A Great Start for the New Year

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hope image in clouds

Hey Guys!

Sorry that it’s been so long that I’ve blogged. Things always get out of hand in December, don’t they?

As I was praying about the best way to start our year together off right, I couldn’t help but be reminded that the best words are God’s Words, not mine. So, that’s what we are doing. We are going to delve into the Word together, remembering that He is faithful, He is true, and He is our very best Friend who wants us to have an abundant life this year and in the years to come. Speak the following verses out loud over your life today, knowing that, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue…” – Proverbs 18:21

“Then Jesus said to him, ‘If You can? Everything is possible to the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do believe! Help my unbelief.’ ” (Mark 9:23-24) – I so relate to this father. I want to believe. I know I should believe. I say I believe, but then I realize I need God’s strength in me to believe. Help us to believe You this year, Lord. 

“…For I [Jesus is speaking] assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20) – Notice that Jesus says “tell this mountain”. He wants us to be specific, not general. He wants us to concentrate on one mountain at a time. Ask Him what mountain He is calling you to move in this season, and then ask for His faith to empower you to believe and act on it.

“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6) – Didn’t get all your goals accomplished last year? Don’t give up. Trust that God is completing that good work in you.

“For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) – You have a purpose! Believe it. Receive it. Walk in it. Thank Him for it and trust Him for the results.

“I am certain that I will see the LORD’s goodness in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13) – Think all you have to look forward to is in Glory? This verse tells us that we can see God’s goodness “in the land of the living”. How amazing is that? Ask Him for the eyes to see His goodness this year.

“A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I [Jesus speaking] have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” (John 10:10) – Pray for God’s amazing abundance over your life this year.

Meditate on these beautiful promises of God this week. More’s to come…

Seeking Hearts Ministries

*image by zedjams.com

 

Advertisements

Let’s get Salty this Season

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

salt image.jpg

As I was reading a book by Neta Jackson a few weeks ago, I came across an explanation that I’ve pondered for quite a while. In her book series, Souled Out Sisters, one of Ms. Jackson’s characters describes “salt people” as people who make a situation taste better and “light people” as people who bring clarity and not confusion. I liked that…a lot.

In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men. You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

If you know me at all, you know I love my salt and if you have been around me enough, you also know I love windows because I adore light. Both salt and light add joy to my life. So, why I’ve had trouble with being salt and light in this world is beyond me! I think I’ve tried to make it more difficult than it really is. If salt is simply making a situation more palatable, (as Ms. Jackson’s character explained) we can all do that. It’s not as complicated as I’ve thought.

If attitudes are going south, we can express an encouraging word. If everyone is exhausted, we can be the wise one and suggest a breather, or offer a bag of almonds to help energize the situation. If fear is invading, cover the situation with prayer. Such simple things make life more appetizing, and that’s being salt in this world.

Same with light. If being light in a situation brings clarity instead of confusion, then we can pray for wisdom, and know we will receive it because James1:5 says, “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.”

How neat is that? Jesus didn’t just give us a command and leave us to figure out how to fulfill it on our own. He tells us how to receive the clarity we need in each situation in order to be light. It’s called wisdom. How do we receive the wisdom we need for clarity? The book of James tells us we ask God for it. Simple stuff. He gives us the needed wisdom, which gives us the needed clarity, which gives us the needed light to share. Love it!

Oftentimes, I feel like I’ve been more pepper than salt, and more darkness than light, but I’m encouraged by this simple way of looking at being children of light and salt-a-holics in this world. Through Christ, we can bring clarity. Through Christ, we can make life full of flavor for those around us. So, let’s do it. Let’s be salt and light wherever we go.

*image by bbc.com

Seeking Hearts Ministries

 

Forgiveness During the Holidays – Part Two

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

upset-by-tree-image

This week’s blog is part 2 on the subject of forgiving and how to come to a place of forgiveness. If you missed part 1, be sure to click the following link (Part 1) because we are jumping off the deep end into point number three today.

Step Three in how to get to a place of forgiveness is that you know God is going to get ‘em. (I warned you we were jumping off the deep end.)

This is something that we all feel funny thinking, but you need to know that forgiveness is not about letting people off the hook. Forgiveness is actually placing people who have wronged you into the hands of a mighty, powerful God who is crazy about you and wants the best for you. He’s a little prejudice when it comes to you and that’s who you want taking care of your situation!

Here are a few examples of what God says about people who have tried to harm you:

Deuteronomy 32:35, “Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay. In time their foot will slip, for their day of disaster is near, and their doom is coming quickly.”

Vengeance means – “infliction of punishment in return for a wrong; retribution.” So,God is not saying people haven’t harmed you. He is just telling us that He will take care of the punishment. You can be free and go on living your life while He remembers the wrong and pursues justice for you.

Psalm 18:47-49 says, “God—He gives me vengeance and subdues peoples under me. He frees me from my enemies. You exalt me above my adversaries; You rescue me from violent men. Therefore I will praise You, Yahweh, among the nations; I will sing about Your name.”

So, again we see that He frees us and allows us to praise Him daily while He is handling those who have wronged us.

Just a quick side note here – Does God expect us to keep our mouths shut and not be able to be heard?

This has almost killed me in some of the circumstances we have been in lately…knowing that God wanted me to be quiet and not “speak my mind”… not because He didn’t want me to be heard, but in order to protect me in ways I didn’t understand at the time. The really awesome thing though is we can ALWAYS pour our heart out to Him even when He is telling us not to “speak our mind”. He is always with us wanting us to tell Him how we feel and what we are struggling with. There is such an amazing release when we lay it all out before Him. Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge.” The God of the universe is saying, “I want to hear from you.”

Several months ago I was in my car travelling replaying a situation over and over again in my mind. Instead of a release, I just kept getting madder and madder and madder. It finally dawned on me that I needed to talk to God and not just myself, so I poured it before Him. Instead of replaying it to myself, I spoke it out loud to Him. It was an incredible experience! You wouldn’t think it would help that much, but it does. So, I encourage you to verbally release it all to Him. Tell Him how mad you are and what people have done to you. Name names! It really does help.

Here is a great example in Scripture where David is pouring his heart out to God: “LORD, God of vengeance— God of vengeance, appear.
Rise up, Judge of the earth; repay the proud what they deserve.
LORD, how long will the wicked— how long will the wicked gloat?
They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers boast.
LORD, they crush Your people; they afflict Your heritage.
They kill the widow and the foreigner and murder the fatherless. They say, “The LORD doesn’t see it. The God of Jacob doesn’t pay attention.”
Pay attention, you stupid people! Fools, when will you be wise?
Can the One who shaped the ear not hear, the One who formed the eye not see?
The One who instructs nations, the One who teaches man knowledge— does He not discipline?
The LORD knows man’s thoughts; they are meaningless. LORD, happy is the man You discipline and teach from Your law
to give him relief from troubled times until a pit is dug for the wicked.
The LORD will not forsake His people or abandon His heritage,
for justice will again be righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it.
Who stands up for me against the wicked? Who takes a stand for me against evildoers? If the LORD had not been my helper, I would soon rest in the silence ⌊of death⌋.
If I say, “My foot is slipping,” Your faithful love will support me, LORD.
When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.” – Psalm 94:1-19

David was genuine in his feelings and in his thoughts, and we know from Scripture that God calls him a man after His own heart. We can know from the example of David that not only is it just acceptable to pour out our hearts to God, but He wants that intensity with us. He wants that honesty.

David was also truthful about the fact that his foot was starting to slip in this matter. I take that to mean his mouth was getting the better of him, or his thoughts were running away from him, but he knew that His God was there supporting him with His faithful love and was not only helping David get through the situation, but was also in the process of taking care of the ones who had hurt him.

Okay, so I hope you see that God does want you to be heard. He just wants to be the One doing the listening.

So, back off the rabbit trail and back on to point three which reminds us that God will get those who try to harm us.

Psalm 94:20-23 says, “Can a corrupt throne— one that creates trouble by law— become Your ally? They band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. But the LORD is my refuge; my God is the rock of my protection. He will pay them back for their sins and destroy them for their evil. The LORD our God will destroy them.”

Do I know why God doesn’t punish those who have wronged us when we think they should be punished? No, but I do know that our God is worthy of our trust. We can trust His timing because we know He loves us. The Bible assures us that His thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts and His ways are so much better than our ways (Isaiah 55:9), so we know that His timing and His ways are best because He sees the whole picture.

When you think you have to take care of things yourself, that God doesn’t care, or doesn’t see what’s happening in your life, when the devil has made you forget how much your God woos you like we discussed in Session One of God’s Love (YouTube Session), this is your verse to hang on to:

Isaiah 35:4- “Say to them that are of a fearful heart [that’s why we run out and get into trouble a lot of times…because we’re fearful ; we’re afraid that God isn’t seeing what people are doing to us and saying about us], Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; he will come and save you.”

Isaiah 35:5-6 says, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.”

Sometimes, unforgiveness makes us so hard hearted that we simply can’t see anything around us but how we were wronged. We can’t hear anything but what they said to us. We can’t think about anything but what we should have said back, or what we will do the next time we have to see them, but forgiveness…leaving the situation in God’s capable hands… opens our eyes and allows us to hear. Isaiah 35 says that we will be able to sing and be refreshed. Forgiving people allows the Spirit to pour Living water over our dry, parched places.

 I’m not saying that God doesn’t use the court system, or other people to right a wrong, but I am saying that it’s up to Him, not us, and not the way we can manipulate things.

Forgiveness is not about letting someone off the hook, it’s about being free.

We are not stupid when we forgive. We are super smart because we are allowing the God of the universe to handle things for us. It’s like He steps in front of us and says, “I’ve got this.”

Micah 7:7 says, “But I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.”

Step Four to forgiveness is knowing that your relationship with God is worth more than whatever you have to forgive. Our beautiful Savior who covers you with His wings every day and night is worth anything.

Psalm 18:16-20 says, “He reached down from heaven and took hold of me; He pulled me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my distress, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out to a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; He repaid me according to the cleanness of my hands.”

Being clean before the Lord is so much better than hanging on to any un-forgiveness. Keeping our Robe of righteousness on (which is Jesus Himself) is so much better than remembering wrongs that seem to be forgotten by everyone but you. Nothing is worth harming our walk with God.

Step Five to forgiveness is trusting our God to be the Judge.

Psalm 75:2 says, “‘When I choose a time, I will judge fairly.’”

Lamentations 3:59-62 says,LORD, You see the wrong done to me; judge my case. You see all their malice, all their plots against me. LORD, You hear their insults, all their plots against me. The slander and murmuring of my opponents attack me all day long.”

Be assured Your God sees and hears everything! You can rest in His judgment because He already knows all the testimony and all the facts. You don’t have to worry about being heard. He hears you. He wants you to pour your heart out, but not because He doesn’t know what’s going on, it’s because of His love for you. Song of Solomon 2:14 says,My dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the crevices of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.”

That’s why God wants to hear from you. He just loves the sound of your voice.

Do not think that your God does not know what happened to you. Do not listen to that voice in your head that says God will not repay the person that hurt you. Do not believe that you have to be the one to repay, or punish, but do remember that it is in His hands, in His time and needs to be in His way so that you can be free.

Forgiveness is not about being tricked into letting someone off the hook. It’s about being free.

So, as you are surrounded by people this Holiday Season that you can usually avoid remember that forgiveness is about being free. Forgiveness can only come through the Holy Spirit and He wants us to forgive not to let people off the hook, but to rely on Him and trust Him completely with the outcome knowing that we are loved more than we ever realized. Enjoy this Season knowing that even though forgiveness is not easy it’s always worth it.

Seeking Hearts Ministries

My Story

Image by US Health News

Forgiveness During the Holidays

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

upset by tree image.jpeg

As we are all in the middle of this Holiday Season, some of us are having the time of our lives being with family we don’t see as often, neighbors we seldom find at home and friends whom we love dearly, but schedules often don’t match.

Others of us are quite stressed dealing with family, friends and neighbors. We can avoid them during the year, but not at Christmas. Old wounds pop up and the stress mounts. So, as weird as the timing may seem, I feel led to share how God has helped me to deal with unforgiveness in my life.

I want to be very honest and tell you that forgiveness is something that does not come easily for me and I am lots better at forgiving things that have happened to me personally than things that have happened to my husband, or especially to my boys.

Oftentimes, what I struggle with is not the act of forgiving as much as what does forgiveness look like moving forward. I believe that forgiveness does not look the same in every situation. The process usually is, but not necessarily what it looks like afterwards.

For example, if you have been abused as a child, or as an adult, and through the power of the Holy Spirit you are able to release that situation into the hands of our Righteous Judge, know that forgiveness in that situation does not mean that you will stay with a person who abuses you.

If you are being hurt, forgiveness does not mean that you stay and keep getting hurt. If you are being wounded, forgiveness does not mean you stay in a situation that continues to bring you harm.

Forgiveness is being completely free of bitterness, anger and the hurt that was caused. Forgiveness is not about being unwise. It’s about being free.

Forgiveness is not trusting someone who you know will hurt your children just like they hurt you. That is not what God expects when He is calling us to forgive.

Another example of being called to forgive could be if someone lied about you and everyone in your neighborhood believes it. Sometimes, forgiveness requires living your life, doing what God has called you to do each and every day and allowing your character to speak for you. Not cussing people out, not being cruel when that person comes around, but simply being who God is calling you to be. God is calling us to be people of grace, love and mercy shining the light of Jesus. People will notice how you respond to a person who wrongs you. It may take a while, but God makes sure the truth comes out. Here are some great examples of what forgiveness may look like in this kind of situation:

Proverbs 25:21-22 says, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.”

Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.”

So, you see? Forgiveness in one situation may look like getting away, but not allowing the hurt to come with you. Whereas in another situation, forgiveness may look like a person holding their tongue from what they really want to say while allowing God to show others who you are in Him.

Both situations can only be accomplished through the Lord and may seem impossible, but Jesus says in Matthew 19:26, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Jesus readily admitted that certain things were only possible with God and I believe forgiveness is one of them.

There are many other ways God may ask you to show forgiveness. These are just a couple of examples to help us understand that forgiveness may look different for every person reading this depending on what they are called to forgive.

So, how do we come to a place of forgiveness?

Can it be instantaneous?

Can it take a few months, or even a few years?

Simply put…yes. I have had all of the above.

The answer is that it will take as long as you and God need it to take.

Let me just say as well, that even when you have truly forgiven someone, things can still pop back up. A random thought, a word, a look, or even a Facebook message can trigger an issue you thought you had forgiven long ago. Don’t stuff it down. Know that God wants you to deal with it once again with Him. He never tires of helping us get through our struggles.

I think when Jesus told Peter to forgive 70×7, He knew that oftentimes the forgiveness needs to happen every time we remember the offense. Sometimes, people really do wrong us over and over and over when we can’t get out of a situation, but most of the time it’s our remembrance of the event that causes the need for multiple times of forgiveness. Our minds just keep replaying it and replaying it and replaying it and we are called to forgive every single time. Again, we can only do that through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Just so we are on the same wavelength let me tell you how the dictionary defines forgiveness: “To absolve from payment of (a debt, for example); to renounce anger or resentment against”.

Absolve means you do away with it; you cancel it. Do they owe you something? Absolutely, there is a debt involved, but you are choosing to cancel that debt so you are no longer tied to that situation in any way. As long as someone owes you something, you are still connected and tied to one another, but when you release that debt…no more strings…you are absolutely free.

The other part of that definition says, “…to renounce anger, or resentment — to give up, esp. by formal announcement; to reject.”

So, you are rejecting anger and resentment…that’s forgiveness.

Again the question: How do we get to a place of forgiveness? How do we get to the place of rejecting the anger and resentment?

1 – We have got to know that God loves us.

You see how it always comes back to that? That’s your foundation. (If you haven’t been able to see the YouTube session on God’s love, I highly recommend you do so. Knowing how much He loves us is the foundation of our trust in Him and knowing He can be trusted is how we are able to forgive. Here’s the link : God’s Love – Session 1)

Forgiveness is another layer of trusting God and we can’t trust God fully until we know how much He loves us.

Why is that so important?

God is sovereign. Whatever comes into our lives, passes through His hands(remember in John 10:27-29 Jesus says He will never let go of us so, everything must pass through His hands). Whether we view it as good, or bad, whatever He allows is to bring us closer to Him and closer to the people that He has created us to be.

How can you possibly trust the hands of someone you don’t believe loves you? How can you possibly believe that everything (good, or bad) that has passed through those hands is for your ultimate good, if you don’t know He loves you?

The first step to forgiving anyone is knowing God loves you enough to take care of you in any situation.

 2- Second step to forgiveness is focusing on God and not the situation.

You know He loves you and now you are going to stay focused on Him.

You are not looking around at what everyone has done to you. You are focused on Him.

I alluded to this passage a minute ago, but we are going to read it in its entirety now.

Matthew 18:21-33 says, “Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ ‘I tell you, not as many as seven,’ Jesus said to him, ‘but 70 times seven. For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began to settle accounts, one who owed 10,000 talents was brought before him. Since he had no way to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt. At this, the slave fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything!’ Then the master of that slave had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him 100 denarii. He grabbed him, started choking him, and said, ‘Pay what you owe!’ At this, his fellow slave fell down and began begging him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he wasn’t willing. On the contrary, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed. When the other slaves saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened. Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’”

This is an amazing illustration of Jesus reminding us to not focus on what people have done to us, but rather focus on how much we have been forgiven ourselves.

That’s so hard. I know it’s hard, but it’s a great way to be able to forgive people. We must remember that we had such a huge sin debt and our beautiful, merciful, Prince Charming of a God has forgiven every bit of it.

We will be too busy being thankful to worry about what someone has done to us because our focus is on Him.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep the mind ⌊that is⌋ dependent ⌊on You⌋ in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.”

So, we can remain secure in our forgiveness of others by our minds being dependent on our God and remembering who He is and being focused on His love for us.

 Forgiveness is about what God did for us and not what someone did to us.

It’s not about comparing whose sin is bigger, it’s remembering to be thankful for how much God has forgiven us.

That’s where I’m going to cut off today’s blog, but know there are 3 more points on how to forgive coming in the next blog. When you are trying to forgive, I pray that you will be honest with God about the difficulty you are having and trust Him to give you the power to forgive every time you see the person, read a Facebook message, or remember the offense. Pour over the Scripture that He shows you from this blog and other resources knowing that He wants you to be free not just during this Holiday Season, but in the year to come as well.

Seeking Hearts Ministries

My Story

Image by US Health News

 

Things we can Always Know

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lady with Bible in field - image.jpg

In a hymn by William Fullerton we see these words:

“I cannot tell how silently He suffered, as with His peace He graced the place of tears, or how His heart upon the cross was broken, the crown of pain to three and thirty years. BUT THIS I KNOW, He heals the broken hearted, and stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear, and lifts the burden from the heavy laden, for yet the Savior, Savior of the world is here.”

This beautiful hymn reminded me that even if life is intense and confusing, even if things around me are murky and unclear, there are many things that I do know. Many things that I can still trust. Many things to be encouraged by. Here are just a few:

God is love.

1 John 4:16 – “And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.”

Jeremiah 31:3 – “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.”

God is good.

Psalm 136:1 – “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good. His love is eternal.

God is light. No darkness dwells in Him.

I John 1:5 – “Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him.”

God is my protection.

Psalm 36:7 – “God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.”

God is my sanctuary.

Psalm 55:22 – “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

Psalm 71:3 – “Be a rock of refuge for me, where I can always go. Give the command to save me, for You are my rock and fortress.”

God is my portion.

Psalm 16:5 – “LORD, You are my portion and my cup ⌊of blessing⌋; You hold my future.”

Psalm 119:57 – “The LORD is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words.”

God is faithful.

Psalm 36:5 – “LORD, Your faithful love ⌊reaches⌋ to heaven, Your faithfulness to the clouds.”

Deuteronomy 7:9 – “Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.”

God is present.

Psalm 46:1 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

God is glorious and righteous.

Psalm 97:6 – “The heavens proclaim His righteousness; all the peoples see His glory.”

God is sovereign.

Psalm 138:8 – “The LORD will fulfill ⌊His purpose⌋ for me. LORD, Your love is eternal; do not abandon the work of Your hands.”

God is kind.

Romans 2:4 – “Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

God is peace.

John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”

John 16:33 – “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

Philippians 4:9 – “Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.”

God is Healer.

Psalm 103:3 – “He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases.”

Luke 6:17-19 –“After coming down with them, He stood on a level place with a large crowd of His disciples and a great number of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon. They came to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases; and those tormented by unclean spirits were made well. The whole crowd was trying to touch Him, because power was coming out from Him and healing them all.”

God is trustworthy.

Romans 4:20, 21 “He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God because he was fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

God is incomparable.

Psalm 40:5 – “LORD my God, You have done many things— Your wonderful works and Your plans for us; none can compare with You. If I were to report and speak ⌊of them⌋, they are more than can be told.”

God is greater.

1 John 4:4 – “You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

God is FOR me.

Psalm 56:9 – “Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call. This I know: God is for me.”

God is worth it.

2 Samuel 22:4 – “I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies.”

Revelation 4:11 – “Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created.”

So, be encouraged. Even when life is bombarding you with situations out of your control and you are struggling to keep your head afloat, cling to what you know. Cling to the God you know. He will not fail.

Fullerton went on to write in his hymn:“I cannot tell how He will win the nations, how He will claim His earthly heritage, how satisfy the needs and aspirations of East and West, of sinner and of sage, BUT THIS I KNOW, all flesh shall see His glory, and He shall reap the harvest He has sown, and some glad day His sun will shine in splendor when He the Savior, Savior of the world is known.”

Trust that today. Trust what you know. Trust in the One you know. God has never failed anyone throughout all eternity and He will not fail you!

Seeking Hearts Ministries      My Story

We Are Planting Trees, Not Wheat

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

apple tree image.jpg

Psalm 1:1-3 says,How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the LORD’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. The wicked are not like this; instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away.”

“Whatever he does prospers”…hmmm.

Doesn’t feel like it at times, does it?

Feels like we sow seeds that never germinate.

Feels like we plant seeds over and over again with no results.

Feels like a “hard row to hoe”, as many of us grew up saying.

But, when we remember verse three in this passage, everything changes.

When we remember we are planting trees, our perspective changes.

Trees take a long time to grow, even longer to bear fruit. Wheat comes up quickly, but is used up. One season and wheat’s value is over. The chaff of wheat is not even good for a season. The Word tells us that the wicked, those who are not following God are like chaff, but those that are following God’s leading are like planted trees. That’s why the Word can promise us that “whatever he does prospers.” Every seed that’s planted, every weed that’s plucked, and every waiting period is not wasted because we are planting trees, not wheat.

Sometimes, planting a tree looks like teaching Sunday School year after year, never knowing whether the seeds you are planting are really taking root. Don’t worry, you are planting trees, not wheat.

Sometimes, planting a tree looks like teaching Vacation Bible School to the same rowdy kids year after year. Don’t give up. You are planting trees, not wheat.

Sometimes, planting a tree looks like home schooling two head-strong boys for fifteen years. Don’t worry. You are planting trees, not wheat.

Sometimes, planting a tree looks like ministering to the same couple with the same problems week after week. Don’t stress. You are planting trees, not wheat.

Sometimes, planting a tree looks like being kind to the meanest person in the neighborhood day after day. Don’t worry. You are planting trees, not wheat.

So, keep planting, keep sowing, and keep trusting the Master Gardener to watch over those precious seeds. Allow Him to water, to weed, and to nurture until those seeds become the most fruitful trees you ever imagined. Don’t be discouraged if results take a while, years even, because we are not planting wheat. We are not planting seeds that are only good for a short season. Be encouraged. We are planting trees.

 Seeking Hearts Ministries

*image by blogdailyherald.com

 

 

Lesson Four – No Such Thing as Limbo Land

Tags

, , , , , ,

child-leaping-through-meadow.jpg

Back in May, I began to share lessons I was learning through this season of transition for our family. We started with Lesson One  which discussed how activity in any ministry doesn’t necessarily indicate life. Then, Lesson Two  talked about how no parent is perfect. Then finally, in Lesson Three we discussed how to get through a tough time with grace instead of white knuckles. I’ve learned many more lessons, but God put writing about them on hold, until now.

“Limbo Land” is not my favorite place to be. As I have often written, I am a “road map kind of girl”. Even though I am content (mostly), in this season of rest and revitalization, the transition has been longer than I expected. Even though I am currently involved in a local church (and loving it), I’ve known the whole time that it’s not our permanent place of ministry, so it’s been hard to jump in with both feet. It’s a joy, but it still feels like Limbo Land.

What I’m learning though is that there is really no such thing as Limbo Land. I am learning that every step with my Savior is a step to be savored.  Every season (temporary, or more permanent) has its own rewards and its own lessons.

Lesson Four is a constant battle for me. I like arriving. I like getting to where I’m going, but what is helping me through this season is the realization that when I feel like I’m in Limbo Land, I’m actually in the middle of a leap of faith. And, you know what? Leaping is fun.

Remember jumping on a trampoline, or hopping across a creek when you were little? The thrill wasn’t in the landing, was it? It was in the air. I am not an adrenaline junky, but even I have to admit that the excitement was when there was nothing under my feet. Whether I was on a trampoline, jumping into a swimming pool, or bouncing off a couch, the fun was in the air.

So…lesson four…there is no such thing as Limbo Land. I’m simply in the air, with a big smile on my face, excited to land into the next ministry knowing that my Savior is not just on the other side, but in the air with me every step of the way.

Seeking Hearts Ministries

*Photo by Bar-barella

 

Becoming an Expert

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

sword with soldier image.jpg

Song of Solomon 3:7-8 says, “Behold, it is the traveling couch of Solomon; sixty mighty men around it, of the mighty men of Israel. All of them are wielders of the sword, expert in war; each man has his sword at his side. Guarding against the terrors of the night.”

As I came across these verses last week, I realized that to be an expert in war, you have to have had some incredible experiences in battle. I thought about the battles that I would have rather not been through and the battles I would rather my family not have had to face, but I also realized that if we didn’t experience those battles, we would not become the experts in war God would have us to be.

We have to have battles before we can become experts.

Notice as well that these men surrounding the King held their own sword at their side. This reminded me that I need my own relationship with Christ. I can’t depend on someone else’s sword and expect to win my own, personal battles. I have to have my own sword ready to go. Ephesians 6:17 tells us that our sword is the Word of God. I have to know Scripture, memorize Scripture, and know how to use it in battle. How exciting to know that Word isn’t just for information and to make us feel good, but to train and use in warfare!

Notice as well how close these experts in war were to the King. This shows us that being close to Christ is a requirment for becoming an expert in battle. When we follow Christ, we will see conflict. Christ Himself tells us to not be surprised when the world hates us because it hated Him (John 15:18-19). Sometimes, I think we have told ourselves that the closer we get to Christ the easier life will be. In one sense, we are absolutely right. The closer we are to Christ, the easier issues will be to handle because we are in agreement with Him and His power is enabling us to handle whatever He allows in our paths, but it does not mean that our paths will be clear of all problems.

As we start our weekend, let’s remember that battles are ways for us to become the experts in war that God has called us to be. Let’s remember that when one of our family members is facing difficulties we are called to encourage them in prayer, asking God to help them learn what they need to learn in that particular battle. I know that’s hard. I know we just want to pray to get them out of the fray, but for them to be the experts they need to be, the men and women that God has called them to become, they must carry their own sword and use it as battles arise.

Battles are tough and let me be clear… I don’t like them, but knowing that they serve a purpose in our own lives and in the lives of our loved ones helps, doesn’t it? Knowing that each battle makes us more adept at wielding our swords, knowing that each battle draws us closer to our King, is beautiful to think about. So, let’s choose to be thankful for our battles today knowing that each has a purpose, each has a lesson and before you know it we will become experts in war as God intended.

My Story

Seeking Hearts Ministries

*Image by Popular Mechanics

Success is Inevitable

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

inevitable-success-image

The author of this exact quote is unknown, but I love it. It reminds me of First Thessalonians 5:24 -“Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” In other words, success is inevitable… when it’s God’s call on your life.

Has He called you to coach?

Has He called you to teach?

Has He called you to write?

Has He called you to raise those kiddos?

Has He called you to sing your heart out?

Has He called you to tend to your home on a full-time basis?

Has He called you to tend a sick loved one?

How about going to the mission field (close to home, or abroad)?

Has He called you to drive a school bus, deliver mail, or maybe even clean windows?

Whatever He has called you to do…rest in the fact that success is inevitable. No striving. No freaking out. Only simple obedience, faith and trust in Him is necessary. He will bring it to pass. It’s not only a great quote…it’s Scriptural.

Rest in that truth this week and know that no matter what circumstances may look like in this moment, when God has called you and you have answered, “Yes”, success is inevitable. Don’t proceed with caution. Proceed in faith knowing that your God has more for you than you ever imagined (Ephesians 3:20).

Seeking Hearts Ministries

My Story

Being Salt and Light

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

salt image.jpg

As I was reading a book by Neta Jackson a few weeks ago, I came across an explanation that I’ve pondered for quite a while. In her book series, Souled Out Sisters, one of Ms. Jackson’s characters describes “salt people” as people who make a situation taste better and “light people” as people who bring clarity and not confusion. I liked that…a lot.

In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men. You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

If you know me at all, you know I love my salt and if you have been around me enough, you also know I love windows because I adore light. Both salt and light add joy to my life. So, why I’ve had trouble with being salt and light in this world is beyond me! I think I’ve tried to make it more difficult than it really is. If salt is simply making a situation more palatable, (as Ms. Jackson’s character explained) we can all do that. It’s not as complicated as I’ve thought.

If attitudes are going south, we can express an encouraging word. If everyone is exhausted, we can be the wise one and suggest a breather, or offer a bag of almonds to help energize the situation. If fear is invading, cover the situation with prayer. Such simple things make life more appetizing, and that’s being salt in this world.

Same with light. If being light in a situation brings clarity instead of confusion, then we can pray for wisdom, and know we will receive it because James1:5 says, “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.”

How neat is that? Jesus didn’t just give us a command and leave us to figure out how to fulfill it on our own. He tells us how to receive the clarity we need in each situation in order to be light. It’s called wisdom. How do we receive the wisdom we need for clarity? The book of James tells us we ask God for it. Simple stuff. He gives us the needed wisdom, which gives us the needed clarity, which gives us the needed light to share. Love it!

Oftentimes, I feel like I’ve been more pepper than salt, and more darkness than light, but I’m encouraged by this simple way of looking at being children of light and salt-a-holics in this world. Through Christ, we can bring clarity. Through Christ, we can make life full of flavor for those around us. So, let’s do it. Let’s be salt and light wherever we go.

*image by bbc.com

Seeking Hearts Ministries