Then David the king went in and sat before the Lord and said, Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that You have brought me this far? This was a small thing in Your eyes, O God; but You have spoken of Your servants house for a great while to come, and have regarded me according to the standard of a man of high degree, O Lord God. What more can David still say to You concerning the honor bestowed on Your servant? For You know Your servant. O Lord, for Your servants sake, and according to Your own heart, You have wrought all this greatness, to make known all these great things. O Lord, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. — 1 Chonicles 17:16-20
I love this part of David's story. He wanted to build a house of cedar for the ark of the covenant, to create a permanant home for the presence of God. But God totally turns it around and basically says He will establish David's kingdom through his family line and even speaks of His plans for David's descendants. God promises David He will never take His presence away from David and his family lineage.
Then David goes before the Lord and says, "Who am I, Oh Lord God, and what is my house that You have brought me this far?"
As I read this I felt myself overwhelmed by God's goodness. Imagine how David felt in this moment? He desired to honor God in the best way he could think of and God takes his offering and turns it completely around and multiplies it back to David. Our Lord is that GOOD!
Wow. Now think of our offering of ourselves. We become the temple of God's Holy Spirit, not a home of cedar but a home of the heart. And God takes our humble offering and multiplies it over and over again. We are blessed to be this "temple" to His Holy Spirit in ways we will not completely understand until we are made complete in Christ and stand in His presence.
I am overwhelmed by God's grace, generosity and goodness. We can't outgive God. His delight in us exceeds perception and understanding. His faithfulness endures forever!
Oh Lord, who are we that You would give us Your very Spirit to live and dwell in us? We are Your children, Your chosen and loved ones whom You bless over and over again with Your very goodness. Thank You, Lord, for bringing us this far. Thank You, Lord, for regarding us and loving us in such high degree. Thank You, Lord, for Your greatness and all that You do in and through us. Abba, there is no one like You! We adore you, Jesus! Amen!
Love you, my friends, so very very much. We belong to the Most High God and we are His delight! Dineen
As we walk in our faith, God continually puts a call on our hearts to be more like Jesus. It's a mystery we will walk through our entire time here and is part of God's Kingdom come here on Earth and is part of God's great plan.
The mystery is that people who have never heard of God and those who have heard of him all their lives (what I've been calling outsiders and insiders) stand on the same ground before God. They get the same offer, same help, same promises in Christ Jesus. The Message is accessible and welcoming to everyone, across the board. This is my life work:helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God's way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities. And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. — Ephesians 3:6-8 (The Message)
I'm using The Message paraphrase here because I think it makes this passage in Ephesians more understandable. First, Paul makes it clear that we all stand on the same ground before God. We are all offered the same promises in Christ. Jesus came to die for all of us and it's up to us to accept His gift. I think our SUM community here understands this probably better than most.
But it's the second part of this that I want to point out. Paul shares how taken by surprise he was that he would receive such a gift. He's referring to his past as a Pharisee and his brutal persecution of Christians. We see this happen even today when the least likely in our eyes become powerful tools for God.
The beautiful part (at least to me) is God's loving care in all the details. Paul says the same, that God equipped him to do what he clearly knew he could not. He even emphasizes this in saying it had nothing to do with his natural abilities.
Think about it. Here is a man who once stood in complete authority in the Temple who could have easily relied on his knowledge to move forward in his new standing with Jesus, yet he saw it as way over his head.
We feel that way a lot in our mismatched marriages, don't we? We feel like we're ill-equipped and in way over our head. That would be true if we were completely on our own. But we're not. Just as God equipped Paul down to the smallest details to share the mystery of Christ with Jews and Gentiles alike, God does the same for us.
My friends, this goes way beyond our words! God's Holy Spirit lives and dwells in us. We are equipped to the gills! Perhaps our greatest challenge isn't knowing when to act, speak, or do but in trusting this truth—trusting that God is there equipping us constantly for every situation we encounter or are called to.
Scripture backs this up too:
Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age." — Matthew 28:20 (The Message)
We don't have to ask God to be with us. He already is so let's use that prayer power to ask for what we need. Ask God for something He can do, not something He's already done.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. — Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)
God's grace doesn't stop at the moment we accept Christ. God's grace is active and working. We tend to think we receive it when we are saved and then it's done, but God's grace is powerful and continues to work in and around us to transform us from the inside out. And that "out" is what those near to us see as we are transformed day by day to walk in the confidence, competence and gifts that come from God.
My friends, we spent a lot of time in our spiritual warfare series on our identity in Christ because this is truly our foundation.
As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete. — Luke 6:47-49
Now I believe God wants to build upon our foundation the truths that are part of our inheritance in Christ so that we can walk forward in the promises and victories that are ours.
Any time you feel ill equipped or ineffective, I want you to pray this prayer over yourself and repeat it, out loud whenever possible, to affirm who you are and that Jesus has equipped you:
For I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do. — Ephesians 2:10
The Greek meaning of that word for “works” also means action, behavior, deeds, doing, effectual, labor, result and task. In other words, God created (in the Bible a word that is used exclusively of God and the energy He exerts) us and He planned significant actions that we would do effectively and with results (fruit).
Now repeat this to yourself, and out loud!
God intends for me to be effective and see results in my life.
When we are “walking in the Spirit”—following and seeking God in every part of our lives—we will be effective daughters and sons of the Most High God and see results in our life.
The choice starts with us, my friends. If we want this kind of life, we have to go after it, ask for it and believe it’s possible. God pursues us. We can choose to pursue Him.
Are you with me?
Lord Jesus, You came that we may know the Father as You do and to walk as co-heirs with You. Help us to truly believe this truth and to believe that wherever You are calling us to step out in faith, You have already prepared every detail so that we can walk effectively in this place and produce results (fruit) either in ourselves or to impact the lives of others. Thank you, Lord Jesus for this precious promise and gift! In Your powerful and mighty name, amen!
Praying & believing with you, my precious friends!
We're reaching the end of our spiritual warfare series, my friends, and I can't think of a better way to punctuate all we've learned than praying on our armor of God. Join me in prayer and then let's praise God for His outlandish and extravagant love for us.
Ephesians 6:10-18 Lord, we are strong in You and Your mighty power. We put on our full armor of God, so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes. Remind us daily that our struggle isn’t against our spouse, our children, our family, our friends, our jobs, our situations, our neighbors, the strangers we meet or even our government. The battle is truly against the rulers, authorities and powers of evil present in this world and in heaven, against satan and his demons working to steal, kill and destroy us.
So today and everyday from now on I put on my full armor of God and stand my ground against the enemy’s schemes against me and my family.
I buckle on the belt of truth, which is Christ dwelling in me because He accepted, adopted, blessed, chose, forgave, loves and redeemed me (Ephesians 1). This is the truth of who I am in Jesus and the foundation of my authority and power in Him. (Luke 9:1-2)
I put my breastplate of righteousness in place over my heart because your Word says to guard my heart above all else for it determines the course of my life. (Prov. 4:23) Lord, I pray that the eyes of my heart be enlightened so that I will know the hope that You have called me to, the riches of my inheritance in Jesus, and the amazing power for us who believe—the same power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in Heaven as our intercessor forever. (Ephesians 1:18-21)
I stand with my feet firmly placed in the gospel of peace because your word is lamp to my feet and light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
I take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one, because He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4) The enemy cannot prevail for I am already the victor in this battle. (Romans 8:37-38)
I don my helmet of salvation because the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)
I lift sword of the Spirit, which is your Word that I will use faithfully to pray against the enemy and to faithfully live my life in accordance to for we live on every word that comes from Your mouth, Oh Lord. (Deut. 8:3/Matt. 4:4)
Lord, teach and help me to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. And keep me alert to pray for all my sisters and brothers in Jesus. In your mighty, powerful and holy name we pray, amen!
I love you so very much, my precious and beautiful friends. You bless me, inspire me and show me everyday the wonder of God in our lives and what it means to be unified in the Spirit.
Hugging you so very tight with the love of Jesus in my heart,
Okay, I’m totally ripping off Lynn and some tacky song thing, right? But it’s what popped into my head and those are usually my best lines. (wink)
With that said, I’m going to share a few tidbits of my past that, well, I really didn’t plan or want to but God’s giving me the nudge to be even more authentic with you. And I blame Lynn. LOL!
Just like Lynn shared about her “daddy” issues, I’ve had the same challenge as well. My mother and birth father divorced when I was two. I did see my birth father periodically, but it wasn’t an easy situation because he was mentally ill (later diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic).
I don’t remember a whole lot, but I know my mother had it rough keeping food on our table and remarried when I was around four or five, mostly for security. Didn’t work out for very long (it was clear to Mom and I both he wasn’t too keen on having a kid around).
The man I called “Dad” up until two and half years ago when he passed away from cancer was actually my step-dad. He and my mother married when I was eleven. I’m so grateful for this man. Though his own father walked out on him when he was a young boy, he did a good job filling the gap of father in my life, especially without having a good role model. It wasn’t easy for him though. He was always dad, and I was always his daughter, and my girls’ Papa. No "steps" about it.
Whew! Done with the backstory. And please don’t think I share this for attention or pity. I admit in my past I had times of sharing this for that reason but not anymore. I share it because it’s important to the rest of this story.
Fast forward to 2002. I’m at a Women of Faith conference, having a blast with my two best friends from church. We’re singing and worshiping and bam! It’s like my life zips right in front of my eyes. All the rejection I’d experienced as a child and teenager flashed across my mind's eye like a depressing movie from the ‘70s (Am I the only one who hates movies from that time period? So depressing. Blech!)
Anyway, it’s not the past I thought would have “scrolled” through the dank dungeon of my past—you know, all the school yard junk and issues with school and not fitting in, etc.) Nope, it was to do with the three men who’d played the roll of father in my life.
Needless to say it wasn’t pleasant. Thank goodness it happened fast! As it reached the end, Jesus (my first encounter with Him, though I was saved and had recommitted my life to Him almost 10 years prior) spoke to my heart these words:
“I will never reject you.”
Like the story I shared of what happened to me at Bethel, this ripped something out of me that God didn’t want festering there anymore. But more importantly, He knew I needed to hear this/know this/believe this because otherwise I would never be able to trust Him.
My friend, this was the beginning of God working things in my life so that I could one, learn to trust Him, and two, begin to grasp how deeply I am loved by Him. I’m still grasping it.
I know many of you out there reading this have similar stories. That’s the sad part, so many of us do. When we have a broken image of our father here on earth, it’s hard to grasp that our heavenly Father is nothing at all like an earthly father.
I will even go as far as to say this (and feel free to correct me if you think I’m too far “out there): We know the enemy of our soul targets marriage in huge ways, namely because it is something God designed to reflect our relationship with Him. What if the enemy is doing the same thing with our relationships with our fathers? With our children’s relationship with their father?
We see a growing trend in our culture today of absentee fathers. Of men struggling to stay in the church, to be in the church, to be the spiritual leaders of our families. I believe the enemy is attacking this area too because this father image is something else God uses in the Bible to reflect our relationship with Him.
Think about it? The biggest symbols used in the Bible—marriage and fatherhood—that show God’s love for us are the two areas most at risk. And the recovery from this takes time, as Lynn and I have shared. God has had to work in us to undo the lies and replace it with His love and His truth.
So this is what we want you to know, more than anything, right now, right here. God loves you. He made you. He can’t make things He doesn’t love and He doesn’t do shoddy work either. Nor does His love rest upon our performance because if it did then we wouldn’t need grace and Jesus suffered and died on a cross for no reason at all.
Know in your heart of hearts that you were fashioned by His hand out of a love that is all encompassing, unimaginably perfect and so incredibly powerful and passionate that we won’t fully understand it until we are with Him in Heaven. Nor can we be separated from it.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:38-39
God wants you to grasp this now. Right now. Because until we do, we will use everything and anything to fill this gap to find fulfillment. Our husband, our children, our friendships, our work, the opinions of others—I know this because I’ve lived it.
Our Lord and Savior wants us to walk in freedom and victory (It is for freedom that He came to set us free. Gal. 5:1). Not when all our problems are solved. Not when our prebelievers finally accept Jesus into their heart. And certainly not when we think we’ve got it all together.
He wants this for us right now, right in the middle of all our imperfections and all our trials and challenges. And we can do that with Him through His love.
My prayers started with asking God to heal me and make me whole. I prayed to understand His grace better. I prayed for Him to help me love Him more, to free me from my fears, and to make me a bold and confident person, because I was so tired of my insecurities. I want more of God than anything else in my life. Not an easy prayer but I promise you it is one He will honor and love to hear come from your heart.
So my friends, I will leave this too long post right here with what I hope will encourage you to pursue God like never before. It starts with prayer and if you’re not sure what to pray for first, ask the Holy Spirit to show you. Pray and then believe He’s doing this in you. It won’t be something you can do on your own, make a plan to conquer, or figure out the missing key and, viola!, it’s fixed. (Trust me, I tried!)
No, the healing, deliverance, and change will come when you least expect it because it will be totally and completely God doing it. Rest in Him. Trust Him. Let Him do it.
And He will love you all the way to freedom and beyond. Because really and truly, He is our Father, our Abba, our Daddy.
My friends, the responses to re-sign have been amazing—over one hundred emails and 74 requests for the certificates and wristbands! Women from Canada, Croatia, Japan, Australia, Kenya, Jamaica, England and all over the U.S. have written and so many have said that God had been moving them in this direction too! God is moving BIG, my friends, BIG! I believe we are seeing just the beginning of something major as God moves to bring revival across the world and also in our marriages. AMAZING!!!
Our "I re-sign!" wristbands are still in the works. I will send them out as soon as they show up on my doorstep! I'd hoped they'd arrive sooner but a check in with the company shows they're taking longer than expected. So hang tight and stand firm in your decision to re-sign.
Below is one of the email replies I received from Stacey Daley who has so graciously and willingly agreed to share her testimony. Please take note of how Stacey followed God's leading and the promptings of the Holy Spirit to help her speak in truth and with courage:
It seems over the past 4 years I have been taking tip-toe steps with a hop periodically. I had never boldly claimed my love for Christ to Brian. He only saw the outward changes and watched as I transformed and took note of how much time I was reading the Bible. After 4 years he became accustomed to it.
Well, about 6 months ago I sold out for Christ to my husband. It was one of those moments I took a dose of Holy Courage and with Holy Boldness shared from my heart what I believe and why. And then I ran to the bedroom, hit the floor on my knees and praised God for giving me the courage to speak the truth and as the tears poured out I asked God to use the truth to his glory. I was convinced that Brian would be so put off by my confidence in Christ that it would send him running in the opposite direction. But, again, I didn't preach... I made a statement of faith and left it at that. What I didn't share with you is that when I read your message about resigning... I had just had a spat with my husband...
Our spats typically go like this: He says or does something hurtful and I become silent. We don't fight, we just avoid each other. I realized that I had allowed the enemy to wedge his way in and cause my focus to drift from praying for Brian to complaining about his insensitivity (silent complaining, but complaining non-the-less). As long as I was complaining and not living joyfully the enemy was doing a victory dance.
God called me out on it. He used your message to open my eyes. I sat down and typed an apology letter to Brian. Knowing him, he probably didn't even realize that I was giving him the silent treatment, but I felt led to apologize. And again, I shared deeply, feeling led by the Spirit...
Here is an excerpt,
"that instead of being frustrated with your emotions this week I should have been praying for you like I normally do, but I was distracted by my pity-party attitude. I don’t want the enemy to sneak in and destroy the union between us. I want our union to be blessed. I want to be the godly wife that God calls me to be. I want to learn more, to increase my knowledge of the Word and to apply it to my life… our life. I want to protect our marriage by placing guard rails on our path… our journey through life together, so that no man, or woman will come between us intending our union harm." I told him that I wanted to recommit to him, not only in sickness and health, but even through bad moods and frustrations that may or may not be directed at me. "I will honor you as my husband, and lift you up in prayer asking God to fill you with knowledge and wisdom...."
Then I went on to tell him the things that I pray for him. I know the Holy Spirit was directing my words as they were said in love... "I pray that God will give you peace and security knowing that you are accepted and not rejected by Him. That He will free you from self-consciousness that can imprison your soul. That He will show you who you really are, that you are in the image of Christ. That you will hear the words, “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you; the glory of the Lord is your strength.”
I closed with, "I pray that together we will learn to walk in the Spirit, in order that we might bear the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That God will unite our bond of friendship, commitment, generosity and understanding...and that He would eliminate our immaturity, hostility or feelings of inadequacy. That He will help us to take advantage of alone time to nurture and renew our marriage and remind ourselves of the reasons we were married in the first place. I pray that our love for each other will grow stronger every day…. And that nothing will come into our hearts and habits that would threaten our marriage in any way. I pray that we will search for answers together and that we will learn to trust God and have the faith that will move mountains. I pray that God will open the eyes of our hearts so that we may understand."
So that was a few days ago, and he has not responded with words. He will read, reread, chew on it for a couple of days or weeks and one day it will come up. But in the mean time the Holy Spirit is working in his heart and soul.
The seeds you have been planting all along have been watered by God. With the knowledge I have gained from your posts, and praying the prayers from "Power of a Praying Wife," God has truly blessed me by nurturing the seeds that were planted deep in the soil of my soul.
I can only hope that some day I can touch the hearts of women who are hurting as you have touched my heart.
To answer your question; I would be honored if you would like to use any part of my story. It's the least I can do...
Thank you again, from the depths of my soul for using your Spiritual gifts and touching so many lives.
Your Sister in Christ,
Thank you, Stacey, for sharing your heart and how God led you through this time to not just show your faith but to speak it. When God leads us to such a place, He is right there not only working in and through us, but also in our spouse as well. Believe it!
My precious friends, I pray this encourages you! Lynn and I pray for you all constantly and love you all so dearly! Praying & believing! Dineen
Precious Lord, we continue to ask You to fill us with the knowledge of Your will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives us, so that we may live a life worthy of You, Lord, and please You in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of You, being strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that we may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to You, Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of Your holy people in the kingdom of light. For You have rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son You love, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
I shared in an earlier post about God telling me to receive His grace. I am changed! I can't even comprehend it all yet but will share more as I understand more. In the meantime, I want to share a song that has become the song of my heart right now. Brings me to tears to think what God has done for us. Turn it up, sing along and make it your song too. We are REDEEMED!!!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Father God, no matter where we are, we will praise your Holy and Mighty Name. You are our Mighty Savior, our One and Only. You are ALL we need.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Lord, You move among us with such strength and love. We can't even comprehend how great Your love for is. It is all consuming and always GOOD! We fall to our knees before you in wonder and love.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Lord Jesus, let every song we sing and and word we speak bring You praise and glory. You are more than worthy of our trust, our praise and our love. We owe everything to You. We would not be able to even stand before You without Your sacrifice for us. We wear Your righteousness only by the blood You shed for us and by Your death.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Oh Lord God Almighty, may our every breath, every thought, every feeling glorify You! Words can not express Your greatness, nor are there adequate words to express our love and gratitude to You. May our very lives be a song of praise and worship to You. Receive our praise as sweet incense to bring you pleasure and glory. We love you, Lord Jesus! Move among us and do whatever You need to bring us closer to You. We want more of YOU!
Praise the Lord.
In Your precious Name, Lord Jesus, amen!
Below is an awesome song to sing and praise to. This is a group that's new to me too. Great find! I won't be posting next week because I'm running away with my hubby for a few days of R&R and to celebrate our anniversary. (Hee hee...) So keep on eye out for Lynn for me and don't let her get into trouble, okay? (wink!) No doubt I will have stuff to share about my trip when I get back.
Praying & worshipping with you! Dineen
When the Stars Burn Down (Blessing and Honor) by Phillips, Craig & Dean
My friends, I sensed God’s leading this week to change our Weekend Devo to Weekend Worship. We are a community bonded together by a common desire to see our loved ones know God as we do and our hearts are knitted together by a love for Jesus and each other. Lynn and I are continually blessed and blown away by you, and we have all expressed how we long to worship God in Heaven together.
Let’s start that here and now.
That is the vision God put on my heart this week, to gather here online and worship Him together. I don’t know where this will go or how it will work. I’m content to let God’s Holy Spirit guide us.
Let’s worship God together. Find a quite moment and place and read the Psalm below in prayerful worship. Add whatever comes to your heart and let the Holy Spirit guide you. I'm inserting what the Holy Spirit has put on my heart, but you pray what He puts on yours. Feel free to worship and pray in the comments—let’s worship together!
1 Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights above.
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for at his command they were created,
6 and he established them for ever and ever—
he issued a decree that will never pass away.
Lord, we praise You from the earth below and give you all glory. We join our voices and hearts to those praising You above.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
9 you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
Lord, we marvel at your creation. Though we see only a faded representation of your true plan, we are awestruck by the notion that ever flap of wing, every wag of tail, every sway of branch, and every sway in the ocean waters is your creation singing praise to you. Lord, we add our hearts and voices to this praise. We ask that You bring Your Glory down upon us.
11 kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
12 young men and women,
old men and children.
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
14 And he has raised up for his people a horn,
the praise of all his faithful servants,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the Lord.
Lord, You are El Elyon, the God Most High. Bring your strength and power into our governments, into our homes, into our hearts and rule! Let us worship You in complete surrender and thanksgiving for Your Horn, Your Son Jesus, whose name we lift with our prayers and thanksgiving.
Reign in us, Lord. We give You all our praise for You alone are worthy! In Jesus’ Holy and Powerful Name, amen!
Yesterday I left you with the question, what is the key to this? In other words, what is the key to worshiping God even as we wait?
Back up to verse Isaiah 40:26: “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:”
What if that lift of our eyes is a constant state of awareness—constantly looking for God in our everyday lives? What if we looked for God’s hand and provision each day for the prayers we sent up just that morning. What if we waited expectantly for God to just show up in some way each and every day?
This is the abundant life, my friends! (John 10:10)
And this is where it takes a mental shift that I do so hope I’m explaining well enough. This is a place of worship because we have chosen to live our lives focused on God. God doesn’t revolve around us. We revolve around God in reverent waiting, birthed from a growing trust in Him to take care of us, a belief that our prayers will be answered, and the expectancy that God will do even more than we ask because we long for His presence more than anything else in our lives. This goes so beyond material provision—it affects every aspect of our lives.
It’s about wanting Jesus—God’s presence in our lives—more than anything else. Absolutely. Anything. Else.
I will share something that happened just this weekend. I’ve been praying about this aspect of worship in our waiting, about wanting more of God and less of me, and I did something I don’t do easily. I asked God to delight me.
It’s not easy for me because I struggle to ask for anything from anyone, not out of pride but out of fear. Yet I dared to ask God. As I drove in my car Saturday, I noticed a man cross the other side of the road to the center median. Now this is an 8-lane road. I’m in a center lane, just barely aware that he’s there.
Traffic slows a bit. The next thing I know, this man drops to his knees in the median and raises his arms in the air, all the way up. I can only stare in shock.
And then I start to cry. I don’t know why. I only know that I have just watched something profound. I could have easily just seen it as some oddball doing something strange, and believe me, I considered that. But I keep coming back to my reaction. I had no way of knowing what this was about but something deep inside me reacted to this man’s display.
I don’t know what happened that day. I do believe it was significant. I want to believe that God chose that moment to delight me, because nothing brings me to tears faster than when I watch someone worship God or give their hearts to God. I bawl like a baby.
With joy. With gratitude that God loves us that much. With worship that I too can experience that delight.
God is just waiting to show us things we can’t even begin to understand.
“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” —Jeremiah 33:3
This verse is a part of my prayers now. And I’m asking God for another thing close to my heart—to allow me to hear Him sing over me (Zep 3:17).
I will leave you with this quote from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young:
When you walk through a day with childlike delight, savoring every blessing, you proclaim your trust in Me, your ever-present Shepherd. The more you focus on My presence with you, the more fully you can enjoy life. Glorify me through your pleasure in Me. Thus you proclaim my presence to the watching world.” (August 13th, Mathew 1:23; John 10:10-11)
And a prayerful Scripture:
1 To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, in You I trust, Do not let me be ashamed; Do not let my enemies exult over me. 3 Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed; Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed. 4 Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. 5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day. —Psalm 25:1-5
On Tuesday we started our journey with Nehemiah and his calling to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. In the comments, Shelly pointed something amazing out in Nehemiah 2:
After this post I was intrigued to read Nehemiah myself with the perspective of marriage at hand. Only made it to chapter 2 but what stood out was 2:21... "The God of heaven will help us succeed. We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall (marriage). But you (those who were against him, my interpretation...satan) But you have no share, legal right, or historic claim in Jerusalem (my home)." Satan has no share, legal right or historic claim to our marriages! A powerful statement to remember when the battlefield of the mind seems to be getting the best of you.
Is that not amazing? I love how Shelly took this piece of God's Word and brought out the truth we could apply to our marriages. Make a prayer out of this, my friends, and let's put the enemy of our marriages on the run!
I left you with some questions to consider about doubts. After the doubts, the voice of fear chimed in next. They were threatened with death. Do you find at times that you fear the "death" of your marriage? That the current situation or constant conflict will result in this kind of loss? I know I have at times.
In verse 14 Nehemiah says something we hear repeatedly (repeated even more than God's messages of love) thought the Bible.
Do not be afraid.
Nehemiah tells them not to be afraid and to fight for their families and houses. Do these men go to battle and fight the men opposing them? No, they stand their ground and continue in the calling God has place on their hearts. That same commitment and calling spoken of in verse six when they built the wall to half its height with all their hearts.
Nehemiah then divides the men into workers and defenders. The defenders are equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. Even the workers held a weapon as they built. They didn't even take off their clothes to sleep or put down their weapons to get water. They continued to do what God asked and stood firm in the calling. Sound familiar? Isn't this the same "standing" spoken of in Ephesians 6:10?
Now think of those weapons as prayers. These men were constantly armed with weapons just as we are to be constantly armed with prayer and God's Word (there's our armor).
Now look at verse 20 where Nehemiah says, "Our God will fight for us." Who's that doing the fighting again?
God did the fighting. The men did the believing. They held onto the vision of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, of seeing their home repaired and made strong for God's glory.
We are being called to a similar place, my friends. God is calling us to stand firm for our marriages, to hold our prayers and God's Word firmly in hand and use them. As God fights for our unbelievers and our family, we are standing firm in our place to pray and believe in God's plan for our lives, our marriages and our children.
The wall of Jerusalem was completed. Can you imagine the cheers of these men when the past beam was put in place? They held fast to the vision of a completed wall and stayed faithful.
Catch the vision God has for your marriage. Ask Him to show you what needs rebuilding, repairing and reinforcement. I’m doing this myself right now. God has alerted me to places that are weak and could give the enemy entrance.
I'm standing my ground for my marriage, for my husband’s impending salvation, for the future of my family. I have my armor on and God’s Scripture in hand as I work, as I pray. The enemy tried to make me think I faced an impossible situation but God reminded me He is the one working and the very situation I feared is what He is using to bring His plan to completion. I will not be afraid.
How about you, my friend? Are you willing to stand for your marriage and let God fight for you? Let’s stand together. God is fighting for us!