1. GOD’S PROVISION
Father, I am so confused. My circumstances
overwhelm me. I feel incapable of obedience.
I feel unworthy of Your love. I’ve asked You to
help me, but nothing seems to change.
What am I doing wrong?
My child, why do you stand wringing your hands in worry and care? Don’t you know that I have provided all you will ever need and all that you need right now? You need only My grace, and I offer it to you freely and abundantly. Why do you resist coming to Me and receiving My offer? There is offered before you a free banquet—would you die of starvation?
Is it so hard to receive something which you know you didn’t earn? And having received My grace in some measure, you work so hard trying to pay it back. Why? It is not a loan—it is My gift of love. I delight in giving it all to you.
You struggle so hard trying to imitate Me that you don’t look to Me. Your eyes end up on yourself, and each failure seems to add another brick to a wall of separation between us. But that wall exists only in your mind. In reality, I am always near, always watching—
not keeping score, just hoping to catch a glimpse of you
turning to look at Me, to seek Me,
to come to Me with your need.
How I long to meet your need, to fill your heart.
I’ve heard you talk about the victorious Christian life as some kind of unattainable standard which I have erected for you. You have sought to achieve this standard by endlessly reading My word, praying over long lists of others’ needs, more church attendance and service, and by rigid rules and schedules. You have looked in the wrong place.
The life I have for you will never be found by your own performance and hard work. You will find it only in Me, Myself. It is accomplished only as you realize your need and then receive from Me all that I gave for you. If you believe you can do what you need to do—that you’re a strong enough Christian to meet that situation, you will find yourself at the limitation of your own strength. But if you know that you are loved, chosen, and accepted, and that you don’t have to perform to a certain standard for the score sheet; then you are free to come to Me in that moment of need and find that I am delighted to accompany you through it.
My heart rises to meet you as you come. Come and receive from Me.
Galatians 3:3; Hebrews 4:15-16; Titus 3:5; 2 Corinthians 12:9,10;
2. YOUR NEW HEART
Lord, continue to open my eyes and heart to the truth
that performance is a trap. I see over and over again in
Your word that it is the heart desire, the heart attitude,
and the heart turned toward God that results in obedience.
Help me to continually hold my heart before You and let Your work in it.
My beloved child, I have given you a new heart. Your old life still struggles to have its way and fulfill its desires, but the new heart I have given you longs to know Me, to follow Me, to walk in all My ways, and fulfill My purpose for your life. This gift of grace I have already given to you, but you need to believe it is true. You must count on it by faith because I say it is so; do not depend on whether you feel it is true.
Stop trying to change your heart by changing your actions, but allow My heart, My Spirit within you to live out through your actions. Just as eternal life and salvation are My gift and cannot be earned, so the power to live according to My will is given to you as you allow My Spirit to have His way in every area of your life. You cannot create or earn that power; it is My gift of Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Walk in My Spirit, and keep your eyes fixed on Me, and I will accomplish all I desire in your life.
Jeremiah 24:7; Ezekiel 11:19-20; Ezekiel 36:27; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20;
2 Corinthians 5:7; Romans 5:10; Colossians 1:27; Galatians 5:16, 25;
3. A FUTURE AND A HOPE
Lord, here I am again. How am I to know Your will?
How am I to hear Your voice when the choices seem
both endless and nonexistent?
I will say it again—I want what You want for me.
Will You direct my way and lead me into Your will?
Is it faith to stand and see the salvation
of the Lord, or is it faith to continue to walk through
a way which seems to not open believing it will open?
And if both are faith, how am I to know which to do?
I need a glimpse of Your vision for me
and a step to take in seeing it fulfilled.
My hand is always on you, My child, guiding you, leading you even when you do not know it. I have brought you to the place where you now find yourself, and it is no accident. I know exactly what I plan to do next, and it is of no consequence that you do not know. Do you trust Me? Do you trust Me to make sense of the smallest, most intricate details of your life?
Walk before Me with a pure heart. Love the people I put in your path with a whole heart. Remember that your value to Me lies not in what you do, but in who you are. As your days are, so shall your strength be, I promise.
Will I lie to you? No, never. My plans for you are for welfare and not calamity, to give you a future and a hope. Do the thing which I have placed before you right now. Do it with the joy of My presence and in the strength of My Spirit. I am well able to part the sea and let you cross on dry ground when My time is right.
Trust Me. My grace will never fail you, and you can do all things through Me. Pray always about everything, so that all which concerns you is brought to Me. There will I quiet your heart; there will I give you impressions which will be confirmed in ways which you will not miss.
I will make possible what now seems impossible.
I will turn ashes to beauty,
mourning to gladness,
imprisonment to freedom,
and fainting to praise.
Give Me your burdens and go in the joy of the Lord which is your strength. Believe Me when I say that all My ways are righteous. I make no mistakes. I miss no opportunity. Nothing is outside of My reach. And I love you more than you know.
Isaiah 48:17; Jeremiah 29:11; Isaiah 30:15; Micah 6:8; 1 John 3:18; Isaiah 49:15-16;
Deuteronomy 33:25; Numbers 23:19; Philippians 2:14; Psalm 16:11;
Habakkuk 3:18-19; Exodus 14; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 4:13; Philippians 4:6-7;
Isaiah 30:21; Isaiah 50:2; Isaiah 61:1-3; Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 55:22; Psalm 145:17;
4. LIVE IN THE DETAILS OF LIFE
Lord, I have spent so much of my time wishing.
Wishing I could achieve some goal;
wishing I could be more than I have been;
wishing a circumstance would change;
wishing for big things to accomplish for You.
But I’m seeing some new things these days.
So much of our lives consists in the small things—
our relationships at home, how we manage our
time and money, bodily discipline, and obedience in the details.
Why have I expected great things when I struggle to be
faithful in the small ones?
So you have heard Me. Yes, it is I who has been pulling at your heart with these truths. Be faithful, My child, to walk before Me in the details and live for an audience of One. Do not seek great works to do for Me—seek Me. Do not look far ahead at the finish line in exhaustion and feel as though you can never make it there. Look at your next step, and you will see that I have gone before you, and I will give you the strength and light to take it.
Love the people in your home, your work place, your church, and your community with a sincere affection instead of worrying whether you are a witness to them. Go to bed at night and get up in the morning. Ask Me to order your day and set your priorities, and I will do it. No longer put off the calling I have placed on your heart, but take a step out into it, and you will find a broad and level land where you can move freely. All of your time and money are Mine; make good use of them.
Manage your own body and make it serve you rather than indulge itself. Slow down your pace and nourish yourself spiritually as well as physically. Strengthen yourself for My purposes through adequate rest and exercise. Listen to My voice and obey My holy nudges.
Call the person, write the letter, take time to worship.
Hug your children, kiss your spouse.
Obey My voice moment by moment, and I will weave a tapestry of your life that will be unique, planned by My will, and a delight to My heart. Leave the results to Me; I know what I am doing, and My timing is perfect. Watch the details and stay well connected to Me, and your heart shall find rest.
Colossians, 3:1-2; Philippians 1:6; Isaiah 30:21; 1 Peter 1:22; Psalm 18:36;
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
5. WHEN EVERYTHING IS UNCERTAIN
Lord, my heart is full. You have been gracious beyond all measure.
Even though many things are still uncertain,
I have a tremendous sense of Your presence and guidance.
You have not deserted us nor left us to fend for ourselves in our own strength.
You have gathered others who care and pray, as well.
We trust You for all that lies ahead, and we believe You are a God
who longs to be good to His people and
who has the power to do all things.
All things are given to you for life and godliness. You need not fret over one detail of all your tomorrows. All things are in My hand, and I do love you. Rest in Me. Worry has no place in your life for I, your Heavenly Father, know exactly what your needs are, and I delight to meet each one. Your only part is to trust Me and to seek Me and My kingdom. When you search for Me with all your heart I promise that you will find Me.
That is what I want—all your heart. Do not fear giving its control to Me—I created it, and I know how to meet its every need. You are unique because I created you that way, and not even you know your own needs. But I do. Come to Me and find rest for your soul.
2 Peter 1:3-4; Matthew 6:25-34; Matthew 11:28-30; Jeremiah 29:12-13; Psalm 139
6. I AM BUILDING MY CHURCH
Thank You, Lord, for the work You’re doing in my heart.
I sense a healing that I have longed for, but not known how to achieve.
Of course, it was something I was never able to do on my own.
It had to be Your work. Thank You for the grace to be willing to let go
of my right to my conviction and let Your life give me life.
My child, I always said I was willing to do all in you that you could not do yourself. It delights My heart that you have allowed Me and trusted Me to begin a work which I also promise to finish. My love for you is everlasting, deep, strong, and without limit of time, amount, or condition. Just trust Me, and bring Me your heart without reserve or question. Let Me worry over the endless dilemmas which you see. It is all My work. I am building My church, and I see the finished product—perfect, without spot or wrinkle.
That’s the way I see you, too, you know. You are covered in My righteousness, cleansed by the blood of My Son, and filled with My very own Holy Spirit by which We all live in you. You are My temple, and I delight in you.
Do not struggle to think correctly; just abide in Me and in My love. There you will know My heart for the world around you. Where you see sin, suffering, error, or injustice, cry out to Me for My mercy and for My will to be done right there. Trust Me to work through you and through your prayers. Never stop praying. I hear you always and want to use you to work out My will and bring My kingdom and blessing to the world.
Delight your heart in My presence and in My praise. I will fill your heart and life with the sweetness of My presence, and it will flow from you to others like an ever-emptying, ever-filling river. Don’t debate; just trust that I see it all, the beginning to the end, and I know what I’m doing. I will bring My kingdom right where you are, and I will do a new thing that if you would have been told of it, you would not have believed it. But I will fulfill My promise, and you will see the result. My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.
I can do all things.
Rest in Me. Abide in me.
Trust Me. Lay aside yourself.
I will do the rest.
2 Peter 1:3-4; Philippians 1:6; Jeremiah 31:3; Hebrews 10:22-23; Matthew 16:18;
Ephesians 5:25-30; John 15; Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Luke 18:7; John 7:38;
Psalm 1:2-3; Isaiah 43:18-21; Isaiah 55:8-9; Genesis 18:14; Ephesians 4:20-32;
7. CONTENTMENT AND A KEEN HUNGER
Lord, I am knowing greater contentment and peace in my heart than I have in a long time.
How will I know I am not just becoming complacent
How is it that there can be both contentment and reaching for more,
since we are told to have both?
Both must exist in your heart, My child. It is right that you are content, content in Me and in My dealings with you, yet your heart must also be open to the dreams I would yet place there. I give you dreams of service and visions of future glory and of all I have created you to be. You are to be content in My time and My ways of fulfilling these dreams. Discontent and restlessness would mean that you want your own way and time, that you are trying to fulfill My plan. I said that I would complete what I have begun in you, and I will.
Contentment and thankfulness are great treasures not to be shirked as less spiritual than hunger and thirst.
Both ends of the spectrum have their place in the heart of My child. Do not fear being content—I know full well how to stir your soul to My call. I know your heart, and I know you are willing to hear and obey My voice. So if all I speak to you now is peace, then be at peace.
The seasons of your life are not over, and there is much yet ahead in the way of service, adventure, and challenge. It pleases My heart to see you satisfied and not chafing at the bit like an unbroken horse.
The submission of your will and heart
is a long-awaited and sweet-smelling sacrifice to Me.
I know it has not come easily for you to rest.
Isn’t it a strange thing how the deeper the satisfaction, the keener the hunger as well? Be blessed, My child and enjoy the life I have given you. All that I desire to accomplish through your life will be done. I promise.
1 Timothy 6:6-8; Isaiah 55:8-11; Philippians 1:6; Psalm 51:16-17; Proverbs 8:34-35
8. LIVING IN HIS FOOTSTEPS
What is the answer to the dilemma I see in my surroundings?
The small minds, the narrow hearts,the refusal to see a problem—
and if you do, YOU are the problem.
Is this pettiness, or is it the closeness and comfort
of knowing each other well?
Do we therefore address problems or continue to ignore them
since “love covers a multitude of transgressions”?
Jesus, what would You do?
First of all, I would love people, not for the sake of getting along or because I want to be liked, but because I truly love people. I would care for them and be interested in their lives. I would help, encourage, and build up whenever I had the opportunity. I would not compromise the truth or skirt a difficult topic because it would keep peace to do so. I would speak the truth in love, letting My speech be full of grace and seasoned with salt. I would choose My words wisely and not enter into meaningless arguments and speculations.
I would keep My eyes focused on eternal matters and spend My energy there. I would spend more time with the lost and those who are sincerely seeking Me than with those who play at religion and are satisfied with their spiritual maturity. I would feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and give shelter to those in need.
I would spend My time on people, not issues. I would teach, equip, and model to any who would take time to listen. I would do My work and all else to the glory of My Father and obey His voice in all things.
I would not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, and I would speak for Him at every opportunity I was given. I would pray for each person and situation that My Father told Me to pray for, and I would pray for My church—individually and collectively. I would be a refuge and a shelter and show hospitality to all
I would give as I had been given to from the abundance of My Father’s provision in terms of grace and forgiveness, love and patience, mercy and gentleness, as well as time and money.
Well, you asked….
Lord, I have some repenting to do. I want Your heart for this place
and these people. Help me to see with Your eyes and pray with
Your heart, not out of frustration, but with faith, hope, and love for all.
Help me to care more for people and less about whether things are right.
They aren’t. But I can be right with You and with those
around me when I obey You.
9. PRAYER IS YOUR LIFE BREATH
I have had more desire to pray and more confidence in prayer
than I have ever known in the past.
Lord, bless and hear my prayers and pray through me
as my life and as the pray-er that You are.
May my words and thoughts be a reflection and
manifestation of Your own heart for the world around me.
My child, prayer is as necessary to you as breathing. Indeed, I have created you to pray with your every breath. It brings Me joy to know your unbroken fellowship, and I delight in your praise.
Lean hard on Me.
Trust Me in all things.
Acknowledge Me in each detail of your life.
Walk before Me in holiness and humility
always depending on My life and Spirit in you
to produce the fruit which I prepared for you.
All of these are the result only of a quiet, constant life of prayer which flows from you as spontaneously as breathing. As you abide in Me and I in you, all that you desire I will perform, and we will be one in heart. I love and treasure your fellowship, I understand your schedule better than you do, and there is time to come away alone with Me—sometimes in the midst of your daily activities. I am never far away. I am closer than your next breath. In Me you live and move and have your being. Breathe your prayer to Me NOW.
Proverbs 3:5-6; John 15:4-7; Acts 17:28
10. CHANGE THE WORLD
Someone asked me, Lord, what I’d like to do with the rest
of my life if all options were open to me.
I said I’d like to write and of, you know, change the world.
Above all, though, I want to please You and know
that You are fulfilling Your plan through me.
That is what I want, too, to fulfill My plan through you. When you live in union with Me, you do change the world. You not only walk and talk with the Almighty God; you carry Me with you wherever you go. I live out through you in ways you are not even aware of most of the time. Only occasionally will you recognize My power and life flowing through you. But it does flow as a river of living water because that is the nature of My life. It may at times be rushing and powerful; it may at times be peaceful, quiet flow. But wherever My life flows, it does bring life and change the world.
Changing the world may not mean to influence masses of people or to create a large stir. In most cases it means to faithfully and quietly plant seed and sometimes see the harvest of just one life at a time.
It means to walk through the ordinary, routine days of your life carrying in your earthen vessel the power of My resurrection life and releasing My life through love. It means to pray for those I bring into your circle of life and influence with boldness and persistence, that I may reveal Myself to them and bring them to Myself.
It means to serve everyone with a sincere heart and to stop looking to see if they are serving you. It means to love all people, but especially those who are a part of My body and to be purposely committed to them.
It means to hear My voice and obey without fear. It means to rejoice in the face of trial, tragedy, or suffering. It means to give thanks when it seems only reasonable to complain. It means to live a life of discipline and self-denial in the face of a world gone mad with excess and an insatiable thirst for the instant gratification of every desire.
These are the things that change the world. Do not look to the size of our sphere of influence. Look to stay focused on Me, and allow My life to flow through you. Trust Me; the world will be changed. If you believe in Me, you shall do the works you have seen Me do and greater works, also. It will cost you everything, but it will be your highest joy and greatest fulfillment. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
Jeremiah 29:11; 2 Corinthians 2:14-16; John 7:38; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-13;
2 Corinthians 4:7-11; John 14:13-14; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Philippians 2:3-4;
John 13:34-35; John 14:23; 1 Thessalonians 5:16; James 1:2-4; Ephesians 5:20;
1 Thessalonians 5:18; Philippians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 16:12, 19-20; Hebrews 12:1-3;
John 14:12; Philippians 3:7-14; John 15:11