I’ve Never Been One to Notice the Finer Details….

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”…(1 Sa 3:10). 

I’ve never been one who notices details well. I’ve always had a hard time seeing the finer things that take a little more time to notice. I once had a professor in college who told me I really needed to proofread my papers a little better. You see, I’ve always been the type of person that instead of staying a little longer in the moment, to notice the finer details, I’d rather move on to the next big project or exciting thing to do on my to-do list. 

The Lord is pressing me into this season where’s He’s removing much of my to-do list so that I’ll learn to sit with Him and, maybe for the first time, start noticing the finer details. 

Instead of rushing from one exciting thing to the next, I sense the Lord calling me into a place of listening. A place where He’s asking me to trust Him and notice the finer details of the people He’s surrounded me with. 

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There are times after my daughter finishes eating when we just lay together and enjoy one another’s company. I love that time together as I take note of the finer details of who she is. Her joy, her silly hair, and that toothless grin. I just get so wrapped up in it. 

I think, what God is showing me is that I rarely do this with others. You see, what I want to do is help people become their very best, but I think what God is showing me is that in order to do that I must be willing to sit with them, taking note of the finer details of who God has made them. This means I must learn to study them, taking note of the finer details, not of what they do or can accomplish, but who they are as image-bearers of God. 

Lord, I am listening. You have my full attention. Help me to take note of the people around me and to see them as you see them. I want to help others become their very best. Lord, give me wisdom and grace to love others as you would, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Harmful Expectations

Do what seems best to you,” her husband Elkanah told her…(1 Sa 1:23). 

Elkanah and Hannah had something all relationships, especially marriages would thrive with. They had mutual trust and open communication. On more than one account Elkanah trusts his wife Hannah and supports her in the step she’s believing the Lord is asking her to take. 

You see, a good man, or woman, trusts the voice of God in the life of their loved one Without that kind of trust, each person will keep trying to grab for control. Which only stifles the good work of God in the life of the fearful one. God will find other ways to bless the one whom He’s speaking to, but He will not in the life of the one whose trying to control the plans of God in the heart of the one who is close to them. 

Not only did Elkanah trust his wife, but he also blessed her in her barrenness. How often do we look at family members who have a need and think poor thoughts of them? Maybe they can’t give us what we had hoped for or wanted. They don’t meet the expectations that we had of a spouse, child, or sibling and so instead of blessing them and comforting them in their need we shame them and make them feel bad for not meeting our expectations. 

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Ouch, that one really hurts. Mostly because I’ve seen myself do it so many times. It is so damaging to view people, not as someone to love, but someone to receive things from. Then, when they don’t meet your expectations you cast them in some terrible light, painting a picture of them in your mind and heart that is destructive. 

It’s no wonder so many families are suffering.

Lord, help us to value, honor, and bless others by putting their needs above our own, in Jesus name, Amen.

Don’t Look at the Crowd….Look Towards Heaven

..and the Spirit descending on him like a dove… (Mk 1:10). 

I wonder how often we look towards Heaven? While Jesus was being baptized, the scriptures tell us, Heaven was being torn open and the Spirit descended upon Him like a dove. I’m sure that Jesus took all of this in. Simply because His eyes we not on the crowd, the praise or opinion of people, but on pleasing His Heavenly Father. 

Have you ever had to walk a difficult, humbling road? A road that required you to swallow your pride and walk in obedience with God in a way that, at least in your mind, could make you look bad to others? I have and what I’ve learned throughout this journey is that I must always keep my eyes on my Father. 

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I remember years ago, going through a nasty breakup in my early 20’s and I wanted everyone to know that “it wasn’t me” it was all him! My oh my, how foolish I was. But this is what we do, isn’t it? We must let everyone know; it wasn’t me! It was them or it’s their fault or I did everything right according to God’s standards. Our pride puffs up, but because we’re so busy trying to protect ourselves we can’t even see it. 

And we forget to look towards heaven because if we are willing to walk in obedience and humility, we will receive a greater portion of the Spirit’s filling. Yes, a greater portion if we would be willing to stop flapping our mouths trying to prove ourselves and simply look towards Heaven as we receive our Father’s approval. 

I believe what God is showing me is that in my willingness to walk forward with Him in difficult circumstances, keeping my mouth shut and not feeling the need to defend, but instead making myself a sacrifice before Him and others, that His voice, in the silence of other people’s hearts approves me. 

Of course, at the end of the day, that doesn’t really matter, at least not for my own need, but simply so that they might see Christ in me and be drawn more and more to Him. 

So, today, stop looking towards the crowd. Your Heavenly Papa wants to bless you if you would be willing to simply look towards Heaven. His approval is what you need, and that approval can only be heard in the silence of listening for your Father’s voice as you sit with Him and receive His joy, grace, and love for your life. 

Lord, I want to hear what you have to say of me. I want to make you proud, not because I need other’s approval over it, but because I just want to make Christ known. Please be planting in me a beautiful vineyard of joy and grace in Jesus name, Amen.

I Say I Want To Be Like Jesus….But I’m Not Really Certain I’m Want To Walk His Path of Humility

Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove….(Mk 1:10). 

Before Jesus received the seal of approval from Heaven and the blessing of God He had to practice deep humility. This would be the story of Jesus’ journey, ongoing, continued humbling would happen in His life before He would step into the blessing of God. 

Sometimes we forget that part, don’t we? We want to stand with Jesus in His resurrection, but we dare not think that maybe part of God’s story for us is to first be deeply humbled. If it happened to Jesus, why would it not also happen to us? The ones who need it much more than Jesus ever would have. 

You see, Jesus lived without sin. There was really nothing He needed to be humbled from, but in order to identify with sinful man, He did it. As Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan river he did something that only sinners would have needed to do. This baptism, for a Jew that John was performing, was communicating to those watching, “I’m as dirty as a Gentile and I want to be cleansed from my filth, and turn from my sins.” 

Jesus had no sin, so why would be put Himself in such a position? Wouldn’t onlookers have said, “Oh, He must be a sinner!” or “I wonder what that man has done!” Yet, Jesus didn’t fancy Himself with man’s approval. Instead, He did what was necessary and required of Him by the Father, because He wanted to walk in obedience. Not because He was a sinner, but because He was a servant. Through His obedience to humble Himself and identify with sinful man, God poured out great blessings upon the life of Jesus. 

I wonder how many of us are missing the blessing of God because we refuse to put ourselves in a position of humility. We refuse to keep our mouths shut when bad things happen to us. Feeling the need to explain our way through everything that happened, trying to make ourselves look like the good guy and everyone else involved like the bad guy. 

We lose the grace of God because we want to take the hand of God and write the story that makes us look like the King. The one who did no wrong and played all the right cards. Instead of being humble enough to be like our Savior we attempt to set ourselves up as one instead and people can see right through false humility, but we’ll keep playing that card believing its the safest one for us. 

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I am learning that this journey of following Jesus is really about a walk of humility. It’s not about the mountaintop. It’s all about who we become in the valley. As we humble ourselves and turn the finger inward, seeing our own sin in the matter, God raises us up and puts His seal of blessing and approval upon us. 

Lord, I want to be like Jesus. Thank you for walking me along humbling paths. Please, Lord, help me to walk these roads with true humility. I long to have your seal of approval placed on me, in Jesus name, Amen.

Kingdom Priorities

and I will make the nations your inheritance… (Ps 2:8). 

Expect God to do great things for you. That’s just the kind of God He is. He loves to give good gifts to His children. I think what I’m learning is that in seasons of drought, God wasn’t giving, because, quite honestly, I wasn’t asking for Heavenly things.

Some of us want things from God, but we want it in our way and with all of our expectations and demands. We don’t ask for the things of God, because either we don’t know them, or we just don’t care. Instead, we ask for things that ease our worry, calm our nerves, or lesson our anxiety. Yet, God says, seek first my kingdom and my righteousness…and He will show Himself to be a faithful provider for us when we prioritize others and God’s Kingdom work before ourselves.

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I am learning, very slowly, that life is not about what’s best for me, but what’s best for those closest to me. I’m seeing something change and take place in my heart as I’m submitting myself to this truth. God is now filling me with Heavenly desires. Desires that align with His heart and His will in this present season of life.

You see, whenever we make the Kingdom a priority, we stop becoming one.

God loves to reward the faithful. But sometimes that means I must be willing to let go of the gifts that I want and allow God to reshape my desires so that He might fill me with heavenly gifts, gifts from above. This might mean that life changes, finances drop, we take a step back or we don’t keep climbing the ladder. But, are any of those Heavenly things that I should be seeking to begin with?

One question I have been asking myself as I have been asking God for wisdom is, “Are these Kingdom priorities?” If they’re not, I’m asking God for a renewed mind and Spirit as I surrender my wants, wishes, and dreams to Him.

Lord, you are so good. You love to fill you, children, with good gifts. Gifts from above. Forgive me for not always prioritizing others in my life. Forgive me for making myself a really big deal and for putting pressure on others to get what I wanted. I want to become less so that you will become greater. I want to live my life to serve others, in Jesus name, Amen.

 

 

 

Hanging On Too Tightly

So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!….(Matt 7:11)

There is no way that my husband or I would allow our daughter to go without the basic things that she needs. In fact, we feel a great calling and responsibility to make sure that we care well for her. There’s nothing we wouldn’t do in making sure she had what she needed. 

But, why do I assume God doesn’t want to do the same for me? Why do I always feel the need to step in and take care of things for myself? You see, I’m walking through this season where I’m sensing God’s hand challenging me to trust Him. I mean, really trust Him, like a newborn child would trust their father or mother to meet their needs. 

I don’t like being in this position. At times, It makes me feel uncomfortable. Yet, what I want more than anything is to keep God’s priorities first. I’ll be honest, I haven’t always done that. I know that has hurt my relationships with others, my ability to hear from God, and my willingness to go where He’s leading me. 

Sometimes I think we hold on so tightly to what we fear that our hands become so full of our fears, idols, and everything else in between that we make no room for God to fill us with His very best. So, this time, I’m listening and doing my best to empty my hands, so that I might receive what it is that my Father has been trying to give me for all these years. 

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Lord, I know that you are a good provider. You would never want me to go without. I long to walk with you in such an intimate way that I would know the depth of your love for me in a way that changes me. Yes, Lord, please change me through your transforming grace, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

I Should Never Assume This….

The one who has clean hands and a pure heart…(Ps 24:4). 

We must always seek to have clean hands and a pure heart before the Lord, but we should never assume that we have them already. Truly, that kind of attitude will keep us from coming before the Lord with a humble heart, ready to confess our sin. 

I have walked the foolish road of pointing the finger, trying to blame others for my issues. Yet, the Lord asks us to come to Him with clean hands and a pure heart. If I really want this, the only picture of myself that I can see before the Lord is a broken one, ready to receive His comfort and loving embrace. Not because I believe my hands are clean and my heart is pure, but because I know they’re not. 

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The other day I was having a conversation with a friend who said to me, “Heather, it just amazes me how in one second I can want to do something holy and good for God and then in the next I desire to sin!” I get that. I understand the reality of how quickly my heart and mind can go from pure intentions to self-centered ones. 

It’s the button the enemy loves to push in me. The one that says, “Make this about you. After all, you are really something.” Therefore, I have to always be keeping the right perspective about myself before the Lord. 

It is true that in Christ my heart is pure and my hands are clean, but there is still a sinful nature that is real which I wrestle with that loves to dirty my hands and heart. 

Therefore, I must come to Him daily and sometimes moment by moment, desiring His cleansing through Jesus. Knowing that without it, I’m quick to make life and Kingdom work about me.

God, I need clean hands and a pure heart. Forgive me of my pride. I want to live differently. I want to bring you praise. I know my hands aren’t always clean, forgive me and show me what I’m holding onto that makes them that way. I need your grace and freedom. I want to show others just how beautiful you are, in Jesus name, Amen.

The Song the Angels Sing

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself…. (Mt 6:34). 

Have thoughts about what tomorrow holds ever kept you up at night? Wondering, worry, and fretting about what the future has in store? What I have found in those moments is that the song that often plans in my mind is one of discouragement, fear, and defeat. 

Yet there’s this song that the angels sing. It is a song of victory and it is for all who would trust in Jesus. 

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Trust in Jesus. It’s a simple phrase, is it not? For when we do our hearts are safe, but it is so hard to live out in praxis. However, what I have found along this journey of following Him is that the more I learn how to surrender my thoughts and emotions, the more I live, not in my insecurities or fears, but in the genuineness of my faith. 

You see, that song the angels sing is one that my heavenly Father asks me to sing with them. The song of victory, trust, and belief. For when I do, not only am I surrounded by His love, but I join with the host of His angels who surround me and I am guarded against the spiritual forces of evil as I learn to sing my masters tune of victory. 

Oh Lord, may my heart sing of your wondrous deeds today. You are such a good God. Thank you for loving me. I place all of my trust in you today, in Jesus name, Amen.

Why God Takes us Down Similar Paths

Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor 
and sing for joy on their beds. (Ps 149:5). 

Let go of the things in your heart that make you feel uncomfortable. Those are the heavy burdens the devil is trying to tackle you with. They are the distractions that keep us from the destination. They are the places our mind often goes as we lie awake at night, wondering how, when, and who. 

Will God pull through for us? How? We’re lacking resources, time, and everything else in between that we can think of. So, instead of singing praises, we start to fight God with the journey.

God keeps taking me down this path. The one where I’m lacking resources, yet I have seen His faithful hand provide for me in the past, but if I could be quite honest, in many ways, I would try to “help God out.” I’m not sure I’ve ever really, and fully entrusted myself to the one who sends rain on the land, heals blinded eyes, and raises the dead to life. 

It’s always been God providing AND me. I think what I’m learning is that it’s supposed to be God providing IN me. Providing the safety, love, peace, and security that I need through Christ. Truly, this is what I need each day as I face the journey ahead. As much as I want God to do things for me, He’s already accomplished everything for me through the work of His son. Since I know the Son, Jesus, He lives inside of me. It’s His presence that I need the most. Truly, that is my daily bread. 

As you, my friend, lie awake at night, let your heart sing of the love of Christ who dwells in you. Remember, it’s not you AND God along this journey. It’s HIM IN YOU. That feels better to me and calls me not into a place not of striving, but of rest, listening, and waiting with hopeful expectation. 

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Lord, you are King over all things. Truly, you are the King of my heart. You live in me and I in you. What a beautiful gift. I want to be faithful to your calling on my life today. To love others, serve them and bring honor to you in all things, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Today is Your Day

That is why the Levites have no share or inheritance among their fellow Israelites; the LORD is their inheritance… (Dt 10:9). 

Have you ever looked around wishing you had someone else’s job, bank account, home, well-behaved children, or place in this world? Sometimes I struggle with wanting to play the important roles that others are playing. I have a hard time sitting still and being put in the batter’s box as I wait my turn. 

Yet, what I’m learning is that my turn is here now. My call to faithfulness and to fulfill my calling is in this present moment with God in the place that I’m in with the resources that I do have. Sometimes those resources are scarce, but God always provides for His faithful ones even in the midst of the drought. 

I think what God is showing me is that my heart loves to have the most “significant” seat. The one where it seems like my role to play is extremely important. I have a hard time believing that the simple roles, the small, tiny, daily unseen investments I make could actually be the biggest part of my calling. 

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Sit on that with me for a while, won’t you? Think about those little moments of faithfulness. The friend who needs a shoulder to dry on. The child who needs a safe place and a listening ear. The spouse or friend who needs encouragement. The loved one who needs prayer and support. 

All of these are simple, daily, maybe seemingly insignificant things. Yet, they play a great part in the Kingdom of God, because they connect us to people. Yet all of these things take time. Our investment of time is what God will use to multiply the good works He wants to do in our lives. 

He’s simply looking for faithful followers. Moms who love their little ones and clean up scraped knees and snuggle their children. Dad’s who take their kids fishing. Friends who actually make the phone call to check-in. As we care for those within our path, God will increase our capacity for Kingdom work, not because there’s a great mass of people, but because there’s a greater capacity to love others growing in us. 

Lord, thank you for this present role I get to play in the Kingdom. Thank you for baby snuggles, mentoring relationships, and ZOOM bible studies. Thank you that regardless of my place in this world I will always have a place in your heart. I want to be that for others too, in Jesus name, Amen.