Day 8 of 21
I have been sick for the past week and this weekend I took some time to sleep and rest but not without having to deal with issues. Satan is always trying to find ways to get in there and makes us doubt. I find that there are times when I am stronger against him than others but often times, fail and feel defeated. From day one to day five of this time of seeking, I have felt true contentment. My eyes have remained focused on truth and there has been peace in my heart from trusting God’s hand and not my own. Each day started with prayer and time in the word, which brought me comfort and confidence. Saturday morning, because I was in a hurry, I missed that time with God and was tested.
Here is one of the biggest things I have managed to learn in the past week. Satan is always looking for a moment of weakness. That doesn’t necessarily mean a moment when we’re down in the dumps and feeling weak but instead when we are at our most confident. That is when he strikes and oftentimes, strikes hard. Saturday morning my faith and confidence was shaken. Nothing traumatic actually happened. It was just the normal someone questioning what God was showing me. The problem arrived because I was unprepared. I was too confident. I had spent five days praying and in the word and felt strong. Though He was calling me to spend time with Him Saturday morning, I said “maybe later because I’m in a hurry”. Just the opportunity Satan was looking for and he pounced.
What came later that day was nothing short of pathetic. I spent the day in tears and feeling totally defeated. I began questioning everything God had confirmed to me over the week. I began to question His truth in my life. I began to question His sovereignty over my situation. I doubted again. Why do I allow this to happen? Here is one thing that I know and that is if I had just taken the time Saturday morning to pray and read I would not have been hit as hard. Though it was a crappy kind of day, God still spoke to me, even when I had my head under the covers and tears were streaming down my face. That is what a Father does. When He knows we’re hurting and scared, He is there loving us and wanting the best for us while reminding us of His truth.
Because of this three-week time of reflection, as you can imagine, I have encountered protest from some, mocking from others and those who just flat out don’t get it. As I lay in bed Saturday, God kept putting stories in my head, reminding me of all He had done for those who followed Him. He reminded me of Moses, Joshua, Noah and Abraham specifically. Out of those four, two were significant to me. Two of those stories left me thinking about what those two men experienced from those around them as they were dealing with what God was showing them.
The world will not always understand why we do what we do. Sometimes the choices we have to make in order to be obedient to God go against everything the world would say making us look foolish.
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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.”
Yesterday in church, I was reminded yet again that my purpose, the reason I was created was soley for the purpose of glorifying God. He created me to bring Him alone honor and glory. My people pleasing nature struggles with that purpose as I seek to make everyone happy but I am learning that I am truly content when I am serving my purpose of glorifying Him alone.
When I woke up this morning, I had an encouraging email filled with some beautiful verses that reminded me of where I need to turn when I am dealing with my weak places….
“26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
“31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Amazing what God’s word can do for the soul. His grace is truly sufficient and when we come to Him, He restores our faith and makes us strong. Please continue to pray. I have two weeks left and all I have asked for is that those who read this blog to pray with me and for me. No decision has been made. It is just a time of allowing God to move and show His plan for me. I beg that you do the same. Pray. Don’t think! Just pray J
Why 21 days?
Day 5 of 21: Why did I choose 21 days? There are three reasons. The first being that God it put on my heart to pray about this situation for 21 days. The second reason would be that research has proven that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. The third reason comes from a story in Daniel.
” 2 At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, 5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.
7 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9 Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.
10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.
12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”
15 While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. 16 Then one who looked like a man[
Christ in me
Day 4 of 21
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
I have spent the majority of today reflecting on what I have learned over just the past three days. For the first time in almost two years, I am not afraid. I received an email last night that would have brought me to tears because of hurt and fear but things are changing. I am no longer weak and it is not because of anything I have done but instead of what Christ is doing through me. There truly is no fear in love when your trust and hope are in Christ and Christ alone.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18
Day three of 21: It is only day three but I am feeling God speaking to me loud and clear. Again, I will wait out the complete 21 days to see what God continues to show me. Here is what God showed me today in my quiet time through two different devotionals that I read.
This is what I read this morning written by Rick Warren…
“We see, then, that they were not able to enter the land, because they did not believe.”
The saddest verse to me in the entire Bible is today’s verse. It says the people of God were not able to enter the Promised Land because of unbelief.
Think about this: For 400 years, God planned the liberation of the Israelites from Egypt. To convince Pharaoh to let them go, God sent the various plagues to Egypt. He opened the Red Sea and He fed the Israelites with manna and quail. He took care of all of their needs as He brought them to the edge of the Promised Land.
But at the point of decision, God’s people say, “We can’t do it.” And the bible says because of their unbelief, they were not allowed to go in and they missed all that God had planned for their lives.
WOW! Why am I so stubborn and unbelieving? Why do I have a hard time trusting God. He is the same God that Moses served and trusted? Why did the Israelites witness all that God had done and still chose not to believe? It’s like that story I have heard pastors tell repeatedly about the man stuck on top of the building and needing to be rescued. All kinds of people come by with ways to help him but he says no because he’s waiting on God. You know the story. I feel like we are always looking for that “parting of the red sea” moment and often times miss Him.
The devotion goes on to say…
I do not want that to happen to you. I do not want you to miss what God has planned for your life simply because you were afraid or unwilling to take a step of faith. Your unbelief limits God.
We must choose to obey God in faith. Every times we trust God’s wisdom and do whatever He says to do, even when we don’t understand it, we deepen our relationship with God.
Understand, though, we obey God, not out of duty or fear or compulsion, but because we love Him and trust that He knows what is best for us. We want to follow Christ out of gratitude for all He has done for us, and the closer we follow Jesus, the deeper our relationship with Him becomes.
Makes me stop and think about how often we say we will leave it in God’s hands to take care of things but still try to control it. Do we really trust Him enough to lay it all down and give Him complete control?
Here is how Rick Warren ended it…
The greatest tragedy this year would be for you to stand at the edge of your destiny, but to be afraid to enter into all that God has planned for you. Your obedience in moving forward—to take risks and step out in faith- will release God’s power in you.
What are you afraid of in 2011? Whatever it is, it doesn’t stand a chance when you do whatever God tells you to do. There is no reason to be afraid. The Lord is on our side.
I feel like this was written just for me. It is like my own personal message from God but why do I still find myself doubting or unsure? After reading this devotion, I went on to the next, which was titled, God’s daily promise to me about Taking Jericho. Here is what it said…
“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Imagine this scene for a minute. You’re a captain in Joshua’s army camped a few miles outside the city of Jericho. You’ve seen the thick, double-layered stone walls surrounding the city and armed soldiers guarding every entrance. You’ve heard tales of the fierce Canaanite army and their ability to hold their ground in battle.
In the midst of all of this, an edict comes down from the upper ranks. Israel is planning to take Jericho. Actually, what the message says is that Israel has already taken Jericho, but Jericho just doesn’t know it yet. The battle plan is really no plan at all. You’re supposed to get your troops together and conduct a victory march around the city. Just once- for six days in a row. Then on the seventh day, you’re to march seven times around the city. That’s when your soldiers can march in and take possession.
The next day you’re marching around the city, and you can’t help but hear the taunts coming from inside the walls. You know how silly this all look, but you keep marching just the same. Because you know that God is on your side, and you’ve seen what He can do.
This is why God reminded Joshua time and again to “be strong and courageous.” God has a way of working that tends to fall outside the norm, and he needs people who trust Him enough to go the distance, no matter how bizarre the game plan. Courage is important to God because courage is a natural byproduct of trust. And the greater we trust, the braver we become. As long as God leads the battle, we can march in confidence, knowing that we’ve already won. God gave Jericho to Israel on the seventh day, just as He said He would. So,…what wall does He have you marching around?
Is anyone else feeling what I’m feeling? Are you in awe of God right now like I am? Could God make Himself anymore clear? Why do I allow people to get inside of my head and make me doubt what God is clearly showing me? These next eighteen days are going to be tough yet interesting. This is so exciting!
Day two of day 21: I opened my bible to begin my quiet time this morning and started with a passage from a devotional book that I have. The devotional was on Psalm 106:8, 12 “He saved them for His name sake, that He might make known His mighty power….Then they believed His words; they sang his praise.”
This is what it said….
Perhaps you’ve wondered: What if I make the wrong choice? What if I make a terrible mistake? You have stayed awake at night pondering the right way to handle some difficult decision, and you are fraught with anxiety.
God knows all that you are facing, and He knows how you should handle the situation. Will He help you with the decision that you need to make? Will He show you how to make the right choice? The answer is yes, when you ask Him to show you what is best and you believe Him.
He may speak to you through the Bible or through a trusted Christian friend, but you must trust and obey Him when He speaks. Be still, listen for His answer to your prayers, and be confident that He will lead you.
Psalms to Soothe a Woman’s Heart
As I was reading this passage, the song
I am experiencing a heart transformation that can only take place when I make a choice. It is because of what took place on Calvary that I am free to make this choice. This has become my prayer. It is not original. I have spent years praying that I would display the fruit of the spirit in my daily life but this prayer spells it out for me in a more detailed way. Maybe you will find it helpful in your own prayer time.
I choose love…
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.
I choose joy…
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I refuse the temptation to be cynical…the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.
I choose peace…
I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.
I choose patience…
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at a new task, I will face it with joy and courage.
I choose kindness…
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.
I choose goodness…
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.
I choose faithfulness…
Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. Those around me will not question my word. My children will not question my love or fear that I will leave them.
I choose gentleness…
Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If i make a demand, may it be only of myself.
I choose self-control…
I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace.
When God Whispers Your Name
O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.
19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
God’s knowledge of us is perfect. He is aware of all of our actions and thoughts and takes notice of every step, right or wrong, that we take. He knows whether we choose to walk in Truth, what we walk toward and whom we are walking with. When we withdraw from the world, though the world may not notice, He knows our hearts and finds us. He knows the intention of every word that we speak. No matter where we are or how much we think we are hidden, we cannot hide from God.
God is everywhere and though we may not see Him, He is always aware of our circumstances. Our sin and deceitful actions cannot be hidden from God and no matter how much we try to disguise ourselves He sees the truth. Even our most secret of sin is very visible to God and though we fail Him, because we are His child, we cannot be removed from His comfort and love or be separated from Him. His insurmountable mercy and grace have been lavished upon us and should be our reason to rejoice. God knows every part of our heart. Our desire should be that of prayer and meditation allowing His Word and Spirit to permeate our hearts. In this, the condition of our heart will be revealed and we may walk righteously in truth.
“Father, search our hearts and reveal to us what is unclean and dishonoring to You. May we always be mindful of Your unfailing mercy and love. Let us never forget that You love us.”
The Heart of Christ
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
What if for one day, Jesus took over your life and lived it for that day? He took your schedule, your job, lived in your home and for twenty-four hours He lived your life as it is right now. What would that be like? At this exact moment, how does that idea make you feel knowing what you know about your own life? You and your heart would have the whole the day off and Jesus would run your household, your actions, and He would direct the decisions that you make for that day. Would people around you notice a difference? Your friends and family, would they see something new in you? What about your enemies? Would they experience forgiveness and love from Christ’s heart than they do from yours?
Think of the difference. How great of a change would there be in your life? Would your calendar still look the same? Would your obligations, the places you go and appointments change? Would you rewrite them all to make your day look more suitable to Him?
If Jesus took over your heart, would anything change? We are to have the heart and the mind of Christ. We are to act like Christ. We are to be His reflection.
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:18
God’s plan for you when you accept Christ into your life is to take on a new life, a changed heart, with new priorities.
“to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
God wants us to be like Jesus and to have a heart like His. One of my favorite authors says, “God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus.” God loves us just as we are but He desires for our hearts to change. He does not want to leave us with our pathetic statements of “Worrying is who I am” or “I’m pessimistic. I’ve always been that way” because Jesus can change our hearts if we let Him.
Jesus’ heart is a heart full of pureness and peace and He refused to be directed by anything other than the calling of His Father. His heart was purposeful where many of us aspire to nothing at all and end up accomplishing just that in our lives. Jesus had one ambition, one priority and that was to save all humanity.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Though His purpose was inexpressible in our words, His attitude never reflected its unpleasantness. He still found beauty in His Father’s creation, joy in the laughter and smiles of children and the possibilities in the problems of this world. This all reflected His greatest attribute, which was that of His spiritual heart. All He did reflected the intimate relationship He had with His Father. Jesus took all direction and instruction from God and He spent His time in worship, memorizing scripture and in prayer. The hand of His Father, the unseen hand, led him.
I read once the differences between His heart and ours and it looked like this:
“His heart is pure and ours is greedy; His is peaceful, ours is hassled; His is purposeful and ours is distracted. He is pleasant and we are cranky. He is spiritual and we are earthbound.” There is such a distinct difference between our heart and the heart of Christ that it is hard to believe that we could ever hope to have a heart like His? Are you ready for the kicker; you already have the heart of Christ. If you are in Christ and have given your life to Christ, you have been given the heart of Christ. Your heart is His home. He has moved in and is ready to change you. The question that remains is; will you let Him?
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Do you ever wonder why it is that if we have His mind, we still end up thinking so much like ourselves? We trust Him for salvation but resist the transformation? What would happen if we turned it all over to Him and allowed Him control of our lives, which would change our heart? God is willing and able to change us if we accept His invitation. All we have to do is fix our eyes upon Him and the attributes of His heart will become our own.
“Father, may my life reflect You in all I do. May my priorities and my schedule be purposeful and committed to You and the calling You have for my life. May my attitude always honor You and I may always find the true joy in life that comes from having You live within me.”