Ahh, Decisions

The next day Moses entered the Tent of the Testimony and saw that Aaron’s staff, which represented the house of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds. Numbers 17:8

I admire decisive people--people who can walk into the department store, look at the racks of shoes and immediately know which pair is for them. I, on the other hand, could spend hours thoroughly perusing every shoe, building pie charts and bar graphs writing full on analytical reports on the probability of usage, durability, cuteness and practicality while also considering weather, number of color coordinating outfits and so on. THANKFULLY I have six children and am seldom allotted such time in ANY store, thus I have perfected the art of “stick-to-list-grab-n-go” (a much more financially sound approach, too, I might add). However, left to my own destruction I would be quick to revert to my tragic natural ability to over-analyze everything.

So when I came across this passage in Scripture I was intrigued.

The Israelites were trying to determine who God’s chosen leader would be. God told Moses to put 12 staffs, one from the leader of each ancestral tribe, inside the Tent of Meeting. Numbers 17:5 says, The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout.”  

The next day Moses went in to check the staffs for God’s direction and not only had God made His chosen leader's staff sprout but it had budded, blossomed, AND produced almonds! There was no doubt, God had made His direction for chosen leadership VERY clear.

God always has a plan. 

Am I seeking Him for HIS plan or am I so diluted by self that I’m not even asking the right questions for clarity? 

Have I fully surrendered to Him my will and my desires so that when I ask Him for His way, or to hear His voice, I’m really ready to receive it? 

Or, am I already looking sub-consciously for what I want to hear and thus am blinded to all the buds, blossoms and almonds God is trying to show me?

Dear Jesus search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24). 

Amen.

Janette Kieffer
loveSTRONG Ministries

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Beautiful Butterfly

I was sent a picture of a saying on a t-shirt that went like this...

"I want to be a caterpillar. Eat a lot. Sleep for a while. Wake up beautiful."

Did that make you smile like it did me? Well what made me smile even more is that in Jesus we already ARE like the caterpillar!

We CAN, "eat a lot" -

Taste and see that the LORD is good. (Psalm 34:8)

Ezekiel sure did! Ezekiel 3:3 states, Then he said to me, "Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it." So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.

And what did he get to do next once he ingested the Word of God? He then said to me: "Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them. (Ezekiel 3:4)

Good to know that when we have eaten a lot of His Word we then have something worth sharing! Something that will not return empty (Isaiah 55:11)

We CAN, "sleep a lot" -

We CAN because He doesn't! He will not let your foot slip- he who watches over you will not slumber. (Psalm 121:3) In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)

We CAN, "wake up beautiful" -

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

A caterpillar is not worried. If it operated in fear no cocoons would ever be attempted. They have to trust and rely only on how God equipped to evolve. And they can't give up in the waiting period, they must sleep and get rest or the something beautiful won't emerge. Can you imagine a world without butterflies? Or, can you imagine a world where butterflies just walked around and never risked using the wings God gave them? That would be sad.

The butterfly’s beauty carries a message of hope. You too, dear one in Jesus, have a message of hope to bring for Him into the world. Don't be afraid, don't give up.  Trust Him to lead you. (Psalm 16:7-8)

So, feast on His Word daily. Rest in His mighty hand and trust that the King of kings, will wake you up beautiful in His eternal unshakable kingdom. Do not give up.  Within you is His beautiful message of hope!

Independent Read: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Janette Kieffer
Author

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Frozen What?!?

In his defense Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working." John 5:17

It's just not about whether your glass is half full or half empty it’s that in Jesus your glass is refillable! His precious promises are faithfully available to refill our glass and re-frame our perspective at all times... like for me this morning.

Over my warm cup of coffee from my kitchen table I happened to be gazing out onto my snow covered backyard which is actually more like a frozen solid tundra. Embedded into this frozen white landscape in stark contrast is black rabbit and dog excrement! Yes, and as you know, rabbits never travel alone and my dog could very well be mistaken for Ferdinand the bull. I'll let your imagination paint the picture now of just what exactly my backyard looks like and it is no Thomas Kinkade.

This could be seen as an eye sore (glass half or totally empty situation) but the more I pondered it the stronger His promise poured into my heart. My God is a God who has a time for everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3). He changes the seasons and that always reminds me He is always moving (John 5:17).

My backyard will eventually thaw and when it does it will be the most fertilized yard in the neighborhood AND it won't even cost me a dime.

What excrement (so to speak) seems to be frozen in your backyard? What seems impossible, unmovable and unchangeable in your life?

Jesus is a God that makes possible the impossible (Matt. 19:26). He is always on the move and those that wait on the Lord and His perfect timing will be blessed (Isaiah 30:18). Like my backyard, what seems awful now, in time will be the biggest blessing.

Dear One, Jesus loves you, He sees, He's moving, trust His process and His faithful promise will refill your cup.

Independent Read: Jeremiah 17:7

Janette Kieffer
Author

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Radiating A Filtered Perspective

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

This world is very much performance driven.  And, from a very young age too.  For example, "If you eat all your dinner... you can have desert."  With social media, it's taken on new heights and depths that threaten to eat us all alive if we are not careful.

Psalm 18:30a - God's way is perfect.

So why do I strive to have MY way?  God must think I look silly straining and striving to just measure up and do all and be all "that" -  whatever or whoever "that" is.  He's probably thinking... “Girl, you are gonna pull a hamstring trying so hard. Or slip a disc with all the ways you are trying to bend over backward to do things YOUR way. Don't you know you're not built for that?  I in all My infinite wisdom did not build you to do that, or to be like so-and-so either.”

Jeremiah 29:11  - 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. 

Before I hurt myself something awful maybe I need to be more about His presence than my performance.  Look at Exodus 34:29-30 Here we see Moses spending time with God and his very face began to glow radiantly. (Who knew!?  All these expensive face creams and all it takes to glow radiantly is to spend time with our Maker...for free.)

This verse states that, Moses wasn’t aware his face had become radiant.  Moses wasn't thinking about what he looked like only what his God was like. Yet what did others notice? The radiance of Moses' face. When we marinate in His presence it will be His fragrance we leave in our wake everywhere we go. People will experience the fruit of His Spirit within us.

Jesus, make me more about Your presence than my performance in life.

Independent Read: Ephesians 3:14-21

Janette Kieffer
Author

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Where Are You Staying?

"Come," he replied, "and you will see." John 1:39

My husband and I started out the day playing Lumosity games together for fun, laughs, and maybe even to ward off the fear of losing our minds. We're not losing our minds because we have six young kids and a moose for a dog (so many blessings, right?)--but because of those six kids, the thought of losing our mental faculties in old age is even more frightening. I mean I'm already mentally planning play dates with my future grandchildren!

Why do we let fear and worry have such control in our lives? Fear is faith in the enemy, the liar... F.alse E.vidence A.ppearing R.eal.

Isaiah 9:6 states Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace... Phil. 4:19 says He will provide for all our needs - so then why are we so inclined to default to fear and worry?

I find a good example of dealing with fear in Luke 2:8-15. Go ahead I'll wait while you read it.

Did you notice in verse 9 that when the glory of the Lord shone around them their reaction was terrified fear? Isn't His presence supposed to bring peace and strength?! I believe it does but we must be willing to give Him a heart of flesh willing to receive Him rather than a stubborn heart of stone.

The shepherd did experience fear like all humans do but as you see in verse 15 the shepherds reaction was "Let's go..." to God. They wanted to receive Him. They were willing to let go of fear and allow His peace to be received into their hearts right THROUGH their fear! They didn't allow their fear to freeze them into a stone of ineffectiveness.

Now look at John 1:35-39.

Jesus asks two men "What do you want?" What if God asked you that? What would you say? The two men gave an answer I want to heed in my life. They answered with a question back, "Where are you staying?" Jesus answers, "Come, and you will see." Interesting that Jesus didn't give specific directions complete with land markers and an exact address. No, He said walk with Me. Just come with Me and see.

So often we want specific answers to our fears and worries but Jesus just says

“Trust Me, walk with Me and you will see. You will see how I am faithful and provide for all that you need, that my strength is perfect in weakness. My grace is sufficient."

Today I pray to choose to respond like the shepherds. To allow His peace and strength to come through my fear and worry and take His perspective on my situation and circumstances. I choose to go and see and not remain frozen in fear but to walk with Him one trusting step at a time because He who promised is faithful!

So where are you staying? I'm staying with Jesus.

Independent Read: Ezekiel 36:26

Janette Kieffer
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