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By Sarah Young
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2007 Sarah Young
All rights reserved.
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
I, the Lover of your soul, understand you perfectly and love you eternally.
I'm thankful it is my soul You love, rather than my appearance or performance. So often, I'm dissatisfied with both of these, especially when I make them my focus. I'm grateful for Your perfect understanding, since I sometimes feel misunderstood or simply overlooked. Help me experience more fully Your compassionate, unfailing Love.
Beloved, relax in My loving Presence. Let the Light of My Love soak into your entire being. Rest deeply while I massage your thoughts and feelings, helping you change your focus from yourself to Me. Cease striving and know that I am God. I created you to know Me: to enjoy Me and center your life in Me.
The world abounds with idols — things you turn to when you want to feel better about yourself: eating, entertainment, exercise, mastery of something or someone. However, none of these things can slake the thirst of your soul, which yearns for Me alone. Idolatrous substitutes may suppress your appetite for Me, mainly by distracting you, but they provide no satisfaction. When you get that gnawing sensation around the edges of your soul, return to Me. Your soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods.
"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
"Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
Psalm 46:10 NASB
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you. ... I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
Each moment you can choose to practice My presence or to practice the presence of problems.
You know how I long to practice Your Presence more consistently. When I keep my focus on You, my whole perspective is brighter, more joyful. When I'm preoccupied with problems, I feel weighed down and anxious. Yet the default setting of my mind seems to be problem solving. My thoughts tend to flow toward finding what is wrong and trying to fix it. I want to break free from this hurtful pattern, but its roots go deep into my being.
Beloved, come to Me and rest in My sufficiency. Stop trying to fix yourself by focusing on your failures. Remember that the world you inhabit is fallen, and you are part of that brokenness. You can no more practice My Presence perfectly than you can save yourself from your sins. In a fallen world, all your default settings are tainted by sin. Nonetheless, you are being transformed and renewed by My Spirit within you.
Collaborate with Me as I work to set you free from hurtful ways. View each moment as a fresh opportunity to draw near Me. I welcome you with open arms.
"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.
Psalm 139:23-24 NASB
I am training you to hold in your heart a dual focus: My continual Presence and the hope of heaven.
There is no deeper comfort than knowing in my heart that You are with me always: here on earth and throughout eternity in heaven. I have known this great truth in my head for many years. However, my heart is fickle and tends to chase after other gods. Only as Your Spirit helps me can I grasp the awesomeness of Your Presence with me forever.
Beloved, trust Me to do in you what you could never do for yourself. I am indeed with you — watching over you wherever you are, wherever you go. Simply accept My Presence with you as reality: the deepest Reality. Build your life on this absolute truth, which is like building your house on a rock.
Your heart and mind will wander away from Me, but My Spirit within can remind you to return. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in this way. He delights in being your Helper.
Rejoice that I am with you not only in this life but also in the life to come. Let the promise of heaven flood your heart with My eternal Presence!
"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock."
"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you."
John 14:16-17 NASB
"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
Do not fear your weakness, for it is the stage on which My Power and My Glory perform most brilliantly.
I want to be available for the display of Your Power and Glory. But I feel more like a splintery, unfinished platform than a polished, ready-to-use stage. I may not even be safe enough for Your performance, since some of my boards aren't nailed down properly.
Beloved, no matter how polished you might become, you could never be good enough for the display of My radiant holiness. However, I have chosen you to reflect My Glory, despite your imperfections. Moreover, your weakness is the ideal stage for the exhibition of My Power. Your part in this drama is to look away from yourself and gaze at Me in My awesome splendor. Forget about your unworthiness and delight yourself in My glorious Being. Watch while I perform great things for you.
But 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.
2 Corinthians 12:9
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, re being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18
Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you — majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
I am the firm Foundation on which you can dance and sing and celebrate My Presence.
I long to dance for You, sing praises to You, and celebrate Your Presence continually. However, most of the time I feel earthbound and weighed down. Worshiping you requires the engagement of my entire being — something I delight in and yet somehow resist. Teach me how to celebrate You more consistently, more abundantly.
Beloved, begin by lingering in My peaceful Presence. As you relax in My everlasting arms, sense how safe and secure you are. I am indeed the rock-solid Foundation on which you can live exuberantly. Dancing, singing, and praying are ways you can express your delight in Me.
My very Presence radiates Joy in vast, unmeasured fullness! When you praise Me, your Joy increases, as does your awareness of My holy Presence. Your body may or may not be mightily engaged in this endeavor, but I see into your heart. That is where the ultimate celebration of My Presence takes place.
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might.
2 Samuel 6:14
But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7 nkjv
Ever time you thank Me, you acknowledge that I am your Lord and Provider. This is the proper stance for a child of God: receiving with thanksgiving.
I know I'm supposed to give thanks in all circumstances. But sometimes my words ring hollow: I can say them without feeling the least bit thankful. It's especially hard for me to be thankful in the midst of a bad day, when everything seems to be going wrong.
Beloved, I know what goes on in your heart far better than you do. I know when you feel thankful, and when you don't. However, I can also see in the depths of your heart a desire to please Me by offering thanks even when you don't feel like it.
When you struggle to be thankful, stop and remember who I Am: the Author of your life and your faith. You are utterly dependent on Me for everything, including your next breath. Every good gift is from Me!
When you thank Me during a difficult day, you are assuming the proper stance for a child of God. If you persevere in this thankfulness, resisting the temptation to grumble, you can find Joy and Peace in the midst of your struggles.
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.
Miracles are not always visible to the naked eyem, but those who live by faith can see them clearly. Living by faith, rather than sight, enables you to see My Glory.
I want to see Your Glory! Please give me discerning eyes, so I can recognize miracles when I see them. Help me to be increasingly aware of You — living by faith, not by sight.
Beloved, come into the radiance of My Love-Light. Let My healing Presence nourish and renew you. Be content with a simple, quiet life. Instead of shaking the bushes — trying to make things happen — wait to see what I am doing. I am at work in many areas of your life long before you can discern results. Trust Me by waiting patiently, accepting each moment as a gift from Me. When time is right, you will see the results of My handiwork. You may even get a glimpse of My Glory. Don't try to hold on to Glory-moments. Simply enjoy them gratefully; then release them back to Me.
Anticipate living with Me in heaven, where My Glory will be your continual experience: lighting up your life forever. Look forward to the radiant perfection awaiting you, but remember that the world you now inhabit is deeply fallen. Living by faith enables you to accept this world's brokenness, yet remain open to seeing My glorious miracles.
Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
We live by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7
I wait for you, O Lord; you will answer, O Lord my God.
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
An ongoing problem is like a tutor who is always by your side. The learning possibilities are limited only by your willingness to be teachable.
I confess that I don't like this tutor at all! What I really want is to break free and run away from my problems. Haven't I spent enough time with this teacher? Surely there must be other ways I could learn.
Beloved, I don't expect you to like your tutor.
No one enjoys having problems. However, I do require you to accept your tutor's presence with you as long as I choose. The bottom line is whether you trust Me to use the difficulty for good in your life. Beware of feeling entitled to an easy life. I actually promised the opposite when I said, "In this world you will have trouble." If you want to learn all that I have prepared for you, you must accept My teaching methods. Remember that I am the Potter, and you are the clay. You need to be flexible — malleable in My skillful hands.
Try to see your problem as a disguised blessing, gradually transforming you into My likeness. When you accept My ways with you trustingly — without rebelling or running away — you find freedom through My Spirit. Even more wondrously, I empower you to reflect Me to others with ever-increasing Glory!
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18
A successful day is one in which you have stayed in touch with Me, even if many things remain undone at the end of the day.
That sounds almost too good to be true. I rarely reach the end of the day feeling successful. I nearly always experience a sense of some degree of failure. There are numerous ways of measuring success, and I feel the pull of many of them. That can leave me in a fragmented, unfocused condition. Help me to view success from Your perspective.
Beloved, there are indeed many measures of success in the world, and most of them are meaningless. To avoid confusion, you need a rule of thumb: Seek to please Me. When communicating with Me is your highest priority, I am pleased. The more you commune with Me as you go through a day, the more you walk in My ways. The Light of My Presence illumines the path before you, making sin both obvious and abhorrent. This same Light satisfies your soul. So, staying in touch with Me an excellent measure of success.
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment."
You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
This is what the Lord says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls."
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
Psalm 63:5 NKJV
Trust in Me with all your heat and mind, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Me, and I will make your path straight.
Trusting You with all my heart has been my goal for years, but I seem to be making little progress. I suspect the culprit is my mind's ravenous appetite for understanding. Behind this impetus to understand, there lies strong desire to feel in control of my life. I want to trust You wholeheartedly, but I feel stuck.
Excerpted from Dear Jesus by Sarah Young. Copyright © 2007 Sarah Young. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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