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The Joy of the Lord

The Joy of the Lord

Has life been hard enough to sap your energy, ambition, and sense of well-being? Worse, sometimes the sense of the Lord’s presence seems to dwindle. It’s times like this we need to REMEMBER God’s favor and goodness and speak truth to our own hearts.

Overwhelmed by trying circumstances, like King David,  I recently cried out: Awake, O, my soul! Look into the eyes of your Savior. He is the joy of my heart and life. God is my joy and truth.  He gives me hinds’ feet on high places.

Jehovah Jireh is my Provider.  El Shaddai sustains, nourishes and protects me. El Roi is 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 rescues and redeems me, lifts me up. He is HESED (all merciful, abundantly kind, and good).

Three scriptures pre-printed at the bottom of my prayer journal pages today were 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.

Amen!

The next FIRE journal is in the  making.  https://burningheartforgod.com – a free online publication for keeping the fire going in your heart.

You can be sure I will include an article about this in the upcoming theme “Present to God’s Presence” because, really, habitual, unceasing prayer is to stay focused and in communion with the Lover of our soul, no matter what happens in life.

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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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The Gift of Free Hearts

The Gift of Free Hearts

I’ve been writing The Art of Loving God and an image of two horses running free along a beach persists and just won’t go away. The symbolic idea has been with me since I first thought about this book idea. Today, I finally gave in and sought God to help me see whatever it is He is saying through it. In fact, going a step further, I thought I’d find a photograph of what I have been seeing and share it here. This picture I bought online matches and now I’m pondering deeply what God is saying through it.

I have been writing about the idea that God gave us free wills and what a tremendous power that is. Some call this free will, but the will is governed by the heart. The greatest gift our Creator has given each of us is a free heart. That gift cost Him. God values what freedom means because love, to be real, cannot be forced or manipulated. He knows our hearts lead us in the pursuit of what we hold most dear.

Most of us cannot wrap our minds around the idea that we are, particularly, most dear to God. Once we get it, God becomes most dear to us. Loving the Lord above all is more than obeying the First Commandment. Our hearts are like horses that run wherever they please, but when our hearts find God’s heart, well, think of two horses running and frolicking on the beach.

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Why I Love Poppies

Why I Love Poppies
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Our Weakness Can Be Our Strength.

Our Weakness Can Be Our Strength.

My new writing project is stretching me out of my comfort zone but that’s good.  I think because the topic of my book is about deep devotion to Christ and the creative pursuit of God, which is the highest form of art that arises from our soul. My main problem is that an overwhelming amount of content wants a place in my book. It is like a tsunami of living water that I’m trying to tame into a peaceful brook.

Yeah! Anyway, here’s a single quote that rose to the surface today:

 “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” A. W. Tozer.

While doing some research, I came across this artist, Paul Smith. He brings to life the meaning of this Scripture: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10 NKJV).

This is such a moving testimony. Watch to the very end; God is being glorified through this artist.  You’ll want to share it.

 

 

 

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