Be Like Daniel

Long exposure black and white landscape of moving clouds over withered treeThis morning I came to the book of Daniel looking for something else and instead Holy Spirit led me here.

I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your command and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. Daniel 9:4-6.

The above verses are the beginning of a beautiful prayer by Daniel for his homeland. Did you catch how Daniel begins his prayer? He begins with praising God for Who he is. All too often, I believe, we many times step into a sweet and beautiful time of prayer with God and immediately begin with our requests. Prayer means to intervene or intercede, but it is so much more than our requests, whether for ourselves or on behalf of others, it is part of the deep and intimate relationship with God that we ought to reach for on a daily basis. The second part of Daniel’s prayer is confession. Daily I thank God for the gifts of confession and repentance and His faithfulness to show me the sin in my life so I can enjoy uninterrupted fellowship with him. (1 John 1:6-9).

The body of Daniels’ prayer is for his country Israel. Not only was Daniel pleading with God to restore Israel, he did so in fasting, in sackcloth and in ashes. Fasting was sometimes done to show grief, distress or repentance. The wearing of sackcloth and ashes were also signs of repentance. Daniel was serious about his prayers for Israel, which has me thinking, am I, are you, serious about the way you pray for your homeland, your family, yourself and others?

I chuckle as I write this because yesterday I began asking God what I was missing in my prayers about a current situation. What came to mind was the angel that was sent to Daniel but was delayed by the prince of Persia and one of the chief angels, Michael, was sent to help. (Daniel 10). When I sat down to write this morning I was sure it would be about praying for our homelands and the current affairs of the world, yet, here I am, learning more about prayer from an ancient prophet and reading God’s answer to my question.

Precious One, whether today finds you praying for yourself, your family, for others, for your homeland or for all of these things, may we both follow Daniel’s lead with heart’s of sincerity and seriousness for the task at hand.

May we cry out as Daniel did;

O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name. Daniel 9:19.

Shalom!

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It’s The Law!

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A few months ago I was having breakfast with one of my dearest friends. She was telling me about her current area of study, the book of Joshua, and the application God is showing her for current time. I was intrigued, as in fascinated, as I always am, when my friend and I have church together, and, Joshua is one of my favorite books. Days later I was still pondering our conversation when I felt Holy Spirit’s leading to begin a cross reference study of Joshua. 

This morning I came across Joshua 1:8:

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from you mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

There are a few things going on in this verse, and being the black and white thinker and rule follower that I am, the first thing that stands out at me is the word law. Law in its original context here is the word torah (to-raw’) and means instruction and it is from another Hebrew word yarah (yaw-raw’), which means to teach.

As believers in Christ we are now covered under the covenant of grace and no longer bound by the Law because we no longer need the Law to convict us it is by the grace of Christ whose Spirit lives within in us that convicts us. However, this does not mean that we ought to disregard the Scriptures on the Law, we still have plenty to learn about ourselves and our relationship with Christ because of the Law.

Wouldn’t it have been easier for the writer of Joshua to have said something like, “Do not let these teachings and instructions depart from your mouth”? I think, and in my humble opinion, we can let our ‘theology’ of the Law cause us to step into legalism. I speak from experience. And, perhaps, this was God’s intention to begin with, not that we would step into legalism but to cause us to question why the word Law is used in many passages throughout the Old Testament.

The next portion of this verse is to meditate on it day and night. Perhaps these struggles with the way God’s word is written is so that we will do just that. Meditate on Him and discover more and more of Who he Is. Day. And. Night. As we do we become more careful to keep His instructions for our life because we become more attune to Holy Spirit guiding us. Here is the phenomenon, we meditate on God and we delight in doing His will even though we maintain free moral will. Somehow, and it can only be by the supernatural grace of God, we let go of our rebellion and our will and want to do God’s will simply because he is good and worthy, because we revere him, because He is God.

The last part of this verse gives us a promise – you will be prosperous and successful. Which really means that we will make intelligent and expert decisions with understanding and wisdom and we will guide others wittingly; being fully aware of what we are saying and doing for the benefit of others and we will behave ourselves.

Precious One, the Law is really God’s great and unending love for you. Won’t you start today and discover more of this for yourself?

Live long and prosper.

Shalom!

 

Faithful Listener

MC-03292016-animals-Black-face-sheep-7.jpgAs our children have gotten older, especially our young adult children, it is nice to hear and watch them encourage others with the encouragement or advice my husband and I have inspired them with particularly in their earlier years. You may wonder, if you have children of your own, “Are they paying attention, do they hear what I’m saying?” I can tell you, that yes, all these years, they’ve been listening! As they have wandered, looking for their purpose in this world, it is such a blessing to watch them walk back and maintain the values of the foundation they’ve been raised on.

A few days ago I came across some verses in the OT that excited me. Yes, the OT, which I love as much as the NT, especially those verses and passages that make me wrestle and dig deep as to how they ought to be applied to my life in present time. If I believe, which I do, that God’s word is inerrant, then what was true then is also true now in the light of his marvelous love and amazing grace.

The nugget I found is found in Deuteronomy 28:2-7

 All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:

You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.

The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock – the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.

You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.

We read that when we obey God not only will his blessings come upon us they will accompany us! The word obey in its original context in this passage means to listen; listen closely, listen carefully, listen obediently. And, we know we hear God’s voice because he tells us in John 10:27 that we do, its part of our identity in Christ; to hear his voice. When we do we have a choice, we can listen and do what he asks of us or we can ignore his voice. Ignoring him is disobedience because we aren’t listening carefully or closely to what he is saying to us. I often say, “Our choice didn’t end when we first chose Jesus.” Everyday we make a choice to continue to follow him and listen to his voice and do what he asks.

Just as our children have been listening to us it is our responsibility to listen to God. To be faithful listeners to the One Who gave it all so we could hear His voice. When you do the seven blessings in Deuteronomy 28:2-7 will follow you wherever you go.

At this moment it isn’t too late. Start today to listen carefully and closely to the voice of God and be blessed.

Shalom!

A Time To Reflect

Screenshot_2014-07-08-17-56-11-1I believe there is a misconception about the life of believers in Christ, that we somehow have no struggles in life, that we live a life of the proverbial ‘bed of roses.’ I also believe this care-free persona, may be, in part, because of the joy of the Lord that resides, as our inheritance in Christ, in our hearts.

As believers in Christ we struggle through life the same as those who are yet to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

2015 was a difficult year for my family, but not many of you know this. Oh, we didn’t struggle alone. God in his infinite and demonstrative love for us has provided us with an intimate inner circle of friends who pray with and for us and carry our burdens with us as we do for them.

As I was studying this morning I was led to Philippians 3:10.

I want to know Christ-yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. Philippians 3:10.

I want this for my life in 2016 and every year after, that my sweet and precious Savior allows me to remain on earth, to know the power of his resurrection, which lives in every believer. This also means that I must participate in his sufferings, which are the struggles and challenges of life, becoming like him in his death. How was Jesus in his death? One word. Victorious!

Precious One we don’t know what tomorrow holds but we do know Who holds all our tomorrows.

So, on this first day of the new year choose to live victoriously, today and everyday, in the midst of your challenges and struggles, knowing it is a gift to learn to depend on and trust God more.

Shalom!

Love In Action

a-heart-made-of-words-i-love-you-in-many-languages_f1tFaY_O“I love you.” Three simple words that carry so much weight and implication. What does it mean to love someone? And, how do we truly love apart from God?

If you believe the truth of Scripture then you know we are only capable of love because He first loved us and sacrificed his one and only Son for us because of His deep love for us.

And this love is not romantic love or brotherly love, although love for the brethren comes from this love of God, this love is pure, this love overlooks offenses, this love never fails. This love loves those who may be not act like you, may not dress like you, may not talk like you, may not believe like you. This love goes beyond, way beyond your sphere of influence. This love flows to other country’s so that ALL the world may have the opportunity to hear the good news of the gospel of Christ.

This love comes from having an abiding relationship with God.

Dear children let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18.

Precious One it isn’t about you but it is about others. It is about Christ.

Shalom!

What Would Jesus Do?

105-1113tm-vector2-992I’m sure many of you know that the acronym WWJD represents ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ This phrase became popular in the 1990’s as many believers in Christ determined to remember how to respond like Christ and not react how the world would expect. Perhaps an easier way of remembering and understanding sanctification.

Sanctification is the ongoing process of the work of Holy Spirit in us molding us, shaping us and sculpting us more and more into the likeness of Christ, because we have been set apart as holy.

Think about what is going on in the world right now and ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?” John 6:38 and 8:28 tell us that Jesus came down from heaven not to do his own will but the will of him who sent him and that he does nothing on his own but speaks just what the Father has taught him.

This is the standard and example Jesus set for us; to do only the will of our Father and to speak only that which he has taught us. Is God teaching you to speak fear? Does he teach you to turn your back on the widow, orphan and alien? Is he teaching you hatred? Precious One, the unequivocal answer to these questions is, “No.”

God went to great lengths to teach us about his love for all his humanity in that he gave his One and only Son to die on the cross for our sins.

He teaches us to trust Him.

You know God’s voice, Scripture tells us so.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27.

Are you listening? If you are then you will speak only that which the Father is teaching you.

WWJD – What Would Jesus Do?

What will you do?

Shalom!

 

 

Who Do You Work For?

wpid-img_20140306_140905.jpgIf you are a believer in Christ where do you put your hope? Is your hope in the media, in the world, or in Christ? As believers in Christ our hope ought to be in Him and him alone.

In view of recent world events I ask you, “Do you not know have you not heard you are only a sojourner in this land until Christ returns or calls you home?” Now, I am in no way making light of recent devastating world events, my family was directly affected by September 11th and we will never forget.

Do you understand that the events playing out in the physical realm are the result of a greater battle in the heavenly realm?

And, so, I ask you another question, “Are you praying about these events as much as you are talking about them on social media?”

The moment we became believers in Christ God gave us two of many very powerful tools. First and foremost the very Spirit of the living God lives in you. The same Power that raised Christ from the dead lives in every believer in Christ. Which leads me to ask, “how are you staying connected to the Vine?” Apart from Him we can do absolutely nothing, and connected to him we are blessed with His peace that is nothing like or in comparison with the peace the world attempts to offer us.

Changing my profile picture, no offense to those of you who have, will not stop this raging spiritual war. But prayer, prayer has the power to move mountains! Are you upset with the way your government is handling the threat of terrorism? If so, I encourage you to stop talking about it and begin or continue praying only. God’s word instructs us to pray for all those in authority so that we can live peaceful lives. (1 Timothy 2:2; emphasis added).  Part of our responsibility as believers in Christ is to share the love and hope of Christ not get caught in the fray.

And what about those caught up in the bondage of terrorism? Are you praying for them? I am. Why? Because they too were created in the image of God. Because God’s love, his grace and his gift of salvation are for all his creation. Romans 5:8 confirms this for us –

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Bondage is bondage regardless of what name is placed on it. And God’s heart breaks when anyone who is caught up in bondage and doesn’t know Christ as Lord and Savior dies because it means eternity apart from Him.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9. (emphasis added).

If you are a believer in Christ your life was paid for with a ransom; His blood that was shed for you. Your life is not your own, but belongs to Him and he calls you to share his love and his grace with the rest of humanity.

So, who are you working for? Are you placing your hope in Christ, even more so in these unstable and unsure times, staying so closely connected with Him that you can’t help but offer His hope to a frightened world, or are you allowing yourself to be distracted by the age old schemes of the enemy?

God’s word speak to us and tells us there is a time for everything.

A time to be silent and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:7b

Silence may be golden but prayer speaks volumes. May the Bride of Christ arise.

Shalom!