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

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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 (P3)

My husband, Blaine and I have moved several times. After a few relocations, we realized our “moves” are a part of our pioneering spirit that God put in us … we’re willing to go wherever he desires for us to go. We made that promise the night we prayed for his direction in our lives and marriage (on the verge of divorce). And he answered by sending us to become a part of a worldwide ministry – literally plucking us up and moving us in just five weeks – giving Blaine a new job that would forever change us and our direction in life.

We’ve learned relocation has EVERYTHING to do with the people He brings into our lives – those God wants to position to speak into our lives – and those He puts in our path to speak life and truth to us as well.

There’s more to the Widow of Zarephath’s story. Yes, God sustained her household through the drought, but there is more to her relationship with God’s prophet.

Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house (where Elijah was staying) became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”[1]

She’s angry. She is lashing out in her pain at the man she trusted, the man who God used to perform a miracle. Perhaps she had come to know him well in the time that had passed. She looked to Elijah for answers.

Elijah asks her to give her son to him. He takes the boy from her arms, carries him upstairs to his room and laid him on his bed. He cried out to God and asked that the boy’s life return to him. God heard Elijah and the boy lived once again. He scooped him up and carried him back downstairs to his mother.

Upon seeing her son, the widow said to Elijah, “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.”[2]

Are you open to hear His voice when He speaks through others? Are you willing to be used by God to speak His truth into the lives of others as He leads you?

[1] 1 Kings 17:17-18 NIV

[2] 1 Kings 17:24 NKJV

Obedience’s Miracle—The Widow of Zarephath (P2)

Part 2 of 3

The Widow of Zarephath’s story begins while she is at the gate gathering a few sticks so she can go home and prepare the last little bit of food for herself and her son. In her mind, the end is near. Her plan—without God’s miraculous intervention, which she must have hoped for—she and her son will starve to death.

This woman had nothing for her own family to eat, much less a prophet. Through her obedience, God sustained both of them. Elijah sees the woman that God has told her to meet and asks her for a cup of water. I can just see her acknowledge him and turn to go to get the water. Then behind her, she hears him ask for a piece of bread.

Can you imagine just a little attitude in her response to him? The Message says she said, “I swear, as surely as your God lives, I don’t have so much as a biscuit. I have a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a bottle; you found me scratching together just enough firewood to make a last meal for my son and me. After we eat it, we’ll die.”[1]

This man of God is asking for the last of all she has.

Perhaps she’s wondering…Did God send this man? Do I dare trust him? Do I trust God?

Elijah tells her not to be afraid, but instead, to “Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”

There it was—there was the promise of a miracle. All she had to do was believe God—the God of Israel—and obey. In that moment she chooses to trust God.

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.[2]

God sent Elijah to a woman who had nothing so that He could provide for her and her family supernaturally as a result of her faith. As she decided to care for God’s spokesperson, God provided miraculously for her household.

[1] 1 Kings 17:12  MSG

[2] 1 Kings 17:15-16 NKJV

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