November 23, 2017

A Step At A Time

encouragementbloggraphicromans15

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:6

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

I am about to celebrate a birthday and I’ve probably lived half of my life now. I have had so many blessings and precious moments…God is so good!  The one thing that bothers me is that I have wasted so much time wondering what my purpose is.  Wondering what is it that He really wants me to do?  Maybe you, too, need clarity for your journey…know that you aren’t alone, friend.

I have prayed for clarity and God keeps asking me to trust Him.  Maybe even take a few risks.  And I can say that, at times, it’s been painful.  It would have been so much easier if He could have just spelled it out for me on a sheet of paper.  But that isn’t what faith is.  And as we take a step at a time, we are getting to taste and see a bit more of Him. I still don’t know what my future looks like (or yours).  But I do know that if we trust fully in His promises and if we commit all our ways to Him, He will make our paths straight.  And, for me, this has meant just taking the next step and learning to trust Him in spite of the darkness that I am in.

Restlessness isn’t always a bad thing to feel.  I believe that it comes from wanting even more of our God. It might just be the catalyst to nudge us forward to live the epic lives that He designed for us even before the Earth was created.  Friends, there is a revolution coming and God is working out the details.  There is a big change coming and He is gathering a force.  If we are honest with ourselves, this might cause a little fear.  Maybe He has given you a glimpse of His vision for you.  If so, journal it and share it! And let’s band even closer together. We cannot go through this big journey alone—we, His children, are better together!

We do need to understand ourselves and the empty places around us.  But mostly we just need faith in a real, yet unseen, God.  And together, if we stop comparing ourselves to others and just follow Jesus, then you know that something is going to happen.  This generation of women have been quietly reading and longing and dreaming and falling in love with God and we are about to wake up!  We are about to let God run wild, through us.

Friends, we only have this one life that He has given us.  Then we get to meet the God Who created this world and planned it all.  We want to live lives that matter and make a difference for the Kingdom.  We want to be a generation who follows God with reckless abandon, a God Who is real to us!  So let’s go for it!

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

This is a verse we hear often and sometimes we don’t really appreciate the meaning.  It says that God knows the plans that He has for us and that those plans are meant for good, not to harm us.  The very thing that you are wishing wasn’t in your life just might be the very thing that God uses to enhance your life….

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Let us pray: Dear God, You are so amazing and awesome.  You are the planner of it all and we are so grateful that You had our best interest at heart. How we praise You for loving us that much.  Please keep revealing to us the steps You want us to take to better the Kingdom.  Help us to stay focused on the main goal and not to get distracted with the things that disappoint us.  We love You and we pray for those that are lost today.  May they come to know You, too.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

This Week…Jeremiah 29:11

SeekingHimLogo

 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.
“They are plans for good and not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we are continuing a mini-series on the subject of HOPE.  Our devotional writers have shared the Truth given us in this week’s passage reminding us that God’s plans give us ‘a future and a hope!’  Here are a few of their thoughts….

In Hope for Good, Ahmee wrote reminding us that God is good and only gives good….

Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the most popular Scriptures known to Christians…that and John 3:16.  Jeremiah 29:11 has been misquoted, misused, and misunderstood, as well.   Sometimes, we like to take Scripture and toss it around, in a well-meaning (but incorrect) fashion.  What I like most about Jeremiah 29:11, though, is that it reminds you that God cares for you and all that you do.

Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that God is on our side.

  • He does not harm us
  • He does no ill to us
  • He does not give us cancer
  • He does not cause accidents
  • He does not burn down houses

He does not do any of those things!  There is no burning down your house to give you a better house.  God doesn’t do wrong, bad things, or cause harm.  God, however, can make good come out of bad.  But He does not make bad happen so that good can happen.

In God’s Declarations and Thoughts, Ann wrote about the importance of following God’s example in making declarations….

The Jeremiah 29:11 declaration which God made is so powerful.  This shows that declarations are a way of establishing things in our lives.  His declaration shows how He thinks of us, along with His will and His purpose for our lives.

Thou shall declare a thing and it shall be established.
Job 22:28

What is it you declare and think about your life…family…job…school, etc?  Be positive: declare and think that which will make your future bright.  God’s thoughts over us are of good…not of evil; and He declares the same.  As we think of ourselves, we, too, should not think that which is evil but only that which is good and declare it.

In Hope in the Lord, Tina reminded us of Daniel’s example of holding to hope through intercessory prayer….

Daniel, who was one of those who were taken into exile in Babylon.

In the first year of his rule, I, Daniel, saw clearly from the books
the number of years given by the word of the Lord
to the prophet Jeremiah, in which the making waste of Jerusalem
was to be complete, that is, seventy years.
Daniel 9:2 BBE

Daniel was a man after God’s own heart.  He immediately began praying, asking forgiveness of sins for himself and for those of God’s people.  Daniel was in reverent awe of God’s mercy, grace, and righteousness toward them.  Daniel’s prayer is an example of intercessory prayer.  We should all strive to do this, and most of us moms do pray and intercede regularly for our children and our family.  Our hope is in God’s mercy and forgiveness.  We have to be willing for God to use us where needed.  He will use our willingness to serve to give hope to those who have no hope.

Often, when we feel we are not worthy, that is when God will use us.  When we are empty of ourselves is when God can fill us with His hope and joy until it overflows and effects others around us.

In The Big Picture, Cynda reminded us of the security our hope gives us because of the One in whom we trust and hope….

Job 11:18 ESV states “And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security.”  Hope gives us security.  There is no need to rush ahead, to solve the problem, or to  resolve the issue, without waiting for God’s instructions.  Because we have hope we can rest, secure in the knowledge that God has the perfect plan for us.  He sees the big picture and knows exactly what needs to happen and when.  His time frame, not ours.

When the Lord is our hope,

  • He becomes our Help and our Shield (Psalm 33:20)
  • He shows us mercy and love us steadfastly (Psalm 33:18)
  • He faithfully answers our prayers (Psalm 65:5) [just not always in the ways we think they should be answered]
  • He is our trust and confidence (Psalm 71:5)
  • We are blessed (Jeremiah 17:7)

The Lord is our hope.  We can have confidence that our future is secure in His hands.

Let all that I am wait quietly upon only God.
May I silently submit to Him,
for He is my hope.
Psalm 62:5

The Big Picture

SeekingHimLogo

“For I know the plans I have for you” 
— this is the Lord’s declaration —
“plans for your welfare, not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 HCSB

 *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

H. O. P. E. =  Holding On Praying Expectantly

So many times we’re in captivity or we’re having great problems; we think, “Oh, God has forgotten me.  He is not thinking of me anymore.”  Oh, that’s not so. God is thinking of you.

“But God is always looking down at the end of the road.  Our common mistake is that we are always looking for immediate advantage, immediate fulfillment.”

– Chuck Smith (click here to read entire commentary)

I cannot begin to count the number of times I have jumped into something considering only the immediate results instead of thinking about the long-term consequences.  I wanted the problem fixed NOW and knew just what to do.  How many blessings have I circumvented?  How many additional problems have I caused simply because I didn’t see the big picture? How much different might things have turned out if I had just held on to hope and continued to pray expectantly?

And you will feel secure, because there is hope;
you will look around and take your rest in security.
Job 11:18 ESV

Hope gives us security.  There is no need to rush ahead, to solve the problem, or to  resolve the issue, without waiting for God’s instructions.  Because we have hope we can rest, secure in the knowledge that God has the perfect plan for us.  He sees the big picture and knows exactly what needs to happen and when.  His time frame, not ours.

When the Lord is our hope,

  • He becomes our Help and our Shield (Psalm 33:20)
  • He shows us mercy and love us steadfastly (Psalm 33:18)
  • He faithfully answers our prayers (Psalm 65:5) [just not always in the ways we think they should be answered]
  • He is our trust and confidence (Psalm 71:5)
  • We are blessed (Jeremiah 17:7)

The Lord is our hope.  We can have confidence that our future is secure in His hands.  God is always thinking of us.  He has great blessings in store for us when we wait patiently and follow His lead.  He sees the big picture and has our future all mapped out accordingly, as long as we don’t rush ahead.  So my prayer today is:

Let all that I am wait quietly upon only God.
May I silently submit to Him,
for He is my hope.
Psalm 62:5

God’s Declarations and Thoughts

SeekingHimLogo
I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

The Jeremiah 29:11 declaration which God made is so powerful.  This shows that declarations are a way of establishing things in our lives.  His declaration shows how He thinks of us, along with His will and His purpose for our lives.

Thou shall declare a thing and it shall be established.
Job 22:28

What is it you declare and think about your life…family…job…school, etc?
Be positive: declare and think that which will make your future bright.  God’s thoughts over us are of good…not of evil; and He declares the same.  As we think of ourselves, we, too, should not think that which is evil but only that which is good and declare it.  “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45).  If we are filled with wrong thoughts then the declarations we speak will be of evil and destruction.

Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders You have done.
The things You planned for us no one can recount to You,
Were I to speak and tell of them, they will be too many to declare.
Psalm 40:5

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God.
How vast is the sum of them.
Psalm 139:17

David came to a point of realizing that in anything and in all things about his life was centered on God and that all things were being managed by God.  Let us also align our thoughts with the thoughts God has for us so that we may accomplish His will in our lives.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55: 9

Blessed be the Lord who has good thoughts for us and declares them.  May we  have good thoughts for ourselves, our family and friends and declare good over everything.  May we remember this lesson that we need to be thinking and declaring good things.

  *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Dear Lord, we thank You for the word that has come at the right time when we needed it most.  Your Word gives us life and teaches us new precepts every day.   Thank You for showing us how deep Your love is to a point of thinking and declaring good things (and not evil) over our lives.  King of glory, we worship You.  May we walk in that grace of thinking and declare good for ourselves, our families, friends and all that concerns us. For with our mouths we shall declare a thing and it shall be established to the glory of Your holy name.  Be exalted always, Jehovah.  In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.

Hope for Good

SeekingHimLogo

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you a hope and future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

  *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the most popular Scriptures known to Christians…that and John 3:16.  Jeremiah 29:11 has been misquoted, misused, and misunderstood, as well.   Sometimes, we like to take Scripture and toss it around, in a well-meaning (but incorrect) fashion.  What I like most about Jeremiah 29:11, though, is that it reminds you that God cares for you and all that you do.

Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that God is on our side.

  • He does not harm us
  • He does no ill to us
  • He does not give us cancer
  • He does not cause accidents
  • He does not burn down houses

He does not do any of those things!  There is no burning down your house to give you a better house.  God doesn’t do wrong, bad things, or cause harm.  God, however, can make good come out of bad.  But He does not make bad happen so that good can happen.

And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good?
No one is good except God alone.
Mark 10:18

The LORD is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does.
Psalm 145:13b

Knowing these proven truths, no matter what our circumstances look like or what our eyes can see or what our minds tells us, we can rest assured that God is for us and will never let us down.  Yes, the way things work out don’t often make sense to us, but God can see the big picture.  Hoping in the Lord Almighty is the best decision that can be made for one’s family and future.

We may “lose” things.  Things may not go our way, but this does not mean that God does not have a plan.  No, it simply means that our plan does not look like God’s plan.  It’s okay to let go of the steering wheel and take the passenger seat. You’d be amazed at the places you will go.  Following God is made a bit easier when your hope is in Him.

  *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Lord, help us to keep our hope in You.  Help us to see the hopeful future and plans You have for us.  Amen.

There Is A Hope (Jeremiah 29:11)

SeekingHimLogo

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Stuart Townend
written along with Mark Edwards

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

There is a hope that burns within my heart
That gives me strength for ev’ry passing day
a glimpse of glory now revealed in meager part
Yet drives all doubt away
I stand in Christ, with sins forgiv’n
and Christ in me, the hope of heav’n
My highest calling and my deepest joy
to make His will my home

There is a hope that lifts my weary head
A consolation strong against despair
That when the world has plunged me in its deepest pit
I find the Savior there
Through present sufferings, future’s fear
He whispers, “Courage!” in my ear
For I am safe in everlasting arms
And they will lead me home

There is a hope that stands the test of time
That lifts my eyes beyond the beckoning grave
To see the matchless beauty of a day divine
When I behold His face
When sufferings cease and sorrows die
and every longing satisfied
then joy unspeakable will flood my soul
For I am truly home

Not Worrying Doesn’t Mean Don’t Plan

SeekingHimLogo

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.
Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Matthew 6:34

Worrying refers to negative thoughts about something that has not yet happened.  We often use our imaginations to sift through all the possible outcomes.  And we usually attempt to come up with solutions to things that have yet to happen—and may never happen.

I feel to some extent worry can be healthy.  Worry can draw attention to areas in our lives that may need some attention.  For example, if you constantly worry about money, then you should take a look at your finances:  Are you handling your finances in a godly way?  Are you worried about your future?  Have you stopped to consider and talk with God about what He would have you do?

Worrying often comes from us depending on ourselves instead of the Lord. If we are depending on the Lord in every area of our life, then there is no need for us to worry!  Planning, on the other hand IS something we can do.  Here’s an example:  if you know that you make “X” amount of money each week and you have “X” amount of bills to pay each week, then making a budget for the upcoming weeks is not worrying; it’s called planning.

Planning is essential to our well-being.  God said in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you…”  God thought it was a good idea to have a plan for us; so we, too, should have plans in our lives.

Notice I didn’t say “plan our lives”…I said, “plans IN our lives.”

Only God can plan our lives. The Bible says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

Planning IN our lives can be as simple as setting an alarm to go off in the morning.  Setting time aside to read your Bible or do the dishes.  Planning is opening a savings account (and using it).  In the past week, the weather has been rather cold.  I know my car does not like the cold.  My dad has told me time and time again to make sure that I start my car everyday when it is really cold outside.  This isn’t worrying…it is planning.

You might even say that planning goes hand-in-hand with common sense. Something else I have noticed is that worrying can be a result of LACK of planning.  Oh, you know…you start to worry if you will finish your 9 page paper on time because you waited until the night before to start it.  With a little planning, the worry could have been avoided.  Procrastination is worry’s best friend. (And I know this from experience.)  Don’t be afraid to make plans.  Ask the Lord where He would lead you.  Just…don’t worry!

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Lord, help us to plan in our lives for the days to come and to be able to balance this planning so that it does not turn into worrying.  Let us hold our lives loosely knowing that even the best of plans are subject to change when You grab hold of them.  Let us not be so stubborn as to refuse to waver from the plans we have and to willingly follow where You would lead us. Amen.

Staying in the Presence

SeekingHimLogo

Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow,
because tomorrow will worry about itself.

Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34 HCSB

One of my favorite quotes is…
Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do,
but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”

We look at the past and worry about what has happened.  We look to the future and borrow trouble worrying about what will happen.  Neither is helpful…and neither gets us anywhere.

How many times have you heard the phrase “One day at a time…”? Hundreds, maybe even thousands?  It sounds trite but it is exactly what we need to do—take one day at a time.  But HOW do we do that?  By staying in His Presence. Philippians 4:6 gives us the best advice and provides step-by-step instructions for staying in His Presence.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.

When we quit worrying—and instead—tell God everything, we shift our burdens to Him.  Psalm 55:22 (NLT) reminds us to “Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you.”  He will take care of us.  He is in control.  All we need to do is ask.  That is where telling Him what we need comes in.  John 11:22 (AMP) says “And even now I know that whatever You ask from God, He will grant it to You.” (BTW – God already knows what we need, but He likes to hear us ask.  It opens a conversation with Him.)

As we begin to thank God for all He has done, it causes us to reflect back on our life.  Psalm 77:11 (NLT) encourages us to recall what He has done and remember the miracles He has performed in our lives.

But then I recall all You have done, O Lord;
I remember Your wonderful deeds of long ago.

In reflection, we can see all the times God has been there for us…we see His mighty hand at work…we recall His great grace, His faithfulness, and His unending love.  Then we know with assurance Who holds our future.

Psalm 85:9a (AMP) states “Surely His salvation is near to those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him….”  When we remain in His Presence, we have no need to worry.  He knows the plans He has for us…plans that give us hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  So let’s stop the worry and enjoy this day in His Presence.

What IS Joy?

gchSHadventjoygraphic

As I began to study JOY, one question kept coming to mind – what is joy?  The more I researched…the more frustrated I became.  Oh, there is LOTS of information out there about joy.  Most of the information is very vague and I wanted concrete.

Then I stumbled across Rick Warren’s definition of joy:

Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life,
the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright,
and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”

I love that!  Joy is a ‘settled assurance…a quiet confidence’ in God.  Lexham’s Bible Dictionary defines joy as “a natural result of having received salvation.  Joy comes on account of what Christ has done, irrelevant of whatever circumstances are happening in one’s life”.

Psalm 92: 4 (NLT) puts it like this,

You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me!
I sing for joy because of what you have done.

When I recall all He has done for me, I can look forward to what He will do with assurance and confidence. I trust Him.  That is true joy.  According to Matthew Henry, “From a joyful remembrance of what God has done for us, we may raise a joyful prospect of what He will do.”

As I continued to think about what Christ has done for me, two things came to mind:

  1. He has given me a future
  2. He has given me hope

Jeremiah 29:11 (HCSB) states “I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope….”

And Psalm 16:11 (HCSB) says “You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.”

Happiness is often associated with joy.  Joy is so much more than being happy. Happiness is a temporary emotion while joy is an attitude, a state of being. Happiness often comes from external situations or material things. The joy of the Lord is found within and gives us strength no matter what we are experiencing.  Joy is the result of our choice to trust Him.

That’s where I find my joy – in Him alone.

   *    ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

Father, thank You for being the source of my joy. You are my Strength and my Portion forever. Remind me when I struggle that joy and happiness are not the same thing. May I always look to You and recall all You have done, and will do, in my life. That is my true joy. In Jesus’ name I ask this – Amen, so be it!

Something In The Water

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

He said, I’ve been where you’ve been before
Down every hallway’s a slamming door
No way out, no one to come and save me
Wasting a life that the Good Lord gave you
Then somebody said what I’m saying to you
Opened my eyes and told me truth
He said, Just a little faith and it’ll all get better
So I followed that preacher man down to the river

And now I’m changed
And now I’m stronger
There must’ve been something in the water
Oh there must’ve been something in the water

Well I heard what he said and I went on my way
Didn’t think about it for a couple of days
Then it hit me like a lightning late one night
I was all out of hoping, all out of fight
Couldn’t fight back my tears so I fell on my knees
Saying, God, if You’re there come and rescue me
Felt love pouring down from above
Got washed in the water, washed in the blood

And now I’m singing along to ‘Amazing Grace’
Can’t nobody wipe this smile off my face
Got joy in my heart, angels on my side
Thank God Almighty I saw the light
Going to look ahead, no turning back,
Live everyday, give it all that I have
Trusted Someone bigger than me
Ever since the day that I believed

 Singer/Songwriter Carrie Underwood with Chris Stefano, Brett James

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~   ♥   ~   *

What is your testimony?  What moment in your life comes to mind where you were changed COMPLETELY…?

And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.
Revelation 12:11 NLT

It is AMAZING what God can do with the broken pieces of your life.  I was about 22 when my life was changed completely by the love of God.  I can so relate to the desperation in this song where she says “God, if You’re there please come rescue me…”.  My life was in a million pieces and I had sunk into a pit of despair from years of poor choices.  It was then that I cried out in my desperation and God met me right where I was at and my life changed completely.

Oh, sisters, BELIEVE it!  There IS something in the water and it WILL change your life forever!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

I don’t even want to think of where my life would be today if I had not made the choice to surrender it in my desperation…. What we have been through, or are currently going through, will make us stronger.  Girls, He is more than able!

Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Ephesians 3:20 NLT

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~   ♥   ~   *

Heavenly Father, I pray that in our moments of desperation that we will choose to cry out to You and surrender it all.  So that we may have a smile on our face and be singing of your AMAZING GRACE in Jesus’ name.  AMEN!