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Be Still

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”

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

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?

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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Hope

Hope

It’s Sunday today. One week after the senseless, violent murders that took place in a small Christian church family in Texas. What a horrible, tragic thing!—and to happen in a place of worship. Our country is still mourning the deaths of too many innocents taken in Las Vegas. What is happening to our society? Why is there so much hatred everywhere? We are worried about the evil in the hearts of the leader of North Korea and in ISIS terrorists, but evil is lurking in countless, lost souls worldwide.

And it is everywhere. Nowhere is safe. The cliché “What is this world coming to?” is a resounding cry that echoes from our hearts in our everyday thoughts. Lord, God of heaven and earth, save us!

A generation shows how fast things are becoming evil. When I was growing up, I could freely play outdoors all day long. At age twelve, I took a city bus on my own to a large metropolitan downtown. When I left the house on summer days, I’d take off on my bicycle early in the day and return in time for dinner. My parents never worried about me. I had no cell phone or tracking device on me. We didn’t need it.  Now my children are parents. They are afraid to let their children play in the backyard.  As grandma, I’m sometimes brought in to help keep their kids safe. If we lose sight of a child for a few moments at the store, we panic. One of us must escort the kids to the school bus stop and meet them there when they are dropped off. A school bus is still considered potentially dangerous for my twelve-year-old grandson.

I am reading John Eldredge’s new book, ALL THINGS NEW. Talk about the need we have for hope, this book couldn’t be better timed. I have been praying with this book, turning every truth and insight into communication with God. I haven’t gotten far into the book’s pages to know the author is reminding me of what I’ve known, as a follower of Jesus, for a long time. I just needed to hear about my “hope” in depth from a man of God, a person who understands human hearts and God’s heart and has a way with words that hits the mark in our souls. Thank you, John Eldredge, for being sensitive to God’s heart at this time and for giving us the reminder we so desperately need.

People of the Kingdom of Jesus, we have what we need for these days. We are in the know, even though we still ask “Why? Why? Why?” as we hear the “bad news” on the News every night. Beloved brothers and sisters, we know where we are headed. It’s just that at this time, we need the Lord’s comfort and His reminder. Hang on to your hope.

Lord, let us “see” that we are in the Last Days with eyes of HOPE, focused on You and Your promises. What we most hope for is around the corner.

I told the Lord this morning that my hope lies in Him, in His promises for the GOOD, love, and beauty He wants for all people. His Kingdom is about to fully come and will invade the darkness and cast it away. God wants us to be comforted and uplifted. Faith, hope, and love are the strongest powers we have—and they come from God. What is happening in our world is that we are spinning faster and faster towards the “restoration of all things” that Jesus promised us. It will get darker before the DAWN. Let your hope rise. We were made for the kind of life that began at the dawn of Creation—our paradise lost. But Jesus promised to make all things new here on this earth. Do yourself a favor, pick up John Eldredge’s book. It will do your heart good.

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