We have never met (true for about 99.9% of my readers), but we are the same in a lot of ways. You feel a stir in your spirit, or perhaps you receive a promise through the Word of God, and you set out on an adventure of faith with great hope and expectation for the “new and good thing” that you are expecting to happen as a result of this prompting or promise.
“Let us go across
to the other side of the lake.”
But time drags on.
Discouragement begins to weigh on your shoulders.
Weariness begin to eat away at hope….
and you begin to fear.
One day Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they started out. As they were sailing, Jesus fell asleep. Suddenly a strong wind blew down on the lake, and the boat began to fill with water, so that they were all in great danger. The disciples went to Jesus and woke him up, saying, “Master, Master! We are about to die!” Luke 8:22-24 (GNB)
I’ve set out on many such journeys of faith over the years, and am still on many of them.
I am still waiting for the long awaited and much anticipated answers to many prayers.
I bet you are too.
And sometimes you probably feel like I do … like you’re sitting out in the middle of a big lake, at dusk, being battered by waves of fear and doubt, with the shoreline so far away you can’t even see it.
But here is what the Holy Spirit speaks to me through these few verses of Luke 8.
If Jesus is in the boat with me (with you), we WILL get to the other side … just as He said!!
Friend, if Jesus says we are going to the other side, we are going to the other side! Maybe not as fast as I would like, and maybe we will encounter some turbulence along the way … but we are getting there! He will make sure of it, even if He has to pick me up and carry me on His shoulders while He walks across the water to bring me to shore!!
Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man that he should lie…”
I hope that brings comfort to your spirit as you meditate on this simple truth. He is in the boat with you. He will get you to shore, just as He promised.
As this blog series “2018: A Year For Hope” winds to a close, and thoughts turn towards the shiny new year of 2019 quickly approaching, I find myself chuckling at how quickly I forget things and have to be reminded and re-reminded periodically.
I’m a journal-er. Not every day, but often enough that I have a stack of journals going back at least 8 years or so. This morning, I came across one that covered late 2017 into early 2018 and by chance I opened to read the following entry:
“I am returning my focus to ‘attending to your Word’.”
I got a chuckle out of that. No doubt, if I pulled out my older journals, I’d see that same theme repeated over and over again.
“My (daughter), attend to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are LIFE to those who find them and HEALTH to all their body.”
Seems like there are recurring seasons when I am so hungry for God, so desperate to understand His heart, that unknowingly my time of coffee and morning devotions extends well beyond the allotted time (like those long conversations with a dear friend). I love those times ❤
But there are other seasons when my reading plan seems dry and burdensome. When my mind wanders and I tend to return to familiar Scriptures instead of allowing the Word to speak fresh to my heart. It is during these “other” seasons, especially if they go on for very long, that I find myself being un-attentive to the Word, which generally means that I’m not living up to God’s best plans for me.
why? Because when my mind and spirit are un-attentive to the Word of God, I find myself more inclined to listen to the lies of the enemy instead of silencing him with the Promises of God. I tend to worry more instead of casting my cares upon Him who cares for me. I tend to speak fear instead of faith. And that’s when I realize … I NEED TO GET BACK TO ATTENDING.
“Keep your heart (mind/will/emotion – inner man – spirit) with all diligence, for out of it are the issues (offspring, outcomes, aftermath, consequences) of life.”
I flipped my journal over a few more pages, and see meditations on Psalm 138:2 and Isaiah 55:11.
“You have exalted Your word over all Your name.” (NJK)
“You have made Your Word (even) greater than the whole of your reputation.” (CJB)
“You have exalted Your Name and Your Promise above everything else.” (CSB)
“So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to me void….”
I distinctly remember the day (February 2018) when the Lord knocked my off my feet with this revelation … allowing me to ‘hear’ for the first time the full weight of the power and authority assigned to His Word, and even when it is spoken out of my mouth instead of His (or more accurately, my mouth on His behalf)!
And so shall my (Jenny’s) word be when it is spoken in accordance with the will of God (revealed in the Word of God) and spoken in faith (that the Promises of God as revealed in the Word of God are true and faithful and will come to pass just like He said) …
… they will not return to me (my ears) without having accomplished the purpose for which they were sent (the purpose for which He said them in the first place).
Doesn’t that just blow the socks off your feet!!!!!
Your word! My words! When they agree with (mirror/mimick) His Words, and are joined up with hope (confident expectation that the Promises of God are true and trustworthy) … our words have POWER!!
Power to bring a wayward child back to the Lord!
Power to bring provision where there was only lack!
Power to reverse a doctor’s diagnosis!
Power to over-write and over-rule the unchangeable!!!
Friends, we all have (or will) at various times face giants that seem so overwhelming and threatening that they cause our throats to constrict to the point that we loose our voices. Let us not be silent. No! Instead, let us be so filled with the Promises of God that when we are “squeezed” by the enemy or by the circumstances of life in a broken world, we open our mouths and say what God says about the situation. When we speak His Words, He is faithful to honor His Word and power is released by faith to overcome!!
So keep on praying!
Keep on speaking words of faith in His Promises!
Keep on trusting and keep your heart in a state of peace! His Word will not return void!
On of my treasured memories from my tweens and teens was walking down the hall in the morning to see my mom sitting in her favorite chair, Bible on her lap, and cup of coffee on the side table.
My next most treasured memory is the remembrance of her voice singing hymns in the kitchen as she worshiped her Lord and Savior while washing dishes.
It was late 1986 that we all drove up to visit my family in Oregon, and staying several nights with my mom. It felt so wonderful to walk down the hall again in the morning to see her reading her Bible while sipping coffee. It was so nurturing to my spirit to listen to her softly sing while cleaning house.
While out with my sisters, I found a small book in a consignment shop that reminded me of my mom. Published in 1889, the book is a collection of poems inspired by Scripture and is entitled “Fullness of Joy” by Cecilia Havergal and others. I gave the book to her as a thank you for letting us stay, and I wrote on the inside cover:
Thank you for opening your house to “T” and I and the kids during our visit. You’re a wonderful mother, and an even better friend. I love you, your daughter, Jenny”
When my mom passed, this book was found amongst her things and returned to me as a remembrance.
But now when I hold it, I feel a tear in my heart … for not only does it remind me of the occasion when she loved me in 1986, but it also reminds me of the first time she disowned me as her daughter. I know that the onset of dementia was at least a contributing factor to her increasing mean-spiritedness in her later years. It’s as though in the fog of dementia, she lost her ability to “filter” out the venom in her heart when crossed or otherwise angered.
“So the LORD answers, ‘Can a woman forget her own baby and not love the child she bore? Even if a mother should forget her child, I will never forget you.'” ~Isaiah 49:15 (GNT)
For those of us who have had parents that have wounded us in word or in action, let us not ascribe their shortcomings and failures to the character of God, our Heavenly Father. Where human love fails, God’s love never fails and it never gives up (or abandons)!
And true to His Word, God brought people into my life who would fill those gaps in my soul and spirit – spiritual parents, mothers and fathers, I’ve many of them over the years. The love and nurture that my own parents were unable to give because of their own brokenness, others gave me – teaching and training me (healing me) so that in time I could be a better parent to my own children.
He will do the same for you!
“God places lonely people in families. He leads prisoners out of prison into productive lives..” ~Psalm 68:6 (God’s Word Translation)
Thank you Daddy-God, that Your love is unconditional and utterly unshakeable. You are a kind and loving Father to the parent-less (fatherless / motherless), and You place the orphaned into new families!
Believe it or not, I have enjoyed writing my testimony (categorized under “My Story”) the past few months. Not only has it reconnected me with and given clarity to a calling God gave me years ago, but it has also allowed me to connect with some amazing people!
Through comments as well as private conversations, God has opened doors for me to use my voice and experiences to encourage others who are still walking “through their valley of the shadow of death”.
“What happens to you in life does not change the Word of God; but if you will hold fast to your confession (profession) of the Word, it will change what happens to you in life.” ~Charles Capps
I recently sat with a friend who wept with longing for the “seemingly accomplished” deliverance she sees in my life and testimony (while she is still in the process of laying hold of hers). She might be surprised to know that I wept into my own pillow that night … because there are still many areas in which I struggle with unfulfilled longings and (yet) unmet needs.
Last week I revealed my “Victory Painting”. I think it’s easy (especially, I think, on the heels of my testimony) to look at “Miss Hope” with head bowed down in worship, enrobed in Christ’s Righteousness, being spoken over by the Spirit of God … and think to ourselves …
She made it!
She has arrived! (at the place of rest and rejoicing)
To which I think she might say, “Please don’t look at me that way.”
And to all of you reading this post I also say, “Please don’t look at me that way.”
Meaning please don’t look at me like I’ve now living a life without challenge, without disappointment, without heartache. If you do, not only will you be disappointed when you find out the truth (when you find out that neither my life, nor I (myself) am “all that and a bag of chips”), but it will also short circuit your faith for what God is doing in your life … right now … today!
But neither let us focus on our (neither yours nor mine) shortcomings and current struggle points (or ‘messy spots’).
“Faith is confidence that God’s Word is true, and conviction that acting on that Word will bring His blessing.” ~Warren W. Wiersby, BE: Mature
Instead, let us look into the mirror of the perfect Word of God, and see ourselves how God sees us. If you are a Christ-follower (have made Jesus the Lord of your life), then guess what … this lovely image of Miss Hope robed in Righteousness, breathed upon by the Breath of God … that’s you too!
Perhaps even more importantly, let us say about ourselves what God says about us! Let us put in the work to “true up” our internal image of our true Identity.
To the lie that says you are a broken mess and always will be, open your mouth and respond with this:
I am healed and whole in Jesus (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).
I am complete in Him Who is the head over all rule and authority—of every angelic and earthly power (Colossians 2:10).
I am free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
I am far from oppression and will not live in fear (Isaiah 54:14).
I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me (1 John 5:18).
I am holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:16).
I am the righteousness of God—I have right standing with Him—in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
I have been rescued from the domain and the power of darkness and brought into God’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13).
I am redeemed from the curse of sin, sickness, and poverty (Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Galatians 3:13).
My life is rooted in my faith in Christ and I overflow with thanksgiving for all He has done for me (Colossians 2:7).
My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit; I belong to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19).
To the lie that says you are fearful and fragmented of mind/spirit, open your mouth and say boldly:
I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5).
I have the peace of God that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
The Spirit of God, who is greater than the enemy in the world, lives in me (1 John 4:4).
I am born again—spiritually transformed, renewed and set apart for God’s purpose—through the living and everlasting word of God (1 Peter 1:23).
I have received the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus, the eyes of my heart enlightened, so that I know the hope of having life in Christ (Ephesians 1:17-18).
I am merciful, I do not judge others, and I forgive quickly. As I do this by God’s grace, He blesses my life (Luke 6:36-38).
The light of God’s truth has shone in my heart and given me knowledge of salvation through Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).
I am not ruled by fear because the Holy Spirit lives in me and gives me His power, love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).
I have received the power of the Holy Spirit and He can do miraculous things through me. I have authority and power over the enemy in this world (Mark 16:17-18; Luke 10:17-19).
To the lie that says you are never going to change – never going to gain the victory, open your mouth and shut that voice up by declaring:
I am renewed in the knowledge of God and no longer want to live in my old ways or nature before I accepted Christ (Colossians 3:9-10).
I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ Jesus who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).
I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ to do good works that He has prepared for me to do (Ephesians 2:10).
In Christ, I am dead to sin—my relationship to it is broken—and alive to God—living in unbroken fellowship with Him (Romans 6:11).
As I hear God’s Word, I do what it says and I am blessed in my actions (James 1:22, 25).
I am a joint-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17). I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me (Romans 8:37).
I have everything I need to live a godly life and am equipped to live in His divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).
“Stand up to your full height; worry can not do for you (grow and mature you) what only faith can do.” ~Jeremy Pearsons
I am an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). I am part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people (1 Peter 2:9).
I am the head and not the tail, and I only go up and not down in life as I trust and obey God (Deuteronomy 28:13).
I am strengthened with all power according to His glorious might (Colossians 1:11).
I humbly submit myself to God, and the devil flees from me because I resist him in the Name of Jesus (James 4:7).
I press on each day to fulfill God’s plan for my life because I live to please Him (Philippians 3:14).
“Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.” ~Ephesians 3:20-21 (Amplified)
And all the people said …… Amen!
All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.
For the 13 weekly posts in which I shared my testimony with many personal details (Weeks 20-32) I had created some rather dark art pieces, to match the darkness of what was taking place in my life during that timeframe. As I neared the end what I felt prompted to share as “my story”, I wanted to create a new piece – a victory piece. I can’t tell you how many versions I tried … probably nine or ten … none of them conveyed what I wanted to convey. After another failed attempt over the weekend, I was getting discouraged.
And then Sunday night, I got another idea. I actually got out of bed and sketched it out before I forgot. In the morning, I wet my paints and started framing it out. Later in the afternoon, I did a little more. By the following evening, I thought I messed it up and almost tossed it … even began working on a second piece … but a little voice said “keep going” and so I painted a little more and set it aside to see how it looked in the morning. Surprisingly, it looked far better than I expected so I kept going …
(there’s a lesson in here)
… and much to my surprise, what looked like such a mess “in the moment” actually dried into something quite lovely.
Would you do me a favor? In your minds eye, would you change the image of Miss Hope so that it is instead YOU who are kneeling down on the plateau … YOU robed in purple, YOU encircled by the Breath of Heaven.
“He said, “Prophesy to the bones. Tell these dry bones to listen to the word of the LORD. Tell them that I, the Sovereign LORD, am saying to them: I am going to put breath into you and bring you back to life.”” ~Ezekiel 37:4-5 (GNT)
“Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”” ~John 20:22
What do you hear the Spirit say to you? Is He speaking to you through the remembrance of certain Scriptures? What loving words is your Heavenly Father speaking to you, over you?
Please share in the comment section what you heard and let it not only be an encouragement for you today, but let God encourage others through you.
All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.