Have you ever been with a friend who constantly looks at their phone when they’re with you?
My pet peeve is when I meet someone for coffee and they keep looking at their phone. I can’t help but think…is it me? Is it something I’m saying? Am I not good enough to have their full attention?
This also happens on occasion at social gatherings when a person looks behind me or around me, rather than looking at me when I’m talking. I have to admit, I wonder why they’re so distracted.
It is hard to build a relationship with someone who is only half-in. Or, half-way listening. Or, half-way minding what they’re saying to you.
I couldn’t help but think about all this — this very morning, as I made coffee, while trying to pray…
I muttered some words, but as I got the grinds in the cup, I only half-way put my heart into what I was praying. I spoke some things that sounded good, but as I assembled the cups in the right place, I wasn’t much thinking about what I was saying. I tried to think about God, but I was much more thinking, “Where’s the cream?”
My attention was divided two ways. Looking at coffee, I couldn’t — in actuality, look at God. It’s like trying to drive ahead while looking out your rear window. You can’t look two places at once.
Good friends focus on each other. They are attentive and available, rather than distracted and double-minded.
“…But I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (Jo. 15:15)
Good friends set down their phones, their to-do lists, their mind, even — and hone in on what’s happening between them. They talk. They make room to listen. They aren’t trying to do 5 things at one time. They rest in each other’s company.
Are you a friend of Jesus or are you far-more a distracted doer? Are you following a million rabbit trails around you and in your mind — or are you attuned to God’s heart?
I’ve noticed as I’ve set things down, or given my thoughts a time-out, I’ve been able to make space for exceptional times with God and for His breakthrough. I’ve noticed as I’ve said no to other things — I have made space for my first love. With this, I’ve come to know Him on such a deeper heart level. I believe the same is available to you…
Prayer: Father, I want to know, love and be with you more. Will you give me focus? Will you help me be available to you? Will you pour out grace so that I can leave everything else behind as I read your Word? As I pray? You are my treasure of greatest measure. Please help me to treat you this way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
The woman, sitting with me at the conference table, did an extraordinary thing…
It all started with my saying, “I love your bible.”
On the spine, I noticed the words “Amplified version” printed. I love the Amplified Version. It gives rich context to the original Hebrew and Greek words in the Word. I admired her treasure. Yet, what this woman didn’t know was my hunt in the last year to find, not just an “Amplified Version” bible, but a “Classic Amplified” version bible.
“Classic Amplified” bibles are out-of-print and not so easily found. I’ve looked here and there online, without much success. I’ve thought about how I want this translation on multiple occasions.
So, needless to say, I was surprised when she responded, “Well, this is actually a Classic Amplified Version.”
I didn’t want to covet. Yet inside, I wondered if coveting a bible is okay?? I didn’t know. Either way, I oohed and ahhed a little louder.
“Oh my goodness, that is a Classic Amplified Bible?” I said. “I’ve searched far and wide for that very book.”
Then, the conference started up, proceeded on, and before I knew it, it was over.
Looking longingly at her treasure, I waved goodbye to my fellow seatmate saying, “Hey. It was nice meeting you. I hope you really enjoy that bible.”
I wasn’t about 5 steps away when I heard her call my name. I looked back, and I saw her plucking papers out the book.
She extended it towards me. A tear formed in my eye. This woman was giving me her treasure so I could treasure it.
My heart was touched. God knew what I wanted– and He gave it to me. God saw.
My friend, God sees your heart. He knows what you need. He is aware of what you desire. He is a good Father.
If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him! (Mt. 7:11 AMPC — Classic!!!)
The Lord has good and advantageous things to give to you.
Are you asking? Seeking? Hoping? Or, have you lost hope that you have a good Father who cares for you? I’m sure of it — He loves to hear your voice.
My dear friend, I feel strongly led to say: do not give up with your requests. Do not back down. Keep asking. Ask more. Ask louder. Knock more. Talk to your Father; He loves you.
Do you all remember those MasterCard advertisements?
New dress: $100
New handbag: $90
The look on your ex-boyfriends face when he sees you: priceless.
It is easy to accumulate things to accumulate worth. I remember when I got my first car. I couldn’t afford it. I didn’t have enough money for that beautiful sports car. But, still, I looked at my dad and said, “Can I?”
He said, “Sure.”
So we put a whole chunk of debt down and I worked forever… to pay that baby off. In the moment, it was all thrills. I kept looking to see who was looking at me when I stopped at lights.
Then, the pleasure wore off.
Many of us are searching for this pleasure of a greater measure.
What others think…$100
If we look good…$200
If we do well…$250
If we are better than she is…$99
If we are seen…$800
What we wear…$300
How much bible we know…$400
Our position, our power or our placement in this world… $400
How much money, how many vacations or what social media influence we carry… $1000
Yet, the irony of pleasure-seeking is that it always leaves us wanting: more. We can’t climb high enough. Or, go far enough. Fashions change. There’s a naysayer. There’s that nagging feeling that we’re not enough. We fear exposure.
I remember this hamster-wheel; I lived on it for the longest time…until, I got off.
Until I found a treasure of greater measure: Knowing Jesus. Priceless.
Just to be clear, the difference from then and now — was more than just accepting Jesus into my heart. It was about choosing to know and dwell with Jesus. You know, we can know about Jesus in our head, yet miss Him in our heart?
This can be one of the greatest tragedies of the Christian faith as I see it…
What about you? Do you know Jesus — in a way where HIs love frees you, where His peace holds you, and His trust overwhelms you?
My hope is “[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. 3:18-19 AMP)
Dear friends, I want you to experience this love and wholeness. I want you to find soul-rest that shields you from the sweaty pursuit of lesser crud. I want you to have an experiential knowing of a Good Father’s love. I want you to leave worry and anxiety in the dust as you come to know hope and peace like no other. Jesus is my treasure of greatest measure and He is the Prince of Peace in my life.
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The reality is, my husband would give me the shirt off his back. He also would lay down what is good for him for the betterment of me. He has sacrificed much so that I can write and pursue ministry work. He gives up things for me. He thinks of me. He helps when I don’t know what to do. He shares wisdom and tips and ideas. He is there when my head gets droopy; he picks up my chin. He shares his heart with me too. He tells me things he wouldn’t tell others.
My husband is my friend. I call him, “my best friend.”
Some of you may be thinking, “I don’t have a friend like this.”
To you, I want to explain, “Jesus is your friend like this…”
He says, “I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” (Jo. 15:15-17)
Note: everything Jesus learned from the Father he made known. Even today, by the Spirit, He continues to make all things known: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (Jo. 14:26)
Friends share deep things with friends. They share hidden truths. They bring to light what is true. They walk together. They talk together. They laugh together. They cry together. They dream together.
Friends love to take care of their friends. When I see a friend in need, I do my best to — show up. I want to know how they are. I check-in.
You have a friend in Jesus. He is teaching and reminding you of important things through the Holy Spirit. He is there for you. If you can’t remember the last time you felt close to God, maybe you’ve forgotten that He not only is your Lord but that He also is your friend.
Oh, what a friend you have in Jesus! Lean your heart close to Him and ask Him to share some of the deep treasures. Connect with Him in Spirit and in truth.
Prayer: Father God, I thank you for your Son, Jesus. Oh, what a friend I have in Jesus. I also thank you for the Holy Spirit who leads, teaches, and comforts. Fill me afresh today with your Holy Spirit so that I might be full of you and your love (Eph. 5:18). Fill me afresh so that I might be led by you. Fill me so that I may worship and love you, with all my heart. Fill me so that I may know you more.
This is what my husband says to me if I am ever feeling down.
Remember when God helped you in that situation far worse than this one…
Remember when you didn’t think you’d ever be healthy again and then you were…
Remember when God answered your prayers and how He showed up.
Remembrance recovers faith.
I believe it is why in Joshua 4, God instructed Joshua to build a memorial with stones. God had just parted the Jordan River for these Israelites, so they could make safe passage. Then, he instructed them to gather 12 stones, for the tribes of Israel and to pile them up, in remembrance.
The Lord of Lords said to Joshua, “In the future, your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” (Josh. 4:6-7 NLT)
What memorials do you need to remember? What markers and moves has God made in your life that are unmistakable? What made you stand in awe of your awesome God?
You know, what strikes me in this story is that the stones did not come from any old place… They came from “the middle of the Jordan” and then they were piled “at the place were you camp” (Josh. 4:3 NLT).
God wanted them to take the victory with them, never to forget it. Never to part with it. To see it. Understanding this concept, Joshua also built a memorial in the center of the Jordan. There, it would always be remembered — seen or unseen — that God is faithful.
We build altars of praise when we stop, thank, and praise God for doing the unthinkable.
What great thing is God doing in your life, even right now?
It is wise to write down, to mark, or to memorialize the greatness of God. These things encourage us in the future. They build hope. They crush discouragement. They build us up again at the right time.
Breakthroughs of God, remembered, are great reminders that God will move again! They showcase His power and might.
A must-act-now email popped up in my inbox demanding my immediate attention… I got flustered because of what it was requiring me to do. My son was demanding that I play chess with him now. The world needed everything I had in that very milli-second. I couldn’t take it.
Can’t you just wait a second, son?! Give me a break!
I was so aggravated, both at what was coming at me, and because of this needy child, I lost my composure. Then, I felt guilty about it.
Grr… A stupid email set my house on fire.
Small things cause big damage just as little foxes spoil whole vineyards…
“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” (SOS 2:15)
What little fox tries to attack you? Is it a mistimed word from a family member? Is it your boss’ critiques? Is it a house out of order? Is it people with different political points of view.
The enemy desires to use small things to create big havoc. If we let him… But, we don’t have to.
““Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.” (Mt. 5:9 AMP)
When I keep the peace I literally express God’s character. When I maintain calm, I am blessed with life and joy and God’s favor. When I remain calm, I am a child who trusts God.
I want all to see the character of God being expressed through me. For then, He will calm them. He will heal the situation. He will add himself to my situation, whereas before my anger and frustration would have stopped me from seeing Him. This is favor.
The group was going one way; I was intent on going another. I wasn’t about to eat ice cream this late. That was fattening and I still wasn’t over my eating disorder.
Walking away from the retreat group, I headed back to the cabin. That was –until I felt God stop me in my tracks. It was as if I got hit by a 2×4. God placed on my heart, “Turn around. Go back with the group.” I knew to ignore His pull would be direct disobedience. Direct disobedience comes with consequences.
So, I turned around and, somewhat begrudgingly, walked all 23-years of me back into that line. And, as I met up with a group of girls I recognized, I discovered — He was already there.
The man I would marry. He was already there. He saw me pass Him and that’s when he caught up with me to get to know me. Thank God I obeyed God. Not only that, but Jesus was already there too. After that weekend, I accepted Him into my heart.
Jesus was already there. Do you know that whatever boat you may find yourself in today — in singleness, in financial ruin, in hopelessness, in defeat, in confusion — that Jesus is already there?
“So they left the crowd; the disciples got into the boat in which Jesus was already sitting, and they took him with them. Other boats were there too.” (Mk. 4:36)
Jesus was already in the boat where a wretched storm was about to hit…. He was already there. He knew. He could see. He was aware of what was to come. He was already a step ahead.
“Suddenly a strong wind blew up, and the waves began to spill over into the boat, so that it was about to fill with water. Jesus was in the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a pillow.” (Mk. 4:37)
Just because a storm is raging doesn’t mean that Jesus isn’t already there.
The disciples woke him up and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?” (Mk. 4:38)
Maybe you are saying… don’t you care God? Why am I here? What is happening?
Jesus hasn’t fallen asleep on you. He hasn’t lost touch on what you are going through. He goes ahead of you.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8)
God is already there — His love goes ahead of you. Be not afraid, my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world (1 Jo. 4:4). This isn’t a cheap line, but truth.
Prayer: God, you are amazing. You go ahead of us. You care for us. You are with us. You strengthen us. You empower us. We say thank you, thank you, thank you. Please add all these things to us as we come into loving you more and more and more. Great is your faithfulness! We do not waver, but trust you today. You have not fallen asleep on us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
How many of us desire what we do not have? We want a bigger house, a better husband, a different school year, a more satisfying job, a better family situation… then, life would be good.
There are things that I want. I desire them. Badly. Yet, the time isn’t right. Nothing’s changed. I am at a standstill.
I believe, one of life’s greatest hurts is mental fantasies, unrealized. We create storylines about how things should be. Yet, the more they are not the way we think they should be, the more hope deferred we feel.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” (Prov. 13:12)
Our sickness causes us to act out with schemes to help ourselves feel better… We get jealous of others. We demand people do things our way. We take things into our own hands. We bang our head against the wall out of frustration. We retaliate.
“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them…” (James 4:2)
But, what if we stopped — to pray God’s way?
James 4:2-3 continues on……”Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:2-3)
What if God was our greatest motive? Our love for Him, our greatest pursuit? Our hope, His way of showing up? Our belief, who He says He is — Provider, Shepherd, Keeper of our Soul, Comforter, Redeemer. Our steadfast belief, He is greater than any fear or worry we face.
God will show up; it just may not look exactly as we think. Are we willing to surrender our thoughts of how things should be for His best plan?
Prayer: God, let me desire you more than anything else on this earth (see: Psalm 73:25) All other things will fall into place as I trust you. You have a good plan and you are worthy of all my trust and faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
God is Provider. He shows up just on time. He provided His Son, at just the right moment, to literally save our souls. He knows what He is doing. He has a pulse on every detail that we need. He knows everything He is working together. He has us in the palm of His hand.
“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” (Is. 49:16)
God has us so much so — that we are engraved in the palm of His hand. We are ever-before our Maker. He thinks of us. He has a mind — to mind us.
He also has a plan to provide.
If you’ve lost hope around God providing a way, a means, a hope, finances, or a great rescue for a need, allow Him to renew your hope…
28 Verses Showing: God Provides
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Heb. 11:6)
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. (Psalms 81:10)
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Ps. 84:11)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Mt. 6:33)
The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked. (Prov. 10:3)
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Ro. 8:32)
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! (Eph. 3:20)
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Ps. 18:2)
Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. (Gen. 22:8)
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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. (Gen. 9:3)
The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (Ps. 34:10)
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Mt. 21:22)
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (Jo. 15:6)
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. (Mal. 3:10)
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. … (Mt. 6:25-34)
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Mt. 7:7-8)
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (Eph. 3:16-17)
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (Jo. 14:13-14)
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)
And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. (1 John 3:22)
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (Jo. 14:26)
But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Pet. 3:13)
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Ps. 145:15-16)
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)
For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. (Psalm 107:9)
“Do you have even the slightest reliance on anything or anyone other than God? Is there a remnant of reliance left on any natural quality within you, or on any particular set of circumstances? Are you relying on yourself in any manner whatsoever regarding this new proposal or plan which God has placed before you? Will you examine yourself by asking these probing questions? It really is true to say, “I cannot live a holy life,” but you can decide to let Jesus Christ make you holy. “You cannot serve the Lord…”— but you can place yourself in the proper position where God’s almighty power will flow through you. Is your relationship with God sufficient for you to expect Him to exhibit His wonderful life in you.” (Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers)
To answer his questions, I do rely on myself. I think, God got me here. Now I need to figure things out. Or, what will I do? How will I do this?
There are so many “I’s” in my thinking — when it is all about Him.
“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.“ (Zeph. 3:17).
These words remain true today…
God will do it.
God, my God, is mighty.
God has the way.
God knows my answer.
God knows my name.
Christ’s power is being perfected in my weakness.
Christ’s goodness overshadows what I think is good.
Christ’s victory is sure and steady.
The battle belongs to the Lord.
Today, I am provoked to re-surrender and to let God do things ‘His way’. I am inspired to more FULLY trust Him, believe Him, and to take Him at His Word.
Because…to work by my power is to, often, inhibit God’s power. It gets me ahead of God or it shuts off the mind of Christ, in me, as I run ahead with my own mind and thoughts.
I don’t have to have all the answers – God does. I don’t blaze my way; God does.
I wait, He moves. I pray; He shows up. Sure, sometimes I meet God, through works He calls me to, but aside from that I love God and others with all my heart and leave the results up to Him… I rest, knowing I don’t have to worry or fear anymore. He has this.