DEEPER STILL

 

Deeper Still was my first time reading through the Bible with a theme in mind. I was desperate for more of God, and I wanted to go deeper into His heart to get to know Him on a deeper and more intimate level.

June 2016 

 

Deeper Still:

In the beginning God created… Gen 1:1

 

If God can create everything out of nothing in six days, I think I can trust Him to create in me everything that I need at this very moment. I choose to trust Him with every fiber of my being; I choose not to trust what my eyes are seeing in the natural. 

 

Deeper Still: 

It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” Gen 3:3

 

It’s so easy to focus on the things I don’t have, shouldn’t have, can’t do, or shouldn’t do. As I learn to trust God more, I trust that He only has my best interest in mind. He wants me to be all He created me to be. When man say “no”, I probably should obey; when God says “no”, I don’t look, smell, touch, or see how close I can get without crossing the line.

 

Deeper Still:

 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. Gen 3:4

 

It’s tempting at times to believe others, to believe that somehow they know what’s better for my life than I do, and at times, they might. But God holds me accountable for the decisions I make in my life. He holds me accountable to know His Word, and to learn to recognize His voice. He holds me accountable to discern between the voice of the enemy and the voice of a Godly man or woman of God, just trying to help me be all God created me to be.

 

Deeper Still:

The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” Gen 3:12

 

It’s so easy to blame others for the poor choices I make. When I sin, I need to take responsibility for it. I need to talk with God about how and why I made that choice, and how I can keep from doing it again. I need to repent immediately, accept any repercussions from it, and then release it to God. Life is too short to carrying around guilt from sin that’s already been dealt with.

 

Deeper Still:

Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Gen 4:7

 

There are big sins and little sins, big lies and little white lies. Yet, sin is sin. If I don’t acknowledge it, I can’t repent and change. I must not allow pride, justification, rationalization, or any other excuse to keep me from getting control over sin. All sin, big or little needs to be subdued and mastered. I cannot be all God created me to be without getting control over the sin in my life. Lord, show me the sin in my life, so I can repent and get control of it.

 

Deeper Still: –

Cain (who killed his brother) had sexual relations with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Gen 4:17

 

I doesn’t matter where I come from, or who my parents might be, my life is not defined by my earthly lineage. My life is defined by my relationship with God the Father, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit. My life is defined by the choices I make; therefore I will make them wisely and with God’s leading.

 

Deeper Still: –

Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God. Gen 6:9

 

I think there is a special place in God’s heart for people who can walk out their faith, with absolutely no support from family or friends. It can be done, and it’s being done every day. I have been blessed with lots of support, may I take advantage of that support and not squander that which God has given me.

 

Deeper Still: –

A male and female of each kind entered, just as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord closed the door behind them. Gen 7:16

 

It’s easy to get concerned, and all riled up about what I can’t do.  I need to keep my eyes, and heart, fixed on Jesus; I need to be obeying what I hear all the time. I need to leave the impossible to God. He is quite capable of closing, or opening doors; He is quite capable of doing whatever needs to be done. I have my part, He has His.

 

Deeper Still: – 

Two more months went by, and at last the earth was dry! Gen 8:14

 

Noah and his family were on the ark for over a year. Now I’m sure God could of accomplished what He wanted in just a few weeks. Why a year? I don’t know. Why have I been going through what I’m going through for more than a year? I don’t know. What I do know is that God is God, and He has a plan. I can grin and bear it, with my focus being on “when this is over, then ….”. Or, I can fix my eyes, and my love on Jesus, soaking in all His love, knowing that He does have a plan.

 

Deeper Still: –

Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.” Gen 9:17

 

I can choose to rejoice with every rainbow I see, whether in the sky, or on a flag. I can remind God of His covenant with every living creature; I can ask Him to bless every living creature with knowing His love for them, with knowing Him intimately, and with knowing His truth. God needed a reminder of His covenant, His love for people, maybe sometimes I do too. 

 

Deeper Still: –

When Noah woke up from his stupor, he learned what Ham, his youngest son, had done. Then he cursed Canaan, the son of Ham: “May Canaan be cursed! May he be the lowest of servants to his relatives.” Gen 9:24-25

 

When I do something stupid, it might have an effect on others. They, in turn might do something stupid, which then can be life changing. How I lead my life does affect others. If I get mad and curse someone, it could last for generations. Words cannot be taken back, so I must choose them wisely.

 

Deeper Still: –

So she (Sarah) turned to Abraham and demanded, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son. He is not going to share the inheritance with my son, Isaac. I won’t have it!” Gen 21:10

 

Come on Sarah, really?  I wonder what was God was thinking when He heard her say this; I wonder if He just shook His head and said “Sarah, Sarah, Sarah”. I wonder how many times He’s done that with me. I’m sure she thought she was justified at the time; I’m sure I think I’m justified at times. Lord, I give You permission to smack me when I am tempted to over-react in situations when I should be grateful for what I have, and just trust You.

 

Deeper Still: –

Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. Gen 22:1

 

If I don’t start building my faith and trusting God with the little things in my life, then when the big things and the big testing comes, I don’t stand a chance of trusting God. God tests me in the little things, so I can count on Him during every situation that comes into my life. 

 

Deeper Still: –

And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.” Gen 22:18

 

There is no substitute for obedience. I may not always know what God wants me to do, many times I have told Him to just tell me what He wants me to do and I will do it. I may not know if he wants me to do this or that, take this job or that job. But I do know what His Word says: love, trust, forgive, repent, encourage, praise, worship, help the orphans and widows, heal the sick, raise the dad, cast out demons, walk in righteousness and purity, just to name a few. 

 

Deeper Still: – 

God blessed Isaac with bountiful croups and livestock. The philistines were jealous and filled up Isaac’s wells several times. Finally he found land where he could dig a well, and not have it covered up. Gen 26

 

Sometimes it’s hard to understand why God does what He does. He gives bountifully, and then conflict comes, and we have to fight to hold on to what He blessed us with. As one who doesn’t like conflict AT ALL, I have to remember that God may be allowing this conflict for a reason. It’s in the midst of conflict, uncertainty, despair, confusion, and roadblocks that love, joy, peace, patience, trust and faith have a chance to really grow.

 

 Deeper Still: –

Jacob to Esau: And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God! Gen 33

 

Some people go all day without seeing another human being. So when they do get out to go to church, shopping, doctor’s appoint, or whatever, wouldn’t it be nice for them to see a smiling, friendly face. God’s love may come out of my hands and feet at times, when I’m helping others, but God’s love should be coming out of my face 24/7. Letting God’s love come out of my face is a choice, and it can take effort, but it just might be what someone needs today.

 

Deeper Still: –

So it was God who sent me (Joseph) here, not you (his brothers)! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt. Gen 45:8

 

God sometimes has a different plan for getting people from point A, to point B, then most would like. It’s not my place to tell God how to orchestrate His plans, though I do put my two cents in from time to time. My part is to trust that He does have a plan in place for every day of my life; my part is to say “Here I am, use me, mold me, teach me, prepare me, for whatever You’d like”. My part is to trust in Him no matter what my current circumstances look like.

 

Deeper Still: –

Moses killed an Egyptian for beating a Hebrew, then he tried to break up a fight between two Hebrews, then after fleeing to Midian he rescued shepherd girls trying to draw water. Exodus 2

 

Years before Moses was used to free the Egyptians, he was displaying his heart against injustice. I can count on God to be creating in me a heart and passion for what He plans on using me for in the future. Sometimes it doesn’t look or feel like anything is happening, but God’s got a plan. I choose to embrace and tru

st God’s plan for my life.

 

Deeper Still: –

God choose Moses to steak to Pharaoh, He allowed Aaron to speak, but it wasn’t His first choice. Ex 4

 

At times, all I can see are my faults, my shortcomings. But I have to remember that if God has called me to do something, He will qualify me. I might think someone else can do it better, and maybe they can, but if God calls me, He has a reason.

 

Deeper Still: –

As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. Ex 14:10

 

The Israelites had just witnessed firsthand how powerful God was (the ten plagues), and how much He loved them, yet here they are panicking at the first sign of opposition. I experience this myself at times. I have to keep reminding myself how powerful God is and how much He loves me; I have to remind myself that He is on my side, no matter what the circumstances look like. I have to keep my eyes on Jesus no matter what. It’s always easier to see the negative, but more joyful to see the positive by trusting in God.

 

Deeper Still: –

But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Ex 14:13-14

 

When I am positioned right where I’m supposed to be, right smack in the will of God, there is no reason for fear. I will either do exactly what God tells me to do, or just relax and watch the Lord Himself fight for me. Either way, my responsibility is to trust God.

 

Deeper Still: –

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground. Ex 14:15-16

 

It seems that sometimes God wants me to “Just Do It”. Stop whining, stop praying, stop begging, “Just Do It”. I know who I am, I know His plans, I know the power and authority I walk in. I need to trust that if I’m getting it wrong, He will step in, if need be.

 

Deeper Still: –

Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. Ex 15:24

 

Really? They had just walked through the red sea on dry ground; God had just wiped out all the Egyptians; they had just sang a really long song (Ex 15:1-18) about all that God had done and how powerful He is, and couple of days without water and they fall apart. But how often have I done the same thing? I need to make sure I am one of the encouragers, instead of one of the complainers. The roots of my faith need to be so grounded in God’s truth, that I do not waiver in unbelief. 

 

Deeper Still: –

“Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?” Ex 17:2

 

Again, there was no water, and again the people started complaining. God knew the people needed water to survive, just like He knows exactly what I need. What will I do when faced with a similar situation? Will I complain to my pastors and anyone else who will listen about how unfair my life is, and how God isn’t doing His part? Or, will I fall face down before my Lord, praising Him, worshiping Him, and trusting Him?

 

Deeper Still: – 

Joshua chose men to fight against the army of Amalek. Moses held up his staff on the top of a mountain. Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms when he was too tired to go on. Ex 17: 8-13

 

No one person won that fight, it was a team effort. At times I may be called to be on the front lines. At other times, I might be called to help someone else by holding up their arms. If I am obedient to God, then every thing I do, big or small, is important to the Kingdom of God. Also, I better not be too quick to judge what others are doing. What looks like nothing to me, may be monumental in God’s eyes. So I will continue to encourage, and bless others to be obedient to God, and to be who He created them to be.

 

Deeper Still: –

As the people stood in the distance, Moses approached the dark cloud where God was. Ex 20:21

 

There are times when I feel like I’m on this journey all by myself. Some may choose to stand at a distance, with the safety of the masses, receiving God’s message second hand. But when I’m willing to approach God in a way that my natural eyes cannot see, and my natural mind may not understand, then I step into the bliss of His presence. There I meet with Him, and we talk.

 

Deeper Still: –

Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel climbed up the mountain. There they saw the God of Israel. Ex 24:9-10

 

These 70 plus people had sat face to face with God and shared a meal. Yet, later on these same people were among those who couldn’t trust God to go into the Promised Land. I need to focus on, and never forget all the things God has done for me, and for others around me. I need to focus on, and remember all the miracles being done everyday. I need to focus on our special times together where He talks to me personally. So when the impossible in the natural comes along, my faith in God is strong. 

 

Deeper Still: –

God had specific plans for the making of His tabernacle, and everything in it. He had specific plans, down to every detail for making Aarons cloths and chest piece, and the priests clothing. Ex 25-31

 

God is definitely a God of details and Exodus is full of them. There are times when God says, “Just do it, Ill be with you”, and times when He says, “Listen carefully to what I say, and do exactly what I say to do”. My responsibility is to get to know God so intimately that I can that I can tell the difference; to be so tuned into Him that I know when to stop and listen more carefully.

 

Deeper Still: –

You must keep the Sabbath day, for it is a holy day for you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the community. Ex 31:14

 

Wow, pretty harsh language here, and consequences for not giving God His holy day. It’s would be easy to nit pick this verse apart. However, I think what God is so passionate about is setting apart one day a week just for Him. To cease from my own agenda, and from working. Giving my spirit, soul, and body a chance to rejuvenate, and for me to spend more time connecting with God the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.

 

Deeper Still: – 

Aaron saw how excited the people were, so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then he announced, “Tomorrow will be a festival to the Lord!” Ex 32:5

 

When God doesn’t come through in a timely manner, it’s easy to start looking elsewhere; and it’s easy to get wrapped up in mans ideas and applause. I cannot allow what looks like God’s delay to change my focus from God to man. I cannot allow mans applause to sway me in a direction that is not from God.

 

Deeper Still: – 

God wanted to destroy the Israelites for turning away from the way He commanded them to live. Moses talked Him out of it. Ex 32:8 & 14

 

God takes sin very seriously. God’s grace is amazing, and I’m so thankful for it. But, God takes His commands and His Word very seriously. Some think the Old Testament commands are done away with, but what about the New Testament? Love your neighbor, love yourself, walk in peace, joy, righteousness, holiness, freedom from fear, walk in the power and anointing of God, repent and turn to God after sinning, etc. I love His grace, and love Him enough to respect (and love) His commands.

 

Deeper Still: –

Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Ex 33:11

 

How awesome that the God of the universe wants to speak face to face with me. He is not a distant God, but a relational, up front, face to face God. And, how blessed I am that I don’t have to go to a tent to meet with Him.  Because of Jesus Christ, God is with me, in me, and never leaves me. I need to take time throughout the day and just relax, face to face with God.

 

Deeper Still: –

Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting. Ex 33:11

 

Joshua must have been so hungry for more of God that he just couldn’t leave God’s presence. Oh Lord, I need that hunger for more of You.

 

Deeper Still: –

Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.” Ex 33:18

 

Moses had already spent so much alone time with God, at Mt. Sinai and in the tent. He must of known that there was more of God than what he had experienced. When Moses asked to see more of God’s glorious presence, he was shown God’s goodness (vs 19). God wants me to experience and to get to know all of who He is, all of His love, and all of His goodness. Maybe, all I have to do is ask.

 

Deeper Still: –

“Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. Ex 34:6 & 7

 

God is so amazingly good, so full of compassion, mercy, love, and faithfulness. He draws a line with guilty people though. What separates the guilty from the not guilty? The not guilty have repented of their sins, and been forgiven by God. To walk in the fullness of Gods compassion, mercy, love and faithfulness I need to stay free from the guilt of sin. Lord, show me any area of my life where I am still guilty, so I can quickly repent, and be restored to Your amazing love.

 

Deeper Still: –

I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected— even children in the third and fourth generations.” Ex 34:7b  

 

What I do with my life, what I do in secret, doesn’t just affect me. At the same time, what my ancestors did, may very well affect me, and I may need to repent on their behalf. It’s also a reminder that others may be affected by the sins of their ancestors. So instead of judging, maybe I should be praying that God would show them the way to freedom in this area. Maybe I should be willing to be used by God to help.

 

Deeper Still: –

“You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but on the seventh day you must stop working, even during the seasons of plowing and harvest. Ex 34:21

 

Even during the busiest times of my life, I must take one day a week to rest with the Lord. It’s a choice really, to obey, or not. I can get really legalistic as to when my one day should be, Saturday, Sunday, or any other day. Working for God, is not the same as resting for God. If I am preaching, teaching, cleaning, etc. at church on Sunday (or any other day), then that is not my day of resting in Jesus. I know a pastor who allowed his farming equipment to rest on Sundays. His equipment lasted longer than any of the other farmers, even when stopping and starting was harder on the engines. Lord, help me not neglect this commandment of Yours.

 

Deeper Still: –

God gave extremely detailed instructions for making the Tabernacle. He Himself put His Spirit into people gifting them in various areas. Ex.35-40

 

It took the Israelites several months to complete the very detailed tabernacle. Every detail had its purpose. THEN, the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle (Ex 40:34). I am God’s temple now; He resides in me. But still, how do I prepare myself to receive Him, His presence, His intimacy, and the fullness of who He is? Am I rushed, and multi-tasking, or am I still and focused on the details?

 

Deeper Still: – 

“If any of the common people sin by violating one of the Lord’s commands, but they don’t realize it, they are still guilty. Lev 4:27

 

Ignorance of sin is not an acceptable excuse to God. It is my responsibility to know what is and is not sin. I have a Bible, which explains it pretty well. I’m so glad I live this side of the Cross and don’t have to abide by the thousands of regulations of Old Testament times. But does this verse still apply; am I still guilty if I don’t realize my sin? I choose to allow this verse to motivate me to an even deeper relationship with my Jesus. I choose to allow this verse to motivate me to be so close to Jesus, that all He has to do is nudge me when I’ve crossed the line into sin, so that I can repent quickly.

 

Deeper Still: –

When you arrive in Canaan, the land I am giving you as your own possession, I may contaminate some of the houses in your land with mildew (leprosy). Lev 14:34

 

What? Why in the world would God contaminate a house with leprosy? Though this makes absolutely no sense to me, God must have a reason. Possibly He’s testing the residents to see if they will follow His laws, or to see how they react when unpleasant things happen. Possibly to see if they unite as a family, or blame each other. No doubt about it, I just don’t understand why God does, or allows some of the things He does. But I do know that God is good, and I don’t have to understand Him to totally trust Him.

 

Deeper Still: –

for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord. It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible. Lev 17:11

 

The life of the Body of Christ (the church) is in the blood of Jesus. Jesus alone purifies us through His death and resurrection. If only the Body of Christ would unite together to keep the main thing, the main thing. Life, real life, real living, is in the blood of Jesus. It’s all about Him. Thank you Jesus for what You did for me.

 

Deeper Still: –

So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life. Lev 18:3

 

God may very well take me out of something (or some place) that is not the right environment for me, only to lead me right into another environment that isn’t right for me. Now I’m right where God has led me, but I cannot embrace my surroundings. I may spend days, decades, or my whole life in surroundings where I am to live set apart for God. I must stay so tuned into the His voice that no matter where I am, I am where He wants me to be.

 

Deeper Still: –

You must obey all my regulations and be careful to obey my decrees, for I am the Lord your God. If you obey my decrees and my regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord. Lev 18:4&5

 

It’s easy to become resentful of rules and regulation. Children often test the rules, to see how close they can come before getting in trouble, and some blatantly, just don’t care. But God says that I can find life through HIS decrees and regulations. Obedience brings life. So if my life seems empty, unfulfilling, or missing something, maybe I need to check my obedience level.

 

Deeper Still: –

Do not have sexual relations with ….. Lev 18:8-23  

 

Sexual sins are detestable to the Lord, and they are epidemic these days. I know there are many otherwise godly men and women, who seem trapped in this sin. But with God, one is never truly “trapped”, because Jesus died to set the captives free. Satan knows the power that this sin holds, and starts early in one’s life with enticement. Generational curses need to be broken, and Jesus is the answer.  

 

Deeper Still: –

Show your fear of God by not taking advantage of each other. I am the Lord your God. Lev 25:17

 

There are people and cultures that pride themselves on taking advantages of others. The most detestable in my opinion are those who take advantage of children, elderly, and handicapped. Lord, I give you permission to do whatever is necessary to expose any areas where I am guilty of this, so I can repent. It is not smart, crafty, ingenious, expected, or anything else. It is sin! 

 

Deeper Still: –

But you might ask, ‘What will we eat during the seventh year, since we are not allowed to plant or harvest crops that year?’ Be assured that I will send my blessing for you in the sixth year, so the land will produce a crop large enough for three years. Lev 25:20-21

 

The Israelites knew when the seventh year was, so they prepared with harder work during the sixth. I may not know when my “seventh” year, or my time of lack or rest might be coming. But I can count on God to bless me with abundance to take me through the times of lack, or the times He tells me to rest. So I need to steward this abundance, whatever it might be, and whenever it might come. 

 

Deeper Still: –

As long as the land lies in ruins, it will enjoy the rest you never allowed it to take every seventh year while you lived in it. Lev 26:35

 

There is a time when the price for disobedience is due. Sometimes it takes weeks, months, years, or decades, but it will come due. I have experienced this first hand with my body. I went for over thirty years teaching several exercise classes a day. Even though I didn’t teach on the weekends, I didn’t really give God His Sabbath day of rest, the way He intended it to be. He has been collecting this past year. God in His mercy though has used this time to draw me closer into His heart. Lord, show me the areas where I am not totally obedient to Your Word, and Your will.

 

Deeper Still: –

But at last my people will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors for betraying me and being hostile toward me. Lev 26:40

 

“We can do this the easy way, or the hard way” We’ve all heard this, usually from our parents. Well, God says it too. The easy way is to walk in obedience, to start confessing sin as soon as He brings them to my mind, and to learn about confessing the sins of my ancestors (generational curses). The hard way is to keep on doing what I’m doing thinking that nothing will happen, or if it does, just not caring. God is such a good, good God and just wants the best for me, and all His children. 

 

Deeper Still: –

‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’ Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.” Num 6:25-27

 

When we ask God to bless others, it’s not just words. It’s like a declaration being activated into the spirit realm. Sometimes I’m specific in my blessings, like asking God to bless someone to be who He created them to be. Other times, I just ask God to bless them anyway He chooses. I may never know the ramifications of the blessings I speak, and that’s ok.

 

Deeper Still: –

Sometimes the cloud stayed only overnight and lifted the next morning. But day or night, when the cloud lifted, the people broke camp and moved on. Num 9:21

 

Can you imagine setting up the Tabernacle only to tear it down the next day? But day or night they were ready to go wherever God went. It doesn’t matter if I just got settled into a nice doable routine, if God’s wants me to move on, I best be moving on. Even though God is everywhere I go, when I’m right smack dab where He’s wanting me to be, there is a thicker, richer, heaver, amazing presence. There is a clearer connection between His heart and mine, and between His voice and my ears. 

 

Deeper Still: –

And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them? Num 14:11

 

I wonder if God says that about me. How long, how many healings and miracles does He have to perform before I really believe He is who He says He is, and His Word is His truth, and He really does love me? How long until I totally trust Him completely with every aspect of my life? How long until I walk in my true identity as a child of King Jesus? How long until I truly belief that God talks to me personally? Lord, may it be now.

 

Deeper Still: –

Now tell them this (Moses): ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very things I heard you say. Num 14:28

 

My words have power. Am I speaking life into my life and the lives of others, or am I speaking death and curses? Am I speaking God’s truth, or the enemy’s lies?

 

Deeper Still:

Moses was angry because the Israelites were complaining again about water. He hit the rock twice instead on once, therefore sinning against God. That sin cost him entrance into the promise land. Num 20:9-12

 

I can totally understand Moses’ frustration with the Israelites. I personally think he hit the rock twice out of frustration and anger against the Israelites, not against God. Never the less, it cost him deeply. My anger, against God or others, may cost me greatly. I don’t understand God’s harsh judgment in this case, but He is God, and His ways are always right, whether I understand or not.

 

Deeper Still: –

“But you all came to me (Moses) and said, ‘First, let’s send out scouts to explore the land for us. They will advise us on the best route to take and which towns we should enter.’ Deut 1:22

 

It’s so easy to start rationalizing once God tells me to do something that seems challenging. “Let me just check this out”, “Let me see if this seems possible”, “Could this really be God” even though He’s told me dozens of times to do something. When God says to do the impossible, it then becomes the possible. I need to stop thinking rationally all the time, and start thinking Kingdomly. Because with God, all things are possible.

 

Deeper Still: –

That is enough,” the Lord said. “Do not speak to me anymore about this matter.” …. Deut 3:26   But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him… Deut 3:28

 

God would not even allow Moses to discuss going into the Promised Land; the matter was settled. As if that wasn’t hard enough, Moses then had to commission, encourage and strengthen Joshua to go instead. Sometimes I may be asked to do what seems so unfair, so extremely hard and heart breaking. That’s when the real me has to make a decision. Do I continue to honor God for who He is, by doing what He’s told me to do, with love in my heart? Or, do I do it with an attitude of “This isn’t fair, I don’t deserve this”? The choice is mine.

 

Deeper Still: –

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deut 4:29

 

God wants to be found and to be known intimately by everyone. He wants me to want Him enough that I seek Him with every fiber of my being; not just once in a while, but daily. It can be frustrating at times when “it seems” He is far away, when I’m not seeing, or hearing like I want. But that just makes the times when He meets with me face to face even sweeter. Encountering intimacy with God should be as normal as brushing my teeth and washing my face.

 

Deeper Still: –

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deut 31:8

 

As God leads me into the unknown, never before gone to, new and exciting places He’s called me to go, I can be assured He’s with me. Yet I, like the Israelites, I have to pursue and fight for what He’s giving me. It’s mine, but I still have to fight for it. So when fear and discouragement start getting me down I have to stand my ground on the promises of God. I have to pick up my sword, not made with steel, but made from the very heart of God. His promises are my weapon; His Word and words are my weapon. My ability to do whatever He’s called me to do, is my weapon.

 

Deeper Still: – 

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8

 

We all want to prosper and succeed in life, and here how. I am so blessed to have all sixty-six books of the Bible to read and meditate on, instead of just five. And I am so blessed to have Holy Spirit living in me to help me understand my Father’s heart and love for me. Knowing the Bible is more than just knowing His do’s and don’ts, it about knowing Him personally and intimately, His personality and character. The Bible is not stagnant; it’s full of life, and endless revelation and sustenance for my spirit, soul and body.

 

Deeper Still: –

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

 

Fourteen times in the Bible we are called to be “Strong and Courageous”, usually followed by, “do not be afraid”. That’s enough times to assume that this should be a lifestyle to live by, especially when facing difficult situations.  Strength and courage is birthed and developed in the spirit and soul, and not exclusively the body as some might think. It increases every time I choose peace instead of fear; it increases every time I choose to trust God over trusting man.

 

 

Deeper Still: –

So the Israelites examined their (Gibeonites) food, but they did not consult the Lord. Jos 9:14 Then they made a peace treaty with them, and later found out they had been deceived. (vs 15-16)

 

Some people are master manipulators, and as compassionate, loving people we want to believe them. Because I don’t lie myself, I tend to believe others are always telling the truth. This is not always the best quality to have. What I need to do is to be continually asking God for discernment when dealing with others, especially if a binding contract is involved. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can take the place of spending a few moments asking God for wisdom and discernment.

 

Deeper Still: –

The tribe of ____ failed to drive out _____. Judges 1

 

The Israelites failed to finish the job God had given them to do. They might of thought that 95% was good enough, but it wasn’t. That 5% (or whatever percent) cost them dearly. Because they were satisfied with doing a mediocre job for God, their unfinished business became a thorn in their sides, which led to disobedience, which led to God’s anger against them. Lord, forgive me for giving You mediocre so many times; You deserve my best, You deserve 100% obedience.

 

Deeper Still: – 

After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel. Judges 2:10

 

It is so important to share with family and others the goodness of God; to share the signs, wonders, and miracles He performs. These are often called glory stories and they can range from something as simple as God helping you find your keys, to someone being raised from the dead. God’s goodness and miracles are happening everyday; they did not end 2000 years ago. Food still multiplies, people are healed, the dead are raised, and so much more. We need to share our testimonies; if we don’t have any, we need to start praying for some.

 

Deeper Still: –

I (God) did this to test Israel—to see whether or not they would follow the ways of the Lord as their ancestors did.” That is why the Lord left those nations in place. He did not quickly drive them out or allow Joshua to conquer them all. Judges 2:22-23  

 

How many times does God test me to see how I will react? How many times do I pass, or fail? When I just don’t understand why God does, or doesn’t do something, maybe I’m being tested. So instead of throwing a hissy fit, maybe I need to put my big girl pants on and trust God to help me through it. Maybe I need to search my heart and make sure I’m in right standing with God. If not, I need to repent. If I am, than I need to praise God for who He is, continue being obedient, and if it is a test, plan on passing it with flying colors.

 

Deeper Still: –

Then all three groups blew their horns and broke their jars. They held the blazing torches in their left hands and the horns in their right hands, and they all shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” Judges 7:20

 

Who goes to battle with only a torch in their left hand and a ram’s horn in their right? Only those who trust completely in their Lord? God can use any one and any thing to fight the evil of this world, all He really needs is a willing heart and complete obedience. My focus can never be on what I don’t have, it has to stay on who I do have, and that is Jesus Christ. 

 

Deeper Still: –

Then the people of Ephraim mobilized an army and crossed over the Jordan River to Zaphon. They sent this message to Jephthah: “Why didn’t you call for us to help you fight against the Ammonites? We are going to burn down your house with you in it!” Judges 12:1

 

People fight over the stupidest things, and that hasn’t changed in thousands of years. There’s a saying “pick your battles”, in other words don’t get so upset over the little things in life. I think if I can do as Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind & strength. And love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31), some of the little things will loose their power over me. A true warrior of God knows when to fight, when to love, and when just release things to God.

 

Deeper Still: –

The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight, then God sent a judge who was very hard on them, and then the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help. Judges

 

For generations they choose to live in this circle of rejecting God, heavy oppression, crying out to God, and then receiving God’s blessings. God was always faithful when they confessed their sin, repented and turned back to Him. So much precious life was wasted in disobedience. Only obedience to God, and an intimate relationship with Him can bring true love, joy, peace and success in our lives.

 

Deeper Still: –

So Ruth went out to gather grain behind the harvesters. And as it happened, she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz, the relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech. Ruth 2:3

 

As I go about my day I can trust that God will position me to be where He wants me to be. Heidi Baker once said “Soak and go, soak and go, soak and go”. There is a time for soaking in God’s presence, and then there is a time to just go and do. I can trust God to position me for Divine Appointments. I can trust God to interrupt my day with His plans.

 

Deeper Still: –

All right, here is the king you have chosen (Saul). You asked for him, and the Lord has granted your request. 1 Sam 12:13

 

A mistake often made is to think that I know what’s best for me. Just because I might beg God for something and He gives it to me, doesn’t mean it’s His Plan A for my life. My prayers ought to follow Jesus’ example, “Not my will, but Yours be done”. 

 

Deeper Still: –

Don’t go back to worshiping worthless idols that cannot help or rescue you—they are totally useless! 1 Sam 12:21

 

Even today so many people turn to idols to tell them what kind of day they are going to have. If their horoscope says that it will be a great, or not so great day, they believe it. People want a quick answer, they want to trust in something they can see or touch. Putting all my hopes, dreams, and trust into something (Someone) that I can’t tangibly touch is called faith. The benefits of trusting in God, even when it seems like nothing is happening, far outweighs the quick answers of false idols. God commands my total allegiance and worship to Himself, and He is 100% deserving of it.

 

Deeper Still: –

Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. 1 Sam 15:22

 

It doesn’t matter what I do, or don’t do, if I’m not obedient to God, I am not pleasing Him. I can justify and rationalize my reasons for doing things with the best of them, but that doesn’t impress God one bit. It’s total obedience and submission (surrendering) to God that keeps me in right standing with Him. Not only do I need to be obedient to His Word, but also to the words He speaks to me throughout the day.

 

Deeper Still: –

Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” 1 Sam 15:23

 

Most believers would never purposely engage in witchcraft or idol worshiping. However rebellion and stubbornness can be part of our every day lives, and some may even take pride in these character traits. But God takes both very seriously, especially when we rebel against His commands. Other words for stubbornness are arrogance, presumption, insubordination, defiance, and self-will. Oh Lord, shine Your light on any of these sins that start to rise up in me. 

 

Deeper Still: –

Then Saul pleaded again, “I know I have sinned. But please, at least honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel by coming back with me so that I may worship the Lord your God.” 1 Sam 15:30

 

Saul was willing to worship Samuel’s God, but he never called the Lord “his” God. My relationship with God has to be my own intimate relationship with Him. I can’t worship my parent’s God, and my kids can’t worship my God. God wants individual, one of a kind relationships with every one of His kids. Each of us has to put in our own personal time in His Word, in His presence, in intimacy, in friendship, and in worshiping Him.

 

Deeper Still: –

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7

 

Oh, if the world could just catch on to this concept, or even just believers, or even just me. May I spend more time preparing my heart for the day, than I do concerned about what I will wear, or how I look. May I never again be overly concerned with getting older, and how parts of me just aren't where they used to be. May I instead, concern myself with the condition of my heart. And may I also look first at another’s heart, before seeing their outside appearance.

 

Deeper Still: –

And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah. 1 Sam 16:13b

 

Suddenly my life can forever be changed; suddenly my destiny can be activated; suddenly all those prophetic words can manifest; suddenly I can accept and walk in my identity as a child of the King. God, prepare and position me to receive “suddenlies” from You.

Deeper Still: –

David asked the soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” 1 Sam 17:26

 

David had a personal relationship with the living God. He wasn’t just the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He was David’s God, and David knew his identity as a child of the King. I need to know who I am, and who I belong to before even thinking about going up against the enemy. My outward appearance isn’t what’s important in the Kingdom; it’s my relationship with God.

 

Deeper Still: –

As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. 1 Sam 17:48

 

I do not need to run and hide from the Goliath’s in my life; I can meet them head on. I can meet them with the attitude that enough is enough. I can meet them with the attitude that I am a child of the King, and my Father will show me exactly how and when to put an end to this Goliath.

 

Deeper Still: –

So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword. 1 Sam 17:50

 

When I go to battle with the full force of the Kingdom of God on my side, I am armed and dangerous. My weapon may be a stone, sword, word, prayer, song, command, or praise. My weapon may be physical or spiritual; it just doesn’t matter, because my confidence is in God, not my weapon.

 

Deeper Still: –

The Spirit of God came upon Saul’s men and they also began to prophesy. This happened three times. Then Saul tore off his Clothes and lay naked on the ground all day and all night, prophesying in the presence of Samuel. 1 Sam 19:20-24

 

Just because someone starts prophesying, doesn’t mean they are necessary godly men or women of God. Their prophecy may indeed have come from God, as He can use anyone He chooses to prophesy. But I still need to use discernment before believing anything else they have to say. I have to weigh it with God’s Word and His character.  

 

Deeper Still: –

Saul soon learned that David was at Keilah. “Good!” he exclaimed. “We’ve got him now! God has handed him over to me, for he has trapped himself in a walled town!” 1 Sam 23:7

 

People are so delusional at times. They have no personal relationship with God; yet think He’s on their side when it suits them. I need to be cautious of those who claim God is involved in any given situation; I need to use discernment and seek God’s answer myself. Maybe it’s true, but maybe it’s not. And I am held accountable for what I choose to believe.

 

Deeper Still: –

Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. 1 Sam 23:16

 

A good friend encourages you to stay strong in your faith with God. They don’t start talking about how unfair life is (even though it is at times); they don’t start looking for the sin that you may have committed (though you may have); they encourage you to stay strong in your faith. As I surrender everything to Him; as I praise and worship Him; as I search my heart and see if any sin is present and needs to be repented of; I can receive His peace, and stay strong in faith. I can trust His perfect timing for the journey set before me.

 

Deeper Still: –

David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God. 1 Sam 30:6

 

Life happens and sometimes really bad, unfair things happen. If I make a habit of turning to Him before reacting to situations in life, then when the really big stuff happens it will be automatic. In Him is everything I need for any given situation that comes up in life. 

 

Deeper Still: –

And again David asked the Lord what to do. “Do not attack them straight on,” the Lord replied. “Instead, circle around behind and attack them near the poplar trees. When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, be on the alert! That will be the signal that the Lord is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army.” 2 Sam 5:23-24

 

Wow, God spoke to David with amazing details of how to win a battle. Lord, fine-tune my ability to hear You in such a way as this. I want to hear those details that are crucial in my life. And Lord, fine-tune my heart to beat as one with Yours.

 

Deeper Still: –

He (Solomon) had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord. 1 Kings 11:3

 

In the end Solomon turned his heart away from God. He was warned against marrying foreigners, yet he did it anyway, and 700 at that. Solomon’s descendants paid the price for his disobedience. What kind of inheritance am I going to be leaving? I hope one of deeper love, joy, peace, faith and trust in Jesus. I also hope to leave an inheritance of intimacy with the LORD, identity as a child of the King, a passion for more of Jesus, and to walk in the freedom that Jesus paid for.

 

Deeper Still: –

For the Lord gave me this command: ‘You must not eat or drink anything while you are there, and do not return to Judah by the same way you came.’” But the old prophet answered, “I am a prophet, too, just as you are. And an angel gave me this command from the Lord: ‘Bring him home with you so he can have something to eat and drink.’” But the old man was lying to him. 1 Kings 13:17-18

 

I cannot assume that someone else hears God’s voice better than I do. They may not be purposely lying, but they may not be right on either. I’m responsible for being obedient to what I hear. God has a lot of grace for those of us with a heart after His, hoping we’re hearing correctly, but not real sure. But, there are those times that we know, that we know, that we know we heard Him correctly, and that’s when we better obey, or there just might be severe consequences. 

 

Deeper Still: –

And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.” The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived! 1 Kings 17:21-22

 

Sometimes when things happen I think “Well, that must be God’s will”. But sometimes God might just be waiting for me to step up to the plate and walk in my true identity. Maybe I’m supposed to pray for the sick, or dead; maybe I’m supposed to pray more than once; maybe I’m supposed to fight for what I think is right.   

 

Deeper Still: –

But as soon as I (Obadiah) leave you (Elijah), the Spirit of the Lord will carry you away to who knows where. When Ahab comes and cannot find you, he will kill me. 1 Kings 18:12

 

Elijah had a reputation of just being taken away by the Spirit, how cool is that? It’s just another reminder of how awesome God is. If my life is dedicated to Him I do not have to fear what others might do to me. God can just whisk me away at any time, but if He doesn’t, He must have a reason. This journey with God that I’m on is off the chart wonderful. The more I get to know Him the more I can trust Him, and the more I trust Him, the easier it is to walk in that peace that surpasses everything.

 

Deeper Still: –

Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent. 1 Kings 18:21

 

To receive the blessings that come with following Jesus Christ, I have to be totally 100% in; I cross that line from unbelief to belief, from disobedience to obedience. That’s where the true love, joy, peace, mercy and grace reside. I can’t continue in sin and just assume God’s grace will be sufficient. Being a 100% all the way believer in Jesus doesn’t mean perfection, it means I’m so in love with Him that when I cross that line I can’t help but repent quickly.

 

Deeper Still: –

So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.” Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. 1 Kings 19:2-3

 

Elijah had just witnessed God sending down fire from heaven and burning up a totally drenched in water sacrifice, and here he is running for his life. It’s so easy to forget what God just did days before calamity hits. Calamity is a part of most people’s life, so we need to constantly remind ourselves that God is faithful, rarely early but never late. I need to practice living in His peace, as I trust Him with every area of life, every single day.

 

Deeper Still: –

“I (Elijah) have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” 1 Kings 19:4b

 

Sometimes we’ve just had enough, take me home Jesus, I’m done here. But if God hasn’t chosen to take me home, I’m here for a reason. I may not know what the reason is, but there is a reason. I might as well bow before the Lord, confess any known sins, surrender my life again, snuggle up with Jesus, and accept my assignment.

 

Deeper Still: –

But the Lord was not in the wind, earthquake, or fire. The Lord was in the sound of a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-12

 

Sometimes God does speak through the wind, earthquake, fire, or any other way He chooses. But many times it’s through the gently whisper. I have to position myself to hear the gentle whisper; I have to make time for Him to show up; I have to stop talking long enough for Him to whisper in my ear what He has for me. Is He worth the effort it sometimes takes? I say yes!

 

Deeper Still: –

But Micaiah replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, I will say only what the Lord tells me to say.” 1 Kings 22:14

 

When God gives me a word for someone it’s not my place to embellish on it. Sometimes I want to; and sometimes I think I know what the person needs to hear. My part is to give the word as I hear it, and leave the interpretation for God to reveal to the person. Sometimes it’s obvious, yet sometimes hidden within the obvious is God’s secret message.  

 

Deeper Still: –

Some boys were making fun of Elisha, calling him baldy, so he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled all of them. 2 Kings 2:23-24

 

Elisha had just received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, so he was walking in a high level of power and authority. As a child of the King, I also walk in a high level of power and authority, and my words matter. Words either bring life or they bring death. I need to be careful in those situations where I could easily become offended or angry, to only speak the words I receive in my spirit, from Holy Spirit.

 

Deeper Still: –

But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he (Elisha) would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! 2 Kings 5:11

 

“I expected”, has been my mistake many of times. So often God just doesn’t do things the way I think He should, or expect Him to. I think God enjoys doing things outside the box, so to speak, possibly just to see how I will react. It’s when I trust God even when I don’t understand what He’s doing at all, that my faith has the opportunity to grow to the next level.

 

Deeper Still: –

But as one of them was cutting a tree, his ax head fell into the river. “Oh, sir!” he cried. “It was a borrowed ax!” “Where did it fall?” the man of God asked. When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it into the water at that spot. Then the ax head floated to the surface. “Grab it,” Elisha said. And the man reached out and grabbed it. 2 Kings 6:5-7

 

In the middle of all the killing and war sits this brief story of God’s amazing, compassionate character. God is concerned with every detail of my life, nothing is too small, or unimportant. 

 

Deeper Still: –

David was angry because the Lord’s anger had burst out against Uzzah (when he touched the ark to steady it). 1 Chron 13:11  Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the Lord our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.” 1 Chron 15:13

 

It’s tempting to get angry with God when good motives result in disastrous outcomes. In my excitement I may assume I am doing the right, Godly thing, but if I don’t take the time to discuss it with God, I might be asking for trouble. God didn’t object to the ark being moved, He just wanted it done correctly. Some say, “Just do it and ask forgiveness later”. I say, “Don’t forget, talk to God first, His way is always best”.

 

Deeper Still: –

Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. 1 Chron 16:24

 

God loves it when we give Him glory and praise for what He does. Don’t back off from sharing; just make sure you’re giving Him the glory. If others take offence, that’s their problem. If you have nothing to share about God’s glory and goodness, ask Him to open your eyes and heart to see.

 

Deeper Still: –

I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. 1 Chron 29:17a

 

Living a life of integrity doesn’t just happen; it starts in my heart, and in my thoughts. I never thought of God rejoicing when viewing the state of my heart. I wonder if He gives a thumbs up, or a smile, or nods yes and says, “that’s my girl”. Oh Lord, may I forever be examining my thoughts and heart, keeping myself pure, honest, truthful, and full of integrity.  And may You forever be rejoicing over my thoughts and my heart.

 

Deeper Still: –

O Lord, the God of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, make your people always want to obey you. See to it that their love for you never changes. 1 Chron 29:18

 

It’s the desire of every parent to see their children walking in obedience to God, and that their first love for Him would never change. But just like we can’t force our children to love and obey God, He can’t force us to either. But if I choose to obey God out of my love for Him; If I choose to love Him with every fiber of my being; If I choose to walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, trust, humility, integrity, etc. then I will have more influence on my children and those around me. Hopefully they will see the love I have for my Lord, and want it too.

 

Deeper Still: –

But the Lord told him, ‘You (David) wanted to build the Temple to honor my name. Your intention is good, but you are not the one to do it. One of your own sons will build the Temple to honor me’ 2 Chron 6:8-9. 

 

So often my intentions are good, they are Godly and honorable. But are they mine to carry out? Or, did God give me the idea, just to pass it along to someone else? Creative people can become bombarded with ideas of what to do, what to make, what to teach, or what needs to be done. As I listen to God, He will guide me with every thought that comes to my mind. He will tell me if I should do something, put it on the shelf for later, or share it with someone He brings to mind.

 

Deeper Still: –

For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart. 2 Chron 7:16

 

I am now that temple, set apart to be holy. I am now that temple where God’s name will be honored forever. I am now that temple that He always watches over. I am now that temple that is so dear to His heart.

 

Deeper Still: –

At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, “Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the Lord your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram. 2 Chron 16:7

 

My trust cannot be in any one person, whether it be the president, governor, mayor, Supreme Court justice, my job, or whatever. My trust has to be in the Lord my God. Yes, I want Godly people in office and running my country, and I will do my part to see that happens. But my hope for the future, my joy, my peace, my faith has to be rooted in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

Deeper Still: –

This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 2 Chron 20:15

 

As I stand before the Lord on the brink of any disaster, totally surrendered and with a repentant heart, I stand firm with no fear. No matter what disaster, or battle is before me, I choose to surrender all of me, and all of my circumstances into His very capable hands.

 

Deeper Still: –

At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. 2 Chron 20:22

 

The singers marched in front of the army on their way to do battle. What would happen if I approached every battle in my life with songs of praise and worship? If I release my battle into God’s hands and then continue to worry if or when He will come through, I walk in sin. If I release my battle into God’s hands and sing songs of thanksgiving and praise until He comes through, I walk in righteousness and peace.

 

Deeper Still: –

He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. During his reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people never fully committed themselves to follow the God of their ancestors. 2 Chron 20:32b-33

 

This happened over and over again, they did everything right, “however” they were never fully committed.  Lord, reveal to me any areas of my life that are a “however” to You. I do not want to stand before you one day and hear You say “You were good and faithful in everything, however …….”.

 

Deeper Still: –

In the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign, Jehoiada the priest decided to act. He summoned his courage and made a pact with five army commanders: 2 Chron 23:1a

 

There may be times in my Christian walk that I just need to summons my courage to do what needs to be done. I may need to summons my strength to walk in truth, be obedient, trust God, love others, stop seeing others, be a servant, be a leader, be quiet, speak up, find a job, quit a job, start something, quit something, or whatever God is calling me to do. How? It’s in me; I just need to start calling it forth.

 

Deeper Still: –

But when he (King Uzziah) had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. 2 Chron 26:16

 

Too often power, fame, or riches can lead to pride. When you have everything you ever wanted, it’s easy to forget how you got there. It’s easy to stay in love and dependent on Jesus during the tough times; it’s when everything is going so well, that we tend to get self-reliant, self-centered, and stop depending on God as our life support. Lord, search my heart, and get my attention anyway necessary if I start to cross the line from being totally dependent on You, to becoming self-reliant. 

 

Deeper Still: –

“Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! 2 Chron 32:7

 

How often do we forget that we have “a power far greater on our side”? Fourteen times in the Bible we are called to be strong and courageous, sixty-six times not to be afraid. Yet fear and discouragement so easily finds it way into our lives way too often. I need to keep my focus on what I do have: A Lord and Savior who loves me very much, who has given me strength and courage to do whatever comes my way. I have a Lord and Savior that deposits peace into every cell of my body as I surrender myself to Him. I have a Lord and Savior who is far greater than anything or anyone who comes against me, and He’s on my side. Now with all that going for me, I’m going to have a fantastic day.

 

Deeper Still: –

However, when ambassadors arrived from Babylon to ask about the remarkable events that had taken place in the land, God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart. 2 Chron 32:31

 

If God withdrew His presence from me in order to test my heart, how would I respond? There have been testimonies where this has happened; He did withdraw His presence for a season, some seasons lasted a couple of years. Would I continue praising Him, reading His Word, surrendering, repenting, loving on others, sharing the Gospel, etc.? I hope so, though it would be hard. Thank you Lord for the many, many ways you interact with me on a daily basis, and I cry out “More Lord Jesus, More!” May my heart forever stay pure and humble.

 

Deeper Still: –

Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old site. Then they began to sacrifice burnt offerings on the altar to the Lord each morning and evening. Ezra 2:3

 

Sometimes I just have to press through the fear to get to what God’s calling me to do. I can pray for peace, and for the fear to be gone, but what if it’s still with me? That’s when I choose, “even though” I’m afraid, I will, I can ……. , because I know God is with me.    

 

Deeper Still: –

For I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to accompany us and protect us from enemies along the way. After all, we had told the king, “Our God’s hand of protection is on all who worship him, but his fierce anger rages against those who abandon him.” So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer. Ezra 8:22-23

 

Wow, the courage it took for them to totally trust God, and take Him at His word. Knowing God’s Word and words is one thing; totally trusting them is something else. What is more pleasing to God, calling for help, or fasting, praying, and believing? Oh Lord, impart in me the courage and strength to take You at Your word.

 

Deeper Still: –

“Stand up and praise the Lord your God, for he lives from everlasting to everlasting!” Then they prayed: “May your glorious name be praised! May it be exalted above all blessing and praise! Neh. 9:5b

 

What percent of my worship and praising God is spent exalting His name? Well, it’s not the majority, that’s for sure. I give thanks daily; I praise and worship God daily; I talk to God daily; and at times I say the name of Jesus over and over. But exalt His name above all the others, no. Lord, I give You permission to remind me often to praise Your name, because Your name is so very worthy of praise.

 

Deeper Still: –

When he (Abraham) had proved himself faithful, You made a covenant with him to give him and his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, etc. Neh 9:8a

 

As I prove myself as a faithful servant, daughter/son, worshiper, seeker of the Kingdom, obedient child, God can count on me to partner with Him. This doesn’t happen overnight, because some things can’t be hurried. Trust takes time, faithfulness takes time, and a covenant with God takes time. Lord, I am willing to put in the time and effort to prove myself faithful to You.

 

Deeper Still: –

But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them, Neh 9:17b

 

God was pretty harsh on His chosen people during O.T. times, just like some parents are pretty harsh on rebellious children. But I have to remember everything that God did, and does is out of His love for me. God’s character is that of forgiveness, grace, mercy, patience, unfailing love, and faithfulness. He is forever and always wanting what’s best for me as His beloved child. 

 

Deeper Still: –

Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. Job 1:20

 

Job just received the worst news I think anyone has ever received. He took a moment to tear his robe, and shave his head. Then, he fell to the ground and worshiped. How was he able to do that? I can only imagine that worship had become such a habit, such a part of his life that there was no other option. I want to respond like Job, whether the situation is minor, or a major tragedy. May my first response be to fall before my Lord and Savior and worship Him. May there be, no other option.

 

Deeper Still: –

What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true. Job 3:25

 

Thoughts have power, fear has power. Those and many more unspoken emotions carry an enormous amount of power. Power to bring disaster into my life, and those around me. I am called to take every thought captive (2 Cor 10:5) for a reason.  Every emotion starts with a thought. I’m not completely responsible for the thoughts that come into my mind, but I am responsible for what I do with them after the first couple of seconds. I can turn this around and say, “What I always declared about God, happened to me”.

 

Deeper Still: – 

Teach me (Job), and I will keep quiet. Show me what I have done wrong. Honest words can be painful, but what do your criticisms amount to? Job 6:24-25

 

Oh Lord, put a muzzle on my mouth if I ever start criticizing someone who is in pain, or someone who doesn’t get healed after being prayed for many times. It’s easy to assume they’ve sinned, and perhaps they have, but perhaps they haven’t. Honest words in love can bring healing, criticism never can.

 

Deeper Still: –

Do you think your words are convincing when you disregard my cry of desperation? Job 6:26

 

There’s a saying, “People don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care”. I need to allow Holy Spirit to guide me when I encounter people in desperation. I need to start with compassion, caring, love, and with listening. I need to listen as Holy Spirit deposits into me the words that will bring hope and life, His words. Then if correction is necessary, it can be bathed in love. Thank you Jesus that I always have Holy Spirit with me, to help in these situations.

 

Deeper Still: –

“I cannot keep from speaking. I must express my anguish. My bitter soul must complain. Job 7:11

 

I try not to complain, but when things get really rough, sometimes I just have to let it out. I try to go to God first, and just let it all out. He’s a very good listener. And in a way that only a loving Father can do, He calms me down, He reminds me that He is still God, that He loves me, and that He is aware of what’s going on. He may give me some loving correction, He may say, “Be still and know that I am God”, or, He may give me the energy and strength to endure.

 

Deeper Still: –

“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought! Job 19:25 & 27

 

In the middle of Job’s ranting and complaining (justified in my opinion), he stops long enough for truth to sink in. He knows his Redeemer lives, and he is overwhelmed at the thought of seeing his Lord face to face. May I never loose sight of the fact that my Redeemer lives, He loves me, and He has a plan for me, and I can trust Him. Let me just stop and focus on that.

 

Deeper Still: –

I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. Job 42:5

 

So often people just know about God, they know His Word from Genius to Revelation, and quote verses with the best of people. But really knowing God is very different than knowing about Him. Knowing God is intimate, personal, experiential, and totally life changing. For the last 10 years of my 46 years as a Christian, I have had the life changing privilege of getting to really know God the Father, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit, and my life has never been the same.

 

Deeper Still: – 

When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! Job 42:20

 

When I can pray for and bless those who have done me wrong, it opens up the way for God to bless me, and them. Is this hard? At times yes, but worth it.

 

Deeper Still: –

You can be sure of this: The Lord set apart the godly for himself. The Lord will answer when I call to him. Ps 4:3

 

I can be sure of this: God has set me apart for Himself, and He WILL answer when I call out to Him. Of course I wish the answer would come sooner and louder some times. But I am confident that I am never out of God’s sights. As I stay totally surrendered to Him, I can be sure His answer will come, at just the right time. And in the mean time I praise, worship, and obey Him for who He is.

 

Deeper Still: –

Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. Ps 4:4

 

What would life look like if every one did this? Many say, “I just couldn’t help myself, he/she made me so mad”. The truth is, that I have complete control over how I react to every situation that comes up. I can’t control anyone else’s anger, but I can control mine. 

 

Deeper Still: –

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Ps 5:3

 

I love that David wasn’t “hoping” God would answer his prayers, He expected Him to answer. Once I bring my requests to God, I can get on with my day. I know He’s heard me, I know He will answer me, and I know He won’t forget. Doesn’t mean I won’t pray it again tomorrow, but for today I have peace, because it’s in God hands.

 

Deeper Still: –

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. Ps 5:11

 

Refuge is a place you run to when you need protection from an enemy, whether physical or spiritual. What do you do in this place of refuge? Rejoice, sing joyful songs of praise and worship, be filled with joy, “forever” or “until” the crises is over. It sure beats worrying, being all stressed out, and just hoping God will come through.

 

Deeper Still: –

For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love. Ps 5:12

 

Just imagine being surrounded with God’s shield of love (some versions say favor). Everywhere I go I have His shield of love and favor in front of me, on my back, and on both sides. There is so much love and favor that it just permeates every cell of my body. Oh God, may I never wiggle out, may I never forget to just stay put in the middle of your shield of love and favor. May I start each day knowing that I am surrounded with Your love and favor.

 

Deeper Still: –

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. Ps 16:11

 

How comforting to know that I can count of God. He WILL show me the path that I should take, and I can count on Him 100% of the time. And while I’m on this journey called life, I have the privilege of being able to bask in His presence of pure joy. And I get to do this forever and ever. What other god (or religion) does this? None! 

 

Deeper Still: –

You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong. I am determined not to sin in what I say. Ps 17:3

 

Lord, I give you permission to test my thoughts and examine my heart. I give you permission to scrutinize every part of me. Bring to my attention any areas that need to purified with the blood of Jesus.  

 

Deeper Still: –

Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue    those who seek refuge from their enemies. Ps 17:7

 

What a challenge: God, show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. Now my part is to notice and rejoice in all the wonderful ways God is showing me His unfailing love. So often it’s easier to see the negative things in life. So Lord, I ask that you open my eyes and my heart to see all the wonderful ways you are loving me.

 

Deeper Still: –

Because I am righteous, I will see you. When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied. Ps 17:15

 

What does it take to be satisfied? Some believe money, fame, health, a good job, no problems, marriage, divorce, kids, no kids, or anything else will bring satisfaction. But because in Jesus I am righteous, I can wake up each morning, look at my Lord face to face and be satisfied. Oh Lord, if it were only that easy. Teach me Lord to be completely satisfied, just being with You.

 

Deeper Still: –

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Ps 19:12

 

Different religions claim to be forgiven of sins in a variety of ways, some quit odd, and some never feel completely forgiven. How blessed I am to have a Lord and Savior who forgives every sin I confess to Him. Sometimes He reminds me of sins from my past, which then I need to confess and be forgiven of. But He’s also able to cleanse me of sins lurking in my heart that I’ve forgotten about, or I’m unaware of. I don’t have to live in fear that I have unconfessed sins hanging around; I can count on God to bring them to my mind when they need to be confessed. Thank you Jesus for taking care of it all.

 

 

Deeper Still: –

May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. Ps 20:4

 

God is such a good, good God and He wants to grant me my hearts desires. As the desires of my heart start to line up with the desires of His heart, this starts to unfold. And as I yield all of my plans to Him, my plans start to succeed. As I grow in intimacy with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I want nothing more than the desires of His heart melding with mine; and I want nothing more than His plans melding with mine.

 

Deeper Still: –

Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart. Ps 28:2

 

My greatest desire is to keep my heart and my motives pure. I am continually asking God to bring to my attention whenever my heart or motives lack purity, and He does. He is so good and so gentle; He lovingly brings to my mind within seconds, thoughts or motives I need to repent of. Thank You Jesus, for loving me enough to care about every detail of my life.

 

Deeper Still: –

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. Ps 34:1

 

There are 1440 minutes in a day. How many of those do I spend praising the Lord, or even thinking about Him? Probably not 1440, but how much time does He deserve? For a while I wore a device that buzzed every 15 minutes, I’d stop and just praise God for a moment. When it went off while I was teaching class, I just thought, “Love Ya Jesus”, which took less than a second, and brought a smile to my face. Whatever it takes, God is worth some of the 1440 minutes He gives me every day.

 

 

Deeper Still: –

My soul will make its boast (praise) in the LORD; The humble (helpless, afflicted, troubled, hurt, suffering, distressed, worried) will hear it and rejoice. Ps 34:2 NASB

 

When I boast in the Lord and others hear, lives can be changed, or seeds can be planted, watered, or harvested. Boasting can be arrogant and prideful, or it can be done with love and joy that bless all those who hear. People need to hear me praising God, not only when things seems to be going fabulously, but more so when they’re not.

 

Deeper Still: –

Come, let us tell of the LORD's greatness; let us exalt his name together. Ps 34:3

 

There is power when believers come together and share God’s greatness. It’s not a time for jealously, envy, or guilt; it’s a time of rejoicing, encouraging, and gaining a hunger and thirst for more. It can be tempting when getting together with others to talk about all the things going wrong, especially during certain seasons of our lives. But nowhere in the Bible can I find where that is what God calls me to do, in fact, He disciplined many for doing so.  There’s a need for discussing positive actions for problems in life, but may the majority of the time be exalting the name of Jesus.

 

Deeper Still: – 

I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears. Ps 34:4 NASB

 

What does it mean to seek (consult, inquire of, search, pray to) the Lord on a daily basis? I think it mean intimacy. As I seek to get to know God one on one, I develop a relationship of faith and trust. So when problems come up in life, my faith and trust in God rises up and peace is released. When I can truly trust God, all my fears can dissolve. It doesn’t mean my problems go away, it just means they don’t own me.

 

Deeper Still: –

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. Ps 34:5

 

As long as I keep looking at Jesus; as long as He is my focus point, I won’t just be filled with joy, I will be radiant with joy. It doesn’t matter what situation I find myself in, if I can just keep looking, just keep looking, just keep looking at Jesus, the joy will come. What’s so important about joy? The joy of the Lord is my strength (Neh 8:10), and that’s powerful. I can stand tall as a child of the King, radiant with joy; shame has no place on my face or in my heart, it must go in Jesus Name.

 

Deeper Still: – 

For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Ps 34:7

 

There is a healthy, holy fear of the Lord that all believers need to have. Forty times in the Old Testament we are told to “fear the Lord”, many more worded a bit differently. Twenty-four times in the New Testament we are told to fear God. I love God’s wonderful, amazing grace, but I am missing out on so much if I neglect a healthy, holy fear of Him. Here’s just one of the benefits, I have an angel of the Lord as a guard around me, defending me, awesome!

 

Deeper Still: –

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Ps 34:8

 

How do I taste and see that the Lord is good? Well, personally I can look at a chocolate chip cookie with me eyes and can immediately start tasting it in my mouth. There are times I just think about God and my spiritual senses (just like the natural ones) can explode. I can taste His goodness throughout my body, I can see His goodness with my heart. Lord, activate all of my spiritual sense to experience You more.

 

Deeper Still: –

Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Ps 34:9

 

Here we have “Fear the Lord” again. I’ve asked God for the fear of the Lord many times. I’ve never experienced it where I felt like I would die if I dared move, like some people I know. My fear of the Lord is more of a dread, or a horror of displeasing Him, which is rooted in my love for Him. It’s more than just respect, or reverence, and we can expect serious consequences for not heading His advice of fearing the Lord. Again one of the benefits of fearing the Lord is having all I need. Seems like a no brainer to me.

 

Deeper Still: –

The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing. Ps 34:10 NASB

 

Thirty times in the Bible we are called to seek the Lord, only 18 times to love the Lord. That’s probably because seeking leads to loving, and so much more. Seeking God is not like seeking for something lost, once you find it you’re done seeking, though many only seek God during times of needing something. Seeking God has become a daily delight, an absolutely awesome way to start my day.  

 

Deeper Still:

Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the LORD. Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Ps 34:11-13

 

I love it when things are spelled out for me plain and clear, don’t speak any evil and don’t tell any lies. And if I do, I’d better fear the Lord, and repent quickly. If Jesus manifested in bodily form where I could see Him, and He was with me 24/7, what would I allow to come out of my mouth? Well He is with me, and just because I can’t see Him, doesn’t mean He isn’t with me. May the fear of the Lord come upon me when evil starts coming out of my mouth.

 

 

Deeper Still: –

Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. Ps 34:14

 

Search (look, desire, pursue, request, require, seek, demand) for peace. Sounds like peace might take some work. I am responsible for my piece of peace around me. Peace comes from deep within; it’s part of the Fruit of the Spirit, and if Holy Spirit is in me I have access to that peace. There are times I find myself right in the middle of total chaos. I have a choice, do I join in and fuel more chaos, or do I take a moment and remember who I am, and allow the peace that’s in me to surface? For me, singing in tongues activates peace every time.

 

Deeper Still: –

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. Ps 34:15

 

Righteous living has its perks. How absolutely comforting to know that God is watching over me, that His ears are always ready to hear what I have to say. What does righteous living look like, and is it attainable? Yes, it’s attainable; otherwise God wouldn’t expect me to live that way. It doesn’t mean I’m perfect and never sin or make a mistake; it means when I do I quickly repent, forgive myself, and don’t do it again. It means loving the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind.

 

 

Deeper Still: –

The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. Ps 34:18

 

Being a believer, even a righteous one doesn’t exempt me from my fair share of troubles. When will this rescuing come? Physical rescue sometimes comes at the beginning, sometimes in the middle, and sometimes I have to go all the way through it. But the spiritual rescuing comes as soon as I turn my focus to Jesus. I am never alone during any journey of troubles I may be going through.

 

Deeper Still: –

You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. Ps 36:8

 

Feeding on His abundance reminds me of partaking of the bread representing Jesus’ body; drinking from His river of delights reminds me of drinking the wine (or juice) representing His blood, just a thought. I just want to close my eyes, walk to His river of delights and drink. What perfect imagery of what I have access to at any given time. God’s river never runs dry, so I can go there and drink as often as I need to.

 

Deeper Still: –

He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord. Ps 40:3

 

God is consistently giving me new songs to sing. Many times they come from my time reading His Word, or from something we have been talking about. I think it brings Him great joy when I make up my own songs. And who knows, others may actually hear me singing praises to God, or they may just reap the effect is has on me. Lord, I want to sing new songs of praise to You ever single day.

 

Deeper Still: –

I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” Ps 40:8

 

Obeying God brings me joy, delight, and pleasure. Sometimes, initially I want to say “NO”, but that only lasts a little while. If I say I love the Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit, yet won’t obey, I don’t really love Them. Obedience out of love is the greatest gift I can give my Lord and Savior. Lord, ignite my ears to hear Your instructions written on my heart; ignite my soul and body to say “Yes, Lord, with great joy I will obey”.

Deeper Still: –

Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Ps 50:

 

It was probably easy for some to sacrifice bulls and lambs to God in O.T. times. It’s easy for some to sacrifice generously their tithes and offerings, and giving to the poor. For some it’s easy to sacrifice eating by fasting. What can be much harder is making thankfulness my sacrifice to God on a daily basis. Thankfulness comes from a pure heart; it can’t be obtained any other way. Living a life of thankfulness is a choice, a choice with enormous benefits.  

 

Deeper Still: –

My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side! Ps 56:9

 

No matter what my circumstances look like, I know, that I know, that I know, that God is on my side. It doesn’t matter if He is testing me, or disciplining me, He is still on my side. I can ALWAYS count on Him to have my best interest in mind.

 

Deeper Still: –

But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. Ps 59:16

 

This was not a very pleasant season that David was in. People were trying to kill him, and injustice was everywhere. Yet, each morning he started his day by singing about God’s unfailing love and power. He was clinging to the promises of God over his life, despite his current circumstances. Singing can bring peace and joy in the midst of confusion and turmoil. It’s a great way to start every morning.

 

Deeper Still: –

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. Ps 63:1

 

What would it look like for my whole body to long for God, for my soul to really thirst for Him? How do I get to this place of total dependency?  I think of a sponge that's been without water for even a day, it starts to get hard and unusable. If I stay saturated with God’s liquid love, I will be ready to be used by Him at any given time (like a wet sponge). Lord, ignite within me a thirst for more of You that needs to be re-wet every day.

 

 

Deeper Still: –

They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their bitter words like arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent, attacking suddenly and fearlessly. Ps 64:3-4

 

If bitter words are like arrows that attack the innocent fearlessly, just imagine what encouraging words of life can do. My words have the power to heal, or to kill and I am responsible for every word that comes out of my mouth. 

  

Deeper Still: –

So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. Ps 73:16-17

 

All my questions, and all my concerns can be taken into God’s sanctuary. How truly awesome that God invites me into His presence to discuss my concerns with Him. It is in this special place that intimacy grows, and understanding comes. 

 

Deeper Still: –

Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you. Ps 86:11

 

God the Father, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit are the best teachers I can have. It takes a little longer than reading a book, hearing a great sermon; or attending a conference, however, but I’m getting information first hand. God want’s to spend time with me and teach me One on one; His desire if for me to know Him and to live according to His truth. Position me Lord to receive all that You desire to teach me.

 

Deeper Still: –

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Ps 91:4

 

If His promises are my armor and protection, I should be putting them on daily, if not keeping them on 24/7. What if I were to make declaring His promises part of my daily life? Could it be that the more I declare (or for me sing) His promises, the thicker my armor becomes?

 

Deeper Still: –

If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. Ps 91:9-10

 

“If you” is a choice God gives me, literally hundreds of times throughout His Word. It seems so obvious when things are going smooth. But in the midst of turmoil, sometimes I forget that I have choices. “If” I make the Lord my refuge, and “if” I make Him my shelter, no evil will conquer me. It doesn’t mean the evil won’t come, it just looses its power to conquer me.

 

Deeper Still: –

Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Ps 96:1 

 

How would you feel if someone made up a song just for you? Even though we have fabulous songwriters creating new songs of praise and worship, I think God has a special place in His heart for those of us ordinary folks, who make up songs and sing them to Him. What if we all made up simple songs of praise and worship to God, I bet it would put a real big smile on His face? Let’s try it and see.

 

Deeper Still: –

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. Ps 100:4

 

How often is thanksgiving and praise the first thing that comes out of my mouth when I sit down to have a talk with God? I’m sure God never tires of hearing me give Him thanks for the things He does for me, the little things so easily overlooked. I honor God when I enter His gates with thanksgiving; I honor God when I go into His courts with praise. It’s never a waste of time starting our time together this way. If I only have 10 minutes to spend with Him in the morning, may the first 9 ½ be spent thanking and praising Him, 30 seconds is plenty of time for everything else.

 

Deeper Still: –

Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character. Ps 105:19

 

How often is God testing my character? Is it possible the longer the testing, the greater the calling? With this in mind, I choose to look at testing, and challenges in a whole new way. I choose to trust God to know exactly what testing needs to take place for my character to be what it needs to be, so He can use me as He planned from the beginning of time.

 

 

Deeper Still: –

As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands. Ps 119:143

 

Pressure and stress usually result in worry, anxiety, fear, doubt, and so many other things. I have the choice to choose how I will react during the pressures and stress of everyday life. I can choose to snuggle up with pressure and stress, or I can choose to snuggle up with Jesus. I choose Jesus, where I will find joy and peace as I meditate on His Word and His words He has for me.

 

Deeper Still: –

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Ps 139:23-24

 

On a regular basis I ask God to search my heart. It was a little scary in the beginning, not knowing what He might find, but now I welcome His input. As I grow more and more in love with Jesus, nothing thrills me more than being a clean, pure vessel that He can use in whatever way He chooses. Some days my thoughts and attitude go a bit astray, and I’m so glad Holy Spirit quickly shows me where I need to repent. He so lovingly reminds me that I’ve chosen to live a life of love and Christlikeness. 

 

Deeper Still: –

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord! Ps 150:1-6

 

Be creative, be yourself, and just praise Him. Use your spirit, soul, and body to praise Him. 

 

Deeper Still: –

My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Prov 3:11-12

 

Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I don’t know if God’s disciplining or training me, or if the enemy is attacking me. So whenever I’m in a situation, or season I’m not real thrilled with, I ask God to give me wisdom to receive anything He may be trying to teach me. And even if it’s an attack from the enemy (and doesn’t leave when rebuked), I ask God to use that time as an opportunity to teach me anything He wants to.

 

Deeper Still: –

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Prov 4:23

 

So much time, energy and money is spent on the parts of my body that can be seen physically, yet God cares so much more about the unseen parts, like my heart.  Even though this “heart” can’t be seen even under a microscope, it is seen in my eyes, my smile, and basically everything I do. If I neglect my physical heart, my quality of life deteriorates; if I neglect my spiritual heart, my quality of life also deteriorates. My heart, both physically and spiritually are too important to neglect. Lord, teach me to guard my heart above all else.

 

Deeper Still: –

Listen as Wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice! Prov 8:1 For whoever finds me (wisdom) finds life and receives favor from the Lord. Prov 8:35

 

Where can I get this wisdom and understanding that brings life and favor from the Lord? Well, I don’t have all the answers; I just know that as I continue this journey of intimacy with Jesus that He teaches me things. Things I could never learn in the world’s educational system. I wish at times I could have more wisdom and understanding, NOW, but some things just can’t be rushed. So I sit with my Jesus each day; I set aside time just for the two of us to grow closer together. Sometimes wisdom and understanding of things comes during these times; other times they just pop into my head.

 

Deeper Still: –

Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more. Prov 9:9

 

Instead of taking offence when others disagree, rebuke, or challenge me, I will take it as an opportunity to become wiser. I will take it as an opportunity to learn more or see things from another’s perspective. I will take it as an opportunity to love.

 

Deeper Still: –

Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses. Prov 10:12

 

There is a saying, “Hate the sin, but love the sinner”. This is easier said than played out in real life. If my focus is on the sin, it can take away my ability to love unconditionally. So I have had to make a real effort in my life to change my focus from the sin, to loving others. There’s enough hatred in this world, unfortunately even among believers; love is the answer, love will draw people to Jesus.

 

Deeper Still: –

A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones. Prov 14:30

 

We are called to seek, and pursue peace for a reason (Ps 34:14, Heb 12:14, 1 Pet 3:11), it brings life and healing to our spirit, soul and body. It’s easy at times to give into worry, fear, bitterness, anger, pride, jealously, unforgiveness, etc., but it comes at a very high cost, sometimes even death. Peace is vital to my well-being, and it comes as I put my trust in Jesus, to be who He says He is.  

 

Deeper Still: –

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health. Prov 15:30

 

The power and authority the Lord has given to His children can be life changing for others. My face, which depicts what’s in my heart, has the power to bring joy to others. Age spots, wrinkles, and a saggy neck fade away as joy is released from the heart. And as I choose to focus on the good all around me; as good news and positive words come out of my mouth, every cell in my body can reap the benefits.

 

Deeper Still: –

Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Prov 16:18

 

I’ve had to work hard at getting pride out of my heart, it still tries to slip in every once in a while, and I try and nip it in the bud. Since I am nothing without God, yet so amazing with Him, there is really no place for pride in my life. This is an area where the enemy has had a field day with many of us, but greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. May we all have victory over pride.

 

Deeper Still: –

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the godly run to him and are safe. Prov 18:10

 

I have the choice to trust in others, the government, the border, the locks on my house, all of which is good, but also fallible. But my ultimate trust is in the name of my Lord, who is: power, provider, healer, banner, sanctifier, Peace, righteousness, shepherd, advocate, faithful, truth, hope, savior, and so much more. The name of Jesus is the most powerful name in the world.

 

Deeper Still: –

Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish. Prov 18:13

 

This goes along with vs 17, “The first to speak in court sounds right – until the cross-examination begins”. There are always two sides to everything said; two sides to what goes on behind closed doors, two sides to every divorce; two sides to every argument. I have been guilty of spouting off before hearing both sides, and sometimes I never hear both sides. I have said many times, “I wish everyone would just tell the truth.” But people see the truth differently sometimes. So I’m learning to not spout off so quickly, not to judge so quickly, and to love and look to God for discernment.

 

Deeper Still:

The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Prov 18:21

 

Every word I say has the power to bring life or death, to others and to myself. The saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is NOT true. Emotional abuse through words spoken is rampant in the world today.  And, “I’m sorry” afterwards just doesn’t cut it. I am accountable, and will be judged for every word that comes out of my mouth. On a happier note, I have the power to change lives with the words I speak. It doesn’t cost money, it doesn’t take time, and I can do it anywhere. Talk about a ministry and a purpose in life – this is a good one.

 

Deeper Still: –

The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? Prov 20:24

 

When will I ever learn this truth? There’s a reason God doesn’t lay out the steps of my entire life for me to see, instead He just shows me a few steps at a time. That way I have to trust Him and walk in faith, and not take matters into my own hands. He is teaching me to enjoy today, to be in the moment and to not keep looking to the future.

 

Deeper Still: –

So my people will go into exile far away because they do not know me. Is 5:13a

 

The desire of God’s heart is for me to know Him, and it grieves Him when I think I can do life on my own. To know God is to love Him, to trust Him, to obey Him, to talk to Him throughout the day, and so much more. What a privilege and honor to worship a God who truly wants me to know Him. What other religion offers that?

 

Deeper Still: –

They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!    The whole earth is filled with his glory!” Is 6:3

 

The whole earth is filled with God’s glory; some can see His glory, some can only see the evil. If I focus on all that’s wrong and evil than eventually that’s all I will see. If I focus on God goodness, eventually that’s all I’ll see. The seraphim are declaring that the whole earth is filled with God glory, and I should too. Lord, I want to see Your glory everywhere I look; I want to deposit Your glory everywhere I step; I want to ignite Your glory with my declarations.

 

Deeper Still:

Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” Is 6:8

 

Here I am, send me. Where? Anywhere, next door or across the world. When? Now, tomorrow, anytime You say. Why? Because I love you. How? I don’t know, but I trust You. Who? Me.

 

Deeper Still: –

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Is 40:31

 

Most believers know this verse and seek the benefits the Lord offers. Yes, I want and need His strength, I want to soar high on wings like eagles, I want the energy to run and not grow weary. But my receiving these benefits hinges on my trusting (waiting, hoping) in the Lord. Totally trusting God in every area of my life is a journey worth pursuing.

Deeper Still: –

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Is 43:2

 

Notice it says “When”, not “If”. As a believer, I’m not exempt from deep waters, rivers of difficulty, or the fire of oppression. Some it seems, goes through these things more than others. But no matter how often I find myself going through this “junk”, God is with me.  If I keep my focus on Him and don’t allow fear to overwhelm me, I trust Him to get me “through” whatever I’m facing.

 

Deeper Still: –

The Lord called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name. Is 49:1b

 

I asked God what He called me before I was born, and He gave me two names, Precious and Valued. So I looked them up and wrote down all the synonyms. It was a very special time. How awesome it would be if we all walked in the identity, the name God gave us before we were born. I encourage you to ask Him what He called you. 

 

Deeper Still: –

I (Isaiah) replied, “But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the Lord’s hand; I will trust God for my reward.” Is 49:4

 

Sometimes I feel the same way, thinking that I’ve done nothing for God. He keeps telling me that I’m doing just what I’m supposed to be doing; yet in my eyes it seems so meaningless, so useless at times. I have to choose to trust God, and that I’m hearing Him correctly. I have to choose to trust God no matter that I am walking out the destiny that He has for me.

 

Deeper Still: –

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” Jer 1:5

 

It’s easy at times to frustrated with life and people, thinking that no one understands me, or what’s going on in my life. But how fascinating and comforting to know that God knows and understands everything about me and my circumstances. Am I following the path that He set me apart for me before I was even born? I hope so, but like so many others I'm not 100% sure. That’s where trusting and faith comes in; and continuously seeking Him.

 

Deeper Still: –

“O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. Jer 1:6&7

 

I’m too young, I’m too old, too poor, too shy, too uneducated, too WHATEVER doesn’t work for God. If God chooses me for a purpose than I can count on Him to qualify me to accomplish it. 

 

Deeper Still: –

This is what the Lord says:“ Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord. “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. Jer 17: 5&7

 

Some feel hopeless because of who their President is, or who their boss is, or a governmental establishment. But we are not to put our trust in any human being. It’s a choice to trust in God above all else, and it’s not always easy. But God never said life would be easy, just that He’d always be with me.

 

Deeper Still: –

That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven. Dan 2:19

 

I love that the first thing Daniel did after receiving a vision was praise God. It’s so tempting at times to rush and tell others what God has done, maybe healing someone, raising someone from the dead, receiving a vision, etc. But my first response needs to be praising God for who He is, and His amazing goodness.

 

Deeper Still: –

“But all these things did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later….  Dan 4:28-29a

 

Twelve months after Daniel warned the king of his demise if he didn’t repent, God took action. After God gives us a warning to stop sinning or else, sometimes He gives a grace period. However, sometimes we may think He’s changed His mind, that our sin wasn’t too bad. When God says I’ve sinned and I need to repent, It’s best I do it right away. God loves a repentant, obedient heart, especially one who does it quickly.

 

 

Deeper Still: –

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.” Dan 4:37

 

If I don’t live a life of humility, God might just do it for me. Since this is an area that I have struggled with in the past, I’m pretty quick to repent when any sign of pride starts to creep into my heart. It still creeps in from time to time, but I am quick to repent. I have given God permission to do whatever is necessary to get pride completely out of my heart, I’d just rather take care of it myself first.

 

Deeper Still: –

Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” Hosea 6:3

 

God wants me to know Him, He wants an intimate relationship with me. But He wants me to do my part too; He wants me to press in to know Him and not give up when it seems like He’s not responding the way I think He should. Because as sure as the dawn breaks through the darkness, He responds to my desire to know Him more deeply. 

 

Deeper Still: –

Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living. Amos 5:23-24

 

As much as the Lord loves my praise and worship, it’s worthless if it doesn’t come from my heart. Praise without a life of justice, integrity and righteous living falls on deaf ears. And righteous living comes from my heart, not from perfection.

 

Deeper Still: –

His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise. Rays of light flash from his hands,   where his awesome power is hidden. Hab 3:4

 

Since I am made in God’s image, I wonder if awesome power is hidden in my hands too? Hands are used to bring healing with just one touch, used to release God’s love with just one hug, used to bring comfort by just taking hold of someone else’s hand. Hands are used to feed, caress, clean, and take care of things. Some hands are used to still, kill, and destroy, but my hands are made in the image of God, where awesome power is hidden. 

 

Deeper Still: –

Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Matt 3:8

 

Repenting is more than just words spoken at a time of conviction, it’s actually just the beginning. It’s easy to repent, and really mean it in the moment; what’s hard at times is walking it out, and that’s what really matters to God. It’s all a matter of the heart; when my heart’s desire is to love and please God, my words are carried out through with action.

 

Deeper Still: –

“I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Matt 3:11

 

Someone once spoke about fire, they said it: purifies the heart, warms the soul, feeds the body, and it lights the way (I think I have it right). That really helped me understand being baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire a bit better.

 

Deeper Still: – 

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matt 6:33

 

Sometimes we just want God to give us everything we need (because He is a very good Papa God); we declare the second part of the verse without pursuing the first part. Somewhere in seeking the Kingdom of God above all else, my needs and my wants seem less important. Pursuing righteous living which stems from my love for Him starts to consume my heart and my life. As I open my eyes in the midst of all this, I realize I have everything I need.

 

Deeper Still: –

And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.” Matt 10:42

 

For some reason I always thought this verse was talking about unbelievers, but it’s not. Who are the least of His followers? Probably the ones I don’t really like being around, or just don’t even see for whatever reason. Lord, open my eyes to those that would be in the category of ‘the least of Your followers’. Then show me what they need: a drink of water, a kind word, an encouraging word, a blessing, or a silent prayer on their behalf.

 

Deeper Still: –

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matt 11:28

 

So many times I try and carry my troubles, my burdens all by myself. ‘I should be able to figure it out on my own’, I tell myself. But Jesus bids me to come to Him, no burden is to small, or to big. Too often by the time I come to Him, I am in quite a tizzy. I need to learn to go to Jesus at the first sign of weariness, it would sure save me a lot of unrighteous attitude. 

 

Deeper Still: –

Take my (Jesus) yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt 11:29-30

 

When I take hold of Jesus’ yoke, the two of us can unite and pull together as one. I can learn from the Master Himself what is needed for me to get through this trial of carrying a heavy burden. But some of the responsibility is mine, I have to take His yoke, I have to allow Him to teach me, and I have to find the rest and relax in it. Lord, remind me of this when I strive to carry a heavy burden by myself.

 

Deeper Still: –

And his name will be the hope of all the world.” Matt 12:21

 

What power is held in the name of Jesus; people literally live and die over His name. No other name brings hope, freedom, healing, salvation, and so much more.  When life seems to be hopeless, hope can find it’s way to us just by saying “Jesus” a few dozen, or hundred times. It there is so much power in the name of Jesus, just think about how much power there is in knowing the person to whom the name belongs.

 

Deeper Still: –

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Matt 16: 16-17

 

Some things can only be learned by sitting in my secret place with God. I believe He yearns to tell me things that are just between me and Him. I love reading His Word, and hearing messages from the many great men and women of God (who got much of their messages directly from God). I had to learn to seek the Healer vs the healing, to seek the Author vs the Word, and to seek the One I worship vs the worship itself. 

 

Deeper Still: –

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? Matt 16:26

 

Some believe the soul is inherently evil, I think Jesus disagrees. It’s in the soul that I have the power of choice. I will be judged by the choices “I” make. I need to be blessing my soul everyday to make righteous, godly choices in how I “choose” 

 

Deeper Still: –

Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” “Be quiet!” the crowd yelled at them. But they only shouted louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Matt 20:30-31

 

It’s so sad that the crowd that was following Jesus didn’t want to interrupt their agenda to allow/encourage Jesus to heal two blind men. It’s easy at times to get wrapped up in my own little world that I don’t see, and possibly don’t want to see the hurting right next to me. So many are so desperate for a touch from God; may I eyes and heart be open to say, “Here Jesus, touch them first”.

 

Deeper Still: –

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. Matt 22:37-38

 

What does it look like to love God with all my heart, soul and mind? It’s more than just believing who He is, and it’s more than just believing His Word. I think it’s the highest form of self-sacrifice, choosing God’s ways over mine, total surrender and obedience. It’s loving with every fiber of my being, from deep, deep within me; it’s knowing and responding to the fact that every breath I take is His gift to me. It’s every part of who I was created to be reaching out to the One who gives me life. 

 

Deeper Still: –

A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matt 22:39

 

If you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to others: hit, rape, yell, lie, manipulate, disrespect, abuse in any way, etc. If you wouldn’t want it to happen to your baby, child, mother, father, best friend, etc. don’t allow it to happen to you. God puts great value on every person’s life. I am His beloved child, created to bring Him joy and glory, and I need to make sure I love, value, and respect myself, as much as He does.

 

Deeper Still: –

Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?” Matt 26:53-54

 

Just a thought: If I ask God for angels to get me out of every painful situation, could it be that if they did, the consequences would be that I don't fulfill something He has called me to fulfill? Maybe that’s where “Not my will, but Yours be done.” comes in. 

 

 

Deeper Still: –

Amazed, the people exclaimed, “What authority and power this man’s (Jesus) words possess! Even evil spirits obey him, and they flee at his command!” Luke 4:36

 

When I speak, things happen. I may not see anything in the natural, but in the spirit realm my words (just like Jesus’) have power and authority to change lives. I may not know until I get to heaven the ramifications of my words, so by faith I believe that every word that I speak has the power to manifest itself, either for good, or not so good.

 

Deeper Still: –

But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer. Luke 5:15-16

 

Jesus needed to take a break from preaching, teaching and healing to spend time in prayer with His heavenly Father. So the people just had to wait while He did what needed to be done. There can be such a high when ministering, especially when signs, wonders and healings start happening, but no one, (not even Jesus) can spend all the time ministering to others. Nothing can, or should take the place of my quality time with my Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit 

 

Deeper Still: –

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” John 4:9

 

I love that this woman wasn’t intimidated by Jesus, she wasn’t afraid to ask questions and talk to Him. Could it be that she saw something different in Him, I don’t know; could it be that she had more identity as  a Samaritan with a questionable lifestyle than some of us believers, I don’t know? But because she was bold enough to engage in conversation with Jesus, her life was changed forever.

 

Deeper Still: –

But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. John 4:32&34

 

Jesus was physically weary, that’s why he stopped at the well for water. After sharing about the living water with the woman at the well (doing the will of God), suddenly He’s refreshed. Maybe instead of being so concerned about what I’m going to be eating for my physical body, I should be concerned with doing God’s will to nourish my spiritual body.  

 

Deeper Still: –

But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Acts 3:6

 

Sometimes I tend to focus on what I don’t have instead of what I do have. Everything I will ever need to do what I’ve been called to do, I already possess, It’s just a matter of tapping into it. What I do have is I the answer to every need imaginable, and it’s in the name of Jesus. 

 

 

Deeper Still: –

But my (Paul) life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. Acts 20:24

 

My responsibility is to finish the work assigned to me by the Lord Jesus, nothing else really matters. The problem arises when I think I want, or should be doing someone else’s assignment, for whatever reason. I have to keep my eyes focused on Jesus every day, I can’t waste my precious time here on earth being envious of someone else’s assignment. Lord help me keep my eyes fixed on you, and may the assignment you have for me burn deep within my heart.

 

Deeper Still: –

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Rom 12:10

 

How often do I take delight in honoring others, probably not as often as God would like? True honoring needs to come from the heart, not just flattering praises, rituals, or laws to be carried out. Lord, bring to my attention opportunities to delightfully honor others.

 

Deeper Still: –

Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rom 12:11

 

A Christian friend runs a hospital in another country and can’t hire local Christians because their work ethics are so low and they are so lazy. According to this verse Christians ought to be the hardest working most enthusiastic people around. Lord, open my eyes and heart when I start to serve you with a mediocre attitude and mindset. 

 

Deeper Still: –

Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. 1 Cor 8:1

 

So often people come to church and “think” they know how to do things better, and maybe they do. But knowledge without love is just a waste of good brain cells. God may give me knowledge and wisdom, but only when it’s bathed in love, does the body of Christ, the church grow and strengthen. 

 

Deeper Still: –

Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. 2 Cor 6:10

 

When we are so in love with Jesus our circumstances don’t define our reality. My reality is that I am not of this world, and as long as I keep my eyes on Jesus, I can remain in the spirit realm. And in the spirit realm it doesn’t matter what is going on around me in my natural body, my attitude is one of joy and giving; and though I may have nothing in the natural, in the spirit I have everything I will ever need.

 

Deeper Still: –

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Eph 4:1

 

I believe each of us have a calling, a destiny, a purpose specifically given to us by God. One calling, but many assignments in this journey called life. Part of my calling is knowing I am worthy as a child of God for whatever He calls me to. Unfortunately it can take way too long for many of us to realize just how worthy we are, and that’s where trusting God comes in. If He says I’m worthy, how dare I call Him a liar. I am worthy, and my life needs to reflect that.

 

 

Deeper Still: –

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. Eph 4:5&6

 

Too often people have tried to use this verse to deny there is a baptism of the Holy Spirit with manifestations of speaking in tongues. But what about John’s baptism of repentance in Acts 19:4, or the baptism of suffering in Mark 10:38 & Luke 12:50, or baptism of Holy spirit and fire in Matt 3:11, or baptized as followers of Moses in1 Cor 10:2, baptisms (plural) in Heb 6:2,baptized into Christ’s death Rom 6:3. Just a thought.

 

Deeper Still: –

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Phil 4:8

 

With everything going on in the world these days, it takes more effort to keep my thoughts focused what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. It won’t just happen, I must take the time and make the effort to think this way. My thought life is so powerful and life changing; what I think on becomes my reality. No amount of money can buy a righteous thought life, it takes constant effort. 

 

Deeper Still: –

We continually ask God to fill you (completely) with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, Col 1:9b-10

 

The desire of my heart is to completely know God’s will for every area of my life. How will I obtain this information? As I sit and talk to God, as I meditate on His Word, as I seek Him first, Holy Spirit starts downloading. Sometimes it takes a while for me to understand, but Holy Spirit deposits God’s wisdom to help me. How awesome that God wants me to know His will for me, it’s not hidden, I just have to position myself to receive it.

 

Deeper Still: –

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, SO THAT you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, Col 1:9b-10

 

Through Holy Spirit’s downloads of wisdom and understanding I can know the will of God for my life. Through that I produce fruit; through that I grow in knowing my God on a deeper and more intimate level. The God I serve is personal, He doesn’t just want me to serve and worship Him, He wants me to really know Him and continually to know Him more and more throughout my life.

 

Deeper Still: –

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. Col 1:11

 

I seems God wants me to be strengthened with His amazing, glorious power just so I can grow in endurance and patience. On the surface that just doesn’t seem very appealing. But only God knows what I need to accomplish His will for me, the will I’ve been contending to know. And if He asks me to do something, I can count on Him to equip me, even if it means growing in endurance and patience. I guess I better look at daily annoyances as an opportunity to grow.

 

Deeper Still: –

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. Col 1:11-12a

 

So as I get strengthened with God’s glorious power through endurance and patience, I’m supposed to be joyfully thanking my Father. I guess that leaves out grumbling when annoyances come knocking. Possibly, instead of rebuking every inconvenience and annoyance as coming from the enemy, I might consider that I have an opportunity to be strengthened with endurance and patience with a joyful thankful attitude. I guess this is where a discerning spirit would come in handy.

 

Deeper Still: –

In Him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Col 2:3

 

So because I have Jesus in me (col 1:27), I also have all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. But they lie within my spirit and not my mind; therefore I must tap into that wisdom and knowledge spirit to Spirit. How? It could be different for everyone, but probably involves hunger, love, intimacy, time, prayer, reading the Word, listening, and so much more. The exciting thing is, we ALL have access to it if we know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

 

Deeper Still: –

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Col 3:14

 

Most versions say “put on love”. To put on, or clothe myself with love involves conscious effort. Sometimes it would be nice to have a timer go off every so often in my mind and say “Is your love still on?” I have learned over the past decade the importance of love, loving myself, others, Jesus. Maybe Paul used the words, clothe, or put on, because loves can tend to slip off of me at any given time.

 

Deeper Still: –

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. Heb 11:6

 

Spending time with God, seeking to know Him on a deeper level is never a waste of time. When I spend time sincerely seeking Him I’m not doing it for any kind of a reward, yet I can’t please God unless I believe that He does reward me for seeking Him. He doesn’t just want me to know that He exists, He wants me to know that He rewards me. Now that’s pretty awesome.

Deeper Still: – 

because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4

 

Allowing perseverance to finish its work is never something I look forward to. It’s only natural to want troubles and unpleasant circumstances to be done with NOW. However, in the Kingdom things work differently. If I ever want to be mature, complete, and lacking nothing, I can’t keep squirming to get out of what I’m going through.