I created you with a personality and temperament unique to you. My creation has been marred by sin and by what you call human nature, but it still bears the marks of uniqueness. You do not have the same natural tendencies that any other person has. Perhaps someone else may feel more affection toward others, but the love I ask you to have for them is not merely a feeling; it is a choice, an action, something I empower you to do.
Choosing to show love out of obedience to Me is not less real or valuable than loving out of natural affection. I treasure your obedience when you offer it with a heart full of love for Me. I do not ask you to mimic the actions of others in the way love is shown. I may call you simply to pray for a person, to smile at and greet them, to write a note of encouragement. Do not wear yourself out wondering what more you should do. I will tell you.
Your circle may be small, but I ask you to serve it well. Keep Me first in your heart, and give your best to those I bring into your path and your day. Some will receive the love you show, and others will not. The same was true for Me when I lived and walked among you. Do not be surprised or dismayed. Do what is right according to the way I lead you, and rejoice in My abundant love for you and for others.
My favor lasts a lifetime, My lifetime, and it reaches across generations. Your obedience, however simple, may affect the lives of your descendants forever. I inhabit all of time and space, and you can never know the ripples of blessing that are sent forth by your loving obedience to Me. Do not let mere feelings interfere with My life and blessing flowing through you. I created you for this. Your highest joy will be found in Me, for Myself, and in fulfilling the destiny I have designed through you.
Be yourself. I created you for great things. I have blessed you abundantly, and I am not done yet. Know for certain that each time you submit your heart to Mine, there the river of blessing flows freely into places far beyond your awareness and even beyond your lifetime. Enjoy the adventure, for I am with you.
Lord, I need to give. I need an outflow that is personally
suited to me. I need a ministry. I need to find a way to reach out
with Your love to others who need Your help,
Your healing, and Your touch in a way that You have wired
and equipped me to do so. I do not see how that reaches beyond my
own family. What would You do through me?
What steps do I need to take?
Lift your eyes to look upon My heart, and see from My heart through My eyes. I am your first ministry; you are to give yourself totally to Me and let thanksgiving and praise flow from your heart. You are to receive My love and life from My hand to nourish and sustain your heart. Yes, beyond that there should be a flow outward to others so that My love reaches others through you.
You long for personal involvement that will allow you to share
My heart with someone in need.
You have a passion for those who are unfairly treated
and those who feel unworthy to approach Me,
or even to venture too far into a church setting.
You desire to bring healing where religion has
bombarded a searching soul with judgment or rejection.
You cheer for the underdog.
You long to bring others into a relationship with Me
that is based on the truths of repentance and lordship
rather than feeling good about themselves.
If they only knew how much I love them, they could not
so easily resist My claim upon their hearts and lives.
They need large doses of My love shown
to them along with unwavering truth.
I show My love differently through different people. I do call you to minister to those I have already placed in your heart. They are everywhere around you, but you don’t always see them. Your vision is clouded by your expectations of how I will work, and you are hampered by unnecessary timidity. My methods and ways are so vast and varied that I will always surprise you. Ask Me at each encounter to open your eyes. I will show you how to pray or how to speak to that individual so that they can receive love from My hand. Do not labor over this; it is not a restrictive thing I place upon you, but a yoke that I have built just for you. You are not competing with anyone else’s style of ministry; this is yours. All the right words are not always the balm that a hurting heart needs; My loving presence through an imperfect vessel may be the agent of healing that I prescribe.
A ministry that would lead you to rely on your abilities to perform it would not serve My total purpose even if it helped others. Pride could poison the fruit that may be produced. I may bring you into a more defined ministry someday, but in this present role you must depend constantly on My heart and leading. I find great joy in that. Your dependence ministers to Me bringing Me the prize for which I went to the cross—your whole heart.
Colossians 2:6-7; Colossians 3:14-17; 2 Timothy 2:6-14; Isaiah 55:6-11;
Colossians 4:2-6; Matthew 11:29-30; Ephesians 5:1-2; Romans 12:15-16;
Proverbs 26:12; Hebrews 13:20-21
27. WAGING WAR
I have been allowing idols in my heart, Lord, and I
didn’t even know they were there.
I have allowed myself to take Your place because I
thought that You were working through me.
But I was having my own way in my thoughts and in my words,
rather than letting You have Yours.
I sometimes can’t tell the difference between my thoughts
and Your thoughts when they are inside my head,
but when I quiet my heart and really listen, You are there
speaking to me in unmistakable ways.
It’s just that I don’t always like what You have to say as well
as I like my own ideas.
Forgive me, and help me to know how to resist
an idol that I cannot physically escape.
Welcome to the war. The battlefield of the mind is the most constant arena that My children encounter. I speak to you many times in ways that seem like your own thoughts, and it can be difficult to know whether it is My desires you are hearing or your own. I know it would be easier if I wrote everything clearly in the sky along with your name and address so that there would be no confusion, but I speak instead to your heart. I am willing to risk that confusion in order to have a relationship with you that requires your willful attention. Remember that My words to your heart will never contradict the written word that you already have.
It is easy for your thoughts to spill over into sarcasm and cynicism. That is a clear indication that you are not listening to My voice. You do not need to speak your mind at every given opportunity, but do not shrink from speaking Mine. My word speaks often of a perverted mouth and perverted speech. These are the result of twisting something that may be true into something negative, harmful, bitter, or without hope. Sarcasm, cynicism, and bitterness are perfect examples of this tendency. Perverted speech starts with a perverted thought.
You are in a war. You must take every thought captive; look at it closely to see if it squares with My word. Let Me show you truth, and speak only from that outflow. This is an active, deliberate choice in each thought process. You cannot passively ask Me to change your heart or thoughts. I have already given you a new heart. I have also given you weapons; you must pick them up and do battle. Actively subject each thought to My Spirit and word and test it. Reject what is false and replace it with truth. As you do this, the fortresses of the enemy are destroyed in your life and in lives around you. You will be destroying speculations and the lofty things that comprise the high places of idolatry in your own mind. It is only pride that would prevent you from following My instruction in this; and it would break My heart, for it would mean that My children are taken captive by another.
Thankfulness and humility are the safeguards of your mind
and essential to bringing your thoughts into obedience.
They change your perspective and your heart.
They free you to express love and worship.
They become your mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting or heaviness,
your beauty for ashes, and your oil of gladness instead of mourning.
Walk in them and you will be able to serve from the overflow of My love for you.
Do not fear the enemy’s accusations against your soul. Your own thoughts and emotions are not the truest thing about you; Christ in you, the hope of glory is your true identity. Walk humbly and thankfully. Be strong and of good courage as you wage war. Remember you belong to Me, and I win.
Proverbs 8:8, 13, 36; Proverbs 11:20; Amos 6:12; Ephesians 4:20-32;
Hebrews 12; James 3:1-4; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Jeremiah 13:17;
Isaiah 61:1-4; Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 4:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 5:18;
Joshua 1:6; Revelation 21:1-7
What is it Father? What is it that You are stirring up in my heart?
What is it that You want me to hold loosely and be willing
to walk away from, and what is it that You want me to fervently
commit to for the rest of my life?
Through what channel in my life do You want
to release blessing?
To what are You calling me?
You know the beginning of My answer to you. You are to be totally committed to Me forever. But I know that is not the question you are asking. I call you first and foremost to prayer, fervent, constant prayer for those people and situations that I bring before you. I call you to sacrifice your time and comfort in order to pray for others and for My kingdom seeking always to advance My purpose in every prayer you breathe. The privilege of prayer is given to you that you may be blessed and be a blessing to those around you.
Intercession is a nearly invisible ministry, but it is My very heart. Sometimes no one, including you, will know whether your prayer moves My hand and heart. Pray before Me and never to gain the attention of others. Pray more in private and solitude than in public to guard your heart from religious pride. When I call you to fast, listen to My instruction rather than the advice of another. There are many ways and things to fast, and you must be in obedience to Me if your prayers are to be effective.
Pray in the Spirit often in order to build up yourself and commune with Me in a way that reaches beyond your own thoughts. Be confident that My Spirit prays with you and perfects your requests. You can pray in My will even when My will is unknown to you.
Be committed to prayer in every situation and opportunity. Hold loosely the methods and structures that people attach to prayer, but use what they have to offer. Be flexible enough to adapt to changing needs and methods, but never lose the passion for true prayer.
Do not become entangled in controversy over the right way to pray,
Do not stumble over the trappings that some may attach to prayer,
Do not get stuck on other issues and questions that arise,
Join with others who want to pray, and together become My body bringing My kingdom to earth. I hear every prayer of every child of Mine and every prayer that comes from a humble, contrite heart. It is My plan to bring blessing and the manifestation of My kingdom everywhere, and I choose to use intercessors to do it. I call you to be a part of that process anywhere that I place you at any time now or in the future.
This is how I want you to leave your comfort zone and enter into a position of eternal significance. This is how I want you to make a difference. True prayer is the hardest thing to actually do and the very lifeblood of My kingdom. It will require great sacrifice, compassion, patience, discernment, and love. Do not shrink from the call. You have heard it before and allowed distraction to pull you away. I call you afresh. Come and see what I will do.
Matthew 6:33; Luke 18:1-8; Numbers 6:23-27; Hebrews 7:25; Matthew 6:5-8;
Matthew 6:16-18; 1 Corinthians 14:1-5; Romans 8:26-27; 2 Timothy 2:1-7;
Isaiah 57:15; Isaiah 66:1-2; 2 Timothy 1:6-11
29. MOVING CAMP
I can identify myself in a picture, Lord, of a person working
his or her way up a mountainside. I’ve come part way up and made
a campsite. I’ve broken camp and started higher,
only to find that I am unable to make progress and
must return to my former spot to make camp again.
I have left camp during the day and explored the land higher up
finding wonderful places to live,
but I am unable to stay there, and I return again to my original site.
I have not been able to actually break camp and relocate to
a higher level of living.
I know that You are calling me there, but I know that
my effort cannot bring me there.
What is it that You are wanting to do in my heart
to make that move possible?
You have come to your present campsite only by My power, grace, and mercy. Without My forgiveness, love, and life you would still be dead in your sins and existing in that death far below in the valley. You depended not on your goodness or worth to bring you life, but on Me, and the pull you are now feeling on your heart can only be accomplished in the same way.
The area between the life you are now experiencing and the one you long for is full of issues that lie deep in your heart. These are the strongholds of the enemy that seem so much like normal life that you can hardly identify them. They include laying aside your own preferences and cultivating a thankful heart. You need to trust Me, finally, and believe that I am not only good, but infinitely kind. The fear in your heart is not a premonition from Me but rather a flaming missile sent by our enemy to destroy you. Remember to take up your shield of faith: faith in My goodness, My kindness, My sovereignty, and My love. I am the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. Do not give the devil opportunity by allowing disaster scenarios to be played out before your eyes or in your mind. I have given you discernment as a protection for yourself and, if used in the body of believers, as a tool for edification. Do not allow it to be twisted into a critical spirit. Listen to My heart and pray always for those who need Me. Be willing to give up personal comfort or time for the purpose of interceding with Me as I direct you.
You can do none of these things by yourself. You haven’t the strength for the trip. You’ve tried that before. You are more than helpless; you are dead. You were crucified with Me, remember? You were buried with Me and raised to a new life in Me. It is no longer your life but Mine resurrected through you. The temptations of bitterness, worry, fear, and criticism have no power over a dead person. It’s not your life anymore; it’s Mine, and these must all answer to Me. My life not only conquers temptation but is proactive through intercession as well. My Spirit is all-powerful but shows itself to humanity in gentleness, humility, and the sweet aroma of a life intimate with Me. My Spirit brings you liberty and transforms your life into one lived at great heights, moving upward yet bestowing blessing to help others who are finding their way along the journey.
Leave the burden of your old ways behind you, and I will carry you to the places you long for. I can keep you there and make them your home. I died and rose again that you might have a newness of life. Come and receive it.
Ephesians 2:1-10; Ephesians 5:20; Isaiah 54:10-17; Psalm 31:19-24; Ephesians 6:10-16;
2 Corinthians 1:3; Galatians 6:1-4; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 1:9-11; Galatians 2:20;
Romans 6; Titus 3:1-11; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2; Romans 6:4
I am so blessed, Lord, that I can hardly believe Your goodness to me.
Why would You, a righteous God, shower me, of all people,
with such blessings?
You are gracious and generous beyond my puny little belief.
Thank You for loving me.
It gives Me such joy to give to you and to bless you. You know the pleasure that it gives you to give to your children. My pleasure is far greater and accompanied by the power to give from the endless resource of Myself. I love to give. I love to bless. I love, more that these, to walk in honest fellowship with you and share My heart with you. I am delighted when you share your heart with Me. It doesn’t matter whether you are sharing joy or sorrow, anger or pain, gratitude or requests. I love you.
Do not hesitate to tell Me your needs, your wants, and your dreams. I am the One who has placed them there in their original design, and I alone am able to purify and fulfill them. Your dreams are from Me and are meant to be brought to Me at the cross, crucified there, and resurrected to all that I purposed and more than you hoped.
Do not listen to the voice of mediocrity that tempts you to believe that there is no use in reaching higher, going deeper, or pursuing Me to a greater degree. That voice comes from the enemy of your soul trying to lull you to sleep in order to rob your inheritance. The inheritance of My child is to rise up and be strong, to be of good courage, to seek My face continually, to dwell in My presence, and to watch at My gates. My child is to ask and receive, to receive and then give, to hunger yet be fed with honey from the rock, and to thirst yet be a channel of living water.
There is so much more available to you than you will be able to experience, for to experience it all would consume you. Yet it is all here, in Me, for you. It will take an eternity, yet I will not be in the least diminished as you receive from Me. I am endless in every way, so take freely from Me. Enjoy Me, and love Me, and know that I am not stingy or cruel. I am full of mercy, grace, and love for you.
I have told you before that faith, hope, and love remain, and the greatest of these is love. I did not say that to diminish faith and hope, but I want you to see that love is the culmination of the other two. There must first be faith that I am good and kind. That faith will bring hope, and the two together will result in love; love both for Me and for others. They must all be at work in order for My love to reach the world around you by living through you. Trust Me even more. Let your hopes soar. Fall in love with Me again, and hold out that hope and love to others.
Ephesians 6:10; Joshua 1:5-7; 1 Chronicles 16:11; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 27:8;
Psalm 91:1; Ephesians 3:14-19; Proverbs 8:34; Matthew 7:7-8; Matthew 10:8;
Matthew 6:6; Psalm 81:16; John 7:38; 1 Corinthians 13:13