Deeper Day 96: Rampart

Rampart: A defensive wall of a castle or walled city, having a broad top with a walkway and typically a stone parapet.  A defensive or protective barrier.  Verb- fortify or surround with or as if with a rampart.

Over the years, I have developed a deep affection for scripture, and I often use it as a rampart.  Around my house you will find several paintings of scripture that I look at frequently to remember the promises.  Each painting is from a portion of scripture that God highlighted for me at one time or another.  Today, I am going to share some encouraging, paint worthy scripture with you.  Some scripture that could serve as a rampart over your life.

O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for You.  Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.  Isaiah 33:2

He will be a sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge, the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.  Isaiah 33:6

“Sing about a fruitful vineyard:  I, the Lord, watch over it; I water it continually.  I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it.”  Isaiah 27:3

You will keep in perfect peace Him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.  Isaiah 26:3-4

The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, You make the way of the righteous smooth.         Isaiah 26:7

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.  O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in You.  Psalm 84:11-12

Prayer Moment: Lord, I ask that You would set these words in our hearts.  Let them act as a rampart when the world feels uncertain.  You are a sure foundation for those who fear You.  Justice flows from Your throne.  Thank You for being God.  Thank You for guarding our hearts.  Lord, I ask for Your blessing today, over all those reading these words.  Let Your favor shine upon us as we walk through this valley season.  You are our Hope.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Deeper Day 95: Slowing Down

As we have had a forced slowdown in life, I am finding myself feeling grateful for the time to stop and reconnect.  Our family generally keeps life small, but it gets busy just like everyone’s does.  This time to stop and refocus has been amazing, in many aspects.

No, I don’t wish for this quarantine to continue, but I do believe in making the most of every opportunity.  I also love to find the goodness in all things.

It’s been fun to witness my children growing ever closer to one another, and to me.  Many evenings are spent with my two oldest sharing their hearts with me and the two youngest have been going to the track with me almost every day.  It’s been exciting to see my kids playing together more and our house has been largely harmonious.  The fighting and bickering have been minimal.  God loves to shine on all the parts of our lives.

The kids have also been very gracious as we’ve begun “homeschooling”.  They’ve been mostly diligent in getting things done, and even make sure that I take a minute to sit in the quiet, so I don’t get overwhelmed.  Can you believe it?  Sometimes, our kids just need an opportunity to be stretched into a place where they begin to consider others more.  At least, that’s been my experience.  It’s good for our kids, and for us, to sometimes be inconvenienced.

God loves to bring good out of all things.

Prayer Moment:  How have you made the most of this slowing down time?  Are you finding the gold in every day?  I encourage you to take time everyday to count your many blessings.  Every breath is a gift from God.  Every time we have enough food to eat, a home to live in and a bed to sleep in, we have so much to be grateful for.   We are so blessed.  Take time to glorify God for all He’s done for you!

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.  A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great.  Proverbs 18:15-16

Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.  Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.  Proverbs 24:13-14

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.  Psalm 118: 29

 

Deeper Day 94: Psalm 118

Today I want to highlight Psalm 118.  This Psalm is so very powerful and is full of things you can declare over yourself and promises you can cling to every day.  At the end of this devotional I will list some of the specific promises and declarations from within this scripture and hopefully you will write them down and come back to them over and over again to renew, restore, and replenish your strength!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.  Let Israel say:  “His love endures forever.”  Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.”  Let those who fear the Lord say: “His love endures forever.”  In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He answered by setting me free.  The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?  The Lord is with me; He is my helper.  I will look in triumph on my enemies.  It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.  It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.  All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them off.  They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them off.  They swarmed around me like bees, but they died out as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off.  I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.  The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.  Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous:  “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!  The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”  I will not die but live and will proclaim what the Lord has done.  The Lord has chastened me severely, but He has not given me over to death.  Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.  This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter.  I will give you thanks, for You answered me; You have become my salvation.  The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  O Lord, save us; O Lord, grant us success.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  From the house of the Lord we bless you.  The Lord is God, and He has made His light shine upon us.  With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.  You are my God, and I will give you thanks; You are my God, and I will exalt You.  Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.  Psalm 118

DECLARATIONS!!

God’s love endures forever.                                                                                                                                             The Lord sets me free!                                                                                                                                                           The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid.                                                                                                               The Lord is my helper.                                                                                                                                                    I will look in triumph on my enemies.                                                                                                                               It is better to take refuge in the Lord, than trust a man.                                                                                      The Lord has done great things!!                                                                                                                                 I will give thanks to the Lord!                                                                                                                                       This is the day the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it.                                                                    You are my God, and I will exalt You and give You thanks.                                                                                        God is good.                                                                                                                                                                       God’s love endures forever!!

Deeper Day 93: Advancing the Kingdom

Every day is a good day to advance the Kingdom of God upon the earth.  I have found that during this time when many are quarantined and all our lives have been affected by this virus, we are advancing the Kingdom.  At God’s leading I began making encouraging videos once a day, and many others are doing new things to encourage people and direct them to God during this time of isolation.  I also love how churches are relentless about getting God’s word to their congregations during this time, by using all sorts of media to deliver it.  It’s wonderful to me that our response to this was to immediately begin to remind others Who God is and to make it public.

God is and will continue to be glorified in this situation.  He is having the victory!!

Let’s not forget that we can continue to advance His kingdom right in our own homes too.  This is a perfect opportunity to begin to establish or re-establish a strong spiritual backbone within your own family.  This is a great time to pray together and worship together as a family.  The enemy thought he would discourage us with quarantine, but God is using it to strengthen the family unit.  This is so interesting and exciting to me because God had told me that revival would start within our own families.  The family unit, which has been under heavy attack for many years, is now being encouraged more than ever.  People are likely getting to know each other again, within their own family unit.  I know for us it’s just refocused us on how to interact with each other daily and honestly, all the time together has been a HUGE blessing.  Even the “homeschool” has been a blessing.  As I sit with my kids each day as they do their lessons, I am giving them that one on one quality time that we sometimes don’t have enough of when life is running at its normal pace.

If you look for the blessings you will find them.  Likewise, if you desire to see the Kingdom advance during this time, God will give you ways to partner with Him.

Prayer Moment:  I encourage you to begin to look for opportunities to first, bless your own family and reignite relationship and holiness within it, and second, to ask God for unique opportunities and creative ideas on ways to advance His Kingdom on the earth.

Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol Him, all you peoples.  For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.  Psalm 117

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is Yours.  Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; You are exalted as head over all.  1 Chronicles 29:11

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33

 

 

Deeper Day 92: Songbird

It’s during times of such stretching, like those our family has endured for so long recently, that it is completely necessary to remember that God fancies you.

“My little songbird” that’s what He called me as I ran around the track.

My youngest son was talking about how if God was with us on the track, He’d be saying, “I made that bird. I made that tree.” etc.  I looked at my son and said, “Yes, and He’d look at you and say there is one of my absolute favorite creations.”  Then I heard God say, “You’re My little songbird.”

Isn’t He sweet?!

Never forget this, God isn’t surprised by anything.  He is Sovereign over all things and has seen time to the end already.  He knows every day of your life before you live one.  Remember that He’s not up in heaven wringing His hands and wondering how He’ll get us through this.  No, instead He saw this coming and even packed surprise blessings within this stretching, just because He loves us.  He went in advance and made it so many parts of this situation would turn into good for us.  In short, He’s got this!

All you have to do is stay focused on Him and let Him guide you through it.  That should be pretty easy, although I know quite often it’s not.  Let me encourage you with two familiar verses.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path smooth.              Proverbs 3:5-6

These verses remind us that we only need to yield our understanding and trust in Him.  And then if we also acknowledge Him in all that we do, our paths will be smooth.  That’s pretty awesome, right?!

Prayer Moment:  Today, no matter what you see or hear, I challenge you to lean on God’s wisdom, not your own understanding.  I encourage you to go to Him first (acknowledge Him) and ask for His direction as you glorify Him simply for Who He is.  He is God, both now and forevermore.  You can trust His path for your life, He wrote your story.

(Another familiar verse, but I hope it will encourage you to remember how He feels about you every day.)

The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you.  He will quiet you with His love.  He will rejoice over you with singing.  Zephaniah 3:17

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are Your thoughts, God!  How vast is the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand- when I awake, I am still with You.               Psalm 139:16-18

Deeper Day 91: Open Your Eyes

Today as I was considering the events of the world right now, and the way many are responding to it, I thought about the story of Elisha….

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city.  “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?”  the servant asked.  “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered.  “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.”  Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looks and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.  2 Kings 6:15-17

I know I’ve recently referenced this story, but it felt relevant again.

While my husband was on a recent mission trip to Africa and he fell ill with a severe stomach sickness (which was the result of Malaria meds he was taking) I was speaking with him and I felt concerned.  I asked God to show me He was with Chris, and then I saw a large angel standing in the corner of the room and suddenly my fear and apprehension melted away and I became supremely confident he would recover quickly.  I also told Chris about the angel I had seen, and I could see the comfort it brought him to know it was there.

Life is all about perspective.  I just want to make sure my perspective is always Heavenly.

Friends, right now we have an opportunity to tap into the eyesight of heaven and to share what we see with the world around us.  We do not have to bow to the facades of the earth.  We do not have to be pulled into the hysteria that may surround us today or tomorrow.

We are the light of the world!  We are called to bring light to the vision of those around us.  We shouldn’t be bumping around with our eyes closed during this potentially wonderful time.  No, we should be leading the charge!!  We are the light of the world, aren’t we?!  Scripture says we are.

“You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:14-16

Prayer Moment:  Before you begin this day, ask God to help you find ways to be the light.  Throughout this day, remind yourself of who you are called to be.  We are to be a light in the darkness.  I pray that God will open your eyes to the activity around you today.  God, I pray for spiritual eyes to be opened and for spiritual ears to be unplugged, in Jesus name.  I pray for bravery to fall upon everyone who reads this devotional.  I ask for You to shift their perspective, so they can see what You are up to in the midst of all that’s going on.  Thank You God for being God.  Help me to be the kind of light that draws others to glorify You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Deeper Day 90: Failsafe

The other day as I was pressing into God and asking Him for a word, I heard, “Failsafe”

Failsafe:  Causing a piece of machinery or other mechanism to revert to a safe condition in the event of a breakdown or malfunction.  Unlikely or unable to fail.   A system or plan that comes into operation in the event of something going wrong or that is there to prevent such an occurrence. 

God is my failsafe.  I understand that He was reminding me that I have learned to default to Him under all circumstances.  Whether life is full of excitement and positive breakthrough, or if it’s full of stretching and wilderness seasons, I turn to Him.

When God is your failsafe, you are guaranteed to make it through anything.  When we walk with God and stay grounded and established in Him, we are guaranteed a victory.  He is my victory.

Never forget that in times of trouble, it’s most important to hear the report of the Lord, much more important than to hear the report of the media.  He will instruct you and guide you and it will always be founded upon peace.  I’ll never forget when I saw this verse highlighted (by God) in my Bible.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My loving eye on you.  Psalm 32:8

And again, in Isaiah

This is what the Lord says- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:  “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you what is best for you, Who directs you in the way you should go.  Isaiah 48:17

I can trust God to tell me everything I need to know.  I am not missing out when I avoid media.  God, Himself will make sure I know all I need to know.  I can count on it.  In fact, I do count on it.  Living life this way, I often know things before they are reported anyway.  When you lean into the Lord, He will often give you a “heads up” on what is coming, or what is going on behind the visible.

Prayer Moment: I encourage you to turn off the T.V. today and let God lead you in the way you should go.  One thing is for certain, it’s not the way of fear.  Anxiety seems to be celebrated a lot lately, and honestly, I don’t understand it.  Anxiety is not the way of the Father.  Jehovah Shalom will be our Guide if we let Him.  I hope you will take time today to close your eyes and simply surrender to the Peace.  Be held by the Peace that surpasses all understanding.  He’s waiting for you.