Category Archives: Devotional Series

The River’s Streams

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.” – Psalms‬ ‭46:4-5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

As I read this in preparation to post it, I saw us – the people – as the river that flows through the dwelling place of God. We flow in and out, primed with the Presence of Him who is ever in the midst of us. Flowing with and trough our lives, He touches all we touch and feeds all we flow through.

Of course the Psalmist is speaking of Israel and Jerusalem. But in this vision, we, the dwelling place of God, indwelling Him, are the streams of the river, fed by God. God, in us, is faithful to help us every morning to be His springs of life on the earth. Let Him help you as you head into this day. A spring is only as deep as the river feeding into it. Feast on God and have a BLESSed day.

That’s worth repeating!

“O Lord, our Lord, Your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. You have taught children and infants to tell of Your strength, silencing Your enemies and all who oppose You.” Psalms‬ ‭8:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Did you see it? Did your heart thrill? Like mine!

Look at the victory given to us here, through this truth about God’s victory that forms a weapon given our mouths. As we “tell of Your strength,” we silence “Your enemies and all who oppose You.”

God’s enemy attacks Him through his assault against God’s people and our faith to believe and trust Him. When we STAND, stubbornly set to trust God’s strength, speaking that believing faith from hearts set on Him, we enter His victory!

Praise the Lord!

Speak to the Mountain

“Truly I say to you, whoever

SAYS TO THIS MOUNTAIN,

‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.” – Mark‬ ‭11:23‬ ‭NASB‬‬

When God gives us a Word against a mountain in our lives, 1. We must trust The Word; 2. We must receive The Word as a gift to possess; 3. We must speak that Word TO THE MOUNTAIN from ever growing faith.

From personal experience, I can tell you that, when God gives us a Word of promise or instruction concerning some issue in life that looms over us like a mountain, that Word is a seed, planted. Each time that mountain pops up to grab our focus, but our hearts turn in faith to the seed of God’s Word to us, speaking it against the mountain is like rain to our souls, nourishing and growing those seeds. The stronger that seed grows within us, the more powerful our voice of authority in Christ. Before we know it, that mountain sinks to the bottom of the sea as pulverized dust, never to rise again.

Grasp hold of God’s Word to you, Beloved, and speak it out with the power of assurance in Christ. Have a BLESSed and glory-filled day.

God-watched Path

“The Lord watches over the path of the godly.” – Psalms‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The godly seek the Lord, desiring His will and way above all; desiring His very nature, His character to shine through their lives to the glory of His name. The godly seek the Lord and His righteousness first and foremost, to walk in it. Those who seek God with wholehearted fervor, find Him faithful. And His faithful love watches every step with care and affection, directing their path and protecting each footfall. Those who trust the God-watched path, find the path of peace.

Trust the Lord with each step in your day, Beloved, for your walk of faith pleases God. Have a BLESSed, glory-filled day.

The Vital Materials of Healthy Boundaries

In these strange times, we need to be people with “healthy boundaries – to have the proper wall and gates in place so as to keep the good things in and the bad things out.” Unknown

Not an exact quote, but adjusted from a reading I’ll link below, it is a desperately needed thought for me today. Father has been inspiring in me the past several days concerning the truth that I have lost focus.

The unbelievable chaos and upheaval and uncertainty of our days have grabbed my thoughts and broke down some vital walls. As a result, conspiracy theories, contradictory information, false reports, and the chaos of riots flowing too readily into my living room have me reacting out of confused flesh. God is telling me that, despite all these things, my focus as His child, His ambassador to this area in which I live, is unchanged: God, First and foremost, His Word, His truth, His message, His love, His faithfulness…etc. Just typing that out, my heart lifts, my spirit stills, my hope rises, I enter my Rest. That truth deserves a “Selah!” Pause, and calmly think on that.

Today, as I read the author’s reminder to remain within our healthy walls of protection, as I read it my prayer is to understand the materials of our walls and gates, so we have focus to reestablish and maintain it. Of those materials, two things arise in me: 1. our walls are all these things I’ve listed, that outlines our God and His faithfulness, and 2. our gates are the fruit of His Spirit working in us who represent and serve God.

God, His Word, His truth, His message, His love, His faithfulness…etc., provide the impenetrable wall and rampart of protection. Every arrow shot at us through this world chaos is stopped and it’s fiery dart squelched by God’s faithfulness. Keeping that vital focus is paramount to the strength of our walls against every attack of Satanic resource. Remembering that God is not the author of confusion, signals us when an area of our wall is under attack and in need of focused attention. Reaffirming our faith in God’s faithfulness is our tool for every repair job.

The fruit of the Spirit working in us are our gates with their powered control systems that help us know what can come in and go out from us. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control/temperance, along with humility, faith, and trust, are the 12 gates we possess as God’s temple: the gates through which we protect what we have and bless those around us, without the world getting at us and tearing down our walls – our faith in God’s faithfulness.

I am so grateful for God-thoughts, those truths of understanding inspired by God’s Spirit that are His voice to us, calming, stilling, instructing, and commissioning us for righteousness, fruitful service in our day, and peace with the still-more-excellent-way of love as our focus even now. These truths help me, causing me to STAND, and stand firm. I pray they help you as well.

God is faithful. This we know full well. All the confusion and chaos of this world is squelched and set in order as we remain within the walls He provides and the gates He controls.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” – Galatians‬ ‭5:22-26‬ ‭NASB‬‬

(Near quote is from Walk Through The Bible 365 – July: Day 23 • Devotional)

Destroying A Lofty Thing

“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB)

There is a philosophy of man floating around that is as old as the ages. I conversed with one of this philosophy’s evangelists recently. The poor person does not see they are ensnared by the very sin that caused Lucifer and one third of the angelic hosts to be cast out of God’s kingdom.

This person was trying to convince me that not only can we grow in likeness to God – truth; but that we can eventually sit with Him as equals – lie. This is the sin of Satan, who thought himself God’s equal, which quickly turned to desire to overthrow the One True God and be god in His place. Such arrogance and pride not only led to Lucifer’s eviction, but it is the lie Satan used to cause the fall of man, getting them cast out of Eden.

Lucifer came to Eve through the voice of a serpent, using a luscious looking piece of fruit. “If you eat this fruit, God knows you will be just like Him, equal to Him, knowing good and evil.” Pride, arrogance, desire to not only emulate God as He desires, but to be His equal. Before you come down too hard on Eve who was tempted through her curiosity, realize Adam fell too, not out of deceit, but from a place of willful disobedience; desiring to please Eve, yes, but he also wanted this great, God-like power.

God is ALL knowing, ALL powerful, ever present, complete and perfect within Himself. He needs no help to be all that He is in purity and perfection; and He cannot be tempted to the dark side of all He is. He is love and He, alone, is good. We can be neither apart from Him.

We cannot come close to Him apart from His provision for us. Only Jesus can open the curtain and empower us to draw near and gaze on His glory. We cannot do that and live apart from the blood covering of Christ. Which leads to another aspect of the falsehood spoken by this deceived disciple of Satan. He not only denies Christ, but the God who would require His will done His way. This is the spirit of Antichrist, active in the world today. Beware this satanic ploy.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. …” (2 Corinthians 10:3-7 NASB)

“… I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. …” (John 15:1-8 NASB)

Peace, Be Still.

In these days, so many are finding themselves struggling with worry, fretting, depression, fear, and so many emotional issues that hinder function and ability to know Wisdom. We need peace of mind, heart, soul. But if we keep looking at things outside ourselves to bring it, we will continue to miss it, thinking it something we must chase after when, truly, if we know The Christ and are home to His Spirit, Peace – True Peace is within us, ready to flow to us and through us as a fresh, spring flow of Living Water.

We don’t have to chase it, learn it, or grapple for it. We only have to be still, cease striving, let be and know God, and He will give it – His good gift, pressed down, shaken together, and running over for others to feed off of while in our presence.

We can’t give others what we, ourselves, do not have, and we can’t truly possess that which we fail to recognize as belonging to us. Love, joy, peace PATIENCE, and all the nine flavors of the Spirit are our personal possession because we are His and He is within us. Take a deep Breath of stillness, receive your Peace, and have a BLESSed day.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-25‬ ‭NASB‬‬

God’s Story In Each Tear

“Tears are not our weakness. They represent everything we’ve endured to get to where we are right now, and maybe they ultimately speak of a truth that nothing else can.” Brian Hardin

Psalms tells us that God collects our tears in a tear bottle (Psalm 56:8). Tears through the ages have been collected as treasured memories. Happy tears, sad tears, angry tears, frustration, repentance. Whatever brings tears marks time in our lives, and, like women of old, God collects them. They are signs of all it took to make us as He is.

God cares, Beloved. He sees all. He has purpose in it all. He is working a good plan. And one day, He will pour those tear bottles out on the altar of sacrifice, a fragrant aroma of His glory established in you. So rest all with Him. Tell Him about it, let it rest secure at His feet and in His special bottle, made just for you. Enter your Rest and have a BLESSed night.

Beginning quote From, Sneezing Jesus by Brian Hardin

Choose Healthy Breeding Ground

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” James‬ ‭1:19-20‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I don’t know about you, but in this season of discord with riots, business closures with COVID, inconvenience of shut downs and lock ins, I have been tempted to anger more than ever, that I can remember. On FB, I was too often using this response to posts: 😡.

God reminded me that anger and it’s stress are breeding ground for all sorts of sickness. He instructed me to change 😡 to 😢, grieving my sin and the sin of our nation before Him, surrendering all to Him. Following that instruction has helped my stress level, stopping up the flow of unrighteous anger, and increasing trust in God. Refusing anger over things out of my control has increased umpire-peace in me.

If you are struggling as I have, join me in standing against unrighteous anger, resting by faith in God, and, with surrendered spirit, shining of His strength in our troubled society today. “Hangeth thou in there, O Baby,” and have a BLESSed day. (Kay Arthur)

Call Me “Sheep,” But Recognize My Shepherd.

Lately I have seen posts calling those in face mask compliance, “sheep”. To me that is a compliment, not by the way intended, but from the standing of my knowing Him Who is my Shepherd, God, King, Lord, and Savior.

When I choose to comply with national, state, and city leaders, it is because I TRUST MY GOD, taking Him at His Word. When I choose to wear a mask in public, I make that choice out of the love my God calls me to walk out in His name.

My God’s word tells me that He controls the heart of kings-governing officials as a river flows at His bidding, for His purpose. He tells me to obey the dictates of those leaders – as long as it does not go against the Law of God – and to pray for them in their oversight.

I hear people making their decisions from what they believe is the heart purpose of those they believe are pushing their will on us. I don’t know the hearts of any, not even my own fully, so I cannot judge the heart of another. But I KNOW my God is trustworthy, so I choose to believe Him, knowing that when it comes time to take a stand one way or the other, I will not be following the opinion of man, but the dictates of God, my Rock on whom I stand. Thus, I continually advise to prove truth. Do not be swayed by the he says-she says, conspiracy theorists that fail to produce undeniable proof of their truth.

I choose to wear a mask in close quarters because I choose to love my neighbor as my God loves me, to my own hurt. Wearing a mask actually puts the wearer at greater risk, unless they have sufficient supply to change them out every 30 minutes or so. The good of a mask is to slow a breath/sneeze/cough and lesson it’s trajectory, so those nearby will be less likely to be reached by my germs. Even still, while masked, I should sneeze/cough in my elbow. But if a sneeze catches me by surprise, a mask helps me love you. So when I wear one, I choose to wear it for you. I CHOOSE. It is my right to do so.

People are correct that we are under attack. We are being assaulted and effected by two spirits that come readily to mind.

One is a spirit of rebellion. It is what turns a peaceful protest into a deadly and destructive riot. That is the spirit that pits the “my rights” movement over that of obedience to God in trusting the heart of kings to Him and obedience to do what is best for those around me out of a love that flows from Him, for others. It is the sound of a spirit of rebellion that saddened me when a nearby sheriff-hopeful voiced refusal to comply with state regulations. A spirit of rebellion looks to be against man made rules, but it truly stands against our ability and willingness to trust God and His plan.

The other enemy spirit I see working in our lives is that of fear. Fear is the biggest enemy against faith that trusts God at all times. When fear grabs us, we lose sight of God, His will, and His way. All our desire turns to self-protection, “my rights,” and “my wants”.

I choose to follow the Spirit of peace. In the AMPC version of Colossians 3, we are told that peace from God is an umpire, leading us on the path of His desire. I trust God to direct the heart of our governing officials because His peace tells me I can. I trust God to protect me while I choose to love you to my own detriment, because He gives me peace to know that as His desire for me. Follow peace.

Yes! I am a sheep, resting peacefully at the foot of the throne of my Shepherd-King. Demanding your right of choice while belittling me for practice my right of choice is between you and God. May He bless and keep you as only He can.

Ashes to Beauty

“BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” ~ Ephesians‬ ‭4:26-27‬ ‭NASB‬‬

With everything on the news and in my newsfeed on issues troubling our nation today, I find myself tapping 😡 a lot. Lately, the Spirit of God has stopped me doing that, for fleshly anger is said to give the devil opportunity to use me to make things worse and to dishonor my God.

There is a righteous anger, but often in that flash of anger, I am not concerned with insult to God, but my own sense of insult, based on some pride of personal possession. So I find myself clicking 😡 and immediately God tweaks my conscience and has me change it to 😢 or 😭 as I grieve the sin and shame seen and lift it to the throne of grace.

I saw a post and read other items in the past two days that lead me to recognize anew that God is doing something. Even in these evils, there is purpose planned by God. Throughout scripture, time and again, we see God move to use things in life to reveal decay, remove the cause, bring healing, and improve life.

I don’t know what God is doing in our days and through all this mess. Yes. I find my heart facing the east and watching for Jesus. This is definitely end time prophecy at work. But there have been evils in each generation that had God’s people facing the east, yet, we still wait. No one knows the day or time of His return but the Father, alone. These type issues cause hearts to be alert and make ready, and they should, for one day soon, those clouds will part.

What I do know now is that each challenge of the past led to a victory that brought good changes. Beauty came out of the ashes. So watch for Jesus, yes. Make sure your lamps are ready, absolutely. But live each day to be a part of the beauty, rising up.

I am watching and praying with earnest expectation and hope to see the beauty of the Lord in the land of the living. I am refusing anger and choosing repentance, trusting God’s word, “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from THEIR wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will HEAL THEIR LAND.” (2 Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

Am I ready to fight the good fight, if need be? You better know I am. But if a fight comes, it will not be done in anger wrought in my own flesh mind and heart. By the grace of God, it will be fueled by desire for righteousness, done in love for God, this nation, and family, and it will lead to the beauty of a better and stronger life while awaiting the Day of Christ.

Making Criticism Constructive

“Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:17‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Words that seem harsh toward us can be a #selah moment that makes us better, or and angry, fuming moment that makes us bitter. The choice is ours to make.

When taken to the Lord for His opinion and understanding, He shows us truth that either leads to positive, godward change; or that lifts our countenance so we stand firm in confidence.

Take every thought captive to God. Let Him transform thought and understanding, renewing our minds, and leading us to surrender all we are to Him as a holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. In this way, we always seek to please Him, entering His Rest for a glorious life.

Illumination

“O Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness.” ‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭22:29‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Sometimes God does not show us the clear path and destination ahead. He may only light up our next step, and often only when it is time for us to take it. Patience is required for following God, thus He GIFTS it to us.

Patience is also required with self and others as we become as He is. I was years praying for understanding of a memory I had that effected my life. When God finally illumined that dark place, the freedom achieved was nothing short of miraculous as chains fell from my heart and scales from my spiritual eyes.

Enter your Rest, Beloved. Wait patiently on the Lord’s Light and have a BLESSed night.

“In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall.” ‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭22:30‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In Christ

This is what I understand from scripture, as I believe the Spirit has revealed it to me.

I can do nothing apart from Christ. In the Spirit, I am one with Him, His death, and His resurrection; thus it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. By His power I kill the flesh with its passions and desires, giving Him full sway in my life. By the Spirit working in me, I possess the mind and thoughts of Christ, being a woman after God’s own heart, rightly representing Him, doing the works of God in the power and authority of Christ. Without this life and possession of full understanding of it, I am impotent. But in Him I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

All things are possible for me because nothing shall be impossible with God. I am fully perfected as the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, while still being perfected until the day of Christ, as I continue to grow more and more into who I am in Him. Thus, as He does, I do.

He is the head of the body in which I live, seated at the right hand of the Father in Christ. By His power, I am all God created me to be. Without Him, I miss the mark. By Him, I bow to His authority, walk in His ways, and accomplish His purpose. As the Father and the Christ are one, so I am one with them in Christ, by the power of the Spirit. He is the Vine. I am a branch, abiding through life in Him. To God be the glory, great things He has done.

(John 15:1-8; Galatians 2:20, 5:24; 1 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 1:6; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 2:4-7; John 17)

Seeds of Unforgiveness

“Festering” of anger is caused by unforgiveness. Bringing old hurts to new situations is a symptom of unforgiveness. Unforgiveness breeds hate. Forgiveness, “for one’s own sake,” choosing to forgive for the sake of one’s own freedom from resentment and hate, is healing and promotes healing conversations for healing of relationships. One cannot relate well and press forward from insult without forgiveness.

Our world is aflame with hate because of refusal to forgive past insult and deal with the issues of this season and this generation. Those who bring the sins of the parents to peace talks stab old wounds with the bloody knife of old issues. We feed hate, and love dies.

“… You have wearied Me with your iniquities. “I (God), even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:24-25‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Selah

Pause, Ponder, Pray, Praise, Practice His Presence

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalms 1:1-2 NASB

The Selah moments in scripture are calls to practice Psalm 1:2. It is opportunity to meditate on what one just read. Meditation is only truly effective when done so as to place within our hearts the truths of God for use in living Him out into our daily lives. If the Selah does not change us and direct us, it is wasted.

Psalms are chalked full of Selah pauses, but the Spirit of God also calls us to “Selah” – stopping us at some passage we need to understand in facing the day or a situation in life. We must be alert to God’s call to Selah: pause-ponder-pray-praise-practice so as to put on Christ.

One such moment happened to me while reading in Isaiah. In chapter 46, the Spirit of God tweaked my heart as I read verse 25. I recognized that sensation and noted the verse, but continued on. God’s Spirit wouldn’t have that. He kept drawing me back to it, 5 times, 6 times, until I finally stopped with a “What? What, Lord? What are you trying to show me?” That is the day I learned that forgiving as God forgives means forgiving “for my own sake,” so my effectiveness in fulfilling the purposes of God in relationships is not hindered or stopped by bitterness, anger, or such show-stopping issues as a desire for vengeance.

Selah moments are vital for spiritual growth and commitment to following God through life’s challenges. Selah moments grow us in areas significant for things coming into our lives. Selah moments empower knowledge of God and His ways, making us more like Him.

When God inspires a Selah moment: Pause and reread it; Ponder what is said; Pray for understanding of what God desires to teach you and how it fits in your day; Praise God for truths revealed and for His love in teaching you; Put on Christ by putting the truths revealed into Practice. Write it down or bookmark it to revisit it until satisfied that our Spirit-Teacher is finished instructing our hearts. This is Selah.

We are going to spend some time looking at the Selah moments in Psalms. And I may share some personal Selahs with you along the way. The goal is to fine tune our seeking after God through the ministry of The Teacher. God sent His inspired, Living, Life giving Word to teach us about Himself and His ways. Selah, pause and calmly think on that. Are you an effective student of God’s Word under the tutelage of His Holy Presence?

Join us on Facebook at Darlene’s Ponderings, Prayers, and Praises

The Storm Pilot With Us

“The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand.” Psalms 121:5 NASB

The Storm Pilot painting by Stephen Sawer is my all time favorite. God directs our course and sees us safely to the other side of life’s storms. That is what it calls me to remember, trust, and believe. In the painting, Jesus is depicted pointing the way to go with his right hand of authority while keeping his beloved charge at His protective left.

Scripture gives the clear impression that God is right handed with His sword of protection and power of authority. He places us on His right when we have a part in the fight and authority to represent His interests.

At His left hand, He covers us with His shield of protection and seats us where all we are to do is be still and know that He is God.

Jesus, our example for life, walked with full assurance and understanding that He had complete authority in the Father for the ministry and purpose of His calling. He also walked fully assured of God’s simultaneous, protective cover, keeping Him secure to the completion of His course. When Jesus successfully completed His purpose, God, the Father seated Him as King of kings on His right side, signifying His full authority flowing through Christ.

I believe, in likeness to Christ, we can have this same faith. Has God called you to a purpose? At His right hand you are authorized to fulfill it. Has He pointed the course ahead of you? Humble yourself with full assurance that He, who is God, will guard each step to the finish as you carry out His directives and trust His mighty hand.

Psalms 121:5 NASB

At His Feet

“Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.” ~ Psalm 123:2

If I am learning nothing else in this season of life, I am learning to keep laying the issues of life at the Feet of Him who keeps us. Only as I lay the burdens down can I get up under the portion of the load I am supposed to carry.

Laying at His Feet that which is too heavy for me leaves it to Him who can bear it. If it seems I don’t care, it is only that I am finally learning to discern what is mine to carry, what is yours, and what must remain at His BLESSed, most powerful Feet. He faithfully cares for all that is His alone to bear.

Psalms‬ ‭123:1-4‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Darlene Ingram Davis (c) 5/12/19

“I” am We are “I”

Pastor Chan speaks of something I fully believe, God is doing something wonderful in His Church, His people. I agree, and I believe that whatever God is about to do in His people, His Temple, His Church, it will require a unity beyond our comprehension in our current state.

When I was a young Christian, God spent years growing my understanding that He, the Father-Jesus-the Holy Triune Presence, is in me. Then God began to reveal a greater truth. As God is in me, each “I” of us is in HIM. In Him, we are ONE. Whether or not I understand it, this is truth: God is in me. I am in Him. We – He and each “I” – are one.

Now God is growing me strong in the reality that Jesus is alive and living through me. It is a truth I can bank on as I trust and rely on His faithfulness, me being fully dependent on Him. As I surrender myself to this unity, His power is released to empower Life in me: deeper, more focused, and much more deliberate, filled with eternal purpose. Imperfect me being continually perfected by God as this eternal becomes my reality.

In this COVID challenge, when we are physically separated, I sense a greater connectedness than ever before. God is up to something and He is making us ready to act as His ONE. Step back in your mind to look at the whole. Hands pumping, feeling the heartbeat of God coursing through us, vitally aware of each cell, every membrane of His Body, alive with anticipation as the very mind of Christ prepares His command to the whole. See it?

God lives in “me”. “I” live in Him, and He lives fully through “me”. The all knowing, all sufficient, eternal Power present in and through us, connecting us beyond imagination, this is the reality we must grasp if we would be ready in the unity needed for that which is coming.

Be sure to watch this video by Francis Chan: Before I Created You I Knew You

The Respect of Submission

“Women should be silent during the church meetings. It is not proper for them to speak. They should be submissive, just as the law says. If they have any questions, they should ask their husbands at home, for it is improper for women to speak in church meetings.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭14:34-35‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

From my understanding of this situation, there’s a reason Paul made this proclamation here and in Ephesians, which is near to Corinth and under the same influences. These women came to the church out of those who worshipped the goddess, Diane (Artemis). They were not used to being submissive. They were business owners, governing leaders, scholars and teachers, and priestess prostitutes, lauded in the worship center.

They were used to being heard and listened to. So, when they didn’t agree with what was being said or done in the business meetings, and when they didn’t understand these strange ways, it is my understanding that they would holler out their opinions and argue with their mates, disrupting and causing chaos in the meeting.

Note also that, reportedly, straight out of Judaism themselves, they still sat with women on one side and men on the other. Imagine the chaos!

Paul gave this mandate, along with the wearing of a head covering in likeness to Jewish tradition, to help the women learn to let their men lead; and so the men, who often were subservient to the women in the Corinthian society, gain their voice.

Also in my understanding, submission is not subservience. The submission God calls us to as women flows out of respect. Respect for God understands the purpose of family and church hierarchy. It obeys God’s call of submission for that purpose, to protect the hierarchical positions and provide for peaceful relations that function well in society. You can’t force true respect or submission. These are heart issues, only changed and made complete under the influence and direction of God’s Spirit.

Coming out of a home that didn’t practice godly submission, and being greatly influenced by women’s lib, it took me a bit to understand God’s way for the family. I have a voice with my husband and the church, but I have learned to trust God to use my influence while still recognizing the leadership responsibilities and authority He has placed in my husband and those who lead our churches.

We all are responsible before God for our role in our life positions. The husband respects the wife by listening and considering her insight and wise council, while seeking God’s will in his decisions and leadership. The wife submits by respecting the husbands final decision and prayerfully helping him lead out of a position of surrendered trust in God and His ways. The church, being a family-oriented organism, functions in much the same way for the purpose of peaceful, organized efficiency.

The Path of the Sons

“And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judging in Beersheba. His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.” ~ 1 Samuel‬ ‭8:1-3‬ ‭NASB‬‬

As I read this passage today, I am struck with the number of times we see this throughout scripture. A godly, God fearing, leader of God’s people lives his faith before his family. Despite their example of loving service, their children fail to follow the path of their fathers.

How does it word it? They “did not walk in his (the parents) ways.” This tells me the parent was successfully following the path God laid out for them, setting an example worthy of a child’s attention, but the child refused.

Moral: Every child must make their own choice. Do your best to show them the way. Cover them in prayer. But like the horse, though you lead them to Living Water, you can’t make them drink. They have to want it for themselves. And they have to want it wholeheartedly.

Father, we long for our children to desire You and walk in Your ways. We cry out to be godly examples. But the fact remains, it’s You alone who draws them. May they hear the Call and willingly follow. In Jesus, amen.

Know God. Know His Ways.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭34:8‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The following quote, penned by Joyce Meyer, excited me. What an important life pursuit! You know, if you have read much of my writings, that my greatest desire is to KNOW GOD (Philippians 3:8-11, AMPC). And you know that I believe watching for the fruit of God’s character in those professing Him is the proof of our words. But this takes me deeper still.

Joyce writes, “It’s important that we know God’s character. Why? It gives us discernment. If we don’t know the character of God, how can we ever know who is from God and who is not from God? Here are three character traits of God that help me stay in tune with who He is and what He is doing:

“1. Justice: God is a God of justice. That word justice is so awesome because it means that He will always make anything that’s wrong right. This helps me to not worry when I am mistreated because I know God will bring justice. It’s who He is.

“2. Goodness: God is good, this fact never changes. And He’s good all the time, not just once in a while or when things go your way. Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (NIV). When things are bad, I find great encouragement in God’s goodness.

“3. Holiness: God is holy and righteous, and He desires to make us holy, pure and clean, free from the defilements of sin. To be honest, it has helped me in my walk with God to realize that whatever He does is right, whether I like it or not. This helps me to stay in sync with Him.” (End quote)

To view our circumstances through the knowledge of and the trust we have in all we know of God’s character is vital to our ability to find that peace that passes understanding, which is vital to our ability to trust Him and enter His Rest, where wisdom and direction for life resides. Now, that’s not new thought to me. But somehow the way she states it takes me to a place of realizing the need of a more deliberate effort in accomplishing this practice.

So here’s the deal: read Joyce’s insights. Think about the character of God you rely on most. Tell us about your top go to in God’s character, when seeking to understand your situation and receive His wisdom. What is there about The Father in that trait that helps your understanding and emotional response? Now, if you have looked at the current crisis in your life, how does this truth about God help you? Does it change you viewpoint and focus? Does it change your emotional state? Is there new instruction for the path ahead in this truth you believe of our God? Feel free to share here and encourage us, but do share somewhere with someone, and be God’s lifter of heads.

Joyce Meyer: Promises for Your Everyday Life – a Daily Devotional: Day 40 • Devotional

True Forgiveness: an Agapé Love Action

“If you never forgive yourself how can you forgive others. Just a thought.” (Aleshia Beth Barnett)

“Forgiveness being a love action: how can we love others when we can’t love ourselves.” (My thought-reply in response)

Pictured is a post from a dear friend, daughter to one of my best friends, who struggles as I have. I know many who have struggled to love through forgiveness. Her statement took me immediately to what God has taught me that has delivered me so mightily, setting me free to love as He loves.

With her permission, stemming off her ponderings, I share with you this freedom that is yours in Christ. Only Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit, can give this love to and through us.

Here’s my advice to those struggling to forgive self and others: Learn of God’s love. Not only so you can rest in Him and in His presence, free from the fear of eternal punishment, but because THAT is the love He places in us and causes to flow through us. So we should learn all we can to know His love and seek daily to grow strong His image of Love in us.

God’s Agapé Love is the only love strong enough to equip us to forgive our enemies and do good to them, as God desires; and His gift to us in the Spirit is the only love by which we can truly forgive self and those we love, the way we want and need to. To get there, ask the Lord to open your spiritual eyes, ears, mind, and heart to believe, receive, and possess this gift. Then work through the following passages. May God bless you, in the power of His love to and through you. By the living power of God in Jesus, The Christ. Amen

John 15:1-17 NASB

Abiding: God in Christ living through us by the power of the Spirit in us and us possessing Life in Him by the work of His Spirit in and through us, is vital.

Galatians 5:16-26 NASB

Bearing the fruit of God’s image, being as He is by surrender to the work of the Spirit in us, is vital.

1 John 4:7-21 NASB

Being Love, as He is Love in us, is vital.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 NASB

Note the actions of love listed that require forgiveness. Understanding what Love looks and acts like is vital.

Luke 6:27-36 NASB

Being Love depends on who “I” am and what “I” desire to be, not on what others do to “me”. Committing to this truth and walking it even toward one called “enemy” is vital to our obedience in rightly portraying God’s image in us.

Romans 12:9-21 NASB

It is vital to realize that Love fulfills the Law, trusting God to be God toward us and those we love, even when they hurt, steal, kill, and seek to destroy us, being enemies to us. Love is first toward God, trusting His Love to do right in all that concerns us.

A little footnote here, for those who might wonder: Love should prevail even in war against those who, as an enemy, would force a fight. We do so, going to the fight out of love for those we fight to protect. And we do so, out of love for God as a people who stand for right as God sees it.

We fight against an enemy for righteousness sake. And we do so as guided by Love, not out of vengeance, hate, bitterness, and anger, but desiring righteousness and trusting God to handle the consequences to those who wish us harm, on whom our weapons of war fall.

Choosing to be love as He is Love, even in war, protects us from hate, bitterness, and anger, that harms self, by destroying God’s image of Love in us. Love: true, deep, abiding Love that forms our “who” to be as He Is, is vital for all occasions.

A Life of Beauty

“For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory.” Colossians‬ ‭3:3-4‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

Wow. Think on that for a bit: not only in the eternal, future sense, but in the here and now reality of life. Our new, REAL life is hidden with Christ in God. When we let Christ live in us, surrendering to Him, then the true “me” will appear with Him in the splendor of His glory. BEAUTIFUL!

Want to shine in Life? Die so Christ can Live and we can walk in the beauty of the Lord.

“I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:24-26‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:4‬ ‭NASB‬‬

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NASB‬‬

God is Sovereign

He holds the hearts of kings.

“This is what the Lord says: “The people of Israel have sinned again and again, and I WILL NOT LET THEM GO UNPUNISHED! … Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has planned it?” (Amos 2:6a, 3:6 NLT)

We tend to forget that God is still Sovereign over all. We forget that He holds the hearts of kings in His hands to turn them the direction of His will for His purpose. An enemy attacked us on 911 and God sent us to fight that enemy. He used us to deliver a nation from an evil overlord. That is how He Works.

We are told that “God is patient toward us, not wishing any to perish, but all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). We see that fact in God’s words to Abraham as He tells them of Israel’s future slavery and their return to take the promised land. The Lord says, “After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction” (Genesis 15:16 NLT).

God gives the Amorites time to turn from evil, but knowing they won’t, He sets the day when their opportunity to repent is gone. We see God direct the heart of kings against a sinful, unrepentant people over and over in scripture. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We must take His sovereign rule to heart and recognize His hand in our day. And we, as a nation, must repent before God says, “Enough!”

Chosen For This Hour

Johnny and I went out yesterday for some needful shopping. I was struck by peoples expressions and demeanor. Many returned my smile, some returned my greeting, but most were somber, others obviously frightened, and one in particular looked a combination of these plus hopelessness. And, people, COVID hasn’t hit us here yet. We have no known cases in our county. What must it be like in areas of high impact?

My challenge to us, wherever we are, is be the light of hope: smile, speak greeting, behave as normal as possible. But also, watch expressions and demeanor. And pray as you passerby, stopping to pray, in social distancing manor, with those in need where opportunity presents itself.

We are chosen for this season. There is a purpose for us living in this time of history. There is something in us that God wants to use. He put it there. He planned it. This historic event is no surprise to Him, so He strategically placed each of us in positions of influence according to need. Be as He is: His image bearer. Be His representatives in this hour. “What would Jesus do?” is a good question to find answer for in our here and now living. Be Christlike. (Acts 17:24-28)

I ask You, Father, to inspire our fire for You, that we would shine in uplifting ways. Inspire our hearts to pray for those we pass. Grant courage to speak to needs we see. And place faces in our hearts for those we are assigned in prayer. Lift us up, Lord, and empower us to be uplifting. In Jesus, PEACE. Be still.

Trust in The Lord

And Do Good

Do you truly trust God as Lord of all, Beloved? It is times like these days in which we live that truly test the caliber of our faith, belief, and trust in God and His word to us.

In these days, the questions we must personally ask ourselves are these:

* Do I truly believe that God is working an eternal plan that includes me? …and that even things meant for evil against me, and bad things that come at me are sifted through God’s capable hands for His purposes in my life and ministry to the glory of His beautiful Name?

* Do I truly believe that God knows what He is doing, and that He has a good plan that includes me, personally and intimately?

* Do I truly believe God’s promises and that they are for me, personally: that He is with ME and for ME; that He never leaves nor forsakes ME; that He cares for ME affectionately and cares about ME watchfully, looking after every minute detail of His good plan for ME; that every challenge He allows to touch MY life carries opportunity for ME to be His witness, His ambassador in the World – His Light, shining in the darkness around ME?

* Do I trust, as Jesus did, that not one breath will leave MY earthly body before the time He has set for ME?

* Do I believe that not one enemy, even a viral one, can have its way in MY life, apart from God’s watchful care as the Potter who forms ME and the Goldsmith who tends the heat and clears the dross from MY life and being?

* Beloved, do you believe and trust God’s Love for you through Jesus Christ, our Lord, and that He is preparing an eternal dwelling where you – personally – will join Him for all eternity? Do you trust that God sees and honors the righteousness of Christ imputed to you? Have you possessed that blessed sacrifice as your own gift from God Almighty who loves you that much?

If you can answer “yes” to all these truths from and about our Holy Father, Jehovah-Ishi (The Lord our Husband), then enter His rest and face this day with the strength of His supply to you for such a time as this. If you cannot answer yes to any of these facts, I recommend a visit with a godly, Christian friend you trust to help you receive and grow your faith in God during these days.

“Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; Do not fret ….” ~ Psalms 37:7 AMPC, NASB

“Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and Stronghold). Selah [pause {Rest yourself in Him, acknowledging and trusting His care for you}, and calmly think of that]!” ~ Psalm 46:10-11 AMPC {Darlene’s understanding}

The Source of Bold

“… The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out BOLDLY. …” – ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:5-9‬ ‭NASB‬‬‬

God hardens Pharaoh to go after Israel just as He has successfully built them up in their faith and empowered them to go into their freedom BOLDLY. It is common for the enemy to attack us just as we get our BOLD going strong. Two things I see happening here:

One, God is not finished coming against the pride and arrogance of Pharaoh. God knows the heart of man and does all necessary to make Himself known in truth. Pharaoh was believed to be a god. He believed it of himself. The One and Only is making sure he and the people with him know that Pharaoh is not GOD.

Two, God is making sure His people know they can trust Him and warning them to not let their boldness become arrogance. We must be like Joshua and Caleb who put trust in God. Failing to do so, we will be like the other spies sent out by Moses. We will see the good of the land, but the formidable enemy will cause us to doubt God and be overcome by fear.

Arrogance has two sides. On the one it puts too much faith in self. On the other, it fails to know and trust God as the only sure source of bold victory. God chooses to use us to bring victory in life. But He expects us to realize it is Him by whom we are given every resource for victory.

Father, as we grow in our trust of You, we can stand and move with bold assurance of Your care and supply. Help us remember the foundation of our bold is You, in all Your glory and splendor. Like Your servants, Joshua and Caleb, may we be found in Your Presence, focused fully on You – Your power and supply, that we may walk boldly into the victory that is established by You. In Jesus, amen.

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭33:9-11‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Read Numbers 13-14, especially ‭‭Numbers‬ ‭14:5-9‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Prophets Still Today?

“Indeed, the Sovereign Lord NEVER does anything until he reveals His plans to His servants the prophets.” (Amos‬ ‭3:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

There are many who believe that God no longer has prophets today. They believe the prophet made law and are no longer needed as God’s law is complete.

What I see is that the prophet was used of God to REMIND people of law and warn them when they are living contrary to it. They warned the people of things coming to them because of sin: their own or that of others. And they instructed them in the righteous path.

I believe that still is God’s way today, not only because I believe His Word and that “never” as used in our focal verse means “NEVER”. I also believe because God has told me what was coming our way more than once, and it came. I believe because He also used me to warn others, instruct their response, and lead them in prayer, thus strengthening them to face the day of the fulfillment of God’s Word.

One of my first experiences was warning for my husband and his friend he carpooled with to work. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but I knew something really bad was coming to them and I tried to get them to stay home. Of course, being the faithful worker he is, my husband went to work with the warning to be alert and warn his friend as well. By 10:00 AM, hubby called. A piece of heavy equipment dropped its load, knocking his friend from his perch, breaking his back, and plummeting him to the ground many feet below.

Two weeks before the Oklahoma City bombing, knowing devastation was coming, God had me calling people to pray, telling them that the Spirit in me was weeping, bitterly. These experiences grew me to discern and trust God’s Spirit, instructing me. Then His instruction became more clear. I.e.:

Before 911, God told me a disaster would hit the US, reaching from New York City to Washington DC. It would devastate this nation and, indeed, the world. And that the damage would be likened to an earthquake (which I heard a reporter, standing on the rubble, liken it to). When He led me to warn people and call them to prayer, I experienced His truth that, “The lion has roared—so who isn’t frightened? The Sovereign Lord has spoken—so WHO CAN REFUSE TO PROCLAIM HIS MESSAGE?” (Amos‬ ‭3:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬). We prayed for two years.

I have had other such experiences since 911, but not as big.

I was raised in a religion that believes God no longer has prophets. God patiently worked with me to trust His Spirit’s instruction and warning of things to come. He taught me to know that when He tells me to speak, it is on Him to prove my words. But if I refuse obedience and fail to warn those He sends me to, their harm is on me. I dare not refuse to proclaim God’s warning and instruct God’s people when He calls me to do so.

Beloved, God still works as He did in Holy Writ. That is what our Bible is, the story that teaches us who our God is and the way of God with those who believe. It is up to us to decide whether we believe and trust His ways, and whether we will obey Him when He warns us. To refuse to believe God still has prophets is to slam the door in His face and fall to sin. We, as His warriors, must be ready to be His voice of warning, instruction, prayer, trust, and truth.

“Then (Jesus) said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.”” (Luke‬ ‭10:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬)