Do you want God's greatest blessing for your life?

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Prayer: Lord, take me to the place of your greatest blessing

One day, the Eternal One called out to Abram.
Eternal One: Abram, get up and go! Leave your country. Leave your relatives and your father’s home, and travel to the land I will show you. Don’t worry—I will guide you there. I have plans to make a great people from your descendants. And I am going to put a special blessing on you and cause your reputation to grow so that you will become a blessing and example to others. Genesis 12:1-2 (VOICE)

“Lord, take me to the place of your greatest blessing.”

I read this prayer somewhere in my teens. Those 10 words resonated deep within my soul. They scared me a little bit. 

I realized that speaking this prayer gave God permission to walk me up hills, through valleys, to show me sunrises and to hold me through dark nights.

If I wanted a comfortable life I would be better off not saying this prayer: in my heart, out loud, at all. 

I know it isn’t a traditional prayer of protection. 

Every time I pray this, it feels like I’m daring God. (Tweet this)

When your chance of success is zero

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Psalm 113 devotional

God is higher than anything and anyone, outshining everything you can see in the skies. 
Who can compare with God, our God, so majestically enthroned,
Surveying his magnificent heavens and earth?
He picks up the poor from out of the dirt, rescues the wretched who’ve been thrown out with the trash,
Seats them among the honored guests, a place of honor among the brightest and best.
He gives childless couples a family, gives them joy as the parents of children. Hallelujah!
Psalm 113:4-9 (MSG)

My husband and I have been told we have 0% chance of conceiving children naturally. 

Those are pretty low odds. 

Some days I’m really sad when I think about it. My heartbreaks at the thought of never holding a child that looks like me. 

And then the next day I’ll smile into the face of a child with no parents, or hold the baby my friends just adopted, or play with a nephew and I’ll think about how God gives childless couples a family, how he gives them joy as the parents of children.

I think about how God knows to preface a few verses about childless couples with words about how the incomparable God picks up those who have been thrown out with trash and seats them among the brightest and the best. 

That awkward moment when you speak the truth

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Psalm 147:2-3
The Eternal, Architect of earth, is building Jerusalem, finding the lost, gathering Israel’s outcasts. He binds their wounds, heals the sorrows of their hearts. Psalm 147:2-3 (VOICE)

You know that awkward moment when someone asks you how you are and you tell them the raw honest truth.

But all they really wanted to hear was, “I’m good. All good”

I just had one of those.

I blurted out how weary and exhausted and drained I feel. How I thought once all of my husband’s cancer treatment was done I’d feel better and how instead even my bones feel fatigued. There is a catch in my voice and tears waiting for me to blink them out as I answer.

I could see the other person felt uncomfortable with my honesty, as I spoke, like they’d rather I kept my brokenness to myself. 

They looked at me like they wished I hadn’t let them see the cracks in my heart. 

What do game drives and God have in common?

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Lamentations 3:22-23 New mercy
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! Lamentations 3:22-23 (MSG)

Recently, my husband and I spent a few nights in Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in South Africa. 

Each morning we would wake up with a sense of anticipation as we climbed into our cars and went looking for game. The first morning we woke up and within minutes we spotted Hyena, then leopard and then lions eating a kill. 

We were up at sunrise, the next morning, driving the same route, hoping for the same results. This time we saw some impala, zebra and elephant but no cats. 

While we drove around I thought about Lamentations 3:22 – 23. I pondered how God’s love and mercy can be created new every morning. 

I realized that God’s kindness towards me must be a lot like those game drives. 

Hope for the times when you feel like you're falling to pieces

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Philippians 1:6 devotional
I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. Philippians 1:6 (VOICE)

At twenty one I went through an emotional crisis of sorts. I quit my studies for the second time, I got help for the depression I struggled with and I moved 10 hours west to live with my parents. 

One day, in the middle of this time, a friend told me that she loved me to pieces. I know people say that all the time but it made me angry. 

I didn’t need someone loving me to pieces; I needed someone to love me to wholeness. 

I’ve been thinking about this incident a lot lately as I look back over the last 18 months. There has been a lot of place for brokenness, for stumbling, for emotions to be misunderstood since February 2012

Can God save broken dreams?

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devotionals about dreams
Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said, “Listen to this dream I had. We were all out in the field gathering bundles of wheat. All of a sudden my bundle stood straight up and your bundles circled around it and bowed down to mine.” Genesis 37:5-7 (MSG)

For three weeks I left my husband in an isolation ward and went home alone. 

This wasn’t the way I dreamt our marriage would be. In my wildest dreams I never imagined we’d spend two of the first of three years of our marriage facing down cancer

This week I heard of a friend who is giving up on their dream of living with and helping those in poverty and returning to the city to find full-time employment. When he quit his job all those years ago he could never have envisioned that his dream would end like this.

What dream have you seen end differently to the way you hoped in your life?

The stuff we don’t deserve

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grace, mercy, child of godSince we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. Romans 3:24 (MSG)

I walked into the hospital room and handed my husband a gift. 

After all he had just been born again in a medical sense (stem cell transplants like the one my husband just had are sometimes referred to in this way) and I thought his birth was worth celebrating. 

He opened the box and exclaimed, “I don’t deserve this!”

I thought about how many times I’ve said exactly the same thing to God. How many times God has given me a gift and my first response has been, “But God, I don’t deserve this!”

I could think of at least ten reasons off the top of my head why my husband deserved this gift but even if I couldn’t it wouldn’t have mattered. 

A gift isn’t given because of merit it is awarded out of love. (tweet this)

Who is driving your life?

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{Guest devotional by Cheryl Ramurath}
Love is...devotional
So will the King desire your beauty; because He is your Lord, be submissive and reverence and honour Him. Psalm 45:11 (AMP)

I love being behind the steering wheel.

It might be because that’s where I am (mostly) in control. But it has also become a sort of ‘holy of holies’ in my life.

It’s a place where I can just tell God how I’m feeling. 

Where I can reflect on just how much He has done in my life and thank Him for His faithfulness. 

A place where I can sing at the top of my lungs and not worry that the neighbours might hear me. 

A place where I can silently ponder in bewilderment the grace of God in keeping me sane and making me whole.

Who is stronger: Chuck Norris or Jesus?

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Isaiah 40:29
He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Isaiah 40:29 (NKJV)

“I’m fine,” I tell my friend when she asks how I am.

“Really? You’re going through a lot with your husband being in hospital so I just want to check how you are.”

“Honestly, I’m good. I know there’s lots of crazy stuff going on but I’m not falling apart. I get stressed some days but on the whole I’m fine. Just fine. Not bad, not good, just fine.”

I’ve had a version of this conversation with countless people over the past month or so while my husband has been undergoing a stem cell transplant

Each time the other person ends up saying something like, “You’re so strong. I don’t know how you do it.”

There is only one answer to that: Jesus is stronger than Chuck Norris. (tweet this)

You might think that Chuck Norris is stronger than Jesus (after all there is a lot of hype out there about him) but if I had to chose which one I wanted on my team in tough times, it would be Jesus.

There is one thing Jesus can do that Chuck Norris can’t: Jesus can give strength to those who are feeling weak. 

Jesus doesn’t just fight for us; he gives power to those who have no strength. 

No matter how strong Chuck Norris is he can’t take my weariness and turn it into strength. And right now through all this hard stuff I’m leaning hard on Jesus, on the strength he gives. 

Jesus is my crutch and my hope. 

Jesus holds me up when I’d rather curl up in a ball and rock myself to sleep. 

Jesus makes me smile when I feel like frowning. 

When I feel alone, Jesus reminds me that he’s still there with me.

I don’t what I’d be like if I didn’t have Jesus, I can’t imagine how I would have survived the last 18 months without him. 

My husband has not been healed of cancer or protected from a second round of high dose chemo but Jesus hasn’t left our side - and he never will - and that is what makes me able to answer my friends questions with, “I’m fine.”

Even on the days when I don’t feel Jesus close I know that he is because he’s promised to always be there.  

God’s promised to give strength to the weary and change mourning into dancing – and he does.

prayer when you feel like giving up
Somehow each day God shows up with new mercy, with enough strength for the next 24 hours. 

Having Jesus by your side doesn’t mean that nothing bad happens. Or that you have to be happy all the time, it just means that whatever comes your way you don’t have to go through anything alone and you don’t have to rely on your strength. 

When Jesus is present you don’t have to rely on your own strength because you can lean into his. (tweet this)

Which makes Jesus stronger than Chuck Norris in my eyes.

Ponder: What are you going through in your life right now that you need to rely on God’s strength to get through? 

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I need you to hold me because I can’t go through this on my own. Give me strength when I’m weary, joy when I’m mourning and hope when I feel only despair. Amen.

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Photo Credits (all found via photopin cc): Dad and daughter: Fabiana Zonca, Dandelions: ecstaticist and heart locket: kaniths | Design: Wendy van Eyck