It’s Personal

…the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledest me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again… And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child… And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. (1 Samuel 3:6-10, KJV)

Last night a minister at our church briefly mentioned how powerful it is when God calls your name. It reminded me of something out of my own life.

My first name is of Spanish origin. My family speaks Spanish. So I pronounce my name with a Spanish accent. Most people find it very difficult to say my name correctly and choose to say it with an English sounding pronunciation, but then to me it isn’t really my name any longer. I don’t really mind, but it isn’t quite the same.

I remember how much it thrilled my heart when my husband, who only speaks English, began to pronounce my name correctly while we were still dating. He has mastered it now and it still blesses me to hear him say my name.

Then came the day that  I realized that God pronounced my name correctly. I know it sounds funny. He had spoken my name many times before, but one day I suddenly realized He spoke my name with a beautiful Spanish accent. The King of the Universe knows my name. He calls me by name. And every time it’s like music to my ears.

The minister at church last night mentioned the account of Mary at the tomb after Jesus’ resurrection. Let’s take a look at it.

…she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him… Master. (John 20:14-16, KJV)

She didn’t even recognize Him. She thought He was the gardener. But when He spoke her name, she knew it was Him.

Listen for His call. Of course, He is going to call you by your name, but don’t let the preciousness of that escape you. Listen for the depth of the call… the love that He speaks as He says your name.

This Mighty Being, the Everlasting God, the Creator of the Universe can have millions of children across this earth and yet He makes it so personal by calling your name.

…Fear not, for I have redeemed you [ransomed you by paying a price instead of leaving you captives]; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. (Isaiah 43:1, Amplified)

Unfailing Love

God gave the Israelites a set of commandments.

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

In Matthew 22 Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment in the law. His response is found in Matthew 22:37-40.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)

On these two commandments hang ALL the law…

Now let’s take a look at Romans chapter thirteen.

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10, KJV)

The Amplified says it this way:

…he who loves his neighbor [who practices loving others] has fulfilled the Law… (Romans 13:8)

[All commandments] …are summed up in the single command, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. (Romans 13:9)

…love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law. (Romans 13:10)

Now there is a lot of mention of law in there. And many may be saying, “What about grace?” I’m so glad you asked 🙂

It’s because of His grace that we are now able to love like He loves. I like what one of the pastors at our church said, “In the Old Testament they did the works to get saved. In the New Testament they were saved so they could do the works.”

Romans 5:5 tells us that His love, HIS love, has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. That’s grace. And because of His grace we can love like He loves.

Also, First John 4:19 tells us that “We love him, because he first loved us.” Or some translations point out that the word him is not in the original text which would then read, “We love, because He first loved us.”

All this brings me to the scripture that inspired me to write this morning. It is found in the 90th Psalm.

Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love. (Psalm 90:14, NASB)

I read this scripture this morning and thought about how important it is to sit with Him every morning letting Him tell you of His love.

Do I take time to meet my Good Shepherd each day, letting Him tell me of His love…? (footnote to Song of Solomon 2:13 in the Amplified Bible)

You see the only time we find it difficult to love others, is when we don’t know how much He loves us. His love for us sets us free to love others unconditionally.

I always say if you find yourself being impatient and unkind towards others, or not believing the best of them, get away with God and let Him love on you and tell you of His love through His word. Let Him satisfy you with His unfailing love each morning through prayer, through sitting with Him, through the communion table, through His Word and you will find yourself free to love others.

It’s when we fear loss that we fear loving others in their weakness, but His perfected love sets us free from all fear (1 John 4:18).

Let Him satisfy you today and every day with His unfailing love! Then walk out the rest of your day with absolute freedom to love others unconditionally!

(Recommended scriptures. I feed on these quite regularly. Enjoy and be satisfied! Is 53:5; Is 49:15-16; John 20:25, 27; Is 38:17, Amp; Psalm 103:2-4; Jer 31:3; Luke 7:37-39, 48; Rom 5:8; John 3:16-17, Amp; John 15:9; John 15:16; John 16:27; John 17:23; Rom 5:5; Rom 8:32; Rom 8:35; Rom 8:38-39; 1 Cor 8:1; 1 Cor 12:31; 1 Cor 13:8; 1 Cor 13:13; 2 Cor 5:14, Message; Gal 5:6; Eph 1:4, Message; Eph 2:4; Eph 3:17-19; Eph 4:15; Eph 5:25; Col 1:13; 1 Thess 3:12; 1 Thess 4:9; 1 Pet 4:8; 1 Jn 2:5; 1 Jn 2:10; 1 Jn 3:1; 1 Jn 4:9; 1 Jn 4:10; 1 Jn 4:16-19; 1 Jn 4:19, NIV; 2 Jn 6; Jude 1:21)

A Dream

Sometimes I just have to smile when I think about some of the things that inspire me to write. Today it is the song from Disney’s Cinderella.

A dream is a wish your heart makes,
When you’re fast asleep,
In Dreams you will lose your heartaches,
Whatever you wish for you keep.

Have Faith in your dreams and someday,
Your Rainbow will come smiling through.

No matter how your heart is grievin,
If you keep on believing,
The dream that you wish will come true.

Uhmm, has anyone else besides me found this to NOT be true. Sorry to burst some bubbles out there, but it just doesn’t happen this way. Today I want to take a look at three little words, they are wish, hope, and faith. I believe they will help you to figure out the fact from the fiction so that your dreams really can come true.

The American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster, 1828 says the word wish can be defined as having a “strong desire, either for what is or is not supposed to be obtainable”. It goes on to say, “We often wish for what is not obtainable”.

Webster’s (1828) defines the word hope as “a desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable.”

Finally, the word faith is defined as “Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence; the judgement that what another states or testifies is the truth.” Once again in the Webster’s 1828.

Now, the word wish was only used in the King James Bible nine times. And even in those uses, it did not mean what that word means to us today. One well known verse is 3 John 2.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (KJV)

There is a footnote for this word and it says that this word can be translated as pray. It is translated this way in other translations.

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers. (Amplified)

Now the word hope is found in the Bible 130 times, while the word faith is used 247 times. Let’s take a look at one well-known verse that contains both these words.

NOW FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1, KJV)

Hoping for something, does not produce it. It is the blueprint but not the substance. But it is a necessary part of the process of bringing the unseen into the seen.

But when you set your faith on the things God has said in His word, now there is substance to those things you have hoped for.

Let’s take a look at Sarah. She had wished for; she had longed for; she had desired and hoped to have a child. Yet after years of wishing and hoping her arms were still empty. But then God gave her husband a promise. Now her hope and faith had something to work with.

And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac… (Genesis 17:19, KJV)

At first Sarah just laughed it off, but over time, something happened in her heart. That promise from God took root in her heart. She got to know the One Who promised. Suddenly this wasn’t something she just wished for. It was no longer something she just hoped for. She had a blueprint from God. That hope began to take on substance through faith in God.

Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11, KJV)

Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word. (Hebrews 11:11, Amplified)

It was no longer just a dream, a wish and a hope, it was a promise from a faithful God. She believed God. In her heart and in her mind, in her spirit and in her soul she assented to the truth of what God declared, resting on His authority and His veracity, without other evidence. She didn’t need any other evidence, just God’s word. Now, that’s faith!

And that faith in His word became the substance of that which she had hoped for and her arms were no longer empty. Her dream had come true by her faith in God and His word.

…be it unto me according to thy word. (Luke 1:37, KJV)

Drawing Near

I woke up at four o’clock this morning and recognized the invitation. The LORD wanted to spend time with me. I got up and settled into my favorite ‘prayer’ chair. I had my Bible and my iPod (for worship) and was ready to spend some time with Him. But as I sat there I couldn’t find Him. He wasn’t saying anything that I could tell. The worship music all seemed dry. My words of prayer seemed to be going nowhere. I knew He’d awakened me, but then it was like He wasn’t there at all.

I wasn’t sure what else to do, so I began to read my one year Bible. I was a few days behind and wanted to catch up. I was reading through Joshua as he dispersed the land to the tribes of Israel. Good stuff, but I didn’t find God there this morning. Next was a passage from the book of Luke. Very good stuff. It blessed me, but I still didn’t find Him. Then I came to the reading from Psalms.

As I began to read through the Psalms that David wrote, something suddenly happened. The words began to burn in my heart and I began to speak them to God as though they were my words. I wasn’t just reading words off a page, they were coming from my heart.

These were some of the words:

With all my heart will I praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever, for your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death. (Psalm 86:12-13, NLT)

But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15, NLT)

Three Psalms came pouring from my heart this morning. And as I drew near to Him with the words of David now burning in my heart, I found Him drawing near to me.

Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding California says to read through the Psalms until you find the cry of your heart and then pour it before the Lord!

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. (Matthew 15:8, KJV)

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11, KJV)

With my whole heart have I sought thee… (Psalm 119:10, KJV)

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you… (James 4:8, KJV)

My Hero

Lyrics from Third Day’s Love Song:

I’ve heard it said that a man would climb a mountain
Just to be with the one he loves.
How many times has he broken that promise
It has never been done.
I’ve never climbed the highest mountain,
But I walked the hill of Calvary.

I know that you don’t understand
the fullness of My love.
How I died upon the cross for your sins.

Just to be with you, I’ve done everything
There’s no price I did not pay
Just to be with you, I gave everything
Yes, I gave my life away.

My Hero, the One Who died for me:

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13, KJV)

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. (Isaiah 53:5, Amplified)

…He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, so opened he not his mouth… (Acts 8:32, KJV)

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10:11, KJV)

…I lay down My [own] life… (John 10:17, Amplified)

And they took Jesus and led [Him] away; so He went out, bearing His own cross, to the spot called The Place of the Skull… There they crucified Him… (John 19:17-18, Amplified)

…And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. (John 19:30, Amplified)

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. (1 Peter 2:24-25,KJV & Amplified)

The world is full of people who have earned the right to be called heroes. Others are called heroes who have never done anything heroic. There is only One Man Who laid down His life for not just one, not just a few, not just a nation, but for every person that has ever and will ever walk this earth. But today, think about the fact that He did if for you. He’s not just a Hero. He’s not just the world’s Hero. He is your Hero. Selah.

Sweet Hour of Prayer

In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart].  (Psalm 5:3, Amplified)

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. (Mark 1:35, KJV)

And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. (Luke 9:29, KJV)

…could ye not watch with me one hour? (Matthew 26:40, KJV)

Last night at church we sang the song Sweet Hour of Prayer. Today I want to share it with you.

Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer.
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare,
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer.
The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
Of those whose anxious spirits burn
With strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
Where God my Savior shows His face,
And gladly take my station there,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer.
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His Word and trust His grace,
I’ll cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer.
May I thy consolation share,
Till, from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height,
I view my home and take my flight.
This robe of flesh I’ll drop, and rise
To seize the everlasting prize,
And shout, while passing through the air,
“Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!”

Oh that our hearts would burn to sit and commune with Him. And in that solitary place where God and man meet face to face that we be changed from glory to glory by His amazing grace.

But to Love

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8, KJV)

…he who loves his neighbor [who practices loving others] has fulfilled the Law… (Romans 13:8, Amplified)

In the last few days I’ve had a little scratch in my heart when I think about a friend of mine. There were some things this person had done, that were very minor, really no big deal and I’m not sure why they even did it. There could be any number of really good reasons for what they had done. Yet still these little things kept scratching at my heart.

I finally took a moment to think about why these things bothered me. I came to the conclusion that when this person did these things, I felt unloved. Now just because I felt that way does not mean this person doesn’t love me. As a matter of fact, I know this friend loves me. But what was scratching at my heart was that I felt like they didn’t love me.

Now, I know better than this, yet I still found myself in this position. Then I remembered something very important. I am not responsible for other people loving me. I am responsible for loving them.

The moment I shifted my attention off whether they loved me or not, and onto purposely loving them, by believing the best of them and not noticing a suffered wrong (in this case a supposed suffered wrong), I felt that scratchy feeling leave my heart and a wave of the Love of God overwhelm my heart for them.

God’s love, agape, is unconditional. It is not based on the recipient’s performance. We love them when they do right. We love them when they do wrong. We love them when they love us. We love them when it seems and feels like they don’t  love us. This is agape and this is each person’s individual responsibility.

Keep in mind this is how God loves you… unconditionally!

Henry Drummond said, “Love begets love.” God said, “Love never fails.” Don’t worry about whether the other person loves you or not. You focus on whether you are walking in love towards them or not. Are you being patient and kind? Are you believing the best of them? Are you covering a multitude of sins?

I have done this many times and have seen people who had previously responded to me in unlovely ways, begin to respond in love.

This especially works between husbands and wives, but let’s not forget to practice it with our children, our extended families, our friends, our co-workers and the people who cross our path each day.

…love one another; as I have loved you… (John 13:34, KJV)