Thursday, June 30, 2016

Piercing Kindness

Proverbs 16:24 Kind words are like honey—
    sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
I love this Proverb, I love that it concentrates on the power of kindness, one of the fruits of the Spirit. The word here is “no-am”, meaning pleasantness, kindness and beauty.  A treasure that I found in the meaning of this word. “kindness”, shows that it also means one who “staves”.  To stave is to break something by forcing it inward, or piercing it roughly. Kindness breaking something, not harsh words or anger.  Not shouting into submission.  Kindness, given to us through the Holy Spirit has the power to break into circumstances and situations.  Kindness has the power to transform and to change from the inside out. Kindness, as it pierces into our dispositions and circumstances usurps that which was already there, creating a sense of well- being and health.
Stave also means to delay, or avert something bad. Kindness has the power to change our circumstances and save us for ourselves and others! I have never thought of the power of kindness in this way before. Thank you Holy Spirit for this revelation, a new way to look at spiritual warfare and well-being!
Let’s pray:
Holy Spirit, we ask that we would learn how to brandish our sword of kindness.  Help us to alter our ways of doing things, help us to adopt these new practices and jewels that You are revealing to us.  Help us to not grow weary and not give up.  Help us as we bow our own plights, thoughts, actions and plans to a Holy Obedience to the Ordinary.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Continuing to Shift Our Paradigms

23 From a wise mind comes wise speech;
    the words of the wise are persuasive.
Wise words are rooted in a wise mind. How do we protect our minds and foster Wisdom there? Remember that we are told to take every thought captive to Christ. Here we see the flow of Wisdom, it starts within our minds, comes out of us through wise speech and finds fertile soil as it is released. This holy obedience to the ordinary is about a shift in our paradigms at a microscopic level! Literally, every thought, deed and action need to be rooted in Christ before they are released!
Here we are promised that wise words are persuasive, they draw others into their life and the promises contained through Wisdom. Wisdom begets Wisdom and draws others into its fold. How exciting that we get to be part of this process!
Let’s pray:
Lord, help us to take each thought captive to You, exposing stinkin’ thinkin’, judgement, criticism, negativity, hurtful memories, anger, ruminating thoughts, legalism….all of these things that foster foolish actions.  Help us to discern our thoughts and our thought processes and slow them down, so that we can invite You into the midst of our moments.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Picture of Communication Through The Spirit

Proverbs 16:22 Discretion is a life-giving fountain to those who possess it,
    but discipline is wasted on fools.
Yesterday we looked at slowing down our speech, and today we learn how to offer life in these conversations of reverence.  Let’s look at the definition of discretion: the quality of being careful about what you do and say so that people will not be embarrassed or offended : the quality of being discreet
We are promised here that discretion offers life to others, a never ending fountain that splashes those around us.  What a nice state of being to exist in, splashing others with affirmation, encouragement and life. To know that this fountain exists within us, watering our innermost parts as it is shared with the world.  What a beautiful picture of communication through the Spirit!! To worry more about what your mouth is saying and what your body language is conveying than being right, arguing, criticizing, nagging and bickering- these are the ways of the fool.
Lord, the thought of being a never ending fountain of life, where Your wisdom and Spirit pour from us, splashing the world and altering atmospheres….this is what we want. This is the communion that we want to walk in, and the outpouring we want to offer. .

Monday, June 27, 2016

Intentional Conversation

Proverbs 16:21 The wise are known for their understanding,
    and pleasant words are persuasive.
I love what Matthew Henry has to say about our verse today:
“Those that with their wisdom have a happy elocution, that deliver their sentiments easily and with a good grace, are communicative of their wisdom and have words at will, and good language as well as good sense, increase learning; they diffuse and propagate knowledge to others, and do good work with it, and by that means increase their own stock. They add doctrine, improve sciences, and do service to the commonwealth of learning. To him that has, and uses what he has, more shall be given.”
The thought of delivering sentiments with good grace and sense is very appealing! How many times has my foot been found to be drooping out of my mouth as I try to swallow it down? To be in such a state of communion with God, that He permeates our every moment. Just think about the amount of connectivity we are referring to here: that His ways and words would be planted and formed within our hearts and minds BEFORE we speak.  His intentions and His path to be seen before we enter into the conversation, and as we are in the midst of conversation.
Oh Lord, help us to slow down and seek You before all else before all we do and all we speak.  We are so busy living our lives, we bumble through our days missing divine appointments and moments to build bridges. Teach us how to slow down Lord.  In this day and age we are racing to the finishing line, and falling into bed exhausted.  To be so intentional, so slow that we abide in Your presence and live out of Your secret places – this is what we are striving for as we undergo this study.   Help us abide in You Christ.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Do Ya, Do Ya, Do Ya Like Me Yet?

20 Good things happen to those who learn from their experiences, and the Lord blesses those who trust him.
To learn from our experiences, isn’t that what we are after? To process all that we do through the filter of holy obedience and redirect our rudder accordingly. It seems so easy, doesn’t it?  Then why do we find ourselves in the same circumstances, time and time again?
The Bible speaks a lot about having a teachable spirit, one example is 1 Peter 5:5 (ESV) :
5Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
We are back again, to humility vs pride. We are looking at having a demeanor that is able to take criticism as a tool.  A demeanor that begs for the Holy Spirit to enlighten to the dangers and the pitfalls of self, in every circumstance. Every, single, time we are faced with conflict – do we seek a higher perspective?  This is a teachable spirit.
For me, that means :
·      not arguing my point relentlessly, for the sake of unity- letting go.
·      not having to win every argument, for the sake of grace allowing other perspectives and ways to the finish line.
·      When a conflict is entered, I try to slow down and see where there is too much of “me” adding to the conflict.  If I can remove my buttons and triggers from the conflict, does the conflict become less tense?  -usually it does
·      For me, a personal experience that I have entered into time and time again is people pleasing.  I am learning how to be ok when people that don’t like me. I have been known to chase people down, trying to just get them to think better of me.  I have jumped through hoops of fire to please, and only found myself exhausted.
It is easiest for me to show how I have recently learned from my experiences and crafted a new, healthier path. Remember that I am a recuperating people pleaser…let’s look at accusations.  They are a funny thing, aren’t they?  They pierce the soul and shatter our hearts. After a set of unjust accusations, the old me would kick into high gear with my mad dog people pleasing skills. I would set out to show them how these beliefs of my character and nature weren’t true. Now, I let it go. With eyes focused on God,  I ask for Him to search my heart and show me any malignancy. I have to own, repent and change anything that is revealed to my heart, and the rest, just let it go.
Folks don’t like me, they even think horrible things of me. I am accountable to God alone.  My experiences have taught me that people pleasing exhausts me AND it exhausts the person I am trying to please.  Like a fly buzzing around their head with my words constantly tickling their ears, “Do you like me yet?  Do you like me yet? Do you like me yet?” Lord have mercy, I apologize now to those I buzzed around relentlessly! My mom has always told me, “People are going to think, and say, what they want about you- you have no control over it. Make sure it’s not true, and let it go.”.   My mom’s a wise woman, it took me 49 years to heed her advice and learn from my experiences.  Thanks mom and thank you God, for giving me so many chances to get it right- with you as my focus, seated on Your throne.  I tumble and toss down the altars I have put folks on as I tried to please them, ignoring you.

So what about you?  What experiences keep coming up, over and over?  What are you to learn from them? Good things will happen as we learn from the experience that keep coming up, the Bible promises!  So next time the “same old” problem pops up look at it as a classroom and ace the exam!!! 

Special hugs to all of my people pleasing peeps out there- I get you!  <3

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Where Can I Sign Up?

19 Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed
    than to share plunder with the proud.
I know that this is a paradox that is hard to gulp down, unless you are living in the upside down, right side up of Kingdom living.  To choose to be lowly in spirit?  Ridiculous!!  We live in a world that is dog eat dog, rise to to the top, compete to win…but …what if?
What if we chose a different route? What if we didn’t live according to the world’s standards.  Solomon, seemingly the richest man that ever lived, says it is better to be humble with the lowly, poor and meek, rather than, trying to get your piece of the pie with the proud and arrogant.
In the world’s economy everyone is looking to get their moment, their portion, their slice, and making sure no one’s is bigger.  You have to hold onto what you have because everyone wants to take it away from you.
How exhausting.
In His economy, you get to chill.  Like the little Lamb in my picture, your needs are provided and He promotes.  He blesses and He creates opportunities.  He leads us to greener pastures, beside still waters. We don’t compete against each other, because no one can do what I have been called to do in the Kingdom.  I can’t do what you are called to do.  So I chill in the green grass and I abide in the ways of my Shepherd, with all of my sheep family.  And we exist in love and encouragement. Yes please!  Where do I sign?
Let’s pray:
Lord help me to let of of the world’s economy and harsh tactics. Help me to leave a gentler footprint and an encouraging word wherever I go. Help me to relax in Your will and Your ways and let go of competition, strife and power struggles.  Help me so that peace and joy can be my fruits and my inheritance I am remembered by.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Choices, Choices Evrywhere!!

18 Pride goes before destruction,
    a haughty spirit before a fall.
Pride is defined in the Hebrew language here through the word, “ga'own”, meaning arrogance,  This word also houses a mirror reflection within its meaning of majesty , and delight in our God.  So that we do not get confused, and so that we give all the glory to our God, as is deserved, Solomon throws in the word “haughty”, which has nothing but a negative connotation.

It is interesting to me that this one word, “ga'own”  contains the full spectrum of human emotion. We can have pride in our work that doesn’t border on arrogance, rather, houses an  honest work ethic. Ga'own  can represent a joy in the majesty of God.  On the other end of the spectrum is Ga'own with pomp, arrogance and swelling.

We always have a choice, don’t we? We always have to check ourselves and check our motives.  Biblically speaking, the height of offense, through pride, comes right before destruction.  Pharaoh, Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, were instances of this. It would seem to me that our God handles pride that is an offense to His Throne, we don’t have to. It would seem far more prudent to be on guard against offensive pride within our own hearts, than worrying about the state of affairs of others hearts.  

Lets pray:
Lord help me to guard my heart against pride.  Something that can start out as an honest emotion can quickly run out of control.  Help us to keep our boundaries up and our sense of awareness heightened. My prayer is that we would always attribute the works of our hands to you and the gifts that are bestowed, upon He that is the gift giver. My we always delight in the Majesty of the Lord and not in ourselves.   Amen

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Excuse Me While I Exit Stage Left

17 The highway of the upright avoids evil;
    those who guard their ways preserve their lives.
The wisdom granted to us by Solomon today is so valuable.  As always, with the Proverbs, read too fast and you miss it.  He offers that we should, literally, have a highway that departs from evil.  This means that in our day to day, as we are doing life, cruising down our highway, things are going to appear before our eyes, situations are going to arise and feelings are going to be stirred that push our buttons or entice us. We are to ACTIVELY DEPART from these situations, literally leave. Exit stage left. Gone.
He instructs us that we have to guard with fidelity (natsar).  This means that we are to guard our travels with a faithfulness to God. To guard from evil and to depart from it’s presence.   So what is evil then?  We know of evil in it’s most obscene cases, but how does the Bible define evil?  The word here is “ra”, meaning:
bad, evil
1.     bad, disagreeable, malignant
2.     bad, unpleasant, evil (giving pain, unhappiness, misery)
3.     evil, displeasing
4.     bad (of its kind - land, water, etc)
5.     bad (of value)
6.     worse than, worst (comparison)
7.     sad, unhappy
8.     evil (hurtful)
9.     bad, unkind (vicious in disposition)
10.  bad, evil, wicked (ethically)
1.     in general, of persons, of thoughts
2.     deeds, actions
Evil holds many shades of black, from profoundly malevolent and immoral, to disagreeable, unpleasant, hurtful and unkind. There are many shades of gray that have the potential to trap us through our words, deeds, actions and responses. We must guard our ways and our tongues with a Holy Obedience to the Ordinary.
Let’s pray:
Lord, we ask that you would quicken our spirits when we are approaching situations that are not healthy and righteous for us. Give us the strength and conviction to be able to depart from its presence and stay on the road of righteousness.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Open Hands vs Clenched Fists

16 How much better to get wisdom than gold,
    to get insight rather than silver!
-Video through 1:23 illustrates point
A word from Matthew Henry in his commentary: “Many take care and pains to get wealth, and yet come short of it; but grace was never denied to any that sincerely sought it. There is vanity and vexation of spirit in getting wealth, but joy and satisfaction of spirit in getting wisdom. Great peace have those that love it.”
“There is vanity and vexation in the acquiring of wealth”, haven’t you found that to be true?  With fists clenched we can lose ourselves holding onto what we have, rather than interacting with the world through hands open, ready to serve.  Clenched fists frustrate.  Though they hold onto what is, they forever feel empty and in need of more.  There is a relentless pursuit for “more”.
When we seek wisdom and we walk in the ways of the Spirit, open hands receive His blessings and let them flow to others. Open hands serve and receive a boomerang blessing for the service provided. The upside down world of Kingdom living has us release to gain.
In this little video from “The Gods Must Be Crazy 2”, you will meet a baboon, that gets himself caught, because he could not unclench his fist.  We get stuck in the same way when we can’t let go of our wealth and the acquisition of wealth.  We are stuck holding on as we enter into bondage.  Today we are reminded to worship the hand that blesses, not the blessings He bestows.

Let’s pray:  Lord, thank you for this strong visual of what happens when we have clenched fists.  Help our faith trust in Your economy so that we can let go to receive more of You and what You have in store for us!  Help our faith, that when we don’t understand, we know that You do and You guide our steps.  Today I pray for my dear friend that is losing her job, Lord help her to let go into Your plans for her life and into Your blessings. I pray that her faith multiplies through this process and that she can sing praises to her King as she enters into the plans You have for her.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Love Wins

Kings hate to see anyone doing wrong, because kingdoms grow strong only when everyone is honest and fair. (ESV) Proverbs 16:12

In light of the Orlando shooting, and out of the greatest remorse for the victims, I wanted to look at today’s Proverb through the eyes of authority.  Kings, or those in authority, we are told by Solomon, are at their strongest when dealings are honest and fair within their domain of authority.
What happened to 49 innocent people in Orlando wasn’t honest or fair, it was an abomination of hate. The survivors find themselves in the hospital, fighting night terrors, physical and psychological damages as they bury their friends.  This is an affront to love. It is encouraging to see the nation pull behind the survivors and the victim’s families. It is good that we shower compassion and love.  It is wonderful that blood banks are being filled and that random acts of kindness are more prevalent today.  In this climate of compassion and love, reaching out and respect, our world thrives.  It becomes a bit gentler as love beats back the darkness.
This doesn’t change anything for those families that are mourning the loss of their loved ones.  My prayer is for those that are hurting today.  I pray that angels of mercy would draw close.  I can only imagine that you can’t make sense of a nonsensical killing spree, and that the hole in your heart would be lesser than the air that you try to breathe.  I pray you take one breath at a time.  That each breath is deeper and longer.  I pray for you in the days ahead and the sadness that engulfs you. I pray that hope would find its way into your existence again.  Psalm 34:18 promises that 
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.“.
I believe that the Spirit of the Lord makes up the very breath that you are breathing in today. He is that close, that personal.  I pray that His presence makes a difference in your every moments and in all of your senses.  I pray that as the dawn rises each morning, His presence in your heart, makes it easier to breathe again.  I pray for all of you, for each step you take to be one of healing and restoration.  I know it doesn’t feel like it today, but my prayer is that love wins.

Monday, June 13, 2016

His Weights and Measures

Honest scales and balances belong to the Lord;
    all the weights in the bag are of his making. Proverbs 16:11 NIV
This week we will be looking at authority and how to be a good leader. Our God demands honesty and truth in all that we do. We have His Holy Word to weigh all of our actions against. His precepts and His commandments are His making and we get to align ourselves according to their plumb line of righteousness.   Although this proverb speaks to commerce and the weighing of goods, I find a broader meaning: His weights, all of them are weights of truth. There is nothing on earth that stands outside the dominion of His weights and truth., all things are to be measured against His Word.
Sometimes we act as if there are areas that are a “gray zone.” 
·      Little, white lies
·       “Prayer requests” that are thinly disguised acts of gossip
·      Dishonest business practices
All things are held under the system of weights that the Lord holds. When we are walking through our day, it would be wise to weigh all things against His precepts. The Holy Spirit is our guide and our counselor, letting us know when something isn’t “measuring up”.
Let’s pray:
Lord quicken our spirits so that we are in direct communication with your weights and balances of truth and righteousness. Help us to pause and redirect when we might go against that which you deem to be right and proper.  Slow us down, in our families and in our business dealings so that all areas of our lives come under Your jurisdiction.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Praying For Our Country

Proverbs 16:10

God’s verdict is on the lips of a king; his mouth should not give an unfair judgment.

In this election year and this time of a tumultuous political arena, how I wish I had confidence that our candidates subscribed to a Holy Obedience to the ordinary! The idea here is that the one in authority is in communion with God. Their decisions, as well as, their treatment of others falls under divine rule.   Matthew Henry sums it up best in his commentary:
            “ It may be read as a precept to the kings and judges of the earth to be wise and instructed. Let them be just, and rule in the fear of God; let them act with such wisdom and conscience that there may appear a holy divination in all they say or do, and that they are guided by principles supernatural: let not their mouths transgress in judgment, for the judgment is God’s.”
            In this political climate with candidates under FBI scrutiny and claims of racism following, and biting, at their heels, I think we can “only” pray. In this season it is ours to trust in the Lord and know that He has a plan for our great nation.  We can pray that His elect finds their way to the Oval Office.  We can also pray that their advisors are God fearing men and women that seek the heartbeat of God.  We can pray that anything that is not of God falls on deaf ears and is foiled before it can take root.
            I and II Kings is riddled with king after king that, either, did evil in the sight of the Lord, or whose ways were pleasing to the Lord. Dare I say it? Our only defense in this day and age is a life of prayer and intercession for our leaders, our congressman, our President, our children’s teachers and Principals, for all of those that hold a place of authority, that their knees are bowed and their hearts are in alignment with the purposes of God.
2 Chronicles 7:14
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Lord we turn to You today and we humbly approach the throne with grieving hearts. Righteousness, holiness, purity are all victims of political correctness. We serve politicians that speak out of both sides of their mouth so that they are only offending a Holy God.  Forgive us Lord.  We seek to heal our land, heal our hearts, heal our minds, heal our families, heal our churches, heal our communities through. Your word, Your precepts, through our Holy Obedience to the ordinary.  We pray for our leaders, that their hearts would be inclined towards you and that their ways are pleasing to you.  We pray for their advisors, that Godly men and women would make up their cabinets. We pray that the plots and schemes of the enemy would fall on deaf ears. We pray for protection for our country and all of its leaders.  Amen

Thursday, June 9, 2016

What Happened??

A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.
How wonderfully and gloriously are we made!!  We have the capabilities to dream, imagine, and plan! I am reminded of the wisdom of Spiderman here, (yes, I have two boys and a husband-so I am well versed in superheroes!!) “With great power comes great responsibility”.   It is true that we have so much power and so much potential.  Our God also released us into free will, so that, all of this power and potential can be used for good or for evil.  How glorious when there is a communion between spirit and mind as we walk out the Lord’s will for our lives!  To cast aside personal gain, success and fortune and to rely on Him to walk us through the path that He ordained for us before there was time, requires active participation with our hearts and our mind.  We need to be in constant communion with our creator to stay in His steps and out of our own.  James reminds us that as we decrease, He increases.  We are looking at the upside down, right side up of Kingdom living, where to live is to die and to die is gain.
Each week we seem to be looking at the issue of faith and trust.  For me the bottom line is this: Do I trust Him enough to let go of all of my expectations and release into the wonder of the uncertainty? That’s a big question, isn’t it?  We can plan our ways, we can dream and imagine, schedule and walk towards our expected end result. I have to remember, that as a woman, I invest in things that I am dreaming into. As I am walking out the imaginings of my heart, I am believing in them and investing in them with my heart and mind.   Let’s face it: it is tough when those dreams are uprooted and we are cast in another direction!  It is hard, when we think we were following the Lord’s promptings and it all "falls apart"!
There have been more than a few times in my life where I have been “redirected”.  In the season I have felt like I was following the Lord’s leading and enjoying the fruit of the season.  There was a time that I was going into the prisons and working with inmates and addicts. I walked with them upon their release and helped them get the help that they needed.  I gained trust and relationship behind bars, so that they would have someone to call when they got out.  I had an email ministry that sent into the state prisons, and my “blue card” so that I could go in jails and prisons to serve.   And then one day…..I wasn’t. Literally, the mission field dried up overnight for me.  For reasons I still don’t understand I was moved on by the Lord.  I still don’t understand!  I have been moved out of churches and I can look back and see God’s wisdom in relocating me, I have been called out of ministries and I see the hand of God opening bigger doors.  It has been 4 years and I still don’t understand the prison ministry being taken.  I may never know this side of glory.  I do trust that something was done in me, through Him, that had to get done before I could walk into my next assignment
Frustrated in the moment, I am now ok with it. I trust in Him and in His plans for my life.  I am willing to sit back and watch His plans unfold around me, a beautiful tapestry.  He does work all things out for good, I can attest to this through my many “relocations” as of late. He has a better plan for me, more than I can fathom or imagine.  I can plan and dream, but I can’t invest so heavily in my dreams, that I squash out the Lord. 
Let’s pray:
Lord help me in my moments of frustration and sadness as you relocate me and my family—from the known into the unknown. Abraham had to start walking, not knowing where he was being called to.  Help us to have that kind of faith, that simply obeys and walks as You have the final say in our plans!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Trust Him on the Journey

Better is a little with righteousness (uprightness in every area and relation and right standing with God) than great revenues with injustice.

I love the apparent simplicity of the Proverbs, that are weighted with such heavy truths we need to be reminded of them again and again.. The same thought was presented to us in Proverbs 15:5 “Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil.”  Why repeat the same thoughts to us?  Because it is a truth that would serve us well, but it is not in our nature’s to truly embrace it.

There are decisions that have to be made at every turn and at every corner.  Will we walk in righteousness and Holy Obedience, though the path is sometimes longer and not easily navigated? The path that the Lord presents can involve long waits and walks through the wilderness, as He prepares our hearts for that which He is calling us to. Sometimes there is a quick path that is presented, and though our spirit does not reconcile with the opportunity, we take it.  In our impatience we can try to make things happen faster and easier.

I know that when God is working, He shows up and amazes.  The path might be long and tedious, fraught with disappointments- but He is preparing us for opportunities and responsibilities. Get there before Him and you won’t be able to occupy what He has laid out for you, because you are not ready.
Trust in Him and in His timing. Trust in the journey and path to your greatest calling on your life. Trust that on this journey He is growing you so that you can occupy the dreams He planted in your heart. Pray and stay in constant communion with God.  Shortcuts rarely pay off in the upside down, right side up world of Kingdom Living.

Let’s pray:
Oh Lord we give you our plans and our schemes and trust You with our dreams.  We trust that You have a path set before us that will yield the greatest harvest in Your Kingdom.  Let it now be about us and personal gain, but about You and making disciples.  Help us to see and hear Your plans for our lives as You bring into existence our dreams, in a way that is more than we could fathom or imagine!  (Ephesians 3:20)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

When Our Ways Please The Lord

When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary, offers this on our little Proverb for today:
            God can turn foes into friends when he pleases. He that has all hearts in his hand has access to men’s spirits and power over them, working insensibly, but irresistibly upon them, can make a man’s enemies to be at peace with him, can change their minds, or force them into a feigned submission. He can slay all enemies, and bring those together that were at the greatest distance from each other.”

Our human nature seems to focus on the outcome, that even our enemies will be at peace with us.  I start to see how nice that would be, that those who have staked themselves against us, would be at peace with us. Relationships can be so difficult, my heart longs for peace on all fronts. I look at this Proverb with hopeful anticipation, that peace can reign no matter the circumstances.

My human nature inquires, “Yes, but what is the catch?  How does this happen?”  The answer is not found in the heart of our enemy, but in our very own heart.   When a man’s ways please the Lord”, this means that we act with charity and mercy towards our enemies.  We offer the fruits of the Spirit, in abundance. We pray for them and we turn the other cheek.  We don’t repay unkindness with unkindness.  In the upside down, right side up of Kingdom living, we repay their unkindness with love.   In this fame, through the mindset of Christ, our enemies will be at peace with us.

You may be in a situation where you are not in contact with your enemies, or it is unsafe for you to be near them.  I would still offer that our heart still holds the key.  By releasing them, we release ourselves from the chains of bondage.  By allowing Christ into the circumstances, we alter the dimensions of the situation through love.  Moment by moment, day by day, we are released from captivity as we pray for those that have hurt us.

Let’s pray:
Lord thank you for the wisdom that is found in this book.  Thank you for the revelation today that all paths of healing start within me, and aligning myself with You. Help us do this, most impossible, thing.  Help us to act in ways that please you, towards our enemies.  We open up to the possibility of forgiveness and grace, as we release the need to be right and the need for validation and vindication. Lord, we seek to grow more and more into the likeness of You, help us today as we release our enemies from our hearts, into Your grace. Amen

Monday, June 6, 2016

Whose We Are, Not What We do!

Proverbs 16:6-10 Amplified

By mercy and love, truth and fidelity [to God and man—not by sacrificial offerings], iniquity is purged out of the heart, and by the reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord men depart from and avoid evil.
What a roadmap we have been given by Solomon!
·      Mercy: Forgiveness given to one who could be punished
·      Love: deep affection
·      Truth: Testimony and judgement
·      Fidelity: Faithfulness
To God and through God iniquity is purged from our hearts.  We can’t sacrifice enough, do enough good deeds, try and harder – it is through the saving grace of Jesus Christ that we can partake in the process of sanctification.
Sometimes we get busy though, don’t we?  In our churches and in our ministries, finding our worth in what we do, rather than in whose we are. We can get lost in the doing and forget that our worth is in His being.
As we enter into the reverence and worship of our Lord, our frequencies change.  We get dialed into the Life giving awareness of the Holy Spirit and we turn off the chatter of our one enemy. Our song becomes His song as our “souls doth magnify the Lord”.
I thought we would look at Mary today, a young hand maiden of the Lord’s that magnifies the qualities that Solomon speaks of here today:

Mary's Song of Praise: The Magnificat

46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1:46-55
Mary soul magnified her God and her Spirit rejoiced in God, her Savior.  Mary refers to her God here, before the birth of Christ as her Savior, her deliverer. As she is impregnated by the Holy Spirit, she is delivered into the worlds definition of chaos—an unwed, young, unmarried woman.  Yet, she trusts in her God and in His purposes for her life- her deliverer has called her to an unexpected journey.  She displays all of the character qualities that Solomon speaks of: through His mercy, love and truth and faithfulness, she responds in kind.  She refers to God as her Savior, or deliverer, as she begins to carry the worlds Savior.
Let’s pray”
Lord help us to respond to You as Mary does.  Without understanding the full plan, she bows her will and her life to Your will and Your ways. We pray that obedience is our nature when you call us into unexpected places and uncomfortable spaces.  We want to grow in You Lord, we pray that each moment is seen as a divine decision of obedience and truth, faithfulness and mercy-à and that we walk accordingly.

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