At the end of the day

That’s a phrase we like to use to bottom line or emphasize the point we’re making. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is…

At the end of the day, it’s the people who stick with you…

At the end of the day, real people find their way home.

These all make “the end of the day” the pivotal point in terms of importance.

I suggest the same.

At the end of the day, every day, we need to take few minutes before we go to bed and jot down the things that brought us joy and give God thanks. Maybe even add to the list the things and people that frustrated us, and thank him for those too, because they provided a growth opportunity and a teachable moment.

Most importantly, at the end of the day, we need to write down every situation and person who hurt or angered us; every instance that brought us pain or injury. Everything that threatens to become a permanent resident in our soul.

And when the list is complete, we need to burn it, or physically hand it over to the Lord – whatever works – giving God permission to wipe it away, move it away.

Giving God permission to empower us to start the new day with a clean slate – having forgiven willingly – even knowing it can only be a completed work with the help of the Holy Spirit – giving others the same fresh mercy and pure forgiveness God has already given to as many as would receive it.

Willing forgiveness every night is a sure prescription for peaceful sleep and a hope-filled awakening in the morning, ready to start a real new day.

‘For I am your God’

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

This scripture never speaks specifically to God’s love, but how many ways can love be spoken without actually speaking its name. This is one of the most comforting assurances of God; God’s presence. I am with you. So fear not. Don’t let fear overcome you. Don’t let fear be your compass. Don’t embrace fear. Don’t let fear set your agenda. Don’t deny the presence of fear, but know its presence is dwarfed by the abiding, abundant presence of Almighty God.

Be not dismayed. God’s signature. I am your God. I belong to you. I chose you. I chose to be God to you. I am your God. My total “Godness” is available to you at all times. Because I chose to be your God. And as specific benefits of your belonging to me, and my belonging to you…I will strengthen you…I will make my strength to be your strength. I will help you…the resources of heaven and earth become your resources.

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. With justice I will aright you, I will balance you, I will place you on an even keel in the universe and you will stand because I will stand with you.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. In this word, the ways of God’s love are recounted without even the mention of the word.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie

My grace all sufficient, shall be thy supply

The flame shall not harm thee; I only design

Thy dross to consume and they gold to refine

(How Firm a Foundation, verse 3)

When you pass through the waters…

It’s Christmas Eve

Foster kids always have stories. Have you noticed? When I was newly housed with my new family, it became apparent that crying was not an accepted behavior. I don’t think I had been a “cry baby,” even at the tender age of 6. Someone poisoned my puppy when I was about 4. I didn’t cry. Actually I think I was afraid of him. But I digress. My principal caregiver – my mother’s stepmother – got sick and had to be rushed to the hospital. I never saw her alive after that day. I was transplanted to the house of her son. While I knew him because of his frequent visits to his mom, I was not familiar with anyone else in the house. His wife looked at me with suspicion, or maybe it was fear of being saddled with me forever. Her sister, who had two sons, also peered at me, as if my coming could change her living arrangement. I didn’t cry. Even when I learned my grandmother had died. I didn’t cry.

When my sister and a cousin, I think, returned from an unusual trip to the playground – with Miss Arlene – and saw a huge dark wreath on the front door of my house. When we entered our dark house, in the middle of the afternoon, and saw a coffin in the living room with the form of my grandmother who I’d last seen before she’d gone to the hospital a week ago. When I realized she was really dead. I think I realized it. I’m not sure I understood in that moment. I didn’t cry.

So crying hadn’t been my habit. And yet somehow, the new family made it clear there would be no crying. It was said. But it was also modeled. No crying. No hugging. No kissing. No touching. No emotion. At all.

Even on my first Christmas Eve when presents were delivered by family members. Many family members. Many gifts. Some delicious gifts. Homemade coconut cake with three high layers. Homemade pies. To add to the goodie buffet that rested fully stocked throughout the holiday to New Year’s Day. No need for crying. Not until the Cousin came and said she’d left my gift in the car, after honestly declaring, “I forgot about you.” So I ran to the car with her, but there was no gift. And she said she’d bring it the next day. And she forgot. And every time she came, for more than a year, she’d say she’d forgotten. Too much forgetting for a 7-year old. But I didn’t cry.

It seems I learned through much early transplantation that crying was a waste of energy, my energy, that needed to be preserved so I could take reasonably good care of myself. Apparently I wasn’t going to be able to depend on adult people to put my needs first. Apparently I was going to be on my own. I would have to fend for myself. I would have to learn the ropes. I would have to be sure to breach no boundaries, break no rules, betray no emotions…or else. It was quite clear to me.

So I set up my walls. I wrapped myself with my own arms. I blanketed myself with the comfort I needed. I learned to be self sufficient and rely on no one to be “for” me. In the heart and mind of a 7-year old.

But today it’s Christmas Eve! And I’m no longer a 7-year old. And the very thoughts of Christmas make me cry. Almost everything makes me cry. The children who feel like I felt as a little girl. I cry for them, especially those who have hidden their tears away for fear of abandonment. The people who are locked away in government internment camps because they tried to save themselves from the tyranny that exists in their native countries. I cry for them. The people who are being killed for no reason. The people who are killing for no reason. I cry for them. The people with power whose hearts are cold toward those without power. The people who fear people who are different than they. I cry for them.

I also cry with rejoicing that it’s Christmas Eve. I cry with understanding that the Baby born in Bethlehem can still make a tremendous difference in the hearts of all people who will accept him. I cry with knowing that the justice he demands often invades the hearts of people before they even know it. I cry with love because the love with which he loves is infectious, it’s overwhelming, it’s beyond understanding or overcoming…and it’s available to everyone who will receive it. I cry with joy because his love is the great equalizer; it’s the one thing that can make a difference in this world. It’s what our hearts cry out for. It’s what our souls hunger for. Love without measure. Love without limits. Love without boundaries. Multicolored. Multilayered. Love. Love that will disarm. Love that will not harm. Undeniable. Unbelievable. Love. Merry Christmas! I love you! And you too!

Say so!!!

Are you a person of integrity? Are you of one heart and mind? Can people take your word to the bank?

Then say so!

Are you a gifted person? Are you gifted of God? Do you represent the best work of the Holy Spirit?

Then say so!

Are you walking in power, love and a sound mind? Are you whole in body, mind and spirit?

Then say so!

Speak your truth. Speak your Holy Ghost reality. Speak the word over your own life and the lives of others. 

Then say so!

In spite of what you see. In spite of what you hear. In spite of what makes sense to you. 

In spite of all that surrounds you. 

Say so! 

I am the daughter of God right now. 

Say so!

I am saved until the day of redemption. 

Say so!

I am whole in my body. 

I am whole in my mind. 

I am filled with the Spirit of God. 

Say so!

It is only in this way, with this constant confession, with this sanctified assenting that we can walk worthy now. 

Lifted beyond our lives. Gifted with transformed observation. Enabled to hear with hearts instead of ears. 

Say so!

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is…you’ve been set up!

You can’t fail. you can’t mess it up. you can’t miss the target.

The only requirement is that you do it. 

Ask and you shall receive.

Knock and the door shall be opened unto you.

Seek and you shall find.

The only requirement is that you do it.

The only thing you must bring is the intent.

And that’s simply to show that you care. Positively or negatively. 

He will perfect or complete those things that concern you.

You can’t go wrong.

God’s system is infallible. Just grunt in his direction. Just blink in his direction. Just have a thought toward heaven. Just glance at his word. Just breathe a deep sign. Just set yourself down in agreement. Just wave your hand toward heaven. Just pat your foot in contentment. Just nod your head in consensus. Just nod your head in understanding. Just nod your head in reception. Just nod your head.

And He’s got your permission to move, breathe, stop, start, heal, deliver, set free, detain, arrest, …whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Whatever it is…comes under the unspoken contract of the genius of prayer.

That’s the bottom line.

God watches

Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;

Isaiah 49:15-16

Can you even imagine that God is so intent on giving us his attention that he’s inscribed us on the palms of his hands? Keeping us ever before him and making our names ever in his sight. The Message bible says, “I’ve written your names on the backs of my hands. The walls you’re rebuilding are never out of my sight.” The Amplified bible says “I have inscribed [a picture of] you on the palms of my hands.” Think about the number of times in a day one glances at the hands. How accessible are the hands? They’re right in front of us most of the time. Glancing at the hands is an easy thing, not that God could forget us any way. Exciting right? No matter the imagery, the fact is the same. God loves us so much he keeps us, as well as our borders, in close proximity so he can watch over us and protect us.

Mercy me

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; and his mercy endures forever.

I Chronicles 16:34

Can we turn our attention to the mercy of the Lord that he extends to us…fresh mercy…every morning of our lives? My elders used to say the Lord’s mercy “suits our case.” Of course I had no idea what this meant when I began to hear these words as a young child.

But as I matured as a woman and as a Christian, I began to understand that as uniquely dark as my sin is, so uniquely overpowering is the mercy of God that overwhelms my sin with kindness I in no way deserve.

Fresh mercy tailor made to me and freshly renewed every day of my life. And that mercy never runs out. There’s no shortage of the supply. And there’s no shortcoming in my life that God’s mercy cannot overcome. Overwhelm. Beat down. And if this thought does not at least elicit thanksgiving then, back to the drawing board.

Mercy without measure. Mercy for me. Mercy for me every day. New mercy for me every day. Fresh unique mercy that suits my case, fits itself into every crack and crevice of my soul, makes me look like something other than what I would be without it.

Oh thank the Lord. Thank the Lord.

For the Lord is good; his mercy everlasting.

And his truth endures to all generations.