Let Us See

Psalm 90: 16 – 17         TPT

Let us see your miracles again, and let the rising generation see the glorious wonders you’re famous for. O Lord our God, let your sweet beauty rest upon us and give us favor. Come work with us, and then our works will endure, and give us success in all we do.

This is my prayer. How can it not be? Oh, dear Lord, let your glory fall in our presence and show us the wonder of you. Revive our hearts with and by your grace. Let the radiance of your presence fill us and rejuvenate our spirits.

God is known for His glorious works. Let us praise Him for them but let us also pray for them, pray for their return to our everyday existence. Let us be the people, the generation, who lives by His Word and according to His grace. Call His fire upon us through prayer, servitude, generosity, and devotion. Beg, plead if we must, for his sweet beauty to rest upon each one of us daily and yes, dear Lord, give us your favor so that everywhere we go and everything we touch is blessed and anointed.

Let the work of our hands, Lord, be established in you. In all we do, let us first seek you and then proclaim you. We are but the dust of the earth without you Lord. Fill us with your presence so that we may live a justified and worthy life. Let me see your miracles again. Don’t let your servant die without the sweep of your Spirit through the land. Let your glory fill this place Lord. Let your might and graciousness be seen. And Lord, let them be seen in me.

My Heroes

Luke 6: 38         KJV

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

I don’t use the King James version very often because I don’t speak Elizabethan English. Occasionally, though, there are verses that I just hear in the old KJV and you may as well. This is one of those verses. We understand, at least at one level, what this verse means. Taking a look at it in a modern version, though, is like hearing it in “plain English.” Here is the Passion Translation’s take on this verse, “Give generously and generous gifts will be given back to you, shaken down to make room for more. Abundant gifts will pour out upon you with such an overflowing measure that it will run over the top! Your measurement of generosity becomes the measurement of your return.” I like what the God’s Word version says too, “Give, and you will receive.” I mean, just say it plainly, right? Now, just in case we hadn’t noticed, this is Jesus speaking. What, then, is his point? Is he trying to get us to give, or to receive? It seems to me that he is teaching us how to receive. What do you think? I can imagine a question like, “Jesus how do I receive what I need and want?” Here is his answer, give!

I have some absolutely lovely friends whom I met through the MS bike ride. Recently when I inquired about bike racks, they made me one. WHAT?!! Crazy, right? They are so generous! They do a lot for their team, but they also do a lot for others. They are just crazy givers. I said to a friend, “How can they even afford to do all they do?” She answered, “Because they are givers.” Duh Ivey! Yeah, God pours into their lap because they give generously. That’s what Jesus said would happen, after all. Oh, me of little faith. Why didn’t I see that right off the bat?

We read these words, even believe them, at least in our minds, but they are only effective when they sink in and become a part of us. You can’t talk people into being givers, they have to get there on their own. You can encourage them, but the key is that if we really believed Jesus, we would all generously give. Jesus’ words can infect your heart and boy, when they do, it is awesome. I mean, you just want to be around people like that.

I want us all to learn to be generous in our giving. I should lead by example but then come with me. I want you to give so you receive, and then I want you to give again and receive again, and . . .. I want us all to be like these folks because not only do I have a beautiful bike rack for my team, but even better was the feeling they gave me in my spirit. How can I repay them for that? I cannot, but I pray to my dear Lord that he will bless them for their kindness, and I am confident that he will.

Lucky or Blessed?

Deuteronomy 28: 12

The LORD will . . . bless all the work of your hand.

As many of you know, last year at the MS Bike ride, I won a bicycle. It was very exciting. At a different event I won a Jersey shadow box. Recently there was a drawing in an exercise class and, yep, I won. Yea!

People have been saying I should go to Las Vegas. Others said, “We need to get in the car right now and go buy a lottery ticket.” Truthfully, I love winning. It is exciting and fun, but I still don’t feel lucky and I didn’t go buy a lottery ticket.

I believe my good fortune comes from my Father. I don’t mean to intimate that he causes me to win a raffle over someone else that He loves. It’s just the blessing that He is and that is in operation because of him. The more I am into Him, the more that blessing seems to get on me.

Father really does help me with a lot of things. Sometimes I am lucky in games, but I think the truth is that my Dad helps me. Perhaps, I can hear Him and feel His nudges a little better these days.

I don’t feel lucky, but I will say, I am one of the most blessed people I know. I have good fortune, no doubt, but my fortune has a name, Yahweh. He is my good luck and my blessing. I just need to press into Him more so that more of Him gets on me. Then it is hard to go wrong. I love the Lord and He is good to me. He loves you too. That is not Las Vegas kind of love. It is infinite love so press into it and see the blessing flowing all around you. You are blessed!

Ouch!

Ephesians 4:29              The Passion Translation

And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them.

Wow! After yesterday’s Word of the Day on encouragement, this verse speaks volumes. Words are the cornerstones of encouragement. One side of this verse is probably what you thought of yesterday when reading on encouragement. That is to specifically and intentionally say things which will bring encouragement and uplifting thoughts to others.

The other side of encouragement is not saying “ugly or hateful” words. So, here is the way I would like to look at that. This goes beyond not saying hateful words to a person about themselves. That’s kind of a no brainer. Never tell anyone they are stupid or ugly, etc. Only tell them truthful good things about themselves. And, as we discussed yesterday, it is important to be intentional about that. Compliment people on what you see them doing well.

Sometimes, the “ugly” words are not specific to that person. I think some of the good you can do with your words has to do with trying not to be negative generally. For example, don’t complain incessantly about the weather. Don’t put down other people. Don’t be critical and judgmental. If you will find things to speak positively about, it will be uplifting to the people around you. You will find that you build them up rather than tear them down. Just speaking ugly or hateful words about anything pulls down the people who hear it. Even if you are right, it still fills the space with negative energy rather than positive. People will rather be around you and will feel better in general if you fill the space with positive words.

Your words are beautiful gifts. They can change a person’s day and even their life. Never let ugly or hateful words come out of your mouth. Allow only those lovely thoughts be expressed and thereby be an encouragement to others.

Encourage

1 Thessalonians 5: 11    GW

Therefore, encourage each other and strengthen one another as you are doing.

I received an email last week from a dear soul who receives the Word of the Day and it reminded me of this verse. There are others like this one, teaching us to be encouragers to one another. I have written on this call to encourage before, but it struck me a little differently last week. I thought about how much the notes you send bless me and how they keep me going when the task of writing a daily devotional gets wearisome. So, I want to thank you for your part in keeping the Word of the Day going and encourage you to be an encourager to the leaders in your life.

We have written 3119 Words of the Day. That’s a lot of devotion. I say “we” because I definitely could not do this on my own. Your encouragement is like fuel in the gas tank. I certainly would not keep this up, but for you. Of course, our Father is helping us both. He nudges you to write a note and He nudges me with an idea for the Word of the Day. It really is a team effort. As I enjoyed the refreshing I received through that email I wondered how many other pastors need a booster shot. That led me to thinking about other leaders and their need for support. I coined a phrase years ago, “Leadership comes from below.” It has multi-level meaning but one of the nuances is that those who rank below the leader need to show their own leadership by encouraging and supporting the leader. The old saying, “It’s lonely at the top,” is true but shouldn’t be.

Each one of us has the opportunity to encourage someone daily. I want to motivate you to be purposeful about encouraging others. After a period of intentionally encouraging others, it will become part of our nature to do so. While we are being intentional about encouraging folks, let’s remember our leaders. This may be your pastor, your boss or even the leader of a civic organization. You know what, it could even be a parent or spouse.

We all need encouragement. Like I said, it is like fuel. When the gas tank is empty, it is hard to keep going. I encourage you, in the name of Jesus, to find someone you can give a boost to. They will appreciate it and so will your Dad.

There is a Log in My Eye

Matthew 7: 1

Do not judge.

I was reading a little book of quotes the other day. It is fun little book because it has quotes from people aged 5 to 95. This one jumped out at me, “I’ve learned that when you judge others, you are revealing your own fears and prejudices.”

One of the things that bothers me about the modern church is how judgmental and exclusionary we are. Sometimes it feels like the Christian church is a club where membership is limited to those few we deem acceptable. The rest of the folks are just going to hell. I really don’t like that about us. I hate the way some of the non-saved look at us, like just a bunch of holier than thou hypocrites. Just once I would like the church to lead the way of acceptance and tolerance and leave our judgments out of it.

This quote makes one think that it is our own damage that causes us to be judgmental. When I think of some of the most judgmental people I have known this thought gains traction. I remember one person who judged everyone and found none to be worthy. She was friendless and definitely broken but she cleaned up well on the outside. It was sad.

I don’t know where we get the idea that we are supposed to judge others or even allowed to. Jesus said of himself, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him,” (John 3: 17). If Jesus wasn’t judging, what makes us think we were appointed the role? Maybe he couldn’t handle it so God appointed us.

I guess what makes me saddest about this reality is that we judge and condemn others out of our own brokenness. The Church of our God is supposed to be a place where we can heal. I fear few of us spend enough quiet, quality time with the Father for that healing to take place.

Here is what I will take away from today’s Word of the Day, when I catch myself judging others, I will look inwardly to see the source of that criticism. Then I can take that to the Father and be healed. Criticism and judgments are pointers to our own stuff and we need to spend our time on getting our stuff right. We need to let the Father heal us. Maybe, if we let the Father touch us and improve our attitudes others will find it easier to join our club.

God Ideas

John 16: 13

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.

God has promised that the Holy Spirit will guide us but how do you know something is a God idea? How do you know that He is guiding you with that thought? Well, recently I got a good taste of a God idea and thought I would share the revelation of it while it is fresh in my mind.

One of the clearest signs that the idea that popped into my head was God’s thinking rather than mine was that it made me uncomfortable. I wanted to argue with the idea. The idea may be bigger than your level of comfort so of course, you would instantly experience discomfort.

Here is another good sign. In this case, Father wanted me to give something away. If the thought is about giving, it is likely your Dad. Maybe you are a giver. In this case I had already decided to make a donation but the idea that came to me was, literally, a hundred times what I was thinking. That has to be God because: a) I don’t think that big, and b) it was quite generous. When Father wants us to make a gift, it is often out of our comfort zone. And, since He is a giver, God ideas routinely involve giving.

Another way you can know that you are having a God idea is that the thought is different from the way you think. It may be an idea that you would say about, “I would never have thought of that.” It’s just a different pattern of thought or way of thinking.

When I had this idea, whether it was because I recognized God’s hand or because it was bigger than my thoughts, I had a physiological reaction. I knew this was God in so many ways, but my pounding heart and quickened respiration told me something was happening too.

God ideas are often challenging but always fun and rewarding. I hope you have one today.