Day 329: Create In Me A Heart Of Flesh (November 25)

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  Ezekiel 36:26

This verse keeps swirling around my head, I cannot seem to escape it.

Something I have discovered about myself is, I am constantly needing to be aware of the state of my heart.  It is far too easy for me to begin to callous myself to feelings in order to “get the job done”.  This is a dangerous thing.  I need a soft heart.  We all do.

As you head out to worship with the body today, I encourage you to ask God to once again take from you your heart of stone and place within you a heart of flesh.  We don’t want to just be survivors.  We want to thrive.

To love and be loved is the greatest gift on earth…. I saw that phrase on a picture when I was growing up and it stuck with me.  It truly is the greatest gift.  To love Jesus and to be loved by Him.  To love our family and friends and be loved in return.  That’s what really matters.

Today, I encourage you to return to that childlike love.  The love that gives freely and recovers quickly from wrongs.  The love that believes the best about others and doesn’t really notice people’s faults.  The love that assumes others love you too, which gives you a great foundation to love them back.

Love your neighbor as yourself.  I believe that’s why when we are young it’s so much easier for us to show love to others.  As a child, you just assume everybody thinks you’re great….at least I did.  But sadly, as you grow you discover that’s not always so.  When that revelation comes, that’s when we start to build a wall between us and others.  It’s when we start to doubt how lovely we are.

Today, come like a child.  We frequently talk about having “faith like a child”, but today I say, “Have love like a child”

Try it, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

God is love.  When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us.  This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day- our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s.  There is no room in love for fear.  Well-formed love banishes fear.  Since fear is crippling, a fearful life- fear of death, fear of judgment- is one not yet fully formed in love.  1 John 4: 17-18 (the message)

He called a little child to Him, and placed the child among them.  And He said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.              Matthew 18:2-4

Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all you soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second, love your neighbor as yourself.  Matthew 22:37-39

 

Day 328: Can You Hear It? (November 24)

Can you hear it?  It sounds like waves washing onto the shore.  It’s the sound of revival and it’s coming from true North.

Do you feel it?  There’s a rumbling in the earth.  It’s the sound of the shaking, of all the things we once thought were firm.  It’s the sound of change and it’s sweeping ‘cross the earth.  The sound of revival and it’s coming from true North.

Do you feel it?  It’s like an autumn wind.  Bringing relief after the summer sun had set in.  Can you feel it, it feels so much like relief, it’s the sound of revival and the coming of the King.

Did you tremble when you heard His name called out?  Abba Father!  Glorious Savior!  Just a couple of the ones He goes by.  Did you tremble when you felt His holiness and majesty?  Did you fall upon your face?

He is the King of Glory.  He is the Risen One.  He is the Everlasting.  All of creation turns to Him.  He is Jesus.  The Bright and Morning Star.  The Holy Savior.  He is near, He is not far.  Will you embrace Him and all that He implies?  Will you surrender, as He passes you by?

Suddenly, what felt like an earthquake, rippled through the earth.  All of creation fell and began to cry out in worship.  Holy, Holy is the Lord!  Holy, Holy is the Lord.  There is none like You!! You are so worthy!! You are so worthy!!

Then the earth fell silent as the Son made way for the Father.  The Alpha and Omega.  The Beginning and the End.  The One Who was and is and is to come.  The Son leads us to the Father.  It’s always been this way.

I look up, into the eyes of Glory.  He sees me.  My soul trembles in His gaze. “Oh Lord, have mercy.”  I say in reverent tones.  “Oh Lord, forgive me.” I collapse under the strain.

Then I feel it.  It’s His giant gentle hand upon my chin.  Lifting my head up so I can fully gaze at Him.  All shame and fear melt like wax as I see Him as my Father for the first time.

“My mercy holds you every morning.  You have no need to fear.  Your sins forgotten, that’s how My Son brought you here.  Oh My beloved, how much longer will you hold yourself away?  Come nearer, daughter, come nearer to Me.”  “How My arms long to hold you, like a mother holds a child.  How long I have waited to see instead of stress, a smile.  You are my truest treasure.  My joy.  My true delight.  My love you cannot measure.  When I look at you My eyes delight.  You sing the songs of My heart.  I love to hear each one.  And daughter, even if it was just for you, I would’ve still sacrificed my Son.”

The Godhead stood before me, now all three and not just One.  My eyes, they brimmed with tears as relief began to flood.  “I’m sorry I ever doubted.  That I ever lost my way.  But You have always known me, forever, not just today.  I will come closer Daddy.  I will never look away.  You are my heart’s desire and that’s what you forever will stay.”

“Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”  Revelation 22:12-13

 

 

Day 327: Precipice (November 23)

I kept hearing this word as I ran today, yes I ran.  As I felt my body lend toward activity again, I took some small obedient steps to make that happen.  Taking each day on it’s own.  Anyway, precipice is the word of the day.

Precipice:  1.  A very steep or overhanging place.  2.  A hazardous situation.

Wow! That couldn’t feel more true.  We are in that place.  Do you see it?  Can you hear it every time you turn on the T.V. or look at Facebook?  But instead of falling into that place where believers stick their heads in the sand because, “These things must happen before Jesus comes back.”  Yes, that’s true, but don’t you think He would rather come back finding His people still fighting, not hiding out?

I believe, because He has spoken it to me, that I am to fight until…..

He told me this once when I asked, “How long should I prepare for the future because everything feels so precarious.”  He spoke immediately and confidently, “Until”

Well, what else do I need to know?

I will fight until there is no more fighting to do.  I will stand until there is no longer a need.  Which basically means I will fight and stand until I’m in heaven.

As we stand on this precipice, not only in our own country, but so many others, let us not forget we are all warriors.  We are ALL called to battle in the spirit.  Nobody gets a free pass.  We all fight in different ways, sure, but we are all called to actively storm the gates until…….

Are you willing?  Will you stand with me today?  Pick up your sword and stop being afraid!  You were made for this and were created to live in such a time as this!

Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.  Matthew 25:13

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of man.  Matthew 24:36-37

Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Ephesians 6:13

Day 326: Recalibrate (November 22)

I looked up this word as I heard God speak it to me, and was shocked when I saw one portion of the definition.  It read: Recalibrate:  Calibrate (something) again or differently.  “the sensors had to be recalibrated”.

It was the portion in quotes that rocked me.  The sensors.  Can you see the spiritual parallels just parading to the fore-front of this example?

God is calling us to a season of recalibration.  As a church, His church, we have lost some of our bearings.  It’s not surprising given the way we are all inundated with information these days, some true and some not and worse still, some half true.  I think the half true sections are the most damaging, because they can begin to confuse our senses.

Just today as I was on facebook, I saw a new ad that Planned Parenthood is using.  In this ad they start with a picture of a baby and talk about choice.  How could they?!  The justice portion of my spirit was in an uproar at the blatant hypocrisy, then I saw what they were truly trying to do.  They are coming out as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  They fear they are losing ground in America, as they should be, and in that panic, they are attempting to put forth their greatest deception ever.  You may be saying, “Who would believe them?”  Well, the young people certainly will in many cases because they often see a portion of good in something and then decide that outweighs any negative.  They aren’t yet capable of seeing a fuller picture, it’s not their fault, they are just young and still naïve to the depths of deception that the world will go to, and honestly, I think some of it is they are more trusting in their youth.  Again, not a bad thing, but something the enemy loves to pounce on and manipulate so later on after he has used them to sabotage the earth, he will be their accuser as well, and the cycle continues.

This is a season to see good for good and evil for evil.  God is Light and in Him is NO darkness.  None.  So that kinda rules out all the “gray area” we love to talk about.

Lord, recalibrate my heart.  Show me where I have been led astray and teach me Your ways that I may not sin against You.  My desire is to follow You all my days, help me to stay on Your path.  Increase my sensitivity.  Let me feel Your gentlest nudge.  Let me be acutely aware of any darkness.  Help me to not walk in agreement with half-truths.  I want only Your Truth.  Oh Spirit of Truth, protect me from the great deceptions being played out over the earth right now.  Hide me away in Your Spirit that I can be a beacon of Your Light and uncompromising Truth.  You alone are worthy.  Thank You that I will see Your goodness.  I surrender, in Jesus name. Amen.

This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you:  God is light, in Him there is no darkness at all.  1 John 1:5

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6

Day 325: Fasting (November 21)

Meanwhile His disciples urged Him, “Rabbi, eat something.”  But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”  Then His disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought Him food?”  “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.”                 John 4:31-34

Is it possible to fast and be so focused and consumed with listening and reacting to the Father, that you don’t even realize you’re hungry?  I believe it is.  In fact, I know it is because I have experienced it in the past.

One time in particular comes to mind right now.  Before I had adopted my oldest child, and when we were hearing God speak to us about how my adopting him could even happen, God told me to fast on a certain day.  I had never fasted before, but I immediately agreed.  That day as I fasted, I was not hungry.  I was so consumed with Him that nothing else mattered.  That fast ended up lasting for three days, and was still to this date, my most memorable and amazing fast.

Here’s what I know about fasting.  If God instructs you to do so, then He will sustain you in amazing ways, but if you decide to do it for any other erroneous reason, it will be. So. Hard.

What He instructs, He provides grace for, but when we move on our own behalf and in our own strength or to manipulate God, well, it’s never good.

God spoke to me about writing this devotional post on fasting.  I didn’t even know that was the direction He was leading when He first began to speak the above verses to my heart, but here we are.  He works in mysterious and wonderful ways, that’s for certain.  That’s why I can say, I will be fasting on the day this devotional is posted.  I will take time to really focus my spirit on His and listen with extra diligence.  I invite you to do the same.  I invite you to fast with me and I can’t wait to hear what transpires in your day!  Please share with me if amazing things happen.  I would love to hear the confirmation of His word to me, and love to see you experiencing more of Him.

God, today I surrender my body to You.  As I walk out this day without eating, let me instead be fed by Your Spirit.  Lord, increase my awareness of You and give me courage to listen and obey when You instruct me.  Above all, I want to honor You even with my body, so here I am.  Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening.  In Jesus name, amen.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.  The tempter came to Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”  Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  Matthew 4:1-4

Day 324: Worship Gives Me Wings (November 20)

As I walk out the life of a believer who is sold out and totally in love with God, I know that worship is one of the most important and necessary parts of this relationship.  Countless times, I’ve noticed a majority of the church not participating in worship.  I even watch as they appear bored, and I think to myself, “How is this possible?”  When you’ve experienced the fulness of worship, how could you want anything less?

I have seen God in visions during worship.  I have watched as angels surrounded the room and danced and twirled among us.  I have seen God minister to others as I sing a song that I know He is using to reach their heart.  I have watched the Lion roar over the room.  I have been lifted up into the Heaven during worship and I’ve seen the great assembly worshiping in unison with me and all of our focus and affection was on the Father.  How could people not want to be a part of that?

One of the greatest tragedies, in my eyes, is for a person…much less a believer….to never truly experience the power and the majesty of real worship.

It has nothing to do with where you are, or who is leading, or if the lights are on or turned down low.  It has to do with the position of your heart, and that position must be open.

If you have felt worship unfurl a set of wings on your back and found yourself soaring in a flying dance with the Father, then you too would never want to stop.  You too, would want to do all you could do to lead others to that same place.  At least, that’s how I feel.

Worship gives me wings.

Worship is when I am truly living out my purpose on this earth.  Bringing glory to the Father.

Will you set your heart to worship this week?

Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim His salvation day after day.  Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deed among all peoples.  For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods.  For all gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.  Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place.  Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.  Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name; bring an offering and come before Him.  Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.  Tremble before Him, all the earth!  The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.  Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”                          1 Chronicles 16:23-31

Day 323: When A Runner Can’t Run (November 19)

Recently, I went to the doctor so they could investigate an issue I’ve been having, and while I was there they decided to do a procedure.  The after-effect was that I was unable to sit upright, and I could definitely not run.  I was in bed for two days in pain and on the third day when I returned to the Dr for a follow-up, we determined that an outpatient surgery would be necessary.  With no running in between…..

Now, I am well aware that to some of you this means nothing, but to a person who runs five days every single week, without fail, this is huge.  So much of my mental well being benefits from this daily dose of endorphins, and I want to stay fit, and the cardio part of it helps me as a singer……and if you’ve read many of my devotionals then you know, God speaks to me frequently during my runs.

So, this afternoon as I sat down and felt pouty, I asked myself a question, “What does a runner do when they can’t run?”

My first thought was, “Well, nothing but feel disappointed.”

Then I realized I was settling into a defeated mentality, and that’s not allowed in my life.  Not. At. All.

If I am in a short season of not being able to run, then I need to purposefully modify other areas of my life to fill in the gap.  To let the rest of my lifestyle rally around this missing piece so that I don’t fall apart.

First, I will not believe the lie that says, “I will never be able to run again.”  And instead of walking in agreement with that lie, I will walk in victory by finding another physical outlet.

Second, I will not believe the lie that I will get fat from not being able to run.  That’s not true.  To walk in agreement with the truth, I will modify my diet in small ways and release myself to a season of rest.  We all need small breaks from time to time anyway, this is just assuring that I will truly rest.

Third, I will increase my devotional/quiet time and worship alone more to ensure that I continue to hear God even while we’re not running together.  He speaks all the time, I just need to make sure I continue to have “free time” with my brain.  That was the beauty of running for me anyway, it was a time to be in neutral and just listen.

Do you see how this can apply to your life?  We are not called to be victims of circumstance, rather we are more than conquerors.  So, no matter what life throws your way, decide to be actively working to maintain closeness to God and willingness to be a victor, not a victim.  You can do it!!!

But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.  1 Corinthians 15:57-58