Today, I completely missed my turn. I took a new route to the supermarket and, because I thought the entrance would look the same as before, I drove right past it. I knew the store would be on the left. However, because I came from a different direction, it was on the right.
Because I expected an old thing, I missed the new. Likewise, many of us — looking for an old thing — miss God’s new. We expect people to hurt us like yesterday, so we stay in our house, away from relationship and, yet again — we are hurt. We expect our finances to never change, so we don’t bother changing anything and live continually strapped. We expect our kids to never change so we dismiss them because they’ve hurt us and God’s love doesn’t reach them.
We go our way, yet God has — His way. One we may not even be able to perceive.
Today, what if we were to open our eyes up to perceive that God may have for us — a new way?
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Is. 43:19)
Be it yesterday or today, Isaiah or Romans, Moses or Paul, God continually does new things. He breaks through. He restores. He transforms. He offers new life. New opportunities. Healing. Help.
The question is not — “Is God Healer, Helper, and Restorer?” The question is — “Do we believe Him to be these things?”
Where might God want you to perceive His new? If you have been banging your head in one particular area, this is a sign that God may be calling you to do things a new way. If you feel constantly stuck, look out for His new way. If you feel like there must be more, expect Him to show you something new.
All His ways are good.
God, help me to perceive your leading and direction. I don’t want to be so stuck in an old thing that I can’t walk into your new thing for me. I thank you that transition and change are part of your heart. I thank you that as I wait on you that you will renew my strength. Today, I choose to trust your leading and guidance. I trust you to provide and to help me. I ask that all I do, think and say might bring glory to you. Help me to trust and love you even more. Thank you that I can do this by laying down my ways and by trusting yours. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray. Amen
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I have learned something that has changed my family. It is simple and profound.
The learning is founded on these 2 concepts:
One: Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6)
Two: I follow Jesus.
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” (My.16:24 ESV)
Note here: Jesus is not the Prince of Conflict. Nor the Prince of Double-Mindedness. Nor Prince of fear.
Here, in the busyness of my day — I can ask myself: Am I following and pursuing peace, or lesser things?
Doing this makes me a wiser decision-maker.
For instance, this helps me to:
– consider if hanging out with the friend with the gossipy-potty mouth will make bring me peace afterwords.
– if saying yes to the 60-hour a week job will create a peace-filled home.
– if debating my husband is increasing peace between us.
The amount or lack of peace in our life often is a good indicator of how we seek and follow Jesus in our lives.
Sometimes, often actually, I have to literally go the other direction from my feelings which seem to scream at me to attend to them. Yet, when I do this, the result is almost always a million times better than the short-term pleasure of reacting. I can benefit in this way, when I take time to consider outcomes.
God is powerful enough to fight my battle!
Do you seek and pursue peace?
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14)
I can’t say why, but, this phrase is resonating in my spirit. It’s not that I’m saying life on Earth is not worth living or giving up on for heaven. Not at all. I am not saying that.
But, what I am saying is — God’s love is better than life. It is better than the best thing I’ve ever gotten here on Earth. It is better than my best day ever. It is better than the best feeling I’ve ever experienced.
I believe this is why Paul desired the Ephesians understand God’s love more…
“And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]; and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself]. (Eph. 3:17-19 AMP)
God’s love is EVERYTHING. Yet, I’ve learned, only when I conceive God’s love, do I receive God’s love. And, only when I receive God’s love, do I become so full that I have “the richest experience of God’s presence in (my) life.”
God’s love changes everything.
Suddenly, in light of God’s glory, grace, and love what happens is — the minors get minor. Stresses don’t bother as much. Worry fades. Fear is far more unimportant. And, the majors become major heavenly pursuits. I want to go with God and do God-centered things, everywhere.
Have you experienced God’s love? Why not ask Him to help you receive His love? To know the depths, widths, and lengths of His care…
I believe an amazing thing will happen.
In light of God’s love, we see more. We see we already have anything and everything we need! We see everything else is worth giving up for His goodness. We see how to love others from pure motives. We see how God is calling us to give away things we thought we needed. We get unhooked from the world because His presence and love call us elsewhere.
God’s love is better than life. It calls us deeper today…
I stood at the front door, waving bye to my husband…
He was flying to a different state to be at his father’s bedside (keep him in your prayers).
Frankly, I didn’t know when he’d get home and this was okay. Not too long after he left, I sat down and started scrolling on Facebook.
I remembered Mother’s Day was Sunday. I figured I’d be home alone, in quarantine, with two kids, no church, and some potato chips to quell my feelings. The more I sat there, the more I wished some friends would drop by to wave hi, call, drop off something or give me a bag of chocolate. My mind was fantasizing about being loved. But, I knew it wouldn’t happen.
No one is coming. No one knows me, here, really…
Being hard on myself, I berated my actions over the past six months: I’ve been busy. I’ve had too many things to do. I’ve been focused on other issues. I haven’t been a good enough friend.
No one will care for me, because I haven’t cared enough for them.
As I sat there, I determined post-social distancing that I would be the friend I want.
I would do this through: – Availability: I would make time and space to meet with key people. I wouldn’t wait to be invited, but I would become an — inviter.
– Intentionality: I would go deeper with these people. I would seek to encourage, love, and help others, recognizing their times of need.
– Transparency: I would seek to be honest with others, about where I am at — allowing them to encourage me, offer hope, and help. It’s okay to cry, with the right people. I can share my story and listen to theirs.
To have a friend, I must be a friend. I tucked that lesson in my pocket and went on with my day. But, it wasn’t a short time later that I got a text. A woman I loved knew I was home alone. She invited me to her house for dinner.
God touched my heart: He does see me. He knows exactly where I am.
“The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man.” (Ps. 33:13)
I guess I haven’t been a horrible friend, after all…
The next day, I didn’t get one, but a ton of loving messages. I am loved! It is funny how our mind tricks us and tells us that we’re down and out, left behind and unwanted.
God’s love tells us a different story: He knows our story. He sees us. He always takes care of us. He always provides. He always helps us out of our pits. He has gone the Calvary Road distance to save us. His love never quits. While we may have times alone or things may not feel right, His love will always be there for us.
Now, more than ever, we need to pray. We cannot change the climate of this day unless we pray. I am convinced of this. So much so, I feel an urgent need to create a reservoir of prayers to assist us in praying. Be it a daily prayer, a safe-keeping prayer, a repentance prayer, a protection prayer or a night’s end prayer. The goal of these prayers is to help you: persevere, gain courage, fight-the-good-fight and overcome through Christ Jesus.
While this is the first of a multi-part blog post of powerful prayers, it will eventually end up as a dedicated landing page on my blog with all the prayers listed. You can return to the page, to pray (more on that page link, later).
As you pray these, remember: 1. God hears. 2. There is power in persistent prayers. 3. God answers prayers.
Print these pages. Keep them prayers close to you. Share them with others (I will be posting these prayers on FB if you want to share it there).
Prayers to Pray (Part I):
“Accepting Peace” Prayer
Father God, the world is moving 1000 miles an hour. Often, I can’t keep up. I can’t keep track of the news coming at me. I can’t figure out my best way. I can’t manage every detail. I can’t make people do what I want. Things are beyond my control.
I feel restless in waiting. Unsure about what my future holds. Not knowing what to do.
But, Father God? I thank you that you have all control. Jesus, you as my Prince of Peace, have left me peace. Today, I choose to accept this peace. I take a moment to truly receive what you have given. I cast my cares on you and receive the peace you have given.
I also choose to stay near you today. I choose to think upon you. For it is written, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Is. 26:3)
Today, Father, give me the grace to keep my eyes on you, my ears attuned to you, my heart in check with you, and my feet following you. Then, I will live peace.
Today, I choose to fix all of me, on all of you!
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“Resting in the Arms of a Good Father” Prayer
My Daddy God, you love me. I am loved by a good, good Father.
This is amazing! Thank you for wanting me. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for keeping me as your own. I am so glad it pleased you to save me. Sometimes it is hard for me to believe that I am loved and wanted, but I AM!
My Father God? Will you, today, reveal to me your fathering heart? Will you help me to see the million ways that you take care of me, provide for me and love me? I want to see your ways, above my own. I want to behold your faithfulness and goodness in fresh and life-inspiring ways.
The truth is: you are miles, lengths, widths, and depths — BIGGER –than my mind can even conceive. I cannot even begin to fathom.
You have small-me in your big-hands. And, your hand IS “the mighty hand of God.” Your hand IS mighty-to-save, mighty-to-move and mighty-to-provide. The bigness of you transcends even my faintest conception of You. Your ways far exceed mine, your goodness is far greater than mine, and your thoughts are galaxies above mine.
Today, I choose to rest all of me, in all of you! I can trust you.
Everything belongs to you!
All kingdoms rest in your hands!
All money is yours!
You rule over everything!
There is nothing you can’t do!
Even more, you ARE faithful! Always and forevermore.
Daddy, I want to be close to you. Will you give me a more complete understanding of your goodness and your vastness? Wil you unveil yourself to me? Will you give me spiritual understanding so I may go, faithfully walking, by your Word?
In this, I will become more full of life and power that comes from you! I will more so love others with that same love in which you loved me. I will rest under the cover of you — a good Father — who loves me with love like I’ve never known before.
Fill every place of me, with every bit of your Spirit.
May I, down to the cellular and mind-level, know:
I have nothing left to prove.
I have no work left to do to gain love.
I need no weight of worry, for Jesus already carried the weight of the cross.
Everything has been proven on the cross. It is done.
Praise be to you, Father of Lights and giver of every good gift. I am loved! I am helped! I am protected! I am kept! I am led! I am equipped! I am called! I am whole!
Glory to you, God. And, thanks be to your son, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.
“Affirming Your Identity in Christ” Prayer (See: Romans 6)
Father God, I thank you that it is done! Because of your son, I am now dead to sin and alive to Christ Jesus. My sin nature has NO power in my life (Romans 6:6). Praise be to the Lamb! I am dead to sin and now alive to Christ!
Christ is my living-reality. Christ is my vantage-point. Since I am united, with him, in his death, I am also raised with up him to new life (Ro. 6:4). With this, I live new life. I see new life. I believe in new life for all those I reach with his gospel.
This affects — all my life. I am not down and out. I am seated with Christ in the heavenlies. I am not ruined, I have a new heavenly vantage point. I see above earthly realities, for the Holy Spirit in me, illuminates all truth. I live by the Spirit and not my flesh. I am led by the Holy Spirit and not my flesh. Fill me afresh, today, Holy Spirit.
I am alive!
Because of this, in everything, today, I choose to see higher. I choose to see above my problems and my issues. I choose to set my eyes on the heavenlies (Eph. 2:6). I am no longer a slave to sin. I am set free from the power of sin and death. I now live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus!
When I make a mistake, I repent and move on, by your grace. It is that simple. I receive forgiveness and I forgive myself too. Your grace always makes way for a new habit or response. I live in the newness of life, not in the old. Not in the past.
I walk in the newness of life, all-the-time! I walk in righteousness and connected to righteousness.
With this, I am completely given-over to you, God. I live my life, through Christ, by Christ, with Christ, and for Christ. I shine the light of Christ. I am submitted. I am reliant. I trust God in all things, as I move with Him. No forces of hell or schemes of the enemy can stop the life of Christ that is working in and through me.
My body is a tool, unto the glory of God. This is why I choose to: get sleep, eat right and receive rest. I take care of my temple. I honor it. All of me is a worthy vessel, for all of you, my Father.
I also walk by faith and not by sight. I walk in obedience not in self-destructive self-sacrifice. I walk in hope and not disappointment.
Right now, I cast off any sin or hindrances that easily entangle me from moving forward with you.
I receive all the grace I wholeheartedly need today. I boldly approach throne of grace.
Here, I remember: I am adopted. I am a child of God. I am beloved. I am chosen. I am part of God’s royal family. I am free. I am always loved. I am whole. I am thriving. I am showing Jesus to the world. I am unafraid.
Whom the son has set free is free indeed. I am free.
Through God, I produce good fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Good deeds, flow easily through me, as I am submitted to the Holy Spirit working through me. I am not bound by the letter of the law, but free by God’s grace.
Shame has no claim to me.
Fear cannot touch me.
Sin has no weight over me.
Feelings of ‘less-than” don’t rule me.
I abide in Christ. I believe God’s Word is true. I focus on what God says about me. I trust God in all things. I love others with all my heart. I am alive and it is well with my soul!
All glory to God, who is worthy of all my praise, affection and adoration. Worthy is the Lamb!
This morning my 6-year old daughter wondered if there was a tornado coming. Out of fun, I checked the weather. Oddly enough, she was right. There was a tornado warning for our area. For the next hour, we should: beware.
Laying on the bed, while trying to calm her fears, I said, “Do you know what I would do, Madison, if a tornado came this way?”
“I’d throw my body over you, like this…” I then, laid right over her, acting like a mammoth overhead-covering so she wouldn’t get hit by the imagined fray and swirling winds.
At that second this verse popped in my head…
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge…” (Ps. 91:4)
God does what my instinct as a parent has me do….He covers.
God covers us to shield us from the worst, coming at us. Jesus proves this. His very own skin was damaged to defend us from the oncoming ravages of sin and death. Jesus, thrown up on the cross, covered our every mistake with His body as He took our pain on.
God not only protects, but He covers.
With this, let me ask you a question: If God sent His very own son to protect you this bloody way, how much more will He protect you today?
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8)
He cares to protect you. He wants to keep you.
Yes, the winds of fear surround us. But, rest is available right here — in the midst of this — under the cover of His love. Will we enter in? God will never force us, but He will always welcome us. How? How do we this?
Remember the cross when we get weary or doubt-filled.
Believe that He will protect and keep us.
Remind our heart of specific instances of His past-faithfulness in our lives.
Give Him all worry or fear. Repent.
Thank Him for His care and choose to dwell our mind on it.
Entrust our wellbeing into His hands, allowing Him to be our shield.
“He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” (Prov. 30:5)
To those who choose to take refuge — they will rest under His cover. With this, don’t look left or right to size-up what is happening with other people. Don’t get sucked into the Evening News. Don’t get pulled into fear because someone said that cats or dogs are carriers. No. Keep your eyes on Jesus; let Him cover you with His perfect peace.
Prayer: Father God, I give you my fear, my worry, my stress, and my anxiety. I don’t want to be covered by things that keep my heart nervous and tense. I don’t want to be covered by a cloud of gloom and doom anymore. I choose to move out from under these things so I can rest, under your cover. Will you forgive me for carrying all this? You are the Prince of Peace. I choose to follow you in all things, in all ways. Pour out your grace on me so I may walk near you, all my day. You are my only and my best “cover”. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Friends, while I hate to admit it — this week has been hard. The flesh-side of me wishes I could blame it on my husband, but I can’t. It takes two to tango. I’ve accused him within my mind. I’ve raised my voice in the house. I’ve changed the atmosphere from peaceful to stressful. I’ve taken it out on the kids. I feel bad about all this…
I wonder if things might be hard at home for you too? We are living in a fishbowl, after all. Right on top of those we love, 24/7. Unable to get time alone, like before. It is a condition ripe for conflict.
Yesterday, I took a walk. One house along the path was lined with beautiful blooming flowers. I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s a picture of grace. In the midst of virus mayhem is grace-filled beauty. Spring has no mind for the madness.”
Neither does Jesus’ resurrection have a mind for madness. It is the exact opposite of mayhem. Whereas we may argue, panic, or worry, the resurrection of Jesus is righteousness, peace and joy. For, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
Just like those flowers pushed out of the dark ground, to find the bright of day — Jesus, through the resurrection, pushes out darkness to bring new light — by demolishing sin, denying the power of death, and shaming the powers of darkness…
Jesus always brings light to the darkness. He does so, even today. Even, here, in quarantine.
With this, I can’t help but think, there is a boundless nature to what Jesus can do. Even in this time of quarantine, marriages can be healed, hope restored, depression removed, habits renewed, mindsets rewritten, finances helped. Everything is possible through Christ. Think BIG and reach towards Him in BIG ways.
Forget what the world says. The triumphant reign of Jesus is amongst us. The Spirit is in us. The Prince of Peace is present. The King of Glory is in full of glory. Jesus has risen — and is rising up new life in the here and now.
Oh, how we praise you, Jesus! Oh, how we love you! Oh, how we need you! Oh, how we rely on you! Oh, how we surrender to you! Oh, how you are worthy! Oh, how you are everything, Jesus. We want to give you all the worship, this Easter!
Friends, can you see it? We cannot be in the darkness when we are: are in the light. We now stand in the light of an empty tomb, with the stone-rolled back and a risen King over us and — ruling!!!
“For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” (Col. 1:13-14)
The transfer already happened. We get eternity forever! Oh, the riches of that. And, thanks to the Lamb of God, the resurrection-life power of Jesus is moving in our homes. Jesus is ever-working, ever-healing and ever-transforming us. Look for him this season. Talk to Him too.
Whatever appears dead in a tomb in your life, is not. Jesus conquered the grave.
Friend, if you feel depressed, if you feel misunderstood, if you feel anxious, if you feel worried, if you feel shameful, if you feel disappointed, if you feel bad, if you feel ruined….I pray you see: new life. Starting today.
Just like those flowers busted out of darkness, in the midst of madness, Jesus can bust through any darkness or madness in your life — to bring beauty.
Today cannot be a time of blessing, can it? After all, we are social distancing, staying 6-feet away and looking at others like walking-viruses, ready to attack.
God, what do you have for me, here, in this weird place? This is an important question to ask.
I believe there are blessings available for those who ask. A blessing, not a cursing — for those with eyes to see. A bounty, not a backbreaking burden — for those at home.
Is that you? Or, do you feel it is unbiblical to be blessed? To seek a blessing?
You know, my friends and family…
for a long time, I could not receive a blessing. Nor, would I ask God for one. It felt self-indulgent to say, “Lord, will you bless me?” It felt unbiblical to say, “God, I want your blessings.” There are so many people who need so much more than I do. Who am I to ask. I should be a servant, not a seeker for myself…
Yet, a Psalm, written by David, a man after God’s own heart — set me straight. Within it David says:
“With all my heartI want your blessings.” Ps. 119:58
If David wanted a blessing, and God inspired these very words in His Word, who am I to disagree? I can ask for a blessing, with my whole heart, without shame!
“God, I want your blessings. With all my heart, I want your blessings. In a time of Coronavirus I want your blessings!”
The fact of the matter is — I need God’s blessings — His unmerited favor, right now, in my time of trouble, more than ever. Anything less than me needing God’s blessing is likely pride in-action.
To think I can do it without God’s help and generous giving is probably self-work or pious self-proving.
Thanks to God’s wisdom on this, during this season, I have received His blessing. This is why this time of “social distancing” has become a different time. Rather than “social distancing”, it is a time of “family gathering”. I have gotten closer to my kids and husband. I have laughed more. I have played more. I have gotten to know fun without big price tags.
I am blessed! What is simple has trumped what is complex and the peace of the Lord is here — in my house.
Because of this, I give him thanks. All glory to Him; I am blessed.
Might you ask God for a risky thing: to be blessed today…?
Prayer: Father God? I ask you for more, today. More blessings! More of you! More of what you have for me! I ask without shame! I ask expecting to receive. I ask ready to give all thanks and glory back to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
I snapped. He raised his voice and snapped back. We gave each other squinty-eye looks.
After all, we’ve been in close proximity, in tight quarters for over a week. We’ve been cooped up and trying to stay positive… We’ve been walking around the block, many times a day… I’ve been homeschooling the kids… Add all this to the constant influx of bad news…and…
I’m not complaining. We are all just trying to make it, aren’t we? It is what it is. However, we can’t deny: it’s easy to get fed up and fired up at those we most love.
Distance doesn’t always make a heart grow fonder; in many cases, it is making us more irritated at those who are close to us.
The dishes left on the counter can feel personal. The person who snaps back is attacking us. The mistimed comment is a trigger. People feel too close for comfort.
So what do we do?
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Col. 3:13)
My husband and I have agreed, in order to make it this season– it must be a period of “extreme grace”.
This means we don’t (as much) comment on small issues. We don’t hold things against each other. We keep our mouth shut more often than we comment on meaningless things. We extend love even though. We make a decisive decision to look for the best in one another. We allow things to roll off our shoulders. We forgive rapidly. We remember that tensions are higher. We choose to reach out with patience more than to operate from panic.
We extend the very grace we desperately want to receive. We don’t count the price, but offer free love, despite ___(whatever).
I won’t say I am doing it perfectly. I can’t say he is either. But, I can say that more and more, we are keeping peace in our house and acting differently than the world around us. We aren’t fearing. We aren’t setting our kids up for a tense environment. We aren’t opening the door to other outside issues because we’ve let our guard down. This is good.
In this, we can far more walk with the Prince of Peace than the panic of this world.
What about you? How are you doing?
Prayer: Father God, these times are odd. We, in many ways, don’t know what we are doing, where we are going or how things will happen. The ground feels unsteady. But, we know that you are our rock. You are our steady-footing. We are in your fortress. We are in your strong tower. We are your children. We are your beloved. We thank you for how you are taking care of us in this hour. You are near. You are with us. You are our helper. You are our refuge. We are safe.
Father? Help us to receive your love so that we might love others well. Fill us with your mercy, grace and help this hour. We love you, Jesus. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
A friend looked at me and said, “With God, the bad is good.”
Hmm…she had my wheels turning now…
I wonder, how many of us can see the truth in her statement?
The bad boyfriend that we, at one time, thought was good for us? We can see now, it is darn good that we didn’t marry him.
The bad health scare that we figured would kill us? Well, it is good that we are still alive and, not only that but, we now have more faith than ever.
The bad news that we lost our job?
It is good that God repositioned us. We hated every minute of that job and now God has us on unique-assignment, impacting specific people.
What bad has become good, in light of your prayers and God’s grace? Think back. Recount. Reflect. Remember. Restore your countenance.
What looks bad, becomes good, with God.
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor. 2:20-22)
With God, through Christ, it is: “Yes!” It is good. It is God’s promises, delivered. It is God’s grace, right here and now. It is what looks bad, coming into the light of Christ. It is what hope we cannot see, becoming manifest.
See beyond your natural eye and you will see again. See beyond circumstances and issues to hope in Christ, once again. See beyond panic and you will see The Prince of Peace. See beyond what everyone else is doing and you will see Him. By the natural eye, we are blind, but by the Spirit-eye, we see: God’s promises are yes and amen. Jesus is greater. Jesus has conquered. The war is done. We are safe, forever. God is the Pre-eminent Ruler of The World. And, we are His children.
There is goodness waiting for you — right here, right now. Bad becomes good in light of God’s mercy and grace.
Glory to God!
Friends, during this time that can feel scary, panicked or stressful, I am doing more videos on Facebook and on Instagram. Come join me there, as I pray and share God’s Word to encourage your heart.