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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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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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A Memorial Day Tribute to Calvin Miller

A Memorial Day Tribute to Calvin Miller

Writers have mentors they look up to and one of mine is author Calvin Miller. I met him once. He sat across from me at a table for six at a writers conference. He was one of many presenters and guests that day. I was delightfully surprised to see an open place at his table during our lunch break. Conference attendees were encouraged to choose and join a featured guest, agent, editor, or speaker at their assigned table with the promise of engaging with him or her one-on-one. It was a chance to get advice, pitch your book idea, or make a connection with someone in the Christian publishing industry. I didn’t care to sit with an agent or an acquisitions editor, nor anyone else, not when Calvin Miller was in the room! Holy Moly!

He was such a humble soul, Calvin Miller. A deep thinker. A man who understood God’s “Story” and was a gifted artist at revealing God, especially the heart and mind of God, to others.

I wish I could tell you what we talked about. Our eyes locked while we discussed whatever it was and that was enough for me. I knew God had given me the favor.

Here’s a sample of the beauty and depth of man who really knew God. This is an excerpt from A Requiem for Love, from The Singer Trilogy. (Here’s a link to this book from our book store.)

The setting is just outside the gates of the Garden of Eden. We’re in the middle of a scene with the Creator, whose name is Father-Spirit, and Slithe, the serpent.

“Welcome to your your Garden, Eminence,”

The rising reptile hissed.

Earthmaker turned,

“Slithe, once-loved, once crowned

Can this be you,

Self-damned, condemned to sand?”

 

Slithe laughed.

“Lock me from the green, it is only for a while.

Full well you know I will be in.”

 

“Once the entire universe was yours.

You chose these desert chains.”

 

“I chose a throne and got the chains,”

The serpent spewed his bitter grudge.

 

The Father-Spirit turned toward the gates

As they swung slowly open.

His old accuser blinked into the distant splendor.

“Will You succeed this time

In fashioning a lover?

Who will remain a lover?

Or, is Your new creation

Destined to betray You?

Why are You forever

Planting hope in high-walled gardens?”

 

The Father-Spirit looked away.

“Terra holds this Sanctuary as a dream

Where love abused by treachery

May mold a masterpiece of hope.

Today I crown all I have ever made

And honor Terra’s clay by stamping it Imago Mei,

A man, a prince–Regis, friend of spirit.

He shall wear the crown of love you cast aside.

But you will never see his coronation,

For only perfect love shall pass these gates.”

 

This, and the rest of their conversation, unveils more truth and depth of God’s Word, God’s heart, God’s purposes, in a short poetic story than if you were to study theology and philosophy all your life. Do your heart a favor, follow the link below and read the letter Calvin Miller wrote to you, as a member of the Church, before he passed on to heaven. This is an important reminder to all of us to focus on what is vital in life.

Calvin Miller’s Letter to the Church

 

I invite you to visit and subscribe to Burning Hearts for God  where you can visit the book store for more information about Calvin Miller’s book!

 

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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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The God of Great and Small

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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