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The Joy of the Lord

The Joy of the Lord

Life has been hard, really, really hard.  In chronological order, here’s some of what’s been happening:

1. Rejection that I cannot mention from those you’d think would know better. It was a spiritual issue that went deep but grace has done it’s good work in my soul.

2. My car was side-swiped badly (two doors significantly crushed) by a hit-and-run driver (I cannot afford to pay the deductible and rent a car for 6 weeks).

3. My computer crashed and took most of my creative documents I have yet to retrieve. I am now using a borrowed laptop.

3. More than half of my family members are in crisis emotionally and financially in which I am a part. My son described it this way: “We’re all circling the drain.”

4. My health is in trouble. I just spent a few days in the hospital with life-threatening diverticulitis (it is still ongoing, but I am better).

5. Major setbacks as a writer have made me want to quit.

The result? In the past few weeks, I have felt sapped of energy, ambition, and my sense of well-being has been at an epic low. In short, my joy in the Lord dwindled and dwindled until I felt like sleeping all day and night.

HOWEVER, I have heard God’s voice. It is to be strong in faith and believe in all that I know to be true.

God Himself is my joy and truth.  He gives me hinds’ feet on high places.

Jehovah, my Provider. Rabboni, my teacher and master. El Shaddai, my sustainer. El Roi, the God who sees me and all that involves me. In Him I put my trust, faith, hope, and affection. I worship Him! I adore Jesus, my Beloved. He will lift me up, set me upon His holy Rock. He is HESED (all merciful, abundantly kind, and good). He has almighty power and love.

Three scriptures pre-printed at the bottom of my prayer journal pages today are wonderfully apt:

1. “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Ps. 91:1).

2. “I will NEVER FAIL YOU. I will never abandon you” (Heb. 13:5).

3. “The joy of the Lord is your strength!” Neh. 8:10.

When troubles steal joy from me I become de-energized, unhappy, and lifeless.

Like King David, I cry out: Awake, O, my soul! Look into the eyes of your Savior. He is the joy of my heart and life.

I’ve made a “to-do” list and plan to take back the ground the enemy has been stealing from me.  #1 on the list was to write this blog.

Can you relate?

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O, Beautiful Jerusalem!

O, Beautiful Jerusalem!

We are living in exciting times, friends of God. We’re on the cusp of the climax of God’s real-life love story. God’s eyes have turned to Israel in these days.

I am thrilled to have been given eyes to see and ears to hear what God’s Spirit is saying and doing at this time in history, to be awake and aware as His beloved Bride. All is being made ready: hearts, nations, and the timing of events.

I’d like to share a wonderful newsletter with you. This will help you stay “in the know” in a global and intimate way of what is on God’s heart today concerning Israel.

And, because we are living in the Last Days, remember the Lord! He’s truly always near and with you. No matter what hard trials and trouble you are enduring, know that the Lord sees you and will take good care of you. And, above all, be of good cheer, for the fullness of God’s Kingdom is drawing nearer every day.

Be sure to sign up and get this newsletter by email:

Tikkun – in Israel

 

I had the chance to go to Israel and capture this photo of the Sea of Galilee at sunrise. What a treat from the Lord!

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Kairos – An appointed “Time”

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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What Makes a Saint?

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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Beauty Cheers the Heart

Beauty Cheers the Heart

Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

White scenes of winter soothe me because I grew up in Minnesota and enjoyed a wonderful childhood full of love, play, and no worries. These days, I grieve for children who do not have the benefit of a fearless childhood.

I wept watching the news of the school shooting in Florida. So, so tragic! More loss of innocent lives, so full of promise.  And when ordinary people become heroes and pay the ultimate price . . . we feel sympathy for their families and friends.  We see the funerals on the news. I pray for those who mourn everyone lost and injured. And what about the survivors? They’ll never be the same . . but for God’s grace and help.

Below is a photograph of a scene in Kuhmo, Finland. It lifted me into God’s arms because its beauty cheered my heart. I hope it does the same for you. Scroll down . . . This is a real place.

Even though the horrors of evil abound, the beauty, majesty, and reality of God is greater. One day all will be restored and there will be no more evil. Jesus promised. We will live in a restored, new world where Beauty and Goodness is all we will know.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” Proverbs 21:4.

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God’s Thoughts in Ours

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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