Tag Archive | humility

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 62 – Blessed are the Merciful

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 62

Blessed are the Merciful

Lord, teach me what it means to be merciful. It is a great gift directly from Your hand. You are a merciful and loving Father; You show Your kindness and compassion to Your people from generation to generation. Help me to be a representation of Your mercy.

A Message from God’s Heart to Yours:

My blessed child, I created you in My own image; in the image of God, I created you. I am kind and forgiving, compassionate and loving, understanding and merciful. Practice My ways by the power of My Spirit within you. Show kindness and tenderness to everyone. Be willing to forgive, as you, yourself have been forgiven. My compassions are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). Arise each day with a new acceptance of the one you find difficult to love.

I desire genuine devotion, not lip service. Practice My instructions; carry out My commands. Treat others as you want to be treated, with mercy and respect. This may require a change in the way you live. Stop and think before you act or react. Trade in a criticism for a word of kindness. Rather than exercising anger, willingly extend forgiveness. Hold your tongue; it can be a double-edged sword. Speak with words of encouragement and bring peace to a weary soul.

Show mercy and you will be shown mercy (Matthew 5:7). Sow seeds of kindness, and a harvest of kindness you will reap. Practice humility with love. Do not wait to be served, but serve one another in love. Be compassionate to the hurting, helpful to those in need, and generous with your giving. Exercise grace and mercy whenever you have an opportunity. Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).

Religious activities mean nothing without personal surrender to the Lord. The mouth speaks what the heart is full of (Matthew 12:34). Be full of blessing and understanding. “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).

In My great mercy, I have given you new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by My power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5). I have blessed you to be a blessing (Genesis 12:2). Bless others with an attitude of mercy, love, and forgiveness.  

Prayer:

Merciful Father in heaven, thank You for Your compassion and grace. You have been so faithful with Your promises and provision. Thank You for Your compassions; they are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). Thank You for Your forgiveness and Your peace. Help me to know the meaning of mercy and to pass that gift along to the undeserving one. Lord, share Your heart with me now as we speak one-on-one. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen

Two-way Conversation with God: 

  • Father God, please remind me of specific ways that You have shown Your mercy to me. (Jot down all the thoughts He gives you.)

 

  • Lord, Jesus, show me ways I might be merciful to others; even specific circumstances recently when I could have shown more mercy. (Write down all the ideas He puts in your heart.)

 

  • Holy Spirit, empower me with God’s character trait of mercy. Fill my heart with mercy for the one needs to see it from me. Lord, bring that person to my mind right now and give me the opportunity to exercise Your loving mercy to this person. (Record what you hear and any examples of you are given.)

Review God’s thoughts and impressions you’ve sensed and written above. What Scripture comes to mind as you review your notes? Use the concordance of your Bible to look up an impression from God’s Word. Record the verse or passage here. Write all insights and encouragement the Holy Spirit illumines for you as you read God’s Word right now.

Prayer:

Almighty God, You have made me in Your image. You are a compassionate, merciful Father. Lord, let me be as kind and forgiving as You are, so that I might be a good representation of Your character. Lord, teach me Your ways, and help me to be merciful that I might be shown Your mercy. Lord, help me be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Give me a heart full of mercy, even when I am not shown any. I desire to live in a manner which is pleasing to You. I humbly myself to You, in order to serve You wholeheartedly. Teach me Your ways, and empower me to live them out. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Supporting Scripture:

Genesis 12:2-3, 2“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

Lamentations 3:22, Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Nehemiah 9:17, But You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore You did not desert them.

Nehemiah 9:31, But in Your great mercy, You did not put an end to them or abandon them, for You are a gracious and merciful God.

Psalm 25:6, Remember, LORD, Your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.

Psalm 78:38, Yet He was merciful; He forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them.

Daniel 9:9-10, 9The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him; 10we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws He gave us through His servants the prophets.

Daniel 9:18, Give ear, our God, and hear; open Your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears Your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.

Hosea 6:6, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”

Micah 6:8, He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Zechariah 7:9, This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’

Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

Matthew 9:13, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 12:34, “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

Luke 1:50, “His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation.”

Luke 6:36, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Romans 9:18, Therefore God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden.

Ephesians 2:4-10, 4But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus., in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by race you have been saved, through faith—and this this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

1 Peter 1:3-5, 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

Copyright © Sindy Nagel. All Rights Reserved

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 59 – Fruit of the Spirit

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 59

Fruit of the Spirit

Lord, displaying the fruit of the Spirit seems a goal too difficult to continually attain. How do I become a fruit-bearing Christian? How do I maintain a life of fruitfulness in You? Lord, may You be known by the fruit of the Spirit displayed in me. I want to serve You and bring You glory all the days of my life. Let me be known as Your disciple by Your good fruit in me.

A Message from God’s Heart to Yours:

My sweet child, I desire a close relationship with you. When you remain continually connected to Me, My Spirit produces His good fruit in you. You cannot yield the fruit of the Spirit on your own. You must submit yourself to the purifying work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit produces choice fruit in you; it is not the result of your own doing. Be the bearer of good fruit by walking in step with the Spirit, rather than striving in the flesh. Depend on Me and be sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit within.

The Holy Spirit is continually sanctifying you; daily He transforms you into the image of Christ Jesus. Surrender your will to Him. Pay attention to His voice. Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Crucify the flesh with its passions and desires and live by the Spirit keeping in step with Him at all times (Galatians 5:23). When you do this, you will be recognized by your fruit (Matthew 12:33). Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit (Matthew 7:17).You are a good tree when you remain rooted in Me.

Meditate on My Word day and night and you will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever you do will prosper (Psalm 1:2-3). Blessed are you when you trust in the Lord, and put your confidence in Him. You will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8).

You are known to be My disciple, when you display the fruit of the Spirit in both your words and deeds. Stay tuned in to My Spirit. When you remain in relationship with Me, you will experience My love, joy, and peace. The seed I sow in you will reap a harvest of fruitfulness in you for others to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). When you, yourself, have experienced My patience, kindness, and goodness, you can’t help but display it and share it with others. Surrender to the control of My Spirit and clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another as the Lord has forgiven you. Let your love bind all these virtues together and let peace rule in your heart (Colossians 3:12-15).

“Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in My name the Father will give you. This is My command: Love each other” (John 15:16-17) Be transformed by My Spirit as you live in step with Him, and you will bear fruit that will last.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I do want to glorify Your holy name. I ask that Your Spirit purify me and transform me into the image of Jesus Christ. I pray that I could remain in an intimate relationship with You, walking in step with the Spirit, so that I will become a good tree that produces choice fruit. Holy Spirit, I submit myself to Your transforming power, so that I will blossom. Mature those blossoms into vine-ripened fruit. Let me remain in the vine right now as we speak face to face in quiet conversation. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Two-way Conversation with God: 

  • Father God, please share from Your heart what I need to improve on with regard to maintaining a more cherished relationship with You. (Write whatever you hear Him say.)

 

  • Jesus, my Friend, You are the vine, I am the branch. How do I bear fruit that will last? What is my part in this command? (Record everything Christ says to you in your thoughts.)

 

  • Holy Spirit, help me stay in step with You. Allow me to hear Your voice clearly. What am I missing? What must I do to remain in step with You? (Journal your thoughts and the impressions He gives you now.)

Review God’s thoughts and impressions you’ve sensed and written above. What Scripture comes to mind as you review your notes? Use the concordance of your Bible to look up an impression from God’s Word. Record the verse or passage here. Write all insights and encouragement the Holy Spirit illumines for you as you read God’s Word right now.

Prayer:

Most High God, You have laid down Your life for me. I want to honor You, by laying down the desires of the flesh, and picking up my cross daily to follow You. I submit my will to Yours and ask that You empower me to live a fruitful life when I remain in close relationship with You. As I read and meditate on Your Word, let me be like a tree planted by streams of water. Let me bear fruit in its season. I will remain in You as You remain in me. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Supporting Scripture:

Psalm 1:1-3, 1Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. 3That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

Psalm 34:8, Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.

Proverbs 11:30, The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives.

Jeremiah 17:7-8, 7“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. 8They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heart comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Matthew 7:17-20, 17“Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in to the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

Matthew 12:33, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.”

Luke 3:9, The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

John 15:4-17, 4“Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. 5I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. 6If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. 10If you keep my commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. 11I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be compete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in My name the Father will give you. 17This is My command: Love each other.”

Galatians 5:16-17, 16So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

Galatians 5:22-26, 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Colossians 1:9-14, 9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light. 13For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 3:12-15, 12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Copyright © Sindy Nagel. All Rights Reserved

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 53 – Be Humble

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 53

Be Humble

Lord, please give me a picture of what it means to be humble. What would You have me do walk in greater humility? How do You want me to serve others? I confess that I am prideful, and I request that expose my pride every time it surfaces. Help me to see the error of my ways.

A Message from God’s Heart to Yours:

Dear one, I am your Father in heaven, the Sovereign Lord of all, everlasting God, Creator of the ends of the earth (Isaiah 40:28). I speak and even the wind and waves obey My voice (Mark 4:41). I rule and reign over heaven and earth, yet I gave the life of My Son for you. Jesus Christ is the picture of humility. He humbled Himself, taking on flesh of a man, in order to reconcile you to Me so that we could share an intimate relationship. He came to earth not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:26).

Jesus, My Son, bore the weight of all the sins of humankind: past, present, and future; once for all. This is real—it’s a personal sacrifice—He humbled Himself and died for your sin. He laid down His life in exchange for yours. He suffered the worst possible death, hanging on a cross—a sentence reserved for the worst of criminals. He did it willingly in obedience to His Father’s will. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13). You are My friend, and My Son did this for you.

I now ask you to do the same: lay down your life for Me. Humble yourself and I will lift you up (James 4:10). Serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13). Value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests but to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:3-4). Set your heart and mind on things above (Colossians 3:1-2), not on earthly things of your own desire. I favor the humble and contrite in spirit (Isaiah 66:2). Clothe yourself with humility toward others, because, I oppose the proud but show favor to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).

In your heart, you make your plans, but it is I, the Lord, who establishes your steps (Proverbs 16:9). Your own plans may fail, but My plans for you are better than you can conceive or imagine. Lay down your pride. Do not be so independent; but be dependent on Me. I hate pride and arrogance (Proverbs 8:13). Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor (Proverbs 29:23). Sow pride and reap destruction; sow humility and reap honor. Love Me with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. Love your neighbor as yourself. Do this and live (Luke 10:27-28). I do not say love yourself only and take pride in yourself, but love Me first with your whole heart and love others as you have been loved by Me—unconditionally.

Prayer:

Thank You, Lord. I have a better understanding of humility. Please help me walk out your desires. I submit myself to Your Spirit and ask that He would guide me, convict me, and empower me to live according to Your will. May my words and actions be a beautiful aroma to Your senses. Please continue to speak to me even more personally now as we meet one-on-one. Thank You so much. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.

Two-way Conversation with God: 

  • Father, please list some specific ways I have been prideful recently. (Record every thought He gives you.)

 

  • Jesus, you are the ultimate example of humility. Help me remember all you’ve done that I might live in a similar manner and bring glory to Your name. Lord, in what areas do I need to get rid of pride? (Write everything you think and hear.)

 

  • Holy Spirit, bring Your conviction upon my heart. I confess that my pride shows through in these ways that you have convicted me with just now:_______________ (fill in the blank). Please forgive me and help me live into the new creation You made me when I accepted You as my Savior and Lord.

Review God’s thoughts and impressions you’ve sensed and written above. What Scripture comes to mind as you review your notes? Use the concordance of your Bible to look up an impression from God’s Word. Record the verse or passage here. Write all insights and encouragement the Holy Spirit illumines for you as you read God’s Word right now.

Prayer:

Jesus, thank You for humbling Yourself and taking on the nature of a man, so that You would be the perfect sacrifice to bring me into a saving relationship with my heavenly Father. Thank You for exposing my pride. Please help me to live in Your humility and victory demonstrated on the cross. As I become the lowly in spirit—the servant—may You become greater and be glorified in me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Supporting Scripture:

Deuteronomy 10:12, And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

1 Samuel 3:10, The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Psalm 25:9, He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.

Psalm 149:4, For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with victory.

Proverbs 8:13, To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.

Proverbs 11:2, When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdonm.

Proverbs 16:5, The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 16:9, In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

Proverbs 22:4, Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.

Proverbs 29:23, Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.

Isaiah 40:28, Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.

Isaiah 57:15, For this is what the high and exalted One says—He who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

Isaiah 66:2, “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at My word.”

Zephaniah 2:3, Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.

Matthew 11:28, 28“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 20:26, “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 23:12, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Mark 4:41, They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!”

Luke 10:27-28, 27He answered, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 28You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied, “Do this and you will live.”

Luke 14:11, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Luke 22:27, “For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”

John 12:26, “Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

John 15:13-14, 13“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are My friends if you do what I command.”

2 Corinthians 10:1, By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when fact to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away!

Galatians 5:13-14, 13You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather; serve one another humbly in love. 14For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Ephesians 4:2, Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Philippians 2:3-11, 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; 7rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! 9Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and 11every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Colossians 3:1-2, 1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Colossians 3:23-24, 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

James 4:6-8, 6But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and He will come near to you.

James 4:10, Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.

1 Peter 5:5-6, 5In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34). 6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.

Copyright © Sindy Nagel. All Rights Reserved

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 40 – Praise Him in the Storms 

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 40

Praise Him in the Storms 

Lord, where have you been during the storms of my life?

A Message from God’s Heart to Yours:

My child, I have been there with you through each one, you just didn’t always know it. 

The raindrops that fall during your storms are My tears falling to the earth. I cry with you each time you cry. The lightning that you see flash across the dark sky of your storms is from My heart breaking in two for you. My heart aches for you each time I see you suffer through trials and tribulations. The thunder you hear during your storms is from My anger. I am angry when the people I have created cause you hurt and pain. I am angry when the enemy attacks you and wounds you. 

The winds that blow through your storms are the breaths of My sighs moving through the earth.  I sigh with compassion when I think of My beloved children going through the pain of daily struggles with relationships, disease, divorce, sin and death. When the waves on the seas crash against your boat and toss it to and fro in your storms, I am there to make sure the waves are not bigger than your vessel can handle. My hand is upon you.

When you feel you can’t last another day, I allow you to rest in My arms and I renew you with the strength you need to go on. When you wonder and ask why I would allow you to go through these storms, I do not get angry. It has not been easy for Me to watch you go through these tough times. You’re My child and I love you. I want to rescue you from each storm. But in My infinite wisdom, I allow you to endure the pain and suffering to bring you closer to Me. I want to build your character and mature your faith so that I may use you to help others through their storms. 

It is during these storms that I hope you will realize how much you need Me. I am waiting for you to cry out to Me so that I can extend My grace to you. My grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9). I will pull you through. I am also waiting for you to seek help from others, so that I can use them to be like Christ to you. Let down the walls of pride and reach out for assistance.

It is during these times, that I hope you’ll turn to Me. My heart breaks when My people turn to other things to comfort themselves, like:  food, alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, money, and material possessions. I want to be your God, your one and only God. I am your anchor of hope in the storm. I am your stronghold; your rock and refuge (2 Samuel 22:2-3). Take your shelter in the shadow of My wings (Psalm 36:7). I will protect you from all evil and the evil one.

It is during these storms that I am waiting to show you how much you mean to Me and whom I can be to you, but sometimes you don’t allow Me to. You don’t give Me the time with you I need to accomplish this or your pride gets in the way. You want to be so independent and in control of your own life. You want to get yourself out of your own messes in your own way. You run ahead of Me. You do not want to rely on Me or on the fellowship of believers to help you get through the tough times.

In My word, I tell you how I feel about pride. I hate pride. Pride comes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). With pride comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom (Proverbs 11:2). I oppose the proud, but give grace to the humble (James 4:6). When you are weak, it is then that I show My power in you (2 Corinthians 12:10).  When you share your needs with Me and with My faithful ones, you are not revealing your weakness, but your strength. By asking for help and prayers, you are being humble, so that you may experience all My grace and all My wisdom. But when you try to do it all on your own, you leave Me no room to help.

Do not forsake Me, for I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). I have proven that. I am the God who saved Noah from the flood (See Genesis 6). I saved the three Hebrew boys from the fiery furnace (See Daniel 3). I saved Daniel from the mouths of hungry lions (See Daniel 6). I was with David when he fought the giant (See 1 Samuel 17). I released Joseph from Pharaoh’s prison (See Genesis 41). I saved Isaac from being sacrificed on the altar (See Genesis 22). I delivered Jonah from the belly of the fish (See Jonah 2). And I will see you through your storms too. Please notice that I did not keep these people from going through their struggles, but I did not forget about them; I was with them. I allowed them to go through their storms for their own good and then rescued them. And I will rescue you too, in My perfect timing, if you will let Me.

Praise Me in the storms. I love you and I will take care of you. I will rebuke the winds and the waves (Matthew 8:26). I do not allow you to endure more than you can handle, however, by the power of My Spirit within, you can handle a lot. Fix your eyes on Me and I will see you to the end of the storm. I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). I am with you in every storm. I set My rainbow in the clouds as My promise to you, that never again will waters become a flood to destroy all life. You will survive your storms. I will see to it because I love you.

Prayer:

Lord, I praise You in the storm. I praise You that You do not leave me alone. I praise You in Your sanctuary, in Your mighty heavens. I praise You for Your acts of power; for Your surpassing greatness. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. (Psalm 150:1-2, 6). With all the breath in me, I praise You, Lord. I praise You because You listen to my cries and quiet me with Your love. Please allow me to hear some more of Your heart right now, Lord. Speak to me in the stillness of this room as we sit together in conversation. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Two-way Conversation with God: 

  • Father God, what stirs Your heart into action during my storms? (Record all the thoughts you have.)

 

  • Jesus, my faithful Savior, thank You for rebuking the winds and waves in my storms, and restoring the calm. Lord, please show me where You are in the storm. (Write the ideas and words that come to mind for you.)

 

  • Holy Spirit, I know You are with me always. Please help me feel Your presence and Your love in the midst of this tempest. Please describe the work You are doing in me through this current challenge. (Journal everything you hear in your thoughts.)

Review God’s thoughts and impressions you’ve sensed and written above. What Scripture comes to mind as you review your notes? Use the concordance of your Bible to look up an impression from God’s Word. Record the verse or passage here. Write all insights and encouragement the Holy Spirit illumines for you as you read God’s Word right now.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for speaking to my heart even now. I praise You in this storm, Lord. You are worthy of all my praise. I thank You for Your work in me as I learn to depend on You for all things, in good times and bad. Lord, I confess my pride of independence and ask You to forgive my shortcomings. I submit my spirit to Yours, and ask that You continue to mature me to be more like Jesus. I ask this in His name. Amen.

Supporting Scripture:

2 Samuel 22:2-3, 2He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; 3my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent people You save me.”

Psalm 17:7-9, 7Show me the wonders of Your great love, You who save by Your right hand those who take refuge in You from their foes. 8Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings 9from the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.

Psalm 36:7, How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 107:28-31, 28Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. 29He stilled to storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. 30They were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven. 31Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind.

Psalm 150:1-2,6, 1Praise the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. 2Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness…6Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.

Proverbs 11:2, When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 16:18, Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Matthew 8:23-27, 23Then He got into the boat and His disciples followed Him. 24Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!”

Matthew 28:20, “…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10, 9But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Hebrews 13:5, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

James 4:6-8, 6But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and He will come near to you.

Copyright © Sindy Nagel. All Rights Reserved

Roadblock #4 – Worry – The Enemy of Trust

Worry does not add anything to our lives; in fact, it sucks the life right out of us. Worry equals not trusting fully in God. When we don’t trust God for everything, we distance ourselves from Him. Not relying completely on God to care for us, protect us, and provide for us, we detach ourselves from Him and His enormous power. God is omniscient: He knows our every need. God is omnipotent: He is the almighty, all-powerful, invincible Lord. God is omnipresent: He never leaves us; He’s always with us. God is the All-Sufficient One: He is enough. God is trustworthy: He will do what He promises.

God does not ask us to have blind faith and complete trust in a human being. He does ask us to put our trust and confidence in Him alone. We can rest in the assurance that He will take care of us. He is the Most High God. He is dependable, reliable, and faithful.

Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? …Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:25, 27). Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” God wants us to be completely dependent on Him for everything. Not depending on God and trusting in Him completely may put distance between Him and you.

God loves children and speaks to them. Perhaps He does so because children are more dependent. Are you approaching God as a child? Are you dependent on Him? Remember the story of the boy Samuel? After God had spoken to him, Samuel didn’t question God; he listened and obeyed. (See 1 Samuel 3 for the whole story.) God spoke to the boy because he practiced humility and willingly served the Lord. He did not have preconceived ideas about how God would talk to him. Samuel did not practice the freedom of self-sufficiency. He enthusiastically listened to God however God chose to speak to him, and then he obeyed.

This story offers encouragement. God speaks to people of all ages and all spiritual maturity levels. He doesn’t stop calling you just because you don’t recognize Him. He keeps pursuing you until you learn the sound of His voice. He will speak to you when you are still and ready to listen.

And yet, hearing Him is not enough. God looks for people who are dependent on Him, ready to listen to and obey Him. When we practice our independence and do what we please, God may choose not to speak to us. Depending on God and obeying His lead will keep the doors of communication open between you and the Lord.

To hear God’s voice, you must become like a child: humble, with a simple faith and reverence for the Lord. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” In Mark 10:15, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Become like a child and surrender to the work and power of the Holy Spirit within you. Trust God, and depend on Him for everything. Walk in submission to God by being sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit and acting in obedience to His instruction.

Trusting in the Lord, rather than in ourselves and others, proves to be the most stress-free way to live. Giving our cares over to God, Who controls all things, prevents us from being stifled in our spiritual growth by depending on our own limited understanding. Put your trust in God today, and acknowledge His supreme influence, power, and authority in your life. Permit yourself to relinquish all control and worry to the One who rules and reigns over everything on earth and in heaven. Purchase your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak today and trade in the following lies for the truth in God’s Word.

#1: God won’t provide for all my needs.

#2:  I can’t trust God because He let me down in the past.

#3: I need to take care of things myself because God isn’t.

 

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Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

 

Roadblock #3 – Pride – The Enemy of Humility

Independence, control, and comparison. Those words don’t sound prideful when spoken individually. However, when we rely on ourselves for everything and don’t depend on God for anything, He could view this independent spirit as arrogance or overconfidence. Likewise, it often feels good to be in complete control of ourselves, our lives, an event, a situation, another person, or his actions. The haughty monster of pride rears its ugly head in the condescending creature of control. And when we compare ourselves to others and always come out on top, a conceited nature triumphs over humility in our souls. Be careful—this sounds a bit like sitting in the judgment seat, and that’s not a position you want to claim for yourself. Judgment is reserved for Almighty God alone.

Pride is mentioned in Proverbs 6:16-19 as one of the seven things detestable to God. Pride manifests itself in these forms: arrogance, conceit, self-importance, egotism, vanity, haughty eyes, condescension, scorn, disrespect, snootiness, loftiness, and contemptuousness. The Lord despises proud actions and attitudes. Here are a few of the many verses that describe how God feels about pride:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)

Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar. (Psalm 138:6)

If you are not hearing God’s voice, you may want to perform a pride inventory in your spirit. Do you practice humility and selflessness, or are you responsible for behaviors that are detestable to God? The verses above assure us that God will punish the proud of heart, and He doesn’t go near individuals who are full of pride. If you hold pride in your heart, confess it and ask God’s forgiveness. Get rid of all pride, arrogance, conceit, self-importance, haughtiness, disrespect, loftiness, and condescension before you seek the Lord to listen to His voice. Treat others as more important than yourself. Assume the position of the lowly, the meek, and the servant. Don’t take it to the extreme so that you resemble a doormat, but approaching the Lord with a contrite heart, in humility, opens the door to receiving God’s words of grace, encouragement, and wisdom.

Unfortunately, pride comes much too naturally to all of us, including me. Read about the fall of humankind in Genesis 3. From the very beginning of time, self-importance snuck into human desire. Satan tempted Eve with the idea that she could be all-knowing and wise, like God, if she ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. Deceived by the devil, Eve ate some and gave some to Adam. Pride initiated a sinful response when the evil one presented his temptation.

The need for independence and superiority continues to be the cause of some of our sin today. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” The truth of this verse rang loudly in the Garden of Eden. It still rings true thousands of years later.

Another example of haughtiness is found in Ezekiel 28, the prophecy against the king of Tyre. In verse 17, the Sovereign Lord says, “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.” God detested his arrogance. The king’s pride preceded his destruction.

In Proverbs 8:13, the wise Solomon says, “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Fear in this case is the same reverence for the Lord that we talked about in the previous blog. When you respect the Lord, you will detest all pride and arrogance, as He does. Yet arrogance sneaks into all areas of life. Recall that pride inventory we talked about? It may be necessary to make that assessment daily, even hourly.

If pride in any form resides in your life, don’t expect to be close to God and hear from Him regularly. Psalm 138:6 says, “Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar.” As another passage I’ve already quoted says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:6-8). God spends time with humble people who submit themselves to Him and make time for Him. God distances Himself from the self-righteous, prideful, judgmental person.

When the needle on the pride-o-meter registers anywhere on the gauge, take action immediately to dispose of all forms of pride. Humble yourself before the Lord. Submit yourself to Him and exalt Him, rather than yourself. Show the Lord how much you trust in Him for everything. Relinquish your control to the Most High. Place the desires of others ahead of your own. Do not judge any person or behavior. Assume the servant position in God’s kingdom.

Do you struggle with judging others or promoting yourself to a higher pedestal? What alerts you of your arrogance? I can tell you truly, when I do not practice the humility of a servant, I should not expect God will speak to me. No matter my standing or position in the world, I am but an unworthy sinner, forgiven and saved by God’s grace alone. I am no better than anyone else. If I do not treat others better than myself, God has no business with me, and therefore no reason to talk to me.

Anytime I have seated myself on the judgment throne with regard to another human being, God has given me an opportunity to experience the same affliction, position, or experience as the one I judged. Very soon I’ve gained a new appreciation and respect for the one I condemned because I have walked down a similar path. Becoming the object of my own pride rapidly and effectively cuts me down to size. When the roadblock of pride comes down, my reception of God’s voice dramatically improves.

The Bible provides many significant illustrations of humility. Jesus, God’s own Son, displayed the ultimate humility when He left His throne in heaven and came to earth to be the sacrificial Lamb and die for our sins. Another dramatic demonstration of Christ’s servanthood took place when He washed the feet of His disciples. We can imitate this kind of humility when we selflessly serve our own subordinates, or, better yet, those we judge. This foot washing can be accomplished literally or figuratively. Think of a way you might take an unassuming position with someone you lead, manage, or influence. Is there any type of metaphorical foot washing you could perform for him or her? Maybe picking up a towel and basin of water is what you really need.

Let’s examine some of the enemy’s deceit in our thoughts, which gives birth to overconfidence. You might believe you can take care of yourself; you know what’s best for you. Or, you might think you are in control of your own life. Is it possible that thinking you are better than someone else for any reason could be hampering your clear reception of God’s voice in your thoughts? Grab your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God’s Voice today, and begin identifying what stands in your way of hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, who makes your heart His home.

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Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

Small, but Deadly

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be (James 3:5-10).

My blessed child, if you should boast, boast in the Lord only. Be careful what words roll off your tongue. Words expressed in haste are not retractable. Tune into My Spirit within for exactly the right words to say in all circumstances. When you are angry, take several deep breaths before you loose your tongue. The tongue may not be tamable, but do your best to keep it in on a short leash. Do not let your mouth stir up evil, but from your lips express your praise and worship. Do not curse your brother or sister who has been made in My image. Do not judge or consider yourself better than anyone. Assume a stance of humility. Mercy is not extended to the one who sits in the judgment seat. Instead, humble yourself and I will exalt you. Your tongue is a double-edged sword—sweet as honey and deadly as poison. Let your words flow as sugar through a sieve, rather than venom through a pipeline.


 

Watch out!

Then Jesus said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of His possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

You have heard it said, “You are what you eat.” I say also, “You are what you possess.” In this world, a man’s life is about his possessions. However, in the world to come, there is no place for them. Rather than storing up for yourselves treasures on earth, grow your investment in the heavenly realm. Instead of working toward financial wealth, focus your efforts on spiritual richness. The more time you spend laboring to pay for your material possessions, the less time you may spend with Me. Do not build bigger barns to store your abundance, but use your wealth to feed the poor and house the homeless. I extended My rich mercy by laying down My life to save yours. Would you be willing to lay down your rich life to extend kindness and blessing to those who are less fortunate? Are you prideful, greedy, and stingy? Or do you possess an abundance of humility, generosity, and mercy? You are what you possess. Are you in control of your possessions or do they control you?

A Labor of Love

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

My dear children, stand firm in Me. There is no power on earth that will overcome you when you remain in Me. Your victory comes through the Lord Jesus Christ. Stand firm in His victorious power, in the power of the living God within you. Do not be changed by the things of this world. Be moved by My work. Give yourselves fully to the tasks I give you. When you work for Me, your labor is not in vain. You will bring hope to the hopeless, freedom to the captives, healing to the broken-hearted, sight to the blind, hearing to deaf ears, wisdom to the simple-minded, life to the lifeless, and joy to the downcast. Because My Spirit lives in you, you will do even greater things than the Lord Jesus Christ did. Do not work for riches here on earth. Serve Me with dedicated fervor building yourself treasures in heaven. Serve Me in humility and I will lift you up. Your home is not of this world, but I have prepared a place for you in My eternal kingdom. Leave behind a legacy of faith, a heritage of devotion to Me. I am the Lord, and you are My precious child.


 

Spend Time with Me Today

I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasuries full. (Proverbs 8:17-21)

My precious one, take a moment to meet with me today. I eagerly wait to hear from you. I have so much love to pour out on you. My wisdom is priceless and I will not let my words fall to the ground. Will you make time to listen to me today? I want to encourage you in your journey. The road you are on is full of construction zones. I will use each obstacle to refine your character. The lessons I want to teach you are invaluable. Patience, trust, humility, discernment, and wisdom are qualities that reflect my image. All I have belongs to you. Seek me first, and all these things will be added to you. Meeting with me should be your first priority. Starting your day with me will be the best use of your time. Take me with you throughout your day. Think of me, talk to me, and listen to me all day long. I am with you always, but when you seek me and acknowledge my presence, we will run like a finely tuned machine. Communicating with me all day long will promote a deeper intimacy in our relationship. Do you love me? Spend time with me today.