PRAYING FOR MY CITY

According to

highhopes | April 23, 2010 10:35

" And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. " (Philippians 4:19)

According to. A simple phrase, two words, great meaning encapsuled there. According means in proportion to. To what? To Him. Not what I think or whine for, but in proportion to God's standards and plans. He holds the future. He knows what is ahead. He provides, today, for tomorrow.

For those of us who tend to be a pack-rat, this phrase will sound familiar: "No. Keep that. I may need it later." The last time I said that, I heard within me, " No, you won't. " It dawned on me how I never asked God if what I was holding onto was for future plans or was it to keep the past with me. Even some tokens of good times can be threatening to my spiritual growth.

Trinkets from lost loves can hamper present relationships. Many half finished projects kept with a "I'll get to it someday" attitude, can be ammunition for the enemy to say, "You never finish anything." Some memories can grow into roadblocks that cause our journey to stall. They are meant to be dated, but never married.

According to. Take a moment, right now, and examine the needs in your life that are met today because of a past supply from God. Then, when it was supplied, did you even imagine it was for today's need? But, He did. And day by day, I become more grateful for His planning and purposes in my life. Somedays it is overwhelming. All I can do is stand and say thank you.

My life with God is like a boat cruise. There is a planned destination, a beginning and an end. But, during the cruise, when reaching deep waters and land is not in sight, I rest in confidence that the captain of the ship is steady on course to get me to my destination. I trust Him to guide me on my way. 

Friend

highhopes | April 07, 2010 08:17

I like to look up definitions of words and their synonyms. It can give an expanded understanding to a subject otherwise accepted as factual yet without the excitement it deserves. Friend is such a word.

I am a friend of God. Jesus said so in the Bible. " No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends..." (John15:15) It forms a mental picture of a companion, buddy or comforter. But I found a synonym for friend was repository. It had explosive results within me as I researched this word.

Repository: a place where goods are stored. At salvation, God comes to live inside of us and our lives are hidden in Christ. "For in Him, we live and move and have our being..." (Acts 17:28).

Repository: one entrusted with a secret. He is the One that knows the real us. We tell Him things we are feeling that no one else knows. Not only our fears and cares, but we trust Him with our hopes and dreams. He will not say we are dreaming too big, but will lead us to the path that will make the dream happen. Discourage hope? He can't. He is our hope.

Repository: a burial vault. He died for us and we died with Him. Our sin, our payment due, our sickness, all died with Him. His victorious resurrection brought life were death ruled. The tomb is empty. It is the place we can point to as our beginning, not our end. When the evil one recites your faults, point him to the tomb, the place of his defeat. If you died with Christ, certainly, you rose with Him, also!

He is my friend and I am His. Oh, the wonderful Word of words. My Savior, my friend, my Jesus.

Something new

highhopes | April 06, 2010 11:24

Every Spring my front landscaping comes alive with flowers. Purple hues of crocus and various shades of yellow daffodill's rise thru stone and mulch from a winter's sleep. I did not plant them, but I do appreciate them. They have a heralding effect of soon coming warmth as a reprieve from cold and the starkness of winter. Also, every year, they increase their number. The original number in rows appear, yet, here and there, there will be a new plant to brighten another part of the dark land. Unexpected and unplanned. A spontanious blessing in flower form.

At the base of one bunch of returning tall daffodills, a small shoot appearred one day. Much smaller in height and dimension, yet it's difference demanded attention in it's surroundings. Similiar in color, but slim, pointed petals without the colorful trumpet in the middle, set it apart from the others. Same, but different.

So is my walk with God. Since accepting Him into my life, many reaccuring blessings spring up in my life. Always, after a period of "winter" in my life, He brings the warmth of His love to melt the cold away. And now, something new. Right now, it's small, but this new chapter unfolding is tiny in contrast to some others I have had to go through, yet it instills within the promise of tremendous growth.

Everything declares His glory! Everything displays a part of His character. Everywhere He demonstrates His daily participation in our lives. Oh, Lord, help me to not overlook the many blessings You give everyday.

 

Debt

highhopes | March 31, 2010 08:31

My day has gotten off to an different start. At the very moment my eyes opened, the phrase " paid in full " kept repeating itself over and over. The thrill of these three little words rates right up there with three other little words: " I love you ". This phrase followed me throughout my morning wake up ritual, not willing to be put to the side for later. Finally, I gave my full attention to it as a mother does to the incessant pleading of a child demanding to be heard.

Paid in full. Debt forgiven by full restitution of amount owed. Paid in full. Clean slate. All these thoughts bombarded my mind in rapid-fire succession. Okay, God, what am I missing? The cross.

Arriving at the mid-week point of Holy Week, the focal point is still the event on Friday: the cross. The triumphful entry into Jerusalem was headed to the cross. The victorious ressurrection was because of the cross. Entering the city, He was presented with the debt of mankind. On the cross, He provided the payment for that debt, completely. At the tomb, He arose with the receipt of payment due in His mighty hand with the words PAID IN FULL written boldly across the debt.

Debt is commonly thought of as money, but it also means sin, "...and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."  Debt free because of the cross. He made us righteous by this act of love. Righteousness is so much more than right standing. One description is all requirements met. Any and every action, thought, spoken word, broken pledge or falling short has been covered by the blood sprinkled on the wooden altar of Calvary. Here, a new Genesis was birthed. A new beginning sprung forth by an ending.

Paid in full. Thank you, Lord.

 

In between

highhopes | March 30, 2010 10:38

This is Holy Week. A time for christians to remember and reflect on the price paid for their salvation. It starts with a triumphant entry and ends with total victory, but what about the days in between? Think of all that transpired in a few days.

It begins with cries of Hosanna, palms waving in the air and spread before Him in recognition of His Kingship. The people erupt in praise and love of their Messiah long awaited for. This is a moment in time unlike any other. Rejoice! God is with us! A new beginning for us! And Jesus weeps.

As the week progresses, the messages of Jesus become warnings and predictions to prepare them for what is to come. The Gospel of John records the priority of Jesus at the end of His earthly walk: His love for us. We read of the last meal they had together and His example of servanthood by washing their feet. He shared, He taught and after He sent Judas to the begin His end, He prayed.

Oh, what a prayer! First, for those there with Him, then for those believers who would follow behind. You and I. He mentioned us and prayed for us. A prayer of such confidence in and love for the Father that I am amazed the words could be recorded. Declarations that we would know how much we are loved and provided for. Declarations of the victory found only in relationship with the Father.

Then the meal is followed with time in the garden. While others in the city are celebrating a feast, Jesus is alone with only His close band of men with Him. The crowds are gone, busy with their own lives. Jesus, struggling with His will, prays alone. Even His closest friends are asleep, unaware of the dark within the darkness. Clueless of the betrayal until it is thrust upon them.

During the night, the crowds reappear. Some mourning in shock, but the majority of the Hosanna's became Crucify Him! We have no King but Caesar! His followers watched as He took the insults and blows without an word uttered in defense. Why would the Messiah do this? Fight back! Get the Father God involved!

But He was involved. Every step, every blow, every nail. The Bible says it pleased the Father to bruise Him and to put Him to grief. (Isa. 53:10) Hard to take? Or hard to imagine being wanted that much? This seed sown will harvest countless souls into the family of God. Back into arms that longed to hold you close. Back into an intimate relationship with an eternity to spend it with you. Back to a Father that has waited at the threshold with robes, rings and shoes in His arms that only can be given to sons and daughters. The time had come.

Loss and grief swallowed their memories of His words in the next few days. Not until the body was missing. What if... Then, He appeared to them. Rebuked for lack of faith, but still loved. Corrected, but not cast out. He is alive! For me, for you, for all that believe in His Name! Alive forevermore!

This last week of Jesus is an example of our lives. A triumphant entry at birth and a victorious ending promised if you are a believer in the Son's death, burial and resurection for your sin debt. But what about in between? Rest assured, every step, every blow, every nail along the way is under the watchful eye of a Father that loves you. Celebrate this fact this Easter!

Ever near

highhopes | March 19, 2010 09:33

Every day I see God. Random acts of kindness. Encouraging words. Spontanious joy. Comforting, welcoming hugs. It's all Him. Alive, well and active in our lives, that's the wonderful God I know.

Signs of His activity in the lives of the people in my city is more evident day by day. Prayers are answered, people! Just don't have tunnel vision to how He will answer. Neighbors are helping and caring about one another. Our area has had many heroic acts, strangers helping strangers, just because the need presented itself and they responded. That's God.

Neighborhood watch programs are springing up to take their part of the community back. The ones that previously stayed in their houses in fear, are taking back their land. The silent citizens of our city are silent no more. They are telling the darkness to leave and not to return again. These are true heroes. Unless you have experienced your neighborhood being overtaken by drugs and criminal activity, you cannot imagine the courage it takes to stand up to it. Pray for these heroes. They are everywhere, active in battle.

Take the time today to look around you and see His hand working. Brilliant crocus blooms have popped up in my yard in the most unexpected places. How? I don't know. Why? That I do know. It's an expression of His love for me. Go look for the one He sent to you! 

Alignment

highhopes | March 18, 2010 13:19

In the past four months, God has aligned twenty four years of learning and experience into life changing wisdom. It is like the contractor that digs the the hole in the ground and brick by brick, lays the strong foundation for the building to be supported on. Without it, the building couldn't be built; the home would never be safely used; lives could not grow there.

Day after day, I have been saying, " that's why that happened ", " that's what that meant ", "that's why I learned that ". Brick by brick, my life has been guided with steps to equipt me now. Amazing. Also, looking back I can see why areas stayed immature or unproductive. Everyday feels like Christmas morning with each present containing information to make my life richer, better. Knowledge that would link bits of lessons together would be revealed to bring understanding and solutions to long endured problems.

Trusting God to help me has been the gold of my life. But like gold, sometimes it takes work to mine. Not always is it easily visible to the eye or value in it's dimensions. A small nugget, if in pure form, can have great worth. " ...and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!" as Proverbs 15:23 says is an encouragement to keep listening and learning.

 

 

Who is He?

highhopes | March 15, 2010 08:53

" ...But who do you say that I am? " Matt. 16:15. Jesus asked this question of Peter, but the pastor asked this same query of his congregation this past Sunday. This question was the focal point of my thoughts on the short drive home after church.

Directly or indirectly, many facets of God's character has touched my life. Healer. Deliverer. Comforter. Provider. Joy. Peace. Then it dawned on me. If all were gone in an instant, what would remain? Savior.

That's what He is to me. An embrace that walks with me, lies down with me and sustains me. A constant in my life that never leaves. Nail scarred hands that uphold me and remind me of what my freedom cost Him. A price He paid before I even knew I needed Him. He even prepared the party in advance. Angels rejoiced when I gave my heart to Him. My placecard is on the banquet table in heaven waiting for our joyous reunion. I belong to Him. And He is mine.

Savior. Wholeness. Everything He is, is mine. Given freely to the one that trusts in Him. Redeemer. Advocate. He is all this to me. Reasoning has to step aside at these thoughts, only the spirit can comprehend it. And soar at the thought!

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