Matthew 6:22-23 (RSV) “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
I once heard a wise saying that goes something like this, “Whenever you’re feeling negative emotions, it is because you have stopped loving.” Or, as I have come to interpret it, whenever we are in a negative state of mind, it is because we have inadvertently disconnected from the source of love—the heart of God.
We don’t always disconnect from God’s love out of willful sin and rebellion. In fact, I often find my disconnects occur in the subtlest of ways. Usually, I’m going along in life, some minor or major event occurs, and suddenly, my perception of life and God has subconsciously shifted. It often takes me a while to recognize that I’m no longer looking at my life and experiences through the lens of God’s infinite love. Little by little, feelings like fear, shame, guilt, condemnation, and worthlessness begin to creep in and darken my inner man. All in all: I have forgotten that I am loved.Continue reading “The Window of Your Heart”
Mercy is a central part of God’s nature—in fact, His name is mercy. In Exodus 34, God responded to Moses’ desire to see His glory. And as He passed before Moses, verse 5 says that He “proclaimed the name of the LORD.” And the proclamation that rolled forth was: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
I don’t know about anyone else, but many times when I would read this Scripture, I would find myself quite focused on the latter half of the verse! I trembled at the God who punished the guilty and allowed iniquity to be a generational inheritance! Due to my own woundings in life, I found it hard to see the other side of God’s character—His overwhelming heart of mercy. And I think my struggles with perceiving (and receiving) mercy have been due, in part, to how I learned to interpret much of Scripture. Continue reading “Mercy Is His Name”
There is a Jewish teaching that speaks of how, in the beginning, God filled all things. In order to begin the process of creation, He had to “contract” Himself to make space for the universe. This is why one of God’s names is “Ha-Makom” or “The Place,” as God is the place of all creation. This concept has always made me think of how women “make space” within themselves for the conception and growth of new life. Continue reading “Making a Place for God”
Just before Purim this spring, God reminded me of the importance of looking for His “hidden hand” in our lives. In the whole book of Esther, God isn’t mentioned. There’s also no record of God speaking directly to His people or prophets. However, this doesn’t mean that He wasn’t present, moving, and speaking throughout the events that transpired. In fact, we can see how God strategically moved through different individuals to protect His people from genocide. Continue reading “Seek God’s Hidden Hand”
One day, I was meditating on how rest can be a powerful weapon in the spiritual realm, and Isaiah 30:15 came to mind, “For this is what Adonai Elohim, the Holy One of Isra’el, says: “Returning and resting is what will save you; calmness and confidence will make you strong —but you want none of this!” I often hear people quoting another translation of this Scripture, “in quietness and confidence is your strength.” While these words are a needed reminder, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the last part of that verse—God’s people resisted the call to return (repent) and rest. Continue reading “Where Does Our Help Come From?”
I remember when the Father dramatically changed the way I approached prophetic intercession. I had a friend who would often share prayer requests with me. Because I’m an intercessor, she knew I would always be willing to stop and pray. One day, she sent me a prayer request for a friend of hers. I had barely uttered a word of my prayer when the Father suddenly downloaded a lengthy vision to me. I sensed it was for her friend, so I wrote down the vision along with the revelation, which came as I wrote.Continue reading “As it is in Heaven”
I admit that I have often struggled to find a balance between keeping my feet on the ground and having my head in the clouds—keeping my thoughts in the heavens that is. I always thought that “looking up” meant continuing to looking forward to Christ’s reign. Someday, Christ would return. Someday, the Kingdom would come, and the earth would be restored. All the while, the daily demands and desires of the flesh kept me miserably rooted to the earth moment by moment. How could I practically pursue heavenly things while still in the flesh? Continue reading “Looking Up”
A few years ago, I was reading an article about the human soul from a Jewish perspective, and I was struck by the following phrase, “The root of the soul is God.” These words resonated within me as truth, particularly in light of the creation account. The Word says that God formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7). While the rest of creation was formed through God’s speech, God bestowed humanity with a little piece of Himself in order to bring us to life. Continue reading “Minding Our Roots”
Genesis 12:2 (VOICE) I have plans to make a great people from your descendants. And I am going to put a special blessing on you and cause your reputation to grow so that you will become a blessing and example to others.
I remember some years ago when someone gave me a word of the LORD saying, “You are a daughter of blessing.” I was surprised by how deeply these words affected me. All at once, I recognized how they bore witness as truth in my spirit, however, my mind had trouble accepting what God was saying. Me? A blessing?
I realized that, on some level, I saw myself more like God’s problem child than a vessel of His blessing. Do you ever struggle with that feeling that you are unclean and that anything you put your hand to might crumble or become cursed? Do you feel more like a bad son or daughter instead of one that is beloved and highly favored? This has been my particular “identity crisis” for many years.
As God has walked me through different seasons, I’ve come to see how negative words and mistreatment from others sent me a message that did not agree with how God saw me. As I began to look back over my life with the eyes of the Spirit, I could recognize the overwhelming love, grace, and favor of God over me even through all of the trials. Many devices of the darkness had come along in an attempt to destroy me and keep me from the truth that I am a beloved daughter of the King. Yet no power can stop the fierce love of God! No matter what word curses have been spoken or what difficult circumstances I have faced, I cannot deny the incredible favor God has given me along the way.
This pattern in my life very much mirrors the life of Joseph. Though Joseph was hated by his brothers, enslaved, and eventually imprisoned, God shone his favor upon Joseph at every step. His favor manifested in the honor Joseph received from his father and through the position of authority he was given in both Potiphar’s household and in Egypt’s prison. Finally, at just the right time, God’s favor shone so brightly upon Joseph before Pharaoh that it opened the door for Joseph’s promotion as second in command of all of Egypt. Nothing could separate Joseph from the love of God!
Even so, I wouldn’t be surprised if, through all of Joseph’s trials, he struggled to believe that he was as highly favored as his prophetic dreams suggested (Genesis 37:4-11). It would have been easy for him to believe he was God’s problem child. Like many of us, Joseph may have even seen himself as the source of all the troubles he faced.
Yet God’s hand of blessing upon Joseph is undeniable. Even more, Joseph was a vessel of God’s blessings. The favor God poured out upon Joseph overflowed onto others. Joseph was a blessing to his family, Potiphar’s household, Egypt’s prison, and eventually Egypt and all the world. God’s hand of power was seen greatly when He gave Joseph the interpretation for Pharaoh’s dreams and the accompanying wisdom that would see the world through the coming famine.
Just like Joseph and just like Christ, the ultimate suffering servant of God, we too have been created to be vessels of blessing. We have been created to be temples of the living God. When He pours His Spirit upon us, the blessings of the Spirit overflow into the lives of others. We touch the world with anointed hands, releasing the Kingdom of God in everything and everyone that we touch.
Therefore, children of God, lift up your heads. You are not broken. You are not a problem and no longer a vehicle of darkness and sin. In fact, now that you are in Christ, you are God’s solution, a child of the light in a fallen world! Remember who you are and whose you are. You are a much-loved son or daughter of the Most High God. He has placed the Kingdom of Heaven within you and has ordained that you are the vessel through which His blessings will flow.
Luke 2:52 (NIV) And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Deuteronomy 33:13-16 (VOICE)About Joseph he said, Moses: May his land be blessed by the Eternal with the best the sky has to offer—abundant rains—and with the dew and the waters that lie below the ground. May it be blessed with the best the sun can produce and the best crops of each month, With the best that grows on the ancient mountains and the everlasting hills, With the best the land has to offer when it’s filled with good things, And most of all may it be blessed with the favor of the One who appeared in the burning bush. Let all these blessings rest on Joseph’s head, on the head of this prince among his brothers.
Hebrews 4:1 (TPT) Now God has offered to us the same promise of entering into his realm of resting in confident faith. So we must be extremely careful to ensure that we all embrace the fullness of that promise and not fail to experience it.
When the children of Israel were delivered from the bondage of Egypt, God promised that His Presence would go with them and give them rest (Exodus 33:14). In Hebrew, the word “rest” in this Scripture is nuwach which has the concept of settling down, dwelling, and remaining. No longer would they be strangers in the land of their affliction nor would they be strangers in this new land where their father Abraham was a sojourner; God was bringing them to a place they could call home and the place that He would abide with them.
In Hebrews 4, Paul alludes to this concept in light of the redemption that Christ has brought us. He warns the redeemed not to follow in the pattern of those who wandered in the wilderness and miss out on the rest that Christ has purchased for us. But what does this rest in Christ look like? A clue can be found in the two types of rest that Paul alludes to.
Not only does Paul mention a nuwach type of rest (being settled, dwelling, and remaining in a place) but also another Hebrew word for rest, shabath. Shabath implies a sense of completion; God began the process of creation on the first day, and it was on the seventh day that He stopped creating because His work was complete. Nothing else need be added, so God could sit down and appreciate all that He had done.
We are being called to find our resting place in Christ. Just as the Israelites were redeemed and removed from Egypt, we too have been redeemed from the power of sin and bondage through the Cross. God is saying, “It is finished! It is complete! And your Promised Land of rest in the Everlasting Arms is accessible now in the land of the living!” When God promised the Israelites rest, technically the battle for the Promised Land was still in sight for them; but they allowed their fear over those looming battles to prevent them from attaining God’s promise. From their perspective, their redemption and fight for freedom wasn’t complete.
Therefore, we must be careful to resist the urge to let the battle against the flesh keep us from entering into our resting place in God. For the beautiful part of our redemption is that God comes into His rest with us as well. Just as the throne of God and His dwelling Presence went with the Israelites in the wilderness and into the Land, so God’s abiding Presence keeps us at every step. The battles ahead are already won. The only effort required on our part is to listen to the direction of the Holy Spirit. It is our redeemer who will do all the work and all of the fighting on our behalf. It is God alone who is responsible for bringing us into our completeness and fullness of Christ.
Exodus 33:14 (NKJV) And He said, “My Presence will go [with you], and I will give you rest.”