Yeilding

We live on a major highway at a point where it changes from four lanes into two lanes. Several times a day horns blare as two cars meet the merge at the same time and are unwilling to yield to one another. I’m thankful there has not yet been an accident.

merge1

As I heard the blare of horns again this evening I realized how much of a challenge it can be for me to give in to God’s will instead of my own. Going along through life I often come to a place where I either yield to His lead or continue on my own path, leaving Him behind.

There are always consequences to the decision not to yield, sometimes more severe than others, but always pulling me farther from the Lord and destroying the peace of my life.

My prayers should echo the psalmist:

Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
    and obey it with all my heart.
Direct me in the path of your commands,
    for there I find delight.
Turn my heart toward your statutes
    and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
    preserve my life according to your word.
                                                                     Psalm 119:34-37

The best part about yielding to God is the more we do it the easier it becomes. We find His will becomes our own until it becomes instinctive to look to Him before making decisions. Our friendship with Him is strengthened and our time together deepens.

Though it seems unnatural at first we will find that yielding control to the Lord brings a true peace to this puzzle of life.

blessings to you as you seek His will day by day.
Paula

Books I’m Reading

Close Enough To Hear God Breathe by Greg Paul

In Close Enough To Hear God Breathe the author encourages us to discover a closeness to God that few experience here on earth. He weaves personal experiences and stories with scripture to draw us in to know God more intimately.

The book reads like a story, describing Jesus and events of the Bible in comfortable language to bring it close to home. It is unlike any book I have read in a long time and I devoured it in a few sittings.

If you are looking for a closer relationship to the Lord this is a book I would recommend adding to your reading list!

The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book  through BookLook Bloggers. I have not received any compensation by the author or publisher for this review.

Expecting Blessings

And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you
and I know you by name.”

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” Exodus 33:17-18 NIV

Moses had a remarkable relationship with the Lord. From his birth God protected Moses from death, even when he messed up and ran away. God chose Moses for the extraordinary purpose of leading His people out of their slavery in Egypt to a land set aside for them to enjoy.

The task was not an easy one for as often happens when people get together there was negativity, complaining and whining over the long trip and lack of an abundance of food and water. The negative people seemed to infiltrate the ranks causing God to tell Moses they could still go to the Promised Land but that He would no longer go with them. (Exodus 33:1-6)

Moses wouldn’t accept this proclamation. He had grown so close to the Lord that Moses reminded Him that though stubborn and hard-headed these were God’s people and Moses couldn’t lead them without the presence of the Lord.

God relented and Moses pushed the envelope even further, asking God to show him His glory.

Would you dare request this of the Lord? Do you have such a closeness with the Lord that you know even if the answer was, “no” that you could ask whatever you wanted within God’s will and He would not be angered but instead pleased that you asked?

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”                                                                                                                          Exodus 33:19-20 NIV

God was so pleased by Moses’ desire to know Him better and draw closer to Him that the request was granted. But Moses needed to be put in a special place in order to see the glory of God. He had to be willing to do what God told him and be content with how God blessed him.

Treman Cleft In Rock
Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.
When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”                              Exodus 33:1-23 NIV

No one had ever dreamt of being so close to God, let alone seeing Him. Mind you this was not an angel but the very presence of God Himself. Moses was tucked away in the cleft of a rock and protected by God so that he could receive this blessing.

Blessings from God come in all shapes and sizes, often not in the way we are expecting or hoping with our earthly hearts. However God can’t bless us if we’re not open to and even seeking blessings from Him in whatever way He chooses to give them. Moses may have been expecting to see God’s glory in an entirely different way but didn’t question God’s methods. Instead he relished in the glory of God and the blessing he received, looking forward to the future whatever it held, knowing God would be with him.

I have been praying over the past few months for a difficult situation that I was certain I knew the solution to. As I prayed and sought God for resolution I received an unexpected blessing far different from I planned. It changes my perspective and leaves me wondering with anticipation what the future holds. I feel in a small way I have been placed in a cleft of a rock, waiting to see God’s glory come to pass in this situation.

Is there a situation in your life where you are desiring a blessing from God but perhaps are afraid to ask for it? If you feel unworthy, remind yourself that you are God’s child and He is pleased by blessing us. He desires to give us good things.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  Matthew 7:11 NIV

When we come to God with a humble spirit and a heart washed clean with confession and filled with adoration for Him we can be assured just as Moses was that our request for a blessing will be met.

Seek His blessings for your life today and then be looking for them, possibly in unexpected ways. You won’t be disappointed!

blessings and peace to you today!
Paula

 

A Servant’s Heart

Jesus washing feet

There’s an old hymn, Living for Jesus by Thomas O Chisholm that begins like this:

Living for Jesus, a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.

When I think of living for Jesus I also think of living the way Jesus did when He lived on earth, having a heart like His. As I begin to examine all Jesus did and said as He walked the earth I find that truly His heart was that of a servant. Although He is God Himself He lived to serve others and show then the love that runs deeper than human understanding.

I began to wonder, what does it mean to have the heart of a servant? A servant sets his or her needs and desires aside until those of the master are met. The only goal is to serve the master. The second verse of Living for Jesus reminds us of how the price Jesus paid as a servant here on earth should compel us to follow His example.

Living for Jesus Who died in my place,
Bearing on Calv’ry my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,
Follow His leading and give Him my all.

We are called to be servants of God and set aside our goals and desires while we serve Him, and in turn serve others in His name.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition and vain conceit, but in humility consider others better (more significant) than yourselves. Each of you should look not to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.   Philippians 2:3-4

Serving looks differently for each of us. For some it is meeting a financial need or providing a meal or ride. It may be helping with household chores or repairs, or perhaps lending a listening ear, a warm hug, or simply the presence of a friend. We are all called to pray for each other, lifting up needs and celebrating joys. (Romans 12:15)

 The third verse of Living For Jesus speaks to this very thing:

Living for Jesus, wherever I am,
Doing each duty in His holy Name;
Willing to suffer affliction and loss,
Deeming each trial a part of my cross.

It goes against our human instincts to seek to serve our Master instead of serving ourselves, our wants and needs. Having the heart of a servant sometimes takes us out of our comfort zone. It compels us to listen to God and those around us instead of being quick to speak. We may also be called to reach out to someone different from us, but through our servanthood we give hope to others and hopefully point them to Jesus.

Living for Jesus through earth’s little while,
My dearest treasure, the light of His smile;
Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem,
Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.

 

As often happens in the kingdom of God, when we are obedient to serving our Master and pleasing Him we find an interesting twist.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of heart.
Psalm 37:4

God is not a master who requires us to serve until we are weary and discouraged. He is so loving and generous to us that as we focus on serving Him and reaching others with His love we find our deepest desires are also fulfilled.

 

As we go through the week ahead may we focus on having the heart of a servant. Let’s look less at ourselves and more at those around us who could use a helping hand, listening ear or extra prayer. Let’s pray the prayer of commitment in the chorus of Living for Jesus, dedicating ourselves to Him.

O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.

 

As we look back at the end of the week we’ll be amazed at the blessings that have come our way!

Blessings & peace to you this week!
Paula

 

Still Waiting…

Have you ever heard the phrase, “active waiting”? I would dare to suggest that it is a biblical principle.

Waiting is a part of our lives, but one that frankly most of us don’t enjoy. Our society is becoming increasingly instant and those of us living in it decreasingly patient. If our internet doesn’t load a page fast enough we throw a fit. When our cell phone doesn’t have coverage it is an inconvenience instead of an opportunity. Speaking of cell phones, how long do you stand in line at the grocery store before yours is out of your pocket and you are texting or checking social media? Yeah, me too.

Waiting is an expected companion to our daily routine. While we might not like it most of us have found ways to accommodate, or even embrace it.

summer 3

When it comes to waiting for answers, well that’s something different.

Do you remember waiting as a child for an answer from your parents about whether you could do something you longed to do? Or waiting for a birthday or Christmas to see if you would receive that special gift you’d been longing for? As a kid waiting can seem unbearable. I’m not sure it gets easier as adults.

Many have been waiting a long time for an answer to a special prayer. I know I have. Whether it’s direction for the future, longing for a child, the dream job, or healing from a hurt or illness those prayers are precious to us and we don’t understand why we have to wait. It can be easy to question God and at times put our lives on-hold while we wait.

I have found this can be a mistake. Whatever the reason we are being asked to wait, life goes on around us. God expects us to be a part of it and gives us some principles in scripture for what we should do in the meantime.

1. Look inward:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
NIV

I do not believe every unanswered prayer is left unanswered because of sin but I think we should always begin by examining our heart and life for places where sin may be keeping us from God’s will and His answer.

2. Reach outward:
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Luke 6:38
NIV

It can be so easy to become focused on our prayers and desires that we forget about those around us who also have prayers. God may want to use us as part of His answer to them. By looking outside of ourselves, giving of ourselves through God’s gifts to us we will not only receive a blessing of being part of someone’s answer, we may find God giving us part of our answer in the process.

3. Never give up hope:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
R
omans 12:12

God will not abandon us. He may take us through a process before He can answer our most fervent prayer. There may be lessons we need to learn, a mission we need to complete or our relationship with Him may need to deepen before He is able to bless us with the answer we are seeking.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

If you are still waiting for the answer to that special prayer I encourage you to think about how you can wait actively, and remember to continue fixing your eyes on Jesus, seeking Him and a deeper relationship with Him. You’ll find the time will pass with unexpected blessings for you and those around you.

 

blessings and peace to you as you wait today…
Paula

 

 

Reflections

morningHave you ever been in awe of a reflection? The beauty of what is before you is remarkable in itself, then multiplied as reflected in the water below. It can be breathtaking and held in your mind for a long time.

What about your own reflection? Sometimes we are surprised as we look at our reflections in the mirror, finding something we didn’t expect that causes us to adjust our appearance. A quick glance is all it takes to realize things aren’t quite right.

As water reflects the face,
    so one’s life reflects the heart.
                          Proverbs 27:19 

The same can be said as we consider what our lives reflect. When people look at our actions and hear the words we speak are they seeing the reflection of the Lord’s love and mercy or instead the burdens of the day weighing us down or causing us to react in our human strength and wisdom?

As you go through your day and catch your reflection in a mirror or other surface take a moment to examine the reflection of your heart as well as your appearance. Sometimes a quick glance is all it takes to whisper a quick prayer, adjust your attitude and ensure you are reflecting the heart of God.

blessings and peace to you today!
Paula

When You Really Mess Up…

Have you ever really messed up? I mean a colossal fail that there seems to be no way to recover from?

Peter did.

Epic fail.

So much had happened in a few short hours.

He was eating the Passover feast with Jesus and the other disciples when Jesus started talking about  someone betraying Him. His exact words were, “But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table…woe to that man who betrays him.” Luke 22: 21-22 NIV

Immediately they started discussing amongst themselves who it could be and before long they were arguing about who was the greatest among them. It was a silly debate but they had all been together a long time and Jesus was talking about leaving them. There was tension in the room and they all just got into it. They didn’t mean anything by it but it made the tension thicker.

Jesus stepped in and tried to tone down the argument and then He turned to Peter. “Simon, Simon,” Jesus said, “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32 NIV. Peter was confused. Why would his faith fail? He was one of the disciples closest to Jesus. He wouldn’t fail Him. Before Peter had a chance to ask any questions they were leaving.

They went out to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed. Peter had seen Jesus pray a lot of times but never with this intensity. Jesus seemed troubled. He had asked them to pray with Him but they all fell asleep. When Jesus woke them he told them, “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” Luke 22: 46b NIV.  Peter was confused again. How could they fall into temptation when Jesus was there with them?

There was no time for questions. A crowd approached, led by Judas. As Judas kissed Him Jesus was immediately seized and led away to the house of the high priest. Peter followed, at first keeping his distance but then made his way into the courtyard where there was a fire going. It was still very early in the morning and a chill was in the air.

All around him conversation centered on Jesus, who He was and what might happen to Him. Although Jesus was further away they could see Him standing there, bound, waiting for the priest. Fear began to overtake Peter and he hoped he wasn’t recognized. They might arrest him too for no reason. After all, Jesus hadn’t done anything wrong. Suddenly Peter heard a voice – “hey, you” said a young woman, “you were with that Jesus!” Peter denied it and tried to casually walk away when others recognized him too. “You were with Him – you’re a Galilean.” and “You are one of His followers”. He denied each comment – even saying he didn’t know Jesus.

Loud

As he objected that third time a rooster crowed and Peter came to his senses. What had he just said? He denied His best friend and Savior. He looked up just in time to see Jesus turn and look straight at Him. That look pierced Peter to the core and he turned and ran out of that courtyard. He didn’t know where he would go, for it was impossible to run from himself.

Now he understood. Jesus had told Peter he would be sifted – tested by Satan. But Jesus had also said He had prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail. And it had. How could something Jesus prayed for not come true? Peter was despondent.

He wasn’t able to speak with Jesus again for as the day progressed Jesus was tried, accused and crucified. The Sabbath wasn’t very restful for Peter. He couldn’t get past what he had done and it appeared he would not be able to ask forgiveness either. After a long, troubling day Peter finally fell into a fitful sleep. He kept seeing the guards and hearing that rooster crow.

Peter awoke to the shouts of the women – He’s gone! Jesus body is gone! An angel says He’s alive!

Peter was the first one out the door and headed towards the tomb. John beat him there but Peter saw for himself the cloths Jesus had been wrapped in laying haphazardly on the slab where the body laid. But the cloth used for Jesus’ head was folded neatly and placed in a separate place – like it was intentional. It didn’t make sense. Could Jesus be alive? Is that what He had been trying to tell them all this time? And if He was alive, what did it mean for Peter. Could things ever be the same?

They gathered in an upper room, all but Thomas, trying to sort out what they had seen and what the women had been told. The doors were locked – they were all still afraid – when suddenly Jesus was there with them. He greeted them with “Peace be with you”, showed them His hands and feet that still had the nail marks in them. Jesus was alive! Then as quickly as He appeared, Jesus was gone again. Peter was overjoyed, but still uncertain about how Jesus would feel towards him.

It took a week before Peter had the chance to find out. They had been fishing when Jesus appeared on the shore. They knew it was Him because they hadn’t caught anything all night and were ready to come ashore when He told them to put the net out again. When they did it was immediately filled with so many fish they could hardly pull it in! Peter jumped out of the boat and got to shore before the others. Oh to be with Jesus again! To talk with Him and ask forgiveness for what he had done. Peter couldn’t wait.

After they ate Peter finally had his chance. Jesus took him aside and they talked. Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Jesus more than all the others. This gave Peter three chances to take back what he had said. He was forgiven. Jesus charged Peter with caring for the people – Jesus’ lambs and in the years to come Peter didn’t let Him down. After all that had happened Jesus used Peter in mighty and powerful ways. People were healed, demons were driven out, and many came to believe in Jesus as their Savior all through the power of the Holy Spirit through Peter.

Peter was just an ordinary man, like you and me in many ways. He learned that while he let Jesus down he did not ultimately fail Him. He made a big mistake, but through repentance Peter was restored and used to further the kingdom of God.

If you feel you’ve let God down and failed in a way that can’t be repaired remember Peter’s story. The same can be true for you if you repent, turn back to the Lord, and promise to feed His lambs.

blessings and peace to you,
Paula