Helping to Build

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Nehemiah 4:6 says, “So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.”

I love the book of Nehemiah. There is so much goodness in it. The leadership of Nehemiah, the teamwork of the people, the enemies getting stronger but God’s people steadily plodding to build the wall anyway, all the prayers and encouragement throughout the book and of course the strategy…I love it all.

When I came across Nehemiah 4:6 a while back, I focused on “for the people had a mind to work”. After all, that’s usually what pastors preach about, isn’t it? This time though I was asked to look at how smart Nehemiah was to build all the wall to its half way point. My devotional leader Kelly Minter said, “So instead of completing the sections that were easily coming along and leaving the more difficult chunks for later, they decided to get the whole wall to the halfway mark. This may have meant leaving certain portions that were well-along in order to fill the gaps that were leaving vulnerable holes. It was better for the whole wall to be shored up, even though incomplete, than to have fully built sections here and there while others lie disconnected. This feels like divine wisdom to me.”

It felt like divine wisdom to me as well and I couldn’t help but think about people within our churches. Each church has people who are great at “wall building”. They just seem to be able to pray and trust and have the kind of faith everyone desires. They build great walls of protection around their loved ones through prayer, standing firmly on God’s Word and depending on the Holy Spirit. Through years of pressing in to Jesus they have faithfully built their section of the wall.

Others are more vulnerable. They haven’t gone through as much faith testing. At times, they’ve trusted in things besides their Lord. They sometimes forget to pray when an attack comes. They may not have as much Scripture memorized and they often forget to rely on the Holy Spirit. Their wall still has gaping holes where the enemy can easily penetrate.

Nehemiah 4:6 tells us the smart thing to do is to come together and help each other build the whole wall until all the sections are joined. We may not understand why their section isn’t further along, but we are still called to help.

The people of Jerusalem knew they were still vulnerable if any section of the wall was crumbling. Just because their section was finished, they realized in order for everyone to be safe all the separate walls needed to become one, big wall.  That’s just being smart. That’s wisdom. How many times have we heard that we are only as strong as our weakest link? It’s true. It’s also true that our church is only as strong as the wall of protection around it.

There are many people in our churches who need help building. Many people are still too vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. Their foundation is barely started and they need help.

Oftentimes, it’s just a matter of teaching. People need to know the basics of building a strong foundation through prayer and Bible study, but they also need a side by side mentor that helps teach them the building process.

Others in our churches once had a magnificent wall, but sin, tragedy, or just the pounding of life has reduced it to a crumbling mess. We need to be faithful to help those dear ones clear the rubble away and rebuild. Christian counseling may be needed, forgiveness is often required and the clearing away of lifestyle choices can often help the rubble to be gone and the rebuilding to occur. This takes time and effort. A fresh build is much more exciting than the clearing away of old debris, but it often takes rebuilding the old before the whole wall can be strong once again.

Then there are those who are building for all they are worth, but need our protection. This is especially close to my heart right now because we have some friends who are being hit from every side imaginable. It’s not quite Job, but it’s getting there quickly. We need to be especially vigilant with these precious wall builders. Our wall is doing okay in the moment, our wall is standing strong, but our sweet brothers and sisters are being beat to death by the enemy. They are trying to build, they are trying to learn, they are trying to keep the faith, but the fiery darts keep hitting their backs over and over again. They can’t build because they are too busy defending.

Later in Nehemiah 4, Scripture tells us that in order for the wall to be built and joined together, guards had to be stationed. Some would build and some would guard. Those building had their sword at the ready as well, but they knew someone else was guarding, so they were able to focus on building and not be as distracted. They were encouraged to keep building because their fellow wall builders were taking the time to protect them.

Imagine that…guarding each other so everyone’s section of wall can be built. That’s beautiful. That’s what we need to do for one another and Nehemiah is a beautiful picture of Zephaniah 3:9. This is what it says,Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder.”

Serving shoulder to shoulder. That’s what it’s all about. Protecting each other and helping each other to build no matter what task that may include.

So, who in our churches needs to be guarded?

Who can you hold your sword up for today?

I’ll admit I look at my half built wall and think, “I still have so much work to do.” The sad fact is we will always have work to do. Our walls will never be finished completely, but God has called us to protect each other, to help everyone get their wall to the halfway point, to join all our walls together and become less vulnerable from attacks by the enemy as a whole church fitly joined together (Ephesians 4:16).

That’s a wonderful picture isn’t it? Building and guarding. Building and guarding. Building and guarding. Loving each other like the family we are. Praying together as a true army and lifting our swords not just for ourselves, but even more readily for those around us. Let’s take the example in Nehemiah and make it true today. Let’s build, help, protect and love as we are called knowing that the vulnerable places in our brothers and sisters will become our own if left in a state of rubble. Knowing that building together is the only way our churches will be strong. Knowing that without the Master Builder we would all be lost. Knowing that our walls will never be perfect, but that fellow believers are raising their swords for our protection and we are raising our sword for theirs.

Beautiful! Absolutley beautiful. Now, let’s get out there and actually do it.

My Story          Seeking Hearts Ministries

 

Depending on the Flesh

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If you’ve been around me at all recently, you know I’ve been reading a lot of Andrew Murray’s books. The one I’m currently studying is called “Absolute Surrender” and I highly recommend it.

As I was reading along this week, Mr. Murray took us to Galatians 3:1-3. This is what it says, “You foolish Galatians! Who has hypnotized you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed as crucified? I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh?”

After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete (KJV says “perfect”) by the flesh?” That really hit me. Did I receive Christ by the Spirit? Yes. But, how am I receiving power for each day? Am I depending on Christ’s Spirit in me, or am I depending on my own self will and determination to live the Christian life? Am I white knuckling the Word, or resting in the completion that Christ has gifted in me?

His Spirit is in me for a purpose and yet I find myself thinking I have to figure out how to get all these “good works” done in my own strength. Christ is in me to fulfill all He has called me to do, not so He can simply whisper where I’m supposed to go and leave me to it, but also to empower me every step of the way. I forget that.

I’ve deceived myself into believing that I’m supposed to work out my completion in Christ. By studying His Word and praying, I’ve thought that I knew what I was supposed to do. So each day, I’ve taken Jesus by the hand and powered on in my own ability. I am discovering though that I will never be able to grow in Christ. Only His Spirit can accomplish that in me. My flesh, my will, my determination is not what makes me a mature Christian. Only my absolute dependence on Christ makes me complete.

Look at all the times we have failed Christ when our intentions were good. Look at all the times we made new commitments, renewed vows, or even woke up thinking “Today, I am going to………., or not …………. like yesterday”, but then lunchtime comes and we look at the day and wonder, “What happened? I was so determined to make it work this time.”

I’ll tell you what happened. We tried to do it in our own strength. Philippians 4:13 says, “I am able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” We forget that this verse is describing Christ’s strength in us. It’s not describing walking along the path of our Christian life in our own strength and when we need help, Christ giving us a boost. Philippians 4:13 is reminding us that in order to do anything  it’s all about Christ’s strength and not just using Him as our spotter.

Are you familiar with who a spotter is? This isn’t something that’s usually in my scope of everyday life, but my oldest is into weight lifting, so I’m learning. Wikipedia describes it this way, “Spotting in weight or resistance training, is the act of supporting another person during a particular exercise, with an emphasis on allowing the participant to lift or push more than they could normally do safely.”

 I confess, I have treated the Holy Spirit as a spotter when in reality He simply wants me to be the weights in His arms. It’s His job to lift me to heights I never realized were possible. It’s by His strength I am able to join with others in tasks we never imagined. It’s by His power that I can do all things because as a weight in His hand, I am relying on His force, not mine.

That’s when verses like Psalm 112:7 are possible. It says,He will not fear bad news; his heart is confident, trusting in the LORD.”

This is a good example because I’ve actually memorized this verse and tried to will myself into the completion of it in my life. In the past, I start to imagine a bad scenario that may, or may not happen in the near future. I remember this verse and will myself not to fear. That works for a while, but what I’m finding is that I need to go a step further. When I am simply a weight in the arms of God, I rest in His strength. I tell Him I can’t accomplish this verse without His muscle and He lifts me by His strength into the empowerment of this verse. I truly then do not fear bad news because I am living in His strength. He will pack me where I need to go. He will lift me to where I need to be and because I am in absolute surrender to a faithful, trustworthy God His strength becomes my reality. Our flesh cannot accomplish this in us…only our God can make this happen.

“O, foolish Galatians…”

“O, foolish Christians…”

“O, foolish Melissa…”

Our Lord never intended for us to complete our lives on this earth in the power of the flesh. Our God has given us everything we need to live out our Christian faith and it’s not willpower, it’s Him. Simply and totally Him.

Isaiah 40:28-31 says, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.”

That’s His desire for you. Rest in His arms today and let Him lift you higher than you ever thought possible.

Seeking Hearts Ministries

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Overworking the Dough – A Journey in Contentment

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Contentment is something none of us like to talk about, or maybe it’s just me that doesn’t like to talk about it. It is definitely not part of the American Dream and is often seen as a lifestyle with no goals, no ambition and a “going with the flow” kind of an attitude like that not too smart surfer dude we’ve all seen on T.V.

Biblical contentment is so different from this picture. In fact, I think that the Biblical rendition of contentment is some of the hardest work we are called to do. There is nothing lazy about it. The apostle Paul says in Philippians 4 that he had learned to be content in whatever circumstances he found himself. He says in verse twelve, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” Notice he says there is a secret to contentment and he had to learn it. He admits to us that contentment does not happen naturally. It takes work, but Paul doesn’t leave us in suspense. In the very next verse he tells us how he has learned the secret of contentment. It says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Paul willingly admits that only through Christ’s strength can contentment be a part of who he is and who we are. That doesn’t sound lazy to me. In fact, contentment sounds like hard work if it can only be accomplished through the strength of Christ.

We see that contentment is not defined by laziness, it’s defined by resting in Christ’s strength. There is a big difference. Laziness is simply sitting on your bum and not doing the work you are called to do. Resting is completing necessary tasks and then, you guessed it… resting.

It reminds me of baking bread. When baking bread, you get your recipe out that the great recipe creator of all time designed (Betty Crocker). You put your ingredients on the counter. You mix all of the ingredients at their proper time and in their proper way, checking your recipe continually and then, you work the dough. You knead it until your wrists are going to fall off. Then, you let it rest. You might go to another task, or you might read a book for a while, or even watch T.V., but you leave that dough alone. Are you being lazy? No! You are content with letting the bread rise. When the time is right, you go back to the dough, work with it some more and once again allow it to rest. At the proper time, the dough finally gets put in the oven where once again you will rest while the bread is doing its thing. The awesome aroma of baked bread fills the space and you are content knowing that the recipe you followed has helped produce the results you want.

In our spiritual life, just like in the process of physically making bread, we get the recipe out (the Word of God) and we get the ingredients together for the task He has before us (Don’t worry. His Spirit will tell you through His Word what those ingredients need to be). As we check the recipe continually, we are sure to mix the right ingredients at the proper time and in the right amounts. Then, we work the ingredients until His Spirit in us says to let it rest. I think this is the hardest part. We look at the lump of dough and then back at God and say, “But, it’s not finished.” We try to work the dough more and finally He has to stop us in some way knowing that we will ruin the dough if we don’t allow it to rest. This is what contentment is all about. Trust. We have to know that even though we aren’t “working the dough”, He is.  Second Thessalonians 5:24 says, “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” This verse tells us that we are called, but ultimately, He does the work. He is completing the perfect work while we rest in Him. Are we lazy? No. Some of the hardest work we will ever do will be resting in Him, learning contentment and not over-working the dough.

I might just nail that phrase to my forehead: “Don’t overwork the dough!” If there is something that drives me to distraction, it is an uncompleted task. Learning contentment is knowing when to step back and let the dough rest in Him. That doesn’t mean it’s unfinished. It just means He has it handled. Contentment is remembering that if I keep working the dough it will become an unusable, elastic mess, but when I allow it to rest in Him, it will turn out perfect every time.

Let’s press in close to Him this week, allowing Him to speak to us as we read the recipe of His Word over and over again, teaching us what ingredients to place on the counter (knowing that He has already provided every one) and then allowing Him to gently remove our hands when our part is completed in the task knowing that He who began the good work will complete it (Philippians 1:6). That’s the secret of contentment Paul was referring to. That’s allowing Him to be strong in us. That’s allowing the dough to be perfected. Rest in Him today.

 

Seeking Hearts Ministries

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God’s Perfect Preservation

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Psalm 32:7 says, “Thou art my hiding place; Thou dost preserve me from trouble; Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.”

The Lord will preserve us from trouble. He is our hiding place. He surrounds us with songs of deliverance. You might be thinking, “Really? All I see is trouble. All I know is abandonment and all I hear is madness.”

Look closely, my friend. He is here. He is your hiding place. He was in your past. He will be in your future and He is here now, in your today. Even if your trouble surrounds you, you are winning your battle because He is on your side. In the midst of it, know that He is preserving you.

Remember what it’s like when you are canning vegetables from your garden? Things get hot. This is all in the process of preserving, isn’t it? Through that process, things get hot and uncomfortable (for us and the vegetables). Just like those garden goodies, we would like to stay on the vine, being watered gently daily and basking in the pleasant sunshine. We don’t like the boiling water bath, but that’s the only way true preservation can take place. God’s preserving methods sometimes feel just as uncomfortable as canning must feel to a vegetable (if it had feelings), but rest assured you are being protected, preserved and sheltered for the winter ahead. I Peter 5:10 says, “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm,  strengthen and establish you.” What better preserving could we ask for?

To take our example a little farther, nothing tastes sweeter than fresh vegetables from your own garden. You can buy things from a local Farmer’s Market, but the absolute best is knowing that through God’s provision and your own hard work, the food you are eating came from your own plot. So it is with God’s spiritual provision for us, we can hear other’s testimonies (and they are encouraging), but there is nothing like experiencing our own tests and coming out victorious. We are then experiencing our own fresh fruit from our own God-given garden. Spiritual preservation can then provide fresh faith for us in the middle of our spiritual winters. We “open up” our jar of faith and remember God has already provided in times past and He can and will provide for our now. We just have to open up what’s already on the shelf. Ephesians 1:3 tells us that we have already been blessed with every spiritual blessing.

It is so  frustrating to buy tomato juice at the grocery store only to discover another stack of homemade, well-preserved juice ready to use. Somehow, I always manage to shove a few jars behind some green beans, or jelly of some sort. They are forgotten for a time. When I finally find those jars, they can still be used, but oh, how great it would have been in that homemade soup last week!?  Just like those forgotten jars of juice, we need to remember that God has provided for us. He has preserved us and established us with exactly what is needed. Sometimes though, His provision gets relegated to the back. Let’s ask Him to help us remember what has already been preserved in us. Let’s open up what He has already established in us! Let’s feast on what He has already provided.

Psalm 32:7 also talks about God surrounding us with songs of deliverance. I really enjoy singing when I’m in the kitchen, don’t you? There’s nothing like humming (or belting out) a little tune while going about our tasks. So, just imagine that while God is in “our kitchens” preserving us for the coming winter’s trials, He is actually singing over us as He works. I love that! He is molding us and preserving us into the men and women that He designed for us to be. God is excited throughout the preserving process knowing that what He is making us into now is exactly what we need to be in our future. The process may be hot at times, but He is lovingly watching the clock, knowing exactly how many minutes we need in the boiling water to produce the desired results, all the while singing precious songs over us. When we allow Him to guide the process, He never allows a jar to crack; He never ruins a batch. He is the Perfect Preserver.

No matter if we are in the middle of needing to hide in Him, being preserved by Him for the coming winter, or hearing clearly His songs of deliverance, let’s rest in Him today. Let’s rest in Him knowing that He will never leave us, or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He will not ever stop loving us (I John 3:1) and He will always perfectly preserve us for the coming days (Psalm 41:2).

Seeking Hearts Ministries

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Becoming an Expert

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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 week, 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

When You Kill Your Neighbor’s Cat

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Last year, I was on the phone with my mom looking out the front door (I got better reception there because I lived in the boonies). My dog was outside and I noticed that something had caught his attention. He was on high alert because on the other side of the road, on the church steps, a cat was limping. It had obviously been hurt and needed help, but I wondered if my little terrier mix named “Brutus” would decide he needed to give “aid” to the cat. While trying to politely get off the phone with my mom, I was frantically gesturing to Gabe (my youngest son) about taking care of the cat. I was worried Brutus would decide the pain from the underground fence would be worth the price to get to it. Can you even imagine the melee that would ensue?! When I realized I had probably sent my son to the injury of his life, I hurriedly got off the phone just in time to warn Gabe about touching the cat too quickly. Great mom that I am, I finally remembered that injured animals were sometimes the most vicious because of their pain level.

Gabe must be a “cat whisperer” because that cat not only let him touch it, but he ended up cradling it like a baby as he started towards the neighbor’s house to help it back home. I grabbed my shoes and hurriedly ran down the hill to cross the road that leads to the neighbor’s house to help Gabe explain what was going on. The cat, Gabe and I all arrived at the stop sign at bottom of the hill simultaneously and at that moment, the cat must have smelled home. Its claws came out, jumped out of Gabe’s arms and ran across the road…just as a massive truck was coming around the corner. Yep, that cat was executed right before our eyes.

In stunned disbelief we walked back to our house. All I could think was, “How could our good intentions have gone so drastically wrong?” I just kept saying, “I’m sorry, Gabe. I’m so sorry”. Not even really knowing why I was apologizing. Finally, Gabe asked, “Why do you keep saying your sorry?” I told him I just hated that he had to go through it. I hated that I had asked him to help. I hated that I had gotten him involved at all and then, I finally told him the truth… I had no idea why I kept apologizing. It was all I could do, I guess. I was simply stunned (as was he). I could barely look at him for the rest of the day because I was afraid I would just start apologizing again and bring the whole horrible ordeal up again.

After the initial shock and once the neighbors came home, we explained what had happened and they were very gracious, but still to this day I am a little shocked over it. How in the world did a well-intentioned action evolve into such a horrible disaster?

As crazy as it may seem, I think that cat helped me realize how the disciples must have felt once Jesus was taken to be crucified. They must have sat in stunned disbelief having no idea how things had gone so wrong. They had just had an amazing time together, had heard some incredible teaching and then…

Was Andrew not able to look at Peter? Was Philip apologizing over and over to Nathanael? After all, the book of John tells us that they were the ones responsible for bringing them to Jesus. Were they all barely looking at each other as I could barely look at Gabe? Were they sitting in stunned disbelief not really understanding how in the world their well-intentioned actions led to such a disaster? And James? The older brother of John? He couldn’t even find his brother to apologize.

Stunned disbelief. It gets the best of all of us.  

Before the cat incident, I’ve had other times of stunned disbelief. After an event, I would sit thinking about how in the world something went wrong and was flabbergasted by how quickly it got there. I’ve not killed anymore cats that I know of, but I have let a well-intentioned conversation get out of hand. I’ve also allowed myself to start watching something, or reading something that a few days later had me sitting in stunned disbelief that it had gone that far and I allowed myself to finish watching, or reading it. I’ve even been well-intentioned in witnessing to my neighbor and then, somehow chickened out. I sat in stunned disbelief later knowing that my apathy and fear had controlled me instead of the Holy Spirit inside of me. Stunned disbelief.

Has it happened to you? Ever started talking to that guy, or girl at work with the best of intentions, knowing they just needed a sounding board, but now you sit in stunned disbelief that the relationship went where it did?

Ever decided to eat that one serving of cake only to discover the next day that every bit of it was gone?

Ever think your family will understand the long hours you put in at work only to discover all their bags packed and you are now living what’s left of your life alone?

Stunned disbelief.

The really amazing thing is right in the middle of the disciples’ stunned disbelief, Jesus appeared. John 20:19-20 says, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”

 Right in the middle of their trauma, their stunned disbelief, their heartache, Jesus came and He wants to do the same for you and me.

Are you in the middle of an affair you can’t believe happened in the first place? First John 1:9 tells us that Jesus is the Great Forgiver and He is with you right now in the middle of your place of stunned disbelief.

Are you in stunned disbelief over the diagnosis that you just received from your doctor? Psalm 103 tells us that Jesus can heal all our diseases.

Are you in stunned disbelief that a loved one has just passed away? Psalm 23 tells us that our Great Shepherd is with us even in the valley of the shadow of death.

Are you sitting in stunned disbelief over last night’s events? Can you not believe that you took that drink, smoked that joint, watched that porn, did that deed that you swore would never happen again? Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us that God’s mercies are new every morning.

He stays faithful even when we are sitting in stunned disbelief. He’s not shocked like you are. He knew it would happen and He has already covered it with His blood on the Cross. He knew it would happen and He still loves you. In fact, according to Zephaniah 3:17 He is still singing over you right this moment. Come out of your stunned disbelief and enter into His stunning grace. You never have a need to be ashamed again. His banner over you is love (Song of Solomon 2:4).

These are His words to you today and every day: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come… (Song of Sol. 2:10-12). Live in that today!

My Story

Seeking Hearts Ministries

A Needed Reminder

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I Thessalonians 5:24 says, “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”

I really need this reminder today.

My guy is a visionary. He gets an idea, knows a certain path and that’s it…he’s ready to take the plunge.

I, on the other hand, am a detail girl.

I love the big ideas, but my mind automatically goes to the how.

If we are my moving, I remember every detail that needs to happen to get us there.

If we are remodeling a space, even though I am not a construction person, I seem to be the one to remember to buy the nails.

If we are going on a mission trip, I think of every little detail…over and over again.

That’s what kept me from sleeping some last night…a mission trip we are going on this summer. Details, details, details. Even though details are good, they can also drive me insane.

During my mental list making in the night, the Holy Spirit reminded me of I Thessalonians 5:24. He reminded me that I am called to go and He will accomplish what is supposed to be accomplished. Yes, I need to remember to bring my toothpaste, but He will take care of the details of loving on the people, teaching what needs to be taught, the team’s health and so much more because “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”

Rest in that this week. Write your lists and use the gift of details that God has given you, but then set the pen aside and trust Him to accomplish the call on your life. Depend on Him for every detail knowing that He is always faithful.

Seeking Hearts Ministries

My Story

 

Success is Inevitable

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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 Free ….Finally!

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Some time ago God healed me from a debilitating illness that had no end in sight. My doctor diagnosed it after lots of bloodwork, but with that diagnosis came the realization that modern medicine had no answers. It was a scary time, but you read that I’m healed, right?

I realized last Sunday night that I was still living as if I were sick. I wasn’t allowing myself to enjoy certain activities under the guise of I might end up in bed again. I realized that even though I was completely healed, I was living under the fear of an illness long gone. I still have certain health issues I deal with that are totally manageable, but as far as the illness I’m referring to? Completely gone! I was holding back on the enjoyment of life due to past difficulties.

That same Sunday morning, during the early service, I was prompted by God’s Spirit to stand up during the chorus of a song. I knew God wanted me to stand and proclaim that He was enough for me, but I let excuses of “I might be a distraction”, or “I don’t want to freak anybody out”, or “people will think I want the attention” stop me and I chose to let fear keep me from rising and proclaiming that “Christ is enough for me.”

I confessed my sin right there in the pew. I even told God I would stand up the next time He prompted… and guess what? The next chorus came, the next opportunity was right in front of me and there I was…still sitting. I confessed again, but I also placed such a cloud of condemnation over myself. I sat there convincing myself that in the next service, I wasn’t going to be able to worship as I would have been able to if I had obeyed. I was beating myself up mentally, spiritually and emotionally. I felt as if I had ruined the whole day of worship and it was just 9:45 am!!

I was so discouraged, but then so relieved within the space of about three minutes. As I was praying to God and placing all my failure at His feet, (panicking over the ruination of my worship experience for all time…drama queen confession), I felt God remind me through Scripture that He had wiped my sin clean. He no longer remembered me not standing up, so why should I? Did I believe His forgiveness, or not?

God reminded me that “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” – Romans 8:1-2. I was condemning myself when my Righteous Judge had already said I was free!

He reminded me that “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:12.

Galatians 5:1 says, “Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.” I was placing a yoke of slavery over myself when Christ had already liberated me through His shed blood.

I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God reminded me that I either believed Him, or I didn’t. He also reminded me that I was totally allowed and encouraged to wear the freedom He had already given me.

He reminded me that He wanted my worship as much as I wanted to worship Him!

If I had not accepted the truth of God’s grace, I would not have been able to worship well in the following service. I would have been living under the fear of condemnation, wearing a yoke of slavery, just like I had been living in the fear and slavery of an illness long gone.

The abundant life Jesus came to give us in John 10:10, calls us to live in freedom, calls us to live in the opportunities laid before us today and calls us to invest in the next generation, not to be shackled by fear and regret.

Romans 8:15 tells us that we “… did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”

Let’s take God at His Word today. Let’s live in the freedom that He has given. Let’s look up in complete faith knowing we are forgiven when we ask and knowing that He has already paid liberty’s price for us.

Let’s live free!

Seeking Hearts Ministries

My Story

 

Coming Broken to the Savior

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There’s a version of Just as I Am by Travis Cottrell that says,

“I come broken to be mended
I come wounded to be healed
I come desperate to be rescued
I come empty to be filled
I come guilty to be pardoned
By the blood of Christ the Lamb
And I’m welcomed with open arms
Praise God, just as I am”
 

I love this song, but lately I am reminded that many times when I come broken, it’s not to be mended. When I come wounded, it’s not to be healed. I want to come with my brokenness and pain, but I want to hang onto it; I want others to notice my wounds. Maybe I don’t think I’ll get enough attention if I don’t look like the walking wounded.  

Other times, I think I come empty and leave empty, not because Jesus can’t fill me, but because I simply don’t ask.

I know at other times I come guilty, but don’t ask to be pardoned. I must want to wallow in my sin a little longer. I tend to like my pride and unforgiveness and I’ve certainly given apathy too much space.

The song mentioned above reminds me that I am welcomed just as I am…broken, wounded, desperate, empty and guilty, but Christ has wholeness for me. Christ has open arms ready to fill, pardon and mend. Jesus says in John 10:10, “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” He doesn’t have failure for me. He has abundance. That’s my life in His arms…freedom, life and abundance.

So, as we walk through this week together, let’s remember that brokenness, emptiness and guilt are all in us, but we can place those things in Christ’s arms where restoration, forgiveness and wholeness can take place.

Let’s come broken to be mended. Let’s come wounded to be healed and leave the mess in Jesus’ arms where it belongs.

Seeking Hearts Ministries

My Story
**image by restlesspilgrim.net