Deeper Day 89: Rest and Remember (Psalm 33)

Today, let’s reflect on God’s word.

Sing joyfully to the Lord; you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise Him.  Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to Him on the ten-stringed lyre.  Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.  For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.  The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.  By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth.  He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; He puts the deep into storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him.  For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.  The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples.  But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.  Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.  From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from His dwelling place He watches all who live on earth- He who forms the hearts of all, Who considers everything they do.  No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength.  A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.  But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.  We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.  In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.  May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You.  Psalm 33

The Lord is good all the time.

Prayer Moment:  Take a minute today and thank God for His absolute goodness.  Focus on all the gifts and blessings He’s placed in your life.  Stand against the spirit of fear that roams the earth, by finding a heart of gratitude.  Today, rest in the fullness of the Father’s heart.  I bless you in the name of Jesus.

 

Deeper Day 88: The Wilderness (Psalm 34)

No matter what the wilderness looks like, God is good.  I think in the wilderness He teaches us to lead disciplined lives.  When we navigate the wilderness, it can be so stretching, but at the same time it strips us down to what we truly believe about God and how He interacts with us and in our lives.

What do you believe about God?

This is an extremely important question, because everything you do extends from this foundation.  If we truly believe in God’s sovereign goodness, then we will not fall into the ways of the world, the fear and intimidation.  We will resist the spirit of poverty and will walk abundantly in every season.

In what feels like a worldwide wilderness season right now, I see an opportunity.  An opportunity to reflect upon God’s abundant provision, and to see that He is calling us to something deeper, not punishing us.  He is inviting us into a season of refining.  A season of remembering how to stop and listen.  This is an opportunity to learn the art of heavenly tempo again.

As I have often done lately, at God’s instruction, I want to leave a Psalm for you to read and reflect upon today.

I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.  My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.  Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together.  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.  Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.  Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.  Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive their cry; the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.  The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.  Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned.  The Lord redeems His servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in Him.  Psalm 34

Prayer Moment:  Close your eyes and ask God to show you the end of this wilderness season.  Ask Him for a glimmer of hope.  Then trust what He shows you and hold onto it as a seed for the blessing of the future.  He is near.  He is faithful.  You can trust in Him.

 

Deeper Day 87: You Prepare a Table for Me

Today, as I planned to continue the fast I mentioned yesterday, God had different plans.  I woke up and received the good news that my boys had arrived back in America!  I was still waiting to see how the reentry would go, as we had no idea what would be required under all these strange circumstances right now.  While I was waiting, I attempted to have my quiet time, but kept feeling very distracted.  After a while I heard God say, “Lisa, go and make breakfast for you and your kids.”  I agreed but asked, “What about my fast?”  God replied, “I want to prepare a table for you in the presence of your enemies.”

Wow!  Who would argue with that?  So, I went and prepared a small breakfast for us to enjoy.

I truly hope that through me honestly sharing about this fasting time, you’ll realize that fasting is about connecting with God, first and foremost. He gets to decide what I do and how I do it.  So, if I’m truly fasting out of a place of relationship, then I will listen if He alters the plan.  Holding on once He’s instructed us to do differently indicates that we’re trying to control Him.  That’s never going to end well.  I have a “hands off” mentality.  In other words, I follow His leading in such a way that I don’t try to take the reigns back.

I just had a vision of myself riding a horse.  Both of my arms were held out wide open and I wasn’t holding onto anything.  This is the level of trust we can have with God.  He would never let us fall.  His constant guard is over and around us.

Prayer Moment:  Will you dare to believe today that God truly does desire to bless you? Will you dare to trust Him and let go of the reigns of your life?  There is no better time to do that than now.  Right now, as we are walking out something we would never have imagined in our lifetimes.  Now, will you let Him take the reigns and lead you?  God, when I fast or when I just live life like normal, I trust Your guiding hand.  I release my control and place myself and my family directly before You.  You are trustworthy.  Strengthen my heart.  Strengthen my resolve.  Remove ALL fear in my life.  All fear must go now, in Jesus name.  Thank You for loving me.  I embrace Your fullness in this time of stretching.  In Jesus name, Amen.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.  He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams.  He renews my strength.  He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.  Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me.  Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.  You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.  You honor me by anointing my head with oil.  My cup overflows with blessings.  Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.    Psalm 23

Deeper Day 86: Breaking the Fast

In coordination with a fast called by a prominent believer, I started a fast (as of the writing of this) yesterday.  I’ve fasted on many occasions and for a variety of lengths.  I don’t always fast from food, but this time I felt led to do it that way.  What I wasn’t expecting though, was exactly how difficult fasting would be this time.

Fasting is never necessarily easy, but this time was very “next level”.  By the end of the day, as I was cooking dinner for my kids, I found myself collapsing emotionally and strangely felt like I needed to just go ahead and eat a bowl of soup and a small salad for dinner and begin the fast again in the morning.  It was so interesting because I felt no shame at making this modification, only peace.  It was a new level of freedom for me to be able to change this midstream and have no feelings of failure.

Then as I lay in bed that night, I talked to God about the fasting and my eating a small dinner.  When I asked Him why it was so hard, and wondered if He was disappointed in me, He said, “I wanted to remind you of your weakness.  Where you are weak, I am strong.  I wanted to make sure you remembered I am strong enough for all of this.”  Isn’t God good?!

In the middle of all the world’s uncertainty, as I asserted my union with, and focus on Him through fasting, He wanted to remind me that He is big enough to cover all of this.  In fact, it’s through His strength that I can fast in the first place.  So, I can feel assured that if He tells me to eat, then I can eat without worry, because He is the One Who directs my fasting.  What a feeling of partnership!  For those of you who know me well, partnership is a primary love language of mine.  Isn’t He a loving God?!

Prayer Moment: How is God wanting to partner with you?  Have you asked Him?  Take some time today and ask Him for a partnership opportunity.  He loves to work with us and through us.  He loves you very much.  He has prepared, in advance, places for you to walk nearer to Him, all you have to do is ask.  He is good and He is faithful.

He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.  God will do this, for He is faithful to do what He says, and He has invited you into partnership with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  1 Corinthians 1:9

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-11

 

Deeper Day 85: Mighty Warrior, Dressed for Battle

As I woke this morning, I felt something shifting.  For days now this coronavirus has consumed our lives, but this morning my heart was stirred with a sound of victory.  As if I have been a warrior laying low and awaiting my orders to “Go! Take this land!!”  I felt at the ready.

When this whole scare began, I prayed and asked God what He had to say about it all.  What I saw was Him thrust a staff into water and immediately the flow of that water shifted, and God spoke to me, “Look for this to have a quick turnaround.”  I was so encouraged when I saw that, but as with many words from God, what happened in the world right after that looked like anything but a quick turnaround.  Cries of batten down the hatches and prepare for the worst bombarded us.  Cities closing down for 15 to 30 day quarantines plague our news cycles.  But still, the word of the Lord to me was, “Look for a quick turnaround.”  It wasn’t until this morning that I began to make some sense of it all.  During my quiet time I asked God if I had been wrong.  I asked Him if what I had originally seen was actually from Him, or was it just my imagination?  As I flushed out my heart and His, I realized that the word He gave me was true, but I would have to fight for it.

Oftentimes, we receive prophetic words in a very passive way, but I am now seeing sometimes we must fight for them.  Somewhere along the line, I had begun to fall subject to all the onslaught of negative words and actions happening around me.  Now I know exactly what I am to do.

I am a mighty warrior, dressed for battle with a bow and worship is my arrow.  I will hold fast to the word I received until I see it come to fruition.  I DO believe for the best out of all this.  I will remain in hope.  I will use worship as warfare.

Prayer Moment:  I pray that today you will feel encouraged to find your weapon of choice.  God has given us His word and worship to use as acts of warfare.  Take some time today and ask God to teach you how to battle with those things.  If you feel you’ve been drawn into the swirl of negativity that is so powerfully roaming the earth, it’s not too late.  You can turn away from that and fall into the peace that surpasses understanding at any moment.  God is waiting to partner with you.  Fear gains no ground in this battle, it only paralyzes.  Worship is where we regain our footing and proceed forth with purpose and hope.  I pray you embrace this hope today!

To the faithful You show Yourself faithful, to the blameless You show Yourself blameless, to the pure you show Yourself pure, but to the crooked You show Yourself shrewd.  You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.  You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.  With Your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.  As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless.  He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.  For Who is the Rock except our God?  It is God Who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.  He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights.  He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  You give me Your shield of victory, and Your right hand sustains me; You stoop down to make me great.  You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.  I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.  Psalm 18:25-37

Deeper Day 84: The Sound of Silence

This morning as I sit outside and drink a hot cup of tea while spending time in God’s presence, I am in awe of the sounds around me.  I hear birds, of many different kinds, chirping around me like a little chorus in this symphony of nature.  As the wind blows, I see the tall grasses sway back and forth like a woodwind section.  Even the cars I hear in the distance are like my own percussion section.  All the sounds that surround my little corner of the world are so delightful.  I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.

As much of the world is in one type of quarantine or another right now, I realize that I love the stillness, I always have.  I love having the uninterrupted time to seek His face.  I enjoy sitting and staring out into the woods while I listen for His voice.  I enjoy observing the sunrise and sunset and being overcome with the beauty He provides from my doorstep.  He loves to show off for those who will pay attention, for those who will seek Him.  He loves those who seek, and we are promised that if we do, we will find Him.

The Bible even confirms it:

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you.             Jeremiah 29:13-14

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.  Matthew 7:7-8

Maybe you’re wondering, “What do you find when you seek Him?”  Friend, I find a treasure trove.  When I seek Him, I find peace that surpasses all things, I find compassion and a renewed perspective of life.  I find myself grasping a heavenly understanding of earthly things.  Are you ready to seek Him too?

Prayer Moment:  Undoubtedly right now you have more free time.  What a gift!  Today, use some of that time to seek God’s face.  Ask Him to reveal Himself to you both now and throughout your day.  Are you beginning to hear the tempo of heaven over your heart?  Great!  Now lay down all your previous expectations for this day and all comparison with others and engage that tempo.  I promise, joy will be found in doing so.  Joy and contentment.

Today I leave you with a portion of scripture that I think is beautiful.  As you take in its beauty, let it lead you to find the beauty of this day within your home.

Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory.  Whom have I in heaven but You?  And earth has nothing I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Those who are far from You will perish; You destroy all who are unfaithful to You.  But as for me, it is good to be near God.  I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds.  Psalm 73:23-28

Deeper Day 83: Bride

The other day while I was at the track, I was pressing into God and listening to whatever the Spirit wanted to communicate with me.  I heard him say, “You know how to be My friend, and My sister, now I want you to truly know how to be My bride.”  This statement kind of surprised me because I have found such deep intimacy with the Father, but now I realize this was a word about authority.  It was about me learning how to lean further into Him as my Husband, to look to Him in more deliberate ways and to be more bold in my approach to Him, and then to allow that intimacy to affect the way I walk on this earth.

If God is my Husband, then I can approach Him very boldly.  A wife wakes up next to her Husband every day and falls asleep next to Him at night and talks with Him throughout every day.  I would know that I can have access to Him under all circumstances.  A wife has all the access she wants and needs.  This is how He is challenging me to begin to approach Him.  As a wife I bring my Husband, not only my needs, but also my wants and my dreams.  I discuss everything with Him and know that He is eager to know me more, just as I know Him more.  I have been doing this already, but I feel Him inviting me to an even deeper level of it.

I feel Him saying, “It’s time for you to walk in the authority of a bride.”  As a bride, I carry the name of my Husband.  This name gives me access.  There is a certain authority exerted when a bride knows that she has the backing of her Husband.  She can step out more boldly and know that He has her back.  This is the type of authority God is inviting me to exert.  When relationship has lasted long enough to establish a trust between the couple, then the bride can go out and do business on behalf of the Husband.

We (the church) are called the bride of Christ.  We are all to be His bride, and as His bride we are able to walk in a certain authority and assurance.  It is time for us to all begin to grasp this in a deeper way.

Even if you feel that you’ve been walking as a bride already, I encourage you to not dismiss this idea because, as I said previously, I feel this invitation is for us to walk in a much deeper position than we’ve known.  Maybe you’ve been a bride but have yet to embrace authority.  Now is the time.  Today is the day for the bride of Christ to grab a hold of the authority we’ve been given.

Prayer Moment:  God, as I feel You taking our relationship to the next level, help me to follow.  I feel You beginning to release me to walk in a deeper way with You.  I feel You releasing me to use the authority that a wife of many years has.  Yes, in the newness of marriage we may still be feeling each other out, but that time has passed, and You and I know each other well and can trust one another more deeply.  Help me to act like it.  Help me to not be afraid when You ask me to boldly move in the world.  When you send me out as Your representative, help me to not be afraid of that type of authority, instead help me to embrace it.  I am Your bride.  I love You and adore You.  I am Yours forever and always.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely, I am with You always, to the very end of the age.  Matthew 28:18-20