I was moved last night. I walked into a room and the presence of God was so strong that tears started streaming from my eyes. Fifteen people were inside that room singing worship songs and praying. I felt a mixture of things as I sat down to join them. I felt the remnants of anxiety that I had brought with me there and which has been my companion for a while. The kind of nagging anxiety that keeps you from feeling at peace because you have things to do and it slowly eats away at you. I closed my eyes and started to pray. I felt peace trickling into me along with love, comfort, forgiveness, and the presence of holiness. With tears silently running down my face, I prayed and I listened. The presence of the Holy Spirit felt even stronger, I could literally feel someone touching my arm in an embrace. I needed this. I was thanking God for putting it in my heart to come to that house and worship Him.
Over the course of the hour that I prayed and worshiped, I was moved by the prayers that others boldly spoke out for all of us to hear. I was moved by their passion and the fire in their hearts for the Lord. I was moved by the music and the comfort that it brought me. I was moved by God’s word when I opened my bible and read Acts 17:27-28, “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him – though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist.”
I felt renewed, refreshed, restored, purified, and rekindled. I had been missing that passion for him. The passion that comes from keeping in the forefront of your mind and overflowing from your heart that in him you live, in him you move, and in him you exist. God is not distant; once you give your heart to Him, he resides there. When you talk to Him, he is listening and he is carrying out your requests.
He is always waiting with open arms and unfailing love for us to give our hearts to Him. Whether for the first time or after a time that we have turned away from Him. He is there. He is waiting. With arms open and compassion in his heart.
“But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there.
I will return her vineyards to her
and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.” Hosea 2:14-15
Thank you Lord for reigniting the fire in my heart for you. For healing me last night. Thank you for being my constant rock and salvation. Thank you for showing me your love and letting me feel your presence. Thank you for speaking to me. Thank you for being my hope, my love, and my everything.
I’ve been struggling lately. I’ve been looking at things in a negative light and it makes it really hard for those closest to me to be around me. I have been looking at homework, chores, and work as things that HAVE to be done and it becomes this huge pressure over me. I thank God that this was brought to my attention. There is no need for a bad attitude. It will destroy everything that means something to you. So, I am praying for God’s strength and a different mindset. A mindset of gratitude and joy. Why not sit down to do homework and enjoy it?! I tried it yesterday evening and guess what, I actually did enjoy it! I pray for the Holy Spirit to help me to speak only positive words and to be still and listen. I pray to think positive thoughts and to approach life with joy. Here are the scriptures that really spoke to me this morning:
‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness,
and you will harvest a crop of love.
Plow up the hard ground of your hearts,
for now is the time to seek the LORD,
that he may come
and shower righteousness upon you.’ Hosea 10:12
As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.
Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool.
When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him. It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it. Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved.
Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead. Ecclesiastes 5:1-7
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past. Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
Yesterday, my friends and I were discussing how something that looks so simple on paper, “love one another,” can be so hard to actually carry out. It comes down to this, everybody has people that they love, but what about the people that have done you wrong? What about the ones that you have trouble even being around? Well, when God says love each other he is talking about all the people that we find hard to love too. My friend said, “man, it is probably easier to follow the ten commandments, like don’t murder or steal, than to love everyone.” But that is what God does for us; he loves everyone of us even though we are difficult, annoying, wrong, and undeserving. I pray for God’s love to be shown through our lives.
I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever!
Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.
Your unfailing love will last forever.
Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens. Psalm 89:1-2
All heaven will praise your great wonders, Lord;
myriads of angels will praise you for your faithfulness.
For who in all of heaven can compare with the Lord?
What mightiest angel is anything like the Lord?
The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God.
He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne. Psalm 89:5-7
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.
Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.
Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,
for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation.
They exult in your righteousness.
You are their glorious strength.
It pleases you to make us strong. Psalm 89:14-17
So now, come back to your God.
Act with love and justice,
and always depend on him. Hosea 12:6
Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God,
for your sins have brought you down.
Bring your confessions, and return to the LORD.
Say to him,
“Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us,
so that we may offer you our praises.
Assyria cannot save us,
nor can our warhorses.
Never again will we say to the idols we have made,
‘You are our gods.’
No, in you alone
do the orphans find mercy.”
The LORD says,
“Then I will heal you of your faithlessness;
my love will know no bounds,
for my anger will be gone forever.
I will be to Israel
like a refreshing dew from heaven.
Israel will blossom like the lily;
it will send roots deep into the soil
like the cedars in Lebanon.
Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees,
as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon.
My people will again live under my shade.
They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines.
They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.
“O Israel, stay away from idols!
I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you.
I am like a tree that is always green;
all your fruit comes from me.”
Let those who are wise understand these things.
Let those with discernment listen carefully.
The paths of the LORD are true and right,
and righteous people live by walking in them.
But in those paths sinners stumble and fall. Hosea 14:4-9
Sometimes I sit and think about the past; where I have been, what I have done, the emotions that I have felt, and the people I have known along the way. Not too long ago it was almost always a painful process and one that I would try to avoid because of a sickened feeling of shame and regret that would overtake me. My mind would race over the mistakes that I’ve made and the consequences that ensued and each time I thought of them I would relive the emotions that I had felt at the time. It often seems that the memories we want most to forget are the ones that chase after us unrelentingly. To be freed from the torment that used to be unavoidable within my mind is a sweet gift that I will never stop being grateful for.
I heard a song the other day that reminded me of this, “I’m Not Who I Was” by Brandon Heath. I love when I run into a song, poem or book that makes you feel like the author has felt the same as you. Then I think about how beautiful it is that there is one author who has felt every feeling that I ever have and that by his grace everything is made new again. He has given me a new song to sing. Here is what I am singing about: Psalm 40:1-3 and Hosea 14.