Dear one, have you forgotten again that you are the branch, but I am the vine? You are looking to see what fruit is being produced rather than staying focused on Me, the supplier of life for you and for fruitfulness. It is really not your concern what kind of fruit I choose to bear through you nor the amount or season when it comes. Do not compare yourself to others to see if you measure up; look to the cross and My blood which makes you acceptable, cleansed, and redeemed. You measure up because of My sacrifice that covers all your sin, insecurity, weakness, and humanity.
Are you disappointed with yourself or with My sovereign choices in your life? If your place in the world seems insignificant to you, you are looking for the approval of others rather than Me. I wholeheartedly approve, support, and love you. I have not overlooked your desire to please Me and serve Me, and that is why I have placed you where you are. Be patient and faithful to the work I place before you now, for nothing is insignificant or fruitless within My will.
Your prayers never go unheard, and you must trust My timing in bringing the answer to you. Those requests that are close to your heart are even more precious to Me, and I have not ignored your petitions. They bring you close to Me and are a fragrant offering of dependence and childlike trust. Ask for greater things because I love to do what only I can do in answer to your prayers. It is always your part to hear My voice and obey what I tell you, but it is never your part to control or even consider whether a goal was accomplished. It is My responsibility to bring the result that I desired from your obedience. Sometimes the result is simply bringing your heart to trust and obey with no other visible effect.
I promised that rivers of living water would flow from you, but I did not promise that you would be aware of them. Be willing to speak and share My good news when I give you opportunity. Live patiently and kindly in a world driven by the clock and by greed. Pray more and more for the needs around you, for it is My avenue to pour blessing upon the world. You may never know the difference that your prayer makes, but you know the One who works on behalf of those who humbly trust and ask.
I know the beginning and the end, and I will bring to perfection every work that I start. I will not stop pursuing a heart that I have nurtured and cared for, but I will bring it to Myself in the way and time that I have designed. There is no excess baggage in My kingdom, but a plan and purpose that will bring glory to Me. If you will watch Me, follow Me, stay close to Me, listen to Me, and obey Me, I can fulfill every part of My work in you.
and trust in My promises rather than your efforts.
I know what I am doing.
Remember, I am God.
John 15:4-5; 2 Corinthians 10:12; Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Proverbs 29:25;
Hebrews 6:9-15; 1 Corinthians 3:7-8; Isaiah 55:9-11; John 7:38; Colossians 4:5-6;
43. CURE FOR DISCOURAGEMENT
Lord, I am distracted and discouraged.
It seems that I am ineffective and lacking direction right now.
I want to persevere in having a grateful heart and a bright outlook,
and that is what I choose with my will.
But there seems to be a cloud hanging over me that I can’t shake,
and You seem quiet and distant.
Is this just a season, or is there something I must change?
You are discouraged because you are distracted, and that is something that you can change. You are too tired and have been stretched too far. You are carrying a load that is not from Me. Fatigue and pressure have opened the door and allowed the enemy to sow seeds of doubt, fear, condemnation, and jealousy. He will rob your joy in any way that he can: by pointing out to you the blessing I might bestow on someone else’s life, by making you doubt My purpose or promise, or by whispering guilt or despair in your ear.
Do not disregard your need for sleep and physical care as unnecessary or unspiritual. Weariness and pain can color every part of your day and dampen the brightest of spirits. I give life, refreshment, and strength, but I put a responsibility on you of stewardship and reasonableness. Do not allow empty things to rob your time or sleep, but leave room for Me and for what I may want to do in your day. Do the work before you faithfully, but leave the weight of it with Me. The results are in My hand, not yours.
Comparison is a deadly snare, for it can either make you prideful or crush your joy and gratitude. I work in each life individually and in My timing. You know this. Speak and pray blessing into the lives of others, and the enemy’s temptation will vanish. His strategy has not changed since the beginning, for he wants you to wonder whether I mean well toward you after all. I not only mean well in a general sense, but My heart beats with yours and I take responsibility for every care that you have and feel it with you. Do not give up your hope and prayers.
Condemnation is never from Me, for I deal with you as a Father with His child. I instruct you, teach you, and correct you with love and patience. The story of your life is never finished because there is always a legacy left behind that bears fruit. I have My own plans for how I will use your life and what will be the result and timing. Your sense of a lack of direction does not alter My plan in the least. I know where I am taking you, and you need to keep your eyes on Me.
Roll any fear or doubt onto Me, and let Me answer those issues. When the temptation to fear or doubt comes, refer it to Me. I am bigger than all that can attack or undermine you—whether it’s your own heart, the world around you, or Satan himself. Let the cross and My blood be your refuge and answer to all that assails you.
I place no burden on you, My child, but to rest, let yourself be restored, and look to Me remembering My great love for you. I cannot be dissuaded or distracted from pursuing your heart and hearing your call.
Matthew 11:28-30; John 10:10; Psalm 37; Genesis 2:1-6; Romans 8:1-2; Isaiah 30:15
44. MY WORD AND MY SPIRIT
It seems that You have been very quiet lately, Lord.
I wonder why.
I try to listen for Your voice when I pray,
but instead of hearing from You, my mind wanders
and goes a million other directions.
I want to get my direction and guidance from You so that
I can walk in Your will and have Your heart for those around me.
I can’t do that on my own.
Do not think that you are walking in My will only when you are actually aware of My presence and direction. I have given you My word for instruction and guidance, and it is active and alive within you to the degree that you remain in it. Never approach My word with a casual or indifferent heart. It is valuable for every area of your life. There are special times when I may speak a message to your own heart that is unmistakably clear, but My usual method of directing you is to use the word I have given you. There are times when I do not seem as close or active in your life and yet still ask you to walk in faithful obedience to My written word without feeling anything. Remain steadfast, but remember that I will not stay silent, for I long for close fellowship between us even more than you do.
My word, however, is not a substitute for Me and My Holy Spirit. Never forget that I am truly living within you, and you must come to Me for life. It is Me who makes the word living and active. It is not material to be mastered but an avenue that leads to My very heart. That is where you find the satisfaction of fellowship with Me and the awareness of My love for you and for others.
It is when you have satisfied your own thirst in My presence that you can show My love to those you encounter. You are My garden and My vineyard. Fruit is borne by the garden and vine as they take nourishment for themselves and stay in healthy relation to their source. I prune, water, and care for them day and night. I take responsibility for their fruitfulness. You are to carry the light and love within you to the routine of your day and let them overflow from the abundance of what you have received.
As you walk the journey of this life, there are times of particular blessing
and times of simply plodding on.
Keep coming to My word regularly and expectantly,
and talk to Me about everything all the time.
Be nourished by the riches that I provide for you rather than losing yourself
in things and habits that only take your time and weigh down your soul.
Live a life of encouragement and gratitude for the smallest details
and you will discover that you are already surrounded
by the supernatural every day in the miracle of My presence
and the tapestry of your life mingled with others.
I am always at work doing something marvelous whether it feels like it or not,
so trust My character and wait for your eyes to open and see what I have done.
Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 14:23; John 6:39-40; John 15:10-11;
Isaiah 27:2-3; Isaiah 58:11; John 15:1-2; Colossians 3:15-16;
1 Thessalonians 5:11-24
45. IT’S NOT ABOUT PRODUCTIVITY
Life just keeps on rushing by day after day, month after month,
and I wonder if I am living in a vital,
living relationship with You.
Am I making a difference?
What do You see when You look at me and my life?
Am I settling for less than You have in mind for me?
I know that what I long for most is to hear Your voice and know
that You are leading me and I am obeying You.
It doesn’t have to be spectacular or showy,
but it needs to be completely real.
Time is such a huge part of your existence, but do not forget that I inhabit all of time and am not ruled by it. My ways and plans work out in very different ways than would seem logical to you. From your perspective it would seem that you should be at the pinnacle of your life. You have freedom from the daily responsibility of raising children, you are healthy, you are comfortable, you are loved, you are busy; yet there is that undercurrent that something may be missing, at least in part. You long to have a greater sense of My working through you even in the simplest things. Do not stifle that longing but realize that you do not have the whole picture.
I am doing things that you cannot see with your physical eyes. Your life has an effect that will not be confined or limited to a certain few years of “productivity”. I hate that word. Your life is not about what you can produce in a certain number of years. It stretches into eternity and revolves around relationships: first the one between you and Me, and then the ones you have with your spouse, family, friends, and strangers.
Every time that you praise Me from a thankful heart, the unseen world is shaken. Every effort to understand and love someone I have put into your life reaches into their soul and makes the path to Me easier for them. Every time that your heart breaks for someone’s sorrow or pain there is an unseen investment in My kingdom for their benefit. Every prayer for the salvation and welfare of those around you brings you closer to seeing the miracle of My goodness and love poured out on them.
None of these things is dictated by time, place, or position. For as long as you live, you will have the privileges of prayer, praise, kindness, encouragement, and love. There is a kingdom to be built but not by weapons of war. It will come into existence primarily as you give yourself to the needs before you on a daily basis. Some days those needs will be healing the sick, delivering the oppressed, or feeding the hungry, but on other days the needs will be to go to work, speak with kindness, or give a cup of cold water. Stay close to My heart so you can see people and their needs with My eyes knowing that I long to pour out My blessings on them. Then ask for all of these needs with the simple faith of a child trusting in your Father’s kindness. Every act based on this reality will have a ripple effect that you may see only dimly and at times, but My sight is never clouded. Trust that My will can be accomplished even through the smallest of circumstances and events when you walk in obedience and love. I do My greatest work quietly.
Isaiah 55:8-11; Psalm 146:1-2; Isaiah 58:6-12; Isaiah 32:1-2; Matthew 10:42
46. WARFARE IN PRAYER
Lord, there are so many needs to pray for right now.
We stand together seeking Your healing, Your provision,
Your intervention, and Your salvation
for many people in many different situations.
More and more we find ourselves standing against the enemy
and his plans to kill, steal, and destroy in people’s lives.
We see You answering prayer, healing, working in so many ways.
But there can still come such a feeling of dread over my own heart—
a fear that lies under the surface and then overtakes me.
Is this warfare, or am I just weak and depressed?
My dear child, of course you are weak but only when you face life without Me. I am your strong and mighty covering and refuge. There is most definitely a war going on, and the more that you are engaged in prayer by the power of My name and against the enemy, the more that you are a target and an object of his hatred and fear. Do you feel a sense of fear? That is nothing compared to the terror he experiences when you get on your knees and come under the covering of My name and My shed blood. He would do anything to distract you and paralyze you so that you would not pray. He may know your weaknesses and how to get your attention, but he also knows that you are loved by Me and are in the very center of My heart.
My eyes are on you every moment, and I wait for you to use My name to move My hands in compassion, love, and mercy to those for whom you pray. You have nothing to fear. My love for you includes all those that you hold dear for you are praying for them with your every breath. Remember to pray speaking the blessing you want for them rather than to only rehearse your worries before Me. It has been My design from the beginning to work out My will with you participating by asking and speaking the blessing that I will pour out on the world around you. If you fail to speak the blessing, My hands wait for someone else to move them. It is My heart and will to heal, to bless, to redeem, to provide, to prosper, to restore, to do far more than all you could ask or think.
Do not live in fear or be intimidated by the enemy of your soul, for he has no real power over you. He has been defeated, and all he can hope for is to make you ineffective by his tactics. He wants you to believe that you are on your own and to forget that in Jesus you have an advocate and friend who stands at the Father’s right hand for you.
Bring your mountain to Me.
Bring the hearts of those you love to Me.
Bring that impossible circumstance to Me.
Bring that sickness to Me.
Bring your net worth to Me.
Bring your own barren desert to Me.
Bring your marriage to Me.
Bring that financial challenge to Me.
Bring that broken relationship to Me.
Bring that aging parent to Me.
Bring your spouse, children, and grandchildren to Me.
Bring that job situation to Me.
Bring your dream to Me.
Bring your fear to Me.
I care about each of these, and I am God over them all. Seek My heart of love and then ask for your heart’s desire freely without fear. I am the God of the practical and the impossible.
Ephesians 6:10-18; John 14:13-14; John 14:23; Colossians 4:2; Isaiah 30:18;
Job 22:27-30; Matthew 21:21-22; Mark 1:41; Ephesians 3:20-21; Luke 10:17-24;
Hebrews 10:19-23; Isaiah 62:6-7
47. I TRUST YOU
Lord, I want to come to You and tell You again
that I do trust You with my life and times.
Even though I don’t always understand what it is that I’m
supposed to be doing or how it is that You are working out
Your will, I will trust You to put all the pieces together into the
pattern You have always had in mind.
Thank You that it is not my job to figure it all out
or to make it all make sense. It is my prayer
that You receive from my life just what You desire.
If that is something that would be considered a big accomplishment, fine.
If that is simply a life of praise and thanksgiving,
then receive the glory for it.
You are worthy!
I am indeed working into your life those qualities that I have ordained for you so that you would take your unique place in My body of believers. I am also producing through you the fruit that I have planned for the result that I desire. You do not need to know or understand what I am doing in order to trust Me. Your trust brings glory to Me simply because you do not understand the circumstances that surround you.
A deliberate choice to trust Me and a thankful heart will be the touchstones of your life that will keep you steadily walking ahead without being sidetracked, discouraged, or deceived. The relationship we share together is more a fulfillment of My will than anything you could ever do. I created you to love Me as I love you. It can be just that simple.
Out of our relationship will flow the living waters that I promised which carry healing and hope to humanity, but that part is My responsibility, not yours. I promised fruitfulness and outflow, and I always keep My word.
Your circumstances may seem positive or negative.
Your world may seem huge or tiny.
Your service may flourish or seem nonexistent.
Your impact may be earth shaking or lighter than air.
These are the things that the world sees.
These are not the things that matter to Me.
I am looking for your heart to be tender to My voice,
to have a hunger and thirst for Me alone,
and to feel the needs of others and lift them in prayer.
I am looking for you to seek Me first in everything that you do
and to be willing to leave the outcome to Me.
It may not look like much to anyone, but the only thing that matters is whether you are connected to Me and living in Me. Do not lose touch and try to live up to what you believe are My expectations on your own. My expectations are different than you may think and cannot be accomplished without Me.
Do not be distracted by what I have called others to do. Each one is different and has a different role to fill. Listen to My voice and you will know peace and contentment and an assurance that we are walking together. That is, after all, the reason for your life—to be with Me.
Philippians 1:6-11; 2 Peter 1:2-11; James 1:2-4; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 10:27;
Psalm 62:1-2; Psalm 63:1-5; Psalm 42:1-2; Matthew 6:33; Micah 6:8;
1 Corinthians 12; Colossians 2:6-7
48. HERITAGE OF CONTENTMENT AND PEACE
I have really not been myself lately.
I’m very glad to be back into a more normal routine,
but I’m not liking the routine.
I’m complaining, not seeing purpose or direction,
and not sensing Your presence though I know You are here.
Now that I think about it, maybe that is like me—
me without You.
How did I get so far so fast?
You are allowing your heart to be ruled by things that war against the peace and contentment that are your heritage in Me. Anxiety and fear about the future accomplish nothing and are evidence that your heart is drawn away from Me. Whatever your future holds, I am already there. A grumbling heart has forgotten gratitude for all that I have done and given. What place should greed or jealousy have in the heart of one whom I call My own, and I promise to never forsake?
Repent of your self-focus and turn your eyes to Me. Remember that you have not earned or deserved anything by your own merit. It is My love for you that has lifted your head. It is My sacrifice that has made life, real life, possible for you. The true hunger and thirst of your heart is for Me, just Me. I am right here; I have never been anywhere else.
Stop looking to a different scenario for fulfillment. That restlessness is meant to drive you to Me right in the life you face every day. Because you belong to Me, everything you do is My work. Nothing given into My hands and done with My presence is ordinary. The great need is not to launch out of a comfort zone into some spiritual activity, but to wear the yoke I have custom-fit for you and I to wear together. In wearing that yoke with Me, you will find rest for your soul, and your life will be full of godliness and rich in contentment.
Your heritage of contentment and peace will speak volumes to those around you; for they lack these treasures and are searching for them. Point them to Me and tell of My faithfulness and tender mercy. I will be faithful to do the rest.
John 14:27; Matthew 6:25-34; 1 John 4:18; 1 Corinthians 10:10; Philippians 2:14;
Hebrews 13:5; James 3:13-4:10; Psalm 3:3; John 10:10; Psalm 42; Matthew 1:28-30;
1 Timothy 6:6; Psalm 66:16-20
49. SURRENDER AGAIN
Lord, as I’ve been reading Your word,
I keep seeing the words hope, trust, wait, and inherit.
Yet what is going on inside me is not described by those words.
Rather, there is much restlessness, sadness, and a sense of being trapped.
I am encouraged and brought to peace by Your words,
but the peace does not remain, and soon I am in turmoil again.
Not only do I not seem to find an answer,
I can’t seem to figure out the question.
I need You.
You have been looking for a change in your circumstances to bring you relief, rather than looking to Me. You think that you have been seeking Me, but instead your heart has strayed, and you no longer find your joy in Me. You have allowed resentment to creep in through small openings just a little at a time until it has become a weight and drain that overwhelms your soul. It is something you thought you could handle and joke with, but like all sin it has wrapped its death grip around you instead. You need to cut it off at its root. It is not a change in surroundings that will bring you what you desire; you need a renewed heart.
Repentance and quietness are words that have tugged at your heart while you have been reading, too. Sit with Me for a while and recognize your need to surrender all over again. There is no statute of limitations on your surrender–you do not have to surrender just for a while or until a certain time of life. I never promised that if you waited long enough things would go your way. I promised to be with you, to surround you, to be everything that you need, and to provide even in the wilderness.
After you repent and surrender once again, the quietness will come. You will trust, you will wait, and you will walk on a level path. You will hope, and, yes, you WILL inherit.
Remember that I AM your inheritance, and I will fulfill all that concerns you.
It is not your position in life that matters, but your identity as My beloved.
There is no true power to be held except what I work through you by My Holy Spirit.
There is no greater audience to have than to have My ear as you pray.
All of these things are yours already.
You need to bask in the wonder of My fellowship and My love.
Psalm 42:5; Proverbs 4:23-27; Proverbs 5:22-23; Isaiah 30:15; Isaiah 45:9;
Hebrews 13:5; Isaiah 41; Isaiah 43:19; Isaiah 44:3-5; Isaiah 46:4; Psalm 16:5-6;
Psalm 47:4; Jude 1:1; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; Colossians 4:2; Ephesians 3:11
50. I AM READY
I am ready, Lord. Help me to take hold of Your
purpose for my life. I repent of and forsake whining
and complaining. I am ready to lay aside old hurts
and defenses that I use to avoid further disappointment.
I choose, rather, to bring every circumstance and
challenge to You in prayer.
I place my faith not in that prayer, but in You as the
answer to the prayer. I believe that Your name,
Your blood, and Your Spirit are more powerful than the
obstacles I face. I believe that Your kingdom is
supreme over all.
I want all You have for me.
Already these proclamations seem too lofty for me.
In my weakness, You must be my strength.
It is true that I must be your strength, for what you are expressing is My will for you. These things can never be apart from My Spirit, for you have no strength of your own to make them happen. I designed it that way. I want you to depend on Me and allow Me to accomplish any work I set before you.
It is Me who calls you to realms that are beyond your abilities, your experience, and your own righteousness. Sometimes I call you to an arena that you would never choose, but My voice is constantly wooing you there despite your aversion to it. Do not set up defenses against My voice calling to your heart. Do not fall into the snare to too much reason and analysis. I give you common sense and wisdom to use in your life and my service but not as tools to use against My voice. Do not resist My whisper to your heart because the task seems too large. I am the God of the impossible, and I call you to a work of prayer, faith, and rest.
Dare to believe that I will move where there is stagnation.
Dare to believe that I will redeem what has been lost.
Dare to believe that I can make the desert bloom and make the barren fruitful.
Dare to believe that I can replace sickness with health, hatred with love,
bitterness with mercy, oppression with freedom, and chaos with peace.
I will do all this and more in answer to prayer, prayer, and more prayer. Pray larger, deeper, and higher than you ever imagined, for I fill all things and am moved by your petition.
So, are you indeed ready? Are you ready to pray for people and situations that you would rather just went away? Are you ready for Me to wake you in the night to pray when you’re not even sure what to pray about? Are you ready to pray in the Spirit as well as with your mind that I may pray through you in ways you don’t always grasp? Are you ready for My preferences and perspective to replace your own? Are you ready to call nothing impossible when given into My charge by prayer? I am willing, My child, are you?