In the past few months, I have been blessed to have several encounters with the Lord in which He revealed Himself to me chiefly as the Shepherd. In modern-day terms we might say he manifested Himself as a Pastor, or perhaps as a very wise and dear Companion.
Whatever the terminology, I was reminded more than once of the scripture in 1 Peter 2:25 which reads: "You were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls." I have been thoroughly captured by the gentleness, patience, and love I have seen as He manifested Himself to me this way!
I took a long walk today before the snow came; before our governor announced a stay-at-home advisory for the next few weeks. In this time of worldwide sickness and pervasive fear, it was good to get out of the house, to reflect on God’s beautiful creation, and to focus on Him.
As I walked, I listened to a beautiful worship song from Bethel Music called “The Blessing.” (Listen to it here.) This song was released just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, and never has a song been more timely! The lyrics are scriptures which contain the priestly Aaronic blessing over Israel in Numbers 6:24:
The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord make His face shine upon you
The Lord be gracious unto you
and give you peace.
Worship is key for me in times of trial; it feeds my spirit and strengthens my “inner man.” Just as a dear friend sent this song to me as a blessing, I encourage you to receive this song as God’s blessing over you as well. He is truly FOR YOU!
Most people turn to familiar scriptures in times like these: Psalm 23, Psalm 91, John 14, 2 Corinthians 4:3-10. We pray these scriptures and receive a measure of strength from them every time they are read.
Yet this morning as I prayed, I encountered Psalm 91 in an entirely different way.
“There is a time for everything,” the Preacher of Ecclesiastes writes, yet one of the hardest lessons to learn is to watch and wait for God’s perfect timing! This week, as I listened to the Lord in the still of the night, I heard Him speak about timing, and the times we are living in. His insights helped me immensely, and I pray they will be a blessing to you as well. Here is what I heard Him say...
Around the world today, people are dealing with unprecedented levels of stress. Never before have we had such widespread fear, anxiety, and even terror. In response to this, I believe the Lord wants to release not just the grace to deal with stress, but strategies to overcome it. Keep reading for a prophetic word on this subject, and a prayer strategy you can use to eradicate stress from your life altogether!
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” Galatians 5:22, NJKV
Jesus came to earth looking for a Bride. He is as interested today in a pure, spotless Bride as He was when He walked the earth. As any marriage counselor will tell you, the preparation of a bride’s heart is far more important to the marriage relationship than her preparations for an elaborate wedding ceremony.
Spiritually, our wedding with Christ has yet to take place. (See Revelation 21.) The central question for us during this time of “engagement” is: Are we busier with our religious activities than with preparing our hearts for Him? Are we focusing on religious ceremonies, but neglecting the Kingdom of God within us? Are we living a life of peace and joy, rooted in intimacy with the Bridegroom?
God speaks in the most unusual and unexpected ways! Sometimes we dream, and a person in our dream imparts wisdom to us. We don’t realize until we wake that it was Jesus, and we wish we had known it was Him at the time!
Sometimes, He shows up in human form, in a conversation that leaves a mark on our minds and causes us to realize something deeper or receive something we need.
And sometimes, He speaks from the mouths of babes…
"It is time! It is time! It is time to rise up and fly! The season of flight is upon you, to stretch your wings and fly. In flight you will gain a new perspective, one you were always intended to have. You started on the ground but you'll end in the air! You begin in the flesh but you soar in the Spirit. Rise up, rise up my dove, and come away with Me into realms of the Spirit previously unknown to you.
I had the unparalleled joy of running around my yard at 6:48 this morning, half-naked in my robe and slippers, chasing eight mutinous chickens who escaped, somehow, from their coop. I'm sure the neighbors thought I'd lost my mind.
'Tis the season for "peace on earth, goodwill toward men." A green wreath graces my front door, and the sweet smell of cookies fills my home, even this early in December. My kids have located the station that plays continuous Christmas music, so there are carols streaming from our radio in the background. I love the warmth and joy the holiday season brings. It feels peaceful and comforting, like a favorite blanket.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.