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Be Still

Our world is so noisy. Even what we see is noisy. We are looking at flashing lights, images and words on signs, constant ads and messages come at us at every turn. When we turn things off we’ll find quiet within. We’ll hear God and feel His love.

Open to God, we need to reflect, dream, and think with Him. Silence soothes our minds and souls.

Why are we so addicted to our cell phones? We set notices so we don’t miss anything on our feeds. We’re lost if we are away from the internet, live streaming, email, social media, etc. We’re constantly occupied with something to do, to see, to hear. We can’t be still for long because we’ve formed the habit of preoccupation.

In one of John Eldredge’s newsletters from Ransomed Heart Ministries, he said, “It is as though we are looking, always looking, for something . . . someone. What is it we are craving all the time? Why do we put ourselves out there for attention?”

Some of us are not that hooked up in the ways I’ve described, but what about other distractions? Bingeing on television episodes?—(which I finally stopped doing.)

God is our constant companion. Shekinah is in our hearts. The Lord of glory is being ignored.

The first thing God did after Adam and Eve sinned and hid themselves from Him was to search for them while calling out, “Where are you?”

In the book Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Richard Foster says God continues looking for us.

 

Today the heart of God is an open wound of love. He aches over our distance and preoccupation. He mourns that we do not draw near to Him. He grieves that we have forgotten Him. He weeps over our obsessions with muchness and manyness. He longs for our presence.

 

I urge you to stop whatever you are doing for a minute, breathe deeply, and be still in God’s presence and receive His affectionate love.

 

The featured photograph here is by Sharon Brisken. She has such an artist’s eye for beauty. Check out her work at Burning Hearts for God’s – Featured Artist’s page.

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Kairos – An appointed “Time”

You know how it is when God says something to you three times in a row? Kairos popped up first in my writing, the next day at a conference I attended, and then the day after that in a sermon at church. It isn’t even an English word. It’s an ancient Greek word that isn’t really used all that much.

Kairos is a special time an artist might experience when creating art. At the conference I attended, we celebrated the 70th birthday of Israel. The topic of kairos came up there. Specifically, Jerusalem is part of the major end-times prophecies and  we are in a kairos time.   Are we truly aware of the exciting days we live in? As if that wasn’t enough . . . The following day after the conference, kairos was mentioned in the sermon.

What are you doing in your daily walk with God? Are you living as Jesus did, aware of His kairos times? Jesus spoke of it once in a conversation with his brothers. In John 7:6, He said:  “My time (kairos) is not yet here; for you any time (chronos) will do.” His words were spoken in Nazareth concerning His brother’s sacarstic remark that He should go to Jerusalem for the feast and show Himself to the world instead of staying in Nazareth. His brothers later believed in Him but not at that time.  The point is, Jesus knew His “kairos time” (appointed time) was not yet. He ended up going to Jerusalem, but He went alone and in secret.

I decided to look up the word to be sure I understood what God wanted me to see.

 According to Wikipedia:

Kairos (καιρός) is an Ancient Greek word meaning the right, critical, or opportune moment. The ancient Greeks had two words for time: chronos (χρόνος) and kairos. The former refers to chronological or sequential time, while the latter signifies a proper or opportune time for action. While chronos is quantitative, kairos has a qualitative, permanent nature.

The moment Jesus was baptised was a kairos moment in history and in His life as a man. The moment I heard the call to write for God was a kairos time in my life. The days we are living in, prophetically speaking, are kairos days — especially this year — at least that is what many prophetic people are saying. Kairos speaks of the spiritual dimension that exists at the same time as our natural dimension. We must be keenly aware of God-in-us to discern “Kairos times” and respond accordingly.

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Trust in God’s Goodness is true Faith

What causes God’s heart deep joy? I think it is when we trust completely in His goodness towards us. He delights so much in each one of His beloveds. And, just as we can delight in people we love, there are certain qualities about us, or instances in our lives, that quicken God’s heart to fill with deep love and affection. I believe this happens to God when He sees us living in faith and hope, knowing He is good. And, because God’s Spirit is within us, we can even “feel” His love and affection–His joy. This was my experience today in my quiet time with Him.

Today, I will be packing up my belongings and loading my car after an eight-month-stay in Minnesota. I am returning to my home in Charlotte and, coincidentally, my mother is moving into a beautiful  independent-living apartment in a senior care center. The timing of the center’s opening for her move is nothing short of miraculous. Just when I realized I needed to return home, God works things out for her there. She was my original reason for moving to Minnesota for an indefinite time. God’s timing is perfect. His favors are too.

God will meet all my mother’s needs, and He’ll lovingly provide me with all I need after I return, including a new job and the ability to continue growing the Burning Hearts for God ministry and finish writing my new book. I trust Him.

Today I wrote in my prayer journal the following words: “All is good, Lord. I trust You for all my needs and desires. You are good to me. Always. I love you.”

Then I opened to this devotional; the one for today’s reading fit my circumstances so perfectly. This happens often. How God orchestrates these perfectly timed things is proof of His loving presence. No wonder we can have so much faith in Him–He proves Himself over and over to us.

Here’s a few excerpts from my devotional today and the link to the book in case you are interested in reading more.

 

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“The One Year Experiencing God’s Presence Devotional: 365 Daily Encounters to Bring You Closer to Him” by Chris Tiegreen and wanted to share this quote with you.

“. . . Hope believes the best about God—-that He doesn’t just put us through trials but that He plans pleasures and joys for us too. He uses the difficulties in our lives, to be sure, but He doesn’t sadistically arrange them. He desires to bless. That’s His nature. When we hope in Him, we are acknowledging who He is. Rejoice in God and mistrust any expectations that His promises will be broken, His plans will be thwarted, or His goodness will be veiled in our lives. Hope hears His heartbeat accurately and ignores any lies about His character. It’s a concrete expectation of good-—not wishful thinking, not optimism, but a firm knowledge of God’s favor. And hope in Him, according to the Word, will not disappoint us. A life rooted in expectation of His goodness will always eventually be satisfied.

Prayer: “Lord, I place my hope in You. I trust that You are working on my behalf, no matter how difficult my circumstances become. Please fill me with hope—the kind that comes from Your Spirit and cannot disappoint. And help me live in that hope today.”

Start reading this book for free: http://a.co/gWdIbVu

 

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What Makes a Saint?

Saints have seen the burning heart of the universe at Calvary. That’s where love first fills their hearts.

Do you agree that God transforms His own beloveds into saints? Theologians call this sanctification. I think most people would agree that saints have hearts on fire for God. Being in love with God is being a saint. Sanctification without being in love with our beautiful Savior looks like duty, drudgery, deadness, diligent dedication; it’s a desperately burdensome existence. Jesus invites us into the duty of delight, pure and simple.

Our everyday vernacular uses the word “saint” in a lighthearted way to point out a person who has exceptional patience or some other virtue. We’d do well to know what God says about saints. In the Bible, the term “saint” is used thirty-six times in the Old Testament and sixty-two times in the New Testament—and thirteen of those sixty-two times appear in the book of Revelation. Apostle Paul wrote this about saints:

“. . . I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:26-27 NKJV).

 

What was hidden from those in past ages, Jesus revealed to us in ours.  To saints, heaven isn’t so much a destination or even the hope of a better life somewhere else. Heaven is seeing Jesus. To saints, God’s words “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3) echoes in their hearts and in their everyday lives.

Saints see God with singleness of heart.  They have “dove’s eyes” for Him. Just as doves mate for life and see with singleness of vision, so a saint desires God and loves Him entirely. Christ feels this way about His beloved, too. Jesus gave His beautiful “Beatitude blessing” to those who long to see Him. They are the “pure in heart” because they yearn to see Him. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Seeing God is their great reward. It’s not only their hope of seeing Him in the afterlife—a saint sees God in the now.

(This is an excerpt from The Art of Loving God, a new book in the making which I’m thoroughly enjoying with God.  I invite you to visit www.burningheartsforGod.com  and you’ll see much more on this topic of loving God. Be sure to subscribe there too. May you experience God’s love deeply during this holy season.)

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The God of Great and Small

In a pottery and glass gift shop in the mountains of North Carolina, I came across a tiny piece of glass art and bought it. When I first saw it, I wondered how the artist managed to make something so tiny, about 1/4″ in size, yet with unique, distinctive parts. Its smallness is what made it special to me. I named her “Suzie the flea” because of the joy she gave me. I also saw she had a destiny to fulfill in God’s kingdom of love. Since then, she’s flown by airmail many thousands of miles across the country to bear witness to God’s creative love and favor. The recipients have sent her back to me after she’s lifted their hearts. Suzie represents to me persons who are “little” in God’s kingdom yet each one holds a dear place in His heart.  Their smallness is endearing to Him. These are the hidden ones who stay in the background; they are not in the spotlight of God’s kingdom. He’s jealous to keep them there for His own reasons. I take great comfort in that. No more striving to be someone I am not. I am confident in this alone: God favors me and has destined to use me with messages of His love. I am small, like Suzie. Yet I am dear and can be greatly used in His kingdom. As can you.

 

 

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God’s Thoughts in Ours

As a seasoned God-listener, I know prayer is not only one-way dialogue.

Once I felt surprised by something I felt God “said” to me. I wondered,  Is this my thought or God’s?

The next thing that popped into my head was a question. A loaded one. “What is thought?”

God had asked me a lighthearted (which I sensed inwardly) yet “weighty” rhetorical question.

What is thought?

I queried “What is thought?” in an internet search engine. Wow! Somebody gave me an answer.

Curious, I read it. God smiled at me the whole time, of that I’m sure.

Neuroscience engineers might not include “God’s thoughts in ours” as part of their science, but they have mindboggling things to say about the nature of thought.

This article is by Elizabeth Dougherty; from the MIT School of Engineering’s article—“Ask An Engineer.” I provided a link to the entire article below.

Dougherty wrote: “The human brain is composed of about 100 billion nerve cells (neurons) interconnected by trillions of connections, called synapses. On average, each connection transmits about one signal per second. Some specialized connections send up to 1,000 signals per second. ‘Somehow… that’s producing thought,’ says Charles Jennings, director of neurotechnology at the MIT McGovern Institute for Brain Research.

“An electrical signal propagates like a wave along the long threads called axons that are part of the connections between neurons. When the signal reaches the end of an axon, it causes the release of chemical neurotransmitters into the synapse, a chemical junction between the axon tip and target neurons. A target neuron responds with its own electrical signal, which, in turn, spreads to other neurons. Within a few hundred milliseconds, the signal has spread to billions of neurons in several dozen interconnected areas of your brain . . . imagine how trillions of connections and billions of simultaneous transmissions coalesce inside your brain to form a thought.” (Used with permission.)

That explains everything, right? Oh, how I love God. “How great are your works, LORD, how profound your thoughts!” (Psalm 92:5 NIV).

God is gloriously, impossibly complex but manages to dumb down everything into very simple, understandable terms. His thoughts are voiced in us so simply. Sometimes we get just a prompting or a strong urge–He doesn’t even need words. But He likes them a lot.

Inspiration is God getting His thoughts into ours. I wonder if electric impulse signals are a lightning show going on in our brains in which our neurons dance with God’s when they come to us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. God made us to receive His thoughts but His thoughts are not ours, they are above ours in every way.

Of course the safe place to gain God’s thoughts are in the Bible. That’s the place of God’s most reliable “self-revelation” — the place He’s chosen to speak to inspired prophets and apostles. Anything evil, harmful, condemning, or unloving would not be from Him. The Word of God is always communicating with us and uses all sorts of creative ways to do so.

We just need ears to hear–which is spiritual receptivity. We just need to tune in.

 

Credit: What are thoughts made of?   https://engineering.mit.edu/engage/ask-an-engineer/what-are-thoughts-made-of/

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