I am not alone

Have you experienced a time when you thought to yourself, “I wish Jesus was here with me.” I remember a friend, who was having radiation treatment for cancer, saying to me, “Before I go into the treatment room, I stand at the door and say, ‘Okay Jesus, in we go together.'” She was declaring that Jesus was going with her into that room, acknowledging that she was not going alone. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that “I am not alone.”

Jesus walks with me

That story reminds me of a song, “He walks with me” from Merle Haggard. The lyrics are simple but beautiful …

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The son of God discloses

And he walks with me and he talks with me
And he tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

He speaks and the sound of his voice is so sweet
The birds hush their singing
And the melody that he gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

And he walks with me and he talks with me
And he tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

You know that feeling you have after spending time with someone who loves you. You feel heard, encouraged, safe and secure. Well that is how we can feel after spending time with Jesus.

But first we have to recognise that He is with us and acknowledge Him.

Recognising Jesus

Let’s take a look at a couple of stories where Jesus wasn’t immediately recognised.

At the empty tomb

Firstly, at the empty tomb after Jesus’ resurrection …

But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”

“They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognise him.

Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”

She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”

Jesus said, “Mary.”

Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!” John 20:11-16 The Message

But she didn’t recognise Him

In regards to Mary not recognising Jesus, let’s look at the way other translations say verse 14,

The Passion Translation – Then she turned around to leave, and there was Jesus standing in front of her, but she didn’t realise that it was him!

The New King James Version – Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.

Recognise, realise and know

According to the NIV Study Bible, we don’t know why Mary didn’t recognise Jesus,

“He may have looked different or he may intentionally have prevented recognition.” NIV Study Bible, Luke 20:14 Commentary, page 1633.

What about us?

I wonder how many times things have happened in our lives and Jesus has been there and we haven’t recognised, realised or known.

Or why we sometimes don’t recognise Jesus, or realise what He is doing in our lives? Perhaps this is the moment to ask Him.

Jesus calls us by name

An aside, or maybe one of the main points … notice that it is when Jesus calls Mary by her name that she recognises him. In the TV series about Jesus, The Chosen (available at the App Store or Google Play), there is a beautiful scene in Episode 1, when Jesus calls Mary by her name and she is redeemed.

The road to Emmaus

Let’s have a look at another interaction on that same day, when Jesus was not recognised. He is walking with two of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

And behold, that very day two of [the disciples] were going to a village called Emmaus, [which is] about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking about all these things that had occurred. And while they were conversing and discussing this together, Jesus Himself caught up with them and was already accompanying them. But their eyes were held, so that they did not recognise Him. Luke 24:13-16 AMPC

In this story it is clear that the disciples did not recognise Jesus because of divine intervention. The Passion Translation says it this way …

They were unaware that it was Jesus walking alongside them, for God prevented them from recognising him. Luke 24:16 TPT

Jesus is recognised when He broke the bread

In fact, the disciples didn’t recognise Jesus until that evening at supper…

Joining them at the table for supper, he took bread and blessed it and broke it, then gave it to them. All at once their eyes were opened and they realised it was Jesus! Then suddenly, in a flash, Jesus vanished before from their eyes! Luke 24:30-31 TPT

Oh my, there certainly was a lot of mysterious things going on at the time, and I don’t pretend to understand any of them. But it is good to ask God what He wants to show us through these stories.

Current events – what’s going on?

An interesting aside about the conversation on the road to Emmaus, the disciples were discussing the current events of the day …

And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”

Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened in there in these days?

And He said to them, “What things?”

So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel…….

….Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ have suffered these things to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:17-27 NKJV

Jesus explains the bigger picture

In our world today, there are certainly many interesting current events to discuss. But notice what happens in this conversation on the road to Emmaus, who brings the wisdom and explains what is going on? Jesus.

John Maxwell comments on this conversation,

“As two grieving men conversed about Jesus’ crucifixion, they struggled to understand what it all meant. Jesus saw their confusion and could tell they needed someone to guide them. So He joined them and began to explain His resurrection in light of Scripture (Luke 24:27,45). By the end of their time together, it all made sense.” John Maxwell, The Maxwell Leadership Bible, Page 1299.

Listen to how The Passion Translation explains the disciples’ response when they realised they had been walking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus,

Stunned, they looked at each other and said, “Why didn’t we recognise it was him? Didn’t our hearts burn with the flames of holy passion while we walked beside him? He unveiled for us such profound revelation from the Scriptures!” Luke 24:32 TPT

What is God showing us?

So what profound revelation does God want to give us today through these stories from Scriptures?

Possibly some of these things, and probably a whole lot more!

  1. Jesus will reveal himself when He chooses.
  2. When Jesus asks us questions, we need to search our heart and give an honest answer.
  3. If we spend time with Jesus and learn to know His voice as Mary did, we will recognise Him when He speaks to us.
  4. Jesus knows when we are struggling and will walk alongside us and help us, if we let Him.
  5. Sometimes Jesus will do the unexpected, like vanishing at the supper. We won’t always understand what He does and that’s okay. We have to trust that His plan is good.
  6. Only Jesus has the complete picture, understanding how each part of the puzzle fits together, so we need to listen when He speaks.

Jesus walks and talks with us today

To finish today, let’s just revisit the words of that song again, knowing that Jesus is with us and we are not alone.

And he walks with me and he talks with me
And he tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

Looking for more encouragement?

Are you looking for more resources to help you draw closer to God, please check out my other blog posts and podcasts.

If you have struggling to trust God with something or someone in your life, my latest ebook may be of help to you, Choosing to trust God. It’s a short summary (only 18 pages!) of what God has been teaching me over the past 10 years about moving from a place of fear to faith. It is now available on Amazon for only $4.64.

Choosing to trust God By Wendy Robinson

The gift of love – Jesus

“You love me as you find me … Your love’s too good to leave me here.”

These lyrics are from Hillsong United’s song, “As you find me.”

The ‘you’ in these lyrics is Jesus.

Jesus, who today, willingly lavishes us with His love – no matter where we are, what we are doing or not doing, what we are saying and thinking.

A love that says, “I know you aren’t perfect and that’s okay.”

A love that says, “I’m standing in the gap between you and your Heavenly Father, so your relationship with Him is restored.”

A love that says, “I have plans for you. Let my love take you into your future.”

A love that has transformed my life, given me love, purpose, strength, healing, joy and peace. What a gift!

What do you want for Christmas?

What’s on your gift list for this Christmas?

Is love on your list?

Is purpose on your list?

Is strength on your list?

Is healing on your list?

Is joy on your list?

Is peace on your list?

Where do you purchase these gifts?

On your knees. Confess that Jesus is Lord, believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

You may say, “Oh, I can’t do that, I’m not good enough.”

And I would reply, “Well, neither am I, and Jesus knows that. He loves us as He finds us. There is no checklist to see if we measure up, because we don’t, and we never will without Him. He loves us as He finds us. We just need to respond to His love and choose to make Him Lord of our lives.”

You may say, “But if I do that, won’t I need to change the way I live?”

And I would reply, “You don’t need to do the changing. Over time as you understand more of Jesus love for you, the changes will happen. His love’s too good to leave you here. Just plan some one on one time with Jesus every day, and see what He will do in you.”

You may say, “Oh I’m still not sure this is for me.”

There is a God in Heaven Who loves you

And I would reply, “There is a God in Heaven Who loves you. He knows your heart’s desires. He knows your pain. He’s made a way for you to be lavished with unconditional love, know your purpose, have strength, receive healing, live with joy and peace. That way is Jesus and He knows your name. Just talk to Him.”

Jesus … “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” John 10:10 The Message

The gift of love – Jesus.

To read more about Jesus’ love for you, please visit this post:

Eyes on Jesus – Day 10 – Drawing Closer to God devotional

What am I grateful for?

So many sad things going on in this world we live in. It’s so important that daily we pause and consider, “What am I grateful for?” Gratefulness is a key to being emotionally and spiritually healthy.

For me every time I read about someone who has passed away from cancer, or more specifically a brain tumour, (this week it was Roxette singer, Marie Fredriksson), my heart aches for the ones who have lost someone they love, and at the same time I am so grateful to God that that was not our story.

God’s healing power

And I am grateful for the way that God has continued to bring healing and wholeness to our family over the past 9 years. We have grieved (and sometimes surprisingly find we are still grieving) the expectations of how we thought our family would be. For me every time the tears have surfaced the Holy Spirit has given comfort and restored peace.

But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you. John 14:26 AMP

Over the last few years the ability to dream about the future has returned. What a blessing it to be able to dream again! Dreams for me, dreams for our marriage, dreams for our children, all wrapped in God’s love and purposes. I didn’t realise how important dreams were until I was in an emotional place of being unable to dream of the future.

When there is no clear prophetic vision,
people quickly wander astray.
But when you follow the revelation of the word,
heaven’s bliss fills your soul.

Proverbs 29:18 TPT

A God who is always there

I am grateful for a God who doesn’t abandon us, but rather carries us when we need to be carried. He is always there in the midst.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy 
place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

Psalm 46:1-5 NKJV

A hope and a future

I am grateful for a God that tells us He has plans to prosper us, give us a hope and a future.

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

Grateful for Jesus and eternal life

I am grateful for a God who sacrificed His son Jesus, so we could have life to the full, and life eternally with Him in Heaven.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10

I am grateful for a God that is no respecter of persons. His gift of eternal life is freely available to all of us when we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord.

Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!” Romans 10:9-10 The Message

So today, take time to consider, “What am I grateful for?”

For some more thoughts on the importance of being grateful, please visit these posts …
Thankfulness lifts our eyes to Jesus
Be thankful – Day 11 – Drawing Closer to God devotion

God hears our heart’s cry

Those who know me, know I love to pray, spending precious time with God, sometimes talking, sometimes listening. In the quiet of the early morning, in the hustle and bustle of life, in the office with my husband, in the car with my children, in the cafe with friends, walking and praying around the school, at church, well really wherever I am. For me it is always a good time to pray. I know that God hears our heart’s cry.

Over the years I have seen God answer many of these prayers, in many different ways, and mostly not in the way I expected! God is faithful.

Prayers from the heart

But then there are the other sort of prayers. The prayers that come from that deep place in your heart, knowing that man cannot fix it, only God can bring the change. We leave the request at the foot of the Cross, genuinely believing that one day, God in His wisdom and timing will answer it.

Life goes on and that prayer is no longer on our lips. It hasn’t been forgotten, it just isn’t the main focus anymore. Occasionally it is brought to the surface again, triggered by a situation or a conversation, and that cry of your heart comes out again, “God I am choosing to trust You, that You have heard the cry of my heart and You have got this sorted.”

Lord, you know and understand the hopes of the humble and will hear their cries and comfort their hearts, helping them all! Psalm 10:17 TPT

God is faithful

And then that “one day” comes, and the prayer is answered. God is faithful. There is an overwhelming sense of God’s love and a deeper understanding that He is always at work in the unseen. By His grace we move a step closer to the maturity that He is calling us to.

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30 NKJV

For some more thoughts on our Heavenly Father please visit these posts …
Our Heavenly Father’s love
I am a child of God – Day 4 – Drawing closer to God devotion.
Our Heavenly Father – Day 12 – Drawing Closer to God devotion
God is listening – Day 22 – Drawing Closer to God devotion

We are welcome at the altar

At the start of the year I began reading The Bible from the beginning. It’s almost the end of September and I am up to Chapter 22 in Leviticus, the third book of The Bible! Just so you don’t think I am a complete slacker, I have been reading other parts of The Bible too – Proverbs, Psalms, and various books in the New Testament.

But I have struggled with reading the Old Testament. I’ve just calculated that it has taken me about 300 days to read 141 pages, so at that rate, I should finish reading the Old Testament by 2030!

Pressing on through the Old Testament

I have this mindset that that says ‘Some of the Old Testament is just not that interesting, so why should I read this.’ Now I know that mindset is wrong. So I have pressed on and will continue to read it, simply because God has been speaking to me through each passage I’ve read from the Old Testament.

This morning I read from Leviticus 21 ….

“He may eat the bread of his God, both the most holy and the holy; only he shall not go near the veil or approach the altar, because he has a defect, lest he profane My sanctuaries; for I the LORD sanctify them.” And Moses told it to Aaron and his sons, and to all the children of Israel. Leviticus 21:22-24 NKJV

Now I don’t pretend to understand much in these three verses, but these seven words stood out to me, ‘he shall not go near the veil.’ As I was reading those words this passage in Hebrews came to mind, thank you Holy Spirit.

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:19-23 NKJV

We are welcome at the altar

Today because of what Jesus did we can approach the altar. Because of Jesus’ blood we can commune with a Holy God. Because of Jesus, we have faith, hope and love.

The Passion Translation says it this way,

And now we are brothers and sisters in God’s family because of the blood of Jesus, and he welcomes us to come right into the most holy sanctuary in the heavenly realm – boldly and with no hesitation. For he has dedicated a new life-giving way for us to approach God. For just as the veil was torn in two, Jesus’ body was torn open to give us free and fresh access to him!

And since we now have a magnificent King-Priest to welcome us into God’s house, we come closer to God and approach him with an open heart, fully convinced by faith that nothing will keep us at a distance from him. For our hearts have been sprinkled with blood to remove impurity and we have been freed from an accusing conscience and now we are clean, unstained, and presentable to God inside and out! Hebrews 10:19-22 TPT

Jesus restores our relationship with God

Aside, there is a beautiful song, Clean, from Hillsong UNITED‘s People -Live album, that simply declares that ‘because of Jesus my heart is clean.’ If you have a spare couple of minutes I think it is worth listening too, it very quickly centers your focus on Jesus.

Back to the scripture, let’s read these words again … He welcomes us to come right into the most holy sanctuary in the heavenly realm – boldly and with no hesitation.

I remember hearing these words soon after I became a Christian 20-plus years ago, and I took these words literally into my heart – because of Jesus I am welcome at the altar. How precious is that truth! This truth gave me the confidence to come, just as I am and ask.

The Amplified Bible translates verse 22 as …

Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by that leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22 AMP

Let’s go to the altar today

So today, let’s acknowledge that Jesus has opened the way for us to go to the Father. Let’s draw near with confidence, not because of who we are or what we have done, but because of who our God is and His unconditional love for us.

Finally, just referring back to my Old Testament reading, lets encourage each other to read God’s word, even when it doesn’t seem very interesting to us. God is always wanting to reveal something more to us and remind us of His great love for us. He desires us to be purposefully drawing nearer to Him.

If you would like the PDF printable version of these devotions, please email me at hello@wendyrobinson.com.au

For some more thoughts on being a child of God please visit this post:
The Son of God – Day 28 – Drawing Closer to God devotion

If you are looking for more encouragement today, check out my podcasts.

The Transformer

What a beautiful thing it is to watch someone fall more and more in love with Jesus, being vulnerable and opening their heart to Him. With each taste of His love, the more open they become. Gently with every moment of surrender God responds with an act of loving transformation. The mercy of God in action – The transformer.

To see this happening in someone else’s life is a privilege and a blessing. But then when you realise that God has been doing the same thing in your own life for 20+ years, the overwhelm moves to a new level. For only we know just how undeserving we are of His love, the thoughts we have that would make others cringe; the words we say sometimes that don’t illustrate love and grace; the actions that are clearly of the flesh. God knows all these things about us too, yet He continues to offer His transforming love to us through Jesus.

Receiving an undeserved love

Paul understood about being undeserving of God’s love. He wrote about it many times in his letters, like this letter to Timothy.

Mercy kissed me, even though I used to be a blasphemer, a persecutor of believers, and a scorner of what turned out to be true. I was ignorant and didn’t know what I was doing. I was flooded with such incredible grace, like a river overflowing its banks, until I was full of faith and love for Jesus, the Anointed One!

I can testify that the Word is true and deserves to be received by all, for Jesus Christ came into the world to bring sinners back to life—even me, the worst sinner of all! Yet I was captured by grace, so that Jesus Christ could display through me the outpouring of his Spirit as a pattern to be seen for all those who would believe[jin him for eternal life.

Because of this my praises rise to the King of all the universe who is indestructible, invisible, and full of glory, the only God who is worthy of the highest honors throughout all of time and throughout the eternity of eternities! Amen! 1 Timothy 1:13-17 TPT

Incredible Grace

Let’s look at verse 14 again,

I was flooded with such incredible grace, like a river overflowing its banks, until I was full of faith and love for Jesus, the Anointed One!
1 Timothy 1:14 TPT

The Message Bible says it this way,

Grace mixed with faith and love poured over me and into me. And all because of Jesus. 1 Timothy 1:14 The Message Bible

Grace, faith and love for Jesus, with the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives brings transformation. Continual transformation. Transformation that only produces good things in our lives.

We can all draw close to him with the veil removed from our faces. And with no veil we all become like mirrors who brightly reflect the glory of the Lord Jesus. We are being transfigured into his very image as we move from one brighter level of glory to another. And this glorious transfiguration comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 TPT

Transforming to love better

Transformation that enables us, just as it did Paul, to fully do what God has asked us to do – love Him and love people.

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus answered him, “‘Love the Lord your God with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, and with every thought that is within you.’ This is the great and supreme commandment. And the second is like it in importance: ‘You must love your friend in the same way you love yourself.’ Contained within these commandments to love you will find all the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40 TPT

Today, lets be open to letting God do more of His wonderful transforming work in our lives, so we can be the blessing to others that He has made us to be.

For some more thoughts on being a child of God please visit these posts:
We are welcome at the altar
The Son of God – Day 28 – Drawing Closer to God devotion

If you are looking for more encouragement today, check out my podcasts.

Keep asking

“Ask, and the gift is yours. Seek, and you’ll discover. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. For every persistent one will get what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he longs for. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door.” Matthew 7:7 TPT Have you got a longing in your heart? I have many. This scripture encourages us to keep asking God for what is in our heart.

Many longings for God to move in people’s lives, both people I know, those close and those not so close, and those I don’t. A longing for people to know in their hearts that God is good despite what is happening in their lives. A longing for people to know that God knows them, and He has always known them. He hears the cries of their heart and He is working all things together for good for those who love Him.

God knows everything about you

Psalm 139, so often we hear verses 12 onwards. But lets read the preceding verses:

Lord, you know everything there is to know about me.
You perceive every moment of my heart and soul,
And you understand every thought before it even enters my mind.
You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.
You read my heart like an open book
And you know all the words I’m about to speak
Before I even start a sentence!
You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.
You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way,
And in kindness you follow behind me
to spare me from the harm of my past.
With your hand of love upon my life,
You impart blessing to me.
This is just too wonderful, deep and incomprehensible!
Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.
Where could I go from your Spirit?
Where could I run and hide from your face?
If I go up to heaven, you’re there!
If I go down to the realm of the dead, you’re there too!
If I fly with wings into the shining dawn, you’re there!
If I fly into the radiant sunset, you’re there waiting!
Wherever I go, your hand will guide me;
Your strength will empower me.
It’s impossible to disappear from you
Or to ask the darkness to hide me,
For your presence is everywhere, bringing light into my night.
There is no such thing as darkness with you.
The night, to you, is as bright as day;
There’s no difference between the two.

Psalm 139:1-12 TPT

This passage of scripture describes the intimate relationship between each of us and our Creator. Let’s read it again, just one line at a time. At the end of each line remind yourself that this is not just some pretty poem written thousands of years ago. This is a description of God’s love and plans for you and me. He is listening to the cry of your heart, keep asking.

God is listening

A few years ago we were on a family holiday. There was something in our lives that needed to change. Some days we felt like it was a hopeless situation. Other days we would be full of faith. It was an emotional rollercoaster. But the cry of our hearts were always the same. We kept asking God to bring the change. It was something only He could do.

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 NLT

Those desires of our hearts haven’t fully come to pass … yet! But there has been movement. Lots of movement. Things that a few years ago would have seemed impossible are happening. God is bringing restoration. He is doing a new thing.

So why am I sharing this story, because sometimes we need to be reminded to keep asking, don’t give up on God. Keep Ephesians 3:20-21 written on your heart ….

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energises you.

Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ – and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity Amen! Ephesians 3:20-21 TPT

For some more thoughts on putting your confidence in God please visit these posts:

Let’s dream the impossible

He is Able – Day 16 – Drawing Closer to God devotion

If you are looking for more encouragement today, check out my podcasts.

Our Heavenly Father’s love

I saw something this week that made me cry. Something that reminded me of our Heavenly Father’s loves for us. I seem to spend a lot of time at the pool these days, with three of our four children involved in regular squad training. As I may have mentioned before I have found it to be a blessing as I have uninterrupted time to pray, read and write – time for me! Most other parents appear to be enjoying some ‘me’ time, or having a chat time with other parents or going swimming too.

A selfless act

But this week I saw something different, a vision impaired swimmer training. His father wasn’t sitting down having ‘me’ time. Rather he was walking up and down the pool with each lap his son swam and tapping him with the cane just before he reached the end of the pool.

I cried when I watched them. The selfless act I was witnessing reminded me of the hours and hours that went into Victoria’s rehab, especially the physical therapy for her left hand and arm. And I cried because I was seeing the love of a father in action.

It made me think about our Heavenly Father’s love for us and how much He wants to help us, including ‘tapping’ us before we ‘hit the wall,’ or ‘tapping’ us so we can start getting ready for the next ‘lap’.’ The prompting of the Holy Spirit, always wanting to guide and direct us.

Listening to God’s guidance

Paul allowing the Holy Spirit to direct his travels through Asia is a great example of listening to God’s guidance.

Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them. Acts 16:6-10 NKJV

How good are we at listening to the Holy Spirit?

So what about in our lives? How good are we at recognising the prompting of the Holy Spirit? Especially when it is something unexpected that we are being asked to do or say. It takes courage to move to that new level of trusting that what we are hearing or sensing is actually from the Holy Spirit.

Someone challenged me earlier this week about being bolder in a certain area of ministry. It was an area that I knew I had been growing in. I was seeing how God was using it to help and encourage others, and bring breakthrough. But it did not always sit comfortably with me, as I didn’t always understand what God was doing (surprise surprise). I needed to move to a greater level of trusting God. And understand that when the ‘tap’ came from the Holy Spirit, I needed to just do it, otherwise it would have implications for other people. I certainly don’t want to get in the way of what God wants to do in people’s lives. He loves each of us and wants to see us all moving forward into His purpose for our lives. But that takes trust and obedience on our part.

Let’s determine to continue to keep moving forward, growing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and God’s word.

In the same way that nursing infants cry for milk, you must intensely crave the pure spiritual milk of God’s Word. For this “milk” will cause you to grow into maturity, fully nourished and strong for life — especially now that you have had a taste of the goodness of the Lord Jehovah and have experienced his kindness. 1 Peter 2:2-3 TPT

Don’t settle, keep growing

Let’s not settle for where we are now. But rather let ourselves be ‘tapped’ by the Holy Spirit. Listen and obey, so that we can be vessels of our Heavenly Father’s love, showing His kindness to others.

To read more about our Heavenly Father’s love for us please visit these posts:
I am a child of God – Day 4 – Drawing closer to God devotion.
God hears our heart’s cry
Our Heavenly Father – Day 12 – Drawing Closer to God

Don’t underestimate what God can do

Once again this week I have been reminded of the importance of taking time to give God space to do what only He can do.

Picture this… a group of women silently communicating with God. Writing messages to God, including things they want to be set free from in their lives and their family’s lives. I write something on my paper, and then throw it in the fire (literally), declaring quietly, “God you’ve got this.’

Then about five minutes later I see a child peeping in the door. So I leave my cosy chair near the fire and go to her. The tears come and she confesses the exact sin that only minutes before I had written and thrown into the fire. What’s surprising to me, is that I had no idea that this particular sin was an issue for that child!

I was completely overwhelmed with God’s love for us, how intimately He knows us, and how mysteriously He works. The seed for this night of group quiet time with God, confession and throwing in the fire, was planted over month a go. God knew then what He was going to do on that night. It is good and right to remember that His ways are always higher than ours.

“I don’t think the way you think.
    The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
        God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
    so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
    and the way I think is beyond the way you think.

Isaiah 55:8-9 The Message

God hears our prayers.

Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before him, for if we present any request agreeable to his will, he will hear us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we also know that we have obtained the requests we ask of him. 1 John 5:14-15 TPT

God wants us and our family and friends to experience the freedom that only He can give. The next part of this scripture explains the importance of prayer in that process.

If anyone observes a fellow believer habitually sinning in a way that doesn’t lead to death, you should keep interceding in prayer that God will give that person life. 1 John 5:16 TPT

I was not expecting what happened in our daughter’s life that night, that she would have greater revelation of the truth that she is fearfully and wonderfully made. I had expected God to do some heart work within myself (that is always necessary!); and to see some answers to the other prayers over the coming weeks and months. But not within the following five minutes. Clearly I need to take all my delivery timeframes off my prayers!

So let’s remember that we have a God who can do the unexpected, the unimaginable, but always the best. I believe we do have a part to play in that too, just as 1 John 5:16 said … you should keep interceding in prayer that God will give that person life.

If I analyse what happened on that night and the choices that I made (prompted by the Holy Spirit), there were six distinct actions. Now this is not a formula to follow, rather some principals that could be applied when wanting to be more intimate with God and see breakthrough in our lives and the lives of those that God connects us with.

1. Make time to hear from God – Prioritise time with Him

Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice.
Psalm 55:17 NKJV

2. Being silent so can hear – Quieten your voice so you can hear His

Be still, and know that I am God;
Psalm 46:10 NKJ

3. Confession – Be real, God knows everything anyway

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9 NLT

4. Awareness – Look around, observe what is happening around you

“Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Mark 14:38 NLT

5. Obey the prompting – Act on what the Holy Spirit is nudging you to do

“Yes,” said Jesus. “But God will bless all who listen to the word of God and carefully obey everything they hear.” Luke 11:28 TPT

6. Love and reassure – That’s what Jesus does, everyday.

But Lord, your nurturing love is tender and gentle.
You are slow to get angry yet so swift to show your faithful love.
You are full of abounding grace and truth.
Psalm 86:15 TPT

So those are some choices we can make. But ultimately God is the one in control. His perfect love manifests in so many different ways, bringing freedom into our lives. Remember our salvation. Let’s never underestimate what He can do.

But God still loved us with such great love. He is so rich in compassion and mercy.  Even when we were dead and doomed in our many sins, he united us into the very life of Christ and saved us by his wonderful grace! Ephesians 2:4-5 TPT

Are you feeling battle weary?

I remember years ago sitting on the toilet, feeling battle weary (in a spiritual sense), feeling like there was this unrelenting push to make me give up on God.

But then I lifted my head and read this scripture that I had put on the wall a few weeks earlier…

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. Romans 8:37-39 NKJV

Nothing shall separate us from God’s love

As I spoke those words out aloud, I felt the fight of faith rise. Nothing was going to separate me from the love of God.

The Passion Translation says it this way …

Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and his demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything.

So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. There is no power above us or beneath us – no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!
Romans 8:37-39 TPT

Victory in Jesus’ Name

What happens when you speak this truth out into the atmosphere? For me I can sense courage and boldness rise up, even though I may feel battle weary, and it reminds me of the power of God. The power of His victory.

That same sense of courage and victory rises up when I declare this scripture too …

Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] – To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it). Ephesians 3:20-21 AMPC

This scripture reminds me that while there is an enemy that is trying to get us to give up on God, God has an amazing future for each of us. We need to not lose sight of that and continually choose to stick with Him, especially when we are feeling battle weary.

With God’s power at work in us the possibilities are … just as the scripture says, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams.

Let’s think about that for a moment. What is the highest prayer you have ever prayed? Your biggest dream ? What does infinitely beyond those look like? Can you see it? Do you have a sense of what that is for your life?

The Passion Translation says …

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you. Ephesians 3:20 TPT

When feeling battle weary keep trusting that God is at work

It comes down to that action again, that I often find myself thinking and writing about ….. TRUST! Trusting that God is here and He is working all things together for good, even when we can’t see it.

Recently I have started re-reading Joel Osteen’s book, I declare – 31 Promises to speak over your life. Each day has a story and a declaration. It has been good for my soul to read about waiting and victories. You may think that sounds odd given all we have been through as a family. But the reality is, there is normally always something going on in all our lives that requires waiting for the victory, and sometimes it gets a little wearying.

Here is one of the declarations I read this week from his book …..

“I declare that God has a great plan for my life. He is directing my steps. And even though I may not always understand how, I know that my situation is not a surprise to God. He will work out every detail to my advantage. In His perfect timing, everything will turn out right. This is my declaration.

So if you are feeling battle weary, get armed with God’s word, and declare His truth into your future. Choose to trust God today. He loves you and will not forsake you.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:37-39 The Message

For some more thoughts on the getting the courage to keep standing and overcoming fear please visit these posts …
Courage to keep standing
Are you feeling fearful?
Be strong and of good courage