-33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The Israelites knew the promise that God made them concerning the promise land. Yet, they initially refused to go in and take hold of what God had promised them. Despite seeing the fruit of the land and seeing its abundance, they made a choice not to move forward into the blessings of God.

Instead, they made excuses and then grumbled in the wilderness for forty years. They were never to walk in what He had provided for them. With the exception of Joshua and Caleb, it was their children who took the territory that God had promised to them.

How many times do we refuse God’s promises? Some we know the sweet fruit His promises produce. Others promises we can not begin to fathom the blessing that He will bring if we will obey Him. We are unwilling to take the step of faith into what He has promised us. We hold back, and then complain when we don’t get the result that we want doing things our way. We grumble as we walk around the same mountain over and over again.

Yes, often times our failure to step out paves the way for others to step into the promise. What are we denying ourselves because we refuse God. Imagine the starting point we would give those who come beside us and behind us, if we would just stop refusing God but instead boldly step out in faith.

So here are a few promises of God that we can stand on and step out in in our walk with Him.

When we feel alone, weak, helpless or defeated: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:28-31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When we lack peace:Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah‬ ‭26:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”” ‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.Philippians‬ ‭4:8-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When you don’t know what to do or need direction: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.‭‭James‬ ‭1:5-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭32:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!Psalm‬ ‭37:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.” Psalm‬ ‭37:23-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When we need healing: Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah‬ ‭53:4-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.Psalm‬ ‭103:2-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When your overwhelmed:Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”” Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When your facing trials:Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah‬ ‭43:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭54:10‬ ‭ESV

no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”” Isaiah‬ ‭54:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When you need forgiveness: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:8-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.” ‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭7:14-15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John‬ ‭8:36‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When you’re in need: “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm‬ ‭37:3-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians‬ ‭4:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark‬ ‭11:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There are promises found in the Word to meet most of our needs. If we know the Word we can stand on Word, obey God’s leading, and walk in His promises. When we don’t know or don’t obey, we are refusing God. Lord give us faith to take bold steps into your promises!!!

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Hydrated in the Lord

I forgot to take my water with me today when I went for a walk around my neighborhood. In Arkansas, I would not have given it much thought in March. Today I didn’t get to the end of the block before I considered turning around. I didn’t; by the end of the walk, I regretted it. The dry heat of New Mexico certainly made me thirst for something refreshing.

I quickly downed the bottle of water as soon as I walked into the house. I could relate to David’s cry: “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm‬ ‭63:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Tonight at women’s Bible study another thirsty passage was referenced. ““Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.Matthew‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭ESV I thought back to the thirst that I had, especially in the last stretch of my walk. ‬‬

One of the ladies is participating in a water challenge trying to drink enough water to stay hydrated. She had brought with her this large jug of water. She shared how the more she drinks water, the more she craves it.

The majority of the U.S. population is chronically dehydrated. We substitute other drinks for the water that out body needs trying to fill the gap. There are effects from dehydration that we don’t recognize because we are used to living in that chronic state. We don’t realize what we are missing until we finally get hydrated and our body starts to crave water. When we start drinking enough water we start to notice the benefits to our body.

I thought about how the whole picture is such a representation of the state of many Christians. Most people in 1st world countries, outside of fasting, would not consider going without food or water for a day, let alone a week or months. ‬‬ Yet many Christians expect to live on an Easter and Christmas service. Other’s put forth the effort to make it to Sunday service, and maybe throw a little midweek service for good measure. We walk around representing Christ not realizing how hungry and thirty we really are.

“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” John‬ ‭6:35‬ ‭ESV

We need to hunger and thirst after Christ, because He is our source. We need to be filled continually. The more that we seek after God and fill ourselves on the Bread of Life, the more we crave more of Him. I know that if I don’t spend some time with Him daily, my spirit man is quickly depleted and my flesh takes over.

We can not fill our lives with substitutes and expect to walk in the fullness of Christ. We can not feast on the secondary relationship of preachers and televangelists and think that will satisfy what we need. We haven’t tasted the goodness of God, because we are substituting the overflow of others instead of seeking Him for ourselves. My glands might water, and I might savor the smell of a ribeye steak my husband cooks. But I will not be satisfied on the fumes if he is the only one who eats it. I won’t be satisfied with the scant leftovers on his plate either. Why do we think we can be satisfied in spiritual things when we don’t seek them for ourselves?

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

We have settled for a powerless walk because we are willing to let other things take the place of what we really need. The world needs us to demonstrate God’s power, but we have watered down our faith bringing in the things of the world trying to fill a gap only God can fill. God’s ways are not the world’s ways, and if we have to reach the world thru human tactics we void God of His place and will have to keep them by the same means they came.

I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,  so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. 1 Corinthians 2:3-5

I never realized how much I needed God until I started to seek Him for myself. I was raised in church. Even when I walked away from the church, I knew the word of God, because I had memorized scriptures as a child. When times got tough, and they did, I turned back to the Bible. I sought out answers. God met me there. He started to heal the broken pieces. The more I thirsted after Him, the more He filled me.

I started to notice a difference in what I surrounded myself with, what I wanted to do. It didn’t happen overnight, and for a long while I walked sipping on the holy water but drinking from the worlds cup. I started doing more and more of the “right things”, but I didn’t realize how thirsty I was.

When I finally submitted to the God challenge and started seeking Him for myself daily, my world changed. I changed. I know sometimes that seems scary, to leave all you know. When I realized the fruit of the Spirit tastes so much better than the lusts of the flesh in the long run, I was making changes before I realized everything I left behind. The things I used to do lost their hold me me as I changed. My life was filled with peace, joy, love, goodness. You don’t realize how sweet that is until you walk in it and then someone tries to take it away.

There are times still that I know I could increase my thirst for the Lord. I want it, but making change still comes hard. The reward of walking with the Lord is worth it, but there is still a cost to the comfort of the flesh. It’s littler things now that can go unnoticed by others, areas where God is saying “Drink from the deeper well.” Its more about time and heart now than giving up destructive habits. I want to stay hydrated in the Lord, I don’t want to get dehydrated again. He offers a cup that never runs dry.

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Walking in Unity

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:2-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I took the time to look up each of these main words in the Blue Letter Bible Strong’s Concordance to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of this scripture and how it applies to my daily life.

Humility – a deep sense of one’s (moral) littleness; lowliness of mind

Gentleness mildness, meekness

Patienceforbearance, long-suffering, slowness in avenging wrong

Bear with one anotherEndure one another – mutually

Love agape – affection, good will, benevolence

Eager endeavoring, to exert oneself, give difference

To maintainkeep, to hold firmly

The unity agreement, unanimity

Bondthat which binds together

Peaceharmony, concord between individuals

There is one a single

BodyA large or small number of men closely united into one society, or family, social, ethical, mystical body, so in the New Testament the church, who by the influence of His Spirit works in the church as the soul does in the body

Your callthe divine invitation to embrace Salvation in the kingdom of God

God wants us to walk as one body and unity of His spirit with each other. The only way we can do this is through Him. He enables us to humble ourselves, to be gentle with each other, to be patient, to love. This allows us to have a bond of peace so that we can fulfill our call. I believe that call is more than salvation, but the plan and purpose He designed us to walk out.

Truth about me: I can have a rather gruff personality. I am a choleric personality. I have learned to tame my inner beast but if I’m not careful, it is easy for the negative aspects of my personality to creep out. All the negative aspects of my personality type are contrary to what this passage requires for a believer to walk as one Body in the Spirit.

I know the weakness of my personality; I do my best to curb those negative tendencies. I find often unity is broken because people don’t know my heart. It is hard for people to know my heart, because I have a hard time letting people in, I mean truly in to my world. I own that part, and am trying to allow God to change that about me. However, people also find it hard to bear my abruptness, I am a straight shooter and would rather speak the truth than dance around a sensitive issue. I have also learned just the idea of those negative characteristics of my personality will leave some people keeping me at arms length instead of embracing me in unity. Sometimes I come off stronger than I mean too just because of how I talk. Those who know me well know when I am intentionally coming in strong and can usually tell when I am trying to not exert myself. I know which battles I’m willing to die in and if I am in that mode, very few would question it. But sometimes my lion personality gives a roar that is just sounding loud because the environment around it sounds louder than I ever meant it too.

I have a hard time convincing other personalities that I am aware things don’t have to be my way, that I can have an opinion and can still peaceably go with another option. I can lead, but I also know how to follow. I can take authority, but I also can submit to authority. I can have a vision and still see someone else’s. I can be decisive and yet forgiving if what I decide isn’t chosen. I am not one to carry a grudge. I can be pretty independent but I still like having others around and their help. I want to be in unity with others and I want them to feel at peace with me.

I admit I am still learning how to walk in unity intentionally. I am still learning how to be myself, and yet curb those areas of my personality that cause other’s to question my sincerity. I am learning to let the Holy Spirit guide me instead of trying to take control of a situation. I don’t always get it right. At times I don’t step out where I should because I am trying to curb my nature to take control and want to make sure that it is God leading me and it is not just my own. At times I still try to take control and then have to step back, repent and apologize. I know I want to fulfill my call, and I know that other people will be a part of that call. As believers we are all One Body, we have to figure out our call and work to complete it and compliment those who are walking along side us.

Prayer – Lord I love you and I love people. Help me to let Your Spirit lead me to stay in peace and unity with others. Let me be humble and gentle while still being myself. Let me be patient with others because I need others to be patient with me. Lord in You we are all one. I want every aspect of my life to glorify You. Direct my relationships and my steps.

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