Mission Accomplished

I sent three students on a mission to deliver some treats to a buddy classroom.  Twenty minutes later, they had not returned. After finding another teacher to watch my class, I went searching for the three missing students. As I passed the playground, I saw that the class I had sent my students to were at an early recess. I frantically asked the teacher had she seen my students, who were now, in my mind, missing. She said no, but also let me know that they had been outside for about 25 minutes. That said, I ran up to the other teacher’s classroom only to find my three sitting outside her door, patiently waiting for them to return. I was less than pleased, but glad that they were okay. I asked them “why didn’t you just come back?” One little darling answered “we didn’t want to come back until we finished the job.”

After breathing a sigh of relief because I hadn’t lost someone’s children, I began to reflect on a passage of scripture from Isaiah 55:10-11:

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Precipitation such as rain and snow follow cyclical pattern. When it falls from the sky it doesn’t evaporate until it waters the earth to bring forth growth so that the cycle of sowing and reaping may continue. The rain and snow does its job. It causes the ground and all forms of vegetation to prosper.

More beneficial than the rainfall are the Words of God. It goes forth from the mouth of God for purpose. Every Word spoken has a purpose; a mission for which it has been sent. The powerful Word cannot return empty without accomplishing the purpose for which it was sent. The Word sent forth will accomplish whatever the Lord pleases. Don’t be confused, the Word accomplishes what He wants, not always what we want. Dear friend, this is where trust comes in. We can trust God because He is trustworthy. He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19). We can trust God because He knows what’s best for our lives (Isaiah 55:9). We can trust God because He is working—He is present and actively orchestrating things in our lives to produce good results (Romans 8:28).

Not only do God’s Words produce results, but it will cause us to prosper! Again, this is a matter of trusting God’s will and His ways. Prosperity is not only a matter of material and financial gain, but also of spiritual prosperity where we grow from faith to faith and from glory to glory.  When we grow and move forward in the things of God, we are prospering.

Stake your confidence in the Word of God! Hold on to its promises and apply its precepts. It is powerful and effective, producing great results in our lives. Like my sweet little students, God’s Word will not return without accomplishing its purposes.

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Jesus Prays For Me

An old song says “Somebody prayed for me/Had me on their mind/Took the time and prayed for me/I’m so glad they prayed/I’m so glad they prayed/I’m so glad they prayed for me.” Most of us can celebrate with the lyrics of this song. Someone, somewhere prayed for me! In my hard times, in times when I did not know, in times when I did not care—someone was talking to the Lord about me! I’m so grateful. I’m even more grateful to know that Jesus prayed for us!

John 17:20-23
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

What a beautiful truth to hold on to.

Jesus prayed that we be protected in this world. Jesus prayed for us to be unified as He and the Father are. There are so many things that divide us in the body of Christ. Jesus knew this, and showed us through His prayer, what He desired His body to be like. Jesus always did the will and work of His Father. They were so close that Jesus did not have to assume or guess what He should do, say, or where He should go—He knew because He knew the Father’s heart. We should be close enough in the body of Christ that we know each other’s hearts. Yes, the Spirit of God will reveal things to us, but I’m talking about being free with one another to share in a transparent way without fear of judgement or persecution. Where we are able to speak into each other’s lives in a way that produces spiritual results. This can only happen when we speak the truth IN LOVE! Fully be able to give correction, and receive correction knowing that the desire is not to tear down but to build up. Lord make us one.

Jesus prayed that through us, the world would know His love. We have an assignment to the world. We must show the love of Christ. Just as He was moved with compassion when he saw our needs, we must be also. We will see the needs of people when we look through the lens of love. Be eager to show God’s love. Look for opportunities to share, give, and impact lives. Lord, help us to show Your love.

Jesus prayed for our sanctification. We are to be in the world (physically) but not of the world (avoid having a worldly mindset). We need to know how to exist in this world that is not our home. He prayed that we would be sanctified through the truth of His Word so that we can live in—but not be culturally ingrained in—this world. The Word is a lamp and light that illuminates our path. Lord help us to walk in Your truth.

This beautiful prayer gives us strength and fortifies us as we walk. But what’s equally beautiful and fortifying is that Jesus STILL prays for us. Romans 8:33-34 speaks of this; as the enemy accuses, Jesus sits on the right hand of the Father making intercession for us! His earthly mission is complete, but His love and care for us never ceases. I’m so glad He prays, I’m so glad He prays, I’m SO GLAD He prays for me.

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Learning to Stand Still

Learning to stand still may seem like an odd thing to learn. It takes little effort; just do it, right? Wrong! Learning to stand still is difficult for many. Take my second grade class, for instance! I don’t mean a physical posture, but rather a heart posture. One that disavows human effort and stakes it’s hope on the power and ability of God.

In the 14th chapter of Exodus we see the people of God being pursued by Pharoah and his army. They found themselves standing between the Pharaoh’s army and a sea in front of them. At that point, they began to complain. They expressed their regret, they expressed their anger, they expressed their frustration, and they expressed their fears. Then Moses answered,“Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14

Moses told them first, do not fear. Fear is an overwhelming emotion. Sometimes fear makes you run. You want to retreat or remove yourself from the situation. Other times fear makes you fight. Like a bear backed into a corner, you feel like the only thing to do is come out fighting. Rarely does fear make you stand still.

But that is exactly what Moses told the people to do next, stand still. Standing still involves planting your feet firmly.

God has given us something to stand on—something on which we can plant our feet.

We can stand in faith
We can stand in hope
We can stand in trust
We can stand on the Word

It’s difficult in uncertain circumstances, but we must be still!

Don’t sway! Don’t allow the things that come make you sway back and forth or side to side. Stand firm and trust God.  James tells us that a double minded person is unstable in every way. (James 1:8) Don’t allow your circumstances to make you waver.

Don’t lean! Don’t allow impatience or self-reliance cause you to take steps or make decision apart from God’s will. Proverbs 3:5 reminds us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding”.  

Moses then tells the people, “The Lord will fight for you, just hold your peace.” It maybe even more difficult to be silent than it is to be still. Oftentimes we don’t know what to do, but if you are anything like me, I always have something to say! It’s usually the wrong thing. Complaints, negativity, and doubt fills my mouth, then my heart, until it filters to my actions. In times of trouble, it is important that we speak God’s Word into the situation or be silent. Your words will fail, but His Words lead to victory.

King Jehoshaphat faced a similar situation (2 Chronicles 20). Nearby enemies had come together in attempts to defeat Judah. Jehoshaphat prayed. He was honest, “I don’t know what to do; but Lord my eyes are fixed on You” (v.12). He admonished the people not to fear or be alarmed, because, “the battle is not yours, but God’s” (v.15). King Jehoshaphat had to give a command to trust, just like Moses did; “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.” 2 Chronicles 20:17.

There’s the command—Stand still! It can be difficult, it can feel counterproductive, but we must learn to stand still. Sometimes we stand between the enemies taunts and what seemed impossible. We want to react, we want to fight, we want to run, but God says stand still. Plant your feet firmly on the Word of God, and watch Him fight for you! FE870A96-4D50-4E34-AA15-D89198FCAAD6

Comfort and Life

57BE2A23-2339-4EEE-A715-94F527AF62B9The 119 Psalm is the longest chapter in the Bible and it’s all about the Word of God. Whether referred to as the law, the statutes, judgements, testimonies or precepts, the focus is the same. The author of this Psalm (whom many believe was David) reveals the importance of the Word of God. It brings liberty. It guides our way. It helps us walk in wisdom and in prudence.

Psalm 119 holds many precious gems. Among them is one of my favorite scriptures, Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life. The Psalmist testifies of a beautiful aspect of God’s Word; it brings comfort and strength.

The psalmist was no stranger to affliction. It is evident that he had experienced much hardship, but over and over he finds comfort in the Word of God. Notice what is said here, IN my affliction—While I’m yet in the thick of it! In the middle of a messy divorce; during a battle with an illness: in the midst of loneliness and depression; amid a financial crisis or legal drama; while fighting for your family and friends, The Word will comfort you. The Message Bible paraphrases it this way, “These words hold me up in bad times”.

The Word, like a faithful friend, gives us a place to lean on. It is a place where we can firmly plant our feet and ride out the fiercest storms. I’m not just referring to the lifeless words of a natural man or woman, but the Author of life gives us hope producing promises that we can hang our hat on.

His Word gives us life. It rejuvenates and refreshes us. It revives and even refocuses us. An elderly church mother would say, it gives us the strength to “run on a little while longer”. The Word breathes a fresh prospective into dry and hard places.

This is why being absorbed in His Word is so important! Read it, speak it, WRITE IT, listen to it. Breathe it in, inhale it and exhale it! It’s the life giving comfort you need.

Are you experiencing the comfort of the Word of God? Allow me to share some life giving promises that have held me up in bad times.

Loneliness- Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Joy- When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19

Healing- Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

Lack- And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Hope- For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Heartbreak- The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

All occasions- Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

May the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10

 

Tear a Hole in the Roof (Hope in 350)

41A4C780-6626-40F3-9D1B-96553DF2CD2FI have a friend who is seriously ill. This friend has been dealing with a debilitating illness that has cause much strain on their life. I live pretty far away and have been unable to travel to be with them. Therefore, I have felt as if I were at a loss. I continue to ask, “What can I do?”, yet I feel helpless because I’m just so far away. Then I remembered this beautiful story from scripture.  Mark 2:1-12 (also see Luke 5:17-39) tells of five men, one very ill man who couldn’t move his body, and his four friends.

Word has spread that Jesus was in town and many many came to see Him, to hear Him speak and to experience the miracles He performed. So many came that the place where they gathered was overcrowded. I can imagine the friends conversation as they walked, somber mixed with a twinge of hope. They had heard about Jesus and the miracles He’d performed; Heard about the way He spoke with power and authority. If there was such a Man, they had to get their friend to Him! So with steady steps, and steel resolve, they hoisted their friend’s bed and set out on to meet Jesus. When they arrived, they were taken aback! The place was full, no room even at the door. The men may have hesitated for a moment, but then took extraordinary measures. “They made a hole in the roof of the house over where Jesus stood. Then they let down the bed with the sick man on it.” (Mark 2:4b). Jesus was immediately moved by the action of these men. “When Jesus saw their faith . . .” Yes, their act was one of faith. Faith for a friend in a time of need.

We need this kind of faith. Faith for someone who may have found it hard to believe for themselves, faith for someone who has lost hope, faith for our friends.

I know now, what I can do for my friend; for all of my friends. I can tear a hole in the roof! We “tear a hole in the roof” by interceding on our friend’s behalf. Pray for them without ceasing. Keep them lifted up before the throne of the Lord. Encourage them with Words of Faith. No matter what they may be going through, no matter what they are facing, link your faith with theirs, don’t relent, and tear a hole in the roof!