There Is Blessing in Obedience

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” | 1 Samuel 15:22

As I sat quietly before the Lord, I began to feel Him highlight the word obedience to my spirit. 1 Samuel says that obedience is better than sacrifice to the Lord. There are many voices clamoring for our attention in this season. The enemy seeks to wear us out, pressuring us to give our “yes” to everyone and everything that comes our way. I feel that the Lord wants to encourage us to get into the secret place more than ever before, for what may have brought forth good fruit in one season may no longer be fruitful. Similarly, many actions and activities are good and godly, but there may not be a grace to complete them in this current season. While it is easy to cling to what is familiar and do what we have always done, it is important for us to hear what the Lord is saying to us in this  given moment.

I sense that there is much change coming as we prepare to enter into the new year, both globally and on a personal level. Your biggest asset will be abiding in the Lord and listening to His voice above all. Man will not always approve of your decisions, or understand the motives behind your actions. However, as you stay humble and obey God above all else, He will cause even your enemies to be at peace with you.

When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LordHe makes even his enemies to be at peace with him | Proverbs 16:7 

Many are navigating through uncharted waters in this season, as much change is upon us. Be encouraged! All will be well as you listen and obey the Lord—both in the big and small things. He truly has great things in store for His children. Stand firm in your faith, and do not give in to the spirit of fear which seeks to keep you from moving out into all God has for you.

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The Lord is training us in this season to walk on the water. As we keep our eyes locked on Him, we will not be overtaken by the waves. Be willing to say “no” to anything the Lord calls you to lay down, and say “yes” to what He is highlighting to you in this time of change, even if it is different than what you may have first perceived it to be. God’s ways are truly higher than ours, and there is blessing in your obedience.

Rest for the Weary

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. | Isaiah 40:29

My precious child, I am calling you to simply rest. Allow My sweet presence to wash over you and refresh your tired soul. I know that you have become battle weary in this season. My heart of compassion is extended to you. Truly My yoke is easy, and My burden is light (Matthew 11:30). Throw off the heavy yokes that have been weighing you down; let go of the things that seek to so easily entangle you. Enter into My rest.

Your value is not based on your works or performance; your identity is found in simply knowing that you are My child, the apple of My eye. You are the one I delight in. Listen closely, do you hear the love song that I am singing over you?

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

My love is not selfish or rude, it is all encompassing; let it wash over you and revive you. I love you, despite your shortcomings. I see you as altogether lovely, with no spot or blemish (Song of Songs 4:17). How I long for you to see yourself as I see you, My beloved! I am so proud of you and how far you have come on your journey. I know that it has been a difficult road to travel at times. Be encouraged that amidst the pain, and even that which you would consider failures, I am still at work in your life: weaving a pattern of good through it all.

I see the beginning to the end. Your life is a beautiful tapestry: every stitch is coming together to create the big, beautiful picture. You are My masterpiece, a vessel of honor, set apart. Some days you feel as though you are effortlessly gliding through, experiencing the sweet, refreshing winds of My Spirit. Other days feel like a steep, uphill climb, as you feel the winds of adversity blowing against you. Realize that on the good and bad days alike, My love for you is constant and steadfast. It will never change, and it will never fail. Nothing can ever separate you from My love!

Continue to move forward in boldness and confidence, knowing that I fully approve of you, and that I will never leave you nor forsake you. I will not forget what I have spoken to you; the words I have declared over your life will come to pass. No good thing will I withhold from you, My child (Psalm 84:11). Trust Me in this season, says the Lord, for you are becoming equipped and made perfect for every good work.

The Lord Is Turning the Bitter into Sweet

 So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters, for they were bitter And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”  So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.| Exodus 15:22-25

In the story of Moses, the Lord’s people had been wandering in the wilderness without fresh water. However, God demonstrated His faithfulness, turning the bitter waters into sweet. The Lord is going to turn your bitter waters into sweet in this season! Those bitter, ongoing circumstances that have been pressing hard against your life are about to become good once more. You will not travel around the difficult mountain again, for you are coming out of the wilderness, leaning on your Beloved (Song of Songs 8:5).

The Lord has been continuing to highlight the word joy to me in this season. The enemy has overplayed his hand, and many have felt defeated. Do not give up hope, but take heart! Sweet waters of refreshing are washing away the pain and heartache of the previous season.

“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me” (Psalm 42:7). The very areas that were previously stumbling blocks will soon become your stepping stones! Be encouraged, and drink freely from His living water. Times of great refreshing and joy are upon us!

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Hope Restored

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life | Proverbs 13:12

Rejoice in the God of hope!

Many have been grappling with disappointment and hope deferred as they reflect on the heartaches and unexpected twists that this past year has brought forth. Anxiety is trying to rest upon many people as the year 2017 rapidly begins to approach us. There is question pushing heavily on their hearts: the question that dares to ask, “what’s next?” Yet, amidst the chaos and confusion, a voice pierces the darkness. It is saying, “Shake off the dust of past disappointments from this previous season. It is a new day, and hope is being restored.”

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I hear the Lord saying, “Do not look to the former, for behold, I do a new thing (Isaiah 43:19).”  Trust and perseverance are being cultivated inside the hearts of those who have continued to pursue the Lord, even through the intense circumstances and refiner’s fire. Abraham believed in the Lord’s promises, even when things did not seem to line up in the natural. Even so, God was faithful to His word, and Abraham received his promised child. Even though things may appear to be ‘dead’ in the natural realm, know that God has not forgotten you. He is faithful to bring about all that He has spoken to you, just as He was with Abraham.

I believe that there will be many ‘suddenly’ moments in the upcoming days. These times will surprise God’s people and bring a spirit of rejoicing as we enter into the new year. For “blessed are those whose strength is in You, [Lord], whose hearts are set on pilgrimage” (Psalm 84:5). As you have laid things on the alter and have continued to make the Lord your heart’s highest desire, He is going to reward your faithfulness!

Refreshing rivers of hope and new strength are being poured out as you continue to fix your eyes on the Lord! Do not be discouraged by how things may appear on the outside, for He alone is the God of the impossible. Nothing is too difficult for the Lord!

Our God is releasing a fresh joy in this season, and it will refresh and revive you. Let go of past disappointments and trust the good work that the Father is doing in you. The Lord has been working all along; not one tear has been wasted or escaped His notice. He is the God that works all things together for your good, for He weaves a pattern of goodness through the very things that have caused you the most distress.

Look expectantly as we enter into a new year, and watch how the Lord surprises you! He is a good Father, and in Him, we have the hope of a good future (Jeremiah 29:11).

The Pruning Is Preparing You for More

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. | John 15:2

If you currently find yourself in a season of pruning, take heart! You are being prepared for more—increase and promotion are coming.

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John 3:30 says, “He must become greater; I must become less.” As uncomfortable as the pruning process may be, I believe that God is longing to encourage us as we continue to press into His heart. The Lord will honor our obedience as we allow Him to cut away the things that distract us from our Savior. He is going after our hearts in this season. Though you may feel a momentary discomfort, the work that the Lord is completing within you is good. For “no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).

I sense that in this season there are many distractions seeking to come against the body of Christ. Do not let these distractions draw you away from your first Love. The Lord, in His goodness, is allowing us to feel the discomfort of pruning so that we will run to Him and not become ensnared or lured by the traps of the enemy. God is desiring to pour out more of His Spirit in this season, bestowing gifts and increase on those who have stewarded well what the Father has given them. He who has been faithful with little is also faithful in much (Luke 16:10).

Increase and promotion are on the way! Keep your eyes upon the Faithful One, amidst the distractions and noise. There are many voices clamoring for our attention in this hour. Fight for your time in the secret place; He will meet you there. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).

Now, more than ever, we need to hear the Lord and seek out His heart for direction during this time of great transition—transitions around the world, and for many, transitions in their own, personal life. Do not fear, even in the turbulence and shaking. Know that the Lord your God is working His purposes. As you continue to cling to the Father and abide in Him, you will be kept safe from harm (Psalm 121).

Our best days are rapidly approaching us, and this turbulence will soon be settling down. As we allow the Lord to work His purposes in us, continuing to press into Him, we will come forth even more sensitive to the Lord’s voice. He is refining us like gold.

Again, press into His heart, for there is nothing to fear. The Lord is enlarging you and preparing you to steward well the increase, promotion, and favor that is coming. Soon, you will spread out to the right and to the left (Isaiah 54:3). Allow the Lord to have first place in your heart. God is working His purposes in you, and the best is yet to come!