I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty….. (Ruth 1:21).
The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul….. (Ps 19:7).
you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”… (Luke 19:44).
Yesterday God spoke something very directly to me and I chickened out. I got scared. I feared the thoughts of people and the unknown. I allowed those thoughts and fears to win out over following God in faithfulness. I just stood there, frozen, hoping the word that He was placing in my heart would pass, but it only burned more and more within my Spirit. Wrongfully, I tried to push it out and ignore it away. As I reflect on that moment, I feel like Moses, whom God called to speak before Pharoah, but he said, “Lord, send someone else!” Then gave his list of excuses for why he wouldn’t have been good at it to begin with. I gave the Lord a long list yesterday too.
The crazy thing is that I had been praying for God to plant a word in my heart for Him. Then He did and I got scared. Maybe you’ve been there too, praying for bold and courageous faith, but when the time comes, your jaw locks up and your fears take over. Years ago I had been praying fervently for an opportunity to share my faith with a dear friend. The opportunity came and I chickened out on that one too. Thankfully, God is tremendously gracious and gave me another opportunity and I shared then.
I’m just being honest, that even those of us who write blogs or speak from time to time still battle, just like you, with being courageous for Jesus. We’re all the same. Just because someone writes, speaks, ministers or leads doesn’t mean they’re some super spiritual person who lives above the rest. Truly, we are all the same. Thankfully, there is grace for those who don’t always get it right. I am living proof of that.
Although I punked out yesterday I don’t want to be like Moses, begging God to send someone else. I want to be like Isaiah, a man who said, “Lord, send me!”
I believe one of the greatest tragedies in modern Christendom is not Christians who sin, but those who live unaware of God. We are all going to struggle against sin, but the greater unawareness we have of God only increases our propensity to follow our own paths. If we never hear from the Father how can we know what He wants? Yesterday I was living proof that even when you hear from God you can live in fear. I wonder though, how many Christians are actually hearing from God?
When do we allow ourselves to sit long enough in silence or in a posture of praise to actually hear from the living God? Could it be that we have conditioned our hearts in such a way to be catapulted by distraction that we never stay in one place long enough for God to plant a seed of His Spirit within us? Why has the world not heard of Christ? Why hasn’t your next door neighbor, co-worker or friend heard about Jesus? I think it’s because we have fed fear and distraction more than the Spirit of God. We don’t know how to hear from God, because we have not trained ourselves for it. I’m still a work in progress though too because I’m learning to feed my faith more than my fear when I hear from God.
What if God’s people started removing distractions and started stepping out in faith? What if His people started living in the fullness of the Spirit? What if God’s people started listening and obeying the voice of God? What if we set aside our fears to take up courage? What then would become of us? Only God knows, but it would be a beautiful sight to see. Yesterday, as God was stirring my Spirit I was afraid of what He wanted to do. He made me uncomfortable because although He was planting something and I knew the direction He wanted me to start I did not know where He wanted me to finish. This is only reveals something about my heart that feared not being in control. Oh Lord, forgive me!
Whenever God plants something in you, trust Him to see through to fruition. Don’t worry about what you don’t know, but praise God that He knows. Live with an awareness of Him so strong that you recognize His voice so clearly that when He speaks you’re certain beyond all else that it’s Him. Then, run with courage for God’s great glory in Jesus name.
Lord, I want to live with courage. I know that your grace covers me from yesterday. Thank you for loving me despite my failures. Thank you that you see me as your beloved. I am free from condemnation. I have been crucified with Christ and I can live in the fullness of your love as you dance over me, in Jesus name, Amen!
the LORD will receive me….(Ps 27:10).
As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart…. (Pr 27:19).
I have had very destructive thoughts try to weasel their way into my heart and mind recently. As God has been taking me down a different path the past few months of my life I thought for certain the path would re-direct and it did, but not in the direction I was hoping for. Now, I feel the enemy pressing in trying to get me to be discontent in the place of God’s provision.
Thoughts like, “What are you doing? You’re a loser and a failure. Things like this don’t happen to people who have their lives together.” “Look at all these others people around you Heather, they haven’t gotten themselves in the place that you have. What God has allowed to happen in your life is unfair, just look at your other friends they aren’t failures like you.”
I believe what God is showing me is that my heart really loves success. When I feel like I have something tangible to show I feel valued as a person. Now, God is stripping me of all my successes to bring me to a place of being least at the table, so that He and only He might be exalted in my life. I can’t say that I always like it here. Some days and moments are better than others. Yet, I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that the only thing that matters in this life is that I am His daughter. I’m working hard with Him to get that thought to dwell deeply in my head and into my heart. Truly, I am His beloved child.
The drive for human success is purely motivated by the longing to be accepted by people. When I was a child I felt rejected by some people in my life, so I started getting good at other things. I started pursuing satisfaction and joy in the things I did. I was driven to be excellent at what I did, not who I was becoming or who I was investing in. My life quickly became about caring more about the things I was good at than the people I was surrounded by. I quickly became an island of success. Driven only by self for the gain of my own glory.
Over the years God has been stripping that old woman away. I am learning, sometimes slowly, the value of investing in others. Sometimes I think I still like working too much and in my pursuit of work forget that it’s not about the success I gather along the way, but the person I become and the people that I love and shepherd well along that journey.
Maybe you’re like me and you just want to follow Jesus, but you don’t always get it right. There is grace for you. It is His endless love for people like you and me who still struggle and stumble along the way. We can rest in the Father’s arms. We can be honest about our true selves apart from Christ. We can allow God to go to the dark places of our hearts still in need of His redemption. Thanks to His daily, unending grace.
It’s His grace that sets us free from condemnation. It sets us free to be transparent, and share with honesty our own struggles. We’re all a work in progress. The beauty of the gospel is that God makes lost people found and is in the process of making them new. Truly, He is a God of restoration. The longer we hide in pride the longer we’ll stay the same old man or woman. When we let God’s love penetrate the most broken places in our hearts we find His hand, along with His chisel, rebuilding us into brand new people for the sake of His great love.
Oh Lord, I long to be like you. It is a difficult process sometimes. Thank you for showing me the true reflection of my heart. Thank you that you are changing me. I will come forth as gold. I will come forth as a new woman who has a deeper capacity to love others for the sake of your great name. I submit my sin, my heart and my life to you. God, use my life today, in this present season for your Kingdom, in Jesus name, Amen!
Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”…. (Lk 14:15).
Years ago, a friend of mine said to me, “Heather, life with God is a continual feast.” At that time in my life, her words did not ring true to my soul. Truly, my soul felt empty, dry and angry. Life was not a feast, it was certainly an unfair famine. At least, that’s what I believed within my heart. My perspective on life was bitter. Resentment had become a close friend and there was no feast to be had for me within my heart.
The table of God’s provision we see before us has everything to do with our perspective on life. One person sees a beautiful bounty of God’s love because their heart trusts the Father, even the in the midst of trying circumstances. Another sees a famine, an empty table, and an unfair God. Their heart says to God, “you are not good, in fact, you are mean, spiteful and unfair, how could you do something like this to me?” This is when people start to adopt the erroneous theology of believing they need to “forgive God.” This perspective only means we have grossly misunderstood God. Forgiving God is a blasphemous theology that we must do away with. God needs no forgiving. Believing so only reveals what lies deep within our hearts- the inability to trust whatever comes from the hand of a loving Father.
My nephew loves to hand things back to me. He’ll say, “take back,” then hand me some random piece of just about anything you might imagine. I’ve got to be honest. I love getting handed the most random things from him. They are a great joy to me because I take great delight in the hand giving them to me.
What if we had the same perspective with God? What if we loved Him so much that we received whatever He gave us with joy? The cancer diagnosis, marital struggles, relational strife, the loss of a job, or the dying of a dream? What if we saw these all as a gift from God to make us more like Jesus? I’m not saying we should desire those things, put them on the top of our prayer list and be overwhelmed with gladness by them, truly, they are all heartbreaking realities. Some realities we will mourn for the rest of our lives and the Father’s love will meet us there in our grieving if we allow Him to love us in the places of our brokenness.
The Father is in the business of transforming our hearts and sometimes the best thing the Father can hand us is brokenness so that we might be made new. Peace is found in letting go. It’s found in seeing and believing in the goodness of the Father in the midst of a cancer diagnosis. It’s allowing your heart to grow deeper with God in places of humility in the midst of relational strife.
Sometimes I think what God hands us is not the victory lap, but a mirror. A mirror to see our sin. Without it, we would never see the depth of our own deception. When God doesn’t give you what you want it’s not because He doesn’t love you. It’s because He loves you. Sometimes my nephew asks for things that wouldn’t be good for him. Since I can see what he can’t I choose not to give him what he always wants in order to protect him. God is the same. Let us rejoice in Him that He doesn’t always give us what we want.
Truly, life is a continual feast with God. It is all about our perspective. It’s all a choice. A choice to delight in the hand that is providing for us. Today I choose joy in knowing that the Father loves me. Today I will feast from the hand of His provision, because He is good and I can trust Him, in Jesus name, Amen.
Lord, you see our hearts. You are in the business of making them new. Forgive me, Father, when I stray into believing things about you that are wrong. Lord, sometimes life is really hard. You see that. You don’t expect us to not grieve or mourn certain realities in life. As we grieve with you, you fill our hearts with peace. Lord, I surrender, because I long to take great delight in the provision of your hand, in Jesus name, Amen!
For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” …(Lk 14:11).
I have this problem in my heart. It has become glaringly obvious to me in recent weeks and months. As God has been taking me on this journey of humility I am being challenged to go to the dark and hard places of my heart that desperately need the love and grace of Jesus to penetrate it. I am seeing in me something I don’t like. It is my own pride. It’s a message in my heart that says to others, “I’m better than you.” I am seeing with clear eyes just how much this message is a relationship killer. I do not want to be led by such pride any longer. I want to be made new.
I received some wisdom from a new friend the other day. He said to me, “Heather, right now your role is to build relationships and trust with people.” I’ll be honest, I was ready to fly in and tell people what to do. I was prepared to do what I thought was best, before building trust with people. Before I showed that I cared about them as a person I was ready and prepared to start telling them what to do.
I have seen this as an issue in my heart for quite some time. The road we walk in humility must become one where we start to die to the old ways of thinking and doing. Our patterns of operation are difficult to break, but nothing is impossible with God. It is the gospel that makes all things new.
Why do we live as the same old broken individuals with Christ as our King, but much of our hearts stuck in the old ways of life before Christ? I think it’s because we have found grace for ourselves and freedom in forgiveness, but we refuse to go to the hard, dark places of our hearts. Going there requires a humility we are unwilling to muster. Going there requires an exposing of our hearts we’d rather hide. The hiding of our hearts only stalls our growth as Christians and causes unneeded carnage upon the relationships we love the most in our lives.
We cannot and never will be able to separate our growth as individuals from our growth with people. The more we grow in humility, the more we grow in grace for others. Therefore, the more our relationships grow. I am seeing within my own heart how my lack of maturity and surrender has kept me from truly loving people. Pray for me as I would for you to truly walk in the love and grace of Jesus for others. I cannot buy His love to insert into my heart, but I can rest in Jesus, knowing that as I submit the darkness of my own pride to Him He sets me free from the old woman.
Pray that I would see others for who they are, not who I can fix. Pray, I would not see others as a problem, but instead, as a person who deserves love, care, and concern. Pray for me, that grace would abound in me all the more. Pray that pride in my heart would die so that Christ might be exalted all the more. I want to be a new and different woman with a capacity to love that goes far beyond anything I have ever practiced before.
Lord, change me. Change my heart. There is still so much pride there. Yet you can make me new. It is your love. Your love Jesus is what I need for others. Please let the old woman in my heart die. Let her die in Jesus name so that you Christ might be lifted up. I want to put others first before my own pride or my need to be right, in Jesus name, Amen.
“Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy… (Lk 12:1).
the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely….(Lk 11:53).
The Pharisees had the wrong response to a right rebuke. Jesus could see into their hearts. Many of the Pharisees did their best to keep up with outward appearances. They looked and acted “spiritual,” but their hearts and many of their motivations were far from the heart and purposes of God.
I have lived there. In the place of keeping up with appearances. I have lived a shallow Christian life and believed the lie that says that I need to act like I’ve got it all together otherwise people will see me unfit for Christian service, but that’s like holding a beach ball underwater. It will only stay for so long before it comes rushing to the surface.
Over the past decade of my life, God has been letting the beach balls of my life come bursting forth. Deeply embedded pride, self-righteousness, fear, and insecurities have come rushing to the surface like a blitz on a quarterback.
Years ago as I was sitting in a coffee shop with friends for accountability and prayer a dear friend said to me, “Heather, you only share what is safe. You don’t go to hard places.”…. Excuse me, what? Who, me? Only share safe things? But, I’m a Christian in ministry, I’m not supposed to struggle, I thought to myself.
Oh, how foolish I was. The words of my friend seared deeply into my heart and mind. I knew she was right, but for years I had lived believing that you don’t share brokenness because when you do it’s a sign of weakness. I knew this new journey of sharing my life with people would be difficult and challenging for my beach ball covered heart.
All of us, at certain points in our lives, have a choice to make, will we go with God to the places of our deepest fears, insecurity, and pride or will we cover it up hoping no one will notice? Have you ever done that with a mess? Just throw a blanket on top of it before guests come hoping and praying no one looks under the blanket? I have. This causes me great stress and makes me miss out on the relationships I should be freely investing in because I’m more worried about covering up my mess.
A few years ago I am fairly certain I fractured my pinky, but I didn’t want to go to the doctor for it, so I made my own makeshift cast to solve the problem. I didn’t want to know the truth. I felt like I could handle it on my own. To this day, I do not have the same range of motion in my left pinky as compared to my right, because I lived in denial of the fracture. I didn’t want to go to the doctor to find out that it might have actually been broken. Since I wasn’t honest with myself, my brokenness never healed properly.
Could it be that the revealing of the beach balls of our lives are really God’s grace to show us our brokenness so that we might be made new and receive the Father’s healing? I think so. The longer we live in denial, the longer we will live as Christians who have not healed properly. God will keep trying to break that area of our life until we allow Him to heal it. I know this to be true because He’s done it in my life. Submit yourself to the Father’s healing. He is good and you can trust Him. He wants to make you new.
Lord, you are making me new. Sometimes, it’s painful, but it is for my good. Thank you for making me more like Jesus. Thank you for increasing your love in me. Thank you that even though I am chief of sinners you love me. I place my heart before you today and ask for the healing balm of your love to fill it. Help me to love others today for your glory and not out of my own shallow annoyance. God, I submit my heart, mind, and motivations to you, in Jesus name! Amen!