Clean Slate

Today at church, I heard a great message. I wanted to share the point of the message but also add a few things. Here is what the Holy Spirit came up with. ūüôā

With the new year coming up, we always strive to do better. We have a clean slate & want to right wrongs, improve ourselves & see if we can top last year. In the rush to come up with resolutions, we sometimes forget to ask God what His opinion on what we are resolving to accomplish. In our own strength, we strive to please ourselves & please others. We may even come up with a resolution in an attempt to please God…but sometimes we end up performing a religious act instead of true obedience. Not that He doesn’t love to see his babies try to please Him, but isn’t it a better idea to check with Him first to ensure that we are doing what He desires versus what WE want to do? Or better yet, what the world is doing?

People’s reactions to beginning a new year vary from person to person. Some are thankful for a new beginning. Some are fearful of what a new year holds. Regardless of how we feel beginning a new year, we must remember the Lord’s promise to us in His word: “For I know the plans I have for you,‚ÄĚ declares the Lord, ‚Äúplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

This stands the test of ALL time…since God created the universe, it hasn’t changed. He never changes, therefore the promise hasn’t changed. The world has changed, but God remains the same. He sees what’s ahead. He knew before He made you what lies around each corner. He wants us to trust His providence…His sovereign plan & guidance for our life. We must stay in step with Him & keep that daily connection with Him so we are prepared and strengthened by His Holy Spirit to face each day…not just in the first week of January (lol)…but throughout the entire year…and our life.

He has so much in store for us. Let’s ask God to prepare us for His presence and plan for this year, and to deposit in our hearts His desire for us. Let us be guided by the Holy Spirit starting today…to do His will, to be His hands & feet, to love like Him.

Habitual Presence

Have you ever thought of all the things within our days that we repeat each week? Our daily routines are usually pretty predictable. Common ones are showering & brushing our teeth. We check Facebook ¬†& Twitter daily, sometimes hourly. We log our calories & exercise. Our stomachs won’t let us forget them, so meals are usually on schedule. At the end of the day, we are taking care of our families, handling dinner, and cleaning our home. Before you know it, our head is hitting the pillow…and the madness begins again in 8 hours (if you’re lucky).

The thought that came to mind today was this:

Do we make spending time with God a priority like we do everything else?

Is it at the top of my list? Or is it considered something that I fit in if I have extra time?

Do I crave Him like a I crave a meal from my favorite restaurant?

Do I listen to Him as much as I listen to my favorite song?

Do I talk to Him as much as I talk to my best friend?

God doesn’t guilt trip us into spending time with Him. Though He draws us to Him, it’s with loving kindness instead of commanded attendance. One trait I love about God is that He will never force Himself on someone. He pursues us constantly, but patiently waits for us to respond to His call. Song of Solomon is a comparison of His love for us…His beloved. Imagine that…He refers to you as His beloved one. How precious you are to Him.

Just as we spend time with our loved ones, God longs for us to spend time with Him. He yearns for us to trust Him with the longings of hearts, the worries of our day, the secrets no one knows. He wants it all. He doesn’t want us to rush through our prayer time and miss out on His presence. He wants to pour out, to lavish His love and peace on us. You can never walk away unchanged after having an encounter with the Holy Spirit. Even though you may not feel different, your spirit has connected with the Almighty God. His¬†magnificence¬†has rested on you, and has filled the crevices that were void. The strength you were lacking is refreshed and He prepares you to face the day.

Some don’t know what to do in their quiet times. When we first begin, we feel awkward, like we are on a first date. We don’t know what to say, we struggle to make conversation, and shyness is our friend. There is no need to feel awkward with Him. He doesn’t require anything of us except our attention. If we devote 15-30 minutes daily to sit with Him, He will show up. It may not be in the way we expect, but I guarantee He will.

Here is a way to begin to meet with Jesus (tailor to your needs):

  • Choose what time of day: Some prefer morning to start the day off on the right foot. Others can barely function, so the evening may be better when you can be more focused.
  • Begin with worship: Sing to Him. He adores even the most tone-deaf song of His babies. This also breaks down our flesh and softens our hearts towards Him.
  • Talk to Him: Prayer is conversation. Tell Him what’s on your mind. Ask His opinion on the happenings in your life.
  • ¬†Be still: Sit and dwell in His presence. Listen for thoughts that come up that may be His voice. It may be scripture, it may be a phrase, someone’s name. Pay attention to what rises up in your mind.
  • Read scripture: The Word of God is Him speaking to us. If something you read doesn’t make sense, ask Him to shed light on it, and bring it to life for you.

If you miss your date with Him, don’t beat yourself up. He will be waiting for you. Just don’t make Him wait too long.

Until the End of the Age

The faces of the children & teachers that were victims of last week’s tragedy in Connecticut are still fresh in our minds. The events have caused an array of different emotions & efforts. Fear has crept in. Parents are contemplating homeschool & demanding higher security measures. Citizens are demanding more gun control. These efforts are born from our¬†desperation¬†for an answer to the question: Why did this happen?¬†

One of the recent popular assumptions is that this happened because prayer has been removed from our schools & government. Everytime I see that statement in my newsfeed on Facebook, or hear it in conversation, my spirit cringes. The intent behind the thought is good, but the result of the statement goes against the very core of our beliefs. By saying that the reason that we encounter these tragedies is because of some (not all) people’s decision to not include God in school/government is ludicrous. In an effort to convict people to turn back to God, it is actually turning people away from God. This statement says to people, “Because your country voted differently, God has left you. You are alone.”

Which is not the case.

My God is not the leaving kind. He is not easily moved. In fact, He is steadfast & promises not to ever leave me or forsake me. He promises to not only prepare me for the fiery trials I face, but to walk with me through the fire. If my God takes care of the sparrows and ensures that they are fed, will He not surely take care of me? His Word says that He is my shield, my strength, my Defender. That He commands His angels concerning my every move. 

Scripture does say that if His people would only cry out to Him & repent, He would heal their land. But God will not throw His people to the wolves. His eye searches the earth for the heart that His after His own, and His sheep know His voice. The¬†Shepherd¬†will leave His flock of 99 to look for the lost one.¬†The fact is, we live in a fallen world. There have always been horrific crimes and acts. Have they gotten worse? Yes. Will they get worse? Yes. These are the birth pains of the Kingdom of God coming and the end of the age. The enemy is on a joyride until Jesus comes back. ¬†The one event that comes to my mind strongly is the Holocaust. The worst mass murder of all. This happened prior to our country’s current decisions.¬†He wants us to think we are alone and without hope. We cannot let ourselves be fooled and latch onto someone else’s assumption that God has left us.¬†We have not been, nor will we ever be on our own. If you are a child of God, you are in the shelter of His wings. He will gather us up prior to the tribulation and then we will reign with Him on the earth! These are all promises of our God. We must not forget them when tragedies occur.¬†

Would it be in our country’s best interest to turn back to God to be fully blessed? Yes. Scripture clearly states that disobedience and sin have consequences.¬†

Does our God forget His people because of their leader’s decision? No.¬†

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