“I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close…” Revelation 3:8 NLT
Now that things seem to be opening up, I recently had a young friend comment that her life went from being almost completely shut down one day, to back to the rush and noise of life before Covid. She, like most of us, are suffering from physical and emotional whiplash!
Our decisions are demanding to be made at light speed, it seems. Which way to go? Which activity to stop and which to go back to? How much time to spend on each of the things we want to do? What does balance look like now? It has been so long since we’ve had to even think about those things.
I found some peace, and an answer that helped me, when, in a study of the Holy Spirit, it pointed out that the Holy Spirit helps us in our decision-making. In the book of Acts (16:6-10) we read where Paul and Silas were blocked by the Holy Spirit from traveling into one region, then another, until, finally, in a vision Paul was told to go to Macedonia to preach.
I was so encouraged to find out that as I try to obey God and do what pleases him, if I am headed in the wrong direction, the Holy Spirit will close that door for me, and point me to the one he has opened. In fact, the Holy Spirit wants to guide us in all of our decision-making. (Acts 15:28) Which makes perfect sense if we believe that God has a specific plan and purpose for our lives. We find that truth in God’s Word, and are given repeated examples of it. (Ps.139:16)
So, if you, like many of us, are standing before open doors of possibility which will impact the form and content of our lives going forward, be encouraged. As believers, we have the ultimate solution, the Holy Spirit lives in us to guide, teach and equip us. We just seek him and believe what he is showing us. Let’s pray, asking the Holy Spirit to close the doors that are not for us in this time to walk through, and for him to guide us to and through the door that God has chosen for us and is, therefore, best for us and our loved ones.
We are not alone. Our help and guide is with us, and within us. Let’s trust and rely on God, setting aside the 10 to 15 minutes of soaking in his presence and listening for his voice to direct us. Once we discern it, we will wonder why we don’t do that every day!
Dear friends, be blessed with peace that passes all understanding as you keep focused on Jesus and keep seeking and listening to the Holy Spirit. Believe that God wants to direct you and keep you on the right path. You are not helpless or alone in deciding the next step in your life. Be blessed with joy as you discover how easy it is to truly live in the flow of the Holy Spirit, the life-giving Spirit. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ June 16, 2021
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! ~ Philippians 4:4 NLT
As a new Christian, I tried to do it all right. I studied the Bible, worked hard to serve in the church but, although I was growing in many areas, I remember crying out to the Lord, “Where’s the joy?!” I wanted joy.
You might relate to that desire. It took years before I began to realize that the Lord had been answering me. Our pastor taught us, “Joy is not happiness.” Happiness is dependent on our circumstances. While studying the book of Nehemiah I was challenged by his declaration to his people at the completion of the wall, “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Neh.8:10)
Gradually it began to dawn on me, joy is not dependent on me, it is the Lord’s gift to me as I pursue a relationship with him and learn to rely more and more on him alone in every area of my life. In the grace-filled relationship with Jesus, the roots of my heart gradually grow deeper into the Father’s love, his heart. I become anchored, unshakable by mere daily events.
And as a proud Father, God’s delight, his joy in me, begins to bubble up. I begin to trust that I am the new creation he promised in Christ his Son. I am completely accepted for who God created me to be. I am loved and never will be rejected nor abandoned. I belong, not only to our amazing King Jesus, but my very being is rooted in an unchanging purpose and completely satisfying, fulfilling eternity. I matter. I am seen and heard by God.
So, life will bring its challenges. A flood may wash away my cherished possessions. My earthly relationships may become failures and my earthly life become insecure, but I remain safe, loved, secure and my future destiny unchanged, because I belong to Jesus my Savior, am loved by my heavenly Father and daily I am being renewed and empowered by the Holy Spirit who is one with my spirit and lives in me.
The good gifts God gives us cannot be taken from us. Therefore, we are filled daily with God’s gift of joy, a gift manifest in our spirit. God wants you to receive and enjoy it. Just ask, believe, receive and trust.
Dear friends, be blessed with supernatural endurance and strength as you seek and receive more of the Lord and his joy. You were designed to be thankful and to rejoice. Your entire body, soul and spirit will rejoice as you receive more of God, his love, peace and joy. Smile. Joy is real and is anchored in your relationship with Jesus. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ June 9, 2021
In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus.
So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you,
and he will place you on a firm foundation. ~ 1 Peter 5:10 NLT
Last week our little four-year-old grandson broke a bone in his elbow when he fell at pre-school. The sight of him in a big cast broke our hearts, especially knowing he would need it for many weeks. As I thought about him, I remembered hearing that, if a break in our bones is aligned properly, the bone when healed would be even stronger than before. How like God to give us that picture to encourage us when we feel broken.
I can only imagine how God, our loving Father, must be saddened when he sees us broken and hurting, spiritually, physically or emotionally. That is why he sent his Son Jesus, our Healer, Redeemer and Lord. So, if you are feeling broken in some area of your life today, be encouraged. Choose to align that broken area with God’s original design for you so the Lord may heal and strengthen you. When you do, that part of you will be stronger than before.
Jesus’ compassion for you is stronger than your doubts. Go to Jesus, pour out your heart to him, listen to what he tells you and choose to trust him. Ask the Holy Spirit to align your health, your thoughts, your heart and your spirit with God’s perfect design and purpose for you. Pray into it daily until you feel God’s strength replacing your weakness in that area. Praise God for becoming your strength when you were weak and growing you closer to him.
Dear friends, be blessed with strength and wholeness that only comes from our merciful, compassionate God. May you be surprised by the power of his grace as you trust him to straighten the bent places and bring health and wholeness to every area of your being. You were created in God’s image and likeness. Rejoice in the restoration of that reality in you. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ June 2, 2021