Tag: Intimate Relationship with God

Don’t Waste the Wait

Does anyone enjoy waiting?

When was the last time you waited and un-sarcastically gave thanks for it?

We live in a microwave quick—give it to me now society. Our culture has trained us not to wait. But have you ever noticed how unavoidable waiting is?

In this journey of strengthening my faith I have come to a huge reality, which you can read about in my last blog The Real Story (click to read). This reality is faith closes the gap between promise and fulfillment. Once the lights go on and we grasp this reality—we are likened to a blind person receiving their sight—everything takes on a new perspective. The blinders have fallen off and we realize all things are possible!

Then we come up against “The Wait” that beautiful time in between promise and fulfillment.

Ugh.

I was going to title this blog post “Hating the Waiting” but decided to be more positive.

On that note I want to encourage us in our waiting. Since waiting is inescapable we must come to the conclusion God is in it and not waste our wait but instead view it as the valuable treasure it is.

I understand how challenging this is—so why not rise to the occasion? Let us resolve within ourselves to hold waiting in high esteem, to recognize its value and absorb its truth.

One truth about the wait is—it will affect us—either positively or negatively—with this in mind, let us allow the wait to etch beauty on our heart, soul and life.

We start first by asking God to change our heart in regard to waiting. Seeking a heart change will help us to not fight the process. Fighting the waiting process opens many doors—namely bitterness and unbelief.

Secondly, we need to ask God what He wants to accomplish in us during the waiting period. We do not wait in a void—no, waiting is proactive. If we don’t know the purpose for the wait we will wander and grow disillusioned.

The waiting process requires patience. Not always our favorite—I know. The best way I’ve found to acquire patience is to get more of the Holy Spirit. Since patience is a fruit of the spirit—the more we are filled—the greater our fruit.

Another requirement in waiting is we must take care not to misuse our time in the process by tossing and turning in worry. The definitions for the word worry are horrific! Listen to this—to torment with cares, devour, to harass by repeated biting. That’s lovely, or how about this one—to seize by the throat with teeth and shake or mangle. YIKES! I know that one! No wonder the Bible tells us not to worry!

Here are some truths about waiting that will help us in not wasting the wait:

  • Waiting does not change the truth about God—He is still faithful
  • There’s beauty in the waiting process—you just need to look for it
  • Waiting brings change—let it change you for the better
  • No matter what season we are in—waiting will play a part
  • Embrace the wait—it’ll ease the pain
  • Waiting is not an interruption to God’s will—don’t try to avoid it
  • Waiting diminishes self-absorption—we find it’s not all about us
  • Waiting brings a greater dependency on God—we stop trying to do life our way
  • In waiting we find rest—worrying our prayers to God can end
  • Breakthrough is on the other side of the wait—don’t give up
  • Waiting will draw us closer or drive us further from God—choose wisely
  • Waiting reveals our heart attitude—adjust your heart appropriately

How to find beauty in the wait:

  • Stay thankful—don’t grumble and complain (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  • Worship God—He is always worthy (Psalm 42:11)
  • Stay in the Word—believe it’s truth (Romans 4:20)
  • Speak truth—life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21)
  • Expect God to be true to His character—He can be nothing but faithful (Numbers 23:19)
  • Take every thought captive—don’t agree with the devils lies and accusations (2 Corinthians 10:5)
  • Wait on God as a waiter waits on those he’s serving—serve God and others (Romans 12:10-11)
  • Pray—don’t worry (Philippians 4:6-7)
  • Strengthen your faith—don’t wavier in unbelief (Romans 4:20)
  • Hold tight to God’s promises—be fully convinced He’s faithful to accomplish all He’s promised you (Romans 4:21)

Waiting is not necessarily a trial but it does test our faith in God, and weighs our dependency on Him. Our main objective in waiting (and any other situation in life) should be to know God more—to snuggle in under the shadow of His wing, resting in the truth that He is all we need.

Whatever waiting process you may be in, please do not let it steal your faith. Be encouraged to surrender to it—allowing yourself to find God in it.

What’s Dead in Your Life?

In this season of renewed faith, my heart is stirring—swelling with the possibilities of the concept found in Ezekiel 37. It by no means is a new idea, but as we know, the distractions of weak faith can cause a forgetfulness to settle on us—keeping us from remembering the tools God has provided for us to live successfully. And seriously, if we will apply these concepts—our life will change.

First let me give you a little insight as to what’s happening in Ezekiel 37. God takes Ezekiel to a valley of dry dead bones—this was not just a few dead bodies but a whole valley full, and asks him a question, He says, “Can these bones live?” What God is really asking Ezekiel is “Do you believe—do you have the faith to believe what’s dead can come to life?”

Such a simple question, but so deep and personal.

God is looking into our eyes—into our heart—asking you and I “Do you believe the dry bones in your life can live?”

Ezekiel’s answer to God’s question is an awesome response of faith—he turns the responsibility of such a miracle back to the Miracle Maker Himself and says “Only you know, sovereign Lord” Essentially “I trust in You and your sovereignty—you are good—you can do anything—just say the word—just look in that direction and it’ll be done.”

When our faith in God takes the hand of expectancy and partners with the truth of His Word—we’d better brace our self, because that’s all it takes for mountains to move—for miracles to happen. Faith stemming from a relationship of complete dependency on God—will bring breakthrough.

Whenever God asks us a question like this it’s rhetorical—He’s not searching for an answer, but stirring our hope—nudging our belief and expectancy—arousing our faith!

Next, God lets Ezekiel know what is required of him. Yes, we must do our part—faith is an action word. The Lord God instructed him to prophesy and say “Oh dry bones hear the Word of the Lord” I love this! All we have to do is first believe, then speak/pray God’s Word to the things in our life that are dehydrated, empty or dead. Tell the dry bones to give heed to the truth—tell them how big our God is.

Ezekiel writes, “So I prophesied as I was commanded” and when he did there was a noise, a rattling as the bones came together, as sinew and flesh covered them.

But that was not all, the bones came together but they were still void of life. This is the picture of believers today—lots of movement, but no life—a lot of information—tons of knowledge, but no knowing of God the Father, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. This is the cause of the dehydration—this is why faith is weak—we need to put away our rules and come into relationship.

In verse 9, the Lord tells Ezekiel

“Prophesy to the breath. Prophesy, son of man. Tell the breath, ‘God, the Master, says, Come from the four winds. Come, breath. Breathe on these slain bodies. Breathe life!’”

The meaning of the word breath is spirit. We must speak to the Spirit of God—inviting Him to come breathe life into lifelessness.

Lastly Ezekiel responds to the Lord (a response on our part is always necessary) he says So I prophesied, just as he commanded me.” And when he did what was commanded the breath entered the dead and they came alive! They stood up on their feet, a huge army!

Everyday, all day we are faced with something or someone needing life. We can speak, pray and prophesy into our own personal life, our spouse and marriage, our kids, family and churches, into those who need God, into our businesses and work place, into hopes and dreams that are dormant. We can breathe words of life into relationships, finances, health, bad character, weaknesses and addictions—the possibilities are endless!

When we speak life and when the Holy Spirit breathes His breath into a person or situation it’s the act of inflating what was deflated. What’s deflated and dead in your life?

Will you prophesy and speak to your circumstances—will you tell the Breath of God to breathe His life to those situations around you—as commanded? It would be crazy not to!

What would stop you?

Fear of disappointment?

Weak faith?

If so—be encouraged to stir yourself—start by prophesying to your thirsty faith! Speak the Word to your unbelief and watch it form—speak to the Breath of God to invade your faith and heart—then listen for the signs of life!

As you listen for the signs of life keep three things in mind…

1. Seek Him first—eyes on the Miracle Maker not the miracle

2. Patience—don’t waste the wait with worry

3. Remember—the devil’s main objective is to rob you of your faith—resist him!

Ezekiel 37:1-10,  The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”  Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’”  So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

Not Just for Kids

Have you read the story of Jonah lately? Every time my grandson and I read the Bible together, we read about Jonah—how he didn’t obey God, fled and got swallowed up by a whale. Read Jonah to get the whole story—it’s not just for kids!

Today I read the book of Jonah on my own. What caught my attention was his faith in God.

In Jonah 4:2 he says this about God;

I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness, One who relents from doing harm

Jonah knew the character of God and had faith that He wouldn’t be anything but faithful. Why then did Jonah disobey God and run the other way?

Basically, Jonah did not let his faith in God change him.

He lived a life where He knew all about God but didn’t actually know Him.

I’ve lived this lifestyle and understand how comforting it can be. But the truth is—in living this lifestyle we miss the whole point.

Our faith in God must rearrange our life—transform us—causing us to become who we know God is. It must also draw us near to Him—where we actually know Him and experience what we believe. Knowing God causes personal relationship—relationship leads to obedience—the more we are with Jesus the more we become like Him.

Our goal in life is to live and be like Jesus. Please be encouraged to let your faith in God transform you.

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A Heart-Style of Thanksgiving

I love the Thanksgiving holiday, one of my favorite traditions is what my family does after the meal. We go around the table and express what and who we are thankful for.

God in his immeasurable goodness takes thanksgiving to the highest level. It’s not about a meal—it’s about thousands of meals. It’s not about gathering yearly, but gathering daily. Especially, it’s not about telling each other and God how thankful we are once a year, just as we’ve finished an abundant meal. No, life lived in relationship with God is about having a thankful heart—daily—in good times and in bad. Essentially, thanksgiving is a heart-style as well as a lifestyle.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 truthfully tells us,

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Have you ever wondered what God’s will is for your life? Here’s your answer—give thanks.

Why does God want us to give thanks for everything? Why is this heart-style His will?

One attribute I adore about God is His infinite wisdom. God knows everything beginning to end. The reason He wants us to live a life of gratitude is because He knows and understands what thankfulness accomplishes in our heart and life.

The biggest revelation to me about living a heart-style of thanksgiving is the fact that thankfulness in hard times causes our heart to stay soft towards God. When we are thankful, there is no room to blame God.

A few years back my family, to put it mildly, experienced somewhat of a car crisis. I prayed for a newer car for quite a while—expecting God, my provider, to hear and answer my prayer. The answer was long in coming—really long in coming.

God showed me that I must thank Him for not having a car. Thank Him for the season—thank Him for His grace in this season—thank Him for being good and faithful, no matter what I’m going through or what my life looks like.

Prior to learning thankfulness in that season, I found myself questioning Him, whining, grumbling and yes, complaining about my car situation. He showed me was my heart attitude was one of blame towards Him, not only blame but one of unbelief. Ouch, this grieved me!

You see thankfulness causes our heart to be tender and trusting—of faith. Instead of irritably wondering what’s going on—when will God come through and worse why and how could He do such a thing, or allow such suffering in my life—which would be unbelief.

A heart-style of thanksgiving releases us in to the abundant life Jesus came to give us. (John 10:10) Gratitude is in essence putting on rose-colored glasses.

A heart-style of thanksgiving causes praise to abound in and through us, changing our perspective on life. It brings Philippians 4:11-12 to life;

…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation

Not only does thanksgiving cause us not to blame God—changing our unbelief to faith, but it releases miracles and brings salvation. Even Jesus Himself gave thanks to God, and every time He did—the miraculous followed. (John 6:11, John11:41, Luke 22:17.19)

The foremost aspect of a heart-style of thanksgiving is the very fact that it brings us into a deeper relationship with God and His Son. In Philippians 4:11-12, Paul says He’s learned the secret of contentment—the secret is not thanksgiving—it’s Jesus. Thanksgiving paves the way to make Jesus what He should be in our lives—the main thing—Lord of all.

Please be encouraged to make thanksgiving your heart-style, therefore causing your heart to overflow with the Love of God—Jesus Himself.

Character Matters

A solid foundation for life is established by our character. Ponder that a moment. If you really think about it—many of life’s issues are weighed and measured by our character—it determines the paths we take and the choices we make. Consequently, it also determines the choices and opinions of other people in regard to us and our life.

Character defined as:  A combination of traits and qualities distinguishing the individual nature of a person or thing. Distinguishing quality and characteristic; moral force, ethical quality and integrity of a person.

Excellent character sustains the blessings in our life. I have this concept I call the “sieve theory.” It unfolds as this—God in His goodness continually pours blessings on us—His children. If our character is weak then our ability to possess, preserve and sustain these blessing is inept. A character of poor quality resembles a sieve. Unfortunately, questionable character rots the bottom out of our life and sadly, blessings fall straight through.

How many times has God blessed us with a relationship, a job, money or an opportunity where unstable character ruined all our probabilities?

The sieve theory has operated in my life more times than I choose to count or remember!

A great way to excel in good character is to notice the word nature in the definition of the word character. The definition says “A combination of traits and qualities distinguishing the individual nature of a person.” Our nature is who we are fundamentally—at our core. Have you ever heard someone say “That’s just the way I am” this statement is in reference to the nature of a person.

One of the things I love about knowing God is the exchange He has made available to us at the cross. Exchanging our nature with Jesus’ nature is one of the first and most ongoing actions we as disciples of Christ partake in.

No matter who we are, where we come from or what we have been through—our nature does not have to stay the same. We have the amazing privilege to shed off our old nature and take on the nature of Christ. This is the essence of true Christianity—you have got to love this—how fortunate we are!

Having a house full of young adults is very interesting—we are at the stage where some are interested in finding a spouse. When it comes to my children finding a spouse, I never thought it would be such a huge process! But being on this end—where I’m a concerned parent whose been married for 31 years—knowing the intricate workings of marriage—and the sieve theory—it’s a big deal! Why? Because what we want from our kids before they marry is excellent and solid character. And the character we are looking for in a mate is nothing less than blameless and unwavering.

Fortunately, God has set my heart at ease. He’s done this by showing me that the most important character trait that we are expecting in our children and in a mate for them—is not necessarily a virtue—but what we are looking for is—how much they know and love God.

For a heart truly relinquished and sold out to God, His will and His purposes, will possess all the godly and moral character traits one could ever ask for. A person with this conviction will continually exchange their nature for God’s nature.

Thank God—all the world’s problems are solved—all we have to do is be Christ Like!

Please be encouraged to know and love God with all your heart and soul, in doing so you can’t help but to throw off your old sinful nature and take on the character of Christ.

Ephesians 4:21-23

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.  Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

1 Peter 1:3-8

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.  And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Passion

If someone invited you to a party using these words; “The party will be dull, pretty much boring and very stale—you should come”—would you go? I think not.

How about relationship? What if a young man has interest in a young lady and when asking her to date him uses this line, “I really like you and want to date you, but first you must know—it will be a very dreary and lifeless relationship.” What girl, in her right mind, would date a guy with that personality and perspective?

What would be missing from such a relationship? Passion.

There are a couple of meanings to the word passion—the passion I’m referring to is the zest in life.

The opposite of passion is—mundane, routine, common, boring.

Passion causes people to go beyond normal—in life, relationships, work and play.

All my kids love and play extreme sports. Why play chess for a hobby when you have rock climbing or MMA? Hockey, dirt bike riding, white water rafting, kayaking, snowboarding, skateboarding and skydiving? They are passionate people and could never be satisfied with anything dull or commonplace.

Likewise we should press the limits on our Christianity. Always moving forward—insistent on loving and knowing God more—adamant in service—courageously sharing our faith—undaunted by culture and boldly exhibiting godly character.  We are to be people who go beyond normal in everyday life—faith filled people who represent God—people consumed with passion!

When God created us He set passion inside of us. Just look at the young—who live with child-like wonder, excitement, and enthusiasm about everything they encounter.

Our relationship with God should be one of passion, where we crave His Holy Spirit, and His presence. A relationship packed with zeal and fervor—not mundane—birthed out of obligation.

Matthew 22:37 boldly states what is most important in life,

To love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. (NKJ)

Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence. (MSG)

It takes passion to love God in this manner.

Many things steal passion—heartache, sickness, offense, doubt, disobedience, selfishness and busyness. Mainly the devil—he loves to usurp our passion, along with it he steals our faith. He is master at causing situations to arise where we question and doubt God’s goodness. It’s what he lives for.

Along with passion for God we must have passion for His Word. God’s Word amongst many things, is where we read about the greatest love story ever! Not only that—but in His Word is the secret to living life skillfully.

John 1:1 says,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

If you love God and are in a relationship with Him—filled with His Spirit, then you also love His Word and are in relationship with it as well. We must diligently guard our passion for the Bible—the sneaky devil is expert at making the Word seem uninteresting and irrelevant.

Last but not least—another area where passion gets evaporated by the enemy is where church is concerned.

Psalm 69:9 says,

Passion for your house has consumed me

We should be passionate for our church—if we belong to God, then church is our house and we should passionately—with all our heart—not just out of duty—love to be there, serve there and be a part of what God is doing in our local church.

The reason the devil loves to steal passion for God’s house is the isolation factor—he isolates the weak and picks them off. He initiates grumbling, offense and disunity—which make church seem routine and pointless. Fact is—passionless church goers weaken the church.

We have to be intentional in protecting our passion. Making sure not to waste our affections on trivial things of this world.

What’s your passion level? Has the enemy seized your passion for God, His Word and His house?

An incredible attribute of God is his loving-kindness. He will never be content with allowing the devil to steal from His people! He has made a way for each of us, by His grace, to take back what the puny devil steals. It will take an act of our strong self-will, but after that it’s a cake-walk.

We must simply use our will, to turn to God—access grace, confess our passionlessness and lean into His great and awesome love. With an open embrace He welcomes us—here we exchange our dryness for a greater thirst.

Please be encouraged to ask God for more passion—and it will be yours!

Cold or Hot

Imagine eating your ice cream not quite cold and your dinner not totally hot. Would you pass on such a meal? Scripture says we need to choose—cold or hot?

Revelation 3:15-16

I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth!

What’s fascinating is—why didn’t God just say I wish you were hot? Why does He want us to be either cold or hot? The obvious is—with God there is no middle ground, we are either in or out—cold or hot. He doesn’t want anything to do with lukewarm. Why? The answer lays in the following verse; Revelation 3:17,

 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.

A lukewarm person does not recognize their need for God. Whereas a Christian who is living in a dedicated, submitted relationship with Him, where Jesus is Lord of their life (hot)—knows they need God—He is their life-line.

A cold person who is far from God can identify the separation between themselves and God and even though they don’t want God—they know they need Him. There is no grey area.

Lukewarm people, according to the scripture don’t realize they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.

What this means is that the lukewarm go about doing good, Christian stuff—drawing their resources from an empty well of self-sufficiency.

God is so amazing, patient, kind and loving; even though He will spit lukewarmness out of His mouth, He is a God of long-suffering and love—so naturally, true to His character—He provides a solution to lukewarmness. (Gotta love Him!) The lukewarm need only to make Him Lord, following the instructions in Revelation 3:18-19,

So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn [repent] your indifference.

The gold, the garments and the ointment needed to make us rich, cover our shame and correct our blindness are free. On the cross Jesus bought our freedom. One thing to remember is they may be free—but very costly. Likewise, we give our life as an offering of white hot love to God—nothing less will do.

Please be encouraged to go all out (be hot) in your relationship with God.

One Goal

When you’re on the verge of something new, do you feel excitement or panic? Expectation or dread?

There were many years in my life where a new year just brought dread. I was exhausted of false hope—anxiety filled my heart at the thought of making resolutions. Expectancy of change was illusive.

Why? Well—in those days my hope was in what I could do. After years of making resolutions and setting up goals for myself that I never accomplished—my hope was diminished.

As I have learned to make Christ my hope and to lean not on my own abilities but His ability in me—I’m hopeful, expectant and very excited for the new year.

As we converge on this new year, may there be just one goal in our heart—to love and know God more.

I guarantee that from this one thing of knowing, loving and submitting to God, an abundance of life, blessing, favor, knowledge, wisdom, understanding and hope will be birthed in your life.

Please be encouraged set your hope—not in what you can do—but in what He can do in you.

One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. Psalm 27:4

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37

Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring. Hosea 6:3

Text, E-mail or Facebook God?

What’s your routine when it comes to spending time with God? Do you fire off a list of wants and desires? Or do you sit, relate with God, and enjoy a conversation with Him?

Understandably, in today’s culture of texting, e-mailing, facetime and Facebook, relating is foreign. Besides life is busy and taking time to sit and have a conversation with anyone is difficult and very time-consuming, let alone with someone you can’t see—such as God.

About a decade ago, God began to move me in the direction of relating and conversing with Him instead of just asking Him to do something for me.

I’m a very visual person and when God speaks to me I often see (in a vision) what He is trying to say to me. I love this form of communication that we have, because it makes it easier to not forget what He says.

Following are two instances (the writings taken from my book) of when God spoke to me, regarding spending time with Him. These visions are forever burned in my memory and hold a special place in my heart.

When life gets busy or when stress causes me to want to just ask God, instead of relate with Him, I recall these visions and settle into God’s peace. My hope is that they will become the thing you remember and go back to, when you’re tempted to hurry and worry your prayers to God.

When the Lord so graciously gave me these visions I was in a season of getting to know Him as Father, Spouse and Friend. He was moving me out of thinking of Him as this big, ominous Wizard of OZ kind of God.

If you suffer from not being able to relate to God because He seems unreachable and aloof, I challenge you to move into a new direction in your relationship with Him. But remember, anything of remaining value, does not happen overnight. Push through—it’s worth it!

Caution: (for some) God will call your bluff—if you’re just trying to move into relating to Him because you want to ask without guilt—it will take longer. God desires we get close to Him for no other reason than to have a relationship with Him.

The following are excerpts from my book Thirsty Heart.

Taken from the chapter; Entering God’s Rest:

This concept for some may take a paradigm shift in thinking. I remember the first time God brought this concept to my attention. I was in the beginning stages of learning to know Jesus as my Bridegroom. The Holy Spirit would wake me in the middle of the night and I would spend hours just worshiping and loving Him. I began to feel worried and anxious that I wasn’t spending enough time in intercession praying for specific needs. My Bible Study teacher and I were talking about this and her words spoke peace to my heart. She reminded me that it is in the place of intimacy with Jesus that our deepest desires are heard. They are met by God’s heart of love and adoration for us. During this intense period of my life, I would listen to a CD that played songs with the lyrics from the book of Song of Solomon. One of the songs quoted the scripture from Song of Solomon 8:5, “Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved?” I was singing this song and pictured myself coming up from the wilderness, completely dependent on Him, leaning on Jesus. As He and I walked over the hills, to the side of us I noticed the cross which was surrounded by a beautiful well-kept flower garden. We walked on and in my concern I asked Him, “How can I spend so much of my prayer time not praying; there are so many needs I should be praying for?”

He asked me if I remembered seeing the cross.
I responded, “Yes.”
“Do you remember the garden surrounding it?”
“Yes.”
“Those flowers are your prayers.”

The flowers were my prayers, but I never planted them. The Lord was telling me He knew my heart. When I spend time with Him, I leave all the concerns of my heart (prayers) at the cross, where He plants and tends to them. He will water, apply the fertilizer, pull the weeds and fend off the insects. I did not have to panic and beg God, but simply hide and rest in Him. The well-watered garden of flowers were my children flourishing at the cross, stretching toward heaven, drinking in the Son, bathing in the light of the resurrection. They were the prayers for my marriage, all my struggles, hopes and dreams, laid down to God in this quiet, secret place. They were God’s to do what He desired with them.

The next quotation is taken from the chapter; The Father Issue:

 One morning while praying, I saw myself outside a beautiful castle where royalty lived. I was among many people, all who were peasants. I was dressed as they were in an old, dirty, torn dress. I was waving a white paper at the King who lived inside. On the paper was a list of demands (prayers) that I wanted the King to answer. I was begging the King to do something for me.
Jesus, the King’s Son came out and took me inside. He gently explained that I was not a peasant. I was royalty—I was family—reminding me it’s about relationship—not answered prayers.
I could walk the halls of the King’s house, hand in hand with Him. Conversing and relating with Him regularly, whenever I had a need all I had to do was turn to Him and simply ask. Then rely on His faithfulness, finding my peace in His trustworthiness, allowing His will to be done—no worrying, no begging, just resting in relationship.

There is nothing wrong with asking God for anything, after all,  everything we have comes from Him. We have to remember God is not a genie who does not require relationship—on the contrary—relationship with God must be our   foundation.

Essentially, just asking God, is void of relationship. Although we live in a non-communicative culture, we do not have to get caught up in it, especially where God is concerned. We cannot text, facetime, e-mail or Facebook God—no, we have to spend actual face to face, heart to heart time in relationship with Him.

I hope this helps you move out of just asking, and into conversing and relating to Him.

Please be encouraged to press this issue in your life—what lays ahead, is relationship with our loving God.

When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Psalm 27:8

Skillful Living 101—11 Righteousness

The common thread woven throughout Proverbs 11 is righteousness. Righteousness is a vital element to living skillfully. But what is righteousness and how do we acquire it?  

The definition for righteousness is: integrity, virtue, purity of life, correctness of thinking, feeling and acting, holiness; purity; uprightness. The state of being in right standing with God; the condition acceptable to God.

Too bad we can’t just take a righteousness pill, be righteous and therefore live skillfully! No, it’s never that easy, besides if we could it would not fill our void for right standing with God or for right living. Anything of value has to be attained by expense. In the case of righteousness we exchange our way of living and being accepted by God for His way of being righteous.

Matthew 5:6 says,

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

We have to desire to be righteous, crave it so much that we hunger and thirst for it. Have you ever been hungry or thirsty to the point of embarrassment? You grab for food like a savage, not even bothering to use utensils! You guzzle water as it pours down your chin and neck! How many times as American Christians have we ever been this hungry and thirsty for integrity, virtue, purity and holiness? Or how many times have we been famished for intimate relationship with God?

Our appetite to be in right standing with God needs be ravenous. Where we throw caution to the wind and no longer care what others think. Because we love God so much and know we have to be in right relationship with Him and nothing else matters.

Jesus displayed His passion for the Father and for us, in this very manner. He did not let people’s opinion, or culture stop Him. He loved us so much He humbled Himself and hung on a cross.

Please be encouraged to acquire such an appetite for righteousness!

Righteousness is so imperative to skillful living that it is mentioned 11 times in Proverbs 11. It would appear very important to God that we obtain it.

Following are the 11 verses pertaining to righteousness and the skillful living tools for Proverbs 11.

Verse 4 “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”

Verse 5 “The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness”.

Verse 6 “The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.”

Verse 8 “The righteous is delivered from trouble, and it comes to the wicked instead.”

Verse 9 “The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.”

Verse 10 “When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; and when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.”

Verse 18 “The wicked man does deceptive work, but he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward.”

Verse 19 As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.”

Verse 21“Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; but the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.”

Verse 23 “The desire of the righteous is only good, but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.”

Verse 28 “He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.”

Verse 30 “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”

Verse 31 “If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner.”

Skillful Living Tools:

  • Acquire an appetite for righteousness
  • Let righteousness direct your path
  • Sow righteousness—reap a reward
  • Desire the fruit of righteousness
  • Be wisewin souls

Please share with those who need to live skillfully!

Check out the Skillful Living Tool Box (updated weekly) at the top of this page!