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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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The Little Life of Fear

Fear causes me to live a small, sheltered life.  She tells me lies like, you are in control by suffocating your existence into the fangs of an illusion.  I don’t desire to look back on a little life that reads, she was shackled and scared.  Fear will guarantee that outcome.  Faith assures me I can do adventurous, big things because my first breath and my last are already determined by a Father who loves me and desires me to live free not frightened.  I live proportional to my level of belief.  When I forget my destination I am incarcerated.  Not all prisoners live behind visible bars.  It is only when I remember where home is that I live the life that was ransomed for me. Today was about leaning into fear, and saying, not today pesky, friend!

 

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Control

Control is an insidious intruder. I have to be very intentional to guard myself against it, and even when I am aware, it is tricky. It sneaks into every relationship and situation often undetected. One reason control is so deceptive is that sometimes it is called “helping,” and isn’t that a noble thing to do? In some situations, yes; but often when I find myself saying, “I am just trying to “help” you, that can frequently be transposed to mean, I am trying to control you or the situation. When I dissect my misdirected helpfulness, fear is often at the root; and I have come to learn that although sometimes fear is an understandable reaction, it can also be an UNBELIEVING reflection that says God will not get it right. Lord Jesus, you are in control, not me. Sometimes hidden fears lurk in the deepest recesses of my heart, and I seek a false sense of safety by “suggesting,” fixing or doing which only translates to control. Help my unbelief, Father. Give me the grace to lay my fear and desire to “fix” within your power, not my performance.

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Good news

There are many things that I do, feel or say that shock me when I honestly look at my heart.  Self-examination would be defeating, were it not for the good news of the Gospel.  The Bible discusses every one of my flaws as a struggle for someone within its chapters.  I am so thankful those things are there!  Without God’s word I would either have to live a shallow life of pretend and denial; or under so much condemnation that anxiety, fear, shame and depression would likely be my best friends.  The gospel is good news!

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Who or What Are You Trusting

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Right now it seems all the world has to offer is unrest, uncertainty, division, fear and anger, but God gives us His word.  It is the balm and the pacifier for all things.  Last night I was reading in the Psalms before I went to bed.  Psalm 112:7-8 says, they do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.  They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.  As I meditated on that, I immediately felt lighter.  I cannot just read God’s word.  That does me no good.  I must believe His word.  Perception without practice is unbelief that only leads us down dirt roads disillusioned by fear.  The degree to which we trust the Lord at His word is directly proportional to our level of peace. We are all trusting in something.  When I find myself anxious, afraid or mingling with any of their cohorts, I know I am trusting in something or someone other than my Savior.  May you find freedom and rest in the Word, not the world today, friends.

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I Am Has Sent You

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That dream you are still dreaming; the phone call you are still waiting to make; the application that is pending; that call of obedience you are silencing; why are you still putting it off?   Maybe fear of failure, unworthiness or inadequacy are hindering who you were made to be.  You continually find yourself asking, “who am I to do this?”   Moses asked that very question of, God.   The Lord replied, “I will be with you.”   After further doubt from Moses, The Lord says, “I Am Who I Am… tell them I Am has sent me.”   He is sending you, and He will be with you, friend.   He is calling you away from your hiding place to a higher place.   Stand under His promise and Follow Him!   There is no more time for delay.   Dust that fear off and dress up in the faith of The Lord and who He is in you.❤️

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Depictions of The King in the Courtyard

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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Are We Living In Poverty or Provision


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 says you 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 and static existence.  God invites us to enjoy a free and bold way of living because He alone is the grantor of our daily bread.

In what ways are you suffocating your life because you are afraid?  Will your life be derailed by fear or defined by faith?  The decision to choose faith, and be free to get out and live, love, leap, and lead is one we must make every day; in doing so, you will be amplifying The Father and annihilating fear.

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Give Us This Day

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…and give us THIS DAY our daily bread… Most of us learned the Lord’s Prayer as children.  But like many things I learned as a child, it was something I memorized and did not necessarily internalize.  The words were in my head, but the meaning was not in my heart.

It became apparent to me the last half decade of my life that I cannot be looking for “tomorrow’s bread” to sustain me today.

When I am searching for provision past the present, I am likely keeping company with anxiety, fear, and worry who are all known to avert me from the presence of today to the planning of tomorrow.

Tomorrow was never promised, so it is frivolous for me to waste my day, my energy or my mood trying to manage tomorrow.

This all sounds wise, but it is not always straightforward.  The Apostle Paul said he LEARNED to be content in all circumstances.  (Philippians 4:11). For me, learning is a life-long process of remembering, forgetting and remembering again.

 Every day I have to recommit to staying in the details of today and not staring at the destination of tomorrow.

Present living is challenging when I have concerning things on the horizon, but to be honest, I have learned anytime I am out of today and into tomorrow it is about me trying to control, and not letting God command.  Control is such a false imposture.  I was not in control yesterday, or today and if today should materialize into tomorrow I will still not be in control.  Fixing my eyes on tomorrow only holds me, hostage, today and robs me of the freedom found in the here and now.  May we all find rest today, and let God take care of everything beyond that should it be granted.