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Strong and Courageous

There’s a familiar passage written around 1400 BC that is helping me work through anxiety today. Memorizing and meditating on scripture is surprisingly helpful in anchoring our identity and calming our fears. Let’s look at this together:

“Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the Law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may achieve success wherever you go.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will achieve success.” (Joshua 1:7-8)

Many say we are entering into a time of persecution; others say that great revival is soon. Either way, the conclusion of this passage in Joshua rings true: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Blessings to you this week my friends! Keep me in your prayers as I’m traveling. Remember to get this blog in your email by signing up at www.MargaretAllen.org/Mondays with Margaret.

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Entering In

I’ve heard the saying “people are as close to God as they want to be.”  I understand we are responsible for our spiritual life, but here’s why I disagree with the statement: I think most of us either don’t know how to be close to God or we are misinformed as to what we could possibly hope to gain there. 

Whenever I meet with someone who complains they just can’t seem to find the time to read their Bible and pray, I instantly know they have misinformation and hurt around the goodness of God. If we believe that God punishes us, withholds good from us, doesn’t help us or come through for us, then yes of course it makes sense that we can’t find time to meet with Him. Who would want to meet with that? It gets tricky though because cognitively we may say no, I don’t believe unkind things about God, but deep within our hearts there may be disappointment toward God in very personal ways. 

How do we work through this duplicity? Press in. Be honest—God can handle what we have to say!  We can ask Him to meet us, speak to us, comfort and guide us. We can choose to consciously align our heart and mind with the truth of scripture. Well, I don’t feel like God is close to me. Feelings don’t create truth—they follow truth. “… the one who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He proves to be One who rewards those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) We believe that God is good and has good for us based on the truth of scripture and our feelings of closeness will follow.

Did Jesus in fact encourage people to draw near and follow Him? Jesus urged a close relationship, saying “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Jesus knew that He had good to offer us—peace and gentleness, partnership in life, learning and wisdom. He knew that His sacrificial death on the cross would defeat darkness and spiritual oppression. Jesus lived a perfect life so that we could enter in to relationship with God.

Listen to the tenderness of God’s heart toward us: “For the Lord God says this: ‘Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and look after them. As a shepherd cares for his flock on a day when he is among his scattered sheep. So I will care for My sheep and will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing place will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down in a good grazing place and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will feed My flock and I Myself will lead them to rest,’ declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick.” (Ezekiel 34:11-16) This doesn’t sound like someone we have to beg to come close to us, does it?

I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick.” This, my friend, is the heart of God toward us. Do you feel lost right now? Is your life scattered or broken? Catherine Marshall wrote, “God seeks us out at a point in our own need and longing and runs down the road to meet us…At the same time, there is one central core of the entering-in or commitment experience that is common to everyone who undergoes it. It is the act of putting oneself—past, present, and future—into God’s hands to do with as He pleases.” (Beyond Our Selves, p 44)

Are we as close to God as we want to be? If not, we can put ourselves—past, present, and future—into God’s hands to do with as He pleases. We enter in, because we know that He is good.

Go to my website www.MargaretAllen.org for more resources. Please share this blog with everyone who is pressing in!

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The Love of God

I’ve had some rainy afternoons, perfect for reading, during this past week. I found an old favorite of mine at the thrift store in town and I was eager to dive in. Beyond Ourselves by Catherine Marshall has truly surprised me this week. Ideas that I thought so revolutionary and radical—like God is Good, He’s better than you Think by Bill Johnson or Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, were preceded by the wife of U.S Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall in faith. Published in 1961, Beyond Ourselves by Catherine Marshall is a radical exploration of the goodness of God in the midst of human suffering. Early in the book, she writes: “A few years ago there were those who said that the atom could not be split. The atom has been split. Why should we not go forward in the same spirit to explore the spiritual world where lies the answer to a greater riddle—the riddle of the nature of man and his relation to the universe? This spiritual world is a real world. There is terrain there still to be discovered; peaks yet to be scaled; new truth to be mined; in short, the spiritual atom to be split.” (p. 14)

Her earnest and thorough pursuit of God have reminded me of the Apostle Paul’s language in Ephesians 3:8 “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.” The truth and beauty in Christ are unfathomable riches—boundless, endless, unsearchable—and yet we will gladly spend our lives plumbing those depths!

Marshall asks the question, in watching Jesus, what did His disciples learn about God? She answers, “Jesus acted as if there was never any question of the Father’s willingness to supply all needs—even such material ones as appeasing hunger. God was concerned about men’s bodies along with their souls: Divine love delighted in dispelling pain, in restoring sanity, in straightening crooked limbs and opening blind eyes, even in banishing premature death. Jesus said that in heaven there was an instant readiness to forgive and great joy over finding the lost.” (p. 32) She goes on to say, “The gospels make it clear that to Jesus the Father is all-loving, is of the essence of love, cannot help loving. Moreover, this love includes the attributes of love known to all of us—good will, unselfishness, consideration, justice, wanting only good things for us, desiring our happiness. It is not a love dependent on our earning it. God is “for us” first, last, and always. By every word and action, by all the force of His personality, Christ sought to tell us that the Father is always nearer, mightier, freer to help us than we can imagine.” (p.33)

“By every word and action, by all the force of His personality, Christ sought to tell us that the Father is always nearer, mightier, freer to help us than we can imagine.”  My friend, let that sink in for a moment. Where do you need God’s nearness? How do you need His help? In studying the words and actions of Christ, we find that God is more than willing to come alongside of us. In listening for His voice in prayer, we discover the goodness God has for us.

As we reflect on the love of God this week, here’s a good word to ponder, memorize, meditate on: “The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” (Psalm 145:9) All His works! How do we enter in to the kind of relationship with God where we experience His tender mercies as our reality? How to Enter In will be next week’s blog.

If you would like to receive this blog in your email every Monday morning, just go to www.MargaretAllen.org/Mondays with Margaret and sign up!

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Monthly Mashup #5

Welcome to my monthly mashup! These are some of the things I’ve enjoyed or pondered this month:

Book I’m reading: “Your Power in the Holy Spirit” by John G. Lake. 

This book was compiled by Roberts Liardon and published in 2010. The material comes from sermons and papers given by John G. Lake around 1908 to 1920. This is a beautifully tender, powerful book. Here’s a little taste: “We live in order that our souls may grow. The development of the soul is the purpose of existence. God Almighty is trying to obtain some decent association for Himself. By His grace, He is endeavoring to have us grow up in His knowledge and likeness to that stature (see Ephesians 4:13-15) where, as sons of God, we will comprehend something of His love, of His nature, of His power, of His purpose, and be big enough to give back to God what a son should give to a great Father—the reverence, the love, the affection that comes from the understanding of the nobleness and greatness of His purpose.” P. 124 It’s hard to find a book about the deeper walk with God that isn’t stuffy or too heavy with dry theology. This tender story of transformation and the impact of John G. Lake on hundreds of thousands of people will walk you into the goodness of God.

Song I’m enjoying: “When I lock eyes with You” by Maverick City Music.

This is eight minutes (that’s the short version) to linger in God’s presence. I love the expression “when I lock eyes with You” because we don’t “lock eyes” with strangers. No, to lock eyes, or to gaze intently is an intimate thing. To take the time in our busy, fragmented world to gaze into the eyes of God and linger with His Holy presence, is so refreshing. Here’s the short version: https://youtu.be/mVlv0hSJGSw Here’s the long version: https://youtu.be/5xvCY0_vaDA

Quote I’m pondering: “The Fading of Forgiveness” Tim Keller quotes Baylor professor Alan Jacobs: 

“When a society rejects the Christian account of who we are, it doesn’t become less moralistic but far more so, because it retains an inchoate sense of justice but has no means of offering or receiving forgiveness. The great moral crisis of our time is not, as many of my fellow Christians believe, sexual licentiousness, but rather vindictiveness.  Social media serve as crack for moralists: there’s no high like the high you get from punishing malefactors. But like every addiction, this one suffers from the inexorable law of diminishing returns. The mania for punishment will therefore get worse before it gets better.” Read the entire article here: https://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/the-fading-of-forgiveness/

T-Shirt I’m smiling at: You stay safe, I’ll stay free

Thanks to my young friend Lauren standing up for medical freedom. She asks, “Will you stand against segregation? It’s simple, but it won’t be easy. Pledge to not support or participate in anything that segregates human beings. History will thank you.”

Have a beautiful week everyone! Please share my book, Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion with anyone needing some inspiration!

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Host or Guest?

I learned a new word this week and have already put it into practice. The word is XENIA. It is an ancient Greek concept of hospitality, translated as guest-friendship. The Greek god Zeus is sometimes called Zeus Xenios in his role as protector of strangers. We are much more familiar with the negative use of this word, as in Xenophobia, which is a fear or dislike of people from other countries or who are different from us in some way. But I prefer the positive use of the word.

Xenia is a big part of many Biblical stories. In fact, many times that we as modern western readers don’t understand a story, it’s because of xenia elements that are foreign to our culture. The story of the Good Samaritan is an example of this. We secretly wonder if we meet Jesus’ definition of a neighbor. Let’s consider several references to anchor the idea of xenia: 

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2) In the first century church, hospitality was included in the job description for leaders. Our western culture does not value this Biblical requirement for church leaders today, but what if it did? What if the church, specifically Christians, were where someone could go when they were a stranger in town or needed help? I don’t know if I’ve entertained any angels but I do know that every time I’ve shown kindness to a stranger, I’ve been blessed in some way.

Jesus said, “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; in prison, and you came to Me.” In the story the righteous asked, “When did we do these things for you?” And Jesus answered “To the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:35-40) Truly this is one of the most sobering passages spoken by Jesus.

And going back even further in time, to the very beginnings of the Judeo-Christian faith just after the Ten Commandments were given, we read: “You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 23:9) So there it is, the foundation of xenia. We understand what it is like to be a stranger because we each have been a stranger in some context. We understand what it is like to be the new kid at school, starting a job, a stranger in a town. We understand being vulnerable, unsure, lonely, or insecure. We have been a stranger in some Egypt somewhere.

In California we walk right past people—at church, in our neighborhood, standing on the corner, shopping next to us. It would be odd to talk to a stranger. But in Idaho, we have had the privilege of being the new kids in town. The number of people we know in Hailey/Ketchum, Idaho can be counted on one hand. I decided to try out my new word, xenia. At the little 4th of July parade in town, I invited people on the street to come to our home afterward for a BBQ. The hilarious thing is that they came! It turns out many people around us feel like strangers. They are grateful for hospitality. Hopefully we have deepened their definition of Christian to include xenia, a kindness toward strangers. Either way, I’m happy to meet new friends!

Check out Romans 12:13 this week. At first glance it tells us to show hospitality, but if we dig deeper, we find it expresses a command to eagerly pursue hospitality. We are called to be a host, not a guest, in almost any conversation or encounter. Pursue xenia this week and see if you are not blessed!

Next week I’ll post my monthly mashup. Be sure to subscribe to my blog and visit www.MargaretAllen.org for resources. Please share your stories of xenia in the comments. Have a beautiful week, everyone!

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Give Me Understanding

Do you ever find yourself returning to a passage of scripture but not knowing why? I am stuck on Psalm 119.  I want to look away, I promise. But God keeps turning my gaze back to this Psalm. So here I am, in the longest chapter of the Bible, almost dead center of The Book. I’m sure He can feel my squirming.  Verse after verse about the word of God, the testimony of God, His precepts, judgments and decrees (eight different Hebrew words are used to refer to God’s Word in this Psalm) A few weeks ago I mentioned how precious His testimonies are and the very reference to His testimonies in this Psalm wrecks me! This week I’ve been struck by the phrase, “give me understanding,” which is repeated six times in Psalm 119. Have we not whispered this prayer as we read the day’s headlines? Haven’t we shaken our head and said this as we consider our friendships or perhaps even our marriages? What are these patterns in our life? What’s our purpose? Why do we struggle to walk out the Christian life in this world? Lord, give us understanding.  Let’s dig deeper.

In Psalm 119:34 we read: “Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.” It makes sense that we can follow whole heartedly if we only understand. Clarity is curative, right? Lord I so want to understand to be whole toward You. C.S. Lewis said, “The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance.” Our hope, delight, and trust are in God. Our head knows this but sometimes our heart has to catch up!

“Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.” (Psalm 119:73) Our identity and purpose flow out of this fact: God made us and fashioned us.  Yes, how desperately we need understanding on this point today. WHO we are is designed; we are not an accident. God made us for His heart. At the most basic level, our identity is literally stamped on every cell in our body. But so much greater than that simple fact, God chose every unique aspect of our existence: our eye-print, lip-print, fingerprint all unique. Our laugh, our gait, our thoughts, family background and experiences are unique. Who doesn’t want greater understanding in the why behind their identity?

“I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every false way.” Here in verse 104 the writer shifts from asking for understanding to stating an impact of clarity received. We hate the false, fake ways that lead us away from real life. When we see the truth, beauty, and goodness in God’s ways, we realize the short-comings of all other options.

In verse 125, the writer states: “I am Your servant; Give me understanding, that I may know Your testimonies.” I’ve prayed this one. I’m all in, God. My answer is Yes to You. Help me understand what You are saying right now! I don’t want to be the person who reads story after story of Jesus feeding the 5000, the 4000, taking care of people and not understand He wants to take care of me! Give me understanding that I may know Your testimonies! Jesus healed every.single.person who came to HimGive me understanding when I need healing Lord! We want His testimonies to be our story as well.

“The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting; Give me understanding and I shall live.” (verse 144) I’ve questioned this one: are His ways right? It hasn’t always felt right but the older I get the more I see the rightness of God’s ways and the permanence of them. Give me understanding and I shall truly live.

“Let my cry come before You, O Lord; Give me understanding according to Your word.” (verse 169) Give me understanding clearly communicates I have no resources in myself. I’ve exhausted all of my means of problem solving and gathering insight. An understanding remains which can only be revealed. God is hiding things for us not from us! He is waiting on that prayer of Lord, give me understanding!  Dear friends, may you dig into His Word this week and dance in God’s presence! May His understanding and revelation be the highlight of your week. I would love to hear what catches your heart in Psalm 119

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Reader’s Question: Overcoming Difficulty

Here is a question I get from young and old alike: how can we overcome difficulty? Failed marriages and broken relationships. Financial strain and poor health. Disappointment and shame. We will never rub shoulders with someone who hasn’t experienced some kind of pain or struggle in life. Knowing that we each carry burdens and sorrows, the question deserves careful thought.

How can we overcome difficulty? I think of a time in David’s life that roiled in pain and trouble: returning home after several days away, he discovered his city burned and all the women and children carried away. (See 1 Samuel 30:4) “Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.” Have we ever cried until we couldn’t cry anymore? If this wasn’t bad enough, the people then talked of stoning David because of the tragic loss of their homes and families. Everything David knew and cared about was gone-his house burned down and his wives and children kidnapped and then his own people wanted to kill him! How did David overcome this tragedy? “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” (v.6)

He strengthened himself in the Lord. David got with God. In the middle of confusion, weeping, and pain, David turned his broken heart toward God. He reminded himself of the goodness of God. He remembered all the times that God provided for him and protected him. He fed his heart with hope in God. David then asked God a very direct question: should I pursue this troop? God answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.” (v.8) David trusted that he heard God right and he went after his enemies and recovered all that had been stolen.

Do we have difficulty in our life? Are there broken relationships and discarded dreams? Are the struggles of daily life sometimes too much to bear? We must strengthen ourselves in the Lord, dear friend! How do we do that? Just like David, we remember the testimony. “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart! Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.” (Psalm 119:2,24) Do we see it? Blessing rests in keeping His testimonies. The testimonies of God are a delight and our counselor. Remembering all the good things God has said and done throughout our lifetime as well as throughout history will strengthen our heart in the day of trouble.  Our hopefulness anchors in the God stories we share and remember. They will be our delight and they will give us strength to follow what God says.

Do we have a testimony of God’s goodness in our lives? If not, take someone else’s! That’s right, take someone else’s God-story as our own, because if He did it for them, He will do it for us. Let the testimonies in scripture become delightful counselors. Relive those God encounters—remembering who God has been and what He has spoken —and we will be strengthened in the Lord. God alone has the encouragement, strength, and direction we need to overcome our difficulty.

*A personal side note to this: Psalm 119 WRECKED me this week. I cried my way through this psalm as God opened my eyes to His wonderful truths hidden in these verses. This psalm is an alphabetic acrostic divided into 22 stanzas with eight couplets in each stanza. All the couplets in the first stanza begin with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, aleph; the couplets in the second begin with the second letter, beth; and so on to the end of the poem. This appears to be an expansion of David’s Psalm 19:7-11. Wow, God’s Word never gets old. I hope you get wrecked by His love this week!

For more good stuff, check out my book, Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love, and compassionanywhere books are sold. Keep those questions coming and feel free to share my blog with anyone who might need an encouraging word!

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Growing with God

Do you remember planting seeds for science class in elementary school? The classroom window was lined with hopeful little pots, waiting for green life to spring forth. There was always that smug girl whose plant shot up first and remained the biggest plant in the window. Then there was me, the girl with knee socks slumped around the ankles, pulling her little green stalk out of the dirt to see exactly what was going on under that soil!

Growth is almost always a subtle, hidden process. A tree’s growth is registered in its rings. The actual growing or adding of woody fiber happens quickly over a few months. The rest of the year is a slow solidification process of the green timber. Our spiritual life can feel the same way. God will bring bursts of revelation and insight or conviction and tenderness of heart.  Big decisions leap forward and new directions and habits forge ahead. God is so close we can almost feel His smile on us. But He also brings seasons where we must press in.  Weeks or months feel quiet and uneventful. We are solidifying our relationship with Him. To enjoy God’s presence is one thing; to be established in Him and manifesting His goodness daily, is another. Fruit ripens slowly with subtlety. It takes time to grow into His representation here on earth

“I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Phil.1:6) I’m glad the Apostle Paul was so sure. I have to fight the compulsion to pull it all up from the roots, impatient to see what’s going on in the soil of my heart. Am I becoming more like Christ? Why does it seem so hard to change? These are the questions rumbling around in my head, but I remind myself a squash only requires months to grow while an oak tree needs years. Which do I want to be? I can take the fast and easy route which has an appearance of spiritual growth, or I can settle into the steady and certain process with Christ directing my steps.

What does spiritual growth look like for you in this season? Are you being called into greater levels of obedience and listening? My friend, be encouraged: God will finish what He has started in you. The Bible says it this way: “the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10) He’s got you! Partner with Him in every way that you know to do and then trust that He’s got you.

Many times, we strive and worry. We get into our flesh and work at religion. God will perfect what He started in you. He will confirm His work in you, strengthen it and establish you as His representation here on earth. Keep soaking up those nutrients in scripture, prayer, and God-encounters. Follow and obey Him. Let your roots go deep into Christ as His love blooms into new life. 

*This blog was originally published in August 2020. After spending the last few days with a beautiful group of college kids at Kaleo PCB, I felt it was relevant to share again.

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Does your spiritual life need nurturing? Get my book, Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion anywhere books are sold. Sign up for the blog at www.MargaretAllen.org at the bottom of Mondays with Margaret. 

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Inspired by Meekness

I want to brag on someone today and it’s not to exalt them but to instruct us. Recently I heard an inspiring talk from my friends Jeremy and Debora Anderson. A little bit of context might help: they are campus ministers at UC Santa Cruz and they oversee all the Chi Alpha campus ministers in Cali, Az, Nevada and Hawaii. They also send teams into Asia Pacific and the Middle East. Many of you will recognize their name from the foreword in my book. Debora had a dream that I wrote a book called Gracious Living. She was so impacted by this dream that she had canvas bags made with Gracious Living printed on them and gave them to me as a gift. Her prophetic dream focused my journey of writing and was the reason I titled my book, Gracious Living.

Hearing Jeremy and Debora speak; shoot, just being around them brought something to life inside my heart and mind. I became more sensitive to what the Holy Spirit was saying. Psalm 19:12 spoke to me: “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.” This resonated for me and it led me to James 1:21-25 “therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” When my eyes fell upon the word “meekness” I stopped. Receive with meekness the implanted word. Jeremy and Debora are my living examples of meekness. Right in front of my eyes, they live and love from a pure heart. They don’t spend energy protecting and defending. They just give and trust that God will protect them and fill them. They don’t try to argue anyone into the Kingdom of God; they simply bring an experience with God’s holy presence that is winsome and inspiring. Jeremy and Debora are parenting the next generation of college students to love Jesus and to follow Him. They mentor grads on how to run their business with joy and humble hearts; they instruct young couples to walk out their marriages with service and gratitude. Just being around their precious family brings peace!

I realize you can read this and think well what a nice couple, I’m happy for them but I guess I’m wanting to stir up something more than that. Let me ask the questions I’ve asked myself after time with them: Can people come to us for prayer? Do they? Are we leading people to Christ through our words and lifestyle– or are we simply ‘nice’ folks? Do we carry the power and anointing of a holy life? What I find striking is that the meekest couple I know has the most impact on the Kingdom and on me personally. When I heard them speak, they didn’t talk about sin at all but I was convicted of sin. When I’m around them, I just want to be a better person—more of who God made me to be. 

Matthew 11:12 contains a fascinating verse that sums up what I’m observing in Jeremy and Debora: “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize].” Students at UC Santa Cruz are seizing the Kingdom of God, pursuing Christ as a precious prize because Jeremy and Debora are representing Him well. And I want to do the same!

Who’s inspiring you lately? If you are looking for something significant to give toward, please consider investing in Jeremy and Debora’s ministry at UC Santa Cruz and beyond. Learn more about them at www.WCXA.com

Remember to go to www.MargaretAllen.org for free resources and to sign up for the blog. Just scroll to the bottom of Mondays with Margaret to get this blog in your email every Monday. Have a great week everyone!

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Way Maker

Sometimes the ridiculous hopefulness of God can rush over us like a river.  We sang Way Maker by Leeland at church: “Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness. My God, that is who You are.” The truth of that song flooded my heart this week. God makes a way where there is no way.

Biblical stories rush to mind on this point: Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. “They had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus, they plundered the Egyptians.” (Exodus 12:35-36) God then parted the Red Sea so that they could flee but the Egyptian army drowned. I thought of the Babylonian captivity ending with Cyrus, King of Persia, not only commissioning the rebuilding of the temple but also returning all the beautiful articles of the house of God that had been stolen in the captivity. “This is the number of them: thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twenty-nine knives, thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins and one thousand other articles. All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred.” (Ezra 1:9-11) I couldn’t tell you how many of anything we own–but here exists an exact record of items from the year 538 B.C. Maybe God outlined such specific accounting because He wanted us to know His blessings aren’t random or haphazard.

And, of course I thought of personal examples I’ve witnessed over the past month of God making a way where there was no way. A new friend shared how God took her from debilitating addiction into the total restoration of her family, faith, and health. He was restoring to her a family experience richer in forgiveness and joy than they had ever known before.

How has God made a way for you, my friend? Has He provided, protected, envisioned for your life? I feel this is a season of restoration and return. I believe that God is wanting to restore what has been stolen. He is wanting to return beauty and joy in our lives. And we know that when God restores, He doesn’t skimp! God brings richness and fulness beyond what we can ask. He counts it out to us in greater detail than we can imagine. How many of us hunger for a restoration—of our health, relationships, career, and dreams? God is a way maker. He provides streams in the desert (Isaiah 35:6) We have experienced His refreshment during dry and weary times. Does He not make a highway through our desert? No matter what heartache we may be suffering, whatever obstacles or losses we face, we must trust God to make a way for us.

Take time this week to reflect on what God may be restoring to you. Ask Him to be your Way Maker and give God honor for all the good He has poured into your life. Be encouraged dear friends, His restoration is on the way!

Visit www.MargaretAllen.org for more resources. You can get Mondays with Margaret as an email each week—just scroll to the bottom of Mondays and sign up! Follow me on Insta @MargaretAllen.GL