“Lord, I Need You.” from L.Willows (Blessing, Jesus Christ, Eternal Hope)

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“Lord, I Need You”. It is a wonderful and amazing thing to say and to pray. It causes our hearts to fall forward and melt all that burdens us. Sometimes, in this journey that we are each on, we need to pause and accept bewilderment. Perhaps we need to realize that we cannot carry the troubles that lay upon our hearts and minds on our own strength. I seem to need to relearn this lesson over and over again especially when facing new situations. We can call upon God in this hour and in every hour. He is our rock and our Salvation.

I realize that when times become especially challenging we can fall into a false way of walking. We think that we have to “soldier on”. The worldly way of gaining strength in the face of challenges does not help the heart. It puts up a wall, a shield that can feel “tough” but eventually it becomes an obstacle.

It is hard to pray through. It isn’t a real shield. It can’t protect us from anything; it only freezes out and denies feelings that get buried deeper. Nothing goes away.  We then need  God more. We feel even more distant, isolated, and needful. The actual burdens increase because now we are carrying buried feelings and the stresses of more fear and isolation. The calling becomes more urgent. (The Lord God is the true Shield and our eternal Protector)

God, I need you. Break my heart so that you can take it back. Bring me to you. Bend all of me towards you.

“I need to feel the warmth and goodness of who you Are. Let the false shields fall and help me to know that I am vulnerable, my heart is tender and I am able to love everything that you have created today. Let me sing in your heavenly choir like a child of Yours because I love you and most especially because I know that I am loved by You.”

Lord, come near. Jesus, Your heart is our hope, the healing, and the Blessing. You are our salvation. You are Life. Come near. My heart is open to you. I need You.

When Jesus Christ comes near and our hearts fall before Him, we receive generous blessings. we become filled with gratitude- and our lives open up to love. The journey becomes one that is miraculous. When we allow our hearts to “break” and become vulnerable before God, His love fills us with His Spirit and the peace of His Love. The blessings pour outward. We are filled with the hope of the Eternal.

© 2020 Linda Willows

“Walking Towards Hope”, from L.Willows (Revival, God’s Goodness, His Glory, Believe)

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Walking Towards Hope, from L.Willows

The other day, I went to a nearby garden park that has been closed due to the pandemic. The loosely gated entry has not prevented locals from wandering in for private walks.  It is like a paradise inside.  Beyond the gate are gardens that volunteers lovingly tend to on a usual year.  The crews were absent but their labors from so many years past were still evident. That day was a real gift to me.

I  had been praying for a “second wind” in this journey of endurance during home isolation in our region. My heart felt heavy. I was deeply missing loved ones. I felt distant from all that I loved.

Then I stepped beyond the gate of the park. My heart lifted with gratitude that fell over me. Nothing of the world and its concerns seemed real in the gardens. Life seemed to be continuing without knowledge of the news or any updates of what tomorrow might bring. This was an isle apart. I smiled as I listened to birds singing to one another and stepped towards the largest fushia petals that I had ever seen.

Then I stepped amongst delicate yellow buds that reached up to feel the warmth of the sun. My heart melted and I became like a child walking in God’s open green, breathing His sweetened air.

I said to myself, “I am willing to believe that at this moment, everything is new. The bluebells tell be so. The lavender pearl buds on the bushes that run through the field tell me so. The lush green grasses that are dancing in the breeze are telling all that life is moving. A red cardinal flies majestically by.  The deep blue of the vast sky lives like the freedom that I long for. I walk but my heart is dancing. My soul is singing to God. I am praising Him.”

He is the Good Gardener. Nothing can prevent or delay God’s Goodness from rising. The Hope of His Presence and the beauty of His Creation lifts our hearts, from wherever we are.  I understand that there is no time, but the one that He sets. In the beautiful sky that I gaze at, my heart is set free, I am reminded of the vastness of God Himself. That freedom, which is the Altar of His Presence dwells within each of our hearts.  The Gateway is Jesus who is the Door .  My prayer was anwered. I had been revived by the sweetness of His Spirit. He led me to these Green Pastures.

John 10:9 “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”

I had been free all the while. Because of the isolation, I allowed my heart to believe that the “walls that I saw” were real. They were really only walls within my own heart. I allowed myself to believe that the limitations of life during home isolation though they were tangible and physically confining did not have to confine by heart and soul. The Good Shepherd, Jesus was leading me once again to the truth of His Kingship and most especially of the gift of salvation.

The Lord, my Good Shepherd had led me to His Green Pasture. There I was, praying for renewal and revival. God sees our hearts, each burden, each care – wherever we live and wherever our walk takes us, He is there. I am so encouraged as I write, yet there is no tangible evidence in life, except that I had the great privilege of this walk. Yet, I realize that the great Glory of our God displays in intangible ways. I am reminded that we can’t always ask to see and have or even feel what we want in a mortal way. The goodness and Glory of God are beyond the gardens of this world, they are only “sighted” by the eyes of our heart when they have been opened by believing.

 

John 11:40 -Jesus said to her, Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?

That evening in my home, I did not feel enclosed by any boundary nor did I feel isolated. I looked out to the sky and I felt hugged by everything that is good. I felt wrapped in the Presence of God. He is beside us each and with us wherever we are. The paradise that I longed for is a blessed eternity in His Kingdom that is promised to all in His Care. For some reason, the words to a familiar song that we used to sing in Church comes to mind as I write:

I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one…

and we will sing together again!

Hebrews 1:3 -He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

© 2020 Linda Willows

“Blessed by God- your heart, mine; His”, from L.Willows (near to God, in Christ)

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“Blessed by God, your heart, mine; His”, from L.Willows

I have heard people say that they feel “Blessed” or “Blessed by God” when I ask how they are. Usually, the person is joyful and feeling appreciative of something; they are grateful. This causes me to wonder what this really means for all of us, especially in trying times. It is possible to feel Blessed even when things do not always go quite ‘right’ according to what we may have been expecting or desiring. Do Blessings or the does the state of being Blessed by God have anything to do with our circumstances at all? What does being Blessed really mean?

Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Being Blessed is about God’s Heart not our hearts.

I thought about the many circumstances in my own life that I have prayed about in the past year (or years) both for family and friends. Some prayers were answered miraculously, some were ‘yet to be fulfilled’. I have felt so grateful. Many times I have wondered about the immensity of God’s mercy and his ability to answer prayer.

I also know of a number of people that had lived lives that are sacrificial, many that I had loved- who had been struck with fatal illnesses or great misfortune and suffering. How had the riches of Christ’s glory touched their lives and those of their families?

I am aware that God holds us all in his heart. His heart must be so vast, it is beyond my ability to imagine. I love verses like this one in Jeremiah that describe God’s greatness and his closeness. I need to find God, who is so unfathomable- very near and reachable!

Jeremiah 23:24-25
Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.

What are God’s Blessings? Who is “Blessed” in our world? How does God determine whose need he fills, how and when? 

What is the Biblical Definition of Blessed? (What does God mean?)

According to the Key-Word Bible, the meaning of Blessed is: Blessed: makarioi – “Greek word translated blessed in these passages is which means to be fully satisfied. It refers to those receiving God’s favor, regardless of the circumstances”.

That means that God’s favor or blessing is independent of circumstances. We need not feel that life circumstances have a relationship to the ‘status’ of Blessings. Or that affliction and suffering determine his favor or lack of favor.

God’s Blessing is anything that gives us satisfaction in him. He is longing for us to desire to be filled by his presence, to be satisfied by “only him” and “only things” that reflect his nature.

These are the things in life, yours and mine- that are true Blessings.  We are drawn into His Heart and His Life, lovingly. God desires to fill us with the blessings of knowing him and becoming closer to him. There are purpose and intent to each and every circumstance. He is “working all things for good”, for eternal good, meaning His eternal cause, He is The Eternal One.

The Blessing of God’s Heart calling us to himself.

When times are pressing we are challenged to ask ourselves what is really important in our lives. In essence, we review what we, ourselves favor. What are we choosing in our lives and why? In a way, God is asking us to look at things with new eyes, actually from a perspective that may be bolder and different than the past. We are asked to open the spiritual eyes of our heart and gain a new perspective.

Ephesians 1:18-19
Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glory of the inheritance of his saints.

We might be called on to shift directions even temporarily. God wants our attention. Perhaps even our full personal favor and focus. The cup that we have been holding and asking to be filled from worldly sources may need to be turned wholly and fully turned towards God.

We learn that when we turn to him in weakness, he fills us up with his strength. He fills our cups up with his Blessings. We are drawn near to him. Our cups run over with his mercy and goodness.

Psalm 16.5
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.

The Blessing of Drawing Near to God.

The truth about being “Truly Blessed” is obedience. We tend to shy away from the term in Western culture but I actually like it. The Biblical definition of obedience is – (shama`; hupakoe):. 1. Meaning of Terms: In its simpler Old Testament meaning the word signifies “to hear,” “to listen”. Realizing that it means listening to God is helpful because listening encourages me to draw closer. When I draw closer, I can feel and know his love for me.

Sometimes drawing near to God during a difficult time can be hard because we secretly blame him for the difficulties that we experience. This is not easy to admit. But facing this is helpful. Our God is so loving that he knows each part of our hearts very well. The Psalms have many examples of persons sharing their burdens with God in very raw ways.

Psalm 22:14
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed. My heart is like wax; it melts away within me.

Psalm 38:10
My heart pounds, my strength fails, and even the light of my eyes has faded.

There is nothing that is kept apart from God. When we harden our hearts with the smallest care that separates it we are the ones that lose. It is us that moves away, not God. We can speak to him as intimately as in the Psalms pouring our hearts out. He hears every word. The Love and Mercy of God are near, soft and willing to guide us back into every sweet blessing and promise of his heart.

We need not run away from God’s heart. If we realized how miraculous and vast it is, we would never depart. Truly, we are Blessed because we are his sons and daughter. All we need to do is remember who we are. We have already been freed when we were saved.

The Blessing of Listening to God, Sweet Leaning in.

We need to learn to choose what we ‘lean into’, what we listen to. Perhaps first we need to realize that our hearts and minds are always on an active listening mode whether we realize it or not and we need to take charge of that. We are like sponges that receive messages from the world around us all the time. By the end of each day, we have gathered more than we realize. We need emotional and mental cleansing! One way to circumvent that is to prepare for life with prayer and scriptural meditation. It is living with spiritual armor. We live in a world of noise. We can create a filter of intentional choosing.

Many resources from the Bible can be used for listening to God and drawing near. I love to start each day in the early morning with a “Prayer Walk”. Many begin with reading Scripture, prayer, and meditation. Some prefer the Psalms and returning at mid-day and in the evening.

King David, author of most of the book of Psalms, gave us a model for meeting with God,

Psalm 143:8
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

We learn to listen and to become like children that lovingly, longingly lean in to our Father. We learn to hear his sweet voice. It becomes an intimate wondrous relationship, the most important one in our lives. This voice restores us and heals us. When we listen we find that God has been with us throughout the entire journey. His unfailing love has held us up all the while. He will show us the way.

The Blessing of Being Children of God

As Christians, we become born into the blessings of The Beloved. (Read: The Seven Blessing of Being in Christ) We call to his Promises as true in each hour, each day. No matter what trails are faced, we recognize that we are on a journey towards an eternal prize. That is the greatest Blessing. It benefits our hearts in this world with a peace that does not depend upon circumstances. Drawing near to God is drawing near to Love itself. What is temporal becomes small and what is eternal becomes great and wondrous.

John 1:1-2
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

Galatians 3:26
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

The Blessing of Being Born into Faith

Are you “Blessed”? Do you know that Jesus Christ is King and Saviour? That is joyful living. Anything that draws us closer to Jesus is a blessing. We can read scripture. We can enjoy Fellowship. Some do not have Bibles and they speak of what they know or remember. Some are in faraway places and long for community. We can pray for them.

Many long to know and feel his presence in their hearts. Pray that they do. Pray that their lives are Blessed by his Love. Many are vulnerable and need his protection, some feel alone even at this moment. They need to know his Blessing. Pray that they know the Blessing of his Protection. Let them be Blessed. May Jesus be near to all and Bless everyone.

Praying that each receives and knows what it is to Be Blessed!

God’s Glory is rich, abundant in life around us in ways that heart can see if they lean in close to him, listen to him and desire to love him first and foremost. When we desire the riches of God’s Kingdom first, they will be granted to us. Those riches are far different from those that we seek in this world, from these things. My heart is confident in God’s ability to fill every need and in his wondrous timing when I rest in his love.

When I call him my God and declare gratitude and praise that I am his own, fully and completely- that my heart, mind, and life belong to no other, then I am free to receive his full Blessings. I hold no other God before him, no false god no worldly good before him. He is One, and All.

Blessed in Christ, with Christ, for Christ.  

© 2019 Linda Willows