I listened to a young Christian reading John 14 recently. She broke down and cried tears of thankfulness several times, overwhelmed by the miracle of God's love and forgiveness. She had a traumatic childhood that had set her up for much abuse and heartache, but the love of God has set her free.
Psalm 27:4 Sunday afternoons, a group of us head over the the nursing home for "church" in the cafeteria. Our friends there love to sing the old hymns. We continued to sing for about thirty minutes last Sunday - At the Cross, Sweetly Lord Have We Heard Thee Calling, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms... They sang with such enthusiasm, it sounded like the Heavenly Choir had joined in. What a wonderful time we had worshiping Jesus, reading God's Word, sharing stories and praying for each other.
Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you! Isaiah 60:1 What a wonderful day we had at our ladies luncheon and Bible study at the women's shelter. Some of the ladies in our group are beauticians and offer free haircuts, facials, manicures, etc. to some precious ones who are struggling financially. We have met several times now, and today, it seemed that the ladies opened up more. They were sharing their testimonies, playing the keyboard, painting the beauticians' fingernails, and praying for us. One lady who had been "hard to get to know", gave her heart to the Lord today! Hallelujah! The kingdom of God really is righteousness, peace, and JOY!
One Sunday morning at church, a friend told me as she was getting dressed, she asked the Lord, "Is there someone you especially want to bless through me today, Lord?"
The Lord impressed her: "There is a woman with brown hair who will be wearing blue. Tell her that I love her and to ME she is as beautiful as a lily flower."
As she was greeting me, she realized that person the Lord had in mind was me. (She did not know that lilies were special to me and that Lily Valley is the name of my blog.)
Our precious Lord has so lovingly done for us what we could never do for ourselves. He has cleansed us and made us pure in His sight.
If only we could see ourselves as God sees us: We were made to be loved by God.
In Jesus' prayer for believers, He said: The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. John 17:22-23
The two disciples who were walking the road to Emmaus were in transition. You know how, when you go through a traumatic experience, your emotions catch up with your body about three days later, and all of a sudden you "go to pieces"? Devastated by the sudden turn of events of Jesus' illegal arrest, torture, crucifixion, and burial, these men were trying to sort it all out that afternoon as they walked the four miles. They had been told by the women that Jesus had been raised from the dead, but they dismissed the news as "too good to be true". As Jesus appeared and began to walk alongside them, they asked incredulously, "Are you the only person in town who is oblivious to the events of the last three days?" As I wonder that Jesus could be right in front of them and they didn't recognize Him, I have to remind myself, that Jesus is walking life's path with me, though I don't always acknowledge Him or understand His ways.
On the Andy Griffith show from the 1950's, there was an episode where Aunt Bea tried once again to win the blue ribbon at the fair for her pickles. Andy and Opie hated her pickles, but couldn't get up the nerve to tell her, so she just kept on pickling!
If I take a cucumber and pour a little vinegar over it, that doesn't make it a pickle. If I want a good old-fashioned pickle, the cucumber must be fermented by soaking in a brine solution. At some point, between 4 to 6 weeks, it's a pickle, and it can never go back to being a cucumber again!
May your children soak in the presence of the Holy Spirit until we are saturated with all You have for us.
May we marinate in Your Word until we obey You without trying to second-guess You. Change us from the inside out.
"One of the greatest blessings of God on nations that He blesses is wise leadership. We are commanded to pray for our leaders, and this is one of the most important prayers we can pray at this time. We are not told to pray for the great leaders, or even the good ones, or ones we agree with, but the ones we have. We can also pray for those who are being raised up or who would end up with authority in the coming crisis. We should also pray for them to be given Josephs and Daniels—prophets from God with the wisdom to help them navigate through what is coming." -Rick Joyner
Yield now and be at peace with Him; Thereby good will come to you. Please receive instruction from His mouth And establish His words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored; If you remove unrighteousness far from your tent, And place your gold in the dust, And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks, Then the Almighty will be your gold And choice silver to you. For then you will delight in the Almighty And lift up your face to God. You will pray to Him, and He will hear you; And you will pay your vows. You will also decree a thing, and it will be established for you; And light will shine on your ways. When you are cast down, you will speak with confidence, And the humble person He will save. He will deliver one who is not innocent, And he will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”
Job 22:21-30 NASB
In his book Intercessory Prayer, Dutch Sheets talks about verse 28: DECREE A THING. He says that the word "thing" could be better translated promise. This made me think of the time when Jesus told His disciples Ask the Father in MY NAME. When I pray, I can ask for whatever is in line with the Name of Jesus, which represents all that God is....His Word, His covenants, His commands. So I started asking the Lord to show me passages of His Word to pray. I write these out, and 'decree' them out loud. Just like when I plant a seed in the ground and do not see results immediately, I know that God is working in the lives of those for whom I pray because the good seed is the Word of God. He honors His Word, guards it, waters it, and shines His light on it.
Someone said, "In a crisis, remember 911....and that stands for Psalm 91:1
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
Yet there is something better than knowing to call out to God in times of trouble. It is enjoying His presence moment by moment.
One way I can relate to this to think of a nursing infant. He is not worried about where the next meal is coming from. The one who loves him unconditionally IS his provision.
This is from Baptism of Love written by Francis Frangipane. www.frangipane.org
"There is a place greater than knowledge; it is a simple, yet eternally profound place where we actually abide in Christ's love. This is, indeed, the shelter of the Most High."
This is the Amplified Bible's rendering Ephesians 3:17-19: "May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [that you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!" .
My grandparents would turn off the pilot light of their gas heater in the summer. So every Fall, as soon as there was a chill in the air, they would call Daddy to come and light the pilot. At first I could only see a tiny blue flicker, but when they would turn up the heat, I would hear awhooshand the heat would come up through the floor grate until it was red hot. Before long, the den and kitchen would be toasty warm. When we came in from playing, we would stand over that floor furnace and hold our hands out to warm them.
The pilot light reminds me of God's Holy Spirit that comes to live in our hearts. I know that I was forgiven of my sins and saved when I accepted Christ as a child. All of us who have been forgiven and put our trust in Christ have a flame burning within us, but I want to be available for the Holy Spirit to fan the flame. I want to have the whoosh of being on fire for God in my life, enough so that others will want to draw near and feel the warmth of God's love. John the Baptizer said, "I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Matthew 3:11 ESV
You're going to learn to live in the outrageous goodness of the majesty of the love of God. I'll tell you, no one is going to be safe from a blessing where you're concerned, because you're going to be a giver. You're going to take that out into the streets, the highways and the byways, and the love that you carry is going to change things in people and situations all around you.
You're going to be a magnificent agent for change because that which flows through you gives you such confidence in who God is that you can bring God into any situation that you encounter, knowing that He will show up because you are His much loved child. And there is a power that is going to work in you. It's called confidence.
He is going to get an immeasurable amount of glory through your life, your heart, your childlike simplicity. You're going to carry a weight of glory towards heaven. People are going to see Him in you. People are going to be touched by Him in you.
May we have the power to understand how wide, how long, how high, and how deep Your love really is.
I have a part time job! I am now a nanny for a precious 5 month old girl. It is such a joy to see her smile and chuckle at my musical repertoire of pat-a-cake and itsy bitsy spider. I guess I could put on my resume now that I "sing professionally"!
I am also making some wonderful friends in the Bible study and fellowship groups here. We will be involved in some outreaches this Fall that I am looking forward to. I'll have a chance to use some of the great recipes for the upcoming holidays many of you have posted. It is more fun cooking for a crowd than for just one!
When I was teaching a second grade reading group, I noticed that one little girl had tuned me out. Then when I called on her to answer a question, she had no idea what the lesson was about.
I told her that she and I needed to talk about it at recess. I explained to her that she needed to sit up tall and pay attention because she was going to learn so much this year at reading time.
"Oh," she told me in an unconcerned voice. "I learned to read in First Grade."
Later as I chuckled at her over-confidence, I had to admit that sometimes in living life, I feel like I have to go back to first grade and learn the same lessons over and over. I just hope that I come out of my "lessons" more willing to listen to the Teacher.
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the first and great commandment.
We woke up this morning to read about a partial U.S. Government shutdown. We hear various experts and their predictions of economic crises ahead...But as believers, we know God is still in control.
Paul's prayer for us in Ephesians 1:16-21.
I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.
Now He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else
—not only in this world but also in the world to come.