God of the Morning

I love the mornings. The start of a new day. Mornings are full of potential. Freshness. Newness. So much opportunity!

I think one of the key reasons why I love mornings is because it’s like a major restart for me, both physical and spiritual.

Physically, my batteries have been recharged, my mind is at peace and the day is full of opportunities of what could be.

But I think it’s the spiritual side of mornings that really get me excited.  Here are a few scriptures I think about in the morning:

    “Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22, 23).

    Let me hear of your unfailing love to me in the morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I have come to you in prayer” (Psalms 143:8).

    “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up in the morning, you are still with me!” (Psalms 139:17, 18).

    “His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalms 30:5).

    Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly” (Psalms 5:3).

    “But as for me, I will sing about your power. I will shout with joy each morning because of your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety in the day of distress” (Psalms 59:16).

Be encouraged! If you have failed, messed up, missed God, or just wonder if he cares about you, then you can know this: God’s presence is with you each and every morning.  Call upon him. Listen and let us love wash over you.

Faith without fear may be dead

From BobHamp.com

“I’m just not sure I have the faith it takes to get through this.”

“I just know I don’t have as much faith as I should.”

These thoughts, and many like them, course through our minds as we wrestle with our sense of inadequacy as children of God.  I am convinced that we wrestle with this sense of inadequacy because way too often, we try to generate from our soul, what can only come from God Himself.

Faith is not the mental agreement with a religious system or doctrine.  Nor is it our resolve to carry out a mindset or a mission.  It is a way of seeing that comes from listening instead of thinking.

I also see, far too often, that people think that the fact that they experience fear means that they do not “have enough faith”.  What if that is not true?

I know the Bible tells us that faith without works is dead.  I also think that faith without fear may be dead. If not dead, at least it is not really faith. Often the lack of fear is because we can see or reason the solution to, or we can rescue ourselves from our circumstances. What happens when we can’t see, but believe anyway?

Let me put it this way. Which demonstrates more faith; jumping off a curb, or jumping off a cliff. The first requires no faith at all because the risk (or fear factor) is minimal. Jumping off a curb allows you to still catch yourself, to rely on your own capabilities. Where is the fear (or faith) in that.

Jump off a cliff. (Don’t really go do this OK?, it’s an illustration…) You are now without the ability to catch yourself. Your resources are of no help. Only God can help you now. The fear factor increases the faith required to act.

Sometimes real faith means feeling the reality of the fear, but trusting and acting anyway. Trusting because you have a way of seeing that came from hearing and not from thinking.

Faith comes by hearing

From BobHamp.com

Several Years ago, I was in a car wreck. It was my fault. I turned too quickly, the car behind me had little warning, and almost no opportunity to stop. Behind me I heard screeching tires and felt a powerful impact. No one was hurt seriously. Bruises and scrapes, and a few days of sore muscles.

For months afterward, every time I heard screeching tires I startled, and braced for an impact. My nervous system seemed to have a mind of it’s own. I reacted without consciously choosing to do so.

This response was the substance of something unseen.

Here is what I have come to know. Faith comes by hearing.

If you are someone who knows the Bible, you may recognize that this phrase comes from the New Testament. The book of Romans in particular. You might even know that the next verse says, “…and hearing comes by the Word of Christ.”

But I think the first part can stand alone. Faith comes by hearing.

I heard screeching tires and my heart deeply received…for months, my faith, my deep, deep belief, was in the sound I heard, and in an event that was no longer happening. Everything about me responded as if the event was still real, present and active.

I have a friend, who for years heard these words. “You are stupid”

She heard.

The words had power over her, her heart had received, and she believed. She did not have to see herself acting stupid. Her faith was the substance of something she initially did not see. The more she believed, the more she DID see. Her grades in school, her life choices… became the experience of what she believed, and she believed because she had heard.

Faith comes by hearing. Coose carefully who and what you listen to. Listen to those things that you want to experience as real, present and active in your life.

What’s your source?

From Alan Smith’s Blog

Adam and Eve just had one rule to follow. It was a simple rule. Easy to understand. I think it’s good things were so simple because they weren’t designed to live by rules anyway. The only rule was – don’t live by rules.

Humans were designed to live by God’s life and presence, directed moment by moment out of a place of relationship and surrender. We were designed to have God as our source. We were designed to love God and to be loved by God.

Love, in order to be love, must be freely chosen. Love that is not freely chosen is not love. Love that is compelled is not love. Love that is forced is not love. Love that is taken is not love. Love, in its very essence, requires freedom: the freedom to choose love.

If there is a genuine freedom to choose love, there must be a genuine freedom to NOT choose love. There must be an option. There must be an alternative. There must be a way to freely exercise the will to choose that which love is not. If humans are to genuinely have the freedom to choose to live by God’s life and presence in moment by moment surrender with God as their source, there must be the possibility of choosing a different source.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was necessary in the Garden of Eden for this reason.  This tree is a different source: the knowledge of good and evil. At its worst this kind of living gravitates towards the experience of all things evil. At its best this kind of living strives to avoid evil and do good in an effort to perform correctly and merit God’s favor. The trap of religion is that often it simply entices us to move from an evil branch to a good branch within the same tree. We give up sinful behaviors and adopt new “good” behaviors. Those that do this poorly feel a great deal of condemnation and a deep compulsion to try harder. Those that do this well feel a great sense of superiority and smugness. They are self-righteous.

In either case, this is no way to live. What’s your source?

Genuine repentance doesn’t just change from evil branches to good within the Tree of Knowledge. Genuine repentance switches trees entirely. Genuine repentance gives up all reliance upon self: my knowledge, my understanding, my effort, my performance. Genuine repentance chooses to live by a new source: God’s life and presence.

Those aren’t fighting words, Dear

I read this article the other day called “Those aren’t fighting words, dear” and it so moved me.

I found it to be very profound because it touches on a serious issue with our culture today–the inability to address root problems in our soul, those deep, faulty issues that drive us to make serious mistakes.

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