Devotions 71-80

71.  HOLINESS AND WHOLENESS
Lord, I’m learning to trust You in a new way.
I’m realizing that the salvation You provided is not
only for my soul, but for my body.
I’m seeing the results of Your redemption in being free
of several health challenges I was facing.
So far, however, some remain.
I trust You for this process and growth in faith.
My greatest concern is to please You and let You have
Your perfect will in being made not only well, but holy.
 
 
I am so pleased that you are seeking Me.  You do well to seek not only My benefits, but My purifying presence.  It is always My plan to make My people holy.  I spoke of it many times, and it is a major part of My total purpose in the cross and resurrection.  Forgiveness is yours, of course, but sanctification is higher and brings you closer to My heart.  It requires intimate communion for you to be purified and made whole.  The intimacy that results from your search is as great a prize as the result of wholeness in body and soul.
It is important that you seek spiritual wholeness even more than physical health.  I died to provide both for you and am glorified as each is made evident in your life.  Do not hide what I do.  Do not be afraid to both declare what I have done and be honest about the process you are still experiencing.  My reputation is My responsibility, not yours.
Let Me have My way with your time and interests.  Hold every moment that you may spend in My presence as precious.  Listen to My voice.  I am with you always, but you must be aware of Me to commune with Me.  Allow no mindless distraction to steal the very treasure that I died for…fellowship with you.  You must engage your mind in your work and daily living, but I am to be the home of your in-between moments, your down time, your spare time, your free time, and all those minutes and hours you think belong to you.  They are Mine.  You lose so much when you waste them and let them slip away.
Following My lead will bring us a level of intimacy that will result in a holy life lived moment by moment drawing on Me for that holiness, wholeness, strength, and health that will glorify Me.  You are Mine, and I am yours.  We are woven together in a way that cannot be undone, but can be strengthened and made ever deeper throughout life and eternity as you believe the words I have spoken to you.  I keep every one of My promises as you lean hard on Me.  Learn what I have said and dare to trust that I am true to My word.
James 5:13-16; 1 Peter 1:15-16; James 4:6-10; Ephesians 5:15-16;
Colossians 3:1-4; Colossians 1:16-17
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72.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?
How long have I been blind?
How could I not see this sooner?
I’ve wasted years thinking that I need to find
what You want me to do and be…the bigger plan for my life.
I’m finding that You’ve been doing Your work all along
without my awareness, and, unfortunately, without my enjoyment.
It is good to have you here.  I have always been working in your life, bringing you to the life I have for you.  Now it is time that you know it and cooperate with Me.  Your life is no longer yours.  It has belonged to Me for quite some time now, and that is why there are things that seem to go against your grain.  You have failed to apply the truth that you have been crucified with Me and your life is no longer your own.  You no longer have a right to your own preferences, plans, or personality.  Your place is to be an empty vessel for Me to form, fill, and flow through.
Every moment comes to you from Me and is a gift, a grace of My love.  Open your eyes to see the gift and your hands to receive the life and grace moment by moment.  It is when you enter the moment, see My hand and receive My gift with thanksgiving that the miracle of My life in yours becomes a reality that bears fruit and results in joy.  Learn to let everything I bring into your daily grind be an opportunity to see Me, thank Me, and commune with Me.  Trust that each moment is the best of My sovereign plan and purpose for your life and My glory.  Trust.  Me.
Let go of your grip.  I hold it all in My hand.  Everything is grace and life as you receive it from Me.  Let Me fill your life with Mine and just give thanks and rejoice.  When things are hard, hold My hand, feel the nail prints, and see your name inscribed on My palm.  Enter My rest and trust My love.
Philippians 1:6; Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 4:7; Philippians 4:4-7;
Isaiah 49:16; Hebrews 4:9
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73.  NO LESS
I’m searching.  I’m looking for an outlet.
I’m looking for a way to take the way You’ve made me
and let it work out into something….
something creative, something inspiring, something useful,
something that contributes and makes life better for someone.
What do You have in mind?
I know our relationship is the most important thing,
and I know that I don’t want to be distracted from You in the process.
But Your life in me needs a way to reach out to others.


How do you see yourself, My child?  Do you know that you are precious to Me?  Do you know that I value your time and our relationship more than you do?  You are forever in My heart and thoughts, and I craft every moment of your life with great care.  The spark in you that longs to create or contribute is indeed My life.  I created you to carry My life wherever you go, and I make a difference everywhere I go.  Will you see it?  You will if you open your eyes of faith knowing that My life will create something new in every dry place you find yourself.  My Spirit can accomplish no less.
Keep searching.  Expect every day to see My hand at work and record it any way you can.  Write it down; take a picture; share it with someone else.  Let Me shine through your days and your life.  Try something new; try anything new.  I will lead you the right direction as you move ahead, and you will find yourself in a wide open space full of freedom and purpose.  My Spirit can accomplish no less.
You are confined by normal living and all it requires, but your spirit is not restricted in the same way.  You are connected to Me, and as you commune with Me you and your prayers can affect places and people that you will never see in this life.  Dream big things and pray for even bigger things.  You have forgotten how big I am and what I can do.  It is time to step back and remember.  I am the creative force in the world and in your life, and I will do more than you can think or imagine.  My Spirit can do no less.
Psalm 139:1-18; Proverbs 8:37; Isaiah 43:18-19; Romans 5:2;
Ephesians 2:4-10; Ephesians 3:20-21; Ephesians 1:13-14
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74.  ASHAMED?
I am ashamed to admit, Lord, how much of my life
can be put in terms of fear and worry.
This is not Your will;
it’s not mine, either.
I want to trust You; I do trust You.
But You sometimes do things so differently than I
ask or expect that it frightens me.
I say I trust You, but the truth is
it frightens me that You do as You please.
I am ashamed to be so afraid when I know that You love me.
I am ashamed to be so weak when I would
like to encourage others to trust in Your love.
 
 
Ashamed???  Did you say ashamed???  You are a blood-bought, redeemed child of God.  You are a child of the King.  All your sins, your past, your guilt, your shame were placed on My Son at Calvary, and He paid for them all.  Shame is no longer any part of your inheritance or identity.  When you walk in shame, you are listening to the father of all lies and your enemy.  I redeemed you to be lifted from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.  There is no place for shame there, only for healing, wholeness, peace, and LIFE.
And how is it that you would be frightened?  Of Me?  If you were My enemy you would have good cause to fear, but you belong to Me.  You will indeed experience conviction when you slip into sin; you will know dryness if you walk without My Spirit, but fear is never from Me and is always a lie and a trap to paralyze your faith.  Instead, renew your trust and remember My great love.  My love for you is perfect, and perfect love banishes all fear.
It is true that you cannot control Me.  Do you believe you are so wise that you really want to?  I know that I do not act as quickly as you want, but My plan and timing are perfect even when you are sure that I have failed you.  Do not hide from this nagging sense that I cannot be trusted.  Face it and call it what it is.  Your heart longs to trust and know the peace of leaving everything in My hands, but what if I do not do what you want?  What if My plan is radically different?  Will you believe that I have your welfare and blessing in mind?  Will you believe that I care about every need of your life and every prayer that you pray?  Will you believe that I long to demonstrate to the unseen powers of darkness how great My love is for you by My great kindness to you?  Or will you call Me a liar and a cheat?  That is your choice—to believe what I say or to call Me a liar.
I cannot lie, and I do long to bless.  Let go of shame and resolutely shun every temptation to walk in fear.  Do not entertain it; do not allow your conversations with others to be tinged by it.  Trust Me with the heart of a well-loved child who may not always understand, but has complete confidence in the kind intent of her Father.  Come to Me with every care and THROW them onto Me.  I care for you.  I hear you.  I love you.  I really do have a plan to bring into reality all My good pleasure in the lives of all who love Me.  Cooperate with Me by trusting Me and believing that I will do all that I promise.
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75.  LITTLE THINGS
I’ve been thinking a lot about obedience, Lord.
It’s the little things that You bring to my attention.
I mean the LITTLE things.
Things that I can’t begin to imagine make a difference;
and yet You point them out to me and ask,
“What are you going to do about that?”
The only answer I can give You is that I will obey,
but what troubles me is how much am I missing?
I get so used to living my life and thinking my thoughts
that I wonder if I’m listening to Your voice.
How many little things am I missing?
I don’t want to miss any,
but I can be so blind and deaf that I probably run right over You,
Holy Spirit,
as You speak softly to my heart.
Open my ears, clear my vision,
make my heart tender to Your EVERY word.
 
 
I am so glad you heard Me.  And I am so glad you obeyed.  You are feeling the effects of obedience.  It brings the blessings of tenderness, and awareness to another level.  You long for more intimacy and nearness, and you realize how very much I care about the way you live.  You are excited to know that I will speak to you, and you can know what I am directing you to do.  Hearing My voice often requires obedience in some very small thing.  When I lay before you the choice to obey or to please yourself, there is much more at stake than the immediate options before you.  If you choose to please yourself (or be true to yourself, as you might describe it), you diminish your ability to hear My voice.  You have quenched Me, the Holy Spirit.  The more you persist in this path, the fainter My voice will seem and the less you will sense My presence, power, and peace.  This is all by design.  Feeling far from Me is intended to bring you running to find where you have gone wrong.  When you honestly seek Me I may again put a choice before you.  On and on it goes.
The cycle breaks, however, when you recognize My voice and choose to obey.  Then you hear Me more clearly and know My presence better as a real, active force within you.  I do care about the many LITTLE things that you face every day, and if you will listen and obey moment by moment My voice will be clearer and stronger.  Our intimacy will deepen, and your prayers will have more power because they will be according to My will for you and the world around you.
If you are walking in obedience you do not need to fear that you will not hear My heart.  I will make My ways known to you and direct your path.  You may not see far ahead, but you will have light step by step with your hand in Mine.  Do not look for the bigger arena to practice obedience.  Listen for My quiet voice in the moment where you stand and obey THAT.  I will determine the impact and scope of your life as you stay quietly and firmly near My heart and walk with Me.  It will be a life far beyond all that you can think or dream because it will be My life in you.
Psalm 119:103; 1 Peter 1:22; Ephesians 4:25-32; Jeremiah 29:13;
Romans 6:12-13, 22; John 14:21, 23-26; John 15:7-11
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76.  MY LIFE OR YOURS
How do I know, Lord?
What are You saying?
How can I hear You more clearly?
Why do I ask the same things over and over?
 
 
You hear My voice, and then go your way.  You know My presence, and then fail to stay and partake fully of My life.  I am not just the lyric of a song or a satisfying thought you enjoy in the quiet moment.  I AM the only source of life to your soul.  I AM the next breath you take.  I AM the manna which is your only nourishment.  To be distracted from Me is to fall back on your own short resources and find them completely depleted within minutes.  The next temptation is all that is necessary to throw you headlong into chaos and defeat.
Without Me you can do nothing.  Sounds familiar, does it not???  You know these truths, yet you rush ahead into your day and interaction thinking that knowing is enough.  Knowing truth in itself only creates arrogance and judgment.  Living in truth, practicing truth is what brings humility, dependence, and healing to your heart.  Only then are you a vessel that I can use to work outwardly into the lives of others.  The road you and I take together may be filled with people and activity, or it may be quiet and solitary.  That choice is Mine.  Whether many or few are ever influenced or touched is My sovereign choice, so give that absolutely no thought.
Live your life with the desire to please Me alone, and I will make provision for anything beyond that.  Love those in your small circle with fervent sacrifice and unwavering loyalty that always points them to Me so that they will be able to show My love to the world they encounter.  Let Me be forever the spring of every peace, comfort, gladness, and hope that grows in your heart.  Be fully assured of My unwavering purpose to have a living, vibrant relationship with you.  Exchange your self-life and all it entails for My life which abides in you by My Holy Spirit.  My life is the only life worth living, and I AM fully available to you at all times.
Purpose, vision, and creativity are found in Me.  I authored all that exists, and I am eternally unchanging, sustaining and creating forever wonders beyond your discovery or imagination.  Allow Me time and space and My life will always create beauty in everything I touch.  That is especially true of My dwelling place, your heart and life.  New life, living waters, streams of refreshing, beauty, peace, order, creativity, hope, gladness, rest, light, grace, mercy, pardon, and every good and wonderful thing you can think of come from Me and can be poured out through you, changing both you and the world around you in the process.
How will you respond?  How will you choose to relate to those around you and the world you inhabit?  Will you do your best, or will you let Me do My best?  I can do no less.
Acts 17:28a; John 15:4-6; 1 Corinthians 8:1-2; 1 Peter 1:22-23;
1 Corinthians 4:5-10; Hebrews 6:10-12; 2 Timothy 1:14; 1 Timothy 4:14-16;
Psalm 27:4; James 1:16-27

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77.  WORSHIP

Worship is so many things.
It is quiet, pensive, and delicate.
It is robust, full, and energizing.
For me, Lord, it is most often right here:
the present moment set in the frame of eternity
and filling the space with so many images and sounds
that suddenly are clearer and sharper than they’ve ever been before.
Grass being mowed, traffic going by, birds singing,
seeing the wind move through the trees,
feeling the breeze,
and knowing that You are right here, right now.

You are with Me, My child, and I am with you every moment.  The reality does not change; only your sense of it changes.  You need quiet and solitude to have a fuller sense of My presence and communion with you.  I have created you that way.  You need to understand that in order to create space in your days for that opportunity.  Some days, I know, do not work out as planned, but let Me use those times to show you that I am still just as present and real when life’s demands push hard and press in on your spirit.
I have created each person differently, and so not everyone senses My nearness in the same way or circumstance.  That is by design as well.  Just as My body is very diverse spreading across centuries, cultures, backgrounds, personalities, and circumstances of every kind, so each child of Mine is unique in his or her relationship with Me.  Some feel Me closest when music lifts their hearts, some find Me nearest when they are involved in active service, and others are given the zeal to pray.  This helps My body function in its many parts.  However, do not allow the form to become the goal.  Do not become lost in perfecting the means of entering My presence and, therefore, pass by Me unaware.
I, Myself, am to be the goal of your heart and every form that worship may take in your life.  What I am looking for is a heart open to Me; a heart that seeks My face, longs to know and obey Me, and will lay aside its own desires to follow Me with a heart full of thanksgiving.  Why would I care about music style, order of service, what books you read, or your record of service?  DOES YOUR HEART BELONG TO ME??  Can I lay My will into your heart and mind and know that you will follow?  Do you give Me thanks for all things and recognize the moment by moment gifts I pour into your life?
Seek My face in the way I have already led you, and be open to My correction as we go forward.  Carve out time and quiet making the sacrifices you need to make.  Pray always.  Give thanks for everything you encounter.  When life presses you against the wall and you cannot hear My voice, KNOW for certain that I have not changed, moved, or forsaken you.  The choice of a moment in turning your heart to Me is all it will take for you to again know My presence by faith, if not by sight.  I cannot betray your trust; it is impossible for Me to do that.  Therefore, you can always know I am right here.  All the time.
1 Corinthians 12:17-20; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Proverbs 8:34-35; Luke 9:23-24;
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; 2 Corinthians 5:6-9; Hebrews 6:17-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

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78.  SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW

I’ve been struggling, Lord, to live as You would live.
I have been unable to get a grip on the reality of Your life in me
as my righteousness.
I’ve been living at the mercy of my feelings, and they can be relentless.
I know better in my head, but still wait for revelation from You
as to the reality of my life in the here and now.

 

You, My child, have been confused, and that has caused you to walk in ways that were never meant for you.  I established a covenant with Israel of old that promised them blessings abundant, primarily the blessing that I would be their God.  The condition of receiving these blessings was their obedience.  They were to listen to My voice and obey My commands.  Their faithfulness guaranteed that My blessing would follow, for, of course, I would be faithful to keep My part of the covenant.  They failed.  Miserably.  And every person ever born will also fail to hear My voice and give Me obedience.  Mankind is a fallen race and can never relate to Me in the way I created them to.  Yet that is still My heart’s desire…an intimate relationship and communion with them.  Sin made that impossible.
Therefore, I sent My Son to die for all your sins and pay the penalty, clearing the way for a new covenant.  As a born again child of Mine you are a participant and beneficiary of that covenant.  It is My covenant not only with all believers, but with you personally.  Look at My word in Deuteronomy.
“Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways
and to fear Him.”
Compare to Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
“I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God,
and they shall be My people.”  “And I will put My Spirit within you and cause
you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”
Do you see the difference?  In the old covenant man was to keep My commandments and thereby walk with Me and fear Me.  In the new covenant I, Myself, move into man writing My ways on a new heart and thereby causing him to obey.  The old way hinges on man’s effort and ability to work up enough motivation and discipline to obey Me.  The new way rests on My Spirit giving man a new heart that longs to please Me and love Me and providing My very own power to follow through into obedience.
You, however, must choose which way you will live.  If you try hard enough I can guarantee that you will fail.  Every time.  If you relinquish your own efforts, knowing that they are futile, and choose instead to place all your faith in My promise to work all things I desire in you, I can guarantee a life lived, really lived, in the Spirit.  It will be a life of peace, victory over sin, comfort in all circumstances, wholeness, and holiness.  You will live the life you have dreamed of, humbly dependent and laying down your life in order to know Me.  And it will be effortless and full of joy…both yours and Mine.
This is the crowning jewel of My redemption, the mystery hidden from all the ages of time.  Not just that sins are forgiven and heaven awaits, but that I would live in you and through you even in this life and show Myself to the world as you live in it.  Trust Me.
Deuteronomy 8:6; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:27

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79.  LIVING ON PURPOSE

I need to be more deliberate, Lord, in the use of my time.
So much can be wasted away on things that may seem important
at the time, but in the end they are meaningless.
Purpose.
I need to have purpose in the time that I call my own,
especially at this stage of my life when I have
more free time, and soon, much more free time.
I need a plan.


Living life on purpose, that is the ideal you seek.  It is a worthy goal.  The pace of life today makes it nearly impossible for you, for anyone, to feel like they are in control of their time and activities.  There is a constant demand for your involvement everywhere you turn.  Add to that the onslaught of media, noise, technology, and entertainment, and there is almost no space left in your life and heart for that which brings peace and helps you know purpose.  I understand.
Even though many of these demands are unique to this era, I am still the same God who reigns over all and I have not changed.  It is still My plan for you, to walk with Me in a powerful, life-changing relationship that bears fruit and spills over into rivers of living water for others.  All of this requires a heart that truly desires this relationship and a mind that is disciplined to stay focused.  This is a relationship that lives and breathes and is constantly nourished by My Spirit.  You, My child, will have to actively choose to listen and be sensitive to My voice while tuning out the countless distractions clamoring for your attention.
As you walk by My Spirit moment by moment you will see purpose and kingdom living unfold before you.  This life does not promote itself or vie for the attention of the masses.  It quietly invades your day and helps you see with new eyes, hear with new ears, and carry My life into the tailor-made spaces that you inhabit.  The purpose becomes a path of discovery that leads you to see My grace everywhere you look.  You begin to see people the way I see them and love them with My love.  You see My gifts in the everyday moments that fill your day, and in the giving of thanks your heart is raised into the heavenly places where you are truly seated with Me.
Your vantage point changes everything.  You must remember that you are placed in Me, secure, safe, protected, kept, and loved.  The only true vision you have is through My eyes; the only wisdom or understanding you can possess is from My heart; the only way you can hear the cries of the world around you is through My ears.  It is from here that you can pray with power and effectiveness.  It is from here only that you can evaluate whether you are living life well or being consumed by the culture around you.
Sit here with Me.  Be still.  And know that only I am the God who changes everything and everyone I touch.  Live life on purpose with Me.
Hebrews 13:8; John 7:38; John 15:26; Galatians 5:22-26;
Ephesians 2:4-10; Psalm 46:10
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80.  LAY IT DOWN
What is it within me that always seeks its own?
The ego, the sin nature, the “I”?
Even though my heart and intent is to seek God, it is almost never that pure.
There is this other layer of what’s in it for me?
I hate that.
I want You, Holy Spirit, to get rid of it, overcome it, kill it.
Wait, I have to kill it, don’t I?  This can be only my choice.
That’s harder.
That involves my will, making a choice, making a choice every moment
of every day to die to myself.
Help me!
 
 
That is exactly what I am here to do.  No, better than that.  Instead of helping you I am here to replace you.  You lay aside yourself and I take over.  Instead of struggling to conquer self, just lay it aside.  It may still be screaming in protest and full of its own agenda, but lay it down.  There is no need to be stronger.  You need to be weak, too weak to hold on to your own way.  Lay it down and let My life and peace invade your heart, ease your mind, soothe and heal your hurts.
This will be a constant, active surrender.  There is no autopilot setting.  When you identify that whisper of self-seeking within, you will have to make a deliberate choice to walk away from it.  That whisper is always within the realm of possibility on this side of eternity.  You live in a fallen world and are not yet fully redeemed like you will be when I bring you home.  You do not, however, need to live at the mercy of that whisper that becomes louder and more insistent.  When you listen to the whisper it gains strength and power until you no longer remember how it feels to live in quiet obedience and surrender.  The sooner you lay it aside and send it packing, the easier it will be to live above the chaos and confusion that mixed motives create.
There is no need for shame.  I remember your frailty and humanity, but because of the blood of My Son, I see you clothed in His righteousness and covered with His glory.  His sacrifice and resurrection has carried away all that was held to your account by nailing it to His cross.  You stand before Me free and whole, a vessel for My life and glory.  Lay aside all that does not come into agreement with Me and My truth.  I, alone, am worthy of defining your value.
Romans 5:8-9; Ephesians 4:20-32; Colossians 3:1-17; Colossians 2:13-14;
Jude v 24-25
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