Even in your wanderings and searching, I am never away from you. I am closer always than your next breath and waiting only for your heart to invite My fellowship. You know that I am there even when you set your face to find answers and direction elsewhere. You stubbornly look the other way and “call out” to Me refusing to turn to My open arms.
You may feel that you have missed something or I have shortchanged you, but at those times you are standing on the edge of a vast and glorious kingdom with your back turned to it looking, instead, out across a barren desert. The kingdom is full of every good thing—
kindness, justice, love, and life.
All your needs are supplied, and all is yours to explore and enjoy. You stand within its border; no matter how long you stand looking outward, the kingdom is yours. Turn around and leave the desert behind you. Walk fully into the joys of My presence. You ask what it is that I want you to do; I want you to be happy and enjoy My provision trusting Me to care for you and all that concerns you.
I am the beginning and end of all things, and there is no need to find ways to My presence or My heart. My thoughts are constantly set upon you, and you are written on the palm of My hand near the marks I bear from Calvary. I cannot forget you. Set your heart to face Me and all that I have for you, and you will find in Me the rest, peace, joy, and strength that no situation can steal away. Your feet are made of clay, and you tire and grow weak, but I will not leave you to stand alone. I am able to answer every challenge that comes your way from every source. I stand in all My glory on your behalf, and you are covered with My love.
It it true; I have always been there. Your choices were not always the ones I would have had you make. You have stubbornly insisted upon your sin and your way. You have turned your back and walked away from Me, but you have always returned. I have always held you in My hand even when you refused to acknowledge that it was I. I have given you a glimpse of My hand at work in your past, but know that it is only a glimpse. You cannot dream how great has been My care over you, or how many have been My thoughts toward you.
As you walk ahead, remember My promise to never leave nor forsake you. Depend on My work rather than what you can see with your own eyes. My ways are higher, and you cannot see over the top of them to their blessed end even if you stand on tiptoe. Therefore, rest in My hand. I have My reasons for all that I do. Pray with passion for those I put on your heart, for I hear your prayers and desire the fruit of your participation with Me in bringing blessing and grace in answer to them. Understand that I am working in all tings at all times. Do not expect to figure it all out as you go, but know that what is not clear now will be swallowed up in the wonder and the awe of an eternity spent with Me.
as the potter, the vine-dresser, and the master workman.
Receive it, embrace it, and enjoy it.
Rejoice and give thanks for My goodness in every single area.
Lay it all at My feet, and trust Me, finally, to do the rest.
for you stand in the place of highest privilege.
Psalm 37:7; Matthew 11:28-29; James 1:2-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; 1 Peter 5:6-7;
53. TESTING IN PRAYER
It seems that Your blessings and answers
to my prayers many times inherently hold some
testing and stretching that I had not planned on.
I ask to become more like You, and You test
my trust factor in a situation over which I have no control.
I ask You to reveal the truth about a situation,
and You are strangely silent.
I ask for the fulfillment of a promise,
and You allow circumstances that make it appear
that it will not happen.
I know more now about patience and persevering
than I ever wanted to know.
That’s a good thing,
but I know that my heart is still impatient and wants answers now.
I am still forming your heart into My image, My child, and that process does not end. There are many things that I intend in your life, but My primary goal is to make you like Me. That will not happen if you are able to make demands on Me as if I were a vending machine or a servant instead of the King. I will not allow that. My will is that you come to Me, know Me, hear My voice, know My heart, sit with Me, take My yoke upon your neck, and learn of Me.
When you brought yourself into relationship with Me, I took upon Myself the responsibility of making you complete in all things. This is not a work that you can do by your own efforts and disciplines. Disciplines are useful to a point, but your greatest need is to come into My presence and be still. Listen to Me. It is after you have listened to My heart that you are able to bring your needs to Me in a way that allows Me the freedom to answer. I will not fit into your ideas and agendas. I care more deeply about the tings you pray for than you do, but I am also using them to mold you as I take you through the process of waiting for My answer.
I have spoken that if you abide in My word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. I AM the word—abide in Me. I AM the truth–I will set you free. A living relationship cannot be attained only by knowing My written word; it must come from a trusting, childlike heart that will be content to rest in its true home which is My great heart. Listening, loving, working, playing, resting, and ministering take place from that haven. It is from that dwelling that you can begin to believe that My plans are for your good whether they make sense to you right now or not.
I will not forget you. I am sovereign at all times and in every place. I will bring to completion My work in you and in those for whom you pray. I leave nothing unfinished. I will make all things clear. My word never fails or returns void. I keep every one of My promises. I promise.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; Isaiah 55:8-9; James 1:2-4;
John 8:32; John 14:6; Isaiah 49:15-16; Philippians 1:6; 1 Corinthians 13:12;
54. TRUSTING IN THE DARK
It is good to come to you, Lord, just to listen
and hear what You will say to me.
I have been in a valley that seems aimless, without definition or clarity,
yet You have always been with me.
You have not spoken loudly, cleared the air, or been moving me
along in a way that seems to make progress, but You,
Yourself, have been with me.
You’ve comforted my heart;
You’ve held my hand;
You’ve let me cry on Your shoulder without scolding me.
You have not, as yet, given me “answers”,
but You have been my Friend and stayed with me.
It reminds me that sometimes that is all
we can do for each other, and that’s okay.
It is good to have a Friend and to be a friend.
I am glad that you recognize that I am with you even when things are unsettled or unclear. It is My joy to walk with you through every part of your life, and none of it is without its purpose. Even these valleys are crucial in our relationship and in conforming you into the image of My Son. Every season and experience of life is an opportunity to deepen and strengthen trust, obedience, and endurance. So even times of confusion or sadness in your life, when you embrace them and take My hand through them, are times of great joy to Me. Be comforted to know that when you trust My love against all evidence, I am rejoicing and singing over you with love. This is true whether you have any sense of it or not. My love and commitment to you stand firm and do not depend on your feelings in any way.
The path I have chosen for you is yours alone. There may not be a throng of people along the way, and others may all seem to be having a very different journey than yours. But I know the way that you take because I chose it especially for you. Every detail is crafted by My hand, and My timetable is perfect. If you will trust Me, not even your sins, mistakes, or the actions of others will change what I have in store for you because I planned for it all. There is nothing that catches Me by surprise.
These gifts of love and companionship are for you to share with others along the way. These travelers do not always need directions; but rather a kind word, a cup of water, a caring hand to lighten their load. You do not need to take My place in their lives, just help them to find Me and remember My love again.
Take My hand and continue to walk with Me. At times you may not be aware of Me, but I am there for I will never leave you alone. Whether the landscape changes or not, whether the way becomes clear or remains uncertain, I will not fail to bring you to the place and end for which your heart longs and trusts. Your trust in the dark is a sweet fragrance and sacrifice to Me and brings Me joy.
Romans 8:28-31; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-9; Zephaniah 3:17;
Psalm 37:23-24; Galatians 6:2; Psalm 37:3-7; Proverbs 3:5-6
55. TRUE STRENGTH
Lord, You are teaching me and showing me that I
do not and never have possessed any kind of strength of my own.
What tiny little bit of bravado I may exhibit
at a given time melts away to nothing
in the face of the smallest challenge or testing.
Your word is full of references to strength,
but it is quite clear that the only real strength is Yours.
Because Your Spirit lives in me,
Your strength resides there, too.
I must count on, reckon on, Your strength in me
and not depend on any that I may think I possess.
I am, indeed, God Almighty, creator of all that exists and sustainer of every particle of the universe. There is no end or measure to My strength and power. You are My creation formed in My image, so there echoes in you a sense of strength, destiny, courage, power, and purpose. That sense exists as a deposit of My nature and creates in you a longing for fulfillment, but it is crucial for you to learn that nothing will be accomplished or fulfilled apart from Me.
This can be a hard lesson learned through weakness, helplessness, and disappointment. You must come to Me, abide and live in Me, so that My strength and life flow through you to accomplish the life I have designed for you. It is no accident that you face things that are beyond your limits; it is My gift to you proving that you are weak, but I am strong. I will never leave you or forsake you, and I will fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith in power. You need now to learn to rest in what I am doing and be content in My sovereignty.
Do not be blinded by your own ideas of what this life I will live through you will look like. My idea of a “successful” life or ministry may be very different than yours. Let Me decide how you are best used in My kingdom; I am, after all, the King.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 13:20-21
56. BE FULFILLED IN ME
You, Lord, are my Master, my Sustainer, my King.
You are in charge of my life.
I fear that I am missing Your will and purpose
by remaining in the work I am in.
I wait for Your leading but hear nothing from You.
I sense my own restlessness but no clear direction from You.
I long for more fulfillment but am keenly aware
that some of that is my own selfishness.
I know that without Your clear direction,
I would wander aimlessly and be in danger of
endless introspection, unable to accomplish what I had dreamed of.
The dreams I have placed within you are from Me. You long for intimacy with Me, ministry to others, and a sense of participation in eternal destiny. You want to make a difference because you belong to Me. However, you are looking in the wrong place for these dreams to be fulfilled. They are fulfilled in Me and in your fellowship with Me. Your work is a means of provision that I have given you; it was never intended to fulfill your deepest needs. Only I can do that. Your work should not primarily dominate your life or your time. Make the adjustments you need to make to allow for the fulfillment of your greater purposes in Me, but understand that much of My purpose is fulfilled as you live and move in your everyday activities among other people. You are not “outside My plan” when you are working and “within it” when you are actively in ministry or some more spiritual activity.
You carry My life, My love, and My truth wherever you go and whatever you do. If I am Lord of all your life, there are not compartments of your life that do not include Me. Be aware that I am actively, presently working in and through you in every activity you undertake. Talk with Me. Worship Me. Thank Me. Bring every need to Me. Love others by praying over them with My heart. Your “job” is to be so occupied with Me that you are hardly even aware that there is fruit being borne by Me through you.
Colossians 3:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12; Philippians 2:12-16;
2 Corinthians 4:7, 16-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24
57. DRAWN AWAY
Father, I feel disconnected from You and from Your body.
I know You haven’t moved, so it’s me.
Where do I go?
What caries me away?
You are distracted by so many things. The sheer noise and visual dominance of media—radio, TV, music, and computer—are enough to pull your heart and mind away from the sense of My presence. We are not necessarily separated, but you are no longer aware of My nearness. There are also things ordained by Me that can become distraction. Your family, work, involvements, talents, and interests are gifts from Me, but over time the attention you give them can actually distance your heart from Mine. Give yourself to them out of the overflow of time and communion with Me. You must even be on guard that the spiritual disciplines you practice to build your maturity and faith do not become substitutes for Me, Myself.
I know it seems that connection within My body—My church—means many relationships, much influence, or visible usefulness. The truth is that in a body there are a great many parts which have none of those qualities—one little nerve, one little blood vessel, one little electrical connection in the brain, one tiny bone, joint, tendon, or muscle. They are completely taken for granted, never seen, never noticed, and barely connected to the rest of the body. Yet if one should stop functioning well or be injured, at least an area of the body will suffer. There may be pain or weakness, lack of mobility or energy, confusion or diminished capacity. The difference may be so subtle that it is never discovered, but the wholeness of the body has been compromised.
Your “disconnection” from Me is not a reality, but that sense will make you ineffective and steal your joy. Set aside everything that so easily distracts you and occupies your mind. Fill your heart and mind with Me, My love, and My grace. Live your life fully–“your” life—and fill your place with joy. Never envy the place of another. Let the personality traits, the tendencies, and the history that I have built into your life to this point be molded, redeemed, and perfected by Me. Actively invest them in life, and I will create through you a spring of joy, sweetness, grace, satisfaction, strength, and faith that fills its place and brings health and vitality to My body.
John 5:39-40; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Hebrews 12:1-2; Hebrews 13:20-21
58. A CASE OF TRUE IDENTITY
Help me come into Your presence, Lord;
help me to see clearly the life You want me to live—
what it looks like, how it behaves, how it spends its time.
You, My child, will forever be called to prayer and intercession but not in a burdensome way. You will call forth life and joy and blessing into the things and people you pray for because you will have received from Me the joy I have for you. You will come to Me and receive everything you need, and your heart will be full of thanksgiving and wonder and faith to turn and pour out into the lives of those I put in your path. Your focus will no longer be on yourself, your walk, your practices or disciplines, your appearance, your reputation, your credibility, your effectiveness, your perceived weaknesses, your imagined strengths, your gains, or your losses. Your self-life is crucified, and your self-awareness is centered in your identity as Mine.
Deep gratitude, reasonable stewardship, overflowing joy, undisturbed peace, and an unwavering simple trust that will not give up hope will be the outward evidences of your inward dependence on Me as your life.
You will not feel inadequate or intimidated in any situation because humility reminds you who you really are in Me. You will leave pieces of My heart with those you encounter—pieces of joy, encouragement, laughter, truth, blessing, healing, mercy, grace, and love—because you have received freely from Me and in turn give freely to them. These blessings do not originate from a particular type of vessel but flow from Me to the world through you as you walk and pray with a thankful heart. You were created to be blessed and to bring My blessings to the world you live in every day. Enjoy, rejoice, and bring all the cares you see to Me.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6; Matthew 10:8; 2 Corinthians 4:7; Ephesians 2:4-10; Genesis 12:2
59. DAILY MANNA
Always and ever I need to hear a fresh word from You.
No matter what You have said to me in the past,
no matter how much it has helped and been valuable to me,
no matter how much I continue to draw from it,
there is the new and present need to hear Your voice—
spoken from You to me for today.
I need Your presence and word each day just as the Israelites
needed to gather new manna daily.
I am glad that it works this way;
it insures that I must come to You rather than
depend only on what I have received in the past.
Our relationship is a living, vital one that requires participation from both of us. I am always present and at work in your life, or you would not survive, but the relationship I have in mind involves communion, interaction, communication, listening, waiting, resting, and enjoying life together. I do want you to draw from My word all that is offered there, and I want you to draw from the past we share together and all that I have taught and shown you. But even more, I want you to be actively engaged in conversation and communion with Me here and now.
I am always willing and wanting to share My heart with you, to give you My counsel, My peace, and My comfort. Slow down and quiet yourself to hear Me today. Bring before Me all that clutters and occupies your mind and set it all here at My feet. I will take care of each person and concern you bring in My time and in My way. Will you leave them here and trust Me with them? Not having all the answers does not mean you are powerless to pray effectively. You do have authority from Me to use to bring My will to fulfillment, but I am honored, also, when you leave the uncertainties of life with Me in childlike trust that I will do the best thing.
Do not try to satisfy yourself with the leftovers of yesterday’s fellowship or lessons. Feeding only on them will leave your heart hard, rigid, judgmental, uncaring, “religious”, and eventually empty and bitter. My mercies are new every morning, and as you come to Me for a fresh word for each day, you will walk in the new and living way I have provided for you.
Be at rest and hear My voice as I speak quiet and comfort to your heart, as I call you to intercession for someone else, or as I give you direction for your next step. I am still speaking today. Take each day as a gift from Me and receive what I speak for that day without worrying about the next. I will still be speaking tomorrow. I will be speaking until the day we see each other face to face and you are changed forever to be with Me. Your destiny begins now as you daily walk in My presence and will be fulfilled then in all its glory.
2 Timothy 3:16; Proverbs 8:34; Psalm 77:1; Psalm 143:8; Isaiah 30:21; John 10:27;
Lamentations 3:22-23; Romans 7:6; Psalm 46:10; 1 Peter 5:6-7; Philippians 4:6-7
60. TURN TO ME
Speak, Lord, for I come with a heart ready to hear
from You today.
I want to be still in Your presence and hear what
You want to say to me.
I bring a richness, beauty, and depth to your life that you cannot create, but only reflect. You reflect it in your relationships, your home, your outlook, your thankful heart, and in your quiet moments as you abide in Me.
When there is pain, turn your heart to Me, the Healer. When there is disappointment, turn to Me, the Comforter. When there is uncertainty, turn to Me, your strong Refuge. When there is distraction, turn to Me, the Anchor of your soul. When there is danger, turn to Me, your Fortress and Deliverer. When there is monotony, boredom, or loneliness, turn to Me, the Giver of streams in dry places. When there is need, turn to Me, your Abundance and Provider.
I am the provision of every need you encounter. Purposely lay the need before Me and realize that I bore it at Calvary along with your weight of sin. Just as surely as I fully paid your sin’s debt, I provided for your present need. I delight to hear your prayer and to give you My heart as you wait in My presence. As you trust Me, your life will reflect My heart to those around you. There will be gratitude, joy, order, peace, and a depth in you that will stir up a thirst in the lives of others that only I can satisfy.
Rejoice and be thankful as you face coming days. Walk steadily, keeping your heart close to Mine, and you need not fear that you will fail Me. I will sustain you as you keep your heart fixed on Me. My plan for your life is for eternity, not just for these years. I will see you through anything you may encounter in a way that brings glory to Me and eternal joy to you.
2 Corinthians 3:18; Exodus 15:26; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Psalm 91:1-2;
Hebrews 6:19; Psalm 18:2; Psalm 71:3; Psalm 144:2; Isaiah 43:19; Isaiah 44:3;
John 10:10; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Genesis 22:14; 2 Peter 1:3-4; Romans 8 32;
John 4:13-14; Isaiah 26:3-4; Isaiah 40:31; Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 46:4;
Isaiah 61:7; 1 John 2:28