Happy New Year!
I am starting a new adventure…please join me at
A fresh dose of encouragement from the heart of God!
Happy New Year!
I am starting a new adventure…please join me at
A fresh dose of encouragement from the heart of God!
“Be still and know that I AM God.” Psalm 46:10
Be still. I am learning to delight in those words.
I am learning that meditating on the stillness of the Lord is the most productive place for me to be.
I am learning that in His presence alone I am renewed and filled with peace and joy.
I am learning that when I am still in Him, I am given opportunity to reflect and repent.
Reflection and repentance can be mightily avoided when I am busy. I am able to brush pass my sin. In my flurry of activity I am able to justify my fallen sin-nature. In my inability to be still I am quite capable of ignoring the very things that draw me away from the Lord.
In stillness I become aware of my greatest need…forgiveness.
We all need forgiveness.
I commit to stillness this Advent. I will take time to reflect on the past year. I will take time to repent…truly repent. And although He knows, great than I, my sins. He knows where I am broken and cracked and withered. He knows that I am weak in my desires and temptations. He knew these things long before I took my first breath. Knowing all this…He loves me greater than my sin. He fills my heart with a desire to be clean and whole in Him.
In stillness I will seek forgiveness. I abandon my old self to live as a new creation in Him. To live with hope and desire for a future in Christ.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
Be still beloved…do not walk another step in the sin that holds you back from walking wholly in Him. Do not allow sin to define you…be defined by the One who is in you…the One who is greater than the one who is in the world. Be still in Christ and be healed.
“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
Oh what a foretaste of Glory Divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”
No matter how difficult this world is-tragedy and heartache abound-the Lord is perfectly present. And while we may not always feel His hand, we are forever held tight in His powerful, protective grip.
This world is fallen. It is wrought with pain and hurt. We face battles and wage wars that feel too great to bear, but the Father gives us His strength to fight the good fight. We must trust, that while the world is grossly sinful, we serve a perfect God who has gone before us to prepare a perfect place for our souls to rest in the everlasting Glory of Jesus.
When this life is over we will bask in the beauty of the Lord for eternity. The heartache of this world will fade and pass away and we will be met in the throne room of Heaven by the Creator Himself. The face we have sought will be revealed fully. The light of His divinity will be brighter and more brilliant than the sun could ever hope to shine.
We are created for HOPE. We are created for LOVE. We are created by a Master Designer who knits us together perfectly in His image. We have the hearts and minds of Christ.
We are washed in His holy-righteousness; cleansed in His perfect forgiveness by His blood. He longs to right our paths to the narrow trail that leads straight to His tender heart. He delights in His Shekinah Glory that fills the cracks and crevices of our broken spirit. He takes our goat hair tent-of-a-person, and by His indwelling, makes in us Glorious Temples of the Holy Spirit….the Spirit of GRACE and MERCY and JOY.
We are His treasures, created to seek his GOODNESS and KINDESS. He is the GREAT I AM, who was and is and is to come. He is our Wonderful Counselor…comforting us in our hours of need. He fills us with PEACE that surpasses understanding. He is LOVE.
Seek Him. Seek Him as a true love. A husband who will adore and honor you. A love who will hold your precious heart in His mighty hands. You are His beloved and He is yours.
Find Him delighting in the creation of you-every moment of your beautiful life. He loves you with an everlasting, perfect LOVE.
“For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory in in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:18-21
Once in awhile I need a God-nudge. I am human and fall asleep to His goodness and peace and mercy. I forget that He is in control and that I am to follow His plan for my life.
I have been calling on the Lord to set in my heart a desire deeper than ever to be immersed in His goodness. I have asked Him to capture my thoughts and my words. I have asked Him to surround me in His goodness such that I seek Him first…always.
We, as humans, flesh and blood,
turn from His face. We have free-will to walk away from Him. Oftentimes, at least for me, it is a slow process. I creep slowly away from His hand…so far that I can barely reach His fingertips. Then…as though with lightening and thunder He pulls me back in. He is an awesome God.
My faith, of late, like the past six months, has been floundering. Don’t get me wrong, in my floundering, I am still acutely aware of His sovereignty; His saving Grace; His omnipresence. But, I have become complacent and self-serving. But, the lightening struck and the thunder rolled and now I am exactly where I need to be…in the lap of my Heavenly Father.
I write to encourage. I write to share my heart. I write to let you know that we are not alone…we are imperfect, flesh-filled humans who desire a filling of our God-sized vacuum. We desire to be in the absolute holy and righteous presence of our perfect, steadfast, loving, kind, strong-tower God.
Do not fret, beloved. He will make straight your paths and draw you into His heart. He longs for you…let Him capture your thoughts and words and heart.
In Christ Jesus, Amen.
Colossians 2:6-7 (NASB) “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”
Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.
My mirror has reflected, lately, a person I knew long ago — a person who was fearful and anxious and lacking self-control. Someone who listened intently to the dialogue of the enemy telling her she is all those things she used to believe.
The words that he, the king of lies, tells are the words that had been washed away in those moments of new beginning in Christ’s amazing grace and faith. But, as I have been worn and weary in my faith-walk these past few months, I have allowed that inner dialogue of the enemy to convince me of those things I was. I have shut out the voice of my Savior. How could I be loved ‘dirty’? How could the King of kings, the Almighty, love me and cherish me and tell me I am beautiful; when all I see are cracks and brokenness, when all I hear resonating in my heart and spirit is, “You are not worthy,” “You are a mother who yells, a wife who nags, an absent friend.”? I hear this over and over to the point of exhaustion. I was at a loss. How do I overcome these vicious lies? Truthfully, my heart kept pointing me to Christ, but my mind was resigned to believe the attacks.
I had never thought I could be saved again, and again, and again. I mean, I am saved in Christ. I know my salvation is secure. But I never grasped that He could fill me with the grace I felt that “hour I first believed.” I never entertained the notion that by “grace through faith I am saved.” Over and over. The grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ is bread and water to my hungry and parched spirit time and time again. I can send the demon of insecurity and condemnation fleeing by the mere mention of His, the Almighty’s, name … Jesus. The funny thing is that I tell my children, in the face of their fears, to call on Jesus. I implore them to find strength in the Lord with great abandon, relying on Him fully to vanquish that which is not of Him. Why, then, can’t I stand firm on that promise?
In walked the Chaplain. Brett Johnson brought to light a picture of humility and transparency. Sharing his heart in bold and raw measure. He implored me (us) to seek God’s grace, invite Him to fill us with the same, exact, earth-shattering grace we felt that “hour we first believed.” Chaplain Johnson, in the Lord’s strength, gave us a call to arms, a mission to seek our Heavenly Father when we are dirty and worn and famished. He urged us to break the mirror of lies and believe that of the Father, the mirror that reflects only Jesus. He gave us a charge to become Candidates for Revival.
I needed to hear that, in my dirty, worn, broken, haphazard condition, the Lord still loves me. He loves me more because I am desperate for Him. Every fiber of my being is parched and dry, and I need to be quenched with the Living Water that flows freely from the Well of Jesus. I am made whole in Him … again and again and again.
I share my prayer with you. May you feel His abundant grace over and over filling the cracks of your brokenness with God-gold. May you be quenched by His Living Water.
Dear Father God,
I repent of my sins. I repent of the times of unkindness and ruthlessness. I repent of being tempted by the desires of this world. I repent of the lies I have listened to and believed. I repent of my inability to hold Your hand. Lord I come to You with a contrite heart. I come to You with empty hands. I ask You to fill me. Fill me, Lord, with Your grace and mercy. Help me, Father, to forgive myself. Help me, Father, to seek You when I am in the throes of frustration or anxiety or temptation. Lord, Your LOVE is enough to right my paths and bring me back to Your heart. I seek revival. I seek to be full of the Spirit of God. I stand firm on the foundation of Christ. I stand clothed in the Armor of God. I am a child of the One True God. I have been purchased by the blood of the Lamb. My transgressions are far from me. I am made whole in the abundant goodness of Christ.
Thank You, Lord, for giving us immeasurable forgiveness and grace and love. I am free. I am His. I am loved. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen!
Beloved, become a candidate for revival. Let the Lord love you dirty and broken. Let the Lord wash you white in His amazing grace!
The devotionals this week are based on the message, “Candidates for Revival” by Chaplain (CPT) Brett Johnson at KPC. To hear this week’s message go to www.kpc.org/watch_listen.
“I will put my trust in Him.” Hebrews 2:13
I think that the Lord gives us the ability to dream and long for more because He is more and abundant. When we are setting our sights on Him, aren’t we truly longing for a life of joy?
I grew up a child of a dreamer. My dad loved to dream. He would share with me the dreams of his boyhood, his dreams for my life, the dreams he had for our world. He loved to dream and by the nature of things I became a dreamer too.
I think the reason I love to write is because I can turn my dreams into a bit of reality. I keep countless journals at any given time; chronicling the happenings of my life. I am always wondering what will be. Often times I feel like Alice and the rabbit hole…curious about the next thing.
I believe the Lord has set that desire to dream in my heart. I believe He has done this to give me hope in my future. For far too long I lived in fear of what could be. My dreams where taken over by what-ifs…scenarios I created out of worry. Times I felt paralyzed. When we live in fear, we stop living in the now. I suppose dreaming too much or too often can veil the now as well, if you make your dreams an idol.
“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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:11-14
There is a fine line between longing for and dreaming about, and idolizing. Our hopes and dreams most certainly must be rooted in the Lord’s will for our life. We must petition Him for what is best and life giving. We must seek His authority. We must trust that He is already in our future, He wrote it upon the scrolls of His heart before the earth was created. He knows long before we dream what our hearts desire.
I am assured that when we are firmly set in the Lord’s will, He will answer the desires of our heart.
I recently shared with a friend to never give up on that which we long for. The dreams and desires of one’s heart are important and precious to the Lord. What we must not forget, is that while we may dream and hope, we must always be patient and wait on Him. His timing is perfect. He will answer the prayers we have in His perfect will. Sometimes His will is a change in our dreams and hopes. Sometimes it is a different direction. Still, we must wait patiently on Him and trust that He has our life in His Mighty Hands.
Beloved, whatever your heart desires, give it to the Lord. Let Him be the One to direct your paths. As you stand in awe of His majesty, He will reveal the perfect course for your life.
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11: 9-10
“In essentials, unity.
In nonessentials, liberty.
Overall, love.” St. Augustine
I was baptized a Lutheran. I took my First Communion as a Catholic. Jesus became my Lord and Savior in the mountains of Colorado at a non-denominational youth camp. My faith was reaffirmed in the pews of a Presbyterian church. None of these labels have made me holy. I have spent most of my life labelled but unholy. I have hidden behind denomination and seldom held myself accountable in Christ. I have not walked a stellar Christian life, but rather relied on the legalism of religion. I have been condemning and harsh. I have pointed fingers and chastised. I have done anything but ‘love my neighbor.’ I have, undoubtedly held people to standards of man-created religious rules.
I would venture to guess I am not alone, there are many of us out there who focus on the non-essentials of faith, omitting the essential… a relationship with Christ.
Our relationship with Christ is paramount to law. When we live in the shadow of the Cross, how we celebrate is secondary. Our ways of marriage, baptism, communion, worship, etc…is not what gives us salvation or makes us holy. Our faith-walk, in the hands of our Lord, makes us holy. When we die to self to live in Him we are made righteous.
I have a friend who is learning about the facets of different denominations. In her exploration she has made a profound discovery. She shared this enlightenment with me. (And I am paraphrasing)
‘When it is all done, when I go to be with the Lord, He is not going to congratulate me for being a good ____________ (insert denomination), rather, He is going to ask me if I loved His Son, if I lived for Jesus.’
That is holy…Living for Christ.
Peter give us three components essential to our life in Christ.
“Because God first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
It is easy to fall back on our denomination, on our legalism, on our principals of religion. But, it is right to live in Christ…and it’s not always easy. It can be difficult and uncomfortable. We can feel bruised and battered in our efforts to be Christ-like. But He makes bright and new in His blood. He washes us clean in His righteousness. He makes us Holy by His spirit.
I am encouraged by Peter. He gives me tangible goals. He encourages me to live fully in Christ.
“…your faith and hope are in God.” 1Peter1:21
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
I have been known to run between two emotions: hope and despair. I like to think of myself as an optimist seeing life in hues of rose; drinking from only half full cups; but that is not true. Oftentimes, I find myself under a singular dark cloud. It’s my attitude about my circumstances that causes me to wander through life a bit drenched. Truly, it’s not a spiritual attack or assault. It is purely of my flesh. I can cling to suffering, boasting in its stronghold, with the best of pessimists.
“Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”” 1Corinthians1:31
Ah…let me boast in the Lord, and not my suffering.
I need to be reminded of this. I need this to be the cloud above my head. Remembering to boast only in the Lord. Remembering that every good and perfect gift is from His hand alone. And while suffering is part of this life, as we are promised in 1Peter. Suffering should not be what defines life. Our walk with Jesus is what defines our life.
When I am walking tall in the hope and joy of the Lord I am assured that I will not let suffering overcome me. I (try) to purpose in my heart (in times of joyful hope) that no matter what the affliction, I will be filled with peace in the face of suffering. I will skip through trial. I purpose this until the suffering comes.
Recently I waged a battle of inner suffering. The voice of doubt and despair started to sink deep into my spirit. I was, for a while, filled with anger and frustration. I couldn’t reach God’s hand. He was there, but that glass ceiling, Nancy Klein spoke of, was keeping me from touching my Lord. I could see Him and knew He could see me, but I was so concentrated on my trial, that I stayed hidden (on my own accord) form His healing touch. From His promise of glory and victory over the trial. I tried to wage a battle on my own, in the flesh. I took an ‘I’ve got this one’ approach…but really we never ‘have it’, we can only be victorious with His armor. Our armor against suffering is soft and weak and broken.
I had to surrender my suffering to Him. I had to nail it to the cross. I had to accept that whatever battle I was waging was going to bring amazing God-glory. I had to purpose in my heart that no matter how frustrated, or worn I felt, God was going to see me through this trial as He has carried me through every trial…and will continue to do so. As I began letting go of my anger and despair, I could feel the Lord’s hand in mine. Actually I could feel His hand on my heart. I was allowing Him to fill me with hope and joy.
“Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1Peter1:8,9
Be encouraged, Beloved, the Lord is abundant in His hope and glory for your precious life!
There is an innate human sense to be needed. We long to serve, care and love others. Our worth, although it shouldn’t be, is often times measure by who needs us and how much. When we put our value in the hands of other equally fallen human beings we run the risk of unwanted hurt. We have all experienced this…being the one who is needed and the one needing. I really think it is
perfectly human…but not of God. He wants us to love each other and care for each other and encourage each other, but He commands us to depend fully on Him for our value and worth.
Our value is in Christ alone. His precious blood gives us life eternal.
I am learning to seek Him for approval. I am learning to seek Him for comfort and grace. I am learning to seek Him when I am vulnerable and my tendencies are to seek strength elsewhere. I am learning that in Christ alone I am free.
My plate, or rather my platter, has been heaping with activity. I have been over-wrought with doing and being and tasking. I have sought value in the doing. I have lost sight, unfortunately, of my worth in the Lord. I have begun measuring my worth by how I am doing, how I make other’s feel and how well I am performing. This is so wrong. My life is not a ledger of ‘to-dos’. My life is a song to the Lord. For a moment I forgot the Words.
When we forget our value in Christ we tend to put our value in things that don’t exist. We begin to build scenarios and story lines that take us out of our ordinary. But, our ordinary, when we really survey it, is extraordinary and exactly what the Lord has planned for us. He makes all things good… including our day ins and outs. Our perfectly God-ordered lives are designed to refine and grow us in Him. He gives us gifts of grace and mercy…such undeserving grace and mercy.
So, as I survey my perfectly ordinary life of a mother and a wife and a friend, I see extraordinary gifts of majestic God moments. I see a husband who is Godly and unconditional in his love, his provision and his encouragement. I see two children who strive to seek the Lord in all they do. They want to please and serve and love. I see Him filling me with the Fruit of the Spirit. He gives me gifts of Joy and Peace and Patience and Love and Goodness and Kindness. He encourages me to be Faithful in His Word and Works. He gives me extra measures of Self-Control when I am devoid. He is abundant in my ordinary. And yet, when I try to make my life different and extraordinary from what He has planned, from His path, I lose sight of Him. I depend on me and those who I seek value from. And when I repent of my fantastical ‘what if’ life, I am covered in His grace and mercy and my everyday life seems brighter and more beautiful than any fantasy life I could ever dream up!
Just breathe. I have to remind myself of that often throughout the day. I have to remind myself to enjoy the moments of each day and stop rushing them and ticking them of my endless, eternal, ‘to-do’ list…As though my life is one big task. It’s not- well- I don’t think it is. Life should not be a task or taxing…it is meant to be loved and lived and breathed through.
I love to run. I love to walk. I love to hike. When asked what I want to do for leisure, my most common response is walk…or hike. For Mother’s Day I have invited my family to take me hiking in the woods. I can’t wait. I need a respite from suburbia. I need to feel the organic crunch of a trail beneath my feet. It seems in those moments I breathe best. Breathing in the pure, God-smells. I love the mixed scent of brackish water and Cyprus. Combined they are a fragrance un-equated by man. I am able to breathe.
I have a ton on my plate on any given day… I am a wife. A mother. A rookie homeschool momma. I am a baseball team mom (and avid fan I might add). A volunteer. A church lady. I am a friend. A confidant. I am not extraordinary or different than anyone of my contemporaries. We are all women of great courage trying desperately to live honorable and productive lives…lives that give meaning and significance. And, while to some, the notion to remember to breathe would be preposterous, sometimes it isn’t until the end of the day when my body seems to decompress from all of the activity that I am able to finally take a full, lung filling breath.
I am learning as I read through the Word that in order that I may truly see the significance of each joyful moment, each cross I bear, each step I take in God’s grace, sometimes I need to step away from it all to catch my breath. To take in a cleansing breath. It feels so good.
Breathing is related to perspective. When we are out of breath we feel the clutch of fear and anxiety. When our load is light and fresh we ‘breathe easy’. When our children are making crazy and running wild we encourage them to ‘take a breath’.
When I breathe in the goodness of the Lord, I am breathing in grace and mercy and forgiveness and love. I am filled with air so pure. I am filled with Him. He helps my lungs open to their maximum capacity. He is the breath of life.
I have a plaque in my home that reads, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” These measurable moments of breathing are not just the joyful, but the ones that leave our chest heaving. The Lord uses all our life circumstances to oxygenate our lifeless bodies. He gives each moment a way of refining and shaping us for His story. He has created in us a desire to breathe in His majesty. He is abundant and life-giving.
Breathe in the moment by moment of each day…The stifling breath, the easy breath, the moments that take your breath away.