Deeper Day 274: Making the Most of Every Opportunity

Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:17-20

I believe that every day is an opportunity. What will you do with each one? Some days call for rest, others are full of the bustle of work and life. Some days begin with calm and end in hurry. Each day, we get to choose.

Beginning each day in the peaceful Presence of God, is the best way to make the most of it. When we present the day to God and ask Him to prioritize each task, then we discover a very different tempo. I know I’ve mentioned parts of this before, but it is a lesson that never gets old. We must learn how to step back from busyness and allow the Prince of peace to guide our every step.

As the scripture above states, we should live wisely and make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. We must understand what the Lord’s will is also. The only way to know that will is to be in His Presence and allow Him the opportunity to speak to us. If we never stop long enough to hear His voice, then we are much more likely to be filled with anxiety as we watch our own plans crumble. Remember what God said about that too?…

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.                Psalm 33:11

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

The season has shifted, and I believe making the most of every opportunity is more important than ever. We must begin to seek opportunities to share the Truth, to share the gospel. We must train ourselves up in how to share God with others. You can even practice sharing the good news out loud at home. Look at yourself in the mirror and witness to yourself. Something great will happen, if you try this…one, you will learn how to more boldly share God’s promise without stumbling over your own words. Second, you will be testifying to your own spirit. It may seem (and feel) strange at first, but you can’t help but be encouraged by sharing the good news, even to your own reflection.  

Prayer Moment: God, teach me how to clearly share the gospel of truth. Lord, lead me to those whose hearts are ready to receive this truth. Help me to never be intimidated or scared to share You with others. Embolden me and refine me to lead others into Your kingdom. The world needs You God, help me to partner with You every day and in every way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Deeper Day 273: Slow To Anger

In my experience with my own heart health and the heart health of others, I have learned that when we have moments where our anger flashes up like a brush fire from some incident, we have been triggered from a previous unhealed hurt. It’s like people walk around with landmines in their hearts, and it can be very sad for the person who unwittingly steps on that landmine and is exploded upon. It rarely happens from a large incident, rather something small and often totally innocent on the part of the person who steps on the sore place of another. It’s a very unfortunate turn of events. It can bring long term damage to a friendship and all because one person refuses to admit they have a hurt that needs healing, or because they are unaware that they are responding from a place of hurt.

The Bible instructs us in how to behave though…

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. James 1:19-21

If you find yourself often or easily angered, it’s truly time to take a minute and search yourself. Ask God to show you any places of pain in your heart, receive His perspective and find the courage to release your pain to Him. He is a just God, you can never find justice apart from Him. Your anger won’t bring about righteousness, it will just cause devastation to your life. The Bible also warns us…

An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins. Proverbs 29:22

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared. Proverbs 22:24-25

I have two questions for you, after reading those two scriptures. Are you close with an angry person? Are you an angry person?

It’s so important to answer these questions honestly. You need to know if you’ve fallen into the pit of anger. It’s not hard to get out, but you can’t get out of something you don’t realize you are in. Be honest with yourself and determine to make a change if necessary. It’ll benefit you and all those around you.

Prayer Moment: God, am I an angry person? Forgive me for any places in my heart that are easily angered. I invite You to come in and remove all anger from within me. I want to be more like You. Hold me close. Teach me Your ways. In Jesus name, Amen.

Deeper Day 272: Indignation

Indignation: Anger or annoyance provoked by what is perceived as unfair treatment.

It seems the world is filled with indignation. But did you notice in the definition that it is based on the perception of unfair treatment? It doesn’t even have to be true, just perceived.

What I’ve noticed is that many of the media, celebrities and politicians love to stir up and profit from indignation. There’s a hazy illusion roaming across America that says all police are evil and nobody is responsible for their own actions, it says that women get to choose whether they call a baby in the womb a baby or disposable, it says that even though they tout “My body, my choice” it doesn’t pertain to not forcing the masses to wear a mask. It’s all a nasty illusion. All of this indignation is not stirred up from facts, but perception. It’s emotion based.

It almost feels like we’re in the movie “The Never Ending Story” and are navigating the swamp of sadness and keep feeling more heavy laden with each step. In that movie, they are warned that if they can’t hold onto hope then the swamp will swallow them up. As Atreyu and his horse Artex move through the swamp, suddenly Artex gets stuck in the swamp mud. As Atreyu pleads with him to remain hopeful and fight the sadness, the horse is unable to and his story ends there in the swamp.

As we navigate this highly unusual time in history, it feels as if it has become much harder to hold onto hope. In fact, it feels (to me) that the enemy has specifically targeted our hope in this moment. And why would he do that? Because ALL hope comes from God. It is evidence that He exists and that we will always have a future.

If you are not careful, the swamp of sadness will gobble you up. We need a sure footing now more than ever. We must know the Source of every good thing. Like the scripture says:

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced.  1 Chronicles 16:11-12

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

We must REMEMBER! Remember ALL the wonders He has done. Remember all the good He has done. Remember EVERY blessing in your life. REMEMBER!! Then praise Him. Thank Him with your whole heart. Sing to Him and thank Him.

Prayer Moment: God, help me navigate this time. Continually bring Your history of goodness to my mind. Help me to cling to Your truth. The truth. Teach me to walk in gratitude, not fear. Let my life be a solid beacon of hope to the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Deeper Day 271: Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord

Today, since it’s Sunday, I wanted to give you some scripture to meditate upon. Take some time and read this over a few times. This portion of scripture is ripe with instruction and affection. I feel God’s presence every time I read it.

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 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 according to His good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life- in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. Philippians 2:1-18

It’s so important for us to renew our perspective and remember the gravity of our calling in Christ. In the same way we use the words, “Never forget” when referencing the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11…we should “Never forget” Who we should look to and model our lives after, even when it’s hard. Even when it feels like nobody else in the world is doing it. Even when those close to us say that we are crazy.  We are still to walk like Christ. We must still remember that none of us has anything to brag on except Christ. It is because of Him and through Him that any of us is saved. He is the only way. Never forget your place. We are seated in heavenly places, only because of Christ’s sacrifice. So, at the same time you feel the power and authority God has placed upon you because of your salvation, never lose sight of the One Who paid for you to be where you are today. Jesus. He deserves unending praise and worship from everything that has breath.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

Prayer Moment: Thank You Jesus for Your sacrifice. I could never reach the end of praising You for what You’ve given me. Without You, I can do nothing. Because of You, I can do everything. Thank You. Help me to always remember how I got to where I am today. Remove all pride from my heart. I adore You. I praise You forever. In Your name I pray, Amen.

Deeper Day 270: A Deeper Revelation

In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths. The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever. Micah 4:1-5

What glorious days we have before us. As we walk out whatever part of the last days we are in, let us keep our hearts and minds steadfast on these truths. We are walking toward ultimate and final victory. We must take heart and not fear man or even the devil, because there is only One Who is eternal, and He has spoken. We have read how this story ends, so why should we fear?

In my heart, I don’t fear the last days. I don’t fear them because I know how very near God is and as I read accounts from the apostles, I know that in true times of shaking, God moves. He covers His people. Every time I see bad things in the world, I am confident and even expect to walk under a supernatural hedge of protection because that’s what God has promised to me. What has He promised to you? It’s good to sit with God and speak to Him about all these things. You can ask Him what role you have in His kingdom coming to earth. When you know more about why you were created, it gives you far more boldness and confidence to walk out stretching times.

The deeper revelation is this, wherever our path is headed, ultimately, I’m looking toward my final destination. Heaven is where I’m going. I look forward to it every single day, and I view life through that lens. I view this all as temporary and I have recently become far more aware that all of the systems and governments of this world, fall impossibly short because they are all run by humans. I yearn for God’s government. I long to see those who partner with God’s systems of justice rise to more powerful positions. Even though we live on earth, God desires for us to look to Him when we establish governments. He desires us to partner with Him even in our courtrooms. Imagine how wildly the world would change if believers stopped being afraid to move into these positions, or those that are already in those positions who are believers, stop compartmentalizing their work with their relationship with God. They are to be forever partnered.

I don’t keep God in one part of my life and forget Him in the day to day tasks. On the contrary, I keep Him front and center when I take any position or make any decision. What if more believers did the same? Things would be so different. My heart longs for this to be the more common practice.

Prayer Moment: God, help me to partner with You in everything that I do. Help me to not fear earthly success or to see it separate from You. I know You place Your people in strategic places to advance Your kingdom. Place me where You want me. Give me courage to partner with You in all things. I am fully Yours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Deeper Day 269: Ancient of Days

I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Fear the Lord, you His saints for those who fear Him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Psalm 34:4-10

I have been seeking the Lord at a different level lately. I have asked to come much closer to His Presence than I ever have before, to be consumed by Him completely. As I reflected upon this request, I began to hear, “Ancient of Days”. God is the Ancient of Days, but why was He speaking this to me now?

During my morning quiet time, I came across the above verses again. The line that reads, “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame,” really resonated with my heart. But still I wondered how that linked to God as the Ancient of Days, so I turned to Google and looked up the name, and it referenced some scripture in Daniel. One particular portion brought it all full circle for me…

“As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took His seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of His head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.” Daniel 7:9

As I read those words, I realized why my life has felt on fire lately…I’ve been coming closer to the throne and the heat from it is consuming my entire life. The heat of His glory. His throne flames with fire, this means if I am asking to draw nearer to Him in the throne room of Heaven (which I have specifically asked) then I should expect my life to catch fire. A deep, cleansing and holy fire.

That is my season. Now it’s all starting to make sense. And you may be asking, “Is it still worth it? You’ve had so much discomfort and pain, do you wish you’d never asked for this?” and I would soundly and deliberately answer, “Yes, it is still worth it. No, I will never regret asking to be closer to Him.”

The purpose of my whole life is to be nearer to Him all the way to heaven. What else is worthwhile? Nothing.

Let all my life point to Him, and when I die may there be no regret of holding back anything from Him. I will relentlessly pursue Him all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Prayer Moment: How close will you dare to get to the Lord? Does my story make you feel afraid? I don’t blame you one bit if it does, but I also hope it makes you feel hungry. Hungry to be nearer to Him. Desperate to be consumed by His fire. What burns are the things of this world that don’t matter and what forges is a steadiness in your spirit that cannot be broken. Simultaneously, I feel broken and whole, every day. What a beautiful exchange. Are you brave enough to go where few desire to go? If so, then give Him permission. Ask Him to bring you to His throne room and be forever changed.

Deeper Day 268: Preeminently

Another word that God whispered in my ear, was preeminently…

Preeminently: above all; in particular

I felt Him saying, “What is preeminently important right now?” That rang through my spirit like a bell. The deep sound of a large bell with a pull chord. With the world full of distractions and noisiness it can be easy to lose sight of the main things.

The preeminent things in my life are my walk with God, my marriage, and my children. If I base all my decisions and prioritize my time and emotional energy with these top 3 in mind, then things are far less likely to spin out of control.

Daily when I decide how my time is spent, I visit these things and weigh everything against them. Is doing a certain activity going to drain me so much that I won’t have anything left to give my family in the evening? Is a certain stand I want to take, going to conflict with my walk with God and ministry that He’s placed me in? Will a certain relationship with a friend draw me further from my husband or does it encourage me to draw nearer to him? These are all valid and important questions. We are responsible for maintaining the relationships God has placed in our lives, especially family relationships.

When weighing political candidates what is preeminent?

Well honestly, I don’t vote for personality, I vote on principle. If a candidate stands for abortion, I am not voting for them. That is a first and foremost deal breaker for me, because if a person doesn’t value the unborn then how can they value anything else in proper perspective? Also, I have a personal past, and so do ALL candidates, what I’m more interested in, is what they are like right now. I believe in the redeeming power of Christ, and that doesn’t all of the sudden stop mattering when it comes to politics. I also look at the family that surrounds them. What are their kids like? Are they honest and hard working or entitled and troubled? This all begins to give me a clear picture of the heart health of the person, and that is SO important. I don’t make decisions based on what the media tells me, rather I look at record and family and listen to God above all. He is never wrong. He has without fail shown me which direction to go in every election, whether local or national. It’s important to partner with Him in this too.

Prayer Moment: God, I ask You to be preeminent in my life. Help me to always have focus and not be distracted by the illusions the world contrives. Give me a heart that knows. Help me to grow in wisdom and understanding. I give myself to You, completely. Teach me Your ways. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5

Deeper Day 267: Duplicity

This word began to swirl around my head several weeks ago. I didn’t know what it meant when I first heard it. It’s always fun when God whispers new things to me.

Here’s the definition…

Duplicity: deceitfulness; double-dealing

There is so much of this going on now, but if we were honest, we’d admit it’s always been happening. Even in the Bible we see ample examples. Judas, for one. Ananias and Saphira felt the immediate effects of their duplicity.

We see it every day, in many different people.

I have fallen victim to the duplicity of others many times. In the past I’ve just taken everything at face value. I never expected people would try to deceive me, but sometimes they do. It happens to all of us. If we’re honest, we’ve all done it at some point. The question is how do we trust when the world is so full of deception?

It is far too easy to become jaded. It is easy to just shut off and refuse to let people close, but that’s really not healthy and brings no joy. Right? So, what is the remedy?

I’m still working it all out, but here’s what I’ve been practicing lately. When a new person comes to me and begins to open up to me, I actively listen. I listen to exactly what they are saying and also what God is saying. I watch body language and hold a neutral position most often.

Just the other day a person was pouring out their heart to me, but at some point, I felt a prick in my spirit. When that happened, I immediately took a step back and began to ask God to show me if something was “off” with that person. Then I kept listening with a pleasant facial expression, and after a few moments that person revealed to me exactly why I was bothered. They never knew it, but because I took a moment to recognize that prick in my heart and then partnered with God for the remainder of the conversation, God protected me and gave me wisdom.

Lastly, let’s talk about the elephant in the room…The news…

Friends, when we listen with our spirits before we listen with emotion, we are far better served. If you feel a news report tugging at you emotionally, then it’s very important to first step back and take it to God, ask Him to give you true wisdom. If you have Jesus in your heart, then you can listen with your spirit, but it’s important to practice. You have to learn how to lean into the spirit inside of you. It’s worth it.

Prayer Moment: God, give me ears to hear You in all circumstances. Open my eyes to see truth and help me to never be led by emotion. I surrender my “right” to respond, to You. I give You my whole heart. I want to represent Your kingdom well. Help me to mature more every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to Him; haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.           Proverbs 6:16-19

Deeper Day 266: Wellsprings of Hope Uncovered

As I was walking the other day, I was deep in prayer. I was thinking about our needs right now and how I was struggling to feel hope. The land felt dry. My heart felt dry. Even though I spend time every day in God’s presence, I have struggled to feel refreshed. When I feel refreshed for a moment, the feeling doesn’t seem to last long. It is like I’m currently walking through the desert, and the sun is at noonday position blaring its heat on me and burning my skin and drying me out. In the heat of the day, the desert is so hot that even when you drink water, you need more soon after. You need a constant source of hydration to walk in the midst of heat like that. But how do you have a constant source of water when you are walking through?

In the middle of these thoughts, I began to have a vision. I saw all around me, in very close proximity to one another, thousands of covered wells. These sources of hydration were just sitting there, waiting to be uncovered. So, I asked God to come and uncover them.

It felt like a breeze began to stir as I saw myself bending down and uncovering the well nearest to me. Then I dove in and was fully immersed in this welcome water source.

I am no longer content to simply drink from the wells of God, I want to be fully immersed.

My longing and need for God has far surpassed any slight dedication, it is all in. I am all in. even if others don’t understand or misunderstand me, I have no choice at this point in life, than to be all in.

Since that moment, I have noticed I’m surrounded by places to find His presence, even in a crowd. Even when others may be watching. But I don’t care. I will meet Him anywhere and everywhere because I am so desperate.

I hope the waters of hope wash away all the fear of man and leave me in a naked state before the Lord. A place where I allow His thoughts of me to clothe me, as I become fully vulnerable to Him. I need Him. Without Him I can’t even take my next breath. It’s still funny to me that the more I mature in my faith and walk with Him, the more I discover how very dependent I must remain upon Him.

So, I lean. I lean into Him and learn. He gives me life and hope. He is my One.

Prayer Moment: God, lead me to the wellspring of hope today. No matter what happens or what news comes, let me be fully immersed in Your Presence. God, I pray for good news. I know You have good in store for me and I’m so thirst for good news. I love You and will follow You all the days of my life and with my whole heart. You alone are worthy of praise. I surrender to You, again. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it; but the instruction of fools is folly.              Proverbs 16:22

Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. Proverbs 4:23-27

Deeper Day 265: Accepting the Call

I had a birthday last week and as I was out exercising that day, I saw a notary stamp come down from heaven and stamp my forehead. I heard God say, “September 15, 2020 I certify you.” Having previously worked with documents and being familiar with notarization, I realized God was doing something significant. When a document is notarized, the person who has the document must have supporting documentation to receive the stamp. The one stamping it, the notary, is certified and has met the qualifications to stand as one trusted to be honest and receive all the proper supportive documentation before stamping the document. There are stiff penalties for lying and stamping something without supportive documents.

God is the only One certified to “notarize” any of us. He alone can certify us because He alone knows our hearts. This was a big moment, one that I understood I needed to remember.

God has been releasing a call over my heart for quite some time. It is multi-faceted and encompasses a lot of different areas, but it is my unique call. I’m understanding more and more every day that the things to which I’m called are specifically designed to fit not only my talents but also, bring life to my spirit. These same callings might make another feel overwhelmed or bogged down, but as I recognize and embrace my uniqueness, God has made it all seem lighter and lighter to me.

We each have our own specific calling. Yes, it may coordinate with others around us, but it will remain unique to us individually.

I suppose the message today is two-fold…

First, don’t try to accept another person’s calling. Even though you may experience some momentary success, in the end you will feel defeated and heavy laden. Denying your own call in order to take on the call of someone else because it seems more glamorous or whatever, is folly. No call is without its own set of sacrifices that must be made.

Second, don’t belittle the call you receive. God fashioned you specifically for certain purposes in His kingdom, so saying it’s not as important as someone else’s, is actually saying to God, “You made a mistake. I don’t like what You’ve given me.” I seriously doubt any of you would want to talk to God in such a way, right? Instead, I challenge you to embrace the calling He has on your life and begin to move forward in it, even in a small way. Any forward motion is success!

Prayer Moment: God, thank You for the unique calling You have placed on each of our lives. Help us to embrace all that You have placed within us and help us to never look at others with envy. Never let us rob ourselves of the fullness You’ve called us to because of jealousy. I receive the full calling You have given me. Teach me to walk it out daily. Thank You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-6

For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. Romans 11:29