BIG PICTURE – Everything’s Gonna Be Okay

I hope this reminder blesses you as much as it blessed me.

Last week I spent the weekend in the hospital with side effects from medication for diverticulitis back in December.

But just now (Friday) I flipped open a little booklet I have and the note is timely for me and I thought someone out there could use this little bit of wisdom too! I needed this reminder today how about you?

Big Picture: Everything’s gonna be okay.

Little Picture: Potential speed bumps ahead.

My Prayer: That you’ll focus on the BIG Picture.

Let us hold onto the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

Corrie Ten Boom said God’s all-sufficiency is a major. Your inability is a minor. Major in majors, not in minors. Wise woman. Be blessed.

I’m Praying for You

im prayer for you1

God’s got your back – what a good back support! I’m praying you’ll sense His presence today and how He’s supporting you.

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge. My shield, the horn of my salvation, my strength, my refuge, and my Savior.” (Samuel 22:2-3 HCSB)

“Never yield to gloomy anticipation. Place your hope and confidence in God. Hehas no record of failure.” -Lettie Cowman

Part 2 – God Wrote a Book About You (so Change How You Think About Your Future

In Part 2 I will show you how strongholds of the mind can keep you from moving forward in ALL the will of God.

change how you think

Does it matter if you’re mature?

Standing Mature In All The Will Of God.

Sad to say, many times, more than I’d like to think, I measure myself against someone who knows little about what God wrote in His book about them. It makes me feel better than they are, which comes out of a root of pride.

The fact is, the Father’s standard for me is different because His desire for me is to stand mature in ALL the will of God that I know. Comparing yourself with someone else sounds like a stronghold of the mind.

In part two I will talk about strongholds of the mind that keep us from moving forward in ALL the will of God.

I believe Paul and Epaphras were praying out of their own experience for the Colossians. They cooperated and lived out of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Men“filled with the knowledge of God’s will, in all spiritual wisdom, men standing complete in ALL the will of God.”  

Remember I said at the beginning of Part One that what God wrote in His book about you, is about His Kingdom purposes and plans for you to carry out on earth. Even, Jesus came to earth to participate with what God wrote in His book for Jesus.

Jesus speaking, 

“Then said I, See, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7).

Some think Jesus is referring only to the Scriptures but I believe it refers to both the Scriptures and what God wrote in His book concerning Jesus.

Just as Jesus, we were born on earth to carry out what God wrote in His book. It contains His kingdom purposes He planned for you to walk in. As you mature spiritually you will be are assured of ALL the will of God. God’s greatest joy is for every son and daughter to experience maximum fulfillment from knowing Him more.

This only comes one way in a believer’s life, and that way is to bring on earth everything God has planned for you. What’s been already established is to be manifested (seen on earth) in your life. Mind-blowing isn’t it?

As you participate with the Most High God – agreeing and standing in solidarity to fulfill what’s in His book for you, you come to know Him better.

Just like God, our children were loved and prayed for and treasured from the moment we heard I was pregnant. For nine months our extended families loved our children before they were born, and the same was true for our grandchildren.

I still remember, self-giving, overflowing love and our children had not done one thing to earn any of it and nothing could change our hearts. The first time I held our children in my arms, Ephesians 1:3-5 went through my mind.

“A thousand hallelujahs to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus. With eager and overflowing joy, lavished all the family resources of heaven upon us in Christ, just as He planned it when He dreamed of us ages before He called the cosmos.

Long ago He made us the apple of His eye and dedicated Himself to bring us into the family to be face to face with Him forever in Jesus.” (Paraphrased by C. B. Kruger)

Does that paraphrase resonate with you like it does me? Let’s soak in that for a while and let it sink in. Now you might think that verse has nothing to do with God’s book about you but let me show you how it’s connected with a verse in John’s Gospel.

Remember when John saw Jesus turn water into wine. Did you ever wonder why Jesus asked the servants to get the water? Why not skip the water and make wine but instead he included the servants?

In addition, John saw something, we miss, he saw the glory of God. He saw who Jesus really was as the Father’s eternal Son because He saw Jesus include the servants in his blessing of others.

That means when God wrote His book about you, just like Jesus said,“the Father loves the Son and shows him all things that He Himself is doing,” and “I only do what I see my Father doing.”

The same goes for you too as the Father and the Son dream and bless others through you. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit always include us in what they are dreaming and doing and saying as they bless others through us. God includes you the same way that’s one reason it’s so important to know what’s in your book.

Like all of us, we began in the heart of God the Father long before the world began. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit would not have created our children (Rick and Heather) without my husband (Dick) and me cooperating and doing our part.

So what God wrote in His book is about us coming into alignment with His plans and purposes.

Theologian C. B. Kruger says,

“Our participation is God’s joy, and it is the mystery, the light of life, the undiluted gospel.”

In closing, remember God knows you because He made you and as you participate with Him, you come to be assured of ALL the will of God. That’s the reason He brought you into His family.

But what breaks my heart is, some of God’s books for individuals go unfulfilled. Why?

Part 3 will answer that question.

 

7 Different Benefits You Reap of Understanding God’s Word

How can you enter into Conversational Prayer if you don’t know who we are praying to?

ephesians-1-17

Knowing the different levels of the Word of God is important but the seventh is critical for entering into true Conversational Prayer.

In this post I will list the 7 different levels of knowing God’s word. Also, you will find out why knowing the seventh level is an important key to knowing the one true God.

1. The first level of benefit comes from reading Scriptures.

2. The second level of benefit comes from meditating on the Word.

3. The third level of benefit comes when you study the deeper meaning of the Scriptures.

4. The fourth level of benefit comes when we study the Hebrew and Greek words.

5. The fifth level of benefit comes by the change that happens in you when a word or phrase is revealed to you.

6. The sixth level of benefit comes as God’s Holy Spirit writes the Scripture on your heart.

7. And the seventh level comes when God speaks to you directly by the indwelling Holy Spirit who dwells within you and upon you, and flows out from you to others.

Conversational Prayer deals with the seventh level of understanding God’s Word.

The result of the seventh level is a change in your circumstances. From Genesis to Revelation you read stories about people who heard God speak to them and their circumstances changed.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. As you study Noah, Abraham, and Moses’ parents you see what their circumstances were like before God spoke to them.

After God spoke to them and they acted on what He spoke, their outward circumstances changed. Not only did the circumstances change but they were changed because they acted on the information God gave them.

True Conversational Prayer changes you. As you get to know God better you trust Him more.

“I pray that the Father of glory, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would impart to you the riches of the Spirit of wisdom and the Spirit of revelation to know him through your deepening intimacy with him.” (Ephesians 1:17)

Paul’s prayer above speaks of the seventh level of knowing the Word. Knowing Him comes by the impartation of the Holy Spirit. But who is it the Holy Spirit’s revealing?

Think about it – when you talk about God to others, how do they know what God you are talking about? Our English words God and Lord do not define who the one true God of Israel is.

An example is Buddhists refer to Lord Krishna and Lord Vishnu. The Hindus worship some thirty-three million gods and goddesses.

No wonder we need the Holy Spirit to reveal “the riches of the Spirit of wisdom and the Spirit of revelation to know him through deepening intimacy with him.”

We need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the one true God of Israel. When we know Him for who He is we desire to hear His voice.

“For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11)

The Lord’s name is great. My research reveals the name of the one true God is mentioned more than sixty-five hundred times in the Scriptures. Wow, how important is that? True conversational Prayer knows the one the Holy Spirit reveals.

How can we enter into Conversational Prayer if we don’t know who we are praying to? Many believers today pray because someone told them that’s what you do after you become a Christian.

Where is God? It’s like a thick fog – you know somethings there but you can’t see clearly. But once the Holy Spirit imparts the Spirit of wisdom and the Spirit of revelation the fog lifts and you can see clearly who He’s talking about.

If we can understand who we are praying to and how glorious He is we won’t be afraid, or struggle with Conversational Prayer. We will trust Him more, knowing that we have a great God.

 “This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” (Jeremiah 33:2-3 Message Bible)

How can you call out to someone without knowing his or her name? Because when I don’t know another person’s name, my relationship remains at a distance, doesn’t it?

Our relationship with God is the same way. Therefore if we say we have a close relationship with the one true God, yet we don’t truly know His name, how intimate are we?

Can you honestly say that you have a moment-by-moment sense of connectedness with the one true God who the Holy Spirit reveals?

I’m asking the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you spiritual wisdom; and revelation so that you will know him better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 1 – God Wrote a Book About You (and Change How You Think About Your Future

god wrote a book about you

 

I wrote “God Wrote a Book About You” in  2017 and it means more to me today because of God working in my life instead of me trying to fix myself.

As you read this post, God’s already written every page of your life so don’t get stuck on just one page.

Why is it necessary for 21st-century followers of Christ to know what God wrote in His book? I hope to answer that question.

Because it’s true – God did write every page of your life before the creation of the world and what He wrote has the potential to bring the best out of you and develop maturity in you.

You’ll see later on, Peter’s story does not end with him failing God, but he fulfilled what God wrote in his book and he finished well. Not only did God write a personal book about Peter but every person has a book written about them.

Psalm 139:15-16 says:

“You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from You. As I took shape in secret, carefully crafted in the heart of the earth before I was born from its womb. You saw me growing, changing in my mother’s womb; every detail of my life was already written in Your book; You established the length of my life before I ever tasted the sweetness of it.”

Do you ever think about all the books in heaven? Malachi 3:16 says,
Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another; the Lord heeded and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and thought on his name..”

Books written about nations are in heaven, Daniel received a vision of the Ancient of days.

“I watched till thrones were put in place, and the ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9-10).

Those books were about kings and nations and it was in a courtroom setting with the Judge of all the earth presiding over the courtroom.

Revelation 20:12 speaks about the book of life. 

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

Books exist in heaven, some opened for us to see what’s written, others are closed, and opened at a later time. But either way, God keeps books full of His Kingdom purposes for countries, churches, and individuals.

But for now, I want to focus on Psalm 139:15-16.

god's masterpiece

YOU ARE A MASTERPIECE, AND

what a masterpiece you are! You can be what nobody else can be, each person can do what nobody else can do. We all have similar parts, but many varieties, different abilities, and functions.

The surprise of life is the place God puts us, and the work He gives us to do. We make the mistake when we force ourselves to do what we think we would like to do. When I tried to do it my way by self-will, I ended up with maximum weariness.

I’ve been a follower of Christ for over 46 years and early in my Christian life, I tried to choose the spiritual gifts I wanted. Big mistake. I learned the Holy Spirit distributes to each one as He wills. When we function in the spiritual gifts He gives us, we experience maximum fulfillment.

King David said,

“My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being formed in secret, and intricately and skillfully formed, as If embroidered with many colors, in the depths of the earth.Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were appointed for me, when as yet there was not one of them, even taking shape” (Psalm 139:15-16).

King David was formed in the lowest parts of the earth, formed in his mother’s womb. Like an intricate piece of needlework or embroidery or fabrication. Your body and all of its parts is a serious piece of work. The finest piece of embroidery or fabrication ever made.

Women, don’t you love to look at a delicate piece of embroidery? And you guys, how about those fabricators on TV? Those motorcycles and cars are fine pieces of work from some of the most experienced fabricators on the planet, and God formed your bodies the same way.

“For we are His workmanship, His own masterwork, a work of art, created in Christ Jesus, reborn from above–spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used, for good works, which God prepared, for us beforehand, taking paths which He set, so that we would walk in the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us” (Ephesians 2:19).

As you ponder that verse, you see how it fits with Psalm 139:15-16. These two verses in Psalm 139 and Ephesians 2 are meant for every follower of Christ. Here are a few more Scriptures from the New Testament to help reinforce the idea from Psalm 139:15-16.

Look how Paul encourages Timothy.

“. . .for He delivered us and saved us and called us with a holy calling, a calling that leads to a consecrated life–a life set apart–a life of purpose, not because of our works, or because of any person’s merit–we could do nothing to earn this, but because of His own purpose and grace, His amazing, undeserved favor, which was granted to us in Christ Jesus before the world began”(II Timothy 1:9).

Since the apostle Paul didn’t have the New Testament when he preached the Gospel, he had the Old Testament Scriptures to rely on. I believe he knew about Psalm 139 and verses 15-16.

Paul prays for the Colossians.

“. . .that God will make you completely sure of what He wants by giving you all the wisdom and spiritual understanding you need; that this will help you live in a way that brings honor to the Lord and pleases him in every way; that your life will produce good works of every kind and that you will grow in your knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10).

Paul later tells the Colossian believers how Epaphras prayed for them.

“Epaphras, whom is one of you and a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, sends you greetings, He is always striving for you in his prayers, praying with genuine concern, pleading that you may, as people of character and courage, stand firm, spiritually mature, and assured in ALL the will of God” (Colossians 4:12).

You can be emotionally mature and physically mature but not spiritually mature so Epaphras prayed for his friends to be spiritually mature. I was not spiritually mature when I chose the spiritual gifts I wanted but as I continued to mature spiritually, I saw the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

He distributes gifts as He wills. Instead of maximum weariness, I experienced maximum fulfillment. The Holy Spirit always knows best and leads you to be assured in ALL the will of God.

In addition, have you surrendered your will to His?

Iverna Tompkins an outstanding communicator who delivers the Word of God with powerful prophetic insight and humor was speaking at a conference I attended in the early 80’s. She talked about being willing to surrender to God’s will.“As you are obedient to walk out the will of God as you know it, God will reveal Himself more to you.”

Iverna then shared a testimony about her friend Patricia Beall,

“As Patricia and I prayed together, I received a word from the Lord. The word was, ‘all these years I’ve trained, prepared, and equipped you for now and your next assignment.’

I was reluctant to share the word, not because it was wrong but I thought Patricia might be insulted, because you see, she just turned 80 years old. But I was obedient to share the word with her, to my surprise, it was the same thing God was talking to her about in her prayer closet.”

My point is, you might be 8 or 80, it doesn’t matter. What matters is, have you surrendered your will to His and are you fulfilling ALL of God’s will? Are you walking in the light He’s given you? Do you understand His will and are you taking part with Him?

When you are obedient to step out in what you know, He reveals more of Himself to you. Why should He give you more light if you’re not obedient to what He’s already given you? Step out in the light (the understanding you have) and He will be faithful to reveal more of Himself.

In closing, it’s not, just tell me what to do so I can get on with it, but growing in knowing Him better. That’s a big difference, I’ve had to learn the hard way. Some Christians believe the lie, “I don’t have time for that relationship stuff, just tell me what you want me to do, and I’ll do it.”

“Your word is a lamp to walk by, and a light to illumine my path” (Psalm 119:105). As you and Christ walk together in fellowship, and you listen to His word, understanding for the next step of your journey will come. Spiritual maturity is taking place on the inside as you are assured of ALL the will of God.

to be continued.

Why Appreciation Moments With God can be Life-giving

How appreciation moments can bring you joy.

Not all relationships are joy-filled.

Even the most important relationship of all (your relationship with God) is anything but joy-filled. I know the feeling. 

Mine used to be boring, stale, and like an old dried up piece of bread. It was anything but a feast for my soul.

I’ve learned some tips along the way that got me out of the rut of praying only one way. Any joy-filled relationship can’t be rushed. You nurture it over time because you love being in that person’s presence, don’t you? It brings you joy.

Nurturing your relationship with your heavenly Father can’t be rushed either. It’s not a sprint to the finish line but like a slow meandering walk. Craving each others presence is rich and rewarding.

What’s appreciation moments have to do with finding joy again in praying

The best way I know is for you to experience appreciation moments with God for yourself.

First Part – Identify an Appreciation Moment

Highlight 3 things in your life that brings you joy.

1. Choose things that you are grateful for. (They don’t have to be “spiritual” in nature).

     A friend, mentor, or a family member who means a great deal to you.
     A rich and memorable experience or event that brought you joy.
     A place you’ve lived (or visited) holds special meaning for you.

2. Write out each “appreciation moment”. Write just enough to help you identify it, describe the feelings you have about it, and tell why it is important to you.

3. Give each item on the list a name. Example: I called mine “Niagra Falls Moment.”

“I still remember my trip to Niagra Falls and how awestruck I was by its greatness. As I walked closer to the Falls I was able to feel their force under my feet. It was immense and left me speechless. My whole body and heart were touched by God’s creation. I call this my Niagra Falls Moment.”

Now that you remembered three things in your life that brought you joy let’s turn one of those things into an appreciation moment with God.

The first part was about practicing appreciation about any part of your life. Now the second exercise will focus on appreciation moments with God

Second – Appreciation Moments With God

15. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

16. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God,” (Colossians 3:15-16)

1. Choose one of your appreciation moments from above and let yourself feel appreciation for a full minute.

2. Now, remember some way you’ve experienced God’s presence or goodness toward you. Try to pick something that you can still reconnect emotionally with. The memory still impacts you.

I still recall appreciation moments with God and they are experiential and relational in nature. These appreciation moments are joy-filled.

Some examples to get you started with your appreciation moment with God.

  • Seeing mountains, oceans, or a park creates and awareness of God’s greatness.
  • Hearing music (example: “He’s Alive”) can cause you to feel close to God.
  • Reading your favorite passage (Psalm 23) can draw you closer to God.
  • Watching your child sleep causes wonder of how great God is.
  • Meeting close friends helps you to experience the goodness of God.
  • Inspiring messages can connect you to God.

3. Once you select your memory:

  • Focus your mind on that experience.
  • What was it like to be there? Engage not only your mind but your heart.
  • Let yourself feel your appreciation for God’s goodness in that memory.
  • Hold the appreciation in your heart and savor this moment with God.

It’s like putting your favorite piece of rich chocolate in your mouth and chew it a couple of times to start the melting process. Yum.

Appreciation moments with God are the same way. You savor every moment. It becomes a feast for your soul. Not something rushed but something to be enjoyed with your mind and heart.

I’m grateful for all my appreciation moments with God. They’ve enriched my life of prayer. Hope you find the same thing.

I'm grateful

 

I’m Praying for You

God knows that He did something very special when He created you. I pray that you know it too.

“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” II Corinthians 13:11 HCSB

“Resolve never to criticize or downgrade yourself, but instead rejoice that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.” -Elizabeth George