I found myself recently praying over the destiny of our beautiful nation. As I was reading in the book of Revelation chapter 21, I realized that it's not just individuals that have a destiny, but nations as well.
"Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God."
"I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it."
America has been called to be a light, a City that is set on a Hill, that cannot be hidden. To stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves. To love one another as Christ loves the Church.
We have fallen short of this calling, but through repentance and forgiveness, God can redeem. That's who He is. He is full of grace and mercy, undeserved and freely given.
Lord, I pray that you would call forth this nation to glorify your name. Redeem us. Redeem the purposes of God for this nation. Give us your heart for one another, compassion and mercy, forgiveness and healing. Pull us out of the pit of our self-absorption, defiance and rebellion. Forgive us for the unthinkable things we have done to each other.
Thank you that your blood runs free. It is freely offered for our cleansing, with no respecter of persons. May this nation bring glory and honor to Your Name. All that we do, and all that we stand for. Clear our minds of the junk, the lies, jealousy, bitterness and pride. Lead us with the power of Your breath - Your Holy Word, the Truth that sets us free. Call us forth to fulfill the destiny appointed for America - a light and example of humility, serving the nations. Helping the weak. Preaching good news. We've lost our way. May your light break forth in the darkness and lead the way.
Isaiah 53:5 tells us that Jesus was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; and the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and BY HIS WOUNDS WE ARE HEALED.
Tomorrow is Good Friday, leading into a triumphant celebration of the greatest event in the history of mankind - the sacrifice of an innocent man on behalf of all of mankind. Hard to fathom that kind of love, but it's true. God loved . . . so He gave. Everything. So we could have life.
But did you know that the Cross was for more than just our eternal salvation? He made provision for our HEALING.
Jesus endured rejection, pain, and betrayal. He was mocked by His own people. His identity was always in question. He was hated because of the truth He proclaimed. He knew what it was to suffer.
So He made provision for us. He warned us that in this life, we will face many trials and tribulations, experiencing the same hated he faced.
Life throws at us some brutal wounds that leave us stunned and bleeding. But Christ was wounded for us, so that we can experience victory and healing for our hearts.
He has never intended for us to be victims of these wounds. He died so we can experience healing. Those deep wounds that we weren't even sure we could live through now become scars. Scars that tell a story of battle, but a battle that leads to victory! Victory over bitterness, victory over anger, fear, and the pain that comes from loss. Scars are HEALED WOUNDS. And it is God's intention that we be HEALED, through the power of His blood that was poured out for us.
We aren't meant to live as victims, but as victors - overcoming the past and pressing forward towards what God has for us in the future.
That is what we celebrate this weekend - His power in us to overcome. Yes, He overcame death, hell and the grave, but He also overcame this world that we might be healed!!! Every hardship we endure tells a story of God's great faithfulness to see us through every trouble that life throws our way. Such great love.
Thank you, Lord, for the power of your love that heals the deepest places of our heart!
God knows me. I am His Holy child. Redeemed by His blood. He has placed His love on me. He knows my heart. Why I do things. How I feel. Where I hurt. What I've been through. He knows where I am going.
Today I am comforted by the truth that God knows me intimately, inside and out - more than I know myself. He knows what makes me tick, what grieves my heart, and the longings of my soul, because He created me!
If you feel cast aside, unimportant, abandoned or alone, remember this simple truth:
God sees everything. He knows. He lived life on this earth fully human, enduring the same temptations, betrayal and rejection that we have all faced. He did not come to judge us, but to save us from everything that empties our souls. He came to give us life, because He knows that we end up bankrupt and disillusioned by the things we chase after.
There are deep places in our souls that are craving acceptance and love that can only be satisfied by God Himself.
How many things have we pursued that has left us starving for God, sentenced to bread and water, when God has a feast prepared for us? Cheap substitutes for the abundant life that God longs to lavish on us. We eek out a living in a field of weeds, when we could be experiencing the deep joy that comes from knowing and walking with God.
Seek God first. It is His pleasure to give you every good thing.
Provers 10:22 The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.
May you know the blessings of God today in a very tangible way. He loves you and will never give up on you. His love is not conditional. Come to Him as you are. He's already there.
There are ideas and dreams burning deep in our souls that need to be expressed, things we were created for that are meant to be a blessing to other people.
I've always loved to write. I love a piece of blank paper. Journals. Pens and pencils, books. I've also been told so many times, by so many people through the years, that there are books in me, stories and testimonies of how God has carried me through, of how He has taught me, trained me, and loved me.
So where are these books? Buried somewhere in the busyness of life. You know how it is! Other people's requests fill up our schedule. We say yes to the wrong things, and give no time to what's really pulling at our heart strings.
But we have a roll to play in this life - a very specific plan that God has given us, and God wants us to play our part.
How are we spending our souls? I've been reading Lysa Terkeurst's book The Best Yes with great conviction. She suggests we need to let out that cry of passion that God has entrusted to us.
Our schedules are so jammed with the demands from others that we have no time for those assignments from God.
I can attest to what Lysa suggests:
So today, I am scheduling time to write, so that what is burning in my heart can come forth. Maybe you needed to hear this. You know there is more that God made you to do. What has God woven into the DNA of your heart that needs to be expressed?
Wildfire was a word that God gave us about 3 years ago. Just a word, but more than a word. A vision of His fire burning in us and spreading through us. Although I don't understand the fullness of this dream He has given us, I am becoming intentional. Spending time with Him so He can fill me up with His fire. So that I can spread that fire, lighting fires in the hearts of everyone I meet.
Let God light a fire in your soul that will burn bright and run free!
Have you ever struggled with the direction you're supposed to go? What to do? How should I invest my time? What am I called to do? Why do I feel so lost?
This seems to be the season I am in right now . . . seeking direction, but more specifically, finding out who I really am. Who has God created me to be, and what should I be doing with my life?
After 26 years of raising a family of four (five if you count my husband) ;), our last child sprouted her wings and we now have an "empty" nest. I put parenthesis around "empty" because our house is still quite full on weekends when the grandkids come to visit, or the kids come over to go four-wheeling or swimming in the pool.
But the last two years, for the first time in my entire life, I have been able to make my own schedule - no practices to go to, soccer games, PTA meetings, fundraisers, concession stand duty or goodness knows what else! My time is no longer dictated by other people's commitments. Honestly, I thought I would have such a rough time, missing the kids and the life we shared, but it has been very refreshing for me to do what I want to do, when I want to, and how I want to!
Lately, however, God has me, what I would call, fenced in. Everything I have tried to put my energy and effort into has hit dead ends. It finds me questioning. OK, now what? WHAT???
One thing I have learned about myself (I am learning a LOT about myself that I haven't known before) is that I am a perfectionist :/// And one of the false beliefs I have lived by (unknowingly) is "If I don't make it happen myself, it won't happen". There is no trust in God in that statement. Because with God, ALL THINGS are possible. It puts all the responsibility upon ME. I WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN. I am a worker. A doer. Give me a list or tell me what to do, and by God, I will get it done. I am reliable and faithful. I'm a HARD worker!
Interestingly, God has been reminding me of my true name. I go by Jeanie, but my given name is Mary. The famous story in the Bible of Martha wiping herself out by "serving", while Mary sat at Jesus' feet learning and listening, just being with Him, was brought back to my mind. "You are called to be a Mary, not a Martha." Ouch. We can get so BUSY - busy serving the very One who is our source of life, that we miss the very thing we are called to - fellowship with God himself.
Then God led me to this scripture today. Is. 30:31 Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice saying, This is the way, walk in it."
When we stop the rush of life, notice where God is leading, pay attention to that voice that is prompting you. He will breathe life into all that you do. It will be purposeful and fulfilling. Later on in that same passage it tells us to earnestly wait for Him, to expect, look and long for Him. It will bring unbroken companionship as He walks with us throughout each day.
Do you ever feel like all your efforts are not accomplishing anything? no fruit for all your hard work?
Maybe we are wasting time and expending all our energy trying to make things happen, when all that is needed is surrender. Acceptance. Stop resisting. Melodie Beattie suggests that "much of our anguish is created when we are in resistance." We tend to "make things harder by resisting, repressing, and denying."
"Acceptance will allow the circumstances to turn around for the better."
After Jesus' death and resurrection, His disciples felt lost. They didn't understand the fullness of what had just happened. So what do we do when we don't have clear direction?
- we go back to what we used to do,
- we go back to what we know
- we try to figure things out on our own
- we strive in our own strength and abilities to make things happen
But what does God call us to do?
They fished all night (in their own efforts) and caught nothing. Zilch.
But then Jesus shows up! He always does. He's always there, all along. He came to the shore and called out to them. "Friends, haven't you any fish?"
He told them to cast their net on the other side of the boat - what??? Really? God's instructions never make sense to our natural minds. Because He works a little differently than us! ;)
They did what Jesus asked, and when they did, their nets were instantly full of fish! AND their nets didn't break from the weight! Miraculous provision.
Jesus revealed himself to his friends that day. He was teaching them an important lesson before He left this earth.
Follow God. Surrender to His call. Surrender to His ways. The fruit comes not from striving, and wrestling and fixing things ourselves, but in trust, yielding to the One who holds our lives, the One who has good plans for us, the One who gives us hope and a future.
The Girls of Wildfire Artisans