JOSHUA 3:15 “Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing.”
Are you facing a decision or needing to take action on something that will require you to go where things are uncertain, even scary? If the direction you are headed is aligned with God’s purposes, He will certainly make a way just as He parted the waters for His people over 3,200 years ago. Not once but twice God made a way where the route seemed impassable (the Red Sea and the Jordan River). At the Jordan, God’s power to move the raging, flooded river was not released until the Israelites took that first step of faith-filled obedience. What “first step” is He asking you to take today?
JOHN 15:2 “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
After Carly was born with many challenges and our days became so complicated, a lot of things got squeezed out of our lives. Comfortable routines were thrown into chaos and we dropped into bed each night wondering WHAT NEXT? Life-altering circumstances can be tremendously painful yet they are often a doorway to new perspectives and realities that are better for us and for others when considered within God’s eternal perspective.
How might your unexpected or uncomfortable life changes be opportunities for Christ to grow more abundant fruit in your life? Is God reshaping your vision for the future by removing something you had your hopes set on?
This new season (and school year) present opportunities to courageously adjust our priorities and prune our schedules so Christ is predominant and His fruit more abundant.
So what does this look like for you?
1 CORINTHIANS 1:30-31 “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Is God doing something great in your life? Share it. Put God’s presence and power on display. Often it is the encouragement we get from each other that reassures us that God is living, active, and intimately concerned about our lives. Talk about who God is in your life around the “water cooler” of your circle of influence so that others might see Him more clearly.
My family carries a certain burden of “suffering” every day as it relates to caring for Carly and managing Larry’s chronic health concerns. Really, we all carry certain burdens of regular hardship. But the nature of this ministry means that I connect with people on a daily basis who are really in some overwhelming times with very very heavy burdens — marriages crumbling, often admist horrific sin…individuals bent low by severe and chronic pain…parents enduring the slow agony of watching their child dying…brain-injured children who will require 24/7 care for the rest of their lives. Just this morning I am faced with praying for several close friends in very difficult circumstances and then came to Facebook and found that another close friend broke her pelvis in three places yesterday while biking.
Wrapping our minds around the purposes of suffering is one of the greatest challenges of life — a greater challenge, often, than enduring the burden itself. Our sense of helplessness is fueled when we can’t help “fix” or bring comfort to others who are suffering so deeply. The enemy would lead us to believe that prayers alone are not enough. Prayer, in fact, is THE FIRST thing! Certainly it should not be the LAST thing we do, but it most certainly must be the FIRST thing.
Today, as I remain in constant prayer for many hurting friends, my mind and heart have come to rest on these three things:
PSALM 18 ——which reminds me our God is a vicious warrior, roaring like thunder through the heavenlies on our behalf
1 PETER 1:16 ——the challenge to “Be holy because I am holy” along with this quote from My Utmost for His Highest” which says: “Never tolerate, because of sympathy for yourself or for others, any practice that is not in keeping with a holy God.”
THE OLD HYMN: IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL [let’s sing it together throughout this day]
And if you don’t know the story of why and how this hymn was written out of suffering, listen to this YouTube version:
Will you join with me today in making the Blog (and Facebook Discussion Board) a tool in God’s hand for us to be in prayerful communion for those who are hurting?
I am coming into this new year more committed than ever to spending time with God through prayer and reading His Word. I just keep thinking, “Lisa, if you REALLY BELIEVE that God is alive today, both available and passionate about developing a personal relationship with you, then you will be willing to spend time with Him, quietly and still, every single day as early in your morning as possible.” I am trusting through experience that the measure of blessing and fruit coming out of that commitment will be unmistakable and transformational!
I am eager to make new discoveries about the Truth this year …to have my heart and mind transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. He does that! Are you ready for that? Are you eager for that?
Remember the eagerness with which you prepared for your graduation? What about how eager you were for your wedding day to arrive? Can you remember the eagerness in your mind and in your heart as you walked down the aisle and were whisked off to the wedding reception? (Don’t read these questions too fast. Slow down and really chew on what it means to be EAGER.) How eager is my husband for March Madness and the Final Four? Ladies, what about the eagerness you had each time your body swelled with a child? How eager we were during those last weeks, days, and then hours!
God waits for us to run to Him with greater eagerness than any we can imagine? He wants us to come running to him with hunger and anticipation because he stands ready to lavish His love on us! If you don’t have that sense of eagerness, I hope you’ll just stop what you’re doing right now and ask Him for it. Make a list of some things you are truly grateful for. Then sing one or two of your favorite worship tunes. STOP. Resist your urge to check another thing off your list, schedule another appointment, start more laundry, tidy up, run an errand, make another phone call, read another email, post on another blog. Just stop. Make RIGHT NOW a moment to practice your eagerness before God and see what He plants in your soul when you dwell with Him. If you have a small child at home who needs your attention, won’t you bring him/her up into your arms right now and explain that he/she and mommy or daddy are going to take 10 minutes just to be with Jesus?
I want to be eager to be still and KNOW that HE IS GOD. I’ve been reading in Hebrews and love chapter 10. Verses that inspired me today included Hebrews 10:19-25. Phrases that are challenging me include “let us draw near to God with sincere heart and full assurance of faith,” and “let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful,” and “let us spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Now that just makes me want to eagerly dive in for more!