Rain in Me Again!

I lived in the desert for nearly eight years, and there were only a few times of year we actually experienced rain. Monsoons are desert storms that pass quickly and dump a lot of rain. Growing up in Texas and Oklahoma, I learned to love the seasonal thunderstorms and warm summer rains.

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During a Florida vacation, our family was thrilled to exit the airport terminal to find ourselves in the middle of a soft, gentle summer rain. I walked out into the rain and let it sprinkle me with that familiar feeling a southern summer downpour. I had no concerns about getting wet; but instead let the water fall on me and refresh my soul.

Throughout that week near the beach, we experienced rain at least twice a day. I needed a vacation physically—but even more so, my heart and soul hungered for time in the Lord’s presence.

I was ready for His presence to consume me and fill me like rain floods the dry and thirsty grooves in the earth.

In my quiet and alone moments, I sat listening to the washing of the waves across the shells and sand on the beach. His presence and peace consumed me. I closed my eyes and took a deep drink of His refreshing presence.

Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return to Jerusalem, singing songs of everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be overcome with joy and gladness (Isaiah 34:10 NLT).

You don’t have to get away to another state to drink in His refreshment. You can sit or stand quietly anywhere and open your heart to Him. He is faithful to quench your thirst.

“The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.”

~E. E. Cummings

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Let Tears Sooth the Broken Places

One fabulous revelation that has occurred to me over time is everyone—EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US—has stuff. The enemy of your soul desires to mess you up, isolate and immobilize you. He starts looking for a way to “damage” your heart from the moment you’re born. It can come from the death of a loved one, words from a mean teacher or classmate, or even a misunderstanding of unmet expectations. Whatever it is, we have hurts, pains, scars and debilitating wounds. Sometimes they are visible, but most of the time they are emotional—hidden deep inside and protected—where only a few really know what has skewed your perspective of life.

“Tears spoke what I couldn’t.”

My deep wounds started with the loss of my first family when my parents divorced, and it fractured my perspective on life. Thankfully, my husband believed in our marriage and trusted God to repair the breach. Healing can take time, but more importantly, it usually takes hard work on our part. (I went through grief recovery, and it was so powerful for me that I became a grief recovery specialist.)

Tears are one of the wonderful ways we can move toward healing. Like me, you probably spent nights crying out to God—crying until you ran out of tears. Other times, His presence brought me to my knees and tears poured silently. I may not have had the words, but through the washing of my soul, the tears spoke what I couldn’t.

The language of my tears comforted my heart and soothed the broken places in my life. They refreshed me and made me new. My tears gave me the strength I needed to let go, forgive and move on. They opened me up to receive love from God and others.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.  John 6:63 nkjv

Are you in one of those difficult places now? He will help you recover. As you let go and allow your tears to express what your heart needs to say, God can wash away the places in your life that you thought were completely ruined, and help you begin again.  I pray you will open your heart and let your tears speak to Him today.

"Pay close attention to your tears. 
What you weep over has to do with your destiny.” 
- Lou Engle

Believe Your Faith is at Work

Faith in what you can see is easy. You live in a natural world, and you rely on your physical senses to tell you what to expect in the things you do each day. You expect the engine in your car to start when you turn the key. You assume your tires will hold air and you trust others to obey the traffic lights and signs for your safety on the road.

You may desire to have an even higher expectation to see the promises God made to you fulfilled; and yet, it can be difficult sometimes to believe when you pray.

Jesus said, “Listen to me! You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it.”[1] That is a promise from the mouth of Jesus Christ himself. Yet, day after day we find ourselves doubting because we can’t see our faith at work.

How many times have you given up on what you’ve asked God for because you didn’t see it in the time frame you expected?

I have given up before. It’s hard to understand, but God doesn’t work on our timetable. Sometimes the things we ask for literally require time, effort and energy for God to move circumstances around. It’s not difficult on God’s part, it’s just a matter of working within the wills of humankind to bring about those things sometimes.

You’re faith makes a demand on your desired result as long as you’re believing, but when you give up, there’s no longer a demand.

Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice (Psalm 51:16-17 MSG).

Imagine yourself in a park. You throw a Frisbee to someone you can’t see (perhaps they’re in the wooded part of the park). The first few times it comes back to you. Then, there is a delay. You waited awhile for it to come back, but then you became discouraged, disappointed or distracted, left the park and went home.

Imagine the Frisbee came back, but you were gone. The answer to the prayer you prayed is coming back to you, but you’re gone. You never came back to receive it.

God does what He does in his own time.

We have to be patient and keep believing that He’s working behind the scenes to bring answers for your life. He wants to give you the desires of your heart when your will pray according to His purposes and plan. Don’t let go. Keep expecting to receive.

 

[1] Mark 11:24 NLT

Doubt Your Doubts

Excerpt from Legendary Leaders of the Bible

Leadership Lesson #39:  Doubt Your Doubts

“Let me tell you what’s going on here: No one in history surpasses John the Baptizer; but in the kingdom he prepared you for, the lowliest person is ahead of him (Matthew 11:11 MSG). 

We all have doubts, even John the Baptist. At this time in John’s life he sat in Herod’s prison. He had done all that he had believed he should do to prepare the people for Jesus’ coming and Jesus had stepped into his ministry—yet, John sat in prison.

He began to doubt what he had believed all his life.[1] Things weren’t really going the way he thought they would go once Jesus was revealed.

Jesus reassured John’s faith by addressing the signs and wonders that had been prophesied about the Messiah and that Jesus had fulfilled—healing the lame, deaf and blind, raising the dead, and preaching to the poor. In Jesus’s own words, no one fulfilled his God-given destiny better than John. Jesus was the Word made flesh.

When we are tempted to doubt those things we’ve believed, we can look to the Word of God and discover the truth. We can doubt our doubt with the truth.

[1] Matthew 11:4-6

Maintain a Devoted Lifestyle

Excerpt from Legendary Leaders of the Bible

Leadership Lesson #37:  Maintain A Devoted Lifestyle

And [the Pharisees] asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose” (John 1:26 NKJV).

John knew the people needed a Savior and that the promised deliverer of the world was coming. He was the forerunner who came before Jesus declaring the need for repentance and salvation.

Evangelist to many, he boldly and unashamedly declared the Good News of Jesus Christ.

He lived a life devoted to the message of Christ long before Jesus’s ministry was known to those who lived in John and Jesus’ day.

His message was not popular, especially with the Jewish leaders. But John’s devotion to the message and commitment to prepare the way of the Lord was his strength in the face of hardship. It kept him focused and ready until the day he saw Jesus walking in his ministry and purpose as the promised One who takes away the sins of the world.

Wash Away the Past

 

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland (Isaiah 43:19 NLT).

If we’re honest, we all have stuff—things we’re not proud of, mistakes we’ve made and decisions we wish we would have made different. Many of us keep a box of ‘if onlys” in the back of our mind. When we reach a point of transition—where things get hard or it feels like you’re not moving forward, it’s easy to drag that box to the forefront and begin to revisit the failures of the past. That’s exactly what the enemy of your soul wants you to do.

If your focus is on the past and where you’ve been, it’s easy to get stuck there. Then you don’t have the courage, energy or strength to push forward and accomplish the purposeful future God has for you.

My husband, Blaine and I made a promise early on in our marriage. We were stuck in a hard place. Our marriage was going nowhere. Once the word divorce escaped my lips, God gave me a picture of Blaine and me passing our toddler back and forth each week—raising him in two separate homes. As a child of divorced parents, I didn’t want that for my children. So, we came together and prayed, asking God to intervene.

We felt like we weren’t physically where we belonged. We agreed in prayer for God to place us wherever he would have us. We promised God and one another that day we would always go wherever he sends us.

We’ve moved many times during our marriage as God led us. The transitions from there to here were difficult each time. It’s hard when you know God wants you to do something, but you have to stand firm and wait for him to order your steps and open the door. I’ve had to fight discouragement and doubt while waiting. I’ve found the enemy will challenge you, and based on your past, try to convince you that you didn’t hear from God.

God desires for you to look forward to the new things he is doing in your life.

Right now you may not see it. It may seem difficult to hold on and believe, but the rewards are great. Let him wash away the past.

Make a conscious effort to throw away that box of “if onlys” and trust him to lead you to the new.

 

“The sea will grant each man new hope, and sleep will bring dreams of home.” Christopher Columbus

Ask Anything

Do you imagine God so big that He is too busy for you? Perhaps you feel compelled to handle things on your own so He can spend His time taking care of “bigger” issues. Maybe you know people who are “worse off” than you are, or you think someone deserves His time more than you do.

Don’t believe the lie!

God desires to be there for you no matter how small you think your problems might be. He has endless capacity to do and be—far beyond anything you can imagine.

Imagine yourself the child of a father with endless resources who loves you, wants to provide for you and give you the desires of your heart. There is only one condition—He wants you to ask. You serve a God without limits. He is unrestrained in what He can do for you.

What things are you holding close to your heart today? Your Heavenly Father is just waiting for you to ask for His time, His wisdom, His intervention. He wants to give you the desires of you heart. It’s not a matter of deserving it. You’re His child and like a good father, He wants to do you good!

Open your heart today and relinquish to Him anything you’ve been holding back. He wants to be a part of the answer. Take a moment and invite him to intervene on your behalf today.

In that day you will no longer ask me anything.

Very truly I tell you,

my Father will give you

whatever you ask in my name.

Until now you have not asked

for anything in my name.

Ask and you will receive,

and your joy will be complete (John 16:23-24 NIV).