LOVE, MY PERMANENT RESIDENCE

“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.” 1 John‬ ‭4:17-18‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Can you imagine it? Can you just let your heart come into the space where we live in God and God lives in us? A place where God truly has the run of the house(our lives), where we allow Him make the day to day decisions of our lives, give Him full control? What a glorious, stress-free, liberated, joyful, joyous, bold,dynamic, and awesome life we would have. All our fears and worries taken away and dealt with by a God that cares about us unconditionally and loves out without measure.

Can we take a minute today and let Him into our lives completely and totally and give Him permission to enter every room of our life and heart, clear it out and take up residence.

GOD IS LOVE!!

DOUBTSTORMS

The following is excerpted from Chapter 13 of In the Eye of the Storm.

On Sundays I stand before a church with a three-point outline in my hand, thirty minutes on the clock, and a prayer on my lips. I do my best to say something that will convince a stranger that an unseen God still hears.

And I sometimes wonder why so many hearts have to hurt.

Do you ever get doubtstorms? Some of you don’t, I know. I’ve talked to you.

I think you are gifted. You are gifted with faith. You can see the rainbow before the clouds part. If you have this gift, then I won’t say anything you need to hear.

But others of you wonder…

You wonder if it is a blessing or a curse to have a mind that never rests. But you would rather be a cynic than a hypocrite, so you continue to pray with one eye open and wonder:

– about starving children

– about the power of prayer

– about the depths of grace

– about Christians in cancer wards

– about who you are to ask such questions anyway.

Tough questions. Throw-in-the-towel questions. Questions the disciples must have asked in the storm.

The light came for the disciples. A figure came to them walking on the water. It wasn’t what they expected. Perhaps they were looking for angels to descend or heaven to open. Maybe they were listening for a divine proclamation to still the storm. We don’t know what they were looking for. But one thing is for sure, they weren’t looking for

Jesus to come walking on the water.

“‘It’s a ghost,’ they said and cried out in fear” (Matthew 14:26).

And since Jesus came in a way they didn’t expect, they almost missed seeing the answer to their prayers.

And unless we look and listen closely, we risk making the same mistake. God’s lights in our dark nights are as numerous as the stars, if only we’ll look for them.

When the disciples saw Jesus in the middle of their stormy night, they called him a ghost. A phantom. A hallucination. To them, the glow was anything but God.

When we see gentle lights on the horizon, we often have the same reaction. We dismiss occasional kindness as apparitions, accidents, or anomalies. Anything but God.

“When Jesus comes,” the disciples in the boat may have thought, “he’ll split the sky. The sea will be calm. The clouds will disperse.”

“When God comes,” we doubters think, “all pain will flee. Life will be tranquil. No questions will remain.”

And because we look for the bonfire, we miss the candle. Because we listen for the shout, we miss the whisper.

From In the Eye of the Storm

Copyright 1991, Max Lucado

Even When You Don’t Have Words: Faith

There are times when words simply fail us. Praying in these moments can seem unimaginable. And yet—remarkably—God makes provision for us to pray even when we have no clue what to say.

In Romans 8, Paul acknowledges that we live in a broken world. We experience suffering now. Loss. Sometimes the brokenness comes at our own hands; sometimes we are the ones who are broken by outside factors. Paul first encourages us that things won’t always be this way. We were made for a whole, healed world, and one day that will be reality. In the meantime, we groan. And all of creation groans along with us.

Then Paul says that even when we don’t know how to pray as we ought, the Spirit of God intercedes for us with groaning that are too deep for words. In a broken world, we often don’t even know what to ask God for. But he still wants to be with us. He still longs for that conversation. So in these moments, his Spirit will pray for us. We don’t know what to say, but he does. We may not even know what we truly want or need. But the Spirit will do the talking. Our role is to simply enter his presence.

This is praying in faith. We don’t have the answers, but we know the one who does. The specific requests are not as important as the conversation. So we keep coming back to God in faith, not because we know how he should solve our problems, but because we know he is the only one who can. Sometimes the conversation is quiet and tear-filled, but it matters even then. Perhaps especially then.

From a devotional by Echo Prayer

VERSE OF THE DAY

“GOD, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can’t take it all in!

Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute— you’re already there waiting! Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!” It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.

Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! I couldn’t even begin to count them— any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you! And please, God, do away with wickedness for good! And you murderers—out of here!— all the men and women who belittle you, God, infatuated with cheap god-imitations. See how I hate those who hate you, GOD, see how I loathe all this godless arrogance; I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred. Your enemies are my enemies!

Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:1-24‬ ‭MSG‬‬

WHEN THE SPIRIT SPEAKS

“Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.” So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭8:26-40‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Several things come to mind as I read this passage of the bible

1. Philip’s sensitivity and obedience to the Spirit – He heard the Spirit speak and He moved, no question! He wasn’t so bothered about where or if he ever got there, he was just ready to go as the Spirit led him. Philip was available, he was present to be used. Sometimes being produces more than doing. Philip obeys the command to go and be near the chariot. He was there, he was present, he was available.

2. The eunuch is returning from a pilgrimage to the Temple, a place laden with Spirit-filled 1st century Christians, and he leaves still not knowing Christ. Was he overlooked or ignored? Was there no one there that could see his need and help him? Was he not connected? Did he not see or feel God in that gathering? What went wrong? Was it not his time? Or was God just preparing him for a closer encounter? We may never know exactly the reason but we can be assured of one thing, God saw his heart, that he was seeking for a personal knowledge of Him and He made it possible through a Faithful, Available and Teachable (FAT) vessel.

As we go through today can we ask the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to opportunities to meet the needs of others and may we be sensitive enough to see when He is prompting us. May we take our eyes off the ‘destination’ and enjoy the journey and go as He leads.

NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD

“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:31-39‬

He loves me even when I fall beneath His will
He loves me, oh, oh, oh, He loves me
When my broken heart just won’t keeps still
He loves me oh, oh, oh, He loves me
Even though He knew sometimes I’d fall
Yet and still my name He called, He loves me
Jesus, I’m so grateful for Your love
He loves me even though I was born in sin
He loves me, oh, oh, oh, He loves me, yeah
Took me like I was and now I’m free again, yeah
He loves me, yeah, oh, oh, oh, He loves me

Kirk Franklin – He Loves Me

THE HEART OF WORSHIP

“You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:8-10‬ ‭MSG‬‬

How many times do we come to the presence of our Father and all we do is stroke our egos, make ourselves feel good, enjoy the music or message without pleasing the One whom we have come for? Do we even realize that the reason for worship is to please Him? Do we know that the purpose of our lives is to p,ease Him? To find what pleases Him and just do it? The lyrics of the song Heart of Worship says it all

When the music fades,

all is striped away and I simply come,

longing just to bring something that’s of worth,

that will bless Your heart.

I’ll bring You more than a song,

for a song in itself is not what You have required.

You search much deeper within through the way things appear,

You’re looking into my heart.”

“I’m coming back to the heart of worship and it’s all about You,

it’s all about You, Jesus.”

when we come to Him to please Him and Him only, when all that matters is that He smiles in satisfaction when He sees or hears from us, when every other thing is put in the background and we simply come, He pours Himself into us and our lives never remain the same!

I’m coming back to the heart of worship and it’s all about You Jesus!