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Fishers of Men Not Means

Through earnest prayer, I have seen God change so many circumstances in my life and the lives of people I love. More importantly, I have seen him transform me so that I am not bound to begging for a different outcome but rather a divine income.

For many years I thought the purpose of prayer was to get something from God. Now I understand that the hope of prayer is to get God. Just God, more of Him and less of me. His desires become mine, not vice versa when I sincerely seek Him.

Praying does not require fancy language. God does not give credit for style. He is looking for surrender.

Prayer changes everything. The thing is, change just does not always mirror our desires.

I have heard a couple of renditions of this misconception the last week, “I don’t understand, He didn’t answer my prayers.” He did, friend. He just answered them His way, and we are not called to comprehend but to commit.

If you are a parent and you make decisions that are best for your children, you know sometimes they are hard, but they are also right. Our kids most often do not understand. Hard and holy go hand in hand, though, and it has been that way since the beginning.

God understands our difficulty because He, too, is a Father. He is a person to know not a commodity to control.

Prayer sometimes changes earthly directions, but most importantly it alters eternal destinations, and that is our primary commission.

We are fishers of men not means.

If I can pray for you today, please let me know. It is my privilege to petition the Prince of Peace on behalf of my friends.

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Daily Bread

The little girl took the bread and, crumb by crumb started eating it. I said to her, “Eat, eat the bread. You are hungry.” And the little one looked at me and said, “I am afraid. When the bread is finished, I will be hungry again.” (A story from the life of Mother Teresa).

This story not only pulls at my heart but rips it apart. Sadly, though, when I minimize God and maximize fear, I am living in poverty just like the afraid little girl. Fear tells us we cannot trust God for His provisions to be enough.

You do not have to be homeless and hungry to be impoverished.

When we do not feel secure, we live a small, static existence. God invites us to enjoy a free and bold way of living with Him because He alone is the grantor of our daily bread.

In what ways are you diminishing your life because you are afraid? The decision to grab the hand of freedom and live, love, leap, and lead is not a singular event, but one we sometimes have to make daily.  May I encourage you today to trade in your trepidation for trust and see where it takes you?

Father, I repent of all the ways I reduce my life as a means of managing my welfare.  I quickly forget that control does not equal comfort.  When I put myself in charge of daily bread, it is a recipe for an exhausted, empty heart.  Redirect me to surrender my unbelief back to You, my permanent Provider.

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Encountering The King In The Courtyard

The last week I have been sweetly reminded how God often uses His people to manifest his presence. Three times, to be exact, I have been swaddled by His embrace through encounters or conversations with a friend. Sometimes these unexpected blessings play out in a way that it is undeniable whose pen strokes scripted the story.

I am resharing this for anyone struggling today. Whether it be fear, physical or emotional pain, anxiety, depression or anything else that renders you feeling alone, this is for you. Sometimes God sends His children, and sometimes His creatures to articulate and authenticate His affections.

May you feel the security of the shady shelter of His wing today! You are loved.

Does your faith need a cool drink of refreshing water?  Read along.

I see our Lord everywhere; in people, in children, in my dog, (yes, my dog), and especially in nature.  Some people raise their eyebrows at this concept, but when Jesus Christ saturates your life you cannot help but view life shaded in a reflection of Him.

I will never forget last Thursday when one of my more memorable encounters with My King happened in a courtyard at Covenant Counseling Center.  I had finished a session with my counselor, but earlier in our time together I was describing a story a friend told me about when she was a little girl.  She explained that her daddy would kneel every night and pray before she and her sister went to bed.  The two sisters would fight to be the one who got to get under him as he was kneeling in prayer.  The story was so precious and touched me so much that the imagery I formulated will forever be imprinted in my mind and on my heart.  It was a story that reminded me of a verse that is very special to me. Psalm 91:4 ~ He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings.  His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

I was telling my counselor how this verse has been layered over me time and again the last couple years.  Little did I know that just a short time later, that very verse would come to life right before my eyes.

I finished my session and walked out to a crisp, sunny, beautiful day.  I had an urge to be outside, so I drove home, got my reading materials and came back to the same location to sit in the peaceful and inviting small courtyard in front of the building.  One thing I love about that courtyard is it appears like an umbrella of trees, so it feels secluded and safe. While I was sitting on the bench, I was praying and again reflecting on many verses in addition to Psalm 91:4.

I was there about an hour when my peace was interrupted by an onslaught of noise in one of the trees just to my left.  A majestic, red tail hawk landed on a sturdy branch, and he had an army of crows, after him.  Crows are loud, and they are relentless predators.

I suddenly froze and was unable to think or react quickly because I could not believe what was evolving.  In that quiet place Psalm 91:4 was beautifully played out in the nature that surrounded me.  I was in awe of my faithful and loving Father, who goes to creative lengths to express His presence and love.  Let me explain.

After studying the battalion of crows charging at the hawk for several minutes, I noticed the hawk was using his wings as a deflector and shield of protection.  I eventually maneuvered myself into a location that I could see the hawk was protecting something under his wing.  Time and time again crow after crow would dive at the hawk, and the hawk would bat his wing to deflect the attack.  I watched this go on for over 15 minutes. The hawk was protecting a baby and was doing so with such commanding diligence, strength, and care.  The crows were not giving up easily, but neither was the hawk.  He was resolute.  Despite the continuous assaults, the hawk shielded that vulnerable baby.

The other thing that impacted me was the stability of the hawk; as he was hit over and over again using his wing for defense.  Some of the attacks were aggressive enough that he would bobble or slightly lose his balance.  Every single time, however, he would regain his footing, readjust and return to an anchored stance on the branch.  He never moved from the same spot the entire time even though he would stumble at times.  He never flew away in an attempt to flea from fear.  He never gave up, and he was the lone one standing in the end!

When we are under the shelter of our Lord Jesus, we are a lot like that hawk. Attacks come, fear assaults us and enemies persecute us.  We may lose our balance; we may have to readjust, and we may be shaken, but we are never shattered because our anchor is under the wings of a King, who is our armor and protection.  He will not be moved.  When our foundation is solid in Him, we may falter, and need adjustments at times, but we can withstand life’s storms still returning to a stable stance.

I was also reminded of Revelation 5:6 that day. ~ Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders.

Jesus suffered throughout his life.  Many attacks were forged against him and He was eventually crucified.  Sometimes life can leave us feeling battered, bruised, betrayed and cut up as if we, too have been slain.  The key to the verse in Revelation is the Lamb, though he looked as if he had been slaughtered, He was still standing.

Life is hard, but when His feathers are our garments and His wings our refuge, there will be times we are disturbed, but never defeated because the Promiser keeper says He is our sure foundation.

 

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What If You Get It Wrong?

Recently, I was struggling with an important decision. It was tearing me apart as I was allowing the lies of the enemy to compromise what I know to be true.  I was lamenting to a trusted and wise friend that my fear was I would get it wrong.  My friend said to me, “D’Anna, what if you do get it wrong?”  It was then that I remembered that Jesus’ gift of salvation does not come with a qualifier that I get it all right.  If my performance was a qualification, that would mean I have some responsibility for my salvation and in my eyes, I would never be enough.  How exhausting that would be!

Thankfully, I can take no credit for my eternal destiny.  Any good work I do is as a result of the Holy Spirit’s presence, not my power.  I cannot even take credit for faith, for it is from God, as well. (Ephesians 2:8).

Are you wrestling with getting something wrong today?  Has the idea of not being perfect or falling short thrown a dark disguise over the veil of truth that is meant to set you free? (John 8:32).  I pray if you find yourself here, you take the hand of truth today.

Father, I repent of the times I fail to believe. Help me and my friend remember that you and your promises are the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) AMEN.

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God’s Silence Does Not Equal Stagnation


Recently I was in a beautiful place surrounded by the sights and sounds of God’s creation.  My children and husband were with me, and we drove up to a beautiful beach that had an area lined by ocean rocks as if to create a safe, swimming hole for would be snorkelers.  I did not feel like getting in the water this particular morning, but my kids wanted to try snorkeling.  It was their first time, and they were curious to see what they would find living just below the surface of the emerald blue water.

I found a shady spot on a hill with a peaceful picnic table that looked down over the majestic beach.  I could not bring myself to leave the refuge of the picnic table, so I assured my children I would watch them from above and they could go ahead and snorkel. I watched as one child put on her equipment and swam off strong and smooth like a fish in its natural habitat. Then I sat and watched as my son, who has dyspraxia, struggled to get the mask, snorkel, and fins on.  It felt like an eternity of him trying over and over again and not succeeding.

Eventually, he began putting his head in the water and trying to coordinate all the necessary steps to swim and breathe. He would lower his head into the water a minute and then come up for air, never mastering the required motor coordination skills needed to put it all together, the skills that just come naturally to most of us. My heart was bleeding as I watched. Tears filled my eyes telling the story of my hurt for him as they trickled down my face. I was rooting and praying for him but painfully witnessed him fail over and over again. I wanted to rescue him. Running to him and helping felt like the loving and natural thing to do, but I knew delivering him from his struggle was the worst thing I could do because he would quit trying and rely on me.  Fixing the situation for my son would stunt his learning and crucial growth skills he needs to function in life.  As much as I wanted to intervene, as heart-wrenching as it was to watch, I had to sit and silently pray for him and watch over him from above the water.

It occurred to me at that moment that this was such a picture of our walks with our Father.  He looks down on us from above and often sees us struggling, sometimes drowning. In our estimation, it feels as if he is ambivalent to our struggles and suffering.

God seems silent, but His silence does not equate to stagnation.

Just as I was watching over my child, He is looking down and watching us, His children.  Our Heavenly Father is supporting us and working outcomes that are for our ultimate good.  Many times, though, He does not provide an immediate and noticeable rescue or His relief looks like more struggle and pain to us.  We don’t have the whole picture.  We feel like we are drowning, but God is there.  His heart must hurt as a Father like mine did as a mother watching his children struggle, but He knows just what we need.

Sometimes no rescue is the best rescue.

As we drove away from that beautiful place this thought occurred to me, my child didn’t fail.  Sure, he did if it I measured it by what I saw, but in God’s economy, the only failure is the one you didn’t trust Him in.  Be encouraged, friends!  God is looking down on you.  He sees you, and He has you.  When it feels like He is letting you drown, remember this, “All that is given is necessary.  All that is withheld was not.” ~Timothy Keller

You are loved.❤️

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Sitting at the Feet of Jesus

When I am trying to patiently wait upon The Lord to give me my next assignment, I have to be intentional to guard myself against the thought that I am not doing anything worthy. As demonstrated in the story of Mary and Martha, sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening is as much an active and necessary aspect of Kingdom work as anything else. Waiting and listening feel incongruent to my flesh, but they are invaluable to my Father.

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The Commission is at Hand

Dearest friend,
We are children loved by a good Father without comparison. He has anointed us with a unique mission, in unprecedented times. The Father chose us for this moment in time that can be difficult to reconcile because it is a marriage of both beautiful and brutal. Because of this, it is necessary for us to love fearlessly, believe scandalously and hope without compromise. What mission has He entrusted to you today? May we all be good attendants of His holy assignments. Scandalous belief says that we have all we need to succeed today so do not look ahead for the commission is at hand.

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Backdrops For Blessings

Manna for your moment from my yard. Notice that every individual dew drop is distinct in its resting place upon the rose. This picture reminds me that like the rose catches the rain, God catches every tear. He compassionately holds each one with singular significance and gives them shelter until the Son tenderly wipes them away. God never wastes your tears. Sometimes they are tokens of joy and sometimes pain, but not one goes unnoticed or falls in vain. Every part of who you are matters to Him. When you feel the least loved or lovable, remember that like the dew finds respite upon the flower, we find refuge in The Father; and hope accessorized with faith whispers, moments when we feel bruised are backdrops for blessings.🌹

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The World Says Run, Wisdom Says Rest

Being a whole person can feel like being an overwhelmed person.

Time is two sided. It can be sluggish, and it can be swift. On days when our to-do list, responsibilities, and commitments weigh heavy; time is more elusive than enjoyable.  Remembering and desiring to rest is not indigenous to our culture or our conscience.

Busyness is often our temporary escape, and so we run, and we run until we have nothing left to guide us.

The world does not call us to consider that which we are running from but The Father does.  Pausing long enough to respect the discomfort that dwells within our souls is not considered modern popularity.  It forces us to face the foes that threaten our comfort, but we have a God who offers promises that will turn those scary places into sacred spaces if we will just lean in.

The world says run but wisdom rest.  

May we relax our hustling hands and slow our hasty hearts so that amidst the chaos of our calendars we may find a stillness within ourselves that comes from the peace granted by the Author, not the pace gained from the activity.

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God Is Looking For Endurance, Not Eloquence

108196178-2I just don’t know what to do.

That really difficult situation that is ripping you apart, you don’t have to figure it out, friend.  The decision is not your responsibility, but The Lord’s.  Talk to Him.  Don’t worry about how you sound.  There are no style points for perfect prayers with The God.  A simple yet powerful calling of His name, Jesus, Father, Lord, Abba, how dear those words must be to His heart to hear His children calling His name.  He hears you.  He knows the posture and the passions of your heart.  God does not require eloquence, He recognizes endurance.  Ask Him to clearly show you what path to take.  He will answer. The answer may be scary, but once you walk in the shadow of His light, you will find an unexplainable peace insulating your heart.
Psalm 29:11~The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.