See What God Sees

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Hannah prayed: I’m bursting with God-news! I’m walking on air. I’m laughing at my rivals. I’m dancing my salvation.  Nothing and no one is holy like God, no rock mountain like our God. Don’t dare talk pretentiously—not a word of boasting, ever! For God knows what’s going on. He takes the measure of everything that happens.The weapons of the strong are smashed to pieces, while the weak are infused with fresh strength. The well-fed are out begging in the streets for crusts, while the hungry are getting second helpings. The barren woman has a houseful of children, while the mother of many is bereft.  God brings death and God brings life, brings down to the grave and raises up. God brings poverty and God brings wealth; he lowers, he also lifts up. He puts poor people on their feet again; he rekindles burned-out lives with fresh hope, Restoring dignity and respect to their lives—a place in the sun! For the very structures of earth are God’s; he has laid out his operations on a firm foundation. He protectively cares for his faithful friends, step by step, but leaves the wicked to stumble in the dark. No one makes it in this life by sheer muscle!  God’s enemies will be blasted out of the sky, crashed in a heap and burned. God will set things right all over the earth, he’ll give strength to his king, he’ll set his anointed on top of the world! 1 Samuel 2:1-10 MSG

This was the praise that Hannah gave the Lord when she took young Samuel to reside in the house of the Lord, keeping her vow.  I think as a mom I can glean a whole lot from this praise/prayer she offered up. She simply remembered the faithfulness of God and reminded Him of what she knew.

Daniel 11:32 says; Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.

Hannah knew God! She was strong to keep her promise to Him and because of her sacrifice, carried out great exploits through the prophet Samuel. I believe God knew this about her even before she did. There are times that the very things with-held from us are the things that drive us deeper to know the God who keeps His promises.

Every year when her husband went to the temple to offer sacrifices, she was persecuted by the rival child-bearing wife which drove her to the temple to pray. It was in the quiet time before the Lord that she became aquatinted with Him. She could not withhold her vow from the God who saw, who heard and who delivered.

We can allow the adversity we face to drive us toward God or away from God, but the best choice is going toward Him. To focus on the goodness of Him rather then the adversity that surrounds us. To understand that what we yield to Him will only come back stronger and better in the end and have lasting benefit to others.

My dear remnant friend, you may be facing a mountain that looks too big to climb, the God in you is bigger then that mountain. You may be weighed down with burdens too big for you to carry, but the God in you wants to carry those for you. You were never meant to do life alone, the God in you wants you to come up higher, know Him better, lean on Him heavier, trust Him deeper. He wants you to see things from His perspective, not your own.

Father, here I am praising You in the midst of my mess.  I know that when it’s all done, it will be just as beautiful as You saw it. I don’t need to be alive to see it, I’ve already seen it when you showed it to me. I trust in You and You alone. It’s all for Your glory in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Rewards of a Promise Keeper

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So how is it that God rewards those who keep their promises to Him? The thing with God is that He doesn’t just see the seed you give, He see’s that the one seed contains much more within it. Just as it is in a kernel of corn, once it goes into the ground and dies, it brings a stalk up which bears 2-3 ears of corn with several hundred kernels on each ear. God never see’s things the way we do and when He blesses you, it’s to show just how generous He is to those who trust Him.

God was most especially kind to Hannah. She had three more sons and two daughters! The boy Samuel stayed at the sanctuary and grew up with God. 1 Samuel 2:21 MSG

If you back up into chapter 1 again, or read what I blogged yesterday, you’ll understand that Hannah was barren and persecuted because of it. Yet she asked God for a son and vowed to give him to the Lord for His service. It wasn’t an easy thing to pray, but she understood that God was a generous God! Wanting a child to serve the Lord is a beautiful thing.

We are all created for service to Gods Kingdom, what we do with that promise determines the fruit we bear in our lifetime. It’s not up to us what that produce looks like, but that we’re faithful in producing for Him.

There are times I think we’ve been promised that if we give our lives to the Lord, we will be blessed beyond measure, never experience problems or difficulties and life will be a garden of roses. What we fail to teach is that manure is tilled into the soil-that stinks! We’re expected to work the soil, pick bugs off the plants, get our arms scratched in the process of caring for these beautiful roses. It’s not easy! It’s hard! But it’s so rewarding when you see the fruit you’ve produced working the same process and producing more of the same.

Dear Lord! There were times I thought I had developed an allergic reaction to the fruit I bore. Each time I would speak into them, they would be angry or contrary. Those ‘blessings of the Lord’ at times seemed to bring pain and stress into my life, but then I remembered that gardening is hard work and I should never have committed to it without counting the cost.

I would remind God that they were His to do with according to His plan and I left their growth to Him. I was merely a planter and grower, the final product was up to Him alone. I would remember the promise of Proverbs 22:6, that if I train up my child in the way of the Lord, when they’re older they won’t depart from Him. He always keeps His promises even when I don’t see it happen!

Thanks Lord for that amazing reminder. My reward is in my obedience, pure and simple. I’m not responsible for what the fruit yields, only in my obedience to what you instruct me to do. If I deviate from my purpose, it may effect the outcome and for that I truly repent. May I be a faithful promise keeper, a doer and not a hearer only. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Are You a Promise Keeper?

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Found in 1 Samuel 1:9-11 of the Message Bible: So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to God’s Temple in the customary seat. Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably. Then she made a vow:

Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain,
If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me
By giving me a son,
I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.
I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.

 

It’s easy to make a vow to the Lord for something you so deeply long for, but when the time comes to make good on your promise, most of us push it out of our minds and go on our merry way.  We rejoice in the fulfillment of our hearts desire and are willing to give thanks, but then we turn away and think perhaps God will forget the vow we made so we can live our life in comfort and happiness.

It takes some tough stuff to keep a vow! I remember when I found out I was pregnant for my first child just how excited I was. I had always wanted to be a mom, but in my heart I knew they weren’t for me alone. I was birthing children with purpose, not mine, but Gods.

I’ve never been more aware of that in my entire life then I am right now. Each time they share a time God speaks to them or they’re aware of His presence in situations they face, I remember the moment I surrendered them back to God for His plans for them. I declared, “Not my will God, but Yours! Whatever You need them for, help me to train them up so that they will trust in You not me. So they will hope in You not me. So they will be completely Yours, not mine.”

I may not have left them in the temple, but I taught them they are the temple. That wherever they go, they would always have access to the Spirit of God in them because He would never leave them or forsake them. I taught them to guard their hearts, watch their words, bless and not curse. Are they perfect-YES! To God they will always be perfect because He formed them in His image and likeness.

Have we experienced intense warfare? YES! We had to fight for the treasure in them because trust me, if we see treasure, so does their enemy and he will fight to keep them from walking in the promises of God. Every promise spoken over our children will come to pass according to the plans God has for them. Why? Because God cannot lie. It’s not based on what I see with my natural eyes, but what I see with my spiritual eyes. That’s the only thing I pay attention to.

Keep your vow! Praying always with all prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be known to the Lord. Don’t stop when they leave home. Don’t stop when they do stupid stuff. Pay no mind to the plans of the enemy, because it’s merely a distraction to change your focus. Keep your eyes on the one who promises because He is ALWAYS faithful.

Remind Him of His promises. Agree with His Word over your children and your children’s children, not what you see in the natural. Be obedient to speak only what God says to speak, not out of your feelings or your natural circumstances. Hold fast to Him when the contrary winds come (and they will). Soon the wind will die down and the peace of God will surround you. You are where you belong and they are where they belong because He orders and directs their steps even when it’s not what you would choose for them. God always has a better plan!

 

The Big Discount

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Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:28 MSG

Discounts are great when you’re shelling out money at the grocery store or buying dinner for a group at your favorite eatery. But discounting the things you go through, not so much.

Every time I go through something, I look at it as if God is perfecting something in me. Ok, I MUST be pretty close to perfect by now. LOL It’s so important to examine yourself to see if there is anything in your life that needs to go. Friends, sometimes they’re just not good for you. They could be helping or hurting your journey. Examine. Perhaps the commonality in every situation you go through is you.

Psalm 139:23-24 GW “Examine me, O God, and know my mind. Test me, and know my thoughts. See whether I am on an evil path. Then lead me on the everlasting path.” Whatever you are dealing with, ask the Lord to show you what needs to go and what needs to stay. If your heart is crying out for more of God, then trust him to make corrections in your surroundings, but be willing to go where he sends you!

When we cried out for more, God brought us to Florida to school us under a prophetic voice. I don’t discount that. It wasn’t the easiest thing we ever did, but what a difference it’s made in our lives. When that person left, God sent another to take us to the place He needs us to be. Nothing that happens is for naught. Just because it doesn’t make sense to me doesn’t mean it’s not a part of Gods plan for me.

I have decided to follow Jesus, No turning back! No turning back!

Directionally Challenged

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I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.  Jeremiah 29:11 MSG

I use GPS to give me direction when I’m in an unfamiliar area. It’s probably one of the most well used application on my phone. There have been times when talking with someone who knows the area that I’ve discovered they know a short-cut or an easier route. Often I hear them say, “GPS will try to take you this way, but if you take this other way, you’ll get there faster.”

I know some wonderful people who are directionally challenged. No really! They don’t know their north from their south, their east from their west or their up from their down. But worst still is they don’t know how to use GPS or refuse to learn the very thing to give them the step by step instructions on how to get to where they’re headed.

My dear friends, some of us are this way with our lives. We’d rather call a friend for a quick fix or have them tell us what to do rather then sit and learn to hear Gods voice who will constantly be our source of direction. He already knows the plans He has for you, wouldn’t it make sense to go right to him?

Tune out the voice of social media. Pick up Gods Word, the Bible and ask Him your questions. The answers are in the book! You can actually use a bible application and put in a couple words and it will bring up all the verses linked to that search criteria. How easy is that?! I had to look in the concordance in the back of the bible to find verses.

Direction is appreciated more when you have to find it yourself. Oh trust me, God will direct your steps, but you must be moving for that to happen. Don’t let the fear of making a wrong turn keep you from going in the general direction. It’s the journey worth taking even filled with twists and turns. It enables you to see and experience things you never would have experienced sitting in the comfort of your easy chair.

It also allows you the joy of meeting new people and investing a part of yourself into their future. We’re connected for purpose so find yours and get moving. You’ll never be lost for God knows right where you are. Simply stop and ask Him what His purpose is for you being there and take a look around and act on His leading.

Father, here it is another week and I’m moving toward somewhere. I will listen to Your voice, even if it makes no sense to me, I’ll trust You in the process. It’s all for You and for Your Kingdom. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

The Grand Finale

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Naomi said, “Sit back and relax, my dear daughter, until we find out how things turn out; that man isn’t going to fool around. Mark my words, he’s going to get everything wrapped up today.” Ruth 3:18 Message

One of my favorite stories in the bible is the great story of Ruth and Naomi told in the book of Ruth. I’ve read it countless times in several translations but this morning, this verse caught my attention. It was almost like God was speaking directly to me about some things that have been going on in my life.

Have you ever experienced that? Where the Word of God becomes so personal, so intimate that you’re able to close your eyes and feel a sense of the living Spirit of God washing over you? That’s what just happened to me. I could almost hear the intensity building to a grand finale!

I get the feeling you can relate to what I’m saying. This is a word for some who have been through some tough stuff, waded through some deep junk, are exhausted in the waiting, stressed at not knowing. Hear what the Lord is saying today:

“Sit back and relax, my dear daughter (son)! I’m about to make your enemies take notice of you. I’m working all things out for your good. The plans the enemy had to destroy you will be turned back on him. Stand still and see the salvation of your God. I won’t rest until every obstacle standing before you is removed and you’re set back on the path I intended for you to walk on.

“Mark my words,” says the Lord, “Your enemy will not win or destroy the plans I have for you. When I said I would bless you, I meant what I said! When I said I would give you houses and lands, I wasn’t just making it up. I am the Lord your God and I mean what I say and say what I mean. I am He who calls those things into existence for you who do my good pleasure. You who hope in your God will do great exploits, for I the Lord declare it!”

This song has been looping in my spirit since we sang it last Sunday.  I leave you with it to soak in while you wait on His promises to manifest. Be blessed my friends!

 

Stay Tuned In

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Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. “I can hardly move!” he exclaimed, and took them off again. Then he picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them in his shepherd’s bag and, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, started across to Goliath. I Samuel 17:38-40

All of Davids experience with fighting was done in his own shepherds garb. Unencumbered by these strange and heavy things that King Saul tried to put on him, he was able to take down Goliath with a smooth stone and a slingshot. How often have we tried to do what was asked of us in someone else’s attire?

It was Davids obedience to his earthly father that positioned him to do something for his Heavenly Father. When Jesse called David out of the sheepfold to deliver food to his brothers and get news on the war, he went as he was. He didn’t make excuses, ask for confirmation from his friends, say he was overqualified for such a task. No, he just went and did what his father asked of him.

We can take a lesson from David about obedience and servant-heartedness. Although he was anointed king, he never thought of himself  higher then anyone else. Just as Jesus humbled himself and became a servant all the way to the cross, David had surrendered to the plan and purpose of his Father God.

Have you surrendered to Gods plan for you or do you still have your own agenda? A servant is always tuned into their masters voice. Each command is obeyed, each duty performed with excellence. There is no other option for those who truly love God and are called to His purpose. If you haven’t heard the call, you aren’t truly listening because He has commissioned us all to go and tell, to love and heal, to forgive and serve.

What great adventure do You have for me today, Father? I sit before You asking that You find pleasure in my service today. I put on my garment of praise, my smile and my song and I join the ranks of all your servants who are rooting out evil and doing good in the earth. It’s in Jesus’ name and for Your glory, Amen.