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).

 

Kingdom Flash Mob – When Will You Be Called to Do Your Part?

Remember when social media filled with posts with video of flash mobs? I haven’t seen one posted in a while, but I remember seeing them more around Christmastime.

Here’s one from a few Christmases past for your viewing pleasure. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY8Jf-45DzE

A flash mob is a group of people called to a certain place at an indicated time to perform a specified action before diffusing into the crowd. A flash mob gives the appearance of something unplanned, random and unorganized, but is in reality, a beautifully coordinated experience with the right people in their precise places for a staged performance. They appear as a part of the crowd, going about their daily lives, when suddenly they step up and do their part.

Similarly Christians have a part to play in the Kingdom of God. That part is already planned and orchestrated by Jesus, Messiah. The direction and inspiration from the Holy Spirit is already within each person. In response to a question asked by the Pharisees about when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21).

The revelation Jesus shared when he opened the book of Isaiah 60, read it, and declared the scripture, was one of many flash mob moments during Jesus’ ministry. The Kingdom of God revealed by the Messiah shook people’s reality, angered some and brought life transformation in those who were willing to embrace the Kingdom of God.

Similar to a flash mob, children of God are called together to worship God, to seek His presence, and to be encouraged by His Word. From there we disperse into this world, slipping quietly into our daily lives and await our next opportunity to do our part.

Obedience’s Miracle—The Widow of Zarephath (P1)

Part 1 of 3

God chose to take the life of the prophet Elijah and intertwine it with the life of one widow. Elijah served as God’s spokesperson, the man who stood in front of King Ahab and prophesied “…the next years are going to see a total drought—not a drop of dew or rain unless I say otherwise.”[1] Jezebel, King Ahab’s wife, tried to kill all of God’s prophets. At one point, Elijah thought he was the last living prophet.[2]

Our lives our intertwined for mutual provision and blessing.

Those who worshiped Baal believed he was the god who brought rains and bountiful harvest—so the words Elijah spoke for God were profanity against Jezebel’s god. After declaring no more rain, Elijah hid himself in the Kerith Ravine, east of Jordan where the Lord sustained him with water from a brook and food ravens brought to him.[3] When the brook dried up, God sent Elijah to Zarephath with instruction to look to a widow to sustain him.

The woman, only referred to as the “widow of Zarephath,” demonstrates a powerful faith through her obedience in 1 Kings. The city serves as part of her identification. We can assume she is the only widow in her city. Zarephath rest inside the region of Sidon, the native country of Queen Jezebel, the woman who married the wicked King Ahab and required her god, Baal to be worshiped instead of God Almighty.[4]  We might easily assume this widow is not of Hebrew lineage, but she clearly believed in the Hebrew’s God and trusted Him.

So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah (1 Kings 17:15-16 nkjv).

God’s purposes are so much higher and wider than what we imagine. God tells us to go here or there—to do this or that—and it’s easy to think it’s about us. Hopefully we can see it as God positioning us for blessing. While that is often a part of his plan, our eyes usually rest on ourselves, when in fact it has less to do with us and more to do with what he wants to do through our relationships with the people to whom he connects us for a bigger purpose. Our lives our intertwined for mutual provision and blessing.

Who has God sent into your life to help you? Are you looking for God to answer you through the divine connection of relationship He’s placed in your life? What relationships does He want you to cultivate?

[1] 1 Kings 17:1 MSG

[2] 1 Kings 18:22

[3] 1 Kings 17:5

[4] 1 King 21:25-26

Give Him Thanks for His Unfailing Love

#5 of 5 Ways to Step into God’s Rest

Psalm 100:5 says, For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.[1] ALWAYS.

I can’t imagine where I would be today without the unfailing love of God active and constant in my life, and yet, I so often fail to thank Him for it. On many occasions, I am terribly guilty of taking His love for me for granted. Instead of a selfless focus, I choose a selfish focus—and that robs me of a deeper relationship with Him and the daily opportunities to choose to step into His rest.

Which brings us to the fifth way to experience God’s rest:

  1. Give Him thanks for his unfailing love.

Psalm 119:90 says, Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.[2]

David—a man after God’s own heart—learned to step into God’s rest. He struggled to stay in that rest throughout His life, but he always came back to thankfulness for God’s love. He could step into God’s rest and give Him those thoughts and concerns trusting He would do all He promised.

We can enter his rest because he loves us. His love never fails. No matter what choices we make or what direction we go—He continually and affectionately loves us. There is nothing we can do (or not do) to cause him to NOT love us.

What has God’s love promised you? What are you thankful for? What does it take for you to step into God’s rest?

[1] ESV

[2] ESV

Sarah’s Story Part 3 – The End to the Beginning

Throughout Sarah’s story, there are many challenges. At one point, there was a famine in the land, so Abraham and his family went to Egypt to live during the famine. While they were there, Abraham told Sarah to say she was his sister because she was so beautiful, he feared they would kill him. Pharaoh wanted to take her as his wife.

Pharaoh treated Abram well because of Sarah and gave him livestock and servants. As a result of Sarah joining Pharaoh’s harem, his household came down with a serious disease. Pharaoh asked Abraham why he lied, returned Sarah to him and commanded them to leave with everything Pharaoh had given them.[1]

In the second instance while they stayed in Gerar, Abraham told those who inquired, “She is my sister,” (which was a half-truth; she was his half-sister before she became his wife).[2] King Abimelech took her to the palace. God closed up the womb of every woman in the king’s household because of Sarah. God appeared to King Abimelech in a dream and told him he had taken in a married woman.

After calling together his leadership and informing them of the situation, he called Abraham before him and confronted him. Abraham confessed what he had done, and the king replied by giving him livestock and servants, and returning Sarah to him. He told them they could live anywhere they’d like in his land. He spoke specifically to Sarah saying, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. It is a sign of your innocence in the eyes of all[a] who are with you, and before everyone you are vindicated.”[3]

Can you imagine how Sarah may have felt? Perhaps she was angry or even resented Abraham for putting her in these two very awkward positions? It seems Sarah followed her husband’s lead intentionally or submissively. Instead of trusting God to work out his fear of death by the hand of a king he assumed to be wicked, he tried to figure it out on his own with a half-truth, putting Sarah in a difficult and dangerous situation. In spite of doing things their own way in this situation, God faithfully protected her and returned her to her husband.

Can you see your own life in Sarah’s story? God knows your end from the beginning as well. He tells your story from the perspective of all He created you to be. He’s not worried about where you’ve been or what you’ve done. Yes, like Sarah, you may have consequences to some of the choices you’ve made, but that doesn’t stop God from delivering on the promises He has given you!

[1] Genesis 12:10-20

[2] Genesis 20:12 NIV

[3] Genesis 20:16 ESV

The Sky Kissed the Sea

My husband, Blaine and I took advantage of the beautiful sunrise and sunsets every morning and evening during a special vacation on the Florida beaches. The gulf coast waters are my most favorite of places. The sands always sooth my heart. Those particular beaches are the places where I find the most peace and rest.

One evening the sky hung low with clouds that threatened to open up at any moment and drench us with a cold shower. We risked getting caught in the downpour for a chance to see the wonders of the low tide—a pelican scooping up his evening meal, a sand dollar that survived the crushing waves, crabs running here and there—thinking they were hidden under the safety of the water.

After walking for more than half an hour down the beach, the rain clouds made good on their promise. We had no place to run. We braced ourselves to endure the cool water.

The sky opened up and kissed the sea.

Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed (PSALM 85:10 NLT).

Delighted, we found ourselves caught in the middle. We stood for a moment and breathed in a sweet peace. In that sliver of time we were unaware of the cold sprinkles, then suddenly they pricked our skin. We laughed as we both turned to hurry back down the beach toward our condo.

“There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.”
SARAH KAY