Search This Blog

Friday, September 30, 2016

Forgive



“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37, NIV).

What is the best gift you can give? It isn't found in a store. It isn't something that you can touch or feel. It isn't something that will one day get lost or damaged. It is real and changes hearts. This is the gift of God’s unconditional love, and it always inspires forgiveness. Forgiveness is free and keeps no record of wrong that has been done. It lets go of hurt and releases the one who caused the pain from any debt. It does not judge or condemn. In return you are also forgiven. Love and forgiveness and another chance are the very best gifts you can give to others and to yourself.

Forgiving yourself can be difficult. When you have repented and don't forgive yourself for what God has forgiven, you give those past wrongs the ability to wreak havoc in your life. That mistake or sin or fault can sit in the back of your mind and grow large and overwhelming. It can destroy your assurance of God's love and forgiveness, and make you question if He has truly forgiven you. He is a “God, ready to forgive, gracious and merciful” (Nehemiah 9:17, NIV). He has forgiven you completely and your debt is gone. The condemning guilt you feel can be wiped away.

How can you forgive yourself? There are no easy answers. What I share in this next paragraph comes from my own experience. Perhaps you believe you have forgiven someone for a betrayal or something they did that was dishonest. Perhaps you believe you have forgiven them for rejecting your love or neglecting your trust. If you have forgiven someone for what they have done, why can't you accept God's forgiveness for your own betrayal of others—for your own action that was less than completely honest—for that time you rejected love and neglected a trust? His love forgives when you repent. Perhaps the inability to forgive yourself lies in the fact that there are underlying unresolved feelings from things that have been done to you. Even though you have reached out and made amends and also been forgiven by others, maybe you still feel guilty and unworthy of forgiveness. Although you believe you have forgiven others for what they have done to you, your inability to forgive yourself might reveal something you haven't even realized–an inability to really forgive those who have hurt you. 

Jesus has told us that if we forgive we will be forgiven. Forgiveness is an act of will. His forgiveness within your heart begins with a mental decision to do it. When you open your mind and heart to the Holy Spirit, He begins a work of healing of unresolved feelings in His time and in His perfect way. Choose to forgive what has been done to you and choose to not hold anything against anyone who has hurt you. Ask God to help you deal with all feelings that are involved. Choose to forgive yourself, and let go of any hurt you harbor. Allow God to open you to what you need to face so that any emotional pain can be healed. He will help you move forward in His complete love and forgiveness, and He will deal with the pain of the past. 

Jesus Christ promises to take to the grave all the hurt and bitterness and anger and rejection and neglect that you have experienced, and to raise you up with Him in newness of life. Today is a beginning. His love heals your heart. Allow Him to forgive. Choose Him.

Lynn Hampton Lacher

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Will


The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it’s going to be a lot better and a lot bigger” (Elisabeth Elliot).

Lord, if I had chosen your will for my life I probably wouldn’t have chosen right where I am at this moment. I wouldn’t have chosen this hardship and heartache. I would have chosen something easier. I would have chosen things that bring happiness instead of things that develop character. But you know what brings out the best in me. You know how each hurdle rising before me will inspire my greatest effort. You know what event or circumstance or problem that I face will bring out my best for tomorrow’s greatest joy. Lord, I thank you for this hard time that will make me stronger. I don’t have to tell you, Lord, that praise in this valley is so much harder than praise on the mountain. Praise right now calls for sacrifice of all I perceive, and calls for me to place my trust in you. This moment is not only about surrender of my will to yours. It is about surrender for who I am for who you know I can be. You always wish to do something new in me. It is in surrender of my control to your control that I discover enough clarity of purpose to trust you for the next hurdle—and the next and the next.  “I am about to do something new,” you whisper to my struggling heart. “See, I have already begun,” you declare. “Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness.” Lord, as I surrender my life you make a pathway through my wilderness. Your living water flows through me reviving hope. What I have thought was my time of greatest hardship shall prove to be my time of greatest victory.

  Lynn Hampton Lacher

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Overwhelmed



“From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge” (Psalm 61:2-3a, NLT).

My heart felt overwhelmed today, Lord. It was stretched beyond what I thought I could bear. The emotional pressure and stress would have been too much if it had not been for you. I cried out to you, Lord, and your Spirit prayed for my comfort and healing from within the depths of my own broken heart. My spirit clung to yours. I could feel your Spirit rising within me; I could feel your heart beating from within my own—calming and finally imparting peace to my battered soul. You are my place of safe refuge from all that comes against me. You are the rock of protection to which I cling. You are constant; you are true, and you never change. You are the healer of my wounded heart. My world may crumble—my loss might be great, but you are my strong and mighty tower of strength. You are my safe harbor in a sea that threatens to claim my last breath.  Come, Holy Spirit, and take the grief of this day, and make it part of the joy that will come tomorrow. I walk in your Spirit, and yearn to never leave. I breathe in your Spirit, Lord. I breathe in your hope and your promise. You are the heartbeat of my life. You constantly lead me into your presence again—and again—and again. You call to me until leaving your altar is something that no longer beckons—until all I desire is you carrying me through each moment of whatever my day presents. You have heard my heart’s cry from the ends of the earth, Lord, and from the bounty of heaven you have brought a peace of mind the world will never understand. You bring joy that cannot be described with mere words. You bring wholeness into my divided and torn life. No longer overwhelmed—no longer pressured with too much, I rest in you. 

  Lynn Hampton Lacher

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Red Sea Victory


“He gave a command to the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led his people across on dry land” (Psalm 106:9, GNT).

Each of us at some point will face a Red Sea. It will be something harder than we ever imagined. There will appear to be no way through or around it. It will appear that there is no answer. But just as the Lord parted the Red Sea for His people fleeing Egypt—just as He dried it up so they could move safely forward—just as He provided what was necessary at their most desperate moment, He parts the Red Sea and makes a path for His children now.

With the Red Sea in front of him and the Egyptians advancing from behind, Moses stood with the Israelites at the very edge of what appeared destruction. He had followed the Lord's guidance, and now there seemed to be no hope. There was no visible escape. There was nothing but his faith in the Lord who had brought them to this place.  Moses had promised God's people to lead them to freedom. The Red Sea rising ahead was not freedom; it was sure death. Yet Moses believed God would not fail in His promise. “'Do not be afraid,' Moses said. ‘Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still'” (Exodus 13:13-14, NIV).

After Moses had just told the Israelites to be still and see God’s deliverance, God then asked for something more. “The Lord said to Moses, 'Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground'” (Exodus 14:15-16, NIV). God told Moses to do more than stand still and wait! He told Moses to raise his staff to lead the Israelites forward into what appeared sure death. God would give them more than a way of escape. He would destroy what had driven them to this very place.

When faced with our Red Sea, we sometimes try to pull back. Perhaps we see it rising in the distance, and we turn from its imposing presence. But the army of life presses us closer, and we cannot turn back. Suddenly we stand at the edge. We believe that there is no way to go further, and there is obviously no retreat; we are paralyzed by our fear. To experience freedom, we must move into our Red Sea. When circumstances allow no retreat and we need God to part the waters, we must move forward into the unknown. That imposing Red Sea presents the greatest fear. But without facing the fear and moving right through it with God's help, we will never overcome what has driven us to the very edge of ourselves.

My Red Sea lies ahead. Circumstances press from behind. There is no escape. I can either allow it to paralyze me, or I can step forward in faith. I can either try to control what I cannot control, or I can release my fear to God. At the very edge of my Red Sea I make my decision. If I step into the unknown, I discover the power of God to strengthen and deliver me. Believing and trusting that the waters will part, I go forward through what otherwise might destroy me. In what appears destruction I experience His power to deliver and even change the circumstances which have driven me. In the depths of my fear I discover that in letting go I find Him. I find His peace, and the pure joy of victory.
  Lynn Hampton Lacher

Monday, September 26, 2016

Molded

“I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him” (Jeremiah 18:3-4).
You are the potter, Lord. I am just clay in your hands. You take my marred life and mold me. I am broken by your pressure. I am chiseled as stone. I become pliable when I choose to surrender to you. Molding me is your work. Mine is submission and willingness to change—to let go of what is not right in my heart and in my life. I know that your divine power has given me everything I need to grow spiritually and have a godly life—that I gain that through knowledge of you in your word, and through surrender to your will. You have given precious promises so I might have more of you, and less of my sinful self. I shall make every effort to add to my faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. If these are growing in my life, you can use me for your best. This only happens with your power and my continual surrender. In the beginning it can be so disheartening, but as I stay surrendered to your will, I am changed by your purpose. My eyes are open. I see so much more that needs to be done in me. I shall continue on this journey and not let what lies ahead discourage me. I learn courage by surrendering my fear; I learn patience by surrendering my control, and I learn perseverance by surrendering my struggle. You are with me, and as this work takes place—through my surrender to your love and power—your qualities increase in my life. I am molded into a useful instrument in your hands. I am formed into whatever you deem best. It hurts to be molded. It hurts to let go of who I am for who you are. It hurts to give up selfishness and what I want. It hurts to let go of that control that has meant so much. But it is in letting go and letting you mold me that I discover your joy and purpose. I discover that what I thought was joy in my life is nothing compared to the joy I find in you. I discover that what I considered my purpose is nothing compared to the one you offer. Take my marred life, Lord, and place your hands upon my brokenness. Bring your pressure to bear just where it is needed. I am yours. Make me your own.
Lynn Hampton Lacher

Friday, September 23, 2016

Strength



I am tired this morning, and I want to retreat from what I know you wish for me. The words are blurred on this page, and I fight to stay awake after a night of little sleep. But you gently call me. I feel your nudge to rise to what you know I can do in your strength. I pray that my words and actions during this day would not hurt anyone. I pray never to be hard or cold to anyone you bring into my life. I pray to always be the shelter you have called me to be. Lord God, I pray for this day to be yours only. I pray to be guided only by your voice and never my own will. I pray to see the others you bring into my life as a gift to be cherished. May I always love with your love! May I always seek to understand who they really are, and recognize the need beyond their words! Help me to always see their potential in you, and yet not burden them before they can understand the wonder of it. Help me to always realize that your way is the best. If I follow you—if I surrender myself to you every day, I will understand the hope of your calling and the power of your resurrection. If I let go of my preconceived ideas about anyone, you can guide me, direct me, and teach me how you can use me in their life. So, Lord, I pray to inspire with your hope, and share your Word with your power, and love completely with your love. You are my strength for your purpose. 

  Lynn Hampton Lacher

Thursday, September 22, 2016

He Fights for Me



God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains. Jacob-wrestling God fights for us; God-of-Angel-Armies protects us” (Psalm 46:1-3, MSG).

My refuge. My place of safety. My anchor. My help in time of need. He is all this and so much more. What do I ever face that He can’t and won’t handle?  Because of Him I stand without fear before any battle. I stand courageous before the unknown of tomorrow and the unrest of today. No storm of life is able to shake my assurance in Him. My world may surge with circumstances beyond my control, but they are not beyond His. No shock in my life is too great to defeat my faith in His unchanging truth. The same God who Jacob wrestled also fights for me. I may feel the wound of my own failure, but I shall become stronger because of it. I am healed only because He was wounded for me. The God of the angelic host fight battles beyond my comprehension—those battle of which I know nothing. I have no need to know. I don’t face or fight whatever lies ahead. He fights for me. 

  Lynn Hampton Lacher

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Free


Sometimes, Lord, it seems the weight of the world rests on my shoulders. You have given me such responsibility, but often I don’t feel capable of handling your trust. I am lacking. I am overwhelmed. I am tired. I am pushed to the maximum. But in the midst of all this pressure, you call me to realize that your burden is not heavy. It is light. You carry what I am unable to carry on my own. You carried the weight of my sin to the cross, and because of your love I can know the freedom of your Spirit—structuring my days—empowering what you deem important—letting me know when something is not a priority or when it is. I can be free in you. The things that wait to be handled—both the real and perceived responsibilities—are in your control when I allow you to direct my days.

I trust you with all my heart—not just a portion of my heart, but with all of it. I surrender my understanding for yours. I seek your wisdom instead of my own. I look beyond my failures and weaknesses and realize you are my only strength. Fear is never my master. You are. I choose to delight in you, Lord. I choose to praise you in the storm. My sacrifice of praise is my gift to you. In my offering I discover that you have taken the weight of responsibility upon your shoulders. The things you have called me to handle are yours. If I allow you to guide and direct and choose what is important for each day, I am no longer overwhelmed. I am no longer lacking.

“Trust in the Lord and do what is good,” the psalmist writes. “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desire. Commit everything to Him. Trust Him. He will help you. Be still in His presence, and wait patiently for Him to act” (Psalm 37:3-7). Lord, I will trust you.  Not just say it, but live it—breathe it. I will not carry the weight you never meant for me to carry. I will rejoice and delight in you. You are faithful, and you never fail me. You never change. You are constant and I can always rely on you.  I commit every decision and every responsibility to you. Your will always be done. You are my constant help in each time of need. I give you my tired heart, and I rest in your purpose. I wait for you. There is no rush. There is no struggle. There is no need to make something happen that perhaps you never intended. My will is no longer at war. It is free for you to make your own.

You carry my load. My spirit soars. I am free.

  Lynn Hampton Lacher

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Abiding



“Remain in me, and I will remain in you,” Jesus told the disciples the night before His crucifixion. “A branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me” (John 15:2, NLT). “In abiding,” Bruce Wilkinson writes in Secrets of the Vine, “you seek, long for, thirst for, wait for, see, know, love, hear and respond to a person.” Jesus Christ longs to have a deep intimate relationship with you—not just one that scratches the surface of your heart, but one that draws you daily into His presence. When your life is one of abiding He is your reason you seek truth. He is the hunger and thirst that is only satiated with His intimacy. You wait patiently for Him to move. You love with His love. You hear with His ears, and see with His eyes. You understand with His wisdom. You are in a relationship that changes the very core of who you are, and drives your life into utter fulfillment.

Jesus is the vine, and you are the branch (John 15). Your life remains vital and alive as long as you stay connected to the source of your spiritual life. If you don't, you dry up and wither away.  “Think about the meeting place of vine and branch,” Wilkerson writes. “Why would Jesus give us a picture of a living thing whose life forcethe sapis mysteriously out of sight?  One reason could be that, in abiding, what happens on the surface doesn't count; what's happening inside does.”  Surrender to His will, and something amazing happens inside your heart and mind. That yielding of self creates a connection that brings His power and purpose. Nothing can keep you from the powerful spiritual life-changing force to be found in surrender when you desire His will instead of your own. In inward surrender of self, the outward “you” changes. When your life reveals the change in your heart, the outward result is His power flowing freely and unrestrictedly through you.

Have you surrendered to the living-changing force of His will or does the heart sacrifice He calls for asks too much of you? Do you remain in His presence allowing Him to shape and mold your inner man? Do you seek His truth and purpose? Thirst for His living water? Wait for His guidance and answer? See with His eyes instead of what you see with your own? Hear with His ears instead of what your own receive? Understand with His spiritual mind instead of what your human mind perceives? God disciplines sin and prunes self so that not only your life will be transformed, but so others will be impacted by the change He has wrought in your life.  When the life-blood of Jesus flows into your surrendered life, you are filled with the heart-beat of His purpose. When your heart beats for Him the change that has happened inwardly flows outwardly to others who also await His purpose and promise. So does your life bear fruit? Do you continually surrender your will and remain connected to the life-giving flow of His grace? Your life ultimately reflects what is true within your own heart. 

   Lynn Hampton Lacher

    

Monday, September 19, 2016

Open



There are no words this morning to express the pain of loss that I face each day. No one likes to face pain, Lord. When I live through suffering, my natural instinct is to bury the pain as deep as I can. But that is not your plan for me. What may be my natural instinct is not yours. You never waste my hurt or what I face, and you do not want me to just bury it. You long for me to use the pain I experience—the things that I regret—the highs and the lows—the fears and the failures—the very things I want to hide from—for the benefit of others. You want my life open so others might find freedom from their own pain, and I might discover healing for mine.

Sometimes I want to build a wall to protect myself from my own pain. But building a wall doesn't protect me. It imprisons my heart. It imprisons my spirit. It imprisons healing of not only my own wounds, but those of others. My wall turns my heart into a heart of stone because, in closing myself off, I have shut you out, Lord. But when I allow that wall of false protection to tumble down, you turn my pain into victory not only for myself, but for others. “I'll give you a new heart,” you promise, “and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).

When my heart yields completely to you, Holy Spirit, it becomes one of tender spiritual flesh. It is a heart that is malleable, vulnerable, and not afraid of the pain that often accompanies healing. It is heart that is ready to face the hurt of the past or the present head-on, and allow you freedom to do whatever is necessary. Willing to deal with whatever must be dealt with, this heart trusts that if you have exposed pain, you are more that capable of handling all that has caused it.

This is where I want my heart this morning. This is what I know you wish for my life—to be real, vulnerable, and willing. Make me your instrument of healing, Lord. I open my heart to experience your freedom. I open my life trusting you will heal, move, and use me just as you desire.

Lynn Hampton Lacher

Friday, September 16, 2016

I Come



“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NLT).


I come to you, Lord, stripped of any pretense. I come abandoned. I come vulnerable. I come deserted. I come barren. I come forsaken. I come fearful. I come overwhelmed. I come anxious. I come rejected. I come hopeless. I come so that I might find respite from all the turmoil of my life in your presence. I come with nothing to offer but my brokenness. It is when I come broken of all that I have attempted to hold in place that I find you waiting.


Lord, you accept and love me in my weakness and feebleness. I can be who I am with you. There is just you and just me. There is no image I have to keep. There is no mask I have to hold in place. There is no agenda that has to be met. There is no perfection that I need to maintain. You see beyond all my limitations, and you love me still. You always see my potential, and never my failures. You know what you have created me to be, and that is never something that I have to struggle to receive. I am a new creature in you because of who you are—not because of who I am. You love me with an everlasting love, and that is beyond my human ability to understand.


When I open my heart, mind, spirit—my soul to you, I receive your freedom to believe in the potential you see in my life. In your amazing love, I discover who you have always meant for me to be. I am set free from my limited human understanding, and filled to overflowing with the freedom that you bring into my life. I am no longer in bondage to my human failures. I am free in your promise.


I rise from my time with you accepted. I am no longer deserted or abandoned. I am not forsaken or rejected. I rise from my time with you free of the fear which has tormented me. What has overwhelmed is now seen from your perspective. You have taken my anxious thoughts from me at your altar, and now I am at rest. I am broken of self, and restored in your power. I rise from my knees again—revived and renewed. I know my hope is always in you, Lord, and it shall always be. I shall see you again in just a little while, Lord, because without my time with you, I am lost in my own weakness. So I come.

  Lynn Hampton Lacher


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Delight in Him



“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:4, NLT).

Is it hard for you to delight in the Lord—to experience His joy? “Delight in the Lord,” the psalmist declared, “and He will give you your heart’s desire!” Do you realize that God delights in you (Psalm 149:4)?  Perhaps you feel abandoned. Others might abandon you, but God will never forsake you. If you are someone who believes God doesn’t listen or answer your cry for help, then you need to absorb the truth that He delights in you. He takes joy in you. He delights in you because you are His creation, and He died for you. That is the greatest love. That kind of love does not abandon. But we sometimes abandon that love by our thoughts and actions. Often we judge His love for us through the eyes of our own sin or through the pain of our own circumstance.

You cannot experience the delight of the Lord if you have something in your life that is blocking it. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that you have in your life that needs to be forgiven. Ask Him to reveal not only what you may have done, but the real motive of your heart. Only listen to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and never listen to the enemy who will condemn you. There is always hope in Christ's conviction, but only despair in the lying condemnation of the enemy. Allow Christ's conviction to change your heart, and humble yourself in His presence. “In my distress I prayed to the Lord,” the psalmist wrote, “and the Lord answered me and set me free:” (Psalm 118:5, NLT). When you allow Him to change your heart, He will lift you from the darkest despair and set you free from sin’s power to control your life.

You cannot experience the delight of the Lord if some event or problem is so powerful that it keeps you from experiencing God's love and peace. You don't feel loved if you feel God has abandoned you. That very feeling of abandonment can bring anger and bitterness toward God, and then anger toward yourself for being angry at Him. Tell God you are sorry for your anger toward him, and forgive yourself for your anger toward you. Life happens. Events happen. Problems come. Trials are inevitable. God has not abandoned you. His power is greater in your life than that of any event. To learn His lesson and grow in His grace, humble yourself and yield control to Him.

“The Lord delights in his people,” the psalmist wrote. “He crowns the humble with victory” (Psalm 149:4, NLT). Humbly lay your life at His feet. Draw close to Him in prayer and purpose. When you humble yourself before the Lord and give up anything in your life that blocks His presence, you invite His power into your life. When you allow the trials of life to spiritually grow you into His beautiful creation, you invite His victory. Instead of defeating you, those trials inspire you to trust Him more. “Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor” (1 Peter 5:7, NLT). His power is best understood in humility. When He completely owns your heart, pride has no power. In letting go you have given Him permission to empower your life. The desires of your heart are no longer your own. They are His.  You have found your delight in Him.

 Lynn Hampton Lacher


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Known



“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand” (Psalm 139:1-6, NLT).

To realize that I am known so greatly—so deeply—so completely—goes beyond my limited human understanding. You know me, Lord. Not just who I present to the world, but who I am within my own heart. You know my struggles, and you know my grief. I open my heart to you, God, and my soul yearns for you to continually search me. I thirst for you, my living God, with an unquenchable thirst. I cannot move without you knowing it. Every step that I plan may be formed in my mind, but your Spirit directs my steps. My thoughts and my ways are not as high as your thoughts and ways, but you know and understand them because you became human for me. You understand me. For my safe, you became one with me in my suffering. You know when I am at ease and when I am distraught. You know when I have the faith to move mountains, and when I need rest to be revived. You are familiar with every part of me. Before I even speak, you know what I am going to say. Because you know my heart, you know if it is pained or if it rejoices. No matter where I am or what I am dealing with, I know that you know the real me.

Why do I ever become downcast? I can always hope in you. Because you know me and created me, I am yours and you are mine. You go before me and prepare my path. You follow me, Lord, and protect my life. You gave your life for me, and now you constantly draw me with your heart. I pray for any words I utter to only speak your love—your forgiveness—your power—your life. I pray right now before a word is ever spoken that my words are directed by you, Holy Spirit. I long to have a joyful heart that speaks life. You discipline me, Lord, and guide me in the right direction. You chastise me when I fail, and you encourage me when I succeed. You have placed your hand upon my life, and I am always aware of its steady loving pressure. Your love seems too much at times for me to even fathom. Often your call seems beyond reach. But you always draw me. You always pour yourself into me. You take what I say is not enough and make it beautiful.

I give you my limited life, Lord. That is my offering. It is all I have to give—an unfinished life waiting to be fulfilled. Take it, and complete it with your purpose. Give me a crown of beauty for ashes—a joyous blessing instead of mourning—festive praise instead of despair. You are my God. Make my life your own. Never let me claim it again.

  Lynn Hampton Lacher


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Small Yet Perfect


“Do not conform 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” (Romans 12:2, NIV).

You love God with all your heart, mind, body, and soul. You live a surrendered and obedient life–one that seeks to please and honor the Lord. You seek Him every day through prayer and the Word. You seek His intimacy because without Him you are lost. You pray for others because if you don't, you will fail them and Him. You are available when He needs you, and you reach out to those who need help. He gives you what to say when you need the words, and He is able to direct your steps. You constantly seek to be closer to Him, and to be renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit. You belong to Him, and yet in your mind you are struggling to discover His great purpose for your life.

You have longed for this great purpose in your life that brings passion to your soul. You have cried out to God to know His perfect will. You know that if you are in His will, you shall be fulfilled. So you have struggled to discover it. In your seeking, perhaps you have missed the fact that smaller purposes can make up a greater one. Perhaps smaller opportunities that God has sent your way have been overlooked in the search for that great purpose, and with that overlooked opportunity, you have missed the passion and fulfillment you have sought.

Being renewed in your mind means being changed in the way that you think. Think differently about the little things that you do each day for Him. Don't believe that you have failed Him because you haven't perceived a great purpose. Live each day with expectancy that you shall be used by God that day. Ask Him for opportunities to be used, and you shall receive. Discover the purpose of your day that brings glory to His name. Make yourself available with a joyful spirit. Discover your passion in what has been given for you to do now. With a yielded heart of surrender and a mind to receive the direction of His Spirit, you can test and approve each opportunity that a day presents. Set your hand to the plow for the day and plow your purpose. You can “commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” (Proverbs 16:3. NIV). You shall be in His will–His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

God does not consider any service as being small. If you seek and serve Him faithfully in what you consider the small things, you will one day learn just how big they really are. You shall know that you have found the great, passionate, and perfect will of God for your life.
  Lynn Hampton Lacher

Monday, September 12, 2016

My Mask


Have you ever tried to hide behind a wall you have created for protection?  Have you ever worn a mask so someone else will not see what you are going through? I have! Once, on a day when my heart was broken, a friend asked if I was alright, and I answered, I'm fine. I never once considered that perhaps God had sent my friend to help me at my point of need, and I held my mask firmly in place. Perhaps I had missed the very healing God wished to impart. Maybe you at times have also missed yours. I know that the Lord does not want us to expose our pain to just anyone, but He does want us sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit to know when He has sent someone that we can trust. He longs for us to know when we have the freedom to open up our heart.

Perhaps the Holy Spirit wants us to open our heart to someone who is deeply hurt by either something in their past or something that has them bound in the present. Do we hold the mask in place, and not share our own pain and experience because we are afraid of our own vulnerability? If we do, there is no freedom because the Holy Spirit is held out by our mask. Perhaps we have denied not only our own healing, but also healing for someone else.

"We are not like Moses," Paul imparts, "who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 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 3:13-18).

Do we mask our hearts and not allow the Holy Spirit freedom to transform us? He wants to heal us, but He cant if we hide behind self-imposed walls of protection. Christ has the power to set us free from the old covenant veil we hold in place so others dont see our vulnerability and pain. I dont know about you, but I dont want my mind and heart dull and hardened. I dont want to wear a mask to hide joy that has faded because I dont want to appear less than I have been. I want to be real and trust that the Lord who exposes my pain will also heal that which I have entrusted to Him. Where the Holy Spirit is, I have the liberty, the freedom, the vulnerability, the trust, the faith, and the purpose to open my heart. In my giving, He will bring healing to those He has entrusted to me. And also bring healing to me.

  Lynn Hampton Lacher

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sacrifice of Praise



“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Hebrews 13:15, NIV).

Praise. It springs up when, in my most difficult circumstance, I determine to honor Him. I determine to sacrifice all the emotions that arise from my human perspective, and praise Him for His faithfulness. I praise Him for bringing me safely through each trial that makes no sense—that I know will drown me if I do not give it to Him.  My praise, in every moment of distress, changes despair into joy. It dispels worry, and changes confusion into clarity. In praise I focus on Him and not my circumstance. I see His blessings much more clearly. All is well within me though outwardly the storm rages.

In praise I am changed, and that change must first come from within me. No matter how difficult my problems or my circumstance–the change is found in when I choose to praise Him. Praise in the midst of hardship breaks down inner walls. It recognizes the power of my God over the things out of my control. Once I grasp that truth my heart will trust His faithfulness, and in the chaos of my circumstances order will come. When things are hard—when pain persists—when problems overwhelm, I will seek reasons to be thankful. I will seek to realize the blessings He gives that often slip by unobserved. The gift of thanksgiving in my heart—no matter what is going on in my life—is my sacrifice of praise.

One day my sacrifice of praise shall no longer be a sacrifice. It will flow easily and joyfully no matter what surrounds me. My heart and mind will no longer be consumed with pain, but shall be filled with all of Him. I will only focus on the strength of His character and the faithfulness of His love for me. My praise shall flow into worship, and His Spirit will strengthen me. Lifted into His presence, I shall be free. His freedom shall be more real than anything that I face. It is my promise. And it will have sprung from my sacrifice of praise.

So why do I wait to give Him my sacrifice? Let it be now.

   Lynn Hampton Lacher

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Waiting Well

Waiting Well

How do we discover the peaceful assurance that God is in control of all circumstances? This kind of spiritual assurance comes when we live by faith. The Word imparts that perfect peace can be found when we focus completely upon the unchanging strength of God’s truth (Isaiah 26:3), and not upon our weakness or circumstance. Living by faith is waiting with patience and trust for His answer—His will—His timing—because He has chosen the “what, when, where, and how” of our lives.

 The minor prophet, Habakkuk, was highly frustrated with the Lord for not punishing sinners in a way he thought was best. He brought his complaints to God, and then waited for the Lord’s answer (Habakkuk 2:1). The Lord’s answer to Habakkuk is timeless, and reveals the patience of a faithful Savior who speaks to the impatient heart of his complaining child. “I have heard your complaint. Habakkuk. What I tell you now can be carved in stone, and heralded as truth. I will move when I know the time is right. It might appear to take forever, but it is for my appointed time, and it will not fail. Though my promise lingers, have faith that it will come and will not delay. You, as my righteous child, are to live by faith no matter what happens” (Habakkuk 2:2-4).

Living by faith—focusing on the Lord’s strength and not upon what He may have promised—teaches how to persevere against all odds. However, when we are consumed with what God has promised instead of being consumed with God, we lose the ability to persevere. Faith which focuses more upon a promise than God will fail. But when faith rises from our love of God, it will prosper. What is important is discovering His will because of our love for Him, and not for what we shall receive. There is also a danger in focusing upon the way in which we think God will provide our promise. We might miss the “what, when, where and how” God supplies the need.

We are not to shrink from the hard times of life. We are to face them head-on with faith (Hebrews 10:38b-39). When we faithfully seek God in the storms of life, He rewards us with greater faith to believe in His unchanging character (Hebrews 11:6, Hebrews 13:8). Our time of waiting upon the Lord then becomes our greatest time of spiritual fulfillment. “Even though I can’t see your provision, Lord, I will be joyful,” Habakkuk decided, “for you have lifted me far above my concerns, and made me sure-footed as the deer. I will not slip in faith, Lord. I choose to believe because you are my strength” (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

No matter what the circumstances of life, God is faithful to perform that which He has promised. Perhaps one day we will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You waited well.”

 Lynn Hampton Lacher


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Change




“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT).

Life constantly changes. Whether good or bad, change can be hard. Change means that the circumstances you have relied upon or maybe even those you have come to accept in your struggle, are no more. They have ended. When circumstances change for the worse, you might grieve the loss of what you believed would last. When they change for the better, you may have difficulty with the adjustment that the change requires. No matter what happens in life, God is your constant and sure foundation in this vacillating world. If you are safely hidden in Godif He is your cornerstone of faith, you cannot fear change because He never changes. He is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). 

His perfect plan for your life always gives hope for your future. Trust Him when the seasons of your life change. Learn His lesson in wherever circumstance life places you, and apply that lesson to your life. It makes the next change easier to handle, because you have learned spiritual balance in a world that offers no solid foundation. The power of the Holy Spirit to handle change is always available. Claim it, and use it constantly. His powerHis strengthHis faithfulnessHis consistencyHis balance are yours to exercise every day. You can never ask too much of God. His provision is unending. Living by faith in Him provides abundance in all that life brings. 

“‘I am about to do something new,’ the Lord proclaims. ‘See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed.  I have made Israel for myself, and they will someday honor me before the whole world’” (Isaiah 43:19, 20b-21, NLT). Whatever new change lies ahead in your lifewhatever season, He has made a way to provide exactly what is needed for your journey. He offers all the resources you need. You are His child, and He will not forsake you or leave you. Praise Him and accept His spiritual peace. It is His perfect gift for your lifeto know that in whatever change occurs, He has a plan and purpose for your life.

  Lynn Hampton Lacher

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Faith Not to Fail



“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32, NLT).

It is the night of the Last Supper. It is just a little while until Jesus shall be arrested, accused, found guilty, and crucified. He knows His time has almost arrived. The evening is emotionally charged. The disciples have just argued among themselves who will be the greatest in His kingdom, and Jesus has explained that those who think themselves the greatest shall be the least. Satan has asked Jesus to sift His disciples like wheat—to see where their real allegiance lies. Now Jesus specifically addresses Peter because He knows what Peter’s temptation will be.  In His carefully chosen words Jesus reveals, by saying “when you have repented,” that He knows Peter will ultimately deny Him.

Jesus did not say that He pleaded in prayer for Peter to be delivered from temptation. He pleaded that Peter’s faith would not fail.  Even though he knew that Peter would fail, He still prayed for Peter to remain strong. Jesus knew what His Father expected of Him—to unselfishly give His life for mankind. Just as He knew what He would choose in the Garden of Gethsemane, He also knew the choice Peter would make by a coal fire. Jesus’ choice at Calvary would offer new life, and Peter’s choice would hide from its promise. In both choices God reveals the ultimate power found in redemption—the strength and healing found in forgiveness. In Jesus’s sacrifice the power of love would wipe out the sin of the world.  In Peter’s failure the power of Jesus’ love would soon set him free. Jesus’ words spoken by another coal fire—asking “do you love me, Peter”—would bring healing and forgiveness to his repentant heart. Jesus instruction to “feed my sheep” would inspire Peter to “strengthen his brothers” and rise from denial to victory.

The Holy Spirit knows just where the enemy will strike hard trying to tempt me. Thinking that I will never fail Him, I say, “Lord, I will never deny you,” Then find when I fail that I am traumatized by the choice I have made. Jesus also pleads in prayer for me. I, like Peter, am so overwhelmed by my own denial that I cannot move past it. I yearn so badly to be forgiven, but what I have done just seems to be too terrible. Jesus does not want me imprisoned by my failure. Just as I made a choice when I failed Him, He knows that now I can also make a choice to repent. Just as He told Peter when he had repented and returned to Him that He would strengthen his brothers, He also instructs me. He asks me again and again if I also love Him, and when I say “yes”, He lovingly takes me to my own coal fire where I am immersed in His forgiveness.  

Jesus continually prays for me to have faith that will not fail. He prays for me not to falter in my walk, but when I do, He prays for me to have the faith to return in repentance to Him.  Then He prays for me to have the faith to accept His grace that forgives, and realize that where I have fallen, He can now use me. He can take my failure and bring about His glory but not just for my sake. He strengthens me so I can be used by Him to strengthen others in the faith.

What is Jesus praying for you? Only you and Jesus know. In the sifting process of the harsh circumstances and temptations of life, choose Him, and experience the power of repentance. He already knows your weakness, and now He pleads in prayer for you to be strengthened. Never be defined by your failure, but always by His prayer. Rise from denial to victory and share the life that has been so unselfishly and freely given to you.

Lynn Hampton Lacher


Monday, September 5, 2016

Allowing Him



“Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2a, NLT).

What does it mean to be transformed, Lord?  I long to be changed. But so often I am not willing to surrender what needs to be changed in my life.  I hold on to its bondage unable to reach for freedom. What does it really mean to lay all of my life down?  To let go of all of myself?  To seek your desires instead of my own?  I need to change my attitude—my outlook—the way I think.  I need to allow you, Holy Spirit, access to my deepest feeling, emotion, and those deep places I have always held back from you. What I try to hide will never be hidden. What I try to change in my life in my own way and on my own strength, will never be changed. You transform me when I allow it. I determine to change the way that I think about all that I face—to see each problem or person as a challenge to refine my life and not as one to defeat it. You raise me up to walk above life’s circumstances—when I allow it. You call me out into the depths of the unknown to experience greater faith. You call me out so that I must rely totally on you because I have no strength of my own. You stretch me beyond myself. It may seem my breaking point, but it proves not to be because you are holding me. You wait for that moment when I have released all that you know needs to be released. You wait for that moment when my own way and my own strength proves not to be enough.  You wait with your perfect love for what I have feared in so many ways—giving up all rights to myself.

I can’t strengthen. I can’t change. I can’t fix. All I can be is yours. I let go. I breathe your promise. I breathe your peace. It is in the release of all of myself on your altar that I melt into your presence. I am clay just waiting to be molded. I cry out for your hand upon my life. I yearn to be made new in the spirit of my mind. I am ready, Lord, for those deep places which I have always held back to now belong totally to you. You own them. You own me. I have nothing to prove. I have no point to make. I rest in your grace that is sufficient. You hold me in your perfect peace because my mind has settled upon you. I am never alone in each thing that I need to give you. You are with me to strengthen and encourage. If I allow, you take into yourself my heart and mind. And you give what I can never give myself—the greatest peace for which there is no explanation. It just is because you just are. 

   Lynn Hampton Lacher


Friday, September 2, 2016

Open



There are no words this morning to express the pain of loss that I face each day. No one likes to face pain, Lord. When I live through suffering, my natural instinct is to bury the pain as deep as I can. But that is not your plan for me. What may be my natural instinct is not yours. You never waste my hurt or what I face, and you do not want me to just bury it. You long for me to use the pain I experience—the things that I regret—the highs and the lows—the fears and the failures—the very things I want to hide from—for the benefit of others. You want my life open so others might find freedom from their own pain, and I might discover healing for mine.

Sometimes I want to build a wall to protect myself from my own pain. But building a wall doesn't protect me. It imprisons my heart. It imprisons my spirit. It imprisons healing of not only my own wounds, but those of others. My wall turns my heart into a heart of stone because, in closing myself off, I have shut you out, Lord. But when I allow that wall of false protection to tumble down, you turn my pain into victory not only for myself, but for others. “I'll give you a new heart,” you promise, “and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).

When my heart yields completely to you, Holy Spirit, it becomes one of tender spiritual flesh. It is a heart that is malleable, vulnerable, and not afraid of the pain that often accompanies healing. It is heart that is ready to face the hurt of the past or the present head-on, and allow you freedom to do whatever is necessary. Willing to deal with whatever must be dealt with, this heart trusts that if you have exposed pain, you are more that capable of handling all that has caused it.

This is where I want my heart this morning. This is what I know you wish for my life—to be real, vulnerable, and willing. Make me your instrument of healing, Lord. I open my heart to experience your freedom. I open my life trusting you will heal, move, and use me just as you desire.

Lynn Hampton Lacher

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Limitations



 “I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6, NLT).

Always look to Jesus, the author and the finisher of your faith. Don’t judge what you consider limitations in yourself and in others. Allow Him to make that call. In your struggle to give Him control lay down your need for answers and your need for what you consider justice. In your impatience realize His unfailing patience. In your own limitations and those of others realize He alone is perfect.  If you try to overcome what you can’t overcome you will fail. If you try to change what only He can change you will be defeated. What you judge in yourself is sometimes judged much harsher in others. You want to make right what needs to be made right. You want to change what you consider wrong, and at the same time you want to be closer to Him. He longs to use you and work through you, but He can’t until your life has been placed upon His altar. Surrendering everything and letting Him have control means that you don’t have to fix anything. You don’t need to have the answer. When you surrender and allow Him to continue His work in you, He will deal with all your concerns. You will know in every way, in every trial and struggle, that He is your Savior, your ever-present help in any time of need.

Don't ever despair in your human limitation. That limitation can drive you to surrender. That limitation can drive you to seek Him.  Surrender is peace. You no longer have to fix what you no longer judge. That is His responsibility. As you seek Him you will grow to be more like Him. You will no longer be limited by thoughts of your own human limitations because you will be with Him and He will be in you. He will be your guide and strength. You will have no need to judge the hearts of others. You will long for all to know this love that changes your life each day as you surrender again and again. As you remain in Him you will receive His conquering and miracle working power to fulfill your calling until the day that He returns.

In dying to self, you discover His life. To describe what He has designed for your life is impossible. He alone knows what your surrender brings. But that is your journey and your joy—to discover what He alone can work in and through you.

Lynn Lacher

KNOWING JESUS

  Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing...