Deeper Day 229: He Who Does These Things Will Never Be Shaken

During this time when we may wonder what tomorrow will bring, and many of us feel desperately out of control, I find that scripture is the only solid source of daily news. Today I want to leave you with a scripture that holds so many reassurances within it for you to dwell upon.

Lord, who may dwell in Your sanctuary? Who may live on Your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.  Psalm 15

Friends, we who walk with Jesus are made to be blessed. It’s in our DNA. We have been grafted into the family tree of God. It’s not just something we say, it’s real as this scripture reminds us…

If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. Romans 11:17-18

And this…

Now if we are children, then we are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. Romans 8:17

We are family. We are siblings with Christ. We are children of God. This is who we are. Our identity is no longer with the family we were born, rather the family we were born again into. Remember this today. Let it bolster your heart. Let it fill you with certainty that you will make it through this time, and will be so blessed.

Prayer Moment: God, help me to remember my identity every day. Teach me to walk out life with that identity in the forefront of my mind and heart. You give me value. You tell me who I am. I belong to Your family and I have nothing to fear. I will lack no good thing. Bless everything I lay my hands to. Let Your Spirit be my constant companion. I adore You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

 

Deeper Day 228: Taking it to the Streets

As I was exercising today, I began to here the old song that said, “Taking it to the streets!” It’s funny because I cannot tell you the last time I have heard that little diddy. But when I heard it today, I felt the invitation of the Lord to ask Him about it.

During this very unusual time I have seen so many churches begin to operate more openly. What I mean is, in states where the restrictions have reached beyond the separation of church and state (which was originally put into place to protect the church, not the state) and they have forced them not only to not have services but in some cases to have no worship at all during services, people are exiting the building and beginning to release worship into the world.

In the same breath, many in our political and media landscape will agree with protests and condemn the churches wanting to meet. This is insanity. Quite obviously it’s a startling double standard.

What do believers do when pressed? Well, if we remember scripture it says this…

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

We may be persecuted, but we are never abandoned. We may be struck down, but we will never be destroyed. We are carriers of Christ, so He may be revealed to the world.

It’s time for all of us, regardless of any resistance from laws, to take it to the streets! This is our time to shine. We know how to walk through struggle with joyful hope.  This is the time for the church to show the world how to live in peace.

It’s no surprise that those without Jesus in their hearts are freaking out. What hope do they have? What peace can they carry? None. And that is why control is their default, every single time. We have a responsibility to showcase to the world, the peace that surpasses understanding. There is no greater testimony during this time of panic than to openly walk out peace and joyful hope. This will draw others to Christ. This will reveal Christ.

Prayer Moment: God, give me the courage to walk out joyful hope right now. When I enter a place where a spirit of fear dwells, let me never agree with it. Help me to be kind and gentle, but unwilling to partner with the father of lies. I only want to partner with the Father of Truth. God, bless my family and let those blessings be seen by the lost so that they might see You in the midst of it all. Let my life be a beacon of light that leads others to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life.” John 8:12

Deeper Day 227: An Unopened Book Offers No Knowledge

As I was exercising today, I saw a shelf of unread books. Then I heard God speak, “An unopened book offers no knowledge.” Then I saw the Bible and knew what He was saying.

God gave us the Bible. It is inspired of the Holy Spirit and carries the presence of the Holy Spirit, but it is of no use if we don’t take time to read it. You don’t absorb the content from having it sitting on your shelf or in an unopened app on your phone.

While that’s an obvious statement, it’s also shocking how many of us really live this way. You can’t ever not read the Bible and expect your life will move smoothly. You can’t leave your Bible closed and expect to make wise decisions.

Yes, we have the Holy Spirit inside to guide and convict us, but we should also be devoted to reading scripture every day. There is no end to what we can receive from God. He is timeless. Let’s look at this scripture…

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay Him?” For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:33-36

This scripture should remind each of us that we will never reach the end of God’s wisdom and knowledge. So, when we remain tethered to His word and His Spirit, then we can feel much more confident in every step we take.

What do you do if you are married and your spouse doesn’t read scripture? Or what if you’re working a work or church project and your partner is unwilling to read scripture?

Trust.

When we hide ourselves in His promises, then we can trust that everything we do will be blessed and He alone will make the wrong things right. We can’t control others. We can only be responsible for what we do. I have first hand knowledge that when I am steeped in Him, He will even protect me from the decisions of those who are not walking out life with Him. Scripture also states this…

When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even His enemies live at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7

There is so much grace afforded to those who choose to walk the path less chosen.

Prayer Moment: God, help me to remain steeped in scripture. Help my first response to always be choosing You and Your wisdom. Never let my Bible gather dust on the shelf. Forgive me for any time I have neglected to be present with Your word. Hold me close. Draw me nearer every day. I will trust in You with all my heart. I love You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Deeper Day 226: Still Waters

Today I am thinking about this Psalm

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely, goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23

I believe that in this Psalm we are promised that no matter what we are walking through, He leads us beside quiet waters. I truly do believe that no matter what we are going through or what is happening to those around us we can lean on Him and discover those peaceful waters. The only thing that is really required is to purposefully receive the peace and to bring all your emotion to the Father.

When you chose to walk by the quiet waters, you are choosing to bring all the fear and pain of the world to our heavenly Father and trusting Him to handle what you can’t.

God has been showing me that we must continually be self-aware to know when we are having trouble releasing fear. He is also showing me that a lot of the anxiety we struggle with is because we have begun to carry the weight of problems that we’re not meant to carry. Every single time that we begin to pick up what wasn’t meant to be carried by us, we “throw our backs out” and there is an immediate feeling of pain and panic inside. Does that make sense? We can’t walk with a weight we were never meant to carry.

So, what do we do?

Cast all your cares upon Him; for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Our Father is always right there with you, waiting to carry your burdens. In fact, beginning to bring it all to Him will be the beginning of a more intimate relationship with Him. He longs for that. He loves you.

Prayer Moment: God, forgive me for every time that I have carried troubles that I wasn’t meant to carry. I surrender all my cares to You now. Please convict my heart every time I try to lift more than I should. Help me to be so self-aware that I immediately know when I’m moving in my own strength. I long to be nearer to Your heart. I love you so. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

Deeper Day 225: White Knuckles

There are times in life when we are so desperate for change. There are moments when we are truly in need of breakthrough. What I recently discovered was this, sometimes we are holding so tightly to things surrounding that change, that God won’t move until we let go.

During a recent disagreement with someone close to me, I began to cry out to God and ask, “Can we make it through this? What am I doing to make this worse?” Then I had a vision. I saw myself holding onto the situation so tightly that my knuckles were white and sore. Then God showed me that because I didn’t trust the other person in this situation, I was relentlessly holding the situation in my hands. God spoke to me in that moment, “Lisa, I don’t need you to trust (the person), I need you to trust Me.” Immediately, I felt myself relax and I breathed a deep breath and let go.

Here’s the miraculous part…

Within the next 10 minutes, the person I was battling made a decision to not proceed with the plan they were trying to force upon us. Instead, that person chose relationship with me. Isn’t that amazing?! The moment before, I had chosen relationship with them by letting go so God could move, and immediately He moved upon them and they let the bad idea go.

That’s how our God works.

We don’t really need to trust others we simply need to trust God. Everyone on earth will let us down. God will not.

Do you believe that? Whether you do or not, it’s the truth. God has never and will never let you down. His word is sovereign. His promises are secure.

He can’t move when we won’t let go and simply trust. We have to release to receive, just like we can’t take in more breath if we don’t first breathe out. Today, I challenge you to release your grip, so you can receive the blessing of the Lord.

Prayer Moment: God, please forgive me for holding onto things so tightly. Help me to only cling to You, in all things. God, I receive Your blessings. I breathe out my control and receive the wind of surrender. You have never failed me yet. I will look to You in all times and for all things. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

In His heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines His steps.              Proverbs 16:9

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1

Deeper Day 224: Seed Sown in the Wrong Field

Not long ago, my boys decided to detail my car for me. When they moved things around, a bag of grass seed broke open and began to spill out. I wasn’t there when it happened, and the boys decided to just sweep it out into the flower bed right outside the garage. I’m sure you know what the result was. Now we have a patch of beautiful green grass at the edge of the flower bed. It’s totally awkward looking and I go back to it and rip out the new grass, but it feels like a losing battle. That green grass continues to poke its head through the mulch. No doubt it is beautiful and green. Honestly, it’s all you would hope for in grass, but it’s not in the right spot so it definitely doesn’t feel like a blessing. Quite the opposite, it feels like a burden.

We all have seed to sow, and my question today is this, “Are you sowing in the right field?”

This is a powerful question with a potentially complicated answer. Some might suggest that simply sowing is enough, no matter where you do it. But I would say, if you’re not sowing in the right place then you’re wasting time and energy. It’s much better to be productive and allow all that God’s placed within you to be used in the most useful way.

As a naturally efficient person, I tend to see the most direct way to do things. It’s just something God has placed within me, and for that I’m so grateful. I also see where to sow myself. I refuse to waste time sowing into places and people that have no desire to be blessed.

It’s true that those people and places do exist. The Bible reminds us of this in the following verse.

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”  Matthew 7:6

Yes, all need to hear the gospel, but He has called each of us to certain fields. It’s important to find out which is to be yours.

Prayer Moment: God, please show me where You want me to sow the seed of my life. Once You show me, give me courage to fully invest myself into that place. I believe You have shown me one such field recently, so I fully abandon myself to Your call. I will partner with You and walk out all seasons in that place. Give me favor and open all doors in front of me. I am Yours to spend as You will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. Psalm 126:5-6

Deeper Day 223: The Tip of the Spear

I want to share with you what I saw when I was preparing to speak at a friend’s church recently.

All week I had been asking God to tell me what I was to speak about, but He had yet to reveal anything by the Saturday before. Then I felt His prompting to go for a walk. While I was out, I heard God instruct me to encourage the church to continue to look toward the future. Even though the enemy would have us believing that life as we know it is over, God is asking us to partner with Him in looking toward good things to come. Here’s a glimpse of a vision He gave me while I was on my walk.

God told me to throw a spear (imaginary) into the future, so I complied. I mimed the motion of throwing the spear with all my might. Then I jokingly said to God, “How far will it go? Just over that hill?” Then God said, “It’s traveling through space and time.” Then God told me to pull the spear back. I saw (in the spirit) a rope laying next to me, so I picked it up and began to pull it back. When it made it back to me, I noticed there was a piece of paper that the tip of the spear had stabbed when it landed in the future. I said to God, “I have to know what that paper says.” When I picked it up and opened it, I saw one word in bold capital letters written across it…and that word was, HOPE.

HOPE

Let that sink in. The one thing God wanted me to see from the future was…HOPE.

Immediately, the verse from Jeremiah came to my mind.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

This was His renewed promise to me. I have a hope and a future in Him. So do you.

When we partner with the thoughts and speech of this world, then we are partnering with the father of lies. When we partner with God, we partner with the idea of hope and a future. When we partner with God, we partner with life.

Do you have the courage to continue to dream? Do you have it within you to partner with hope and a future? We are fighting a battle that we cannot see, so we must realize we fight with weapons that are often unseen. Things like hope, dreams and future are powerful weapons in turning the tide. We must begin to believe that He has something glorious in store for us.

Prayer Moment: God, I believe You can do anything. You are fully capable of turning things around in an instant. I believe that You will. God, I trust You. If You say I have hope and a future, then I believe that I do. I ask You to begin to give me glimpses of this future. Show me what You have prepared for me and my family. Give me courage to believe it. Help me to hold onto this hope with all my might. I will believe in You. Fortify my strength. Embolden my prayers. Put a fire in my belly to believe with all hope. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:6-7

Deeper Day 222: Double Portion

The fact that today marks 222 devotionals for the year reminded me of the double portion. Let’s read together.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?” “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied. 2 Kings 2:9

Over the last few years, several prominent and influential people have passed on. Figures prominent in both religious and political circles. Most prominent of them all was Billy Graham. It was almost as if you could hear the reverberation on earth when he traded in his earthly self to join the heavenly witness.

Then many wondered, “What will we do without him?”

In our human nature it can be easy to feel lost when such a mighty man of faith dies, but I feel that when we do that, we rob from what was intended. He was only a man, right? So, why not petition the Father to release his mantle on others now and to increase it exponentially? I began to ask for the double portion after he died.

All is not lost simply because one man went to be with the Father. No, now is the time to press in and ask for God to release a double portion of what Graham had so that the work can continue. I pray that from this day forward, anytime we receive news that another general in the faith has passed on, we will immediately and with gusto rise up to receive the inheritance of that individual’s faith walk. We should all want to pass it on. I pray that I have a legacy to leave my loved ones upon my passing.

Today, I encourage you to press in for the double portion. God’s got more than enough to spread around, He’s simply looking for the willing and faithful to carry it.

Look what happened later when Elisha began to move in that double portion anointing.

The men of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.” “Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.” So, they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’” And the water has remained wholesome to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.  2 Kings 2:19-22

In the very same chapter of the book of 2 Kings, Elisha went and blessed the land. Do you see that?! He blessed the land. We could certainly use that type of blessing right now. If God’s done it before, then He can most certainly do it again.

Prayer Moment: God, I ask You for a double portion blessing. I pray that You would so increase within me that it would cause even the earth to respond. Release over me the wisdom and power that could command the earth to respond. God, I want to be used by You. Take away all my fear and use me. Let Your kingdom come, and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Instead of their shame My people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so, they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs. Isaiah 61:7

 

 

Deeper Day 221: Under the Shadow

When I decide to dwell under the shadow of the Almighty, I find myself living with peace. When I dwell under the protection of His wings, I find shelter from any storm. This is the place to reside. This is where I find rest.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Whom I trust.” Surely, He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you make the Most High your dwelling- even the Lord, Who is my refuge- then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves Me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91

The words of this Psalm are still true. Read them carefully and then read them again. Soak in them. Let these words have wings that spread over your heart and mind, bringing you comfort and peace.

The Lord is my refuge and fortress. I truly believe that. I live as if I believe it too. Do you?

Today is a good day to reaffirm to the Father that you trust Him enough to dwell in His shadow. When you do this, you must make a decision to move at His pace. To stay in step with Him. Not rushing forward and not lagging behind. Just remaining steady. If you can do this, you will find so much peace and provision.

Today I will keep it short because I want the scripture to speak for itself. Bathe in it and remember this is Who God is and this is the kind of protection He provides.

Prayer Moment: God, help me to remain in Your shadow. Give me courage to not run in fear. Help me to be a steady one. I don’t want to be like the world. I want to show the world how to be more like You. Mature me and bless me. I am Yours completely. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Deeper Day 220: A Pregnant Pause

Have you ever felt silence? You know, the moments when the silence seems to want to speak to you? There have been many times when a very powerful silence has fallen in the room and after sitting in it for a moment, God would begin to speak. I think these silences are when the presence of God’s glory is filling the room. The only challenge is that in our human nature we can often curtail silence because it’s uncomfortable. Experiencing silence can be stretching.

Lately, I have felt such a silence repeatedly.

God is moving here on the earth, and He is speaking to those who are willing to listen. Those willing to suffer the discomfort of silence that sometimes precedes His glory and His voice.

I have a very clear memory from a church we used to attend. We had reached the end of service and the pastor had us join together acapella to sing a song. Suddenly, I felt a heavy silence fall upon us, and I knew it was God. The air began to feel thick with the glory and holiness of God, but because it was mildly awkward the pastor interrupted it to ask the piano player to return to the stage and play. As soon as he spoke the glory that was filling the room left. I was so grieved. I have often wondered what may have happened if we had tarried, embracing the silence with reverence and allowing the glory of God to fill the room.

Oh God, I so strongly desire to learn how to steward Your presence better.

What do you think might happen if we let God have room in our lives and church services? I wonder what kind of shift could occur? There’s no better time than now to press into this glory.

Prayer Moment: I encourage each of you to sit in God’s presence today. When you go before Him, begin with worshiping Him and praising Him and then just sit in the silence and see what happens. But the real challenge is to sit past the point of comfort. You might be shocked to see how quickly you feel ready to move on with your day, but I encourage you to sit just a little longer than you would normally. Press into that place where His glory fills the earth and ask Him to meet you there. What do you have to lose? The question really is what could you gain?

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Exodus 40:34

The glory of the Lord entered the temple through the gate facing the east. Then the Spirit filled me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. Ezekiel 43:4-5

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.   Acts 2:1-4