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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Repair Your Altar


When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
—Isaiah 43:2 NLT  

Through any distress and loss that you face, He is with you. The waters will not rise above the strength that only He can bring forth in your life. Oppression will only strengthen and refine you. When you advance through these rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. He will be your haven—your safe harbor. Whatever your sorrow or pain, it does not last forever. Whatever your heartbreak or despair, one day it will be over. You will not be burned up. You will be refined as gold.

His peace comes when you repair the altar that has been waiting far too long. It has been broken in stages as His call to fall upon your knees has been repeatedly ignored. Have you believed you had more pressing needs than spending time with Him? Have you placed Him and His call on the back burner so often that now He seems too far beyond your reach? His altar is a place of sacrifice and one of obedience. It waits for you. It calls you. Oh, if only you had fallen upon His altar each day! It would not have taken a moment of crisis for you to realize your fragile state and that peace could be so elusive. But here you are, and in this moment you realize what you have lost.

The altar waits for you. It has never grown tired of your delay. The promise of His love and peace is still just as real. Fall upon your knees in absolute surrender. The anguish you have felt will soon anticipate His promise of joy to come. Grasp His promise that “weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b, NLT). Remember His strongest children are those—who in the night of weeping after leaving their pain upon His altar—confidently believe in the promise of joy in the morning. Come and repair what has been broken.

-Devotional from Form Me, Fire Me, Fill Me
© 2017 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

You Send


And why have I called you for this work? Why did I call you by name when you did not know me? It is for the sake of Jacob my servant, Israel, my chosen one. (God chooses Cyrus to rescue His people from exile.) 
—Isaiah 45:4 NLT

Daddy, you’re living through the one thing you never wanted to happen. Who were you today? I wasn’t sure you knew me, and I didn’t know you. When you looked at me, I was an outsider in your world—a person who had never impacted your life. I wanted to run—to escape the loss of my father—to hide from the sadness that was breaking my heart. But I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.

I know you’re alone in your own reality. I’m sorry you can’t understand how much you’re loved right now—that you can’t receive or give or understand or relate or reason. When you talk, it is a collage of events—of fairy tales—of impossible feats—of a realm where, in your mind, you are still in control. You pilot your plane through seas and earth. You travel in boats upon clouds that spiral out of sight. You flit between realities as light as a fairy. You dance in a place I haven’t seen. You see what I can’t see. You experience what I can’t experience.

Within your soul, rests the promise that you are known. You have been called by name. Even if you don’t always remember Him, Daddy, God always remembers you. If He called Cyrus by name, who didn’t know Him, and equipped Him beyond his own limitations, then God also calls you—who belongs to Him—and equips you for this hard journey. He also equips me for this journey. We both have been called to this work. Within your mind, the Spirit of God uses you beyond my ability to grasp. He calls you to a reality that I can’t imagine. Within mine, I live a purpose which sometimes tears my heart to shreds, just as Jesus’ heart was torn to shreds for me. This is His work in me.

Dear Lord, for the sake of your chosen people, Cyrus was anointed to rescue your children in exile. So often, it feels like I’m in exile, too. When I can’t reach Daddy, I feel like he is in exile. I have to remind myself that Daddy goes nowhere alone, and in his world you are his perfect guardian. For his sake and mine and for other family members torn asunder by his illness, you send encouragers—those you know who understand, because they, also, have walked this valley. They come, not to rescue from the journey—because they can’t. They come to strengthen in this valley. With their support, this journey’s crushing weight of lonely heartbreak is lifted. And in their midst, your comfort and strength is found. In this place from which there is no escape, I learn that victory isn’t found on the mountain when life is perfect. Victory is discovered in the valley when despair turns into joy.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher


www.lynnlacher.com

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I Let Go


Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
—Romans 12:2a NLT

What does it mean to be changed, Lord? I want to change, but so often I am not willing to surrender control. Sometimes I don’t even know what binds me because I have denied the Holy Spirit complete access to my life. I am in bondage unable to reach for freedom. I know the result of that bondage. Anger. Hurt. Pain. Bitterness. What does it really mean to lay all of myself down?  To let go of all of myself?  To want only you—your peace—your joy? I long to allow you, Holy Spirit, to change my attitude—my outlook—the way I think. I yearn to give you access to my deepest feeling, emotion, and those deep places I have held back from you. What I try to hide can never be hidden. What I try to change in my life in my own way and on my own strength can never be changed. You transform me—when I allow it. I choose to change the way that I think about anything 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 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 to be what triggers greater faith. 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.

Oh, Lord. 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 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 continually thinks upon you. I am never alone in each thing that I give you. You are with me to strengthen and encourage. You take into yourself my heart and mind, and you come, Holy Spirit. I know your Spirit living in me. You give what I can never give myself—the greatest peace for which there is no explanation—the greatest joy which no words describe. You give me all of you when I let go.

—from Form Me, Fire Me, Fill Me

© 2017 Lynn Lacher


Monday, August 28, 2017

Take Off Your Shoes


The time has arrived for the Israelites to move forward and take Canaan. The fulfillment of their promise is just ahead. The Lord has brought them miraculously through years of wandering and complaining to this place. In Joshua chapter one, they had been told to be strong, courageous, and obedient. In chapter two, Joshua sent spies into Jericho to assess what they were up against, and they had been protected and helped by Rahab. In chapter three, God once more held back water—this time of the Jordan River—so that the Israelites could move forward to receive their promise. Now in chapter five, they have circumcised the new generation, and held Passover in preparation for the military invasion of Canaan.
 When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?”
“Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the Lord’s army.”
At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?”
The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told (Joshua 5:13-15 NLT).
Joshua looks up and sees a powerful man with a drawn sword, and he asks if he is for the Israelites or for their adversaries. The man replies that he is for neither, and then tells Joshua that he is the commander of the army of the Lord. At the point when Joshua asks if the Lord is with him, this sword-bearer of the Lord tells him that he is on neither side. The commander of the Lord’s army waits for Joshua’s reaction. Joshua has not yet surrendered to him in worship. He has not yet committed himself. The power of the Lord stands before Joshua saying, “I am here, surrender. Worship so that I may be your power.”
Joshua falls on the ground before him in reverent worship, and then in surrender asks, “What do you want me to do?” The commander of the Lord’s army tells him to remove his sandals because the place where he is standing is holy ground. When Joshua removes his shoes, he honors the Lord’s messenger and the Lord Most High that he represents. It is an act of absolute surrender. With Joshua’s commitment, the answer is no longer, “I’m neither friend nor foe.”  It is, “I’m yours!”
Jesus stands before us, and says, “I am the Lord’s Son. I can’t be your friend or fight your battles until you surrender to me.” He waits for us to remove our shoes and worship Him. He waits for our heart, our commitment, and our obedience. He longs to take us into our Promised Land, but He waits for our absolute surrender. With that surrender comes all of His power and His unfailing commitment to us. He says, “I’m yours, and all my power is yours.” Because of a divided heart—because of murmuring and complaining and non-commitment, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for decades. If they had committed their hearts without wavering, those years could have been spent in the fulfillment of their promise.
What lies before you? What promise waits?  Is He with you? He waits in your presence wishing to be your friend—your power and protector—your provider—your healer—your victory. He waits for your worship and surrender. You are standing on holy ground in His presence. What will you do? Will you take off your shoes and worship Him? Or will you hesitate because you are not sure?  He is all you need when you say “yes”.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher

www.lynnlacher.com

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Quick to Judge


I suffer if I defend myself, and I suffer no less if I refuse to speak.—Job 16:6 NLT

Ever been in this place? Condemned if you do, and condemned if you don’t? Jesus found himself in this place the night before His death. Sometimes, there is nothing you can say to defend yourself that will alter the outcome. But then, if you don’t speak, you are held in contempt and thought guilty, because you didn’t defend yourself.

Job found himself in this place. There was nothing he had done to bring despair and ruin, but his friends were quick to advise him that was the case. “But if it were me,” Job informed them, “I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief” (Job 16:5, NLT). I wouldn’t be part of your grief, Job declared! I would be part of your healing.

Perhaps you, just as Job, have found yourself in such a place—where judgment instead of grace has been extended to you. And, perhaps you also, just as one of Job’s friends, have been quick to judge another person in another trial.

Lord, why didn’t the time I was accused stop me from becoming an accuser? You would have thought I would have understood—that my heart would have understood the death found in judgment. Lord, I have craved life from those who have judged me. Why did I do to someone else what has done to me? Forgive me for destroying the heart of your child struggling in this life. You have been my defender. You have been my advocate. Can I not offer the same?  Help me to walk in your grace that died for me. Help me to realize the times that I am quick to judge, and bring me to your throne of forgiveness again and again. I want to live your grace. I want your love flowing through me until I understand why your heart didn’t insist on its own way. Then, when I am judged, I shall be able to walk in your freedom.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher

Friday, August 25, 2017

Live No Rights


Let your forbearance be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
—Philippians 4:5 ASV, NIV, CSB

You can learn what God looks for in your life by studying His Word. I love to compare different translations to gain understanding. In these three different translations of Philippians 4:5, we are called to exhibit a quality in our lives so that people know to whom we belong. This quality is translated as forbearance, gentleness, and graciousness in these three different versions.

Forbearance is “refraining from the enforcement of something (as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due” (2017 Merriam-Webster). If I have forbearance, I am patient, and have self-control. I show restraint when I feel that I am right. I refrain from exercising that right or collecting what is due, because God has called me to have mercy.

Some synonyms for gentleness are mildness, calmness, and tenderness. If I have gentleness, I am calm when faced with someone who doesn’t share my point of view. I may know I am right in that instance, but I have no need to prove it. I know that God takes care of what I can’t. I know that my attitude in a situation can either speak hope or despair. If I place someone on the defensive by trying to prove something, then they come back swinging. They will not listen. Their hearts and minds are closed. But if I live my faith without accusation or expectation, the Holy Spirit can encourage life.

Other words for graciousness are diplomacy and cordiality. Am I courteous? Am I careful in what I say and how I react? Do I listen with the open ear of the Holy Spirit? Do I extend grace in situations where none is extended to me? Do I make my life about others instead of myself?  Isn’t that the bottom line? My life is not my own. I live it for the sake of others—so that in laying down my rights, they may see the Holy Spirit that guides and empowers my life.

I have learned that forbearance, gentleness, and graciousness translate as Holy Spirit power under His control in my life. I have self-control because He is in control. I seek these qualities. I choose to add them, and He empowers my choices. He gives freedom to not prove or claim my rights. I learn His love that didn’t demand His own. He chose Calvary. He is near, and I choose Him.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I Press On


Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
—Philippians 3:13-14 NIV

I will have courage and not fear. Today I place my old failures behind me. He gives me a fresh beginning. I will not worry or be frightened. If His forgiveness was only for the righteous, it wouldn't be needed. No. Not one of us is perfect. We all have fallen short. But His forgiveness is new every morning.

So why worry? He longs to give me that fresh beginning, but if my life is dirtied with worry and anxiety, I cannot receive His peace. As long as I dwell on what is bad, I cannot see His promise of new life. He wants to deliver me, but why would He when my fears crush whatever He tries to do? In spite of my past or circumstance, He wishes to grace my life daily with His power and His blessing. I choose to release fear. I choose to persevere and press on so that His grace transforms my life into a joyful one that continually receives.

I press on toward my prize to be all that He wishes. I forget what has been, and I praise Him for transforming my life. I shall be joyful, and realize that with this new beginning, I once more step out in faith to trust and believe in His promises that never fail. I press on to be molded into a vessel He can use for His purpose. If I reach for Him every day of this life, He will remain with me, intervening in my life, to bring about His abundance. One day He will carry me heavenward to the greatest of all prizes—a life peacefully and eternally at rest with Him.

I will have courage. I will not fear. I press on.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Surrender My Rights


O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NLT).

What do you desire from me, Lord God? What can I offer you that is good? What can I give you that brings you joy? There is really nothing I can bring but myself. The gift of my life—surrendered to you without any right of ownership—is what you desire. You continually call me to do what you instruct in your Word. For me to do what you require, I must give up what I feel are my rights. You own my feelings—my heart—my mind—my spirit. I have no rights. Your love purchased my soul.

In your Word, you instruct me in the way I should go. I long to be as a tree planted along a riverbank which bears good fruit in season. Its leaves never wither; it prospers. It has deep roots. Lord, I want to blossom and never wither on the vine—to prosper in your purpose and stand strong when hardship comes. With an obedient heart I choose to do what you deem right in each circumstance—whether that circumstance is one of hardship or one of joy.

You ask for mercy to reign in my heart. You ask me to love beyond the limits of my human ability. You call me to forgive so that I might be free. For my sin—for my freedom, you gave your life. Your mercy looked beyond my fault. Your grace recognized my need. Your love is forgiveness. How can I not extend mercy and forgiveness to others as you continually extend them to me? My life, offered to you as your life was offered to me, is what you request of me. You ask me to walk humbly in your love having no agenda—to be at rest in your will. When I am at rest, I have your incredible peace that encompasses me. Only I can destroy your peace. When I believe that my control is better than yours, Lord, I destroy your peace with my pride. Pride leads to my disgrace, but with humility I receive your wisdom. And in your wisdom, I live in your freedom.

You chose me, Lord. So now I am free to choose your life of love and grace—I am free to choose what is right. Now I choose to clothe myself with your tender-hearted mercy—with your kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. I trust your heart because you created mine. You bless me with your grace so that my life is filled with your love and purpose. Your love heals my wounds. I have nothing to prove. You prove yourself. I am free to love.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher

www.lynnlacher.com

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

   Anniston, Alabama

Free


He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.
—Psalm 23:2b–3a (NKJV)

When life rages, I feel you beckoning me to quiet. You call me from that place that tears my heart to shreds. You call me gently, but firmly, away from my own self-destruction. I have craved peace. I have longed for its escape, but I could never find it in the midst of my pain. I could never find it in the rush of endless emotion. Fear rises to threaten, to drown me in its swirling vortex, and to starve my soul.

The allure of your presence never lessens. It entices my body, mind, and spirit to come to you. I’m drawn to your stillness—to your place of rest. I allow you to lead me beside your still water. Your quietness encompasses me. I feel your presence. It pulls me away from my harried existence.

Tentatively, I reach for your promise. Your promise is great, but my faith is lacking. I still reach. I still believe. I hold on because you promise joy. You promise peace. In the stillness, I find you. You breathe your own life into my dry bones. The things that have owned my life are no more. Even if I tried, I couldn’t remember their worry, their fear, or their despair.

In this quiet moment where my spirit and your spirit are as one, I’m comforted. I’m filled. I’m lifted. I’m healed. I’m renewed. You restore my soul. Only you are here with me and in me. Nothing more. Nothing less. And I am free.

—excerpt from Form Me, Fire Me, Fill Me, chapter 7
© 2017 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com


Monday, August 21, 2017

My Jehovah Nissi


For several weeks, our pastor has taught the names of God that reveal His character, and what each name means in our relationship with Him. Yesterday we looked at Jehovah Nissi. A few years ago I did some research on the names of God, and in my study, this name was exactly what I needed to hear. Some times in our lives we discover that, in what God has called us to do, we are exhausted and tired. And then—just like with Moses praying for the Israelites in the heat of battle with the Amalekites, a miracle happens. Friends like Aaron and Hur come along side us and lift our weary hands so that we might win. We discover that we are not alone. Jesus, through their support and prayers, is offered as our “paraclete”—the great “I AM”, the powerful Holy Spirit, who comes along side to carry us.

God as “Yahweh” the great “I AM”, existed before all else. “Jehovah” comes from “havah”, the Hebrew name which means “to exist” or “to be”. God, as the “I AM” of the universe—the great “Yahweh”, is “Jehovah” who reveals himself as the God who wishes “to become known”. He is the all-powerful personal “Jehovah”, who longs to have a relationship with the people He has created. And in that incredibly powerful relationship, I learn that I not alone.

“Jehovah”, in conjunction with “Nissi”, is only mentioned once in the Old Testament, and that is in Exodus 17. “Nissi” is derived from the word “nes”, which means “banner” in Hebrew. In Exodus 17:15, the Israelites, having just defeated the Amalekites because of Moses and the support of his faithful friends, rejoice in their victory. Moses erects an altar to “Jehovah Nissi”. The word “nes” can be seen by thinking of a flag as a focal point in battle. In Old Testament history (and throughout history) opponents in war flew their own flag on their front lines. This focal point reminded soldiers of their purpose. When they focused their mind to win, they received encouragement that their efforts would not be in vain. This is what God, “Jehovah Nissi”, is to us. He is our focal point, our “banner” on which we can focus our mind―all our thoughts, strength, hope, belief, and life. Isaiah wrote of God as this “banner”. “You guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You” (Isaiah 26:3, AMP).

In the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament written for Jews two centuries before Christ) the word “nissi” is translated as “refuge”.  When I focus all that I amall that I believeall that I liveall of my being on His unfailing standard, character, promise, and purpose, then He is my refuge in whatever comes before me. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High (Elyon),” the Psalmist writes, “shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty (Shaddai) [Whose power no foe can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust” (Psalm 91:1-2, AMP). He is my “Jehovah Nissi”, the one in whom I can confidently trust.

God is not only my “banner”, who gives me strength and purpose; He is also my “refuge” and my fortress in the heat of battle. He is my strength to stand against all evil. When I put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17), no weapon can come against me. The enemy is defeated. And when I am tired, He is the one who carries me because I trust in Him. The verse following Isaiah 26:3 explains the faith that I can have in the Lord, my “banner” and my “refuge”, when my mind and whole life is focused on Him. “So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages]” (Isaiah 26:4, AMP).
                                                                                             
As long as Moses raised his arms in prayer during the rage of battle, the Israelites won. When he was tired, his faithful friends, Aaron and Hur, supported his arms so that victory would be secured. If God is the focal point of your life, you know Him as your place of safety—as the one on whom you can rely. If He isn’t your banner—your focal point—you are adrift and defeated. Make Him the center of your life. If you are tired, He sends His servants to help you win against the enemy.

You are not alone. Yes, He longs to be your “Jehovah Nissi”—the one in whom you can always trust.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com



Sunday, August 20, 2017

Eastern Skies

Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory.
—Mark 13:16 NLT

We watch for signs in the heavens, Lord, and we stand in awe of your coming eclipse. We rush to see that which we may never have a chance to see again. If only we gave you as much attention—if only we watched for you in the heavens—if only we stood in awe of your power—if only we rushed to be in your presence as if we might never see you again—then maybe we would understand that such a wonder as the eclipse is only part of your majestic design. You are the powerful creator of all we observe. Perhaps, while watching that moment when the sun is darkened for a few minutes by the moon, hearts will be waiting in anticipation of the moment you split the eastern skies.

Copyright 2017 Lynn Lacher




Saturday, August 19, 2017

Hope Which Never Ends


For a few moments today, Daddy, you didn’t know my name. And in those moments, my heart twisted into knots—your eyes that held no recognition took my breath away. I stood before you, just another person who invades your small world—who offers no memories or remembrances of brighter days. I ached to be your daughter again. I wanted the father I had known before the stroke and dementia had come. I longed to hear for the hundredth time that you needed help with your computer. I ached for what had been before you could not take care of yourself. I ached for the Daddy that had swung me up in his arms in the pool, and caught me on the way down.

Slowly recognition dawned in your eyes, and you smiled that sweet little grin. You knew me again. You couldn’t remember to discuss the chickens that I was raising for you. The VV bus that I needed to fix for my sister had not come to your mind. You might not have been able to discuss the numerous concerns that your mind often generated. But right then, there was no problem for me to solve. There were no words you could say. Your eyes and your smile spoke all my heart needed to hear.

“Hold on to what is good,” I hear in my heart (1 Thessalonians 5:21b NLT). I will hold on to moments like this. I will treasure them as another memory in this journey. This is a journey of loss, but it is also a journey of hope. Every day I discover something new about what God wishes in my life. And every day I praise Him for His hope that never ends. As Daddy’s life here on earth fades before my eyes, He draws closer to God’s call to come home. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him,” Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT). My eyes might not see, but perhaps Daddy has glimpsed a glory that is being prepared just for Him.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher


Friday, August 18, 2017

Be Still


Be still, and know that I am God!
—Psalm 46:10 NLT

Be still and know I am God. I speak to you in this moment you are faced with this heavy burden. But you will never hear me if you keep striving. Quit rushing so hard to receive what I freely give. Listen to my voice only. Never allow the voices of the world to deter. Listen to me, and you will never be disappointed. Listen, and anxious thoughts and tired nerves will become rested. I speak rest in tenderness to your turmoil and strife.

My tenderness and restfulness will heal your scars and make you strong, but it is you who must allow me to be your protector and your power. Give up trying to fix what you can never fix alone. Give up trying to control what is beyond your own strength. Surrender to me. Leave it all with me. Let me help you carry this weight. I make it light. I carry the responsibility. Not you.

Have you forgotten that you are the greatest concern of my heart? I gave my life so you might live. So don’t fear. I will keep you and guard you always—if you will not shut me out. Allow me to love you and carry you. I know your pain, and I am the answer. You do not have the answer. Only I have the answer. But until you let it go, and surrender, there is nothing I can do.

Stop striving. Stop analyzing. Stop creating scenarios. Stop planning ahead for what you don’t even know will be tomorrow. Give it all to me right now, and rest in me. Seek me until you find my peace. Allow me to flow through your heart and mind to heal what is broken. Never feel at the mercy of the world. You aren’t. You belong to me.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher



Thursday, August 17, 2017

Abandon


God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” —Hebrews 13:5b NLT

Holy Spirit, you offered the gift of your love. It was the best you could offer. It was you. And what you had to offer was misunderstood. You were regarded as less than what your Word promises. You, who had no sin, unselfishly took ours. I hurt for you, Lord, when others will not allow your love to heal their pain. I cannot imagine the depth of your own pain when rejected—when abandoned. Jesus, I cannot imagine what you felt that moment your father turned his back on you because all He could see was my ugliness in you. I hurt for you, Lord, when someone holds back from surrendering a broken heart to your forgiveness—when someone refuses to trust your depths—when someone refuses to allow you to heal what only you can heal. But my broken heart is nothing compared to yours. What we don’t understand, we joke about because it makes us uncomfortable. And if we do understand, we run from because it calls for surrender. We rebel because it asks us to reach beyond our preconceptions and allow you to have control. When we don’t accept the gift of your love—and all that encompasses—we are most alone. When we question your choices—your promises—your wishes—your purpose—we move farther and farther away from the peace of your presence. Until we abandon what we perceive as our rights—our due—we can never receive your love that abandoned all for us.

Lord, I can’t change another heart, but I can allow you to change mine. Stretch me beyond what I think I can bear—stretch me until I understand that absolute surrender is my only option—my only freedom. Keep me broken so you can continually bring out your best. Keep me humble so I have nothing to prove, but to love with the love that you so freely offer. Claim me until I have no malice—no judgment—until I abandon all the emotions which tear my heart to shreds—until I abandon my right to feel—my right to determine justice. Until then, I am alone, struggling not to drown in the mire of my own circumstance. You will never fail me, Lord. Tired of the battle of my will and yours, I am ready to surrender. I abandon myself to you. I abandon the least so that I might have the greatest—you. I abandon because you abandoned yourself for me.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Just You


Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.
-Psalm 90:14 NLT

I awake. As consciousness slowly replaces sleep your first morning touch grazes my cheek. I hear your gentle whisper drawing me. Your Word rises from within my heart encouraging and uplifting me. But without warning I remember the heartbreak I gave you last night before sleeping. And the pain is there again—once more trying to claim my waking moments. But you are my strength and promise. You wait for me to give my heartache to you again. I plead for you to take it, Lord. My thoughts begin to settle as my mind focuses upon you. Instead of my heartbreak I remember your faithfulness through so many other days and nights. I remember your strength and power for all that has passed through the years. You are ready to lift this struggle from my heart.

Suddenly you are upon me. Suddenly you are within me restoring joy. You overcome the ebb and flow of my uncertain mind with your quietening peace. I can breathe! There is only you. No thought that tears my heart. No worry of what might come. No circumstance to be fixed. No purpose to fulfill. Nothing but your heart beating from within mine. Nothing but you praying from within me. And in this moment with your heart pulsing within mine, all is right because you have overcome the uncertainty of my world. I know your unfailing love. You have become all I need not only for this moment, but for whatever lies ahead.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Remain Connected

Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.
-Psalm 92:14 NLT

If you are like me, you might feel your physical body aging. However, your life can still beat with His purpose. You can still make a difference in someone's life. Your life can still bear fruit. It is all up to you to keep your spiritual life vital, green, and supple in His hands.

To remain spiritually vital you must abide or remain in Him. “Remain in me, and I will remain in you,” Jesus told the disciples the night before His death, “for 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). The only way to stay green and supple is to remain in close spiritual contact with God. “In abiding you seek, long for, thirst for, wait for, see, know, love, hear and respond to a person,” writes Bruce Wilkinson in Secrets of the Vine. 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. It is a relationship that changes the very core of who you are, and drives your life into sheer fulfillment.

Jesus is the vine, and you are the branch. You stay vital and supple when 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.” There is nothing—not age or any other excuse—that should keep you from the powerful spiritual life-changing force to be found in surrender to Him. Abiding or remaining in Jesus Christ keeps you vital and supple for His purpose.

Do you abide and remain in Him? Do you long for His presence? Do you seek His truth and purpose? Thirst for His living water? Do you wait for His guidance and answer? Do you see with His eyes—hear with His ears? Do you understand with His spiritual mind instead of what your human mind perceives? Jesus' love disciplines sin and prunes self so His purpose can be realized in your life. Abiding is your response to His love.

More than anything, I want to remain vital and green until the day that my life here on earth is over. When He takes me home, I want my soul, having just been lifted from His work on earth, to enter heaven spiritually on fire with His love. My body may wear out, but my spirit can still sing! It is up to me to keep that connection of branch to vine alive and filled with His purpose!

© 2017 Lynn Lacher







Monday, August 14, 2017

Surrender to His Peace


“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in” (Revelation 3:20, NLT).

He stands and knocks at the door to your heart. He invites you to a life which you can’t comprehend with the human mind. It is a life of peace and trust in His abundant faithfulness—a life of spiritual joy. His invitation promises to carry you beyond your constant need to analyze to a place of rest where no matter what happens in this life all is well. This invitation offers respite from the hectic pace of this world. “Be still and know that I am God” takes on a whole new meaning. When you get to the place that you don’t struggle anymore, you have peace just knowing He is God, and He is in control. "Come to me,” He whispers in your tempest, “and I will give you rest."

Do you long to relinquish your terrible struggle—your pain, but you resist that which promises release? You try to keep things in control, but discover you can't. Letting go of your struggle to control what only God is meant to control, opens your heart to His promise of peace. Letting go admits you don't have the answer. Letting go means you put your trust in His faithfulness. Even when you shut the door of your heart to His knock, He never stops knocking.  Even when you turn from His promise of peace, He never turns away. Even when He finds your heart all closed and barred behind your fortress of pain, He continues on in His constant offer of peace. “Let go, and let me,” He whispers.

Do you hear Him? The harder you struggle the stronger His constant knock. The harder you resist the greater your pain. Suddenly the exhaustion of your battle is too much. Suddenly you can no longer bar that door. Suddenly surrender is your only hope. You must let go and believe. When you let go of all you have tried to handle and open the door, the peace which has evaded you is yours. No more war inside your heart. No more need to have answers. You are free in Him, and free of fear from what life has brought. There will always be issues, but you will be free from their ability to control your life. Fear which has defined your life has ended. You realize that God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind. Letting go and surrendering everything has brought the peace your heart has struggled so hard to find.  You have opened the door and now you know. That peace was never yours to find. It was always His to give.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher




   


Friday, August 11, 2017

Living Water


Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
—John 4:14 NIV

Are you unfulfilled? Do you long to know that your life has a purpose? Have you an emptiness that no activity or possession can satisfy? For a while, an activity or a possession might offer happiness, but that fun activity or shiny possession can’t bring fulfillment to a hunger that is meant to be filled with God alone. A possession doesn’t last forever, and its newness dulls. When you allow the things of the world to become more important than God, your interest in His purpose also dulls. Everything becomes lifeless and dull.  At the moment when nothing else brings satisfaction, Jesus Christ speaks to your thirsty soul that He has something that will give your life joy and purpose. He has something that will bring fulfillment to your life of constantly searching and never finding. He offers living water.

“If you drink of the water that I provide,” He speaks to your emptiness, “you will never be thirsty again. My water not only soothes your shattered spirit, but it heals you completely because it is living water.” He promises that if you take Him into your heart that you will never feel empty or thirsty again. You will have a purpose that is always fulfilled. You will have joy that shall never dulls. You will have a meaning to your life that nothing in this world can match. You will know Him, and He will be enough. "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness," He whispers, "they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6). Your hunger and thirst will be filled, if you thirst for Him instead of things that can never bring fulfillment.

Is this where you are? Do you thirst enough?  Do you cry, "Oh Lord, just as a deer pants for streams of water, my soul pants for you—my soul thirsts only for you” (Psalm 42:1)?  When you thirst only for Him, He comes and satisfies your emptiness. Your life has purpose and meaning. Your life has joy and passion that are new and fresh each morning. Your thirst is quenched with His living water. And this is a thirst that shall always be filled. It shall always be satisfied. You will never want to let go of Christ who rescues you from your own pursuits which have no meaning. He brings fulfilling passion to your life, and His promise of never-ending unconditional love—His joy that the world can't give—His peace that is more than what the world can manufacture—His patience that is longer than any you can offer. He brings the promises of kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If you daily live in Him, He lives in you. When you are completed in Him, you thirst no more for things that destroy the joy with which He has gifted your life. You thirst only for Him.


© 2017 Lynn Lacher



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Living in Me


My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
—Galatians 2:20 NLT     

Sometimes I feel that there is just not enough of me to go around, Lord. The needs of those I love are so great, and I feel they are often beyond my abilities. I am stretched each day to be less of myself so you can be more. Letting go of what I plan each day—of longings and desires—of selfishness that can stir resentment—I find your strength and purpose in my surrender. I find your peace because I have nothing to struggle with. There is nothing I have to prove when your purpose is greater than mine. My utmost joy is found when I die to what I feel is my right to own.

Just as you have given your life for my sake, now I offer mine for yours. Without you, my life is limited. It is flawed—broken and ineffective. With you, everything changes. All things are possible. The potential is limitless. When I am surrendered, there are no barriers or walls to overcome. I find that my offering has been nothing compared to the majesty of yours living in me.  When I trust you—the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me—I have surrendered my control. Lord, I trust your heart, because you created mine. I lack nothing. And I find there is enough of me to go around. 

Copyright © 2017 Lynn Lacher



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Your Choice

The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.
—William Shakespeare

What is bad in this life seems to be remembered so easily. The mind often dwells on what discourages instead of what edifies. And what is good is soon forgotten. “Fix your thoughts on what is true,” Paul writes, “and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9 NIV).

Do you allow your mind to run rampant with thoughts which hinder instead of thoughts which inspire hope? You have no peace when you choose to dwell on negative things instead of things that are honorable, pure, and admirable. “Practice His presence” Paul encourages. “Add this in your life, choose this attitude, allow Him to capture your thoughts, put on the mind of Christ,” Paul insists throughout his letters. If you will fix your thoughts on God’s goodness and faithfulness instead of things which bring discouragement, fear, hurt, anger, and bitterness, you will encourage yourself in your dry valley. When you think of what is forgiving, hopeful and uplifting, you speak life to the darkness which so often consumes the mind.

Choose to think as God has instructed in His Word. Choose to believe the promise He has imparted. Choose to remain faithful in thought and action. Continually choose to put on His mind—to seek His wisdom and understanding—until His thoughts are yours and are unconsciously rendered—until His truth becomes your life instead of the enemy’s lies. And you will be transformed in the way that you think. The Spirit which guards your mind will be His. His joy will be your banner, and His peace will protect your mind. The evil will be forgotten, and His goodness will reign in your heart.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher






Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Deeply Rooted

Consider a seed. It sends a shoot down into the earth in order to be grounded and draw nourishment. At the same time another tender shoot grows upward into the world. Without a strong root system the plant that the world sees would not withstand the storms of life. That plant may appear beautiful or ugly in the eyes of the world, but to God His creation is a thing of infinite beauty. 

So are our lives in Christ. Without a deep, abiding, and grounded faith our lives wither and fade. Our attempts at living for Him are wiped away by the harsh circumstances of life. The life that appears beautiful or ugly to the world might not be that way at all. God does not judge the outer man the world sees. He looks upon the inner. He looks upon the heart. He looks upon the root to see if our faith is grounded in Him. He knows that is where our true beauty lies.   

“He grew up before him like a tender shoot,” Isaiah wrote of the coming Christ, “and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2 NIV). Jesus came into the world as a child and grew as a tender shoot—like a root out of dry ground. He grew in His Father’s care. No matter how dry His circumstance or how lonely His walk, He drew sustenance from His Father. That tender shoot matured and became strong. He flourished in His desert. His root was grounded deeply. He had no beauty to attract others to Him, yet He drew many because God made Him beautiful in sacrificial depths that the world could not see. And God knows whether we have that deep inner beauty of abiding faith or not.

Let your roots grow deep in Him. Be nourished by His word, and pray for His guidance. If you want to grow strong with His purpose, your roots of faith must extend deep enough to withstand the winds of circumstance that will disrupt your life. When you are grounded in Him and His will, no weapon formed against you will succeed. When He is your life, your heart, and your purpose, your roots hold strongly. Be planted deeply, and your life will grow strong, secure, and beautiful in Him.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher


Monday, August 7, 2017

I Cry Out


The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles—Psalm 34:15, 17 NIV

As I try to live a life that is worthy of Christ's love, I sometimes fail. It is in my failure that I realize how little I am without Him. Immediately I run to Him, and know His forgiveness the moment I ask. I know His redeeming love the moment I cry out.

No one is perfect. But I am called to live a righteous life. It is forever a journey and a commitment. It is forever a sacrifice of my personal feelings to the Savior who sacrificed His life for me. I am called to live in obedience to His purpose, just as He was called to obedience at Calvary. Is it possible to live a completely righteous life?  He sees me through the eyes of grace that withheld nothing. He knows I am righteous because of His sacrifice. He calls me to realize it. Surrender is my only option to understand. Whatever lies before me, I surrender all that I can never be in my own eyes for all He knows is true in my life.

He attentively waits for my prayer. He watches closely to see my need, and hears my cry for help. He rescues me from my trouble in the way He has chosen to deliver me—not the way that I decide I need to be delivered. Sometimes I don't understand His choice, but I know it is for my best. When I cry out He either rescues me from my trouble or gives me the strength to overcome what I face. Although it might not seem true at the time, His powerful strength to overcome what I face is also a great deliverance—and molder of my character.

“But he knows where I am going,” Job declared, “and when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold” (Job 23:10, NLT). God knows my path. He listens and watches, but He more than listens and watches. He is involved in every aspect of my life molding me, testing me, growing me. He refines me as gold. The Lord changes me until righteousness is my life's anchor, and His constant reward. I am delivered from all that comes against me, because He is greater in me than anything that might try to destroy me. What I lay each day upon His altar, will remain.

Copyright © 2017 Lynn Lacher

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Here

In my grief you are—
In my heartbreak, you are—
In my turmoil, you are—
In my terror, you are—
In my distress, you are—
In my hardship, you are—
In my tears, you are—
In my failure, you are—
In my pardon, you are—
In my joy, you are—
In this moment, you are—
Here.


© 2017 Lynn Lacher

Friday, August 4, 2017

Enough


Often, I am a child again, Daddy, because in your mind I am. In long ago memories, we work—we play—we live in the past. This is so often my time with you. In your world, there are problems to be solved, and I am now your hands and feet to solve them. You look at me with those incredible blue eyes, and wait for my answer to your problem. And as always, I say, I have taken care of that, Daddy. You have always been a solver of mysteries, and now that is my job—my joy. You trust that I take care of the chickens you are raising, and speeding tickets you get when driving without a license. You trust me without hesitation.

You have entered this age with grace. A very private person, now your life is open and exposed. You need help to move from your wheelchair to your recliner. You need help to find your food on your plate. You need help for every activity of daily living. But through it all, you still smile. You still have a peace that guards your heart, and still guards your mind from fear that so many with your illness experience. Even if for a season, I treasure what is offered now.

“Timothy has brought good news about your faith and love,” Paul wrote. “He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you” (1 Thessalonians 3:8b). I am so thankful, Daddy, for your memories of good times in the past. You so easily could be consumed with those that once brought pain, but for now you are not. I know you still long to see me—just as I long to see you and hold your hand—hug you and try to do for you what brings tears to my eyes, but joy to your heart.

Lord God, I never want to fail my father, but I must remember that the love you give will always be enough for his needs. No matter what happens in his world that makes no sense, I can never meet the needs of his mind, because those needs change. What is true for him in one moment is no longer true in the next. I learn to live your peace in the grace you daily extend for this hard path. Just as with Mama’s journey, there is a beauty that reaches beyond the pain of loss, and recharges my heart. I hold on to my good memories with a joy that fires faith for the road ahead.

Copyright 2017 Lynn Lacher


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Give with Integrity

I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent.
—1 Chronicles 29:17a, NIV

Do I ever look at the gifts of my heart, and ask if they are given with integrity?  Whatever I give—love, friendship, compassion, time, a listening ear, advice—must be given willingly. They must be given with honest intent. There is no hidden agenda. There is no subterfuge. There is no mask. They are given because of His love and His work in my own heart. What I give away should not be given to make me feel better about myself. Anything I give should come from His love which recognizes the need in someone else is greater than my own. I give because of His love in me.

This life in Jesus is not about me. Whatever I give or do in His name should come from what He creates within my life, and never any fabrication. He will constantly test my heart to see if it is filled with integrity and honesty. If I draw close to Him, He will draw close to me, and will reveal the intentions of my heart. I will be stripped before Him. Nothing will be hidden. In that moment, I will know if He is pleased with me or not.

I know, my God, that you always test my heart. I know that you always yearn for what I do or give in your name to be born of honesty and integrity. Lord God, I want what I give to come from a heart that has been purified by you. Forgive me for anything I have ever given that has come from other motives than what you desire. Always create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew your steadfast spirit within me. Then I will be refined by your love. I will be made new, and what I give away will come from a heart that honest and upright.


Copyright © 2017 Lynn Lacher

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Handle WIth Care




You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
—Galatians 5:13 NIV

Dear Lord Jesus,

How can we praise you enough for your blessings?  Most of the time we focus on our needs or what we haven’t seen accomplished.  We pray our vision becomes one which recognizes every perfect work you do each day.  We pray for you to open our eyes so that we recognize your precious work not only in our hearts, but also in others. We pray not only for our needs. We all have loved ones who don’t know you—illnesses which hang on—physical pain that weakens—emotional pain that wounds—despair that can lead to depression. Lord, we seek you to change us. We yearn for more of you—to surrender our rights—to be your temple—to become the potential that you see. All of these and more, we lay at your blessed feet.  Broken and spilled out, we come, Lord. You were broken and spilled out for us. Now healed by your love at Calvary, we lay these needs upon your strong shoulders, and rise to peace and victory in your presence.  Fill us with your power, Holy Spirit, and with humility to handle each spiritual gift you impart with great wisdom. Guided by you with care and discernment, your gifts can heal a breaking heart—encourage a struggling soul—raise a life to walk in newness of life. The potential is limitless.

Keep us humble in your power, Lord Jesus. We have the capacity to speak hope and life. We also have the capacity to speak discouragement and death. Our actions and reactions can either encourage life or offer death. We are either a blessing or a curse to someone else. It is our choice to live a surrendered life—to honor another person’s heart more than our own. When we choose you, Lord, your Spirit is ours. You impart your life to us without reservation. But with the power you impart, comes the responsibility to handle your spiritual gifts with respect and caring—with grace and compassion.  When living the freedom of your power, it can be so easy to indulge the flesh—suddenly to find that we are not surrendered to you but to our own desires. Make us broken so we can be healed, filled, empowered, but always broken in your humility. Continually make our surrender your power. Never let us make it greater or less than your purpose. But always as you wish. 

Copyright © 2017 Lynn Lacher


A Revelation of His Love

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. —John 3...