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EXCERPTS

And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.  Luke 17:5

Chapter 1

I don’t want to give the impression that the story I am about to tell was easy. It wasn’t. It was hard . . . I even would have said at one point it was impossible . . . and yet . . . it became, with each passing conversation with God and each faithful act of deliverance . . . easier and I, more awestruck.

There were times when I was terrified . . . and deeply. I truly had no idea what I would eat the next few days or weeks or if I would have a place to live. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . along with some deep breathing . . . I was actually able to release every traumatic feeling to Him, if only for a moment at first. I was constantly reminded of how huge God is. I could trust He wouldn’t leave any of us in this position . . . He had a plan . . . a plan to prosper us, to give us a hope and a future . . . and at those times, if I was struggling with doubt . . . He made it clear . . . just Who He Is. I knew I was to wait on Him. Often, I had no inkling of what the next day would hold . . . and sometimes there seemed to be no hope   . . . but every single time . . . God provided exactly what I needed . . . and He seemed to take pleasure in providing extras.

Go with me now . . . on my adventure with . . . the Creator of the Universe.

Chapter 3

“One by One . . . the losses came . . . Everything was shutting down.  It was like waiting and watching all the programs on my computer shut down.  Once the process starts, there are no options.  You simply must wait and allow it to run through the systems until the time comes when it finally turns completely . . . off.  The light goes out and you close the lid.  Such was the end of life as I knew it.”

“I packed after sorting the “life’s” worth of the “treasures” I had settled on.  It was a painful and difficult emotional struggle as I let go of the grip I had on those things and it was done only because… I had no choice.”

Chapter 4

He will manifest Himself in mighty, surprising and unexpected ways. He will do things we could never ask or imagine. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways, so the journey will not be “typical,” nor will it be “normal” . . . ahhh . . . but it will be an adventure for sure. The story of my growth to total dependence on Him and His total faithfulness to me is told within these pages. I was no longer living the American way: Pulling myself up by my bootstraps; Making a plan and sticking to it; Figuring out a method and working the system. I wasn’t playing by the “rules.” This time I wasn’t wrestling with God. I determined to submit, humbly, period. I was going to walk my talk of faith. I knew people wondered what happened – it wasn’t like me. Was I copping out? Was I using “faith” or God as an excuse to quit? Had I lost my mind? I wondered the same about myself sometimes . . . but God, in His goodness, had begun to teach me in the last couple of years what that small, still voice that people spoke about sounded like and how to hear it. He had begun a work in me that can’t be explained . . . but I can tell you it exists. I can share how He works if we trust that He does and if we open our hearts and minds to Him. Inviting Him in, asking Him to reveal Himself . . . drawing near to Him and feeling Him draw near to us . . . in His time, in His mysterious way . . . as we live in trust and wait upon the Lord.

This is not a story of success by worldly measure. This is a story of dependence on God, His provision and the development of constant relationship with the God of the Universe.

Chapter 10

“Though the doors had been closing one by one, I hadn’t been able to see . . . or accept.  I knew that I needed to get up and . . .  get going.  Be responsible.  Fix things . . . get a job . . . get a life.  Do . . . something . . . . But no matter what I did, thought, tried . . . nothing was working.  I couldn’t come up with a solution or find a new direction.  I couldn’t even come up with an idea . . . and energy . . . forget it”.

“I believe God was telling me “I think I said just stop, rest now.  We have something to do.  We’ll be on our way in a minute.  For now… Be Still and Know that I Am God.

“I eventually came to believe that God was clearly letting me know . . .  that He was doing this and He would be providing . . . and if I would just calm down and trust Him . . . I would see miracles.  However, being my usual, assertive, can do kind of self . . .  He had to stop me . . .  in every arena to get my attention . . . and so . . . He did”.

“It was the beginning of my understanding that it is simply an illusion that we are capable of handling our lives ourselves.  A misnomer we create in an effort to lift ourselves up . . .  in an effort to “take care of things,” be responsible . . . maintain control.  Reality, though, is something entirely different.  We have no control.  The best laid plans fail.  Others leave or betray us.  We get laid off.  Money is lost.  Our homes and land lose value.  People don’t like us or care about their impact on our lives.  They don’t love us.  Temptation overtakes us.  We stumble.  We fall.  Things change and our plans fail.”

“It behooves us to remember that it is the Lord that gives and the Lord that takes away.  Safety and security lie in knowing how to be content in all things, in all circumstances, whether good or bad.  In knowing that God is sovereign . . . remembering that He loves us more than we can imagine and that we are in His loving care.  Remembering, that we can rest between His shoulders and take refuge in the shelter of His wings when this life falls apart . . . as it surely will at some point, in some way, for each of us.”

Chapter 13

But as I thought more about his statement, I realized that I was . . . homeless. I had simply chosen not to see it that way.

And I believed, even as I talked with God about “my situation” that if I ended up on the street somewhere, I was there for a reason. As I drove off, heading for wherever or whatever the place would be that I would soon be calling “home,” my mind began to wander. Where would I sleep? What if I really did end up on the street? Would I truly be able to live what I was telling myself I believed? I decided it was not time to think about it. I was “going”

because I believed God said, “Go.” I would take one moment at a time and these first moments would be used to spend time with my son, driving across the country. There was plenty of time for conjecture once I dropped him off . . . I would address that . . . then.

But God is good and as I obeyed, He created blessing out of havoc . . . growth out of failure  . . . spiritual wealth out of physical loss . . . amazement out of disillusionment.

Chapter 15

 “Little did I know, but the same types of strange and unusual “happenings” (Or, may I call them what I believe they were… supernatural interventions?) were to continue to happen on an almost weekly basis.  Not without prayer and praise and waiting . . . but happen the did . . . .”

Chapter 18

“Through all the care, provision and gifts I had received up to this point . . . still I was puzzled.  Is God just really always there?  Does He really just . . . always hear our every, single prayer?  Do we just need to know it’s true so He is able to answer?”

Chapter 19

 “Now, though, I am glad, in an unusual sort of way that I was unable to make anything happen.  It ultimately forced me into more and more dependence on God.  The more I had to totally depend on Him, the more time I spent with Him.  The more time I spent with Him, the deeper in love with Him I became.  The more in love with Him I became, the more trust I learned.  The more trust I learned, the more healing I felt . . .  and on and on it went.” 

Chapter 21

“I believe the lesson was specifically for me that day, an answer to a pleading, so that I would know exactly how to know what God wanted me to do.  This answer wasn’t only an answer for my immediate concerns . . .  but a strategy to implement for every question I would have from then on.  There is an order in which I am to proceed.  Things to do and not to do . . .  first.”

“These steps are the answer.  They’re difficult, not quick and easy.  They fly in the face of everything we’ve ever known to do and done.  But what we’ve always done left us confused and unsure.  This takes discipline.  This takes forming new habits.  This takes learning to be quiet and still and wait.  (The same way Abraham and Sarah waited.)  This takes learning to commune with God.  It takes letting go of our ideas, thoughts and plans and doing “nothing,” except these steps (without taking the reigns back) until He reveals His direction . . .  Praise to the One who cares for us!”

Chapter 22

“I realized that when hard is easy, bad is good, and weak is strong . . . those are the very moments when the miracle of being shaped and formed by the Potter’s hand is taking place.  He makes us at those times into a vessel He can fully use, refined by the fire . . . if we turn to Him and not away.  As we let go, rest in Him and allow Him to have His way, we will see the deliverance of the Lord and the restoration of our hearts.”

Chapter 23

“We do each have them . . .  our own uniquely designed inner strengths, instilled in our minds and interwoven intricately into each of our personalities by Him, as He created and formed us in the womb.  He has given us a base to work from, meant to be used by Him and for Him in this great spiritual battle as we depend on His power to shape and grow those strengths so we overcome, so we win.  So we can, in fact, conquer.  But the training can certainly feel overwhelming.”

“This spiritual war involves us in ongoing battles we hardly even recognize as such, but which often leave us terribly battle scarred.”

“This life is but a vapor.  We are preparing for eternal blessings in heaven where love and peace and happiness, beyond what we can imagine, will belong to us who keep up the good fight.”

“As I bowed my knee to Him, more humbly than ever before, I asked Him (as David did) to reveal my own heart to me, to transform me into exactly what He wanted to make me  . . . to make my will be His will.”

Chapter 27

“How is it with less . . . I have more?”

How is it with less . . . I have more? My loads were lifting and my days feeling brighter with each of these blessings from the Lord. He just seemed to keep sending them . . . and to say to me with each one . . . . “I love you . . . child.” More and more, I was beginning to store those feelings up . . . deeply . . . not just in my head, but also . . . in my heart, to be able to receive that which He had been telling me all my life.  HE LOVES ME! Hallelujah!

Romans 8:34-35, 37-39 . . . It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things

present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

AN EAGLE IN ME . . . PREPARED TO REIGN!

Doing Today . . . GOD’S Way!
Weekly Bible Study Series by Cindy Lynne

Ahhhh . . . the mountains . . .

When you look at a mountain, imagine in your hearts how long would it be before that mountain should be removed by a little bird coming but once every thousand years, and carrying away but one grain of the dust of it at once: the mountain would at length be removed that way, and brought to an end; but eternity will never end. Suppose with respect to all the mountains of the earth, no, with respect to the whole globe itself: the grains of dust of which the whole of it is made up are not infinite; and therefore the last grain would, at length, come to be carried away, as above: yet eternity would be, in effect, but beginning. Thomas Boston (1676–1732)

Where shall I live . . . for eternity? With Whom? And how shall I go?

Jesus . . . who lives and reigns for eternity . . . He, who first gave up all and died for us, asks us now to follow suit. He asks us now to walk toward our own death . . . daily and by choice. He asks us to die . . . in order to live.

Hmmmm . . . Heavy.

GOD, Himself, chose this very path, this one that He now invites us to walk. He chose to go to the Garden of Gethsemane and the cross. He chose to walk a path He knew led to death. He chose it knowing that it would likewise give life. Life to all. We have an invitation, from the Lord of Lord’s, to walk with Him along a path where dying to and for others at our own expense is a chosen journey. A journey of death that leads to life. Life, as we cannot reason it to be. Not a journey of self-gratification and the promise of earthly love, happiness and ease, but a path that mimics the one our Lord walked. He is the first fruit. This journey of choice is a journey of death; an often painful one as we learn to die to ourselves, and yet somehow, amazingly we sense . . . we know . . . we are being ushered into . . . life.

Life that will unfold slowly and grow over the years, something akin to a rose as it begins to blossom. Step by step, gradually the ugliness of selfishness and sin dies; piece by piece . . . often through confusion and searching and crying out. In choosing this, we choose to walk a path where we will feel pain, just as Jesus did when He chose to leave comfort, glory, power and the presence of perfect love to be mocked and beaten and eventually crucified for us. Not only will we feel the pain that Satan brings to all who live in this world. We will also feel the pain that comes when we choose to die to our wants, our desires, our lusts. He chose to travel a path he didn’t have to walk. Shall we do less? Less than . . . Jesus? And yet, expect the reward?

We may often feel abandoned, and alone, as we walk this chosen path. He felt the same. Now risen though, He waits . . . as we will also wait for that glorious final day when He will be given the keys to the kingdom. There He will reign forever . . . as will we who have died and risen again in Him. There we will reign, with all the saints in glory, beside our King. And so . . . just as He, though being a son, had to learn obedience . . . so must we; obedience that will prepare us to reign in Heaven for eternity.

A beautiful analogy exists, perhaps, between how God teaches us and how an eagle teaches her young.

We agree to die to ourselves and to live for Him when we accept Christ. At first it feels warm. It feels safe as we learn of His love and His mercy; as we learn that He died to set us free and give us eternal life. Our burden of guilt is gone, and we rest in His presence and feed on His word. We feel cozy, all nestled down snug in our nest and He brings us food and we chirp . . . while God watches over us and waits as does the eagle over her babies. He has cared for us but we are now ready for growth. She has cared for her babes and they, too, are ready for their next step. At first, we were as the little eaglets, but the time came for more . . . much more! Yet, somehow we must be shaken out of the comfort of the nest. If we are to be strong and powerful . . . we must be taught how to fly. Just as the momma eagle watches and guards her eaglets until she knows they are ready, that they are strong enough . . . God watches over us and then . . . at just the right time – they shake up the nest.

The eaglet is, one day, suddenly, plucked from the comfort and safety and warmth of the nest and is out in the open sky, seemingly unprotected, on the wings (not held in the arms) of his momma; not even knowing how to “hold on for dear life,” as she now tips her wing and drops him, letting him free fall through the air. He has no idea what is happening or what to do! And, just in time . . . she swoops underneath him, catches him on her back and takes him up again . . . for another round. This time, perhaps he thinks it will all be okay – it was an accident. Surely, we are on our way back to the nest and this nightmare will be over . . . when suddenly mom tips again . . . and down he falls . . . . aahhhh . . . . And again, there she is . . . catching him. One more time . . . and again . . . until . . . finally, he begins to flap his wings. Still not able to fly – flapping and struggling . . . she is there, flying above him in close proximity; watching. Waiting. Waiting until just the right moment when she knows he has endured all he can handle, for this time around, and now must be rescued. He is growing stronger. He is learning what to do. When he is unable to quite make it – she soars down, sweeps him on to her back and keeps him from death. She is teaching him. She is teaching him what to do to survive; what he must do to grow; what he must do to soar. She picks him up and carries him on her wing; tipping and letting him fall! Letting him flail . . . each time knowing he is learning through the trial, the trauma and the fear. And knowing . . . He will eventually fly higher than any other bird. He will fly faster. He will be stronger. His eyesight keener . . . but for now, he must learn. He has to be taught to trust that he can, and will, catch the wind. He must strive and . . .  then trust . . .  in order to fly.

Perhaps God is carrying us on His wings and at just the right moment, tips them. Maybe He knows that this is the only way we will learn what we need to know in order to soar. Whatever we are experiencing, He is there; watching, waiting . . . swooping underneath to catch us, usually, at the very last second . . . though we imagine we are careening out of control. When the pain feels so great we think we will surely, any moment, be crushed against a rock or lie breathless on the ground . . . there He is – moving swiftly into place to rescue us, just in the nick of time – and He carries, then, on His wings. And we begin to learn. There is pain and great fear in learning to die to self, but eventually trusting Him brings safety and strength; though we can not feel it or see it as it seems we are randomly free-falling from safety. But there, we learn to “flap our wings,” even though we only flap because we are forced . . . at first. He helps us learn to choose to die to self and deal with fear and there, in the open air, we learn to soar for Him. He will help us by shaking the nest and dropping us into air, seemingly alone – terrified and in pain, but not so. For He is waiting and watching and protecting as we learn to trust. We only needed to have chosen the path – to be born again in Him.

I feel sometimes that I am like an eaglet. I am certain I know just how he must feel when his comfortable, warm nest is shaken and a wild screech is heard – he is grabbed up and the next thing he knows he is falling. He must be wondering where his mother is! What is happening and why! He must surely feel abandoned . . . even betrayed. Where are you? He must cry inside, be terrified! I have felt those feelings . . . and wondered . . . and cried. I don’t like my nest shaken and I most certainly would not choose to free fall without a net or parachute. But, I must learn to trust and, perhaps, this is the only way. We must learn to trust that God will catch us before we plummet to the ground and that he will teach us to find the wind and how to soar. We learn to trust the wind and our wings and that what God says will work . . . will work. As we learn, through the difficulties and trials, we learn it is safe to obey when it doesn’t make sense. There we learn to give, instead of take, for the benefit of those we love . . . for those we don’t know . . . for those who spitefully use us . . . for our enemies. Only with extreme trust are we strong enough to continue to choose to walk to our death. We become able to choose paths that lead to death to self and know we will ultimately be okay . . . be better than okay . . . because He has been our teacher. Then, we will be, as Jesus was . . . perfected through obedience.

Perhaps, the circumstances and trials, the temptations, loss and pain in this life are so we can be prepared to reign with Him forever. Perhaps we must do as He did, so that we . . . can effectively do one day . . . what He said we will do. Be seated with Him in Glory. Judge the angels. Sit securely as the fate of the world is forever sealed!

I will one day leave this body of death. I sometimes envision how it will be – I, gliding upward . . . the real, the deepest part of me, catching the wind and soaring upward with Jesus in sight, my heart filled and overflowing with joy and love . . . shedding this earthly body as it gently falls off like a chiffon cloth, waving softly and gently dissipating as it floats away behind me. I am now prepared to receive my new and eternal body and there to reign forever with Jesus, the Lord God, Almighty! For I have been prepared . . . prepared to reign!

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Hebrews 5:7-10 While he lived on earth, anticipating death, Jesus cried out in pain and wept in sorrow as he offered up priestly prayers to God. Because he honored God, God answered him. Though he was God’s Son, he learned trusting-obedience by what he suffered, just as we do. Then, having arrived at the full stature of his maturity and having been announced by God as high priest in the order of Melchizedek, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who believingly obey him. (The Message)

Deut. 32: 11-13 He was like an eagle that stirs up its nest. It hovers over its little ones. It spreads out its wings to catch them. It carries them on its feathers.

Isaiah 40:31 . . . But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles . . . (NKJ)

Daniel 15: 9-15 “As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.) “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (NKJ)

I Cor. 6:1- 4 . . . The day is coming when the world is going to stand before a jury made up of followers of Jesus. If someday you are going to rule on the world’s fate, wouldn’t it be a good idea to practice on some of these smaller cases? Why, we’re even going to judge angels! . . . (The Message)
Daniel 15:18 But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’ (NKJ)
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Prayer:

Father,

You are holy and I bless your name. You are magnificent and live high above where even the eagles soar. You created the eagle in all his majesty and I thank you for his beauty and for the lessons I can learn from the nature you designed. Shake my nest and drop me from the heights again, if need be, for I know you will be there to catch me. I know that you will not let me go through any more than I can handle and that you are watching and waiting to keep me safe. Prepare me to live eternally and reign with you in Heaven. I pray that you will teach me to die. Teach me to die to myself in every way. Keep me on the path, the path to death to myself – Oh that I may die so others may live. That I may die so that You are all they see. Forgive me for my lack of trust in you, for my selfishness; or focusing on myself and what I want and what I think. Make me humble and trusting – full of faith in you. Teach me to trust you in every way. Teach me to obey you when you say to give up myself, my wants, my desires, my longings, my “rights.” Let me believe and act on the belief that when you say to do something you will be with me to the end. Strengthen my faith, my trust in you. Build me up and send me out! Send me out soaring with wings like eagles . . . strong and powerful in you, claiming the lost from the enemy. Prepare me, Lord, to reign with you forever! Hallelujah! In Jesus most High and Holy Name I pray . . . Amen

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Practical Application:

Listen to “Above All” by Michael W. Smith – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaP442FKwoA

When considering the following questions – ask God to reveal your own heart.
Do not treat this lightly and blow over the top of it. We are not talking about singing songs and going to breakfast with the bible study group. We are called to die to self so that we
will ultimately live and reign with Him. Let’s don’t think about what we do that is good, let’s dig deeper and find out where we have not died, what we won’t let go of . . . or get ready for your nest to be shaken . . . and to do some more free falling. I am doing
the same. We will be prepared.

1. How can you “die’ in ways that emulate the life that Jesus led?
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2. In what areas of your life do you need to die to yourself?
a.______________________ b. _______________c. __________________
d _____________________e. ________________f. __________________

3. Who can pray with you about this? For revelation and for the strength to give up what He is calling you to give up?
_______________________ ______________________
4. Do you trust Him? ________

5. Do you trust Him . . . completely? ________

6. What will you DO about the areas you need to die to yourself in?
What steps will actually take? (Faith without works is dead.)
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7. Who would benefit from your death to self . . . Death to YOUR desires, your “rights”?
Spouse ________Children _______ Parents _______ Boss ________ Friend ______Church Member _______ Business Partner _______ Neighbor _______Enemy_____

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*All scriptures NKJ unless otherwise noted
**Contact me at cindylynne.wordpress.com or be my friend on Facebook!
***Book Release – Coming Soon –TO THE WIRE. . . With God, Almighty by Cindy Lynne – A true story of hope and inspiration . . . of God’s daily provision after incredible losses. A journey from Michigan to Wyoming with no money, no plans and no one . . . except the God of the universe! Hear of His answers to prayers, His supernatural intervention and lessons learned!

JESUS AND . . . WHAT . . . DO YOU NEED?

Doing Today . . . GOD’S Way!
Weekly Bible Study Series by Cindy Lynne

What do I need to be happy I say . . . to be happy . . . to be?

Oh, happy I pray!

I need Jesus you see and that’s all I declare!

But, as I lay awake on cold, long, empty nights . . .

“If only . . ,” I think. If only I might . . .

have this one other thing, I’d be happy in Him.

Whole I would be, yes, completed you see.

I would know then He’s real.

Yes, I’d know that He loves us and cares and is near.

I’d know then He does, in fact, answer prayer.

There’s just one other thing . . . or two . . . that I need.

I need them and then I’ll be filled indeed.

Yes, THEN it would be Jesus and me!

My husband, my children, my friends shall remain . . .

my home and security, health, wealth and fame . . .

and surely. . . of course (!) There will be no pain for THAT is MY claim!

It is heaven here . . . NOW . . . for which I search.

No waiting for me. No sadness on earth . . . for it’s Jesus I serve!

Ummmm …

But . . . I thought there’d be health or children or wealth.

Love I would claim and there’d be no pain,

if I chose in this life to take Jesus with me.

I thought He’d say yes when my heart had a fear or at least He’d say yes if I cried many tears.

He’d fix it for sure if I lived for Thee here . . . but what?!

This is not what I planned from the start.

This life that I’m living as Jesus and me.

I find now instead, I must cry . . . I must die . . .

My life’s not my own? You mean . . . ALL to thee?

Is it really . . . I cry only JUST . . . You and I?

It is ONLY for You that I live and I die?

Did you mean that for real?

Did you mean that for me?

I knew it would always be Jesus and me . . .

But somehow, somewhere I’d find more; you see . . .

more I thought . . . than just Jesus and me.

I thought there’d be others who loved me as He

and THEN it would ALSO be Jesus and me!

Why aren’t they supplying my wants and my needs?

I married for me. They’re refusing my pleas.

Where is that child I knew I would birth . . . the one that you promised, I thought, when You said you “There’s life more abundant . . .” Surely, children on earth.

Where is my lost loved one through death or divorce . . . who was to be there with me through all of the worst?

Where is my health that I may live without pain? Why haven’t I healed when I’ve prayed and prayed?

Where’s my help from above when I can’t overcome? My life is in pain, I’m cast out . . . maimed and blamed.

Where is my home, my security now . . . my money is gone and I don’t see how . . . I can live in the peace that you promised me then . . .

when I said “I say Yes! In Jesus, I trust!

You’re all that I need. Yes, Jesus, indeed!

When I’m lonely, alone, tired, scared and afraid.

When I’m sad and in pain and have lost and “been there.”

When my dreams have not come as I just knew they would.

When I’m old and not pretty and my best days are gone.

Or when I have it “all,” and find “all” is not “that.”

Bring it here; bring it back for I’m missing the best!

It’s not fair! It’s not right! It’s not what I ask!

It’s not what I thought when I read what you wrote!

You loved me and walked with me . . . saved me, I know . . . But that’s not quite enough.

Why, there surely is more!

I guess, if I’m honest with self I would ask “What else does it take . . .

for I don’t find enough . . .

I guess I must ask “It’s Jesus and what”?

Jesus and what makes me happy and free?

Safe, sound and secure where I rest in His peace?

If it only must be – just Jesus and me . . .

what must I lay down at the throne, at His feet,

in order to make my commitment complete?

What is it, I cry, that it means when I say

“I now will choose Jesus . . . Does it mean truly “die?”

Finally, I offer the truth to myself.

So be it, I then cry! I see now how to die.

It’s ALL about Him. It’s all about them.

So . . . I give, I surrender and now I will do

what it is that you said all along to be true.

I will die to it all, so one day I may fly . . .

I’ll fly through the sky and there will I live . . .

in glory, in heaven . . . forever . . . with Him!

Yes . . . Jesus and me forever . . . AMEN!

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Matthew 16:24-25 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]. (Amplified Version)

Luke 9:22-24 Then Jesus said to all the people: If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me. If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will save it. (CEV)

Luke 14:26 You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life. (CEV) ____________________________________________________________________
Prayer:

Jesus, Father . . . Holy Spirit . . . Come. Be with me now. I invite you here. Holy are you and to be praised. Blessed is your name. Lord, I need you. I need you more. I long to rest in your presence, in your peace and be filled with the joy you tell me about. Teach me how to live . . . Just You and me. Complete. Fulfilled. Present. Waiting. Sharing. Being. Be with me now. Let me hear you, let me touch you, let me taste you – fill me with your holiness. Reveal to me what you want me to see. Fill me with your presence I wait now to hear from you. (Be still now and KNOW that He is God – meditate on His words and listen for His voice – When done . . .) In your name, I bow before you . . . my Lord and My King. My Savior. Go with me now . . . all day, every minute . . . Amen. ________________________________________________

Practical Application:

1. Is there anything that is keeping you from being happy in Jesus? Is there anything that you need to release to Him? Let the Holy Spirit guide you as you ask Him to reveal what it is that is keeping you bound up and unable to move forward in peace and joy . . . trusting only in the One who has the power to set you free . . . now and forever. Write Him a letter.
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THIS IS WAR! Part 2 XJHS TIPFHRFR !!! Communicate . . . or Die!

Doing Today . . . GOD’S Way!
Weekly Bible Study Series by Cindy Lynne

XJHS TIPFHRFR !!! Communicate . . . or Die!

Sir! . . . YES, SIR!

Our observable Commander in Chief in the United States of America is the president. He has the final say in physical battles, whether we agree with him or not. The Secretary of Defense, operating within the boundaries set by the president, is in charge of designing and implementing our entire nation’s defense system. He sends out generals to survey and make battle plans.

Our spiritual, and the only true, Commander in Chief is God, Almighty, Ruler of heaven and earth. He has the final say in every battle, whether we agree with Him or not. The Holy Spirit, operating as one and in complete agreement with God, is in charge, if we allow Him, as He moves in our lives. He draws, convicts and calls us to holiness and prayer. He gives wisdom and understanding, help and comfort as the strategy for battle, that was ordered before time began, is implemented. He sends out angels in answer to our prayers

I entered into a discussion one afternoon, about how our country is protected, with a former United States Marine Corp Staff Sergeant. As a field radio operator – his job was communications. If, when sending a message, the signal goes across the air, I asked, “Couldn’t the enemy just tap into every existing radio frequency, identify the one we are using and be able to hear what we are saying”? He explained that there are some proprietary channels that can only be accessed by the United States (unless or until the enemy breaks the code). Each message is then immediately scrambled as it is initially sent out. It travels across the radio waves and is then unscrambled on the other end when it reaches its destination. This all takes place in a matter of seconds. In order for an enemy to intercept and capture our plans, they would have to somehow identify which of the intensely guarded frequencies was being used at that particular moment. They would then have to unscramble the message on both ends, all within just a few seconds. This, though possible, is highly improbable and rare. Even a spy in the camp would be a more likely cause for a message to be captured and supplied to enemy forces.

I considered the comparison between physical and spiritual war . . .

Maybe this is what our communication with God is like . . . at the deepest level. Maybe this is why it is sometimes difficult to understand what it is God wants us to do. I have so often, impatiently, wondered and wished that God would just tell me what He wanted me to do . . . in plain English. Drop a sign down from heaven. Send me a note. Speak it out loud, clearly and specifically. I was certain I would obey. But, as I considered the possible similarities and implications between our military’s communication in a war zone and the pain and struggles of this life. I concluded that there is much more to our communication in the spirit than I had ever seen before. Much, much more than meets the eye itself. I’m beginning to see that being alive constitutes being in a war. A war we can’t see. A war we often are unaware of. A war we try to ignore . . . but nevertheless, war. It is a war we are actively engaged in every moment

Perhaps we must be prepared for battle in ways similar to a soldier. Maybe, before we are sent to active duty on the front lines, we must have already come to understand and know how to use the weapons. We must have already practiced until it is second nature. We must have already learned “blind” obedience. Maybe we can’t be allowed to move aggressively forward in efforts to advance the Lord’s kingdom until we have become savvy in the use of spiritual information and weaponry. Maybe it is especially important that we know how to communicate so we will not be a liability on the battlefield. Too much is at risk for that. Souls are at stake. Maybe God has to keep some of us in assignments, close to home base even though we feel a desire to do “more.” Maybe we ignore his efforts to draw us to engage in full preparation . . . because it’s difficult. It is at times confusing. We have to let go of some of our hopes, plans, dreams and even what we have deemed our responsibilities in order to have the time and energy it takes to train. Hummmm . . . .

Perhaps, if we are to do great battle with the enemy, we must first learn to use the protected channels of communication. We must learn how to operate the radio. We must guard and protect the strategies. We must be able to understand how to scramble an outgoing message and unscramble an incoming message. Maybe, the Lord is training us to wait on Him and how to operate in and respond according to approved and safe communication protocol. Perhaps, there we will remain until we are able to hear His still, small voice as He speaks to us. Remain until we are able to understand His orders and decipher the plans; plans that are to be exercised at just the right moment in time, in just the right way so that they are effective and safely implemented. Plans known only to Him until He is able to reveal them to trusted and trained spiritual military personnel.

Maybe we are to learn to praise out loud and pray against the enemy . . . but to submit in silence and wait before taking even one step in any direction for His specific instruction. Maybe only when we learn to abide in His presence are we able to learn how to discern His voice from the enemy’s voice . . . from the voice of a spy sent in to trap and ensnare and destroy from the inside. Perhaps, we are to learn to keep that information to ourselves so the enemy can not use it against us or use it to injure one of God’s children . . . or wound or kill many. Perhaps we are to learn silence and listening and waiting.

Regardless of whether we agree with or support the wars our country engages in, we, are constantly engaged in a great spiritual battle with Satan; a battle for our very souls and the souls of many others. Satan’s goals mirror that of an enemy with which we would be engaged in physical combat. Death, destruction, conquest and victory. In both cases the enemy wants to take over. One wants wealth, the land and its people; the other desires our heart, our being . . . our very soul. Both seek control. Consequently, communication is essential and its nature, critical.

Prayer, being the main source of transmitting information out, is much more than a simple avenue through which we “throw” thoughts to God. It is multi-faceted and will go as deep as we will go. Part of prayer is to communicate with the One we love. It is undeniably crucial and usually inherent in a love relationship. Without it love withers and often dies. With it love flourishes. Our love for our Lord opens the door to His heart whereby He hears and responds to our prayers. When we are in danger, God, in His love for us seeks full and complete communion and we must be able to understand each other.

War is comprised of specific situations and conditions where precise exchanges of information are required. In battle, without proper communication skills . . . loss and death is also suffered. Without them we are defenseless. Just like a physical army needs to be able to call for back up or call in an air strike, we need to be able to call in support from heaven. Without effective communication, neither physical nor spiritual soldiers are able to call for medics or get direction in order to avoid being set up and/or vulnerable to an attack. There is no way to know it is time to wait or when the time has come to MOVE. We need to know when immediate movement will have a great influence on the direction of the battle or save lives! We need to know when to be extremely quiet and still . . . and wait.

Communication is vital as we go in to rescue those the enemy has taken captive. Without clear transmission in the physical realm, search and rescue missions could not be conducted safely and successfully. Where are they holding captives? What type facility are they holding them in? How many people do they have? How many enemy forces are present? What weapons are obvious? What is the final escape route? In the spiritual realm, we need to be led to souls who are lost. We ask for those Satan has captured and carried away to be restored. We ask for the Holy Spirit to draw them and soften their hearts and minds. We ask for the Holy Spirit to use us . . . to speak through us . . . to reveal our own hearts and to teach us what we need to know in order to do battle in the kingdom force . . . and rescue the captives. We both need answers; Who do we take with us into the region? What supplies should we carry? What is the exact moment we should begin move forward? What is the route in and when? When should we wait? When should we leave it for the next troops who are better armed?

Communication is vital as we prepare the land for troops to invade enemy territory, be it physical or spiritual.

Via communication, angels come to our aid like emergency support troops. Often, being on the alert, they are already intervening on our behalf, protecting us, preparing and clearing the path in front of us; they at other times come specifically in answer to our prayers. Prayer is urgent and prayer must be continual. For in it lies our strength. As we begin to understand our dependence and total inability to overcome the enemy on our own and become weaker in and of ourselves; we grow mighty to do battle in the manner that really counts. As we lean on God and His power to overcome the enemy in our own lives, in the lives of others and in the greatest battle of all time . . . we become as giants . . . as mighty men and women of war. Though I never wanted to be in any war, let alone be a mighty person of war . . . I have come to see that we are all in it by default, if not by choice. We are on one side or the other. We are either a liability or an asset; weak or strong; a general or a grunt. We all fight. I choose to fight to win. To rescue the captive. To bind up the wounded. To go in and get those who belong to the Lord and bring them safely out.

So how do we keep the communication lines open and clear? How do we maintain them and make sure they are consistently operational? The answer: By continual praise and worship; By being thankful in all things; By counting our blessings; By spending time praying and listening. By abiding (tarrying, remaining in the presence of) in the Lord; By being still. By learning to hear His voice. Confession and fasting make the channels clear sounding and free of static so we are able to discern and understand the directives. These are the proprietary communication air waves through which we communicate with our commander; channels that the enemy, the destroyer – Satan – does not have access to.

As the enemy assails and tries to intercept our messages, we must be able to discern the difference between voices, in case of enemy infiltration. We must know the word of God. We must be able to be silent and listen. Sometimes we are to keep completely quiet and tell no one what we’ve been told. Sometimes we are to lay low, and wait until the order comes to advance. When it comes, we must be able to hear and understand what our orders are. We must maintain continual efforts to circumvent the enemy as he tries to cut off communication with our commanding officer. I have to be able to hear over the noise. In physical combat, I have to be able to hear over planes and bombing and yelling and gunshots. In spiritual combat I have to be able to hear over demands and responsibilities, entertainment, opinions and Satan’s lies.

When God is telling us what our next step is to be . . . it is critical that we be able to hear Him.

As we talk to and hear from our Commander, perhaps communication is scrambled as we send it out, first using song and words of praise and worship. Satan is confused and turns away as he tries to figure out how it is our hearts still long for God, in the face of the temporal pleasures he has shown us. He doesn’t understand the worship we extend even through times of great pain and sorrow. He is blocked as He tries to enter the camp because as we resist him – he flees. Our communication to our Father then travels in nano seconds . . . or should I say arrives before we even speak it . . . through our own proprietary channels and is unscrambled as it reaches heaven. The Holy Spirit, intercedes on our behalf, clarifying what it is we are requesting and need, when we don’t even know exactly what words to speak. We are somehow represented, transported along with our petitions and requests to the very foot of the throne of God . . . the greatest ruler and the final eternal victor . . . and there, our part in the plan for the devil’s defeat is given to us.

If we try (as we so often do by not praying, waiting, abiding and learning to hear, but rather by jumping into action of our own design) to do battle in our effort; we will fail; be injured or injure others; loose those we are trying to rescue and perhaps even be killed. We are only able to see a minute piece of what is happening on a grand scale . . . only what is immediately surrounding us. Only the Commander and the General is able to see the full picture and coordinate critical efforts between everyone for victory.

Maybe, just maybe . . . we are not ready to be promoted to the intense battle zone. Maybe . . . that is what is reflected in our mundane, justified day to day activities. Maybe, when and if the enemy wages a full scale attack on our lives we will not know how to escape or rescue anyone . . . because we haven’t learned how to immediately and effectively communicate with our Commander in Chief. We haven’t set up the radio and the receiving equipment; we haven’t learned what air waves to use or how to send scrambled messages or to interpret the messages He will send. Perhaps we haven’t learned how to hear over the noise and/or haven’t kept the lines open and working. We won’t know how to call in support. Maybe . . . it’s bigger than we can see . . . .

Oh . . . Let us learn . . . quickly now . . . for many are dying. And . . . You or I or your children, spouse, brothers or sisters . . . may be next. Open the eyes of our hearts, Lord, open them, I pray . . . so that we may hear you.
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(Eph. three versions . . .)

Eph. 6:18 . . . This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. (NCV)

Eph.6:10-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each others spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. (MSG)

Eph 6:10-18 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God. Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people). (Amplified Version)

2 Kings 7:14-17 Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (NKJ)

Romans 8:26-27 In certain ways we are weak, but the Spirit is here to help us. For example, when we don’t know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words. All of our thoughts are known to God. He can understand what is in the mind of the Spirit, as the Spirit prays for God’s people. (Contemporary English Version)

Micah 7:7 Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. (NKJ)

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Prayer:

Dear Lord,
YOU are my Commander in Chief. You are Holy and perfect. In you, and you alone, will I trust my life, my soul and the lives and souls of those I love. For you alone will I fight, for you are mighty and strong. Your power and wisdom and insight is like none other. You alone understand. You alone see the perfect plan, the perfect strategy. You alone, in three persons, have already won the victory. I will stand for you. I will fight for you. I am in you and of you and because of you. You have set before me a path, a race, a perfect plan. Walk beside me, Lord. Walk behind me and let me hear your voice say “This is the way, walk ye in it.” Where you lead I will follow . . . only let me hear you. Spread you wings and protect me. Hide me beneath your shelter as I wait for your direction . . . for your answers. Show me and teach me how to listen, how to pray and how to hear with ears that understand. Teach me to wait before I make a single move for your clear and specific direction . . . for if I fail to that I know there is danger. Protect others from my faulty steps. Go in and rescue them via another plan, Lord. I pray for them and I ask you to make me stronger, wiser, more alert to your voice. Protect me from the voice of the enemy. Show me if there is anything I have not confessed. Bring it to my mind. Let me hear you so that the channels of communication will be clear . . . so that I can discern your voice from the voice of the enemy. Walk with me into this war, this day, this moment. Bring victory in my life and in every battle. Blessed be your name – Oh King of Kings. My Ruler, my Commander . . . My Lord. In Jesus Name, I lay my life before your throne. Amen.

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Practical Application:

Our application for this week is going to be spent in self reflection . . .

1. How much time do you spend with the Lord each day? _____________________

2. During that time . . . what are you spending specific, individual, concerted with God time doing and how much on each?
Reading the Bible________ Listening to the Word on TV or Radio ________
Meditating on His Word _______ Studying with a book of some kind ________ Praising/Worshipping God_______ Thanking God _______
Confessing Sin ________ Fasting _______
Asking Him to Reveal Your Own Heart ________
Intercession for Other People or Situations ________
Asking God for Things You Want ________
Being Still and Listening for His Responses or Direction _______
Do you discuss EVERYTHING with Him BEFORE you take one small step ____

3. When talking with God: Are you hurried ______ Distracted ______
Patient ______ Reflective ______ Honest _______ Open_______

4. Do you talk with Him, also (not instead of) throughout the day? ________

5. Do you talk with Him about every single thing? ________

6. Do you wait until You know exactly what He would have you do before you do it? ______

7. What do you need to adjust in your communication with God in order to be able to be close to Him, hear Him more clearly and be ready for every situation and battle? ____________________________________________________________
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**Contact me at cindylynne.wordpress.com or be my friend on Facebook!
***Book Release – Coming Soon –TO THE WIRE. . . With God, Almighty by Cindy Lynne – A true story of hope and inspiration . . . of God’s daily provision after incredible losses. A journey from Michigan to Wyoming with no money, no plans and no one . . . except the God of the universe! Hear of His answers to prayers, His supernatural intervention and lessons learned!

THIS IS WAR! How to Survive Military (Spiritual) Basic Training (Part 1)

Doing Today . . . GOD’S Way!
Weekly Bible Study Series by Cindy Lynne

THIS . . . Is What I Signed Up For!?

“We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. Be Ready! . . .” (Eph. 6:12, 14)

Can you believe it? Civilian “Boot Camps” (Christian events) are springing up all over the place. Folks are paying hundreds of dollars for the privilege of having someone yell at them (sing to them) while they do push ups (raise hands,) sit-ups (clap,) and run an obstacle course (do service projects.) Not quite the same thing as real military boot camp, (training in the Lord’s army) however – at the end of a couple of hours (church, Bible study, concert or project), they get to go home and shower (rest or enjoy some entertainment.) By the time they are working on their first cup of carrot juice and granola bar (food and drink), the real military recruit (Christian in pursuit of the kingdom) is several hours into his/her day — with several more hours to go.

Currently, over 40 percent (percentage unknown) of those who enlist in the military do not make it through the first four years. A significant portion of these do not even make it through boot camp (First difficult trial.) For many, this is because of unrealistic expectations. The military (the spiritual army and workers on earth for the kingdom of God) and especially Boot Camp (trials and overcoming temptations), is not what they thought it would be. Sometimes recruiters (preachers, other Christian teachers and leaders) do too good a job of selling the military (the church and the Christian life) as just another occupation (something to help them get more stuff and an easier life.) Then, once the recruit wakes up at 0300 with a drill instructor (Satan and his minions) screaming in their face, they say to themselves “Whoa! Where’s the ‘Condos’ and the ‘gourmet food?’ Where’s the Gym (health) and the discount PX items (wealth) and the NCO Club (happiness)? Where’s the job (abundant life) I was told about?”

Regardless of what your recruiter (“converter” – pastor, preacher, teacher) told you, being a member of the United States Armed Forces (church) is not just like having a civilian job. You need to understand this right down to your toes before you sign that contract (commit and are baptized) and take that oath (make that confession of faith.) In the military (church,) there will ALWAYS be someone (God) telling you what to do, when to do it, and how to do it — and you’ve got to do it. Sometimes they’ll tell you to do something that you don’t want to do, or tell you in a way that makes you angry. Failing to do it is not an option (is an option.) The willful disobeying of a lawful order won’t just get you “fired,” as it would in a civilian occupation, it can get you sent to jail (hell.)

In the military (Lord’s church,) you will (you will choose whether to) work the hours you are told to work, work “overtime” with no additional pay, do the tasks you’re assigned to do (even if they don’t relate exactly to your “job”), live where you’re told to live, and deploy where and when you’re told to deploy. If you’re not absolutely willing to make these sacrifices, then do yourself and the government (God – “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” Rev. 3:16) a big favor and don’t join up. However, if you are willing to put the needs of your country (others) and your service ahead of your own, you’ll find several rewards in a military career (serving as an ambassador on the earth for the Lord,) or even a short term of service (every single thing you do out of obedience and for Him.)

T.I.’s and D.I.’s (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) . . . do not derive any pleasure in your pain and discomfort. In fact, most of them (God, in three persons) are pretty nice folks (love you more than you can comprehend). The training programs are scientifically (specifically) and psychologically (individually) designed to tear apart the “civilian” (flesh and its desires and corruption) and build from scratch a proud (humble), physically fit (spiritually fit), and dedicated (devoted) member (son or daughter) of the United States Armed Forces (eternal position, ruling in heaven with Jesus). Go into it with a little fore-knowledge, the right attitude, and a few tips (the Bible), and you’ll graduate (run the race) with no problems (help from the Holy Spirit). You’ll find that boot camp (refining as gold) simply gets just a little bit easier (the peace begins to pass understanding and your joy is no longer based on circumstances) each and every day. *
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Hurting is basic training. We are often frustrated, confused and in emotional pain as God breaks down and removes “self” in order to reshape us into someone who can follow commands, eventually; implicitly and immediately. A grunt is frustrated, confused and in physical pain as the military tears down his individuality in order to remake him into a person who can obey orders, in an effort to create a machine made to move in unison at a single command. We, the church must also learn to move in unity at the commands of God and to dedicate ourselves to that which is our reasonable service.

As a grunt’s discipline is learning to run, climb and jump past exhaustion when he can’t understand why he is still running . . . ours is to remain in continual praise and prayer when we can’t see the answer. Military discipline includes extreme exercise, cleaning past clean, marching in perfect unison. Spiritual discipline includes loving others more than ourselves. Giving up the pleasures of the flesh. Humility. We must learn how to use the weapons of battle. Military weapons are guns and planes and ships and bombs. Spiritual weapons are fasting, confession, praise, prayer and worship. As a soldier attacks with guns and grenades and chemicals; we are to march forward armed with love and the Holy Spirit and share the gospel. We both will sacrifice for others.

We both learn how to let go of automatic responses when abused and replace it with strength and solidarity. We both learn how to restructure our daily habits and routines. We both learn how to be we instead of me. It is for our own safety that we must learn to trust what we can’t see. We must learn how to communicate. We must learn to discern who the enemy is, where and how he lies in wait and what traps, manipulations and weapons he uses and respond accordingly. We must learn to counter attack. We must learn to withstand interrogation.

We both learn to wait until we are given orders from our respective commanders. We learn what happens in the short term if we disobey orders. We begin to learn what happens in the long run if we disobey orders. If we don’t learn in basic training what we need to know – others are placed in inordinate danger. They are injured. Many die. When we fail to learn and apply, our brothers and sisters are killed by friendly fire. Therefore, we must learn. It is extreme, not gentle. We are both called to battle . . . not lunch.

Boot Camp. Yes, that’s what it feels like. Military Boot Camp. Preparation for spiritual battle; the battle, which is in reality, the only battle that is taking place. Strengthening us to withstand the opposition. Preparing us for war with the enemy. Hard. Painful. Difficult. Often seeming impossible.

There are times when each of us, as many of us as have chosen this, have wondered if we made the right choice. Wondered if we could endure it. Wondered if we could remain faithful to the commitment we made . . . and then, suddenly . . . a light breaks forth and we SEE. We see the truth. We see some of the plan. We see the enemy for what he is, the enemy. Treacherous. Seeking to stalk us, mame us, destroy us. He is out to kill . . . not only us, but those we love. He preys on our children. And then we hear our Commander in Chief clearly say . . . You are ready. Prepare for deployment. We are going in.

If you’ve signed up – Prepare . . . for war!
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Eph. 6:12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. (Amplified Version)

Luke 8: 5-8 A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold . . .” (NKJ)

Matt 7:24-27 Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock. Anyone who hears my teachings and doesn’t obey them is like a foolish person who built a house on sand. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded, and the winds blew and beat against that house. Finally, it fell with a crash. (NKJ)

I Peter 1: 6-9 [You should] be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations, So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed. Without having seen Him, you love Him; though you do not [even] now see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy.[At the same time] you receive the result (outcome, consummation) of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (Amplified Version)

Daniel 10:10-13 Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. (NKJ)

Daniel 10:20-21Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince. (NKJ)

Eph 4:13 This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. (Contemporary English Version)

Romans 12:1-2I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. (Amplified Version)
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Prayer:
Holy God, You are mighty. You are powerful. You are the only one worthy of the complete trust we must have to serve in this spiritual battle. Jesus, you are not only the Lamb of God . . . You are the LION of Judah! – Oh, how I seek your refuge. You alone are Holy. You alone see all for you are the alpha and the omega and, the beginning and the end. You alone can orchestrate a winning battle plan and implement it perfectly. You have already won the victory for me and for the world. Make me strong to do battle, Lord for your kingdom. Create such strength in me that the enemy can not prevail. Let me not loose a skirmish. Blessed King of Kings – I am your ambassador, your warrior, your knight . . . I will serve wherever you call me to serve. Make my station clear. Here I am, Lord . . . Send Me. Remove any weakness in my heart or mind. Change me into the person I need to be to be mighty in this fight. Lead me to souls who are wounded and injured and dying in this war. Develop my talents, train me up right and deploy me as soon as I am ready . . . But Lord, as I know you will . . . go with me. Go with me into battle. Don’t leave me unprotected or send me unprepared. Open my eyes to see your help and your power as I strive to obtain consistency in the face of fear. Remove my fear and make me bold. Lord, protect me and my loved ones _________(List them by name.) from all the plans of hell and from injury as Satan rages and wages war against us all. Blessed be your name. May you reign forever and ever, as you do and will . . . reign, my Lord, for eternity and thank you for allowing me to reign with you through the end of the ages, in total and complete victory over Satan and over all evil. In the name of the mighty victor – Jesus Christ – I pray . . . So Be It. Amen.
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Practical Application
1. What are you hoping to gain by “signing on”?
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2. Clearly state your commitment level to the service you have been called to: _______________________________________________________
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3. How much pain and what kind are you willing to endure to be refined as gold?
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References: 1.How to Survive Military Basic Training, By Rod Powers, About.com (Full article available – this version shortened and added to per my commentary – in parenthesis.) 2. Holy Bible

**Contact me at cindylynne.wordpress.com or be my friend on Facebook!

***Book Release – Coming Soon –TO THE WIRE. . . With God, Almighty by Cindy Lynne – A true story of hope and inspiration . . . of God’s daily provision after incredible losses. A journey from Michigan to Wyoming with no money, no plans and no one . . . except the God of the universe! Hear of His answers to prayers, His supernatural intervention and lessons learned!

WHAT IS PASSIONATE LOVE!? Pursuaded to Pursue – Part 4

Doing Today . . . GOD’S Way! / Oct. 2
Weekly Bible Study Series by Cindy Lynne

I Looked . . . But I Couldn’t Find It . . .
What is Love? What is Love? What is Passionate Love?

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I looked . . . but I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t find a place where God said what we were to do in order to BE loved by another person. I couldn’t find anywhere in the Bible that said to, “Pursue being loved.” That seemed to be a problem. Won’t we all do just about anything to be loved? I mean, isn’t love what we are all seeking? Isn’t being a Christian about love? Isn’t that what draws people to Christ? And then . . . the Bible doesn’t tell me how to get love!? It says, in fact to do the opposite . . . to give love
. . . to focus on loving others . . . even . . . at our own expense.

Our cries never seem to be “Let me love,” but rather, “Let me be loved” and what the Bible says, instead . . . is for me to love.

It does say that God loves us and it does not say we have to do anything to receive His love. It says the Father, Son and Spirit are one. It says we are to love Him as he loved us. It says that by giving a drink of water to someone we are doing it to Him. His way of showing us how He loved us was by giving up everything, including Himself to the point of death. And we are to love Him, as He first loved us. So, then love means we are to give up everything and even die for others . . . like He did. We are to do this for people who don’t do anything to get our love and who may hate us and who may be mean to or hurt us . . . whew . . .

Confusing as that just sounded – we already know all that . . . but I wonder – Do we know it? We are often so caught up in ourselves that even taking the time to address our moment to moment actions is something we do . . . you know . . . periodically. And then we go right back to being rude, impolite, selfish, demanding, etc., the next morning . . . or on the way home . . . as soon as someone irritates us or “gets in our way.” And if “they” try to keep us from doing or having something we want or have decided we deserve . . . well . . . watch out.

I know that kind of behavior isn’t right. But . . . What is love? What does it mean to love others as I love myself? Is love a feeling? Or an action? Or . . . both?

On this quest . . . I settled for a time, as most in the church have, on the premise that that love is an action. It is a choice. SO I will decide to do it. But what is it, exactly?

Though wondering about the feeling part of love, I acquiesced and begin to search for the rules and the “to do” list that would allow me to complete the work of “loving” that is commanded by the Lord.

Per my understanding of what a list might look like, I began to consider how I treat myself . . . for I am to love others as I love myself.

I feed myself. I look for ways to make myself feel happy. I look for ways to make sure I am comfortable . . . warm and safe. I search for ways to feel secure. I try to find ways to eliminate pain. I am understanding and protective and give myself grace. I look to feel loved . . . and as I thought and prayed about it, I, of course, turned to chapter 13 in I Corinthians – the greatest love chapter in the Bible. But as I came to verse 3, it said “What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burned alive? I would gain nothing, unless I loved others.” If love is an action . . . I couldn’t think of an action that would demonstrate love more than giving everything away and allowing myself to be burned!

To surmise . . . I don’t believe love can be just a feeling, for feelings are fickle. They change and move and spur us on at times to do things that are not in God’s will . . . that are not always good. If love was a feeling we could only truly love a few. And what do we do with them when we don’t feel that love for a season or we just “don’t love them anymore?” And yet, it can neither be just an action for if I sell all I have and give myself to be burned . . . BUT HAVE NOT LOVE . . . It profits me nothing. Even if I do all of those things . . . if I don’t have love . . . it means nothing.

Perhaps, then . . . it is deeper yet.

Love . . . hummm . . . simple and complex.

I began to search for someone . . . somewhere . . . who had figured out what love is . . . someone with some understanding. I found more than one well known person had something to say and I liked what they said . . .

Love is my decision to make your problem my problem. Robert Harold Schuller (1926–)

Agape love is . . . profound concern for the well-being of another, without any desire to control that other, to be thanked by that other, or to enjoy the process. Madeleine L’Engle (1918–)

Forgetting oneself is not a refinement of love. It is a first condition of love. Leon Joseph Suenens (1904–)

You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Amy Carmichael (1867–1951)

Ahhhh . . . each of those gave me an “Amen” moment! I love those moments when I can say “I agree!” Yes . . . that’s it!” “So BE it!” I may even think for a brief moment about how true or problematic that is in my own life and heart . . . but . . . then I’m off. On to the next busy moment . . . putting behind me the reflection and moving forward to the next topic, issue or duty at hand.

And, then I came to this quotation . . .

Christian love links love of God and love of neighbor in a twofold Great Commandment from which neither element can be dropped, so sin against neighbor through lack of human love is sin against God. Georgia Harkness (1891–1979)

hummmm . . . If I don’t love others . . . I am sinning. MY search became more intense – I have to know. I have to understand. I have to DO it!

But . . . again . . . What IS love? What is this love we are called to in order to fulfill the second greatest commandment – to love others as ourselves? The second part of the two greatest commandments given by Jesus . . . our Lord, our example . . . that if we get it right . . . we fulfill all the law!

I would like to venture onto a path of love as God describes it. For once we understand and pursue with reckless abandon loving others the way He calls us to . . . I believe our lives will be enriched with a depth of joy and peace beyond what we can grasp. We move then into the “works” that demonstrate our faith from a new perspective . . . with an unplanned zeal that allows us to surpass our own ways of thinking and doing things . . . progressing into those deeper works . . . so desired by God. The true “works” that demonstrate our faith.

An idea has dawned – Is it conceivable that our goal might be to become love, albeit imperfectly? There, striving to become like Christ instead of working in our own effort to perform loving acts? Perhaps the entire and only goal is to be like Him . . . for God is love. And then, if I am love . . . my motivation becomes different. I will now urgently and automatically be propelled and will abound in the work of loving actions. It is now . . . no longer coming from my intellect, where I act strictly out of obedience. Neither, is it stemming from emotions that ebb and flow and may bring different responses based on the moment or the day . . . although, my feelings will, also, now be different. Now . . . warm, heartfelt care and deep concern for others will pour forth from me in ways I can no longer prevent. And my spirit will no longer allow me to be unkind, impatient, rude, etc. I will feel that love. I now will cry from deep in my soul for the pain in their lives that cause them to be . . . UN loving. Tears will flow from a well inside of me. A well that is filled to overflowing instead of from my tear ducts. My responses to others lack of love for me will be different. I will no longer be mad. I will feel empathy. I will now be prayerful.

Love: The world says it is a feeling. The church says it is an action. But neither path seemed complete . . . not quite accurate. As I reread I Corinthians 13 . . . where God himself tells us what love is I came to a new belief . . .

I say . . . Let us BE love.

I Corinthians 13: 4-8

Love is kind . . .
KIND (gentle, tender, compassionate. A sympathetic attitude toward others, and a willingness to do good or give pleasure.)

Were the words I just spoke tender and gentle? Or did I, carelessly, just slice someone’s heart? Did the action I just insisted on doing consider how I might be sympathetic and compassionate . . . or did I stand on the position that I had the “right” to do whatever it was . . . that this is what I wanted and based on how I felt . . . Was it self protective and self serving or proactively kind? Was it based on “What about me”? . . . or . . . “How does this impact you”?

Love is Patient
PATIENT (bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.)

Did you just demand someone move, think, respond quicker than they were . . . because you wanted an answer? Because you wanted someone out of your way? Did you dismiss, speak rudely, ignore, yell, cuss or push them out of your way? Or did you wait . . . calmly, filled grace . . . toward them, while they processed it or thought about it or . . . were simply slower than you? Did you have to wait when you didn’t want to?

By the way, is it possible that maybe it is to your benefit to be patient with them . . . as are all the “rules” God sets forth for us? Maybe waiting is a time to be quiet and pray, perhaps thanking God for your blessings instead of feeling irritated by your inconveniences?

Did you choose (love) to suffer hardship, annoyance, misfortune or pain . . . for someone else’s benefit . . . even if it was all for their benefit. Maybe only for their happiness or perhaps it was so they would have the time they need to come to terms with something they need to change?

James 1: 2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Love is … NEVER (not ever; at no time)

JEALOUS (feeling resentment against someone because of that person’s success, or advantages)

How do you feel about others . . . remembering we are all called to (love) everyone, even our enemies. Do you “suffer” silently, wishing you had what they have or hoping they will lose it? Do you undermine them or spew poison about with gossip or turn what should be a time of joy for them into misery by your attitude and actions. Or, do you pray for their prosperity and for their continued success, happiness and blessings?

Love is NEVER (not ever; at no time)

BOASTFUL (to speak with pride, often excessive pride, about oneself or something related to oneself. Conceited, cocky, pompous, cocksure, vainglorious, egotistical)

What does your speech sound like? Do you brag? Are you frequently telling others about you? Your accomplishments? Your this or your that? What words most often come from your lips “I,” “Me,” “My”? Do you listen with humility and interest without cutting others off? Or do you interrupt to tell your story . . . to talk about you?

Love is NEVER (not ever; at no time)

PROUD (overbearing, self-important, disdainful, imperious, presumptuous. Proud, arrogant, haughty imply a consciousness of, or a belief in, one’s superiority in some respect. Arrogant applies to insolent or overbearing behavior, arising from an exaggerated belief in one’s importance: arrogant rudeness. Haughty implies lofty reserve and confident, often disdainful assumption of superiority over others)

What words do you speak into the air? Do you put others down? Do you outwardly or silently and privately think how much more talented, intelligent, successful, beautiful you are than others . . . or someone else? How do you carry yourself, hold your head? What do your eyes say? How do you communicate with your “peers” about others? Is there someone . . . anyone . . . you feel and/or believe you are superior to?

Proverbs 6: 16-19 These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

Or RUDE (Rough, harsh, or ungentle. Discourteous or impolite, especially in a deliberate way: a rude reply.)

Rude behavior comes in many forms – disrespectful tones of voice, specific words of put down or dismissal, cutting people off mid-sentence or mid-behavior. It can be done with a flip of a hand, a look or a cock of the head. Really . . . how are you doing? Love is NEVER rude.

Love isn’t …
SELFISH (devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.)

Let’s be very careful in our consideration and analysis of our selfishness quotient. We so often justify doing what we want to do . . . and it is often at the expense of someone else. We use those “supporting motivations.” We find some way to convince ourselves that this is in their best interest, all the while, we are not being honest with the real, true, deep reason we decide to take some specific action. We are professional justifiers. I suggest we thoughtfully check this for, we are not loving others if we are primarily concerned about ourselves . . . and justification does not magically turn it into care and concern for others or …love.

Or QUICK-TEMPERED (easily angered, quarrelsome, testy)

How often do you snip at someone? Perhaps the person to ask is not yourself . . . we are able to extend such grace to . . . ourselves . . . and somehow seem unable to see ourselves as we really are. Have you been accused of being easily angered or quarrelsome or testy? Do you jump all over others if they oppose you or are “in your way”? Do you minimize it and say you are simply in a bad mood or have your “own things” to deal with? Maybe a survey from those closest to you is in order. A non-defensive, honest evaluation may be essential so that you can move closer to loving others as you love yourself.

It doesn’t keep a RECORD (an account in writing . . . or the like . . . preserving the memory or knowledge of facts or events)

Do you forgive and forget? Or do you “throw it out there” every so often? Do you keep score and “even that score,” you know . . . when it’s justified and “anyone” would do the same? Are you passively getting back at those who “think” they got away with hurting you? I suggest you may want to write down the offenses, pray about it or them . . . and then burn them. The Bible commands we forgive . . . and we will be forgiven in the same manner in which we forgive. Is there a record that Jesus could be keeping about your “wrongs” to Him? It is a choice to let offenses go. Yes. It’s painful and sems unfair. But whatever the Lord tells us to do if ultimately FOR us and will help us.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Ephesians 4: 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

of WRONGS (an injustice; Law. An invasion of another’s rights, something done to his damage that others do)

What was done may be indisputably wrong. We, however, are to keep no record of those wrongs. Just as through Christ, our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west and remembered no more . . . we are to keep no record of wrongs done to us. God is our vindicator. He is perfectly just and perfectly loving is settling all scores. All of our tears – he keeps in a bottle and one day. . . . every wrong will be made right. Jesus is the Lamb of God . . . but He is, also, the Lion of Judah. Trust Him and let it go.

Love …
REJOICES (to be glad; take delight)

Do we absolutely celebrate goodness???!

in the TRUTH (the state or character of being true; honesty; integrity; truthfulness)

Do you abound in joy when you see someone stand in honesty regardless of the consequences? When integrity is the measuring rod of ones decisions . . . when the heart and actions of others reflect what Christ would have done? Do you take note and thank them for the example and for encouragement they are in your life? Do you thank God for them? Do you stand with them?

but not EVIL (marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, harmful; injurious, morally wrong or bad; immoral)

Are you glad or happy when someone fails, is injured in some way because you are jealous or holding a grudge or have decided they “deserve it?” If we would not be glad if it happened to us . . . but are glad when it happens to “them” – we have a heart issue that needs to be addressed as we pursue loving others the way we love ourselves.

Love is always SUPPORTIVE (providing sympathy or encouragement, providing additional help, information)

Do you speak “life,” encouraging with your words? Do you give your time and energy to help someone else? Or do you blow them off with the belief you helped yourself and they can do
the same – You deal with your life and problems and I will deal with mine. Is what you do give based on your “extra” time or do you “go out of your way” to encourage and help others?

LOYAL (characterized by or showing faithfulness to commitments, vows, allegiance, obligations)

Do you demonstrate faithfulness to those you have promised to commit to? Do you live up to your Word? Or do you change it up . . . when you “need” to, based on you and your feelings or “needs” at any given time”?

HOPEFUL (expectant; optimistic, confident)

Do you consistently expect change for the better . . . for spiritual growth . . . for goodness and blessing to come from others? Or are you anticipating they will be selfish or thoughtless?

and TRUSTING (to have trust or confidence in; rely or depend on, to believe, to expect confidently; hope)

Do you consistently look for the best, give the benefit of the doubt and cover others with grace filled mercy . . . believing they are caring for and about you . . . even when it is difficult to believe? Do you trust they will protect you and choose “right” behaviors?

Love NEVER (not ever; at no time)

FAILS (to dwindle, pass, or die away)

Have you ever decided that . . . you no longer “love” someone . . . ? Or . . . is your love unconditional?

For . . . LOVE . . . never fails.

Matthew 22:39-40
And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

The video below is a tribute to the five missionaries that gave their lives and the people saved as a result as depicted in the movie “End of the Spear.” It is well worth taking a look at love in action. The kind of love Jesus lived and the kind we are called to. Please, watch this as part of this lesson . . . Praising God and remembering what true love is.

http://www.youtube.com Type in the words Another Hallelujah / Lincoln Brewster.

There is no greater love than a man would die for his friend . . . many would die for a good man, but who would die for an evil man? . . . that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us . . . I die daily, take up my cross and follow Him . . . Here is our paradigm. Let’s bring it home.

We say that we love and yet . . . we go about doing what we want even as you cry. We say we love yet . . . we dismiss or yell when you inconvenience us. We say we love, yet
. . . talk negatively about those who are not as talented in some area. We say we love, yet . . . we just can’t “get over” what someone has done to us. We say we love, yet . . . there are some . . . we just . . . no longer . . . love. If I won’t give up my simple “rights” in the home or at work or school or about town . . . how will I ever love like like Jesus did? All of this is true, but we’ve heard it a hundred times.

The BOTTOM LINE is – When will I DO what God has called me to do . . . without excuse. HE told me to LOVE.

Jesus told us how to become love . . . will we hear it? Will we respond? Will we honestly acknowledge and address the internal, automatic responses we have to others and situations? Perhaps by analyzing how our current actions look and feel to others, we may be able to see that our hearts need to be circumcised. And, as difficult as it may be . . . asking those closest to us and keeping them safe when they answer . . . may be our only true assessment. If in my innermost being I am compassionate . . . I will not be able to respond in an unkind manner. If in my innermost being I am humble . . . I will not be able to respond in pride and arrogance.

I can choose to defend why I am the “way I am” or explain it away. I can be defensive and not listen . . . or I can take an honest look. I can choose to hear what others are saying. I can ask the Holy Spirit to reveal my heart to me and to make me willing to be made into the image of Christ. Let us not forget that “All a man’s ways seem right to him . . . but in the end they lead to death.”

Then … Ultimately, if we will choose to sit with and spend time with the God of the universe. The alpha and the Omega, who sent His son so He could fellowship with us. If we will learn to be still and rest in Him and allow Him to care for us. He will speak to our hearts. We will begin to feel HIS deep love for US. We will begin to relish the time in intimate relationship and begin to know who we are … His own. His cherished. His beloved. Then we will be unable to walk in less than love for others.

It is here the we begin to become like Jesus.
Let us . . . become . . . Love.

PRAYER

Hallelujah! We praise you Lord . . . We approach your throne with praise and thanksgiving for you are the mighty one. The Lord of Lords, the King of Kings and we praise your name. You are great and mighty and worthy to be praised. Blessed is your name, oh Lord . . . Hallelujah! We praise you! We bless your name for you are Love. For you give love . . . love that is beyond our ability to comprehend . . . I confess, father . . . my sin of not loving the way you called me to love. I confess (ex.: rudeness, selfishness, impatience, etc. – fill in the blanks) __________, _________,_________ . I thank you for your forgiveness and your mercy. I thank you for your grace in my life. Cover me now, blessed, Lord . . . for I am a sinner, unclean. But you lift me up and rescue me. Help me now Lord to be like you. Oh Lord, give us your eyes to see others as you see them. Give us hearts to love them as you love them . . . as you love us. Mold us into a people whose hearts break for the lost, whose hearts hurt for those who hurt us, a heart that cries forgive them for they know not what they do. Give us hearts that bless those who curse us and help us pray for our enemies. Create in me a clean heart Lord. Remove my heart of stone and give me a new heart of flesh. Make me into love as you are love. Teach me to be humble. Show me how to listen to what others are saying . . . and hear it. Teach me to empathize and sympathize and care. Teach me how to speak so that others hear my love for them. Holy Spirit, convict me of my own harshness or unkindness or selfish ways. Draw me into a closer relationship with you so that I might emulate you . . . make my automatic reactions be the same ones you would have. Please, teach me to bless others with my words, my life, my presence in their lives. Let me think of them first – to love them and serve them before considering myself, including my immediate feelings. I long to be like you, Jesus! Remake me. I give my heart to you for that purpose and my life to you as a living sacrifice. I thank you, Lord, that you turn our obedience into blessing (!) our sorrow into dancing (!) and I look forward to what you will do in my life for others and for me . . . May it bring glory to your name! I bless you now . . . Hallelujah! Father, Son and Holy Spirit – I bless you now and praise you! In Jesus name I pray . . . Amen
. . . and all the people said AMEN.
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Practical Application

Watch: Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGr8as7pPBE

1. Define Love: ______________________________________________________________
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2. Ask God to reveal your own heart to you in the area of love. Then, list sins by name where you have not loved as you are called by God to love:
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3. Write out specific situations where you have not loved as you have been called by God to love:
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4. (This is the most difficult – but do you truly want to learn how to love as Christ loved?) Pray before doing this, asking God to create a clean heart in you and to allow you to see what needs to be changed. Ask Him to give you a new heart . . . one like His. Pray for the conversation and for all that will be involved. Invite the Holy Spirit to be present and to be with all involved in the discussion and to cover it with His hand of mercy and grace. Then . . . Ask those closest to you what you do that makes them feel unloved or for things they see in you that if adjusted would enhance your “love quotient.” Do not be defensive. They may not be accurate . . . or you may not be able to see it in yourself. It will probably hurt when they tell you. Sit . . . emotionally safe in the Lord and ask Him to reveal the truth to you about yourself and to show you how to change and fix any damage that was caused to others hearts and in your relationships. *Remember . . . the heart is deceitful above all things . . . for who can know it (? ) and all a man’s ways seem right to him . . . but in the end they lead to death. With this exercise we are inviting and allowing God to do the work on the heart that only He can do. Thank them, hug them and then go pray.

5. Be with God, the father, and the Holy Spirit, the comforter. Pour your heart out to them. Tell God how you feel. Share the pain and the tears. Share what you meant to do and be like. Feel the pain and feel the presence of the Holy God of Israel and know that pain brings gain. That this is FOR you. To heal you and to help you have beautiful relationships and to help you win souls for His kingdom. It is FOR you. Trust that and . . . begin now . . . to BECOME Love.

6. Write a letter to Him if it helps.
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*All scriptures NKJ unless otherwise noted
**Contact me at cindylynne.wordpress.com or be my friend on Facebook!
***Book Release – Coming Soon –TO THE WIRE. . . With God, Almighty by Cindy Lynne – A true story of hope and inspiration . . . of God’s daily provision after incredible losses. A journey from Michigan to Wyoming with no money, no plans and no one . . . except the God of the universe! Hear of His answers to prayers, His supernatural intervention and lessons learned!

PURSUADED TO PURSUE – THE DANCE! What Shall We Pursue (Part 3)

PERSUADED TO PURSUE –   THE DANCE

What Shall We Pursue (Part 3)

We see actual things, and we say that we see them, but we never really see them until we see God; when we see God, everything becomes different. It is not the external things that are different, but a different disposition looks through the same eyes as the result of the internal surgery that has taken place. Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)

I once again move into motion . . . quiet motion. Motion that once was driven by what I had to do to avoid hell is now motivated by something altogether different. Instead I find I am gently drawn to intimacy. Intimacy, I can find only there, with Him. I find I am being drawn toward the very heart of the King. I move now with the motion of synchronized swimmers, of a husband and wife, in love – dancing slowly together in a deep and beautiful rhythm. Now a heart-felt longing for Him quickens my spirit and I desire to fulfill the two greatest commandments – To love the lord my God with all my heart, all my soul and all my mind and to love others as I love myself.  As I seek Him, I move now to concur harmoniously with what it is He wants me to do . . . in and with this life.  I draw near to Him so I can hear Him clearly and there I find answers . . . enveloped in love that protects and gives life.

How shall we move closer to this God of ours? How shall we be able to hear what God is calling us to “do.”  How can we hear who He is telling us He is . . . this one to whom we are to become like? This one to whom we are to love more than life?

As we devote precious time with Him in His word, prayerfully, inviting the Holy Spirit to join us . . . asking for wisdom and understanding as we read, a depth of relationship ensues. For there we drink in who HE IS. There we discover who He calls us to be. And as we begin to become who it is that He wants us to be – We grow more in love with Him. We see first hand that the things He says in His word have been carefully and lovingly written to us and are for us. As we begin to live more closely the life he has outlined – we are drawn imminently closer to Him and find He helps us walk that walk. We find that He helps us leave behind the pain and the consequences of sin. That He holds us up until we are strong again. That . . . He will in fact carry us, if need be to a place of refuge. Spending time in His word teaches us what true love looks like. It teaches us how to pray, how to praise and how to live. It teaches us where to turn, where to go for answers and where to rest. Our automatic reactions become the ones He would have . . . our first responses, ones that honor Him and cherish others. Our life becomes more peaceful, more filled with love and grace . . . better. Better because of Him . . . and with that we grow to love Him more. We love Him because He first loved us.

Studying, meditating, committing; spending daily time . . . reading letters from the Lord, God Almighty.  Concentrating, contemplating, learning, memorizing, reflecting . . . soaking it in

. . . getting to know Him . . . getting to know ourselves. Learning who to become, how to be and what to do.

As I walk with Him and I talk with Him and I tell Him that He is my own . . .  I thank Him, I praise Him, I worship Him . . . I confess my sin to the lover of my soul . . . and . . . I listen. I listen for Him. I become still and quiet and meditate. Yet shall we meditate on His laws day and night! Gently I quote His own words . . . pausing . . . waiting . . . simply dwelling in His presence. Listening for the still, small voice who will share with me who He is and what He sees in me. Listening for what He would have me change and what He would have me do. Asking Him to create a new heart in me . . . to open the eyes of my heart and let me see . . . .

. . . and then, being even more still . . . ever so still. Drawing closer. I’m waiting now and listening again for the whisper. Simply, quietly listening and waiting. Waiting for His heart to touch mine. Listening for His will, not mine. Listening for my own personal, individual, special and unique guidance and direction.

In desire to move closer, to go, even deeper. I begin to learn to fast – Becoming dependant on Him even for my physical nourishment – as I literally hunger and thirst for Him and His righteousness.  Following this command, I realize . . . again – It is for me. That as I deny the comfort and pleasures of the flesh . . . my spirit is drawn into a new and different realm of relationship with Him. There I sense and feel His holy presence more intensely.  There His comfort and directions become more easily recognizable, there deepest connection is made . . . and there I, ultimately, find I long to spend time. How surprising to discover that fasting . . . once so difficult and uncomfortable and seemingly impossible . . . became the door to a world of intimacy with my maker!

What it is that I am doing now becomes about Him . . . and yet . . . about me – Why . . .  It is now we! And . . . we now begin to move in unison as my heart becomes one with His . . . His will becomes mine and the actions that demonstrate my faith are coming from a different place. We are dancing! He and I. As He spins me around and out onto the floor – I am now beginning to be able to discern what it is that He would have me to “do.” I hear His specific call on my life. God and I now “dance,” lightly – I feel as if I’m floating on air . . . into the place of “works” where my faith in Him is demonstrated. That faith that saved me . . . the works that show Him . . . This is God and me!

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Psalm 119 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways. You have commanded us to keep your precepts diligently. Oh, that my ways were directed to keep your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, when I look into all your commandments. I will praise you with uprightness of heart, when I learn your righteous judgments. I will keep your statutes; oh, do not forsake me utterly!  How can a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to your word. With my whole heart I have sought you; oh, let me not wander from your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me your statutes. With my lips I have declared all the judgments of your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of your testimonies, As much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts, and contemplate your ways. I will delight myself in your statutes; I will not forget your word. Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word. Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from your law. I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide your commandments from me. My soul breaks with longing For Your judgments at all times. You rebuke the proud—the cursed, who stray from your commandments. Remove from me reproach and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies. Princes also sit and speak against me, but your servant meditates on your statutes. Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors. My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to your word. I have declared my ways, and you answered me; teach me your statutes. Make me understand the way of your precepts; so shall I meditate on your wonderful works. My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to your word. Remove from me the way of lying, and grant me your law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth; your judgments I have laid before me. I cling to your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame! I will run the course of your commandments, for you shall enlarge my heart. Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Make me walk in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to your testimonies, And not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in your way, establish your word to your servant, who is devoted to fearing you. Turn away my reproach which I dread, for your judgments are good. Behold, I long for your precepts; Revive me in your righteousness. Let your mercies come also to me, O LORD—your salvation according to your word. So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, for I trust in your word. And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for I have hoped in your ordinances. So shall I keep your law continually, forever and ever. And I will walk at liberty, for I seek your precepts. I will speak of your testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. And I will delight myself in your commandments, which I love.  My hands also I will lift up to your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes. Remember the word to your servant, Upon which You have caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, for your word has given me life. The proud have me in great derision, yet I do not turn aside from your law. I remembered your judgments of old, O LORD, and have comforted myself. Indignation has taken hold of me Because of the wicked, who forsake Your law. Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. I remember your name in the night, O LORD, and I keep your law. This has become mine, because I kept your precepts. You are my portion, O LORD; I have said that I would keep your words. I entreated your favor with my whole heart; be merciful to me according to your word. I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to your testimonies. I made haste, and did not delay to keep your commandments. The cords of the wicked have bound me, but I have not forgotten your law. At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, Because of Your righteous judgments. I am a companion of all who fear You, And of those who keep your precepts.

The earth, O LORD, is full of your mercy; teach me your statutes. You have dealt well with your servant, O LORD, according to your word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe your commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.  You are good, and do good; teach me Your statutes. The proud have forged a lie against me, but I will keep your precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease, but I delight in your law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver. Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn your commandments.  Those who fear you will be glad when they see me, because I have hoped in your word. I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right, And that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. Let, I pray, your merciful kindness be for my comfort, According to Your word to your servant. Let your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; For Your law is my delight. Let the proud be ashamed, for they treated me wrongfully with falsehood; but I will meditate on your precepts. Let those who fear you turn to me, those who know your testimonies.  Let my heart be blameless regarding your statutes, that I may not be ashamed. My soul faints for your salvation, but I hope in your word. My eyes fail from searching your word, Saying, “When will you comfort me?” For I have become like a wineskin in smoke, yet I do not forget your statutes. How many are the days of your servant? When will you execute judgment on those who persecute me? The proud have dug pits for me, which is not according to your law. All Your commandments are faithful; they persecute me wrongfully; Help me! They almost made an end of me on earth, but I did not forsake your precepts.  Revive me according to your loving kindness, So that I may keep the testimony of your mouth. Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations;

You established the earth, and it abides. They continue this day according to your ordinances, for all are your servants. Unless your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. I am yours, save me; for I have sought your precepts. The wicked wait for me to destroy me, But I will consider your testimonies. I have seen the consummation of all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad. Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me.  I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep your precepts. I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep your word. I have not departed from your judgments, For You Yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn and confirmed that I will keep your righteous judgments. I am afflicted very much; revive me, O LORD, according to your word.

Accept, I pray, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me your judgments. My life is continually in my hand, yet I do not forget your law. The wicked have laid a snare for me, yet I have not strayed from your precepts. Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart. I have inclined my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the very end. I hate the double-minded, but I love your law. You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. Depart from me, you evildoers, for I will keep the commandments of my God! Uphold me according to your word, that I may live; and do not let me be ashamed of my hope. Hold me up, and I shall be safe, and I shall observe your statutes continually. You reject all those who stray from your statutes, for their deceit is falsehood. You put away all the wicked of the earth like dross; Therefore I love your testimonies. My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments. I have done justice and righteousness; do not leave me to my oppressors. Be surety for your servant for good; do not let the proud oppress me. My eyes fail from seeking your salvation and your righteous word. Deal with Your servant according to your mercy, and teach me your statutes. I am your servant; Give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies. It is time for you to act, O LORD, for they have regarded your law as void.

Therefore I love your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold! Therefore all your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.  Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. The entrance of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. I opened my mouth and panted, for I longed for your commandments. Look upon me and be merciful to me, as your custom is toward those who love your name. Direct my steps by your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me. Redeem me from the oppression of man, that I may keep your precepts.  Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes. Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep your law. Righteous are You, O LORD, and upright are your judgments. Your testimonies, which you have commanded, are righteous and very faithful. My zeal has consumed me, because my enemies have forgotten your words. Your word is very pure; therefore your servant loves it. I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts. Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your law is truth. Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, yet your commandments are my delights.

The righteousness of your testimonies is everlasting; Give me understanding, and I shall live. I cry out with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD!  I will keep your statutes.  I cry out to you; save me, and I will keep your testimonies. I rise before the dawning of the morning, and cry for help; I hope in your word. My eyes are awake through the night watches that I may meditate on your word. Hear my voice according to your loving kindness; O LORD, revive me according to your justice.  They draw near who follow after wickedness; they are far from your law. You are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are truth. Concerning your testimonies, I have known of old that you have founded them forever. Consider my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law. Plead my cause and redeem me; revive me according to your word. Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes. Great are your tender mercies, O LORD; revive me according to your judgments. Many are my persecutors and my enemies, yet I do not turn from your testimonies. I see the treacherous, and am disgusted, because they do not keep your word. Consider how I love your precepts; revive me, O LORD, according to your loving kindness. The entirety of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous judgments endures forever. Princes persecute me without a cause, but my heart stands in awe of your word. I rejoice at your word as one who finds great treasure.  I hate and abhor lying, but I love your law.

Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous judgments. Great peace have those who love your law, And nothing causes them to stumble. LORD, I hope for your salvation, and I do your commandments. My soul keeps your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly. I keep your precepts and your testimonies, for all my ways are before you. Let my cry come before You, O LORD; Give me understanding according to your word. Let my supplication come before you; Deliver me according to your word.  My lips shall utter praise, for you teach me your statutes. My tongue shall speak of your word, for all your commandments are righteousness. Let your hand become my help, for I have chosen your precepts. I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise you; And let your judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.

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I felt God leading me to put the entire chapter, though long,

in this study . . . and it is our PRAYER this week.                               __________________________________________

Practical Application:

1.  How much time do you spend devoted to time in the word and time spent listening to your Lord?

2. Do you need to make changes? ________ If so, what are they? ___________________________________________________

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3.  How much time do you want to commit to spending with you God     each day? ______________________

4.  What will you give up in order to do that?  TV ___”Me Time”___ Sporting Activity ___ Working Out ___Other (You Name It)____

5.  What, by the time you spend every day, are your priorities?_______________________________________

6.  Is your main priority – Almighty God, His kingdom and Glory, your  righteousness and saving others (NO justification allowed)?

Yes _____ NO_____

Ideas:

1. Pray for His help to make your heart long for that time withHim. Ask Him to never let up on calling you to that.

2. Make the commitment.  If you don’t follow through, make it again. Stay with it until your speech about it sounds like that of David’s in Psalm 119.   David . . . The man, the sinner, the man after God’s own heart. Though a sinner. . . I long, one day, to be called a woman after God’s own heart!

WILD, CRAZY . . . PURSUIT . . . ! What Shall We Pursue? (Part 2)

What Shall We Pursue? Part 2
WILD, CRAZY . . . PURSUIT . . . !


Psalm 100:4 – Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Angels listen to your songs for your voice rises to the heavens when you praise Me. (Frances J Roberts) Many of us have spent the past week focusing on thanking God for all He has given us, for all He does. Now, let us enter His courts as we begin to praise Him, simply for Who He is. Praise moves something in the spiritual realm and, somehow seems to open a pathway to His heart. I heard a story once about a dad who came home from work and his daughter ran to sit on his lap as he was trying to relax, unwind and read the newspaper. He asked her what she wanted. She replied “Nothing . . . I just want to be with you.” So, he welcomed her as she climbed up onto his lap, hoping to hold her as he continued to read the newspaper. But, she cupped his face in her hands and said “Look at me” and she looked him in the eye and said “I just love you so much, Daddy. You’re my favorite dad in the world. You’re the best dad in the world!” She, then, threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. He hugged her back and looked her in the eye and said he loved her, too. He again asked her if she wanted something and she assured him – she just wanted to be with him. In this case, he grabbed her up and took her to Toys R Us (!) . . . (and maybe that is what God would do for us, too) . . . but the point is when we draw near to Him – He draws near to us. He loves it when we love Him! How close we feel to those who love us, who just want to spend time with us, to those who tell us how wonderful they think we are.

So, let us praise Him! Through praise we enter into the courts of God, even closer to Him, now . . . and into the realm of deep pursuit of that greatest commandment . . . to love Him with all our heart, and all our mind and all our soul. Many of us, especially in America, don’t understand praise. Often, we confuse praise with thankfulness or we don’t know what to say. And what is the difference between praise and worship anyway? Many of us are not used to praising . . . anything. It may even feel fake, as we are not accustomed to it. But it is time we understand it, grasp it . . . do it. To love Him.

What, then, exactly is praise and how do we do it? A synonym of the word praise – glorify – may help clarify it. To glorify means, to cause to be or treat as being more splendid, excellent, etc., than would normally be considered; to honor with praise, admiration, or worship; extol (raise in rank, honor, power, character, quality, etc.), venerate (to treat with reverence), celebrate!

In the Bible we see that God’s people praised Him in many ways. They spoke it. “We praise you, Lord.” “He is good.” “His love endures forever.” “I will praise you forever.” “. . . for Your name is good.” “O LORD, Our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” “He is good.” “We bless your name, Oh, Lord.” “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in all the earth.” “You are beautiful, Lord and Majestic.” “You created the mountains and the oceans and all that exists.” “You are the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.” “It is only because of you that I move and breathe and have my being.” “Praise be to the Lord, for He has heard my cry.” “We bless You, Lord.” They praised Him for – His acts of power, His surpassing greatness, His mercy, His creation, His intervention, His character . . . for anything and everything. They gave a shout of praise. They praised Him with the sounding of the trumpet, the harp and the lyre. They raised their voices in song. They sang with the instruments. They lifted up their hands. They clapped their hands. They praised Him in the assembly; they praised Him, quietly, in their beds. They praised him when together. They praised Him when alone. They praised Him in public and in the closet. They praised him as they walked in the byways. They praised Him before he answered their cries for help . . . they praised Him after He answered their prayers! They praised Him when they were afraid, distressed and in great sorrow. They praised Him when they were successful, when they were blessed, as they danced for joy! Praise Him!!!!

Many are the songs and words of praise written by David in the Psalms. All words in the Bible were written for our learning. His words of praise can be spoken or read aloud unto the Lord or used as a springboard until our own words come to our hearts. Let’s go to the Word for help! We will quickly begin to feel comfortable and praise will begin to flow naturally from our own lips. Our hearts will engage and we begin to long to praise Him more. As we praise Him, we begin to sense and feel His presence more and come to understand His mighty power . . . which leads us then to worship and adore Him.

Then . . . we will fall to our knees and worship God, Most High, the Holy God of the universe, who created all things!

Praise will bring us naturally into worship and desire to spend time with Him. As we spend time with Him, we get to know Him . . . as we get to know Him . . . we love Him more and begin to automatically have His heart and see the things He sees. We begin to move in directions that are different than they were. Our priorities become different. Our longings become different. We loose sight of our goals and begin to see His purpose. Our activities and our “works” begin to change. From the outside, the things we do may look the same, but our heart and motive . . . that which impels us to move . . . will be different. Or it all may look very, very different now. Changes may be mandated by God that are surprising . . . or even shocking. What others see may be so dramatically different that they can not understand it. We may appear to be “crazy” to them and they may attempt to convince us that God does not require (or would never ask) “that” . . . as they explain the more socially acceptable types of service or “works” approved of by God.

Perhaps that is why Abraham didn’t tell anyone what he was doing . . . as he left his servants behind to head up to the place where he would offer his son as a sacrifice.

Again turning to Webster, worship is reverent (deeply respectful) honor and homage (loyalty and devotion) paid to God, to feel an adoring reverence or regard. As we praise Him . . . we come to a point where we fall to our knees or lay prostrate on the ground before Him, because praise brings us to a deep and felt understanding of His awesome power and majesty and greatness. In praising Him, we begin to grasp how small and miniscule, unworthy, incapable and lacking in anything that we truly are . . . and how exceedingly great and good and mighty He is. He is great just because He is. We thank Him for what He has done for us. We praise Him for his mighty and wonderful works in the universe and in our lives. We fall to our knees in awe and worship Him for what He has done . . . amazed at how he hears us, responds to us rescues us. We worship Him for Who He Is . . . just because He IS.
Angels surround His throne day and night, covering their faces and crying Holy, Holy, Holy . . . . How much of “our” time do we spend in worship of our Lord and master? How much of our time is spent at the foot of the throne in deep, heartfelt worship of the Holy God of Israel!? Isaiah 6:1-5 says . . . I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” (Close your eyes for a moment and picture this!) And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.”

Oh . . . may we breathe that in . . .

Then . . . shall we proceed to walk in the pride and arrogance in our own “me “ness”? Let us exude thanksgiving and praise (!) and then bow in worship at the foot of the throne. There, let us confess who we really are. For, as Louis Cassels said “In confession . . . we open our lives to healing, reconciling, restoring, uplifting grace of Him who loves us in spite of what we are.” Let’s confess our duplicity . . . our self-serving motivations in doing good. He knows anyway and He loves and adores us already. He is waiting . . . always waiting, ready for us to draw even nearer to Him. He is waiting to forgive every sin and cast it as far as the east is from the west . . . where He will remember it no more. So, now, let us be blatantly honest before him and call a spade a spade. If we gossip . . . confess it as gossip – not saying we shared something with some people we perhaps shouldn’t have shared it with or pretend it was for prayers for them. If we lie, let’s call it a lie – not embellishing or stretching the truth or “admitting” that we left a few things out. If we slashed someone in our anger, physically or with our tongue – let’s call it rage and a sin . . . not a struggle or a personality trait that we were born with or excuse it saying we were pushed into it. Call the sin by name and call it what is – sin . . . not a mistake. If we want to make it right . . . if we truly desire to pursue the lover of our souls . . . then let us boldly confront ourselves and our hearts and turn to Him.

Now . . . we are ready to ask for His will in our lives . . . for His direction and what He wants us to do . . . To boldly go before the throne and make our requests known . . . to ask for His help. Now . . . we will be able to “hear” more clearly what it is the Lord wants us to do to demonstrate our faith. Our “works” will now fall into place . . . and be “performed” in a much different way than they were before. We won’t be planning what we should do and how we will use our talents. We won’t be trying to “fit it all in.” We will sit at His feet and dwell in His presence . . . growing ever more deeply in love with Him . . . and He will reveal our role in His kingdom. He will lead us to areas we likely never dreamed of . . . possibly, to use talents we didn’t know we had. It will be His plan, His work, His glory . . . and the result for us . . . surprisingly . . . may just well be . . . happiness.

Perhaps our first “work” is to draw near to Him . . . to pursue Him . . . by fulfilling the greatest commandment . . . so we can hear what the works are that He wants us to “do.”

His yoke is easy – His burden is light . . . He told me so . . . He told me so.

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Hebrews 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

Psalm 47:1 Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!

Psalm 71:23 My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you – I, whom you have redeemed.

Psalm 134:1-3 Behold, bless the LORD, All you servants of the LORD, Who by night stand in the house of the LORD! Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, And bless the LORD. The LORD who made heaven and earth Bless you from Zion!

Psalm 145:1-13 I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness. Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles. Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue; I will proclaim your greatness. Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness. The LORD is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The LORD is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation. All of your works will thank you, LORD, and your faithful followers will praise you. They will speak of the glory of your kingdom; they will give examples of your power. They will tell about your mighty deeds and about the majesty and glory of your reign. For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations.

Psalm 144:1-3 Blessed be the LORD my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle – My loving kindness and my fortress, My high tower and my deliverer, My shield and the One in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me. LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?

Psalm 95:6-7 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand.

Psalm 99:9 Exalt the LORD our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the LORD our God is holy.

Exodus 34:8-9 So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped. Then he said, “If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.”

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us form all unrighteousness.

Psalm 103: 11-12 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him As far as the east is form the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

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Prayer

Father, Lord of mercy, blessed redeemer of your people – hallowed by thy name! Your name is to be praised for your name is the name above all names! You and you alone are good. Your mercies are new every day. I bless You, Lord! I bless Your Holy name. I praise You, O God! You are beautiful and your power and majesty can’t be understood. Your creation is amazing. Who can understand it? Father, I bow before your throne and worship you. I worship your majesty for you are Holy, Lord. Holy, Holy, Holy . . . Holy, are You, Lord. Oh Lord, my Lord, my master and my king – show me how to pursue you. Teach me what that means; give me understanding and wisdom . . . so that my life may glorify you. Teach me so that I am storing up treasures in heaven instead of on the earth . . . so that many souls may be added to your kingdom where we will share eternal joy. Teach me your will for my life. Bless me with your tender mercy and forgiveness . . . For your mercy and grace are spoken of throughout eternity and endure forever. Your love is unsurpassed. You are perfect love, Lord . . . teach me to love as You love . . . to love you with all the fiber of my being, teach me Lord to be like you . . . to see with Your eyes and love like You love. I bless your Holy Name. Lord, I long to be Holy as you are Holy. I confess my sin before you and ask for your forgiveness. I thank you for Jesus. I thank you for sending your son to die for me so that I can be forgiven. I lay them down now at your throne of grace and it is in His name that I ask for forgiveness for _____________________________, ___________________________, __________________________ (Fill in the blanks. Talk it over with your God.) I accept your forgiveness now because your words are true and you said you will cast my sins as far as the east is from the west. You said you will remember them no more. I thank you that you forgive us . . . no matter what we’ve done. I thank you for sending your son to die for me. I thank you for your never-ending kindness and your grace. I will lift you up and praise you forever and ever . . . In the precious name of your son, Jesus, I pray . . . Amen.

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Practical Application

Links to songs: “You Are Worthy of My Praise” by Jeremy Camp – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V72nsl4YE4E and one of my favorites – “I Will Praise You in this Storm” by Casting Crowns – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHlQ6sBEO9A I listen to and sang this song through many tears as God healed my heart and I watched His power and grace respond to my praise.

1. What is the difference between thanksgiving, praise and worship?

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2. `Write out five praises to God (Turn to Psalms for ideas if you need to or go to http://www.biblegateway.com)

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3. Write out some phrases of worship and some other ways you might   worship God:

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4. List sins you need to confess (Be completely honest with yourself and with your God):

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5.  Write out your own prayer include thanksgiving, praise and confession. On your knees – say your prayer to the Lord – Learn to praise Him! Ask Him to draw you to Himself so you can draw near to Him. Ask Him to teach you how to stop doing “works” with your own agenda and by your own understanding and in your own power and to live in a such a way that you do only the works He leads you to do. Ask Him to reveal His will and to help you learn to love Him with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul. Thank Him, Praise Him, Worship Him and Confess to Him. Find a time to kneel before Him and do this each day. For now . . . let’s just be in His presence and focus on HIM . . . not what we want Him to do for us.
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*All scriptures NKJ unless otherwise noted
**Contact me at cindylynne.wordpress.com or be my friend on Facebook!
***Book Release – Coming Soon –TO THE WIRE. . . With God, Almighty by Cindy Lynne – A true story of hope and inspiration . . . of God’s daily provision after incredible losses. A journey from Michigan to Wyoming with no money, no plans and no one . . . except the God of the universe! Hear of His answers to prayers, His supernatural intervention and lessons learned!

What Shall We Pursue? – Part 1

Praise the Lord! We are saved by grace! We are saved only by, through and because of the blood of Jesus. We are saved by faith . . . not by works, lest anyone should boast. We know we could never earn our way into heaven by working and yet we still have some work to do. We know God doesn’t love us more if we “do” more.” His love never changes. It never fails. He never leaves us alone nor forsakes us. And . . . yet . . . we can not be hearers only. We must do something. For we, also, know that faith without works is dead and though righteousness was accounted to Abraham because of his faith . . . still . . . God wanted him to demonstrate his faith in action (some very difficult action, by the way.) He called him to be circumcised and . . . to sacrifice his son . . . and God was pleased as Abraham obeyed. Are we to “do” differently than Abraham . . . or the apostles or Noah or Moses or Esther or Rahab . . . or . . . Jesus?

So . . . what “works” are we talking about? Why do we do them? How do we determine the ones we will “do” . . . the ones we won’t and why? Perhaps our proper, our purest “works,” spring forth naturally from simply pursuing what it is that we are called to pursue. That being, I believe . . . the two greatest commandments . . . to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls and all our minds and the second like it . . . to love others as we love ourselves. Jesus said that in these two commandments ALL the law is fulfilled. That seems to make what we should spend our time on . . . what we should be pursuing . . . very simple and very clear . . . and yet . . . somehow we still don’t “get it.”

As I pondered this, I began to ask; what is it that we pursue? Are we not pursuing that which we spend our time on? Would that time spent then, in actuality, be our “works”? If so, would it not be true that what we are working for can be clearly seen, by where and on what we are spending our time?

Pursuit . . . defined by Webster, is an effort to secure or attain. Synonyms include chase, hunt, search, activity and preoccupation.

So, what is it we are chasing after, hunting for, searching out? What are we preoccupied with . . . pleasure, comfort, security, safety, fun, success? Or . . . holiness, purifying our hearts and minds, His glory, spreading the gospel to a lost and dying world? Are we pursuing others who are hopeless and hungry (both physically and spiritually) and may be one of (close to) 150,000 that die each day – many of whom do not know Jesus? One hundred and fifty thousand . . . each day. Who and what are our lives about . . . Jesus . . . or . . . me and mine?

Perhaps our works . . . are simply our pursuits . . . those things we run after . . . and are many and varied. The work we are called to by God may be much different than the works we often spend our time doing, and are often burned out by, as we try to include both what this physical world seems to offer and still fit in, our “service” to God. Our work for Him may be demonstrated by being the hands and feet of Jesus in someone’s life – yes . . . baking a casserole for a family in need, or taking dinner to a family who has just suffered loss or sitting in the hospital with your brother in Christ. It is helping your neighbor with their lawn . . . it is holding Bible studies in your home or at your office. It is interceding in prayer. It is studying the Word of God. It is hosting events at your church. It is all those things. Oh, but, we are busy! Yet . . . pursuing and doing may be two very different things. I ask . . . What is it we are pursuing? I know we are “working” for the Lord and we wouldn’t do much of it, if it weren’t for His call on our lives . . . but what are we pursuing? Not . . . doing and rationalizing . . . as the time we “gave up” for Him . . . but pursuing.

I venture to say . . . the majority of us are pursing happiness, either for ourselves or for our children. We continue to live life, busily . . . and there Satan has had his power . . . and . . . we have lost ours. We have been distracted, entertaining ourselves and our children. Working and playing and going to every activity, as fast as we can . . . so busy, so full that there has been no quiet time to sit with the Lord and learn how . . . so we can teach our children how . . . to pursue God instead of achievement or success or “self” esteem or being entertained. Others of us are simply not happy at all and since happiness seems an elusive, maybe impossible thing for us to attain . . . we no longer pursue anything. Of course, God wants us to be happy – He loves us. But I suggest that we are not called to happiness, but rather to Holiness. And somehow, amazingly, if we will do it . . . as we pursue Holiness . . . we become happier; content, secure, peaceful . . . joyful. As we, on the other hand pursue happiness . . . though for a moment at each level we may feel elated . . . it dissipates like a vapor and we must move to a new place . . . something different or something more or . . . just something. The pursuit of anything that seems to offer happiness . . . other than a relationship with God . . . other than becoming more like Jesus, more perfect, more loving, more Holy . . . is simply an illusion. An illusion put into place by the deceiver, by the father of lies – Satan himself.

How, then, do we pursue what we are called to pursue – Loving the Lord our God with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind? We first must move close to God . . . in order to know Him . . . so that we love Him the way He asked us to. I believe there is perhaps a process for learning to love like that . . . one way, at least, that looks like this:

Psalm 100:4 – Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

I think most of us thank God regularly and it may, in fact, flow forth easily. We have been taught to be thankful. But perhaps a moment reflecting on the Lord’s goodness to us and to remind us to count our blessings is in order. To remind us to dwell on the good things that we have been given . . . and to remember that every good gift comes from above! Thanksgiving for what He has done and for what He has provided opens the gates through which we enter the inner courts of the throne room. There God, Most High, sits and Jesus is seated at His right hand. Thanksgiving is the way we enter the gates so that we may address the Lord, our Father in heaven, the King of kings . . . in prayer. So, do let us thank Him for every gift He gives us . . . small and large . . . and every provision and way He has made for us, including, simply, our daily provision. Many of us have so much, even during this financial crisis, that we often take for granted, to a degree, what we have. We don’t think about it or clearly and deeply understand that so many people in the world are starving and that it is only by the grace of God any of us are who we are and were born in (or able to live in) this great, rich and blessed country. We are not here by our own intelligent positioning. We were placed here by God, in His grace and mercy . . . for His purpose. He can just as easily remove us from this place or remove His hand from blessing our country. So let us thank Him that our home is the home of the free! Lets us thank Him for every good thing in our lives; our shelter (whatever that means to you), daily food (pray thanks before dropping that chip, candy bar, smoothie, etc., into your mouth, not just at “full” meals – understand where it came from and remember Him for it.) Thank him for our children, the beauty that surrounds us, our health (all parts that are good), for good friends, the church family, freedom to worship our Lord, our pets, the sunshine, the rain, our beds and fireplaces and praise and worship music and accessibility to it. . . for everything . . . and . . . even for our trials (James 1:4 says to Count it all joy, for the testing of our faith produces patience and we are to let patience have it’s perfect work in us, so that we can be made perfect and complete.) Wow – even “bad,” with God is good! Let us pursue . . . talk with Him, entering His gates many times each day . . . with Thanksgiving!

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Ephesians 2:4-10 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them


Isaiah 64:6
But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
James 2:14-26 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab, the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Galatians 3:1-9 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing – if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (NIV)

Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

James 1:17 Every good and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Psalm 116:17 I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving. And will call upon the name of the Lord.

Ephesians 5:20 . . . giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I Chronicles 29:13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
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Prayer

Oh Lord, my Lord . . . I thank you that you reign in heaven and on the earth. I thank you that your mercies are new every day. I thank you, Lord that you are my provider and for every blessing! I thank you for specifically for _________________, ________________, ________________, ________________, and _______________ (Fill in the blanks) I thank you that Your thoughts toward me are more than the grains of the sands and that you know every star in the heavens and that you call them by name. I thank you that you know my every thought and every intent of my heart and that you forgive my sins and that you will create a new heart in me. Blessed is your name in all the earth. I lift you up and praise you Lord! God of heaven, King of Kings Lord of Lords. You are my deliverer and my provider. I thank you, Lord, that you limit Satan in his plans to harm me. I thank you that you will not allow more than I can bear . . . even though it sometimes feels that I will not be able to withstand it . . .You give me grace. You give me mercy. You comfort me through it. You strengthen me and I thank you for all that You do. Thank, Lord, for walking beside me through each day and for redeeming me in the end. Thank you, Jesus, for being willing to come to earth and die for me and for interceding on my behalf as You sit again on the throne with God. Thank you for depositing Your Holy Spirit in me. Thank you for empowering me with Your Spirit and for sealing me and marking me for the day of redemption. Oh I praise You, God . . .for You are great and Your name is greatly to be praised! Thank you, Lord, for being You and calling me! I bless You now. I bless Your Holy name and the name of Your son, Jesus and Your Holy Spirit. It is in Your sons most precious name, I come and bow at Your feet – Thanking You, Lord, for all things . . . Amen.

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Practical Application

1. List your weekly activities and how much time you spend on each:

Activity Time Spent each week

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2. Based on what are you spend your time on – what are you pursuing, chasing after, hunting for, searching out? What are you
preoccupied with? Pray that God gives you a clear mind and the ability to “see” your own heart in this.
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3. List fifteen (or more) things that you are thankful for – Count your blessings! Name them one by one! __________,____________,___________,___________,_________

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4. Dwell this entire week on thanking God . . . all day, every day for everything around you. Thank Him for the small things. Thank
Him for the big things. Focus only on His blessings and gifts in your life. Take every thought captive and put the bad, the negative, etc . . . out of your mind – for this week. Thank Him for what He is doing through every event and circumstance in you life and what He will accomplish for you and for His kingdom. through and/or, in spite of them. Thank Him that what Satan means for evil – He means for good – . . . ultimately . . . whether you can see how or not . . . Trust Him, turn to Him and just thank Him. Let us begin our deep pursuit of the King of Glory!
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*All scriptures NKJ unless otherwise noted
**Contact me at cindylynne.wordpress.com or be my friend on Facebook!
***Book Release – Coming Soon –TO THE WIRE. . . With God, Almighty by Cindy Lynne – A true story of hope and inspiration . . . of God’s daily provision after incredible losses. A journey from Michigan to Wyoming with no money, no plans and no one . . . except the God of the universe! Hear of His answers to prayers, His supernatural intervention and lessons learned.

The Christian Problem – It IS a Slow Fade . . . .

The Christian Problem – It IS a Slow Fade . . .

How America Slid Into Immorality That May Become the Downfall of Our Nation

It’s Time To Stop. It’s Time to Kneel. It’s Time to Rise Up!

We hear it, we read it . . . . Oh, how we “Amen” it . . . We just don’t want to have to live it. We instead justify, ignore, explain it away. When crunch time comes and we are to take action and stop, we instead expound upon why it doesn’t apply to me . . . in this case . . . in this situation . . . or we say were “not doing anything.”  Sometimes we simply draw within our selves and sit in silence as we listen or read God’s truth on a subject . . . “knowing” . . . but . . . knowing, also, that when we leave we’ll do nothing different. We know that we are called to simply stop. Or . . . to simply do something different. But . . . we don’t want to. We have allowed enough of Satan’s deceitful lies into our hearts and minds that we have simply slipped off into “life” and don’t “feel” that bad about it . . . even though . . . we sense, we suppress . . . we know . . . we just need to . . . stop.

Webster Defines Repent: To feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better; be penitent. Our individual hearts and our personal choices have been the catalyst for great immorality in our country. It is past time to closely examine our way of viewing God, His kingdom, what we are doing here and how we have handled what God gave us to steward. We have been given every moment of life and every relationship we have, every penny and each talent and ability to steward for God. We have allowed Satan to twist it so that we believe we were given all that simply for our own pleasure. In fact, we “deserve” it. We seem to believe we have a “right” to all the American benefits . . . a gift to us somehow, and a gift without the responsibility of stewardship. We have wallowed in our pleasure, after giving up our time for work so as to spend the income and remaining time on . . . our (or our children’s) pleasure. And the cycle of work, pleasure, stress, work, stress, no time, have fun, rest at the lake or in the beautifully decorated home or on vacation, back to work, stress, make sure the kids have it all, stress . . . continued. We have believed that we can throw an hour or two a week at God, say a daily prayer or two, choose to be what we consider moral enough and all is well. Now we are reaping what we have sown. Immorality, loss of jobs as the country can’t sustain the greed, loss of our children’s desire to attend church and understand absolutes, abortion, homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, profanity, violence everywhere . . . need I go on? We are at great risk of losing our freedom to speak of God and His truth . . . we are, in fact, at risk of losing our country.

And yet, many of us still “walk” today as we did yesterday. We avoid looking at truth, choosing rather to play in the “grey,” looking to sustain the American dream. As we watch our country fall apart, we still sit passively, ignoring what we personally are being called by God to do or stop doing . . . because it disrupts our determined goal of living what we have known as the American lifestyle. Our personal choices to live in sensuality and personal “achievement” have been, and are, Satan’s tool to destroy us and the country that God blessed us with.

I purport it is time to address the issues of our hearts, to repent as individuals and as a country and take action toward becoming pure and holy before the Lord. What are you called to Stop Doing or To Do differently? How has God spoken to you? What is it that you ignored? Please, let us turn our hearts and lives and, prayerfully, our country back to Him – the Creator of the Universe – as the Lord and master of our lives . . . and not as our savoir only. Let us live to bring honor to His name.

We know God has called us to purity, to holiness and to service . . . but . . . when we hear the specifics of that call . . . we buck it . . . we justify . . . we surround ourselves with support for what we want to do . . .

When called to just STOP looking at pornography . . . We will not do it. We rather explain – I have to use my computer. I don’t go to  porn sites, well, not often . . . . It’s not pornography – People used to consider this porn, but now, you see that on T.V. Everyone watches this . . . Thaaat is not pornography and I’m not “lusting.” I’m not hurting anyone. (Except the wife who feels “not good enough” and the woman whom God loves that is being used, but after all – she put herself in that situation . . . .) . . . You know . . . just for the moment . . . it’s just fantasy . . . it’s harmless . . . (While the God of Heaven who loves them both watches and His heart aches and breaks for both of them . . . and for you.)

When called to just STOP with the cutting, put down “jokes.” We ask “Why”? Everyone is happy. “We” are laughing. They like to be around me because we laugh all the time. (Well . . . except the ones we are talking about as we laugh . . . and the God of Heaven who loves that one we are hurting.)

When called to just STOP storing up treasures and “barns” for ourselves on this earth. We justify – I have to provide for my family. After all . . . this is the fruit of my labor. This is my house . . . my family . . . my . . . . I only have so much money, space (home), time . . . . Anyway, God wants us to . . . blah, blah, blah (While God cries as His children who ask is turned away and thousands starve and your neighbor is homeless.)

When called to just STOP having sex with someone you are not married to. That is a little too much to ask . . . ‘every’ one I know does it – even “Christians”. Yeah . . . it might not be the best . . . but everyone does it. I don’t think I can give that up and like I said . . . everyone else is doing it. God forgives us . . . He doesn’t expect us to . . . I know . . . but . . . (While God’s heart absolutely breaks as we absolutely destroy the ultimate special gift he gave us . . . and do things we don’t even understand – and couldn’t comprehend if we did – in the spiritual realm.)

When called to STOP spending time and money on a sports activity or favorite hobby so the money can go to something for God’s children or His kingdom . . . The chest is puffed, the chin is dropped and the eyebrow cocked . . . as we (Is it arrogantly?) defend the “right” to whatever it is . . . as we expound on how we can actually use that for God and explain our pure and Godly “reasons” for continuing . . . when deep inside we know it is really for our own pleasure. And sometimes I’m sure it’s okay . . . but what is the percentage of the time we are serving God with it? What, if we are honest is God calling us to do? I mean . . . Well . . . that’s not necessarily called for . . . I already give XY and even Z. God does not ask us to give up everything . . . (Or does He? . . . and the Lord, Who gave up everything, came to earth and died for us waits and watches to see what our priorities truly are.)

When we are called to STOP working at a place that pulls our minds to immorality or calls us into compromise or demands we miss meeting together with the Saints or keeps us from having the time to bless others and serve the Lord . . . We yell back that we have to make a living . . . it’s just a job (where we spend hours and hours of our time), God tells us to provide and take care of our responsibilities . . . (While Gods calls to us saying that He is our provider, that He will care for . . . begging and waiting for us to seek Him first . . . so He can provide all these things . . . .)

When called to STOP watching television, refusing to guard our eye gates and ear gates and set nothing before our eyes that is impure . . . I would never become a homosexual or practice a gay lifestyle . . . I’m not going to commit adultery. I’m not going to rape or kill someone. Why can’t I just watch this show – it’s entertaining. I like it. It’s not impacting me negatively. (While God grieves as He see the darts enter and the slow bleed . . . as spiritual weakness and even death silently begins its invasion.)

When called again to STOP watching television, we dismiss the fact that super bowl ads cost the advertisers millions for a few seconds BECAUSE of the impact an ad can have in a moment . . . we continue to spend hours watching smut and disrespect and anger and killing and violence . . . arrogantly crying – I’M different. No . . . really . . . I get it. I see right through that stuff. It does not affect me . . . I’m serious . . . . blah, blah, blah . . . as we stare at the screen sitting idly and like sheep walk right off the cliff . . . bahhing all the time about . . . about how it didn’t impact me . . . (As God cries while the entire structure of our country becomes completely immoral.)

When called to STOP storing up treasures for ourselves and sell all we have and give it to the poor and follow Jesus . . . . We deem ourselves generous enough. We share. Lots in fact . . . out of our excess and we really are very happy to share our throw offs. What we don’t share is what we want to keep. What we don’t share is what would mean loss for us . . . We refuse to give the best . . . not for someone else . . . . We earned it. It’s ours. They should get their own. What the heck? . . . And . . . besides, we say . . . we go to church every week and sometimes even visit people in the hospital. We are following Jesus . . . you know . . . American style . . . the kind of following that allows most of my time and money to be spent on me and mine. (As the Father in Heaven, giver of every good gift weeps in sorrow and remorse.)

When called to STOP doing myriad types of activities (You know what they are in your life.) . . . We defend our right biblically . . . The Bible doesn’t say I can’t . . . People can’t judge me . . . What is wrong with . . . There is no where that says . . . One ___ (Fill in the blank) doesn’t hurt you . . . . What’s the difference between ____ and ____ (Fill in the blank) (While God in His holiness simply says “Be holy as I am holy” . . . for our own good, as well as my glory.)

When called to STOP avoiding good we know to do . . . we ignore it or often look the other way . . . We don’t look into it, sign the petition, show up at the town hall meeting, stop buying things where the money goes to support what God calls sin. I’m too busy . . . It takes too much time. I don’t know what to do. What difference does one person make . . . I don’t do “that,” but I can’t stop others. Instead we choose to continue to walk where the rest of the sheep (Christian Americans) are walking . . . it seems safe in “my world” (and the Shepard’s voice sounds more and more distant . . . less familiar and . . . more sorrowful) . . . right before we all fall off the cliff

When called to spend hours of my time each week in absolute giving service doing something I wouldn’t choose to do . . . that would require giving up something I want, desire . . . even long to do for myself . . . I choose to ignore it, I avoid thinking about it. I get “busy.” I focus on why the thing I long to do is very important . . . really . . . . (While God watches our struggle, understanding the difficulty in choosing what has more important spiritual implications . . . and knowing the motivation of the final decision was really – our own emotional longing, “logically” justified.)

When called to share my home . . . maybe one of the extra bedrooms or give my car to someone who has none . . . That’s a little extreme – don’t you think . . . seriously. . . or we just quietly walk away, avoid the situation if we need to . . . You know . . . we’ll pray . . . . (While God waits for us to be His hands and feet)

When called to do something I don’t prefer or don’t enjoy or don’t want to spend my time doing or . . . That is not my gift. That is not my talent. That is not my . . . (While God sighs with a heavy heart saying your faith in me can only grow when you depend on My strength . . . . Please, my child, go . . . .)

So, I ask . . . In what “grey” . . . do you play . . .? What black have you been deceived into believing is grey . . . and therefore okay? Is grey okay? Is it pursuing holiness and righteousness and purity or is finding a loophole? Who are you hanging out with? Where do you hang? What have you been willing to tradeoff for the “right” to do? Your soul? God’s name and reputation? Your children’s future physical and spiritual safety? Your country? What else do you know God is calling you to STOP doing that you continue to do? What are you giving up for the Lord? What and/or who are you talking about? Who are you helping and where are you going? What are you spending your time on . . . today? What are you laughing at? What are you looking at? What are you watching? Is it pure? Is it Holy? Is it good for edification? Did it or would it hurt anyone (whether they know or not)? Did you avoid doing what you knew to do?

Who and what do you treasure? It is known to all by how you live . . . what you “Amen.”

If you’re answers don’t line up 100% with God’s word. Then . . . Stop. Stop Now. Stop justifying and Stop indulging. Period.

Stop . . . Stop now or watch your country (and possibly your own soul) slide down the slope into oblivion as you, too late, began to cry out for help.

Do now . . . what will be too late to do then. STOP.
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Philippians 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Ephesians 5:11  Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. (NIV)

I Corinthians 15:33  Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

1 Corinthians 10:8  Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;

Ephesians 5:3  But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

Ephesians 5:4-5  Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Luke 18:22  So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Matthew 6:18-34  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

1 John 3:17-18  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Luke 12:17-22  And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Matthew 6:33  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

James 4:17  Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

Genesis 3:7  . . . If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

Job 42:5-7  “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.”

Joel 2:12-20  (Rend Your Heart) “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing – grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the temple porch and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, O LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’ “(The LORD’S Answer) Then the LORD will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people.

2Corinthians 7:1  Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse our selves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Leviticus 19:2  “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.’
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Lord, Only You are the creator and author of life, the beginning and the end. I praise you, Lord and bless your Name. I thank you that you have blessed me richly by allowing me to live in this great country. I thank you that I was born free and have had opportunities and safety and freedom that so many others will never know. I thank you for the moments of pleasure and fun and the health and wealth that living in America has afforded me. But, I find I am caught in a battle for my life and a battle for my country, one that snuck up on me. I need your help, Lord . . . only You can aid me in this fight against Satan. He is the father of lies and seeks us out to destroy us all, but Lord, I belong to You and I trust You will deliver me from his hand. I thank you for redeeming me. I thank you for sending your son to die for me so that I might be covered in the blood and stand forgiven. I bow before your throne. I thank you that you remove my sin and cast it as far as the east is from the west and remember it no more and that Your mercies are new every day. How great are You, God . . . greater are You who is within me than he who is without. Greater is your strength and power and might than the power of the god of this world. I turn to you, Father, and cry out to you to strengthen me. Strengthen me Lord, to stand against the enemy of my soul, to see his lies and not be trapped by his deceitfulness. Free me now, Father, from any hold he has had in my life. Lord, I ask you to reveal my heart to me and to help me see clearly your perfect will for my life. Direct my steps. Father, go out before me and prepare the way. Please, stand behind me so that I might hear your voice say “This is the way, walk in it.” Direct my thoughts and my steps. Be the Lord and master of my life. Teach me how to be pure and holy as you have called me to be. Show me the path to holiness. I confess that I have not been living in your will when I (confess areas God has revealed to you that are not in His will – areas of sin and/or compromise) Father, make me whole and clean and pure and strong enough to turn away from compromise and sin. Help me to just Stop, to turn it off, turn my eyes away, control my tongue, help and give to others, Stop avoiding what I need to do. Help me to stand, Lord, in You. To be faithful in all ways. I pray now for our country. I repent of my own personal sins and I repent for our country, Lord. I confess and repent for the immorality, selfishness, materialism and greed that has become rampant . . . for denying You and lacking understanding. I confess my own support of so many things, even those I supported unknowingly or by ignoring them. I repent personally and for our country for not continuing to stay vigilant and discerning and standing guard against the devils wiles. I ask and thank you for your forgiveness for myself, my family and my country, by the blood and in the name of Jesus. Have mercy on us lord, please, restore us to a right relationship with you. Walk with me today and guide me, Lord. Blessed be your name in all the earth . . . Oh Holy, God – In Him . . . Amen.
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Practical Application – Listen to “It’s A Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns

(Link is posted on side bar)

List things that you are called to Stop doing __________________________
____________________ ______________________ ___________________
Or Stop Avoiding Doing ______________________ ___________________
List Television Shows you watch ___________________________________
____________________________, _________________________________
____________________________,_________________________________
Did they include: ____scantily clad, nude or partial nudity ____ cussing
____ using Lord’s name in vain ____killing/ murder ____ homosexuality
____adultery ____ fornication ____drug abuse____ lying
cheating ____ gossiping ____selfishness____ partying____
Did you cut down or make fun of anyone this past week? _______________
______________________________________________________________
If so, who? ____________________________Do you need to confess and
apologize to them? _______
Are you having sex outside of marriage? _____
Are you playing around with sexual “activities” claiming they are okay because
it’s not intercourse (yet)? _____
Are you tempted at your place of employment to compromise your commitment
to God? _____ Your integrity _____ Your morals_____
Who are you hanging out with that you need to cut loose? ________________
____________________, ____________________, _____________________
Where do you go or spend time (to do no matter what – no justification allowed)
that compromises who God called you to be? ___________________________
________________________________________________________________
Do you need to get a different job? _______ If so, what are you going to do
about it and when? ________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
Pray and ask God to give you understanding about what storing up treasures for
yourself on earth really means. Are you doing this? _________
Are you denying help to someone who needs something that you have and could
help them with, but don’t’ want to? _____ Is there anything you need to do
differently in that area? If so, what ____________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
What have you been doing that is “grey?” and need to stop _________________
List what you have been justifying in the areas you need to address ___________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
What else is there that you are being called to STOP or to Stop avoiding doing?
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
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Write a letter (or prayer) to God about what you need to talk with Him about:
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
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*Scriptures used are from the NKJV unless otherwise noted.

Motivation . . . or Supporting Motivations? Does God Care?

Motivation, the force behind every choice . . . every decision.

Let’s consider for a moment … Does it matter if we “own up” and espouse our true motivation or simply select and use one (or more) of what I refer to as supporting motivations?

Sometimes I think we live in denial . . . or is it . . . simply, that we lie? Honesty of Heart, I fear, often seems to be MIA . . . sigh . . . .

Most of the time we have more than one “reason” for anything we do or want to do and as we begin to think “through it,” we come up with “proof” that this particular desire is a good thing to do. And . . . sometimes our motive is pure. Sometimes it is not simply to get our own way . . . but truly to do God’s work, fully selfless and serving . . . many times, though, we need to “check it.” If our heart intent isn’t pure (and often even if it is) – the more people we anticipate may try to influence against us carrying out our plan or the more people we need to help us achieve the goal – the more “reasons” we come up with. We begin to add reasons why it is also good for them. However, most of the time, twenty-nine “reasons” will not be a motivating force. Only one of them actually propels us into action . . . the rest – we logically come up with to support the desire. The rest of them we could talk about forever, using phrases like “I really need to . . .” or “I should . . . because . . . .” But, for some “reason” . . . we never do it.

Webster defines motive as “that which incites or impels or causes.”

I don’t want to spend time at this point in discussion of whether love is an action or a feeling. I personally believe it is both and can be acted out without the feeling of love but that the feeling of love is a very strong motivator. However . . . either way, the actual, propelling motivation will be based on underlying emotions – perhaps wanting to be “good” in an effort to meet a longing for approval or acceptance or out of a fear of punishment or of going to hell or the fear of losing something we feel we need or . . . . Even when we believe and/or feel that we are choosing to do something we don’t really want to do, only out of obedience, I propose that we still have set our mind on a “reason,” but that the basis for that reason comes from the heart. The feeling of love for another or for God can support (or be) the motivation for the obedience of an action we may be called to. This is why the Bible tells us to love the Lord, our God with all our heart and all our minds and all our soul and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This is why . . . above all else, we must guard our heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Let us consider . . . Deep inside we all have longings and desires and we know there is something we want . . . even if we haven’t precisely identified “it.” Suddenly . . . or finally . . . a way to meet the longing is found! It is then that we begin the process of collecting our reasons. And collect them we do. We organize them. We rationalize them. We enhance them . . . and then tada! . . . We present them!

We expect that people will “see” the logic behind it and have understanding for it – after all “This” is in everyone’s best interest. It’s not just for me. I have considered it and decided that it is “best” for “all of us.” And then we wonder why we don’t get the support we desire, the support we want or need, the support we thought through and “figured out” how to enlist. Sometimes, we often even convince ourselves – we choose not to think about “that part,” though. Most of the time – we “know,” but we are going to do it anyway. Do we believe we have even convinced God?

We all have emotional “needs” or longings that are strong and deep. Sometimes we are well aware of them, but some come from a place we don’t understand and may not even be aware of (like the fear of failure or fear of loss or acceptance or . . .) somewhere deeper yet. We make decisions based on those emotions and then we begin the logical reasoning that allows us to move forward and defend our movement. However, within this logic much deception often lies, as we select whichever it is – either the main motivation or one of the supporting motivations – and present the “best one” as the “reason” to the person or persons we are trying to convince. And the “main reason” may change depending on who we are trying to convince or persuade. Don’t get me wrong . . . we usually throw all of them into the conversation . . . it’s just the subtle difference of the focus that changes. In doing this, we are not being honest – not with others . . . and often not with ourselves or even God. Deception sets in. This is manipulation in one of its finest and most frequently used forms.

Though what it is we want to do can appear to be in everyone’s best interest, it often is not. We only figured out a way to present it as such, in an effort to enlist their support, in an effort to appease our own conscience . . . or just so we don’t appear to be selfish. How it would be in their best interest “surfaced” as we considered their feelings and what their response would be to what we want to do. We deemed it in their best interest because from our perspective as we searched for ways to legitimize what we planned to do . . . based on our emotional longings . . . we logically came up with these reasons as we looked at their life. The problem is that it didn’t consider their emotional longings and desires. Logically, it may make sense . . . but even WE could just as easily walk away from it . . . based only on the logic. We are set in our decision because it meets OUR emotional need – which is, as stated prior, where the whole thing started. When we consider others as ourselves . . . we are only truly doing that and loving them when we consider their emotional needs, as well as, our own emotional needs. When we don’t dismiss their longings and concerns based on what we have determined is logical . . . therefore, a perfectly fine thing to do . . . as we run right over them. We can only do this when we listen, hear, and respond to their emotional needs, desires and longings . . . as well as our own.

Ladies, we learn it young . . . some of us are masters. Have it our way . . . we will. We just have to figure out how. So . . . we “work it out” . . . you know . . . for all concerned. It’s really . . . much more “caring” . . . because we “considered” everyone. Truly . . . See . . . ? Rather, I suggest it is often simply our own agenda and we must make it “work.” Of course, we’d never hurt others while making it happen . . . or would we?

And, men . . . you may not have some of the “swings” emotionally that women have and probably don’t have the need to talk through things in order to process them . . . but make no mistake . . . you are not strictly logical when it comes to your decisions. Your decisions are based on your longings and emotions as well. The difference may be they are deeper, underlying, not accessed or acknowledged. You may decide to move the family, against their wishes . . . to a new place. It could be that your main motivation is to provide for your family and may not be a true self-serving main motivation. Or, your main motivation could be your need for approval or success or it could be a fear of some kind and your supporting motivations are that it will increase your income and will provide financially for the family.

Before calling that shot . . . I suggest it wise to pray and thoroughly and honestly consider all of our “reasons” and identify the motivating factor. Identify the one that is impelling us to demand this be done . . . before beginning to try to convince or reason . . . or trample on those around us . . . often those we claim to love. Consider whether we have convinced ourselves that even God believes it when we say something is the “reason” . . . when in actuality we are claiming a supporting reason in an effort to persuade others to do it our way.

There is a problem with being honest about what our true motivation is. We have avoided truthfully identifying the one true motivation, the one that impels us to make the move, many times before. This “problem” is the reason we present our supporting motivations and call them logic. We may not get our way. We may be called upon to give it up because once we have identified our true motivation – someone else’s needs or fears or desires may be more important . . . as we love them the way the Word of God calls us to. We may be called upon to lay our desire or fear or deep longing at the throne of grace and rely on God to provide all we need and long for or heal our wounds or insecurities. As long as we pretend and manipulate by touting supporting motivations as the real reason . . . the main motivation . . . we will continue to be deceitful. We will continue to hold onto fears. We will not heal our wounds. We will be selfish in our relationships. We may crush those around us into submission and crush their spirit as well. We will not be able to allow the God of heaven and earth to heal us, comfort us, provide for us. We won’t allow Him to truly guide us so that our lives influence and bless and draw others to Him. And . . . because we manipulated the situation to get what we wanted right then . . . we will not receive what He longed to give to us . . . His best.

In fairness, we don’t always do this with intention. Sometimes, we are aware of exactly what we are doing . . . but other times we really don’t even see it in ourselves. But “they know.” Others sense what we are doing. They can’t “prove” it, but they know that it wasn’t really done out of concern for them, no matter how much we assure them it was . . . it was for us. Our relationships are injured, sometimes permanently destroyed while we continue on the path of using supporting motivations as a way to force others into doing or supporting what we want done.

We can begin to understand ourselves and begin to truly care and love others the way God calls us to, as we begin to pray . . . fervently. Ask the Lord for wisdom and understanding regarding what we are considering doing and talking with Him about it long before making a decision . . . asking Him to reveal our own hearts to us. Pray honestly (He already knows anyway.) before Him. Stating our desire and longing, asking Him to help us understand the driving force behind the desire and to give clarity of heart and mind. Ask for healing and help if the course called for us to take seems it will cause us pain. Ask for what is best for all involved. Ask for help and guidance and to be shown how to love others as Jesus did. Ask, being willing to release it to Him, if called to do so. Be honest . . . and then wait. Wait for His voice and His direction. Do not make a decision. Do not act until you know what He is telling you to do. He will make it known, if you wait . . . and if you are willing to obey when you hear it. He may call you to give it up. He may call you to wait. He may say go ahead. But whatever it is . . . if you will wait on Him . . . all your needs and your longings will ultimately be met. Not perhaps as you planned and maybe not at the time you want to have it done . . . but met they will be . . . and in ways far superior to what you can think or imagine!

Someone told me once they read that . . . the work is in the waiting. Wait . . . then . . . for your “work” for the Lord will surely pay big dividends.

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Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life
Jeremiah 17:9, 10 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”
Psalm 139:23-25 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 51:9-12 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Philippians 2:2, 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Isaiah 55:8, 9 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Ephesians 3:17-21 . . . that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen
Psalm 38:15 For in You, O LORD, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God.
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Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name . . . for Your name is great and Your ways are merciful and full of grace. Wonderful are You, Lord! I thank You this day for all good gifts that you have supplied me with. As I count them one by one – I am ever surprised by what you have done . . . for You amaze me! Thank you, Lord for (List them out – count your blessings one by one!) Father, I come before your throne of grace today with a heart full of indecisiveness . . . . I am longing for (or thinking that . . .) I need (or want) to do (fill in the blank.) Lord, you have given me life. You formed me in the womb and you know my every thought, longing, fear, desire. You placed me in this world where you would have me be and I have been impacted by my past, my family, my circumstances, by my personality and mind. You know my weaknesses and how Satan has played on them. I ask You to heal my wounds and let me know what is motivating me in this decision. I ask you, Lord, to forgive me, in Jesus name for (confess any un-confessed sin). I ask you now to allow me to see this situation clearly. Remove from me anything that will allow me to manipulate this situation for my own best interest. Heal me and reveal my own heart to me and teach me to love as you love . . . to consider everyone involved as you would have me. Give me pure motivations and “right” intentions in all that I do, in every decision that I make. Lord, guide me in this choice, in this decision, in this path so that I may glorify you with every action I take, so that your name may be preserved. Teach me to empathize with those who this will touch and let me hear their concerns in such a way that I respond to them. Protect my relationship with (name people this will affect.) Oh, Father, teach me to be wise. Please, give me wisdom. Give me patience. Give me eyes to see Your will in this, for only You know what is best. Search me and know me, Lord, that I may become more like you. I lay this request . . . and that Your will be done in this . . . at your feet and here, Lord, I wait now. I stand and I wait, with my eyes on You . . . for Your direction and what You would have me do. Let me “hear” you clearly. I bless your Holy name and praise you forever . . . In Your Son . . . Jesus . . . name I pray. Amen.

Practical Application

What is it you want to do?
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

List ALL of the “reasons” it is “sensible” and logical:
1. ____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________
5. ____________________________________________________________
6. ____________________________________________________________
7. ____________________________________________________________
8. ____________________________________________________________

Pray and ask God to reveal the deep heart longing or fear that this addresses. Ask Him to reveal your heart to you. (It is helpful to get a list of emotion words and “go deep” in and identify the “real” issue . . . longing, fear, etc. Be patient and kind, it sometimes takes time and can be difficult to identify. Pray!)

What are your basic longings or fears this decision is really addressing? (There may be one or more than one.)
1. ____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________

Who else does this decision impact?
1. ____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________

Pray to be able to understand their heart cries, their needs and the ability to act and move in their best (emotional) interest, as well as your own.

What “reasons” are they giving for not supporting this decision? (They may not have any reason (or as many) as you because the deep emotion it is triggering has not been identified.)
1. ____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________
5. ____________________________________________________________
6. ____________________________________________________________

What deep longing or fear in them does this decision conflict with?
1. ____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________

(It is helpful to get a list of emotion words and “go deep” to identify the “real” issue . . . longing, fear, etc. Be patient and kind, it sometimes takes time and can be difficult to identify. Pray!)

Come up with a myriad of solutions, creating ideas that would take all parties logical reasoning and deep emotions into consideration. Don’t act until you have prayed, prayed together, identified the deep fear or longing (without judgment as to whether any one “should” feel that way or specific effort to “help” them “see” it differently (i.e. correctly) . . . and both are content (hopefully happy) with the movement that will be made. Cover with humility, prayer and loving others . . . as you love yourself.

*Link to emotion words – http://www.selfcraft.net/WRITEYOURSELF/EWords126.pdf

Learn to give up the words “YOU” and OUGHT, SHOULD, CAN’T, ALWAYS and NEVER and say instead “I feel . . . insert emotion word . . .” when

The Tongue Is A Weapon-Whose Army Are You Fighting In?

It appears I lost my welcome posts – For now – Here is the first Friday devotional . . . Blessings!

The Tongue IS A Weapon –
Whose Army Are You Fighting In?

Be Ye Friend or Foe . . . In whose army are you fighting? In whose army do you daily take a stand? Who are you wining battles for – Satan or The Lord God Almighty? WHO are YOU standing toe to toe with – doing battle? Our battles are not of this world and we do not fight against flesh and blood . . . We fight, we stand, we fall . . . on one side or the other . . . with every word uttered . . . with every action. We will stand one day and give account of every idle word. We will account for the tone we use when we deliver those words for tone is also spewed forth by the tongue.

It is not you that you are fighting for with your words. It is not that other person with whom you are actually engaged. It is instead something we know not of that we are warring with. It is something deeper. A wise man speaks little and listens much.

It is an unalterable fact that every move we make, every word we speak stands in the history of this eternal spiritual battle as ground taken for Satan or for the Lord. It stands until the final day . . . the final day when the Lord’s Army wins the war . . . until the final day when we . . . saved or not . . . will give an account for every idle word. So . . . are those jokes with that little twist of cutting truth funny? Are the unkind things we say in a passing moment of “me-ness” that scar someone – sometimes for life really . . . “not that big of a deal?” Oh, my friend, beloved of God, take heed and listen. Hear the word of God and respond. Respond before it is too late to heal the damage. Respond before one you love runs for safety from your words to the other side where Satan will whisper momentary lies and false comfort. Understand . . . hurry, before even one more battle goes down in history, never to be rewritten . . . the power of your words.

Our battle is NOT with the people on this earth. Our battle is not over who hurt our feelings and how to protect ourselves and how to have the most power over others. Our battle is to become able to love more . . . to love like Jesus did. It is to learn how to stand back and
let someone else have. It is in learning who we can serve in action and with the words we speak. Who’s side are you on?

I have been slashed, cut, stabbed, whipped and beaten with the tongue. I have, also, been held up, nourished and loved with precious, sweet words spoken from a kind soul’s heart. My life has been changed by both and I have done both.

Will I speak with sarcasm and “ jokes”? Will I use my tongue for course jesting and think nothing of it . . . for after all . . . “Didn’t people laugh”? Will I criticize and cut to the quick . . . put people in their place? Speak to someone in a harsh tone to punish for a perceived . . . or even real . . . injury to ME.

If The Word is God (Jesus) and we are made in His image and He was the first fruit . . . we are likened unto Him . . . (albeit a mere shadow) and He spoke creation into existence and will speak judgment in the end. Then . . . what power must lie in the spoken word. In fact, the Bible says that in our words are the power of life and death. What do you suppose it means?

The Bible says none can tame it – it holds power like that of a small rudder . . . able to turn a ship. Power that in an instant turned loose changes the course of a young soul’s spirit or a relationship forever. Power that helps lead someone to or away from eternal salvation.

And what about the power unleashed as we use it to praise the Lord, God of Heaven. Somehow it is released in the spiritual realm when we praise God. Yes . . . the words we speak hold great power . . . power to bless our children, our spouses . . . and strangers . . . power to change things.

Let us think . . . If salt water and fresh water can not flow from the same spring . . . then what are my words saying about who I am – Shall I praise God in song and worship at church and curse and gossip or hurt those whom God loves during the week? What implication does that have for my soul and in this spiritual battle?

Laughter from the heart, springing forth from the mouth expels the contents of the heart. WHAT DO YOU LAUGH AT? What do you find “funny”? Dirty jokes, sarcastic cut downs that hurt someone? Someone not dressed as “well” as you? Do you laugh at “stupidity” . . . at those not as “smart” as you? Do you verbally dismiss those who haven’t “done what you’ve done (career wise, financially, as an athlete or intellectually)?

Do you look for words that bless? Do you then BLESS with them? We are commanded to speak only words that uplift and edify. Do we have a desire to “draw people together” . . . our circle . . . with just this little tidbit of “information.” You know . . . the one that trashes a hurting soul and makes us feel better than the person we are talking about . . . all five of us . . . who become 15 who become 46 . . . ?

Your tongue . . . Your weapon . . . How will you use it?

By the way . . . Who are you?

John 1:1- 4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Ephesians 6:12 & 13 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Ephesians 5:3, 4 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

James 3:3-6 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.

Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

James 3:9-12 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Matthew 12:36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.

Revelation 19:13-16 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Lord, Father in Heaven, Creator of the universe. God, in whom in move and breathe and have my being . . . I thank you for the use of speech and for the way it allows me to communicate to others what is inside of me. I thank you for the way words allow me to create relationship and closeness to those I love. I thank you for the way words allow me to hear and know what others are thinking and feeling. Lord I praise you for the gift of speech and it’s thousands of uses in my life. Please, Lord, teach me how to use this gift as you would have me use it. Teach me to speak only words that uplift others and that honor you. Holy Spirit speak through me – Let me become a vessel that is empty of “me” and full of You. I confess the ways I have misused my tongue (list specifically how you may have sinned in this way.) Give me understanding about how my words have hurt (list their names) and how to make it right. Please, take the sting of what I said away and heal their heart. Reveal to me what I can not see that I have done with my tongue. Give me empathy to understand and eyes to see how my speech needs to change. Father, create a pure and a clean heart in me so that when others hear what I say – they know that my heart belongs to you. Praise, be to you, Father . . . forever. In the name of your Son, Jesus . . . I bring my prayer to you and lay my weakness at your throne. Amen.

Practical Application

1. How many times did my words
cut or “bite” someone today?
____________________________
____________________________

2. How many times did I tell or
laugh at a dirty joke?
_____________________________
_____________________________

3. How many times did I use
course language (curse or tell
a dirty or “questionable” joke)?
____________________________
____________________________

4. How many times did I gossip
about someone?
____________________________
____________________________

5. How many times did I use my
tongue in a tone that hurt
someone based on how I felt?
____________________________
____________________________

6. How many times did I make fun
of someone?
____________________________
____________________________

7. How many times did I criticize
someone?
____________________________
____________________________

8. How many times was I arrogant
in my heart and attitude and
allowed it to be reflected with my
words?
____________________________
____________________________

9. How many times did I deem
someone stupid or “in my way”?
____________________________
____________________________

10. How many times did I justify
the above sinful use of my tongue?
____________________________
_____________________________

To use this – Put a mark each time you do any of the above, like the old fashioned four marks and a diagonal slash through on the fifth offense. Print and cut this off and carry in your pocket so you can mark it when you cross the line.

At the end of the day . . . Take an inventory and see what kind of an account you will give before the Lord on the day of judgment.

If repentance is in order . . . confess what you said and/or how you said it to the Lord and to the person you spoke sinfully to. Ask for forgiveness and perhaps ask them to help hold you accountable in the future, promising not to attack back or retaliate . . . but instead to receive their instruction (even if they are not correct in their assessment.) No defensiveness allowed – only a humble heart that seeks to become more Holy.

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