All to Him

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As I get older, I have become more and more reflective of every aspect of my life. How am I spending my time? What message am I sending with my life? How am I as a wife, mother, sister, friend, etc.? There are so many questions. However, I have very few answers to any of them. Our experiences tend to shape and even sometimes dictate our actions and perception of life. But in Colossians 3:23, we are instructed “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”. 

The verse is telling us that we are to aim to please God in all we do. What great advice! Why? When we aim to please or put our trust in men, we will always be disappointed. The nature of man is sinful and imperfect. So, it is impossible to appease them. Our flesh is always thirsting for the next best thing and never satisfied. However, if we walk in the spirit and live Godward; the reward is always great. If we aim to please God, then what we do shall not be in vain. When we strive to people please or set false expectations for ourselves and others, we are left empty and fail. 

Proverbs 16:7 says, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” You see when our main goal in life is to honor God, everyone else is taken care of. When we seek His kingdom and its righteousness, all things will be added unto us. Look at your life. What different roles do you operate in? Who do you aim to please while operating in each capacity? Are you parenting in a way that honors and pleases God? What about your career? Are you doing it unto the glory of God or for the praises of man? Every person, place, or thing God has assigned to our hands was intended to be pointed back to Him and reflect His glory. If we aren’t doing that, we are simply wasting our time. 

Let Us Pray:

Lord,  We thank you for who you have so fearfully and wonderfully created us to be. We thank you for loving us even during the times we fail to represent you well and walk in our purpose. We ask that you will open our hearts and minds to see our lives through your eyes. Give us a spirit of surrender so we can receive from you and gain wisdom on how to live in a way that reflects who you are. Help us to be good stewards of everything and everyone you have assigned to our hands. Teach us how to give it all back to you. We ask that you will meet us in the places we fall short and give us the grace to grow in you. For you alone are worthy of all the glory, honor, and praise. 

In Your Son Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. 

Prayer for Direction

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Father,

Thank you for loving us unconditionally. Thank you for sending your son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins. We ask that you forgive us for our trespasses. Help us to forgive and those who have trespassed against us. Give us a heart that hungers and thirsts after your righteousness. Fill us with your Spirit so we can be empowered to live victoriously as you intend. Sometimes, we don’t know where to turn or what to do. In those times, we ask that you will lead and guide us. Lord, we ask that our first inclination will be to lean in closer to you and seek your counsel. Give us a mind to not only come to you but abide in you so that when those times come we will be close to your light. May it be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths. Give us wisdom and clarity so we can do your will. We silence the voice of the enemy that may come to plant seeds of doubt, fear, and confusion. We cast down every thought that may try to override what your word says and bring our minds under complete submission to you. So, you may direct us. We thank you in advance for all you are going to do.

In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

The Power of Community

I will be the first to admit. Sometimes, I do NOT like people. They are messy and chaotic. They can be fickle and wishy-washy. They can even be too much at times. Honestly, the older I get, the more I’ve come to enjoy my own company and have become quite selective about who I give my time too. However, there are very magical moments that can occur in the midst of a community. There is a strength and beauty that comes when like hearts come together with purpose. Therefore, we have to not forsake assembling with others.

I believe we were created with community in mind. The triune nature of God himself exemplifies the power of community or oneness. It shows us what happens when all 3 are on one accord. Such cohesion was intended to flow over into the body of Christ. We see the evidence of this very thing in the early church and its effectiveness. Great things happened!

Tonight, I was a bit heavy in spirit and attended a meeting. Usually, my first instinct is to retreat but I decided to go anyway. I was so glad I did. After we handled the business of the night, the ladies began to share their hearts and experiences. The testimonies shared and transparency encouraged my heart. Although I was in a very emotional state, I began to feel the spirit of heaviness lift off of me. I felt so much better by the end of the meeting. Would I have felt better if I had not met with these remarkable women? Probably not. That’s the beauty of fellowship and the power of connection. I believe the enemy knows that. Therefore, he fights so hard to keep us divided. Imagine what would happen if we all came together and just loved on one another regardless of our differences. The world would certainly be a changed place. Trust me. We need all the help we can get. We need each other more than we even realize.

Friends, let’s ask ourselves some questions.

1) Are we instruments of unity or division? 2) What parts of our lives could be better if we allowed ourselves to open up and share them with others? 3) Are we a safe place for those around us? If not, why? 4) Are we depriving ourselves from the benefits of being in community with others?

Lord, give us the wisdom to ask these tough questions. Give us the courage to be transparent with others and ourselves so that true healing can occur. Help us to seek out healthy communities that will nurture our souls and push us into our purpose. Thank you Father for gift of community.

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A Prayer for Graduates

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Dear Father,

We come to you on behalf of every graduate. Lord, we know that you have a divine purpose and plan for them. We thank you for the path that lies before each graduate. Your word says that you have plans of prosperity and not harm. You plan to give them a hope and a future. We ask that you bless every graduate with an assurance in your word and what it says concerning their lives. We ask that you will place a desire in them to hunger and thirst after your righteousness, so they may be filled. Fill them with your spirit so that as they follow your plan for their lives, others will come to know you because of your light shining so brightly through them. Put them before great men and women so they may be conduits of your love, grace, and goodness. Stir up every gift within them so they may do the work of your kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.

When the enemy comes in like a flood like we know he will, Lord lift up a standard. We cancel any of his schemes and assignments against them. You are their great defender. Surround them with a fiery hedge of protection, give your angels charge over them, and cover them with your precious blood. Help them to be a light in these times of darkness and use them to do great works in you. We thank you in advance for every promise you have declared over their lives and the great work that you will do in and through them.

In your son Jesus’ mighty name, we pray.

Amen.

You Are

From light breaking through the darkness of night,

To the wind that gently breezes and guides a child’s kite.

From the heartbeat at conception as a sign of new life,

To milk in the breast of a mother whose infant holds tight.

From every inhale and exhale as a our lungs breath in and out,

To the sounds of worship, some which are silent and some shout.

From oceans so vast that the eyes cannot see where they extend,

To the galaxies near and beyond, the tapestry of your majesty has no end.

Everlasting, Enduring, Empowering, Endless, Eternal…

God, You Are.

© 2019 NiaCara Lawrence

Trust His Plans

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All of my life, I have been a planner and an overachiever. By the time I was in high school, I had at least the 20 years of my life mapped out. I would graduate from high school, attend a 4-year university, go to medical school, and become an Ob/Gyn. Thereafter, I would buy a home and travel the rest of my life. How many of you know that my life now resembles less than 50% of the way I planned it? Where were my husband and children? What about my 18-year teaching career and all of the other things I have done in my life? Good question! They were not originally part of my plan. However, they have by far brought the most joy out of me and my life.

Now, let me be honest. I sometimes wonder what my life as a doctor would have been like because I have always been intrigued by science and the human body. That is the reason I decided to pursue a degree in Biology. It is also why I taught science for 18 years. When I think about how God’s plan for my life has evolved since I was 14 years old, I am very grateful. I may not have become a doctor but I have taught numerous students who have become doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals, lawyers, teachers, artists, and so much more. I have been blessed to attend graduations, weddings, baptisms, and baby dedications. Would I have had the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing people of all ages and pour into them? Maybe in some other capacity but I am so grateful for what God has done.

I think sometimes we tend to get so focused on what could have been that we forget to live in the moment and recognize what God is currently doing in our lives. When we do, we miss out on the joy of living in the “now” of God’s plan and all of the valuable lessons that He is teaching us. Yes, I could have been a successful physician. Yes, I could have been around the world and back by now. Yes, I may have even had more money than I do right now. But was that God’s plan for my life? If it was, He would have brought it to pass. That is why is so important to not lean to our understanding and seek to acknowledge in every way, so He can direct our paths as instructed in Proverbs 3:5-6. Only He knows what lies ahead and the plans He ultimately has for us. As His children, we have to learn and believe it with our whole hearts. We have to learn to be content in any and every circumstance. We have to be intentional in our gratitude for the life He has blessed us with, even if it doesn’t look like what we imagined.
When we shift the posture of our hearts, our eyes will shift too. We start to see things differently. Then, we can live in expectation and excitement about lies ahead of us even when fear tries to creep in and rob us of trusting God.

Do you have anything in your life that seems to cause you to worry instead of hope for the future? What do you fear? Maybe things don’t necessarily look like you wanted them to. Don’t lose hope. Don’t allow the enemy to cause you to fall into his trap. He knows your future. So, he desperately desires to distract you from the promises of God. If so, ask God to restore your hope and give you a glimpse of what’s to come. He will do it. Don’t worry about where you are going because God is already there and He has good plans for you.

Rest in His promise found in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

Be blessed!

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God Doesn’t Need Your Help

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11  For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12  O LORD of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You! (Psalm 84:11-12, NASB)

God’s plan for us takes into account all of our talents, gifts, skills, and dispositions. He plans to mature us and bring certain aspects of our lives to pass at a certain time. But sometimes God’s timing is not our own. And that fact causes some dissonance for us. The intensity of our desire, the feelings of perceived need we have sometimes overrule our spirit’s will to wait on God. Abram and Sarai’s journey to the son God promised them is a perfect example of how our desires can lead us to shortcut God’s plan for us.

God told Abram he would be the father of many nations. To do that, he had to be somebody’s daddy. Of course Sarai, his wife would assume it would be through her. Well, that wasn’t happening. So, the story goes that she convinces Abram to marry her maid and have a child with her. Well, Sarai’s plan shortcuts God’s will. And it wreaked havoc in their family. Her desire to be used by God, her need to fulfill her husband’s desire caused her to step outside of God’s will to make it happen on her own. If I’m honest, I totally understand Sarai’s impatience. And I’m, sure you do too. Have you ever had something you know was coming, but it wasn’t coming fast enough, so you decided to do what you could to help it along? I know I’m guilty!

However, in those moments, rarely do we consider how those choices, those deliberate choices affect our direction. Our shortcuts are grounded in pride; how we feel we need to help God out.
Did you read that? How we need to help God out. That’s ridiculous to even type. Abram should have told his wife, Bye, Sarai! Go sit down and be patient while God does His thing.

Throughout their ordeal, I know Sarah and Abraham were changed. They came to know God more deeply, more intimately. They came to rely on him more than they did before. They got to see His will come to pass. To me, this deeper knowledge and understanding, and even God’s fulfillment of His promise (despite their behavior), is just more evidence that God surely will work all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

If you take one thing away from this devotional today, it is God does not need your help! Each time you are tempted to help Him out, remind yourself that God has all things, knows all things,
and can do all things. And on that alone, nothing you can do will enhance His plan for your life.

Dr. Charles Stanley said something that stuck with me on a message about shortcutting God’s will.
He said:
God makes a promise.
Faith believes it.
Hope anticipates it.
Patience waits quietly for it.

Many Blessings!

Wait on the Lord

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Since leaving my job of 17 years in August 2018, I have been in a time of waiting. I have not been given instructions about my next career move or even if I will even return to my field. Although I have done several temporary jobs over the last few years, in the meantime, I’ve been enjoying my time at home with my children while they participate in virtual learning. I have found a new love, crafting. It has brought me so much joy and peace. So, many different things have taken place in my life. 

Initially, I was very anxious and continuously applying for positions in my field. Eventually, I stopped and decided to focus on the last instructions God had given me. He had told me to focus on my writing and my family. So, I began to do just that. In doing so, I’ve experienced so much peace about my future. In light of all that has happened in the world since 2018, I have been convinced that I am exactly where He wants me to be. How could I be so sure? Because I have seen Him gradually align various areas of my life, develop me, and give me freedom. Some things have occurred that I could not have happened without God’s hands on them. 

Therefore, I have resolved that I will not move until He speaks. I will trust in Him. I also had to commit to change how I wait. Initially, I anxious for something to happen but now I am resting in him and praising Him for the journey. I am more intentional about embracing my NOW and all of the possibilities it brings. You see how we wait for God to move matters. When we complain, we make it an arduous task and torment ourselves. However, when we choose to have an attitude of gratitude, we shift the atmosphere of our lives and posture ourselves for greater works of God in and around us. 

Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.” Therefore, how we wait on God matters. We have to wait in a way that is conducive to us receiving renewal, strength, refreshing, restoration, and eventually reward. 

What are you waiting on God to do in your life? Have you grown weary in your waiting? Have you become fearful or even doubtful of whether or not He will come through for you? If He is will is not a question, God is faithful in all His promises. If He said it, it will surely come to pass. So, I say,” Dear Friend, wait on the Lord”. 

Be blessed. 

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How Are You Living?

Last week, my sweet husband, asked me a very important question. He asked,”If you knew you were going to die soon, what would you do?” My mind immediately started to ponder the question. How would I live? What would I do differently? How would I decide to spend the rest of my time? All of which are very powerful questions. Likewise, their answers were even more powerful because they caused me to really reevaluate my life and how I am living it.

Each answer is very personal. So, I won’t go into intimate details but I will say one thing. I would definitely be even more intentional about all areas of my life. Over the last 5 or 6 years, I’ve made alot of changes as a result of plenty self-evaluation. I have evaluated my career, relationships, parenting, wellness, and so many other areas. Although I have made alot of changes, there are still so much more I could do or be more intentional about.

Today, I want to ask you the same question,”If you knew your time was ending here on Earth, how would you live the life you have left? Would you be more present in your relationships? Would you shut all all distractions and hone in only on your family or those most important you? How would you spend your days? These are all very intense questions. Many of which I’m still trying to construct an answer or plan for.

One thing I know for sure is that I don’t want to leave this earth without using every gift God has blessed me with. I don’t want to leave without giving all the love He has given me. I don’t want to let all that He has brought me through to be in vain. I don’t want to not embrace and cherish every moment He has given me to praise and worship Him. I don’t to leave here with His work undone. I want to live for His purpose, on purpose. Don’t you? He came that we may have life and have it more abundantly.

John 10:10 TPT A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect —life in its fullness until you overflow!

So I ask, “What does that look like in your life? Are you living your life for His purpose with intent? Is life happening to you or by you living in and for Him?”

Let Us Pray…Father, we thank you for your divine plan and purpose for our lives. Help us to seek your will and wisdom on how we should live in a way that pleases you. In doing so, you’ve promised us life more abundantly which can only be found in you. Lord, you’ve given us the gift of life so that through you we may live a life of intent and great love. Teach us to do just that. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

A River Runs Through

Bring all your sorrow, your guilt, and your pain,

Bring all your burdens, your fears, and your chains.

Bring your disappointment and even every sin,

Bring it all. It doesn’t matter what shape you are in.

Release, exhale, drop, let everything go,

Because the answer is near and soon it shall flow.

Full of all you need to experience new life,

Full of what’s needed to make all death alive.

Lean in. Can you feel it’s rhythm on the cusp of the wind?

The river is knocking.  Will you let Him in?

No matter what you’re facing the river runs through.

He is coming to deliver, set free, and make new.

The river runs through mountains high, valleys low,

The river can reach no matter how far you go.

Oh, there is a river from which you can drink and thirst no more.

That river is Jesus. Praise His name forevermore!

River run through and make us anew.

River run through and fill us with truth.

River run through and drive out all doubt.

River run through because its you we cannot live without.

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