Delighting in the Lord

In my devotional time today, I read Mark 12:37b………..And the large crowd enjoyed listening to Him. Other versions said they delighted in listening to Him, they heard Him gladly, and they were delighted with what they heard. My favorite version was the Amplified Bible  “The large crowd enjoyed hearing Jesus and listened to Him with delight.”

It made me question my motivations how I read His word, how I listen to someone else bring His word and how I read what someone else has written about Him in a book. For the most part I can say I enter in with great expectation of hearing from Him but there are times I just tune out and go through the motions. Just being honest here. I don’t like when that happens.

I hate when I have to keep reading the same scripture over and over cause I’m thinking about something else. Anyone else do that?  Or the times when someone is talking and I tune out and then they say, “What do you think, Diane?” Argggggggg Or how bout when you read a whole chapter in a book and when you get done, you can’t account for what it was about?

I don’t ever want to take the Lord for granted. I want to hang on His word the way the people did when He walked the earth with them. They were so excited they came in droves and stayed without even thinking about what they were going to eat. I think about the guys that believed in everything He said so they brought their friend to Him for healing and dug through a roof to get to Him. Now that is excitement!

David didn’t even have to hear Him speak. He was just delighted in spending time gazing on His beauty. Ps 27:4 The one thing I ask of the Lord— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple

The dictionary defines delight as a high degree of gratification or pleasure: extreme satisfaction. PS 37:4 says, ” Delight yourself in the Lord, And He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart.”  I have read this scripture a bazillion times. Seriously! What if we read it this way, ” Extremely satisfy yourself in the Lord.” Changes the whole way you look at that scripture. Right? The delight in Hebrew means to be happy about, take exquisite delight. Exquisite mean intense  as in pleasure.

We are so fortunate to have the Word of God! I don’t ever want to get to a place where I take it and the Lord for granted. God gives us so many rewards when we delight our selves in Him and His word. Just a few examples:

  1. We’ll get the desires of our hearts (Ps 27:4)
  2. We will shout for joy (Ps 37:47)
  3. The Lord will direct our steps (Ps 37:23)
  4.  He is blessed (Ps 112:1)
  5.  He can have a clean life (Ps 119:9-16)

I think I’m going to be looking at this with different eyes now.

Day 5 of our 21 day fast has been amazing. I feel great. Still get those hunger pangs but not as intense as the first three days. God just keeps giving me so much to ponder on every day. I can’t wait til what He is showing me about me will turn into how He plans to use me for His glory!!! Exciting days ahead!

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I am a Sword Survivor!

Jeremiah 31:Thus says the Lord:“The people who survived the sword
    found grace in the wilderness;

I have always loved this scripture. It always reminded me that you can survive the bad things in life and find favor and peace in the wilderness that the sword causes you to run to.

I didn’t realize until today though, as I was continuing my reading in Jeremiah, that this was prophetic of the future for the people of God but also going to be very prophetic for my own life. I am a sword survivor.

I’ve had several battles in my life but no matter what I went through, my faith carried me through the wilderness times. Having grace during those times didn’t mean I was always going to be happy but I knew that God was with me. There’s a lot of lessons to be learned in the wildernesses of our lives if we’re willing to learn them.

My biggest battle happened 4 years ago when I faced a crisis in my marriage and ministry. I ran away from that sword and landed at a very wonderful friends house for 10 days. God was building me up, loving me through it  and promising me I was going to rise above my circumstances. Last blog I talked about the exile I have been in. The exile is the same as the wilderness. In that battle my marriage was saved but not my ministries.

The Lord opened the door for us to move to the country.  I love it and don’t want to leave it, it has been a place of healing, peace and solitude but it has also been a place of loneliness. Because we are so far away, it makes it hard to get involved in ministry. We tried to get involved with one ministry but the Lord showed me that my vision wasn’t the same and I had to step aside but I didn’t quit supporting it. It’s so important to allow God to grow you, where you have been planted whether or not it feels comfortable. We are now looking for a home that is closer to both our church and kids because the door has opened for us to both jump in!

The Lord has loved me and remains faithful to the promises He has given me even though I am still waiting to see the fruit of those promises.

Jeremiah 31: 4 Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers. Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and shall enjoy the fruit. For there shall be a day when watchmen will call in the hill country of Ephraim: ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.’”

God was promising to take the people back home, to their land. And He has promises these same things to me. The verse that really jumped out was “the planters shall plant and shall enjoy the fruit. I felt like for years I have planted but have not got to experience the fruit I have been able to produce. I believe the Lord was telling this is about to change and that I will now bear and experience it. This is just so exciting for me!!!

Day three of my 21 Day Fast has been a little uncomfortable. Not the hunger but my stomach has hurt a little and I have felt nauseated but I have pressed forward. I’ve been a little grumpy with the dogs today and their wanting to go outside every ok what seems like every 5 minutes.  I know how amazing fasts are and am already on the receiving end of God’s presence and speaking to me. Come on day 4!

Exile Doesn’t Mean Quit!

No matter where we are in life, we should never stop building, planting, and praying especially when God removes us from one place and takes us to another.

Day one of my church’s 21 day fast was pretty easy. It got a little tough at night as the hunger headache came on and I was really wanting something solid. I also had insomnia and didn’t fall asleep til after 3 am. But the trade off was/is definitely worth it and that is hearing from God in His word.

Right now I am reading in the book of Jeremiah.  In Chapter 29 God sent His people into exile for 70 years. He sent them from Jerusalem into Babylon. Exile means a prolonged, usually enforced absence from one’s home or country; banishment. (Dictionary.com) or  people that have to leave their own land, often for a long time. (Easy English Bible Dictionary)The false prophets were telling them not to worry that they would return soon. But God was telling them to build houses and live in them, plant gardens, marry and have children. Then He told them to pray for the land they were living in.

I have felt that exile in my own life the last 4 years. I am happy to say though that I have never quit. I  have kept and still keep trying to build and plant seeds where God had me living both physically and spiritually. I know that sometimes God has to move us from one place to teach us new things but He also replaces us to teach other’s new things. Although it hasn’t been comfortable and not all that I have wanted, I have had to learn to be content.

God is true to His promises and even though at times I have felt like I must have imagined them, He has been busy making it even far better then I could have dreamed. I think I am beginning to see a little glimpse into His plan. He will return me back to the places He has removed me in a spiritual sense.

When God told His people to pray He added, vs 7 “…..for in it’s welfare you will find your welfare.” No matter where God has us planted, no matter how painful it might feel, no matter if it’s totally different, we need to pray for peace. What we pray for others will fall back on us. We inherit the rewards of those who are rewarded through our prayers.

God promised them He would visit them and He would fulfill his promise. He will do the same for me and for you. It may not look the way it did when He removed you but it will be better, new, and restored.

God has been having me look above and below the promises he has given me in scripture in the past and tying it together for me in brand new, exciting ways. I didn’t even realize until I got to verse 11 that He was tying in my scripture for 2017:

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

DESTINY!

Planning For Your Fast

January is the month that most churches across the country begin 21 days of fasting and prayer  with a purposeful focus  on God. Some begin the first day of the year, and others choose a few days later or even a week after. Fasting and praying allows us the opportunity to humble ourselves before the Lord and seek what He wants for us personally and corporately as a church.

This is my favorite time of year to fast. I used to dread fasting but God took me on an amazing spiritual journey many years ago which changed my whole outlook on fasting. Now I look for opportunities to fast and pray!!! My church will begin our corporate fast on Jan 9th! Have you ever seen that commercial where the woman is standing outside the door of a store saying, “Open…open…open”? She can hardly wait to get inside and start shopping. Well that’s me right now. I’m so excited; I might have to start a little earlier!!!

In My book Breaking Through To Higher Places at the end of chapter four, I lay out 9 questions to help you prepare for your fast.

  1. What type of fast will you do?
  2. If you are eating things, what will those things be?
  3. How long will you be on your fast?
  4. What will you do when you get hungry?
  5. When will you spend time in the Word?
  6. What events are coming up that could be a hindrance to your plan?
  7. Write down how you will handle each of them?
  8. How will you handle your fast at meal times for those in your family who aren’t fasting with you?
  9. Name at least three people you can make yourself accountable to, to help you succeed.

I encourage you to write these down and answer them before going into your fast. You might even have questions you might want to add. Having a plan will help you succeed. When we make a plan and stick to it, then we are free to spend time with the Lord without things getting in the way. And trust me, distractions come in all forms!

I always plan out my fast because I am eagerly awaiting and encounter with God. With a plan in motion, I am free to taste and see that the Lord is good!

Tuesday I Became a Published Author….

You should never underestimate the life experiences that you go through and how God will use them. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever believed I would be looking at a published book that I wrote. Okay in my wildest dreams I did publish a book but to think it would become a reality is beyond words.

10 years ago I had an amazing experience with fasting. I journalled my whole experience and at the end of a 30 day fast, shared it with my husband who thought it was so good that he encouraged me to write a book. You can read the story in my book preview at Breaking Through to Higher Places.

My friends Sheryl and Brian Valloton opened up their cabin for me to write and another friend Shawn Lynch edited the first version for me. I bound it up myself and ended up giving 87 copies away and actually sold 13 of them at a conference.

After that my life was in chaos and I put the book on the shelf with hopes of publishing it “some day”. 10 years later I was sitting on my couch talking with my friend Linda Heard. Somehow we got on to the subject of fasting and I handed her my book. She loved it! She loved it so much that she encouraged me to pursue publishing it and she began a publishing fund for me.  She and a couple of her amazing friends, Marilyn, Rob and Ali raised two thirds of what I needed to go through a co publishing company. She spent hours and hours editing and advising this book for me. I reformatted it to a bible study but at the last moment I went back to the original manuscript and just put the questions at the end of each chapter.

I called Linda and told her I found a publishing company and that I change the format again. She told me to make sure I watched out for errors because she wasn’t going to read it again for the fifth time! We both got a good laugh at that one.

I chose to go through Authorhouse and they have given me the best experience ever! I think I was talking to them almost every day as the book progressed through each step. And then……………..

Tuesday I got the call that my book was finished!! I quickly rushed to the Authorhouse book store and there it was was…my very first book..I cried, I laughed, I jumped for joy. I was so excited that when my Point of Contact, Josh called me and asked if I had questions, I said no and hung up on him. A couple of days later he called me back and this time I did have questions. Funny how he would know that hahahaha.

Yesterday I got my free soft bound copy and today I should get my free hardbound copy. I cannot even begin to share the joy of holding that book in my hand. It’s so beautiful!

With the new year coming, it was a perfect time for my book to come out as many people will be fasting and some for the first time. My hopes and dreams are that this book would really encourage people to “want” to fast and instead of running away from it, they will choose to run to it!

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I have second book that is done well, I thought it was, but am rethinking the format for the 100th time. It’s a very transparent and vulnerable book on a crisis I went through 4 and 1/2 years ago. I know I was supposed to write it but not sure how the Lord wants me to do with it. It’s definitely  for a targeted audience. So for now it’s in a holding pattern. The good news though is I already have a title for my third, fourth, fifth, six etc….. one…I am feeling so inspired now to move forward!