Monday, January 30, 2012

I Am With You Heart and Soul

“Do all that is in your heart,” 
Jonathan's armor-bearer said.
“Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”
1 Samuel 14:7

Jonathan's armor-bearer was not named in scripture; this engaging mystery inspires me.  His anonymity, humility, unwavering dedication and his trust in God's faithfulness and power make me want to be a friend like he was to Jonathan.  (1 Samuel 14 - click here)  I believe the armor-bearer's namelessness is an honor given to him by God.

"Do all that is in your heart (NKJV).  Go ahead, I am with you heart and soul (NIV)" are the only words recorded in scripture that Jonathan's armor-bearer spoke.  His actions recorded in 1 Samuel 14 for us speak volumes. These little glimpses into his character encourage me and challenge me.  His servant's heart for Jonathan kindle my heart to be this kind of friend.

Loyal.  Honoring.  Supportive.  Loving.  Protective. Serving the Lord together. 

Committed heart and soul.

Humbled, I am thankful to the Lord for family and friends who are this to me.  Friends who know that loyalty, for me, includes gently and lovingly speaking the truth to me when I need to be challenged.  Friends who are supportive as they see me following God's leading.  Friends who are loving at all times (Proverbs 17:17) even as I am being refined.  Friends who are protective of me in truth and love.  Friends who honor me by simply not dishonoring me.  Friends with whom I serve the Lord shoulder to shoulder.

We don't know the name of Jonathan's armor-bearer, but he makes quite a godly impression.  I want to be that friend that quietly, simply and resolutely says, "Go ahead, I am with you heart and soul."  And with that love and dedication to God's truth comes victory and God's purposes fulfilled.

"So the LORD rescued His people that day..."
1 Samuel 14:23


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It's A Category In The Card Store

Motionless, the greeting card label stirred my heart.  

Relief and sadness mingled together in my soul when I unexpectedly glanced upon the greeting card category "Difficult Relationship" in the card store as I was looking for an encouragement card for a friend.  I took a physical step backwards and breathed an audible sigh.  A "Difficult Relationship".  Most of us have one, I thought.  

Comforting me in one sense, this unassuming card sorter confirmed I am not the only one ~ there is even a greeting card category for it!  And yet the card distinction brought a twinge of heartache to me as well wishing that it wasn't so common among people such that it sustained a niche in the greeting card industry.  

Who wants a difficult relationship?  I imagine nobody does.  I know I don't. 

Thank you, Lord, for any one difficult relationship, there are many other vibrant, healthy and God-honoring friendships!

And there is {HOPE} and  {JOY} as we allow the Lord to use a difficult relationship as a precious threshing floor for our hearts.

This I know:

A difficult relationship does not define me.  His love defines me.  {HOPE}

A difficult relationship will refine me.  His truth refines me.  {JOY}

I won't pretend for a moment to write from a place of victory here, if victory in a difficult relationship is defined as settled, restored, united in truth and love. That may not happen this side of heaven, though my heart desires peace and has pursued it diligently.

The victory for me is in the surrendering of my own heart to Him to further mold and shape my-sometimes-bristly-self into His image, even when He uses a difficult relationship as the tool.  (That makes me want to hug that difficult-relationship person!!!)

My fingers can't type on this computer screen some quick-fix solutions for difficult relationships. I do not possess them.

But my hands can daily open His Word that commands all honorable responses, gives me eternal perspective and faithfully judges the attitudes and motives of my own heart (Hebrews 4:12) as I yield to His truths.  We are His possession.  Letting Him have His way with my own heart through the washing of the water of His Word is my comfort, my victory, MY ALLELUIA! 

"This is my comfort...Your word has given me life." 
Psalm 119:50

And look...I love that "Difficult Relationship" is pillowed between "Hope" and "Encouragement". 

What scriptures do you go for guidance in a difficult relationship?

Share a scripture here and you may win two of my favorite things ~ cute note cards and an excellent book! 

"A sweet friendship refreshes the soul..."
Proverbs 27:9
I am thankful for refreshing friendships!!!

When my children were babies, God used this book (given to me by a sweet friend) written by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes to change my heart and my life and get me back into His Word every day.  This will always be a favorite book of mine!

Just leave a comment with a relationship scripture that you love (be sure to leave your contact information).  Winner will be announced Monday 1/30/12.  Comments welcome until then!  Let's spur one another on!

Here are a few of my favorite scriptures:

"Do everything in love."
1 Corinthians 16:14

"...grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
John 1:17

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
Ephesians 4:1-3

"For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." ~ Matthew 5:46-48

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus..."
Phil. 2:3-5

"But this is what the LORD says...
'I will contend with those who contend with you,
and your children I will save.'"
Isaiah 49:25

"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you..."
Matthew 5:44

Monday, January 9, 2012

Without A Word

" quietness and trust is your strength..."
Isaiah 30:15

As His children, sometimes God calls us to speak up and speak out in faith.  Sometimes He commands us to be quiet in trust.  Both can be challenging, out-of-comfort-zone experiences. Yet obedience to God in the speaking out or in the hushing up brings the harvest of His joy and blessings.

In the midst of an unnecessarily messy situation, my honorable husband is being led by God to speak not a word, to simply and quietly trust God to be our sweet Defender and our covering of truth, righteousness, honor and integrity.  We are trusting God's goodness quietly in prayer as over and over in scripture we see God defends our honor if we are endeavoring to live lives honorable to Him. 

Resting before the Lord, Jim has told me to utter not a word, to send not an email, to make not a phone call.  I haven't.  I won't.  I am following my husband's counsel and trusting God's leadership through him.  One thing I know for sure:  God commands me to follow and respect my husband's leadership, and His peace comes as the fruit of my obedience to this command.  

By His grace and out of reverence for Him and my husband, I will follow my husband's hushed lead.  And God has already blessed me through His Word.  Look!

Yesterday morning as I was spending time in God's Word, He serendipitously strung the following verses together for me.  I love Him for confirming these truths to me!  I am currently in Genesis in my One Year Chronological Bible.  I read this passage in Genesis 24 and then He reminded me of these other verses:

Without saying a word,
the man watched her closely
to learn whether or not
the LORD had made his journey successful.
Genesis 24:21

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
1 Peter 3:1-2

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
Isaiah 53:7

Often times, God's will and purposes in our lives is ushered in as we open not our mouths. 

Successful journeys.

Husbands won over to Christ.

Salvation and redemption.

All of this while our mouths are closed in obedience.

Our quietness demonstrates our trust and faith in HIM.  He is our Defender, our Redeemer, our Salvation, our Way and our Provider.  What glory He receives when He works His purposes through our quietness and trust.

"…the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is of great worth in God’s sight."  1 Peter 3:4

Thank You, Lord, for Your faithful Word!!!

"When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly."
~ 1 Peter 2:23

Your Devotional Journal

Saying grace ~ Bringing my heart to God in prayer.

My Portion ~ Where Has God met me in His Word today?

Nourishment ~ How does God want to mold and change my heart?

Second Helpings ~ Where does God want me to be a doer of the Word and take action?

Time for Dessert ~ What can I share with others from what God showed me today?  

"You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the LORD your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you..."
Joel 2:26

Monday, January 2, 2012

Resolve to Honor My Name

"'Resolve to honor My name,' says the LORD Almighty."
Malachi 2:2

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Romans 12:12

A new year! A time for reflection and for looking ahead for growth and change. Lasting and fruitful change. Transformation. That can only come through the perfect Word of God. "Every word of God is flawless..." Proverbs 30:5

Transformation. A surrendered heart pursuing holiness. A willingness to yield to the bittersweet process of purification through the washing of the water of the Word. "...offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness." Romans 6:19

Resolutions can tend to be self-centered. Resolutions often are about me, my strength and my commitment. Transformation is Christ-centered. Transformation comes from the renewing of our minds by the washing of the water of God's Word. We surrender and yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and allow His transformation to take place in our lives through the Truth of God's Word. And WOW...He transforms us into His image! "You have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." Col. 3:10

"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Cor. 3:18

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."  Psalm 51:10 

The condition of my heart before the Lord moment-by-moment is most important to me. God creates a pure heart in us. God renews a steadfast spirit in us. My responsibility is to keep my heart before Him in humility. I want to always have a teachable heart. I want to be willing to be broken. "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18  
"Every time we open the Word of God, it should be for the purpose of being broken." - Nancy Leigh DeMoss
“I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite." Isaiah 57:15

As I daily surrender my heart to His truth, He creates a pure heart in me and transforms my heart to be more like His. Wow! That sure is humbling and awesome.

If we resolve to do anything this year, let's resolve to honor His name and be transformed by His Word. "...'resolve to honor My name,' says the LORD Almighty." Malachi 2:2   This resolve is too lofty for me to attain on my own. Only by HIS grace and Word can it be so.  His divine power gives us everything we need for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3)  Thank You, Lord. 

"I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your word."
Psalm 119:16