WHAT DOES GOD WANT FROM YOU?

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 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3

  • Beth Moore Bible Study? Check.
  • Various Bible Translations? Check.
  • Journal? Check.
  • Bible Dictionary? Check.
  • Colored Pens & Pencils? Check.
  • Highlighters? Check.
  • Cup of Coffee? Check.
  • Ticked all of the boxes on the “What God Expects From Me List”?  Check.

As I ran my finger over the gold embellished edges of my worn bible, I began to make my plan for the day’s time with God.  First I’ll study… “Melonie,” I heard God say, “I don’t want you to read anything this morning, but sit still before Me.”  Well, okay, I guess I will just pray then, I thought.  So I began to pray out loud.  It was a little awkward at first, because I couldn’t understand why He’d tell me not to study but sit still.  My morning times had always consisted of studying and highlighting scripture.  But I pressed on and continued praying, even though I didn’t really feel anything.  The more awkward silence I heard, the louder I prayed. And just when I was about to bring down the fire from heaven, [insert sarcasm] I saw Jesus sitting on the arm of the couch beside me.  (Spiritually speaking of course.)  He said, “Why are you yelling at me? I’m right here.  What do you want to talk about?” “Um, I, uh, don’t really know,” I jabbered.  I’d never really thought of prayer like that before.  My times with God had always consisted of cramming scripture and bible study for hours and of course, asking Him to work out some things for me.  I had never sat still before and chit-chatted but I had a feeling God was about to develop something new in me.  He was about to birth an intimate friendship and the vision for Koffee with the King.

I can honestly say that it was a bit of a struggle not to pull in tons of reading the first several months He had me sit still.  Oh, I still studied the Word, but not during these morning times with God.  One particular day, I reached over to pick up the bible because I had some seriously conflicting and guilty feelings about not reading.  The Holy Spirit said, “You reach for the scriptures, but the scriptures point you to Me, and I am here with you.”  Now was He saying that the bible was not important anymore?  No!  He was teaching me to make His Presence my priority every morning; to sit still and enjoy waking up with Him while getting to know Him.

cozy coffee nookJust as the ambiance of the radiant morning sun bursts through the wall of windows in my office filling my eyes with light, He awakens my soul with His Presence morning after morning.  Warm cup of coffee in hand, snuggled down and rocking in my grandpa’s old green chair, He unravels the mysteries of His goodness before me.  Sip by sip, word by word I’m getting to know Him more each day, and my love grows deeper, stronger.  He is my best friend and this has been His desire for me all along.  Just like in the garden, before sin, He walked and talked with man.  They were friends.  That’s what He wants from us, a friendship.  Jesus said in John 15:13, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  That’s what He did for us, laid His life down so that we could be reunited with God if we choose to be.

 

bigstock-beautiful-girl-riding-bicycle--12155192what does god want

What does God want from you?   Intimacy, a close friendship, quality time together.  You will be compelled by your love for Him to make the right choices in life once you really get to know Him.  The more you know Him, the more you’ll love Him.  God is not seeking religiously devout people, He’s seeking people after His own heart.  People who take the time to get to know Him, spend quality time with Him and then are changed from the inside out because of His love and mercy.  Are you ready to know God like that?  Are you ready to be friends with God like this?  Are you ready to live your life from this perspective?  You will be changed forever.  This is eternal life.  It starts now, not later in heaven, but right now.

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YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

God desires to speak to you today.  He has paid such a high price to be reconciled with you, to have a close friendship with you.  He doesn’t desire religious acts to be close, He simply wants a friend who’s heart desires closeness with Him.  Every good thing you will ever do should be because of your love for Him, not religious obligation.  Take some time today to get to know Him better than you already do. Spend the next 20 or so minutes talking to Him and listening as He shares His heart and love for you.  

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FURTHER STUDY:  

Spend some time this week seeing what the Word of God says about eternal life.  John 17:3 says that eternal life is knowing God and Jesus.  That eternal life brings us into fellowship with God, it brings us into intimate friendship with Him.  This, my friends, is life changing!

Day 2:   Read and meditate on John 15:15

Day 3:  Read and mediate on John 6:26-27

Day 4:  Read and mediate on John 10:27-29

Day 5:  Read and mediate on 1 John 2:24-26

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

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Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.  –Deuteronomy 31:6

 

A Love Junkie, that’s what I was.  I ran from relationship to relationship, and from marriage to marriage hoping that the next “hit” would fix my loneliness.  I got married at 16 and had a sweet baby boy (10 months later) who never deserved to go down a road of turmoil and abuse with me.  After the divorce of my first marriage, I became even more desperate.  I was18 with a child in tow.  I was afraid that no one would love me, that no one would love my son.  I needed to find security so I ran to the first person who’d have me.  I went straight from one abusive marriage to another violently explosive marriage (mutually violent, I might add) all because I was afraid of being alone.  That marriage ended and I had another sweet baby boy that didn’t deserve a broken home or turmoil either.

The dismal thought of being alone causes some of us to make desperate irrational decisions, does it not?  We see women and men bounce around from relationship to relationship believing wholeheartedly that “they have just not found the right one yet”.  The human soul cries out for companionship, it’s the way God created us.  God created man and saw that there wasn’t a suitable helper for him. His response?  It’s not good.  So He made Adam a companion, a friend, a lover, someone to do life with.  And isn’t that what we are all looking for?

It breaks my heart to see so many women throw themselves out there so desperately. They are seeking to be loved; longing to find someone to share their lives with.  Sad broken women going from one fix to the next hoping that this “hit” will be the one that fixes them.  I used to be that broken woman.  I was so afraid of being alone that I would do anything to make someone stay.  Yes, I’ve been both single and alone AND I’ve been married and alone too.

The responsibility of meeting all of our needs and making us completely happy should never be placed on another person.  It’s an impossible task!  Are there good godly marriages?  Absolutely, but even those aren’t perfect.  Even those won’t fulfill all of our needs.  Every position in life, married or single, still leaves a wide open hole that only God can fill.  God didn’t create us to be whole without Him.  Did He create marriage?  Of course, but He didn’t create marriage and relationships as replacements for a relationship with Him.

bigstock-Grunge-Styled-Interior-12565091you are not aloneSomewhere after my second divorce, I stopped the insanity.  I stopped reaching for another person to make me whole and reached for God alone.  I had honestly come to a place of contentment.  A place where I was NOT lonely because I had the fullness of God in my life.  I cannot express in words the security I found in Him.  Even to this day, I can’t make sense of how God provided for me and my children.  Month after month I had more than enough financially.  God sent men from church to pour godly wisdom into my sons.  God has given me incredible earthly parents who have been there for me and my sons in every season of our lives.  God sent the boys a compassionate uncle who’s loved them like his own.  God surrounded me with people that He allowed to be His hands and feet to take care of us.  That’s the goodness of God.

I’m not an exception, I’m a living testament to the rule of God’s goodness.  When we are in covenant with Him, it’s His job and responsibility to take care of all of our needs.  Sitting with Him morning after morning fills a void in our souls and we’re never alone.  He’s created a body of believers, the church, to be His hands and feet and to be our family.  There is NEVER a moment that we are alone.  NEVER a moment when God’s not there.  NEVER a moment when He doesn’t meet every need deep inside or send someone to help us when we trust Him.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

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YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

Spend the next 20 to 30 minutes letting God speak to you.  You’ve got to lay as part of your foundation the truth that God has and never will abandon you.  He’s ALWAYS been there.  Listen to today’s song and give God permission to speak His words of love and security to you.  He’ll speak, but you have to believe what He says.  Don’t listen to the voice of the enemy any longer that says you’re alone and no one cares.  God cares!  Let Him tell you…

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FURTHER STUDY:  

Over the next week, study the following passages to increase your knowledge and build your faith that God is always with you so that you can stand secure and confident in Him.

Day 2:   Read and meditate on Joshua 1:5

Day 3:  Read and mediate on John 14:18 

Day 4:  Read and mediate on John 16:32

Day 5:  Read and mediate on Isaiah 41:10

SO, HOW IS THIS A GOOD THING?

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Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. –James 1:2-3

Death darkens every door sooner or later.  Pain persistently pursues as we make our way through this life.  We lose jobs, health, spouses, children, friends, churches. We’re crushed by harsh unkind people that are sometimes the closest.  We are abandoned, rejected, neglected, abused, alone.  Ash of the aftermath covers our tear-streaked faces from all of the bad choices those we’re tied to make.  It’s one thing to pay for the sins we’ve committed, but to painfully pay for the sins of another is almost too much. We try to do the right thing, to have the faith we are supposed to, but our strength fails us.  What would cause anyone in their right minds to see joy in any of these things?  And so, how is this a good thing again?

Is there a bogus unwritten rule somewhere that says we won’t go through heartache after we’ve been saved?  We seem to think that our problems will magically disappear.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  In most cases, things get worse before they ever get better.  Because now, we’re not only battling all of hell, add to that our carnal-fleshly-selfish-what-about-me-mindsets that are still lingering and things get disastrous.

It’s easy to have faith for others because we are not feeling the full weight of the trial they are experiencing.  But when all hell breaks loose in our lives, we quickly fall off the spiritual high horse we’re riding.  We decide we are exceptions to God’s goodness rather than the rule; that we could quite possibly be the only person on earth going through this particular situation. So God must have overlooked us somehow.

When I met my future husband 8 years ago, I dreamt of a perfect Utopia.  He was the one I’d waited for for so long. And after our blissful wedding day, I just knew we’d blow up the gates of hell on mission for God.  Yeah, well, that’s not exactly how it went down.  I’m going to be brutally honest here, but it’s because I want you to see something.  There were long barren seasons in my marriage that were so unfathomably bad that I prayed some pretty drastic things.  Divorce wasn’t an option, but death certainly was.  I prayed that God would take me out.  Seriously.  I really wanted to die, but if He wasn’t going to take me, then He needed to take my husband out.  Now don’t judge me.  I know some of you wouldn’t dare say something like that.  It’s so “unchristian”.  And even though I knew this was the man God told me to marry, I just couldn’t piece together why it was so hard.  I tried everything to make it work.  And when I mean make it work, I mean I tried controlling everything.  Funny thing about control is that we really can’t control anything but ourselves, and I wasn’t doing such a great job of that. 

bigstock-Rose-Hanging-From-An-Old-Key-48888527 trialsNow here I am 7 years later, and I have died by degrees to some of the darkest areas of my soul and I can truly say…I am a better person for marrying him and for walking this out.  Through weeping and gnashing of teeth, I intimately saw the face of God peering at me through my despair, drawing me with soft, gentle, loving whispers.  He taught me how to be like Him through His love. He gave me eyes to see the treasure that was locked up inside me: the gentle, patient, find-joy-even-when-I-don’t-get-my-way kind of treasure.  Taught me that trials are keys to treasures of godly character stored within, we choose which way to turn the key.  And I choose to unlock it and let the glory of God shine through me.

I’ve learned this lesson on so many different fronts.  But it’s all the same.  Consider everything joy that comes your way especially the hard stuff.  It has the potential to make you stronger, to increase your faith and to be resolute in your walk.  Remember that the brokenhearted see the face of God.  That’s who He came for.  Don’t let your trial be for nothing.  See it for the potential it has…to make you more like Him by spending more time with Him.

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YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

Spend the next 20 to 30 minutes letting God renew your mind.  Every hardship that you are facing right now, lay before Him.  Ask Him for understanding in it.  Ask Him for grace to persevere.  Even if you receive limited understanding in what you are going through, resolve to the fact that God is good. PERIOD. Sometimes we can’t see clearly when we are in the midst of such heartache, so God may give you one bite of truth at a time.  Write it down, believe it, and trust Him.  This trial won’t last forever.  You will make it through this, I promise!

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FURTHER STUDY:  

Over the next week, study the following passages to learn more about persevering through adversity and the joy that awaits you on the other side.  It’s so worth the price!

Day 2:   Read and meditate on 1 Peter 1:6-7

Day 3:  Read and mediate on Romans 8:16-18

Day 4:  Read and mediate on 1 Peter 5:8-10

Day 5:  Read and mediate on Romans 5:1-4

RUN YOUR RACE & WIN

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Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24

 

Who hasn’t wished that they were someone else at least once in their lifetime?  We look through small smudgy windows into the lives of people who we pretentiously think have it all together.  We look at what they have and see what we don’t have.    They are the measuring stick by which we measure our worth, our success.  We are constantly comparing ourselves to women who have what we want, or are doing what we want to do and we always find ourselves lacking.

Is it an affirmation-starved fatherless world that causes us to wish we were someone else, that keeps us from seeing our true value? What is lacking in our lives that causes us to question our own self-worth?  Why are we plagued with overwhelming thoughts of not being good enough and why do we believe them?  Why isn’t what we have enough?  Why isn’t who we are enough?

For most of my formative years I struggled with being average.  I was never good at anything, really.  I stunk at sports, I was an average student (mostly because I didn’t try), and I had no real remarkable talents.   I was mediocre in every way.  I think somewhere deep down inside we all want to be really good at something, just one thing.  We want to make people happy and feel as though the world is a better place because we contribute something to it.  Not in an arrogant, egotistical way, we just want to feel valuable.  Do you want to know what I think the real root is?  We are not confident in who we are, in Who’s we are and how valuable we are to Him.  And without that confidence we buckle and we strive to be what we are not, always ending up short.

I tried most of my life to be someone that I was not and failed miserably at it.  You see, God will not help you become someone else.  He’ll help you be the best you, you can be. It wasn’t until I started sitting with Him, and hearing Him say what He loved about me that I began to embrace who He made me to be.  God is an affirmer.  And He wants to affirm you.  Your past doesn’t matter, your future can be amazing.  It’s time we start living a life of gratitude for all He’s given us.  It’s time to stop letting a victim mentality steal all that God has for us.  It’s time to stop being jealous of what others have and embrace what we’ve been given.  Sitting with Him day after day after day instills value and confidence.  You won’t need the world to say a word to you for you to carry out the call of God on your life.

bigstock-Athlete-runner-feet-running-on-34709693liarIt’s hilarious to me how God works sometimes.  My love language is words of affirmation, which is probably the one thing that I get the least.  I sought for so many years for someone to say “wow, you are really good at that” or “I believe in you”.  And other than my super amazing mom, I don’t hear positive things like that very often.  So you know what I do? I do it anyway, and I do it with everything I’ve got.  I run this race fiercely, boldly, and with the utmost confidence that I am enough because He says so.   I run to win the prize of hearing Him say “well done sweetie”.  The confidence I have in who I am in Him has come from years of sitting in His presence, from years of listening to Him tell me how valuable I am to Him.  Those truths dispel the lies of the enemy that I am not enough and that no one believes in me.  I no longer need anyone to say anything to me.  He says it all and that is enough.  So I run my race in my lane as me and I love me.  I love what God has given me to do.  I love what God has gifted me to do.  If I could be anyone else in the world, I would choose to be me.  Isn’t it time you loved yourself the way God loves you?  Are you ready to see yourselve the way He sees you?  Are you ready to run the race He’s given you to run?  Are you ready to win?  Because you can.

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YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

Spend the next 20 to 30 minutes soaking in His presence.  We are going to let Him do a lot of the talking today.  We are going to be still and let Him tell us what He thinks about us.  We are going to let Him speak to us so that we can be free in who He’s called us to be.  When He speaks to you, apply your faith to it.   Receive it wholeheartedly and walk confidently in it from now on.  He believes in you!

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FURTHER STUDY:  

Over the next week, study the following passages to learn more about running this race with confidence, refusing to compare yourselves to others and understanding who we are in Christ.

Day 2:   Read and meditate on 2 Corinthians 10:12

Day 3:  Read and mediate on Ephesians 2:10

Day 4:  Read and mediate on Philippians 3:14

Day 5:  Read and mediate on Galatians 1:10

LIVE OR DIE? YOU CHOOSE

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We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:5

Deep dark desperation numbed down into despondence as we sat lifeless in the marriage counselor’s office.  We were miles apart. No, we were more like light-years apart except there was no light, only years of darkness. How did we get here? Was this not the “one” God told me to marry? This was never a place I thought we’d be.  Never a place for two professing Christians…or so was it?

We’d tried getting help before.  I’d tried everything but nothing seemed to work.  And here we were…at the absolute bottom.  Loveless.  I honestly couldn’t have cared if I lived or died at that moment.   I had swallowed the 2 ton brick of hopelessness that my body could not digest and I was dying from the inside out.  Every lie that slithered its way into my mind, I’d given permission to suck the life out of me one hopeless whisper at a time.

Bi-polar Depression,  that’s what she said was wrong.  I needed medication she said.  You know those scenes in action movies where the music drops, everything goes into slow motion, and things are suspended in mid-air? Yeah, it was like that, except during my slow mo reel  I heard God.  “You need to choose this day who you believe,” He said.  “You either believe the truth and live or believe the lies and die.  But you choose.”  Light flipped on with the snap of truth.  I was sitting in that chair in a hopeless frame of mind because of what I allowed myself to believe.  You see, a lie is as strong as the truth if you believe it. bigstock-thistle-close-up-26347376simply believe The only power the enemy has over us is what we give him.  And I had given him full reign of my mind.  At the time it was easier to roll downstream with the negative thoughts than to fight the current and trust that God could heal my marriage.  And it wasn’t just my marriage that was falling apart, it was everything. Family, finances, ministry, all had flopped.  Failure was stamped on everything that had my name associated with it, or so I believed.  Yes, I believed in God’s goodness for short spurts but the long seasons of drought brought doubt that I couldn’t overcome any longer on my own.

Most any lay person would have diagnosed me as a manic depressant.  I was high one minute then down the next.  High when I believed God’s truth, and low when I agreed with the barrage of hopeless thoughts of failure sent to torment me.  Up and down, and up and down, over and over until I lost my mind.

But the grace that came to me in that moment of despair in the counselor’s office defined the answer for me.  The answer: to choose life,  to choose truth against all odds, to believe that God was good and to trust Him at all times.  With the snap of His finger was I healed?  No, I had to choose to take every thought captive.  Every one.  I asked myself  “does this encourage me, lift me up, agree with God’s word, agree with what God has already spoken?”  If not, I pushed it out of my mind and verbally said what God’s word did say.  Was it easy?  Not at first, but it gets easier.  Especially when I spend every morning waking up with the One who gently helps realign my thoughts to His.

bigstock-Girl-On-The-Lake-40084861perfect peaceKeeping company with Him will do that you know?  You’ll be so accustomed to His voice that you’ll refuse to listen to the voice of anyone else that speaks contrary to Him.  The one who lies, kills, steals and destroys your hope and peace will be easily recognized and easily refused.  Sitting in God’s presence, listening and believing His words has healed me.  It started the day I left the counselor’s office and continues daily over coffee.  Bi-polar?  Not anymore.  I’m balanced and secure in Him and in the thoughts I have about Him and about life.

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YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

Spend the next 20 to 30 minutes enjoying waking up your mind in God’s presence.  We all battle  thoughts that are sent to devour us.  What are some thoughts you battle regularly that weigh you down?  Tell those to Him today.  Ask Him what He thinks about those thoughts.  Ask Him to replace those lies with the truth.  Make sure to write down exactly what He says and memorize it.   Play the audio track below to get you started.

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FURTHER STUDY:  

Over the next week, study the following passages to learn more about having a mind stayed on Christ and truth.  Continue to have your daily Koffee with the King  and enjoy Him. These are not just random scriptures I’ve chosen.  These scriptures will help you defend off the lies of the enemy.  So read them, write them down, and quote them as needed.

Day 2:   Read and meditate on John 8:30-32

Day 3:  Read and mediate on Proverbs 23:7

Day 4:  Read and mediate on  John 14:6

Day 5:  Read and mediate on Isaiah 26:3

IT’S TIME TO GET NAKED

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And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.    – Genesis 2:25

 

Breath blown lungs fill full of the life of God.  Unspoiled eyes open to beauty yet discovered.  Unveiled eyes behold a form of their Creator.  Naked and unashamed he stands before His Maker.  Nothing hidden, nothing covered up, a friendship forms.  Walks and talks in a garden in the cool of day, fill both the hearts of God and man.  For this is why he was born, and this is why He came.  God’s heart empty? No. It’s full to be poured out in this love but how sweet to have that love chosen to be returned.

bigstock-Spring-Nature-Beautiful-Lands-45772306The Garden of Eden, a perfect love validated by a perfect world of breathtaking beauty and intimacy with God.  What would a day in this paradise have been like?  What grandiose expeditions uncovered majesties with Creator as tour guide?  What deep rich conversations exchanged in a place where dreams are made?

And then entered sin.

The problem with free will is that you are, well, free to choose.  The incorrect choice, sin, has a price.  It’s effect? Shame and separation from God.  Adam and Eve decided that they knew better than God and chose to disobey Him.   And what happened next is heartbreaking.  Imagine, God coming down to fellowship with His friends and can’t find them…

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Genesis 3:8-10.

I heard Your voice and I was afraid?  That had never happened before.  Adam had never been afraid of God’s voice, until now…until sin.

Is this not the same reaction we have today?  We sin and then run from the Presence of God because we are ashamed or maybe perhaps we don’t want to give up our “precious” sin.  We believe His reaction will be one of strict punishment, condemnation or even worse, He’ll ask us to stop sinning.  We may even love the sin more than we love Him.  We knew better than to “eat the forbidden fruit” but we did it, and now what?  Cover it up and stay hidden?  We’d like to think we can hide but God knows everything.

What sin is so great, so much greater than enjoying His full unconditional love and closeness? I am convinced that there is no such sin.  Nothing even comes close to the joy I’ve found in Him.

There is no area of my heart left closed off.  I’ve given it all to Him.  I’ve exposed every part of myself to Him.  I’ve allowed the light of truth to shine and permeate even the darkest parts of me.  I willfully submit to allbigstock-Book-old-key-and-envelope-on--56876456transparency that He asks.  The reward for such sacrifice? Intimacy. There is nothing separating us.  I am naked, unashamed and hear Him clearly.  Always.  Transparency is the key to intimacy with God.

So are you ready to get naked before God and bare all?  Being honest about the sin and struggles in your life?  Giving all of yourself in return for all of Him?  Purifying your heart so that you may see Him, hear Him?  If so, get ready to be swept away!

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YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

Spend the next 20 to 30 minutes imagining yourself in the Garden of Eden with God.  What would you and God talk about if you were free from shame and guilt? What would you say to Him if you knew He loved you without measure and nothing you could say to Him would cause Him to love you any less.  Talk to Him openly and honestly.  Be completely transparent.  Then listen to what He says back.  Write it down and treasure it.

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FURTHER STUDY:  

Over the next week, study the following passages to learn more about being honest with God.  Continue to have your daily Koffee with the King  and enjoy Him. This is NOT a duty, but a delight to sit with Him every morning waking up to the sound of His sweet voice over coffee.

bigstock-art-grunge-floral-vintage-back-16720973blessedDay 2:   Read and meditate on Matthew 5:8

Day 3:  Read and mediate on 1 John 1:9

Day 4:  Read and mediate on  Psalms 32:5

Day 5:  Read and mediate on  Psalms 15:1-3

Hope is knocking

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Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts                              by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  -Romans 5:5

Misty morning fog blankets thbigstock-Birds-5207436e lake at the house I’ve retreated to write.  This clandestine nebula somehow eluded last night’s projected forecast.  Sunny and 71 were the expectations for this day but this murky haze obscures the truth about what I know lies on the other side.  Warm rays of hope giving sunlight have been replaced with the damp melancholy of these beauty blocking clouds.  Hopelessness is knocking.  But I will not answer.

Isn’t that what life is like sometimes?  Things don’t turn out the way we expect,  the way things were promised.  There are days of zero visibility, and maybe those days are more like years stretched out so long we’ve forgotten the landscape.  We’ve forgotten what was on the other side of uncertainty.  A marriage that was conceived under warmth of certain sun now is clouded by the haze of broken.  Heavy reflections surround the notion that you’ve not tied yourself to the one your soul loves, and questions of his existence haunt your thoughts.  The childless womb of a mother so desperately seeking to have it filled. Pensive memories of the ones who were and now are not give rise to the guilty thoughts of living again.  Hopelessness is knocking.  Have you answered the door?

The ease at which melancholy sets in is disheartening.  It takes so little effort to be swept down the stream of negativity.  It’s much more difficult to stir yourself up in the Lord when your broken heart is more tangible than your hope in God.  If God is good, then why did He let these things happen?  That’s the real question isn’t it?  Is God good or isn’t He?  For some maybe,  but not for all is the wrong realization that opens the door to hopelessness.  And if I were to stop with my limited understanding about my hard circumstances, I too would return to the dismal place that held so many of my years.  But I don’t.  Each morning, I return to the place of rest in knowing that He is good.  The place where His presence dwells.  The place where He restores my hope and gives understanding through new perspectives.  Ah, my eyes see through His eyes the beauty of what lies on the other side of that cloud.  And that beauty is even more radiant than my eyes alone could have ever seen.  He gives me hope again.  But it is my choice to swim upstream and keep it or be moved by the current of my inaccurate perspectives.  I choose Life because it has chosen me.

bigstock-old-fashioned-flower-14121134hopeHope does not disappoint.  Do you disagree?  I used to.  I had hoped for so many things that didn’t happen.  In fact, God changed my name to Hope over 15 years ago.  Funny huh?  I stayed in a constant state of disappointment over all the things that didn’t turn out like I thought.  Even now, it tries to creep in but I won’t let it.  You see, I don’t hope in things, I hope in Christ.  He doesn’t disappoint because His love has been poured out in my heart through the amazing gift of the Holy Spirit who is always speaking to me.  Coaching me, encouraging me, guiding me, building my faith, picking me up when I fall, reminding me of God’s goodness, of His grace, and of His mercy.  Reminding me that I can do all things through, with and by Him.  Do people have the power to make decisions that negatively affect me?  Yes, but even then He’s faithful to make things work out for me in His perfect way.

So I challenge you to kick out the unwelcomed guest of hopelessness and never open the door to him again.  Let the Holy Spirit reside in your heart and return hope to you in every area that the enemy has stolen.  Hope is knocking, will you let Him in?

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YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

Spend the next 20 to 30 minutes gazing into the eyes of a loving God.  Focus your complete attention on Him. Listen wholeheartedly as He speaks words of hope to you.   Allow those words to settle upon you and repair the damage that Satan’s lies have done.   God has come for the brokenhearted and He comes to bring life.  Are you ready to be made whole again?  Write down everything the Holy Spirit speaks to you and remind yourself of them all week long.

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FURTHER STUDY:  

Over the next week, study the following passages to learn more on hope in God.  Continue to have your daily Koffee with the King  and enjoy those deep conversations. Continue to ask Him questions to get to know Him better.

Day 2:   Read and meditate on Psalms 42:11

Day 3:  Read and mediate on Jeremiah 17:7

Day 4:  Read and mediate on Romans 8:23-25

Day 5:  Read and mediate on Romans 15:13

Returning to the King

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In returning and rest you will be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. -Isaiah 30:15

 

Dark were the days that dawned truth of missing God over 10 years ago.  Nothing hollowed me like the moment I realized I had gotten off track somehow.  I was a survivor of all kinds of dark things, unfair things, unimaginable things…abuses, abandonments, infidelities, divorces to mention a few but nothing like this.  Nothing leveled me quite like this.   I thought I had found safety, a haven of wholeness tucked secretly out of sight in a world where God spoke.

How could I have been so wrong about so many things? Dark doubt bore into my soul and all of the good leaked out with ugly.  Him ugly? No, the part about missing Him, misunderstanding Him was ugly.  But how?  How could I have traveled so far, so long and Him not stop me?  What did it prove? That I was crazy?  That He’s mysterious, unable to be understood?  I was done.  No more.   I couldn’t separate what He said from what I said about my future.  So it was safer to stay away.  And so I did, for almost two years.  I stayed tucked away, hidden deep in the pseudo safety of silence.  Ibigstock-Photo-of-a-poppies-pasted-on-a-45210805returning was near Him, but I couldn’t bear to hear Him.  What if I misunderstood again?  I couldn’t take it.  I was uncertain about everything.  Everything!  I couldn’t step out in faith again only to be wrong.  And then, just for brief moment, the whisper of hope broke through the silence with one sentence: “in returning and rest you will be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”  And that was it, that’s all He said.

I still spent time with Him. Mainly just sitting there, reading His word.  But never talking about future events, or how I missed Him that dark season.  It was too fresh, too painful.  I still went to church, served in a less audacious capacity but never lifted my eyes to dream.  Dreams were dead.  But I learned something limitless in that season of silence.  As I returned to Him day after day, resting my head against His chest, sitting in stillness and quietness with only the sound of the breath He gave something began to grow inside.  Quiet, steady confidence was birthed in the alcove of my silent sanctuary.  For now I saw the tender heart of God who sat beside me never needing me to do anything for Him.  He was in no hurry.  It was always me.  It was always me that lived in a ferocious headlong frenzy to do the will of God.  He wasn’t sitting on pins and needles hoping I’d snap out of this fearful stupor to go about accomplishing His great plans for me.  He was much more focused on saving me from my grief.  No, God’s never in a hurry.  He doesn’t long for us to do something for Him more than He longs for us to know Him, and love Him, and let Him love us.  Anything after that is just icing.

It’s the enemy and our selfish ambitions working in tandem that push, and drive us beyond God’s speed.  No accomplishment supersedes the place of quiet confidence and trust in Him.  No level of success outshines the beauty of walking hand in hand while He opens doors.  And try though we rose vinetsmay we will not thwart the plans of God, nor rush them.  So go with God.  Seriously, go with Him and at His speed.  Save yourself the heartache of disappointments.  Even if you only move one inch at a time, embrace the safety of a Savior who savors every moment with you.  And return to this haven of peace morning after morning, cup after cup.

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YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

Spend the next 20 to 30 minutes returning to rest found only in God.  Focus your heart completely on Him.  Allow the Holy Spirit to bring anything up that you have done that has hurt the heart of God, and repent.  Continue to sit in His Presence and soak Him in,  always writing down anything that He shares with you.   Are you ready to breathe Him in?

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FURTHER STUDY:  

Over the next week, study the following passages to learn more on being still and knowing God.  Continue to have your daily Koffee with the King  and enjoy those deep conversations. Continue to ask Him questions to get to know Him better.

Day 2:   Read and meditate on Isaiah 44:22

Day 3:  Read and mediate on Zechariah 1:3

Day 4:  Read and mediate on Jeremiah 24:7

Day 5:  Read and mediate on 2 Chronicles 15:4

EMPTIED AND STILL

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Be still and know that I am God.  -Psalms 46:10

Body limp and nest emptied, I sat in disbelief.  What will I breathe now? I felt all of the air leave my lungs that day.  I struggled to wring myself dry of the pool of sorrow that soaked through with the tears shed for the baby bird that flew away too soon.  With this empty hallow I gently sat myself down at His feet.  “What will I do now, My Savior?”  With a heart so broken I could barely breathe without the shard reminders of a house now empty, of a son who left way too soon.  I knew it was coming, God told me he would leave and move inbigstock-Eggs-In-A-Nest-2572954 with his father, but even knowing didn’t dull the blade of the knife that cut his cord and my heart.  Being a mother is all I have ever known.  I have had someone to nurture and hold tight since I was a wild-eyed recklessly abandoned 17 year old babe myself; who had searched for love in all the wrong places yet found it in the eyes of my sons.  And now what?  Even now I push past the rush of hot streams of tears that soak a read swollen face flowing for all of the memories that will never be.  This didn’t turn out the way I hoped, the way that it should have.  So now what?

The day my youngest son left was a bitter sweet dark day.  Bitter and dark because he was gone, but sweet because of the wave of grace that engulfed me.  My poor husband was at a loss as to how to console me.  He suggested I get a puppy.  The thought was ridiculous to me.  I have always been a cat person.  I never knew what people found so great about dogs.  But I was too weak to be so opinionated and went with it.  I love how God is even involved in the little things of life because as soon as I picked up that little black wienie dog, I heard God say “this is the one who will help you heal.”  I instantly knew what I would name him…Raffee.  It comes from Jehovah Raphe which means “our God who heals”.  So every time that I would call his name, I would remind myself of the healing power of God.  Funny thing is, sometimes we call him Raffa.  As I was studying today’s verse, God brought something to my attention and I couldn’t help but chuckle.  The Hebrew word for still is rapha.  Do you know what I have done every day since my son left?  I have sat still, rapha, at the feet of my King, my Healer, Raphe, (of course with Raffee in my lap and coffee in my hand).  Even now God continues to heal me as I sit still in His Presence and my sweet little furry companion, who never leaves my side, is just a reminder of that.  A reminder of God’s goodness.  A reminder of grace.

That Hebrew word rapha, still, literally means to sink down, abandon, relax, and forsake.  Think about that for a moment.  God is literally commanding us to sink down, and relax in knowing Him.  That doesn’t sound all that bad does it?  To abandon the world for just a moment and let Him touch the deep broken places in our souls.  To be still.  Those broken places have the power to reveal God in a soft, tender and gentle way like nothing else, if you let them.  So whether you’re broken or not being still is beautiful and it’s a prerequisite to hearing Him.  He’s not going to yell while you’re running wide open to communicate with you.  He’ll simply wait until you’re still.  Being still is easy for me now, just as hearing Him is…hmm maybe those two are connected.  Yes, without a doubt they are.  So stop the busyness, take deep breath and breathe Him in.  Empty your mind, still your soul and be filled with His Spirit.  It will be the most rewarding thing you do all day…everyday.

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YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

Spend the next 20 to 30 minutes sitting COMPLETELY still before God.  Today will be a little bit different than other days.  Today’s focus will be to empty out your minds, and set your focus on Him.  Sit still, really still.  You’ll have to refuse any distractions, that’s sometimes difficult.  There may not be a lot of talking today. That’s okay.  God may choose to speak to you a little differently.  It maybe with a vision, an idea,  a reignited passion, the possibilities are limitless.  Let’s let Him choose today as you sit still before Him.  Are you ready?

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FURTHER STUDY:  

Over the next week, study the following passages to learn more on being still and knowing God.  Continue to have your daily Koffee with the King  and enjoy those deep conversations. Continue to ask Him questions to get to know Him better.

Day 2:   Read and meditate on Job 37:14

Day 3:  Read and mediate on Psalms 4:3-5

Day 4:  Read and mediate on Exodus 29:46

Day 5:  Read and mediate on Jeremiah 24:7