Deeper Day 33: Psalm 25

Today, I want to give you scripture to read and allow God to speak directly to your heart through….

 

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in You I trust, O my God.  Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.  No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.  Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths, guide me in Your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.  Remember, O Lord, Your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.  Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to Your love remember me, for You are good, O Lord.  Good and upright is the Lord; therefore, He instructs sinners in His ways.  He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.  All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of His covenant.  For the sake of Your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.  Who, then, is the man that fears the Lord?  He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.  He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.  The Lord confides in those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them.  My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare.  Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.  The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish.  Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.  See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me!  Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.  May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.  Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles!  Psalm 25

 

Prayer Moment:  When I read through this Psalm, I cannot believe how many different parallels it has to my current life.  If I ever needed encouragement to press on and love the Lord through it all, this is it. Soak this Psalm into your own heart today and see what God has to say directly to you.  Take parts that stir your heart and write them down so you can return to them for encouragement later.  There is so much to be drawn from this.

Deeper Day 32: God’s Seal Upon My Heart

A few months ago, when I went to be alone for a couple of days so I could begin writing these devotionals, I had a very clear vision.  I was driving out to stay alone at my parents and was nearly there when in a vision I saw a hand come from heaven and place a seal on my heart.  It was like those stamp seals that you’ve seen.  God said, “I am placing My seal upon your heart.”

It was a powerful moment, and immediately I, without question, knew that I was indeed hearing from God that I was to write these devotionals.  After that, He invited me to just rest in His presence for a while.  It was beautiful, and much needed.  I felt that God was inviting me into a new level of intimacy with Him throughout this journey Deeper with you.

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.  Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.  Song of Songs 8:6-7

God’s love for us is far more intense than we can even imagine.  I am so grateful for the love He lavishes upon me.  Were it not for that insatiable love, the world would have consumed me long ago.  I need that love.  I yearn for it.  I crave it.

This devotional may seem unusual, but what I wanted to do was bring you to the place of God’s love where you walk from what’s comfortable and “acceptable”, into what’s real.  Into the place where His love becomes a consuming fire that you cannot and don’t want to contain.

Prayer Moment:  My challenge for you today is this, go before God and ask Him to show you a greater depth of His love for you.  Sometimes, it can feel shocking or even “wrong”, but it’s because it’s so intense and we are earthly and struggle to comprehend how the God of the universe can be so enthralled with us.  Will you give Him permission to crash in on you today?  To take you past comfortable and into intense?  If so, give Him your “Yes”.

 

My lover has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies.  I am my lover’s and my lover is mine; he browses among the lilies.  Song of Songs 6:2-3

This is love:  not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  1 John 4:10

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.  1 John 4:16

Deeper Day 31: Position

I have learned, over time, that it is important to know your position before God.  What do I mean?  Well, as scripture tells us even though we are here on earth in our earthly bodies, we are simultaneously positioned in Heaven.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  Ephesians 2:6-7

Years ago, I was having a time of worship with a friend and I saw myself in the heavenly places.  I was sitting at the Father’s feet worshiping Him.  For years after, I was so confident as I lavished my praises upon Him knowing that I was ministering directly to Him.  It gives a person confidence to know where they stand.  Do you know where you stand?

A couple of months ago, I saw myself in heaven again, this time I was seated by God’s feet again and then He had me move to stand directly in front of Him.  In that second I saw from my own eyes directly into God’s and He told me that I was in a season where God was giving me permission to ask Him for anything I desired.   Then my view panned out and I saw myself before God and He said, “I am also going to give you instruction and send you out.”

WOW!  Talk about awe inspiring!! Isn’t God cool?!

In one moment, my position in the heavenly places had changed.  What was really interesting though was when I had that vision, I was on my face laying on the ground.  It’s so crazy how as my heavenly posture moved from seated to standing, my earthly posture moved from standing to laying down.

From that moment until this, I have presented my requests with thanksgiving to God.  It’s been such a different experience, but so great.  I’ve even brought my kids and husband into the equation.  We (at God’s direction) made specific prayer requests to pray every day until we see them come to pass.  Before this felt awkward and maybe ungrateful, but God said to keep bringing them to Him over and over again.  Even recently, when I feel behind on praying these requests, God brought it to my mind again and said, “Bring me those requests.  Don’t stop.”

I know He is teaching me something.

Prayer Moment:  Take time today to ask God to show you your position in the heavenly places.  Get quiet and believe Him when He shows you.  He is a good and loving Father.  It is not arrogance to ask this.  I believe God longs for us to know more about these things because it makes us more effective in our daily walk on earth and it continually reminds us that there is a place beyond this earth that is our home.  I yearn for it every day.

 

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  Jude 1:20-21

 

 

Deeper Day 30: Breakthrough

The other day I was praying and praying and asking God for breakthrough.  Suddenly, God spoke to me, “I am the God of breakthrough.  Remember, it’s called breakthrough for a reason.  If there was no resistance and effort needed, then why would it be called breakthrough?”

It struck me like a bullet in the chest.

How simple, yet profound.  The very nature of breakthrough indicates a resistance.  How is it that I haven’t thought of it this aggressive way before?

Surely, I’m not the only one to miss this.

When you are in a season of needing a God breakthrough, you MUST keep pushing.  Whether it is on your knees in prayer, or singing worship, or just living a regular life in the middle of irregular circumstances you MUST keep pushing on the place that needs breakthrough.

This is not a sedentary or lazy pursuit, no, it’s aggressive in its very nature.  We are to aggressively pursue breakthrough.  Unrelentingly.

This is where I’ve come, to a place where my prayers are steady and fervent.  A place where I sit and listen for longer than normal, and a place where I worship different than normal because this is not a normal breakthrough.  Friends, I believe with all my heart and soul that as others witness the extreme breakthroughs God has planned for my family in 2020, it will draw them closer and closer to the Father too.  One reason I’m so bold and honest is because I desire all of you to have similar breakthroughs, as well.  Like a ripple effect, I desire my breakthroughs to make room for other peoples breakthroughs.

Prayer Moment:  If you are needing breakthrough in your life, don’t give up! Keep moving forward, keep listening, keep pursuing and for Heaven’s sake keep holding onto hope.  God has already planned a path to the breakthrough you’re needing, you only need to persevere.  Take a minute and ask God to reinforce the hope in your heart and to show you the places He has placed a breakthrough path in your life.  Set your heart on that path and never ever give up until you receive the promise.  He Who promises is completely faithful!

 

So, David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them.  He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.”  So, that place was called Baal Perazim.  2 Samuel 5:20
(Baal Perazim means “the Lord who breaks out”)

When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went out to meet them.  Now the Philistines had come and raided the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of God:  “Shall I go and attack the Philistines?  Will you hand them over to me?”  The Lord answered him, “Go, I will hand them over to you.”  So David and his men went up to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them.  He said, “As waters break out, God has broken out against my enemies by my hand.”  1 Chronicles 14:8-11a

 

Deeper Day 29: God Will Bless Us

Over the last week, I have been in such turmoil.  I have felt as if I’ve walked out several struggles in life past the grace allotted for me.  What a terrible feeling, and to top it off, I truly have no control over these situations.  These are situations in which, I can only wait, pray, hope and listen to God, but I truly have zero control over them moving forward.  So, to be honest, I’ve been frustrated.

When I reached what felt like the end of the grace period, I began to question, “Has God stopped releasing His grace over this situation, or have I stopped living out the grace I’m receiving?”

The truth is, I’m worn out.  I’ve been so tired that I can’t fully feel.  My hope tank is nearing empty and I’m hanging onto it by a thread……When I told God this He replied, “At least you’re still holding on.”  You know, it doesn’t matter how much hope we have, sometimes the point is that we refuse to give it up, and so, I remain holding onto hope with all the strength I have.

Last night, I found a tank of hope.  It was in the place of worship.  I always spend time at the piano worshiping, but I admit that lately I haven’t felt a lot.  This too frustrated me, but last night something shifted.  When I got to the place of thinking, “Why am I not hearing and feeling anything right now in worship, like I normally would?”  I made an instant decision to press forward.  I just began to play my own song on the keys and I sang out in simple sounds until words would come.  The words came and then I returned to just the sounds.  And then I knew, my worship had moved into the groanings of the Spirit.

In the same way that we are sometimes moved in prayer to simply repeat the name of Jesus or at times I’ve been so intensely battling that all I could do was moan….my worship had come to that same place of desperation.  I am so desperate for God to come through for us, that I’ve prayed all the prayers and am left only with the moaning’s and groaning’s of my spirit.

I felt so much Presence in the sound of it.  It was a revitalizing shift.  It renewed my will to fight another day and increased my hope tank so much that this morning I woke before my alarm and couldn’t wait to come up to my office and have quiet time.  Thank You God for Your faithfulness to me.

Prayer Moment:  I came across this Psalm the other day and have since read it over and over again because it gives the key to it all.  When we praise, then the land will yield its harvest and God will bless us.  Praise is the key.  Even if it’s a groaning in the Presence.  Even my groans were full of praise.  When you groan before God, you’re not being pathetic, you’re simply saying, “This is all I have right now and still I give it to you in praise.”  Will you praise Him like this today?

 

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us, Selah, that Your ways may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.  May the peoples praise You, O God; may all the peoples praise You.  May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for You rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth.  Selah.  May the peoples praise You, O God; may all the peoples praise You.  Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us.  God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear Him.  Psalm 67

Deeper Day 28: Steeped In His Presence

The only way that I know how to make it through this life, with peace, is to be steeped in God’s Presence.  Spending time in the quiet place each and every morning has revolutionized my life.  I’ve been practicing this for many years now, and I can tell you…it.is.worth.it.

Even though there are mornings when I come before the Lord and feel nothing.  Even though there are times when I have a morning of breakthrough with God and then my day seems to crumble under unpredictable circumstances.  It.Is.Worth.It.

I come before the Lord every morning because I want relationship with Him.  I want to know Him, and to be known by Him.

It’s a lot like marriage.  Let’s face it, not every day of marriage is epic.  In fact, some days leave you wondering why you’ve made the choice you made.  But still because of love and relationship, you lay yourself down and decide to pick up love.  I choose every day to devote myself to not only my husband, but to the life we’ve built together.  This decision can’t be made based on day to day feelings, rather it’s made from a specific decision and covenant I made before God to stand firm in this marriage until death.

Likewise, I have completely devoted myself to a relationship with Jesus.  The only difference is He died in advance to make this whole thing possible.  He conquered death so that He could meet me here every morning and all throughout my day.  He died in advance, so that we could walk together through the good times and the bad times.  He is worthy, isn’t He?!

Prayer Moment:  God, I long to be so steeped in Your presence that nothing in heaven or on earth could deter me from continually giving myself to you.  I don’t worship you because of the good things You do for me.  I worship You simply because You alone are worthy of praise.  Remind my heart every morning of the goodness of Your presence.  Forgive me for the times when I’ve lost sight of why I meet with You.  In Your loving kindness, Lord, please continue to draw me unto Yourself every moment of every day, until my death when we will meet face to Face.  In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Hear my voice when I call, O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.  My heart says of You, “Seek His face!”  Your face, Lord, I will seek.  Do not hide Your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my Helper.  Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.  Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.  Teach me Your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.  Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.  I am still confident of this, I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:7-14

 

Deeper Day 27: Loss

This last weekend, our family suffered a tragedy.  To some it may seem small, but to us it was anything but.  Our dog Rose, who frequently would run under our cars while we drove up the driveway, got herself run over.  Chris and I feared this would eventually happen, but we both knew there was nothing we could do to stop her from this terrible habit.  The worst part of it all was that my 11 year old was at his upstairs bedroom window waving at his dad, who was driving up the driveway, and witnessed the whole thing.

So tragic.  So many tears from everyone.

But something beautiful emerged from this time, as is always God’s plan…..

I was able to walk my kids through grief without being consumed.

You see, I want to raise resilient kids.  I don’t want them to faint at the slightest hint of danger.  I want them to be warriors, both for the kingdom of God and here on earth.  I don’t do well interacting with people who want to be a victim as a lifestyle.  God did not raise me up to be a victim.  On the contrary, He IS victory and as I am a part of His family now, I too carry victory.

The truth is, if we never had these sorrows and challenges on earth, then we wouldn’t mature and learn how to cope.  I, as a parent, am charged with allowing my kids to walk out this discomfort, not help them avoid it.  True parenting is teaching how to live out real life.

And suddenly, I’m preaching to myself, as I realize that while I hate what our family is walking through right now, with lack of work, it is what it takes for us to grow and mature.  To be complete and lacking nothing.  To let perseverance run its course.

So, I pick myself up and dust myself off and face another day, and I know that the God who created the universe, the One Who was and is and is to come, will always be there for me preparing the way…..I only need to trust Him.

Today, I needed this message.  Today, I am tired and weary, but still holding onto hope.  No, this isn’t one of those, “I’m so full of hope” days.   Today is more like, “I am holding onto hope by the skin of my teeth.”  And guess what?  That’s totally ok.  What matters is that I’m holding on.

Prayer Moment:  Take a minute and look at your life.  Are you holding onto hope, even slightly, or have you given up and thought, “It’s always going to be this way?”.  I’m here today to tell you, “It will NOT always be this way, especially if you can learn how to break up with the victim spirit and embrace HOPE.  If you are struggling to feel hopeful, then take a minute and be honest before God.  Tell Him your struggle (He knows anyways) and ask Him to restore your hope.  Don’t forget He is where our hope originates from.

I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip—He Who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He Who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The Lord watches over you—The Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.  Psalm 121