Did you know that you are just as important to God as anyone that lives or has ever lived? He loves you just the same as He loves the preacher, the president, the Pope or even one of His 12 disciples.
Doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. He loves you the same. No more, no less.
And did you know that the purpose and plan that He has for your life is just as important to Him as the purpose and plan He had for Noah, for Moses, for David and anyone else that has ever lived?
The purposes and plans He has for you are just as important to Him as the purposes and plans He has for the famous evangelist, the respected world leader, a well-loved Christian musician.
Not one of us should waste another minute selling ourselves short or underestimating our value to Him and His Kingdom, for we never know when our minutes on earth are up.
Every life matters. Every purpose matters. Always has. Always will.
Take your place in His story and know to the depths of your soul that His story is the ultimate happily-ever-after story. And, best of all, it’s already written.
And the Word of God says…
“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16).
“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).
“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5).
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9).
November 2, 2017, 6:30 AM
Good morning. I know it’s been a long while since I have met You here. I’m not sure why. My faith in you has not wavered during this time of transition—not during my time of unemployment nor during the months of illness the enemy left on my family’s doorstep. Once he realized he could no longer use my job against me and that I was happily trusting You for my career and my financial well-being, it seems as if he attacked something else to bring weakness—the health of my mom and myself.
I won’t lie, it has been a tough, tough three months. But, thanks to our own prayers and the prayers of some faithful friends as well as our unyielding faith in You, things are turning around. Not that I expected anything less. The truth is, I never doubted You, but I also haven’t taken the time to thank You over these last months; to praise You during the storms.
So, today, before I breathe even one more breath, let me say for the record, thank You, Lord, for the storms that remind us that You are always here to pick up the pieces to make us whole again. Thank You for Your healing touch, Your constant provision, Your unwavering patience, and, most of all, Your unfailing and outrageous love. I will never deserve it, but I am ever so grateful for it. Please forgive me for not saying that more often.
I love you, Abba Father. Help me once again to synchronize my heartbeat with yours. Orchestrate the breath of my lungs and the steps of my feet so that I return to my purpose with a renewed sense of passion and energy. I need You more than ever. The world needs You more than ever. Thank You for being here.
It is in Your glorious name and the name of Your precious Son that I pray. Amen and Ehmen.
Your faith pleases me. In this world where satan appears to run amok, faith and belief in Me is the only thing that can heal the wounds and hurts that his evil doing brings. I am proud that you have endured the hardships of this past year with such faith, grace and endurance as it is such faith, grace and endurance that brings my promises full circle.
Read Hebrews, Chapter 11, my child, and stay encouraged. Now more than ever, I need My children to continue clearing and promoting the trails that your forefathers and mothers have already blazed by the same faith, grace and endurance. Learn from them. It is all of you—those from the past, the present and the future—that will, when the time is right, bring perfection to the entire human race for the remainder of eternity.
Hebrews, Chapter 11:
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gift. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.
It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.
It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, even though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there was no way to county them.
All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.
It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau. It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff.
It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left.
It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command.
It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons.
It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.
It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.
It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death.
But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went on wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.
Follow in the footsteps of faith, my dear child…We are counting on you.
What possesses a man to open fire on thousands of innocent people; people who were out for an evening filled with music and fun?
For some, it was a bucket-list kind of evening of enjoying and living life to the fullest…until the gunfire started.
Shots. Rapid fire. Deafening, relentless shots filled the air; hundreds of life-robbing rounds piercing some, grazing some and sending thousands of others clambering for safety.
When the dust settled, at least 58 were killed and 500-plus were injured. The man responsible apparently turned the gun on himself before authorities reached him. There was no immediate clues as to what would possess him to commit such a senseless and heinous crime.
And, yet, I know exactly what possessed him. It couldn’t be more obvious than if he had left a note or pre-recorded video.
This is, without a doubt, the workmanship of Satan himself. His evil fingerprints are all over it. Not to say the man that pulled the trigger isn’t guilty. He is. Like far too many people living on God’s green earth today, he was a willing participant in Satan’s evil bidding. He had obviously checked out of humanity, surrendering to the wrong side of the continuing war between good and evil; a mere puppet whose monstrous actions will never make sense.
The only thing the rest of us can do is get on our knees and ask God to be with those affected by this evil deed and to remember that, while it may look dark and grim at the moment, the final battle between good and evil has already been won. We already know the ending; we already know the good guys win.
Our job is to not let Satan have even one day of glory. We must fight back. We must pray harder and shine our lights even brighter than ever before knowing that God will turn what was meant for evil for good. Be a part of that good.
Pray. Pray as individuals. As the church. As a nation. As a world. As God’s creation.
Pray intently. Pray loud. Then, pray even louder. Pray until Satan can’t stand all the noise.
Go back to hell, Satan. You’re not welcome here.
I will make my written words few as I have cried out to You in fervent, but silent prayer all morning. Thank You for always being there when I open my eyes and sincerely seek you. Your presence is felt in a very real way and I am beyond thankful. Help me to stay aware of Your presence Lord, day in and day out, no matter what. I can’t do it alone, nor do I want to. I love you, dear sweet Savior, and I praise You for all that You have done and continue to do for me. Thank You for loving me, despite my many shortcomings; despite having to remind me of the same things over and over. Thank You for being patient and kind and for never, ever failing me. Thank You for being Love. Teach me, Father, to be the same. Amen and Ehmen!
I am here. I’m always here. Unfortunately, you, as a human have flesh and that flesh gets in your way. It creates a barrier of sorts; a smoke-screen that Satan happily uses to send you scurrying down paths you were never meant to follow. It’s his only move. Because he knows that nothing—absolutely nothing above or beneath—can or will ever make Me leave you, his one and only game plan is to lure you as far away as possible and to cause so much chaos and confusion that you are temporarily blinded. Temporarily is the key word to focus on, child, as Satan will never be allowed to take you from me. No matter where you go—no matter how dark, how deep, how dank or desolate—as soon as you call My Name, your eyes will be opened and you will once again see Me right beside you. Please never forget this child. Yes, Satan has powers, but your powers through me are much stronger and NOTHING—except your own choice—can separate us. Spend some time today bathing in these words in Romans. Soak in them. Let them soften you flesh, permeate your blood vessels and pulsate through your heart and body. It is medicine for your soul.
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? As the Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.’ No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angles nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—NOT even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
All this time spent chasing peace. The wrong places. The wrong faces. A team of could have beens and should have beens that, in truth, would never be.
A world—both external and internal—rocked by evil and wrong, unfathomable madness and mayhem. So much needless strife and stress. Disappointment and failure. Physical and emotional strains and pains. Needless, but not pointless.
The fact is that it is in the useless that God finds value; in the meaningless that meaning and purpose is birthed. It is in the turmoil of life that we unearth peace; it is in uncertainty that we find faith and what was once exceedingly evasive is finally discovered lying dormant within.
Thank you, Jesus, for not only planting peace inside of our hearts, but for always, always standing guard so that no one and no thing can ever take it away—not even the loss of a job or a loved one that we thought would last forever. My friend Denny and I know this first hand. We have lived it before and are living it now. And it is good.
My prayer today is that you, too, wake the peace that slumbers within, giving all of yourself—your troubles and your victories—to the Prince of Peace, your Father and Mine, the Lord God Almighty.
He loves you and so do we! Amen and Ehmen.
More about Peace from Gotquestions.org:
The Bible has a lot to say about peace. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Paul refers to “the God of all peace” (Romans 15:13, 33; Galatians 6:16). The term peace is often used as a greeting and a benediction (see Luke 24:36). So what exactly is peace, and how can we have “inner peace”?
A word often translated “peace” in the Bible actually means “to tie together as a whole, when all essential parts are joined together.” Inner peace, then, is a wholeness of mind and spirit, a whole heart at rest. Inner peace has little to do with external surroundings. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” He had also told His followers that “in this world you will have many troubles. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). So peace is not the absence of trouble; it is the presence of God.
Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). When the “God of all peace” comes to live inside a believing heart (1 Corinthians 6:19), He begins to produce His own characteristics in that life. Inner peace comes from knowing that circumstances are temporary and that God is sovereign over all (Isaiah 46:9–11). Peace comes from exercising faith in the character of God and His Word. We can have peace in the midst of challenges when we remember that “all things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). We can choose peace rather than give way to fear and worry. Inner peace resulting from a relationship with God allows us to keep things in proper perspective. We can accept difficult situations on earth by remembering that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).
We are commanded to “live in peace” with others, as far as it is up to us (Romans 12:18; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Hebrews 12:14). To live at peace means we interact with those around us in accordance with our own wholeness of mind. Our reactions to circumstances can bring peace to an otherwise chaotic situation. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). And James 3:18 says, “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” God’s desire is that we who know Him learn to live in peace within ourselves first. Then we can radiate that peace to others, bringing calmness and wisdom to tense situations, and in so doing be lights in the world (Matthew 5:14; Philippians 2:14–15).
Her foundation was cracked, damaged almost irrevocably; my friend’s young life cradled not by warmth and safety as it should have been, but instead rocked by the abusive hands and harsh words of an angry and drunken father; a man that not only cursed God, but who sat himself upon a self-made throne and ruled with an iron fist.
His family lived scared of him and later scarred by him. For, even after his reign ended in death, the roots he had planted continued to haunt and hurt; to break through and crack almost every inch of the foundation upon which they had landed. Over the years, she lost both her brothers to tragic circumstances and she also seemed destined to continue traveling a dark and cursed road, her choices and current lot in life often colored by her distressed upbringing. She says she often felt like a mere shadow without a soul.
My favorite word combination in the Bible, two words used together 43 glorious times in Scripture and a phrase that is definitely cause for jubilant celebration. God’s unbending, unchanging response to satan’s relentless challenges. The bottom line. The last word.
Two words that speak life instead of death. Yes instead of no. Can instead of can’t. Will instead of won’t. Do instead of don’t.
Two words that create freedom instead of imprisonment. Victory instead of defeat.
“But, God” is a game changer. A Holy and glorious intervention.
Below is a poem that my friend, Denny, wrote after God lovingly intervened in her life in the late 1990s during a trip to a Women of Faith Conference in Seattle, Washington. She doesn’t know I am reprinting it and I am praying for her forgiveness in advance. It’s just too good not to be shared; the beginning of her new story—one that has still been filled with chapters set deep in the valley of the shadow of death, but with one HUGE difference. This time she is accompanied by the Father that loves, guides and protects her just as a father should and who punctuates every stormy, tumultuous chapter with the same happy ending. Two words: But God….
Thank you God for saving my friend and for saving me…for introducing us almost a decade ago over an internet scrabble board…and for etching and intertwining a divine purpose in both of our hearts. May we continue to follow You into this purpose and create works that will grow Your Kingdom and forever glorify You and Your Name.
I also pray that each of you reading this now will recognize your own “But God” moments. If you are in a valley, I promise you that He WILL see you through. Don’t give up. Look up!
You are prayed for…today and always.
Amen and Ehmen.
Twelve Disciples Plus One
By Denny H.
Twelve disciples plus one boarded a van one day,
Embarking upon a pilgrimage, we were traveling far way.
Headed for Seattle, to praise and learn and pray,
We didn’t know each other well, but they had much to say.
Sharing testimony, their convictions wound in tight,
It bound them all as sisters as we drove on through the night.
They joined in prayer; they shed some tears; they sang with great delight,
They came to know each other well; they whet my appetite!
Women of Faith is what they were, as we joined, the ebb and flow
Of throngs of comrades joined as one to hear the Word and grow
But I was anxious, I had no right, to think that God would care
What am I doing with all these women, “God, why am I in this chair?”
I’m not like all these Christians who know the love in bloom,
As brides in their relationship to a God who is their groom;
I’m not a daughter of our Lord, I could never call Him Dad
The God I know is an angry God, a God who is always mad.
The God I knew when I was young, my father proclaimed to be
An irate, furious and abusive drunk, the Lord of our family.
Mercy, compassion, love and hugs were not what we were shown,
But vicious, mean and callous words were all we’d ever known…
Both my brothers and myself were rock, not precious stone.
I recalled our childhood lost to scorn and also so much shame,
How we as children yearned for God, but were deluded by his name.
I mused on the brother that still lived and to the one—discouraged—died
If they in spirit had known a Dad, they’d embrace the love denied.
I thought of me, the years misplaced, a shadow without a soul,
Reaching for wrongs to right my life, to govern and control.
How tired I was of drifting along to a future without a goal,
I felt, if I was to truly live, somehow I must be whole.
So here I am, I’m in this seat, and wearily I began to pray,
While I listened to the gentle speakers, and to all they had to say,
As they shared their lives—their griefs and sorrows—yet held firmly to their trust
That God is there through thick and thin; that God is not unjust.
Then something happened while I prayed; I softly, slowly died,
I doubled over in that chair and I cried, I cried and cried.
I cried for me, and for my brothers; I cried for all the years
That we had lived not knowing God; I cried such healing tears.
I prayed for me that blessed day; how I prayed to be God’s child;
I prayed for Him to be my Dad and through GRACE, I finally smiled.
For in my mind, I saw a girl, brand new and she was me,
Finally now I could embrace my promised pedigree.
I joined my sisters in that van, the twelve of us plus one,
Now thirteen disciples heading home, my new life just begun.
How I sang and shared and prayed as I extolled my Dad above
That I am of His family conceived from His own love.
A soothing balm restored my heart, a spirit set me free.
And I am here to testify, I’m His daughter, yup that’s me!
I searched, I asked, and I received; received His guarantee
That I shall live, because He lived and because He died for me.
Earlier this week, I was asked to review a lesson for an upcoming church-wide bible study. The study is designed to teach us how to be grounded in prayer as taught by Jesus Himself through the The Lord’s Prayer. What beautiful words!
But, The Lord’s Prayer should be more to us than beautiful prose that we learn to recite as a part of our church experience. According to Jesus, it is meant to be a model of how we should pray and, even though it isn’t all that long, not not one word is wasted. Each word is overflowing with meaning which we should not only lock into our minds, but that we should fully understand and experience in our hearts as well.
In fact, that’s exactly what I think Jesus means in the verses immediately preceding The Lord’s Prayer. Matthew, Chapter 8, Verse 7 and 8, say: “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to look or sound like a pagan and thankfully we don’t have to if we follow Jesus’ lead and understand that God knows what we need before we even form the first word. This, alone, should change the way we pray.
Today, let’s look at the first sentence of The Lord’s Prayer.
Right off the bat, Jesus bundles us up in a warm, cuddly security blanket and reminds us that we are praying not to just any father, but to OUR Father. His Father—the Father of Heaven and Earth—is also my father and your father. Let that really sink in. God is YOUR Dad. He calls you His child and longs for you to call Him Father.
Who Art in heaven,
I think Jesus skillfully added these words to remind us that our Father is above all and limitless in His power, authority and love. Even if you haven’t had a good father here on earth, most of us know what qualities make a good dad. Ponder for a moment about those qualities and realize that your Heavenly Father possesses all of them multiplied by infinity.
Hallowed Be Thy Name.
While “Our Father” reminds us who we are—God’s children—and his location in Heaven confirms that He is above all and without limit, “hallowed be thy name” reminds us who God is—the Creator of Heaven and Earth who is worthy of our praise. As humans, we can sometimes take for granted that which is closest to us, but with these words, Jesus prompts us to always acknowledge and bless our Father in Heaven with every ounce of honor, glory and praise we can muster.
My Prayer Today…
Oh, how I love you, my dear, sweet Father. Though I never got the chance to really know my earthly dad, I thank you for always being that safety net and security blanket in which I can rest. Thank you for your infinite love and for the knowledge that all things are within Your control and that there is absolutely no reason for me to worry, fret or fear. With all that I am, I praise You for all that You are—the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. My Dad. Forever and ever. Amen and Ehmen.
As I stepped outside, the sun just peeking up from beneath the covers of the horizon, I couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief as a cool morning breeze greeted my skin.
It has been really hot lately. And humid. So humid, in fact, that it feels like Mother Nature wraps me in a warm, wet blanket every time I step outdoors.
But not this morning and, as the cool air energized my spirit, I couldn’t help but send audible thank you’s heavenwards.
Man, it felt good to feel good. It felt even better to sense Jesus’ presence by my side. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not always in step with my Maker, but today was different. The heat and heaviness of life did not exist in this moment and off I went feeling light on my feet and loved in my heart.
I’m pretty sure I had a bounce in my step and I definitely had a smile on my face as I stepped from my driveway onto the asphalt in front of my house. I turned to the right as I have so many mornings, but instead of tucking earbuds into my ears, I decided to listen for God’s voice. Prayer, after all, isn’t always talking and presenting requests to God; it is a two-way conversation which requires us to sometimes close our mouths and open our ears.
He didn’t disappoint. As we strolled along, He began to whisper words of comfort and direction deep into my spirit. He told me that this time and situation were not a punishment, but rather a gift. That this was my time. Our time. A time for reconnection and reinvention. A time of complete trust and dependence on Him. Himdependence, if you will. The time and place our lives intersect; the very place in which His will meets my purpose.
His words washed over me like a comfortable garment. Oh, how long I have waited for this moment. The moment that I could truly take hold of this purpose and dream that He has placed within my heart. How I have longed to harvest what He has so carefully planted.
I breathed another sigh of relief as the mantle that had once felt too heavy to bear, now slid over me like a breeze and rested gently upon my skin. I was surprised at how soft and comfortable it felt. He spoke again. “This, my child, is what I mean by ‘my yoke is easy.’
At this word, I felt the urge to stop and, as I stood in the middle of the road, I noticed that I felt surprisingly relaxed, unlike two weeks earlier when I had felt too uncomfortable and restless to stand still, afraid that someone might see me and wonder what on earth I was doing. I had always felt that I needed to be moving or else I must be wasting time.
But not this day and, as I stood still, He led my eyes to a beautiful flower standing proudly in the distance amid trees and weeds. It was obviously not planted by human hands, but it was unbelievably breathtaking under the spotlight of the morning sun. How could I have not seen this before? How could I have missed this beautiful thing? And, as I stood there and questioned myself, He stood right beside me ready to answer. “See, my child,” I heard His Spirit whisper. “This is what I mean when I say ‘be still and know that I am God.’”
“You, my child, are to be like that flower amongst the weeds,” He continued. “You are to be a hope among the desolate. A flower for which I can bring the winds and scatter your seeds, giving birth to new growth and new hope in places you have yet to see and some you may never see with your own eyes.”
As His words trailed off, we resumed walking. He nudged me down a path I’ve never taken before; hard to believe since I’ve now lived in this neighborhood for a decade this very week. What a creature of habit I can be!
He whispered that sometimes we must get off the beaten path to discover new things about ourselves and about Him. Routine, He declared, can bring death to creativity and creativity is one of the most effective ways to express love and to reflect who He is. “Look around,” I heard Him say. “I am doing a new thing.”
Although the last time I had taken a new route, I had run into a not-so-nice canine, today, I felt a peace in my spirit as I walked along; probably because I was accompanied by the King of Kings. The trees were beautiful and the aroma of honeysuckle chased after me, encircling my senses and making my heart sing. I couldn’t help but smile as I caught myself humming. I was practically skipping along. It didn’t matter that I really didn’t know exactly where this path would lead or what I might find along the way. I was just enjoying being with The Father.
I felt like a young girl in love. I marveled at how blue the sky looked; how green the trees and grass; how beautiful the birds and animals; a little bit of heaven just a few steps off the same road I had traveled so many times. But, almost as soon as I had gotten lost in the newness and beauty of the excursion, I realized the new road had come to an end and I was now standing in a cul-de-sac. I wasn’t ready for it to be over. Had The Father not just said that we sometimes need to get out of our routine?
Sensing my disappointment, He answered quickly. “Just remember, child, even what feels like an ending will always be a setup for something greater when you are walking with Me. I use every step of every journey to teach you and mold you; to open your eyes a little more.”
I drank in His words, knowing in my heart that He was not just talking about this morning’s walk, but instead about the current concerns regarding my life and career. God has been so good to me through my latest situation and, today—almost two months after the unexpected and abrupt end of a 22 year career—I am actually quite enjoying learning to trust Him completely. I am finally making choices based on what I feel is God’s desire for me as opposed to my natural tendency to search for the secure and the safe.
Back on the main road now, I turned to head home. The morning was gaining momentum and the heat was rising just as fast as the sun. I picked up my pace, ready to get home before it got any hotter. Thank goodness this homestretch was shaded by the many majestic oaks for which the street was named.
Again, however, I felt another nudge to stop in the roadway. And while I felt a little more than distracted as sweat began to roll off my forehead, my eyes were drawn to a tree just a few feet away from me. What? Are you kidding me?
I stood in awe as right there in front of me–growing on a random tree on the fringe of the woods–was a grape vine loaded with young grapes. How had I not seen this before? The flower earlier on our walk was pretty far into the woods. Had the sun not shined its spotlight on it, I may have missed it. But this vine, filled with clusters of grapes, was growing wild right along the path I have been walking for months. What’s more, I know grape vines. I have one just like it in my yard. In fact, He has used it to teach me throughout the decade I have lived here; so much so that I have often wondered if the grapevine is the reason God made this my home in the first place.
“You haven’t seen it before, because you weren’t looking.” God’s spirit said to mine. “To you, it was just another vine. It wasn’t until you really opened your eyes and the fruit started to emerge that you took notice. You, my child, are like this vine. You grow and prepare, I prune and tend, but, it isn’t until the fruit begins to materialize that people really begin to take notice. This is your time, child. Get to work and watch me multiply the fruits of your labor.”
Ahhhhhh. Happy sigh. Thank You, Jesus, for this walk; for this day; and, most of all, for this opportunity to be a part of Your plan and purpose. You gave Denny and I a very important assignment several years ago and I know that I know it is time to make it happen. Not ten years from now when I retire; not next year when things slow down. But now. I am honored, humbled and grateful. Help us, Lord, to stay in step with you as we continue to journey into your will and purpose.
We are ready, willing and—with your grace and help—I know that we are also well able. Amen and Ehmen.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
“Be strong…Be strong…and get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heavens Armies, My Spirit remains among you, just as I promise…So do not be afraid.” Haggai 2:4-5
The older I get, the more and more truth I find in the old saying, “time flies.” In fact, every year the old tick-tock seems to sprout bigger and faster wings, hijacking the moments and carrying each one of them far, far away.
If we’re lucky, the good ones land somewhere in the recesses of our memories to be retrieved and enjoyed many times in the future, while the not-so-good just keep floating into the dark abyss of time never to be recalled again. Better yet, they wind up in God’s toolbox where He repurposes them and turns each into something useful.
Actually, the truth is, God promises to always use our stuff. He says so many times throughout the bible and most expressly so in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to his purpose.”
I hope you’ll notice that He says ALL things; not just some things, but ALL things. All He really wants in return is our unwavering love, another fact that He reminds us of throughout His word, such as in Matthew 22:3, when Jesus himself spoke the greatest commandment of all: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
My prayer today is that all of us learn to love God just like that—with all our heart, soul and mind—for I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is that kind of love that leads to full trust, obedience and dependence on Him and full dependence leads to guaranteed fulfillment of the purpose for which our Father created us.
And that, my dear friends, will ultimately lead to the words we all long to hear straight from the lips of our Awesome God: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done!” Oh, how incredible that will be! I know it’s July 4th weekend here in the United States, but this year, I say let’s forget Independence Day and start celebrating Himdependence Day!
Amen and Ehmen!