Growing Fat with Fear, Pride, Insecurity and Control

“who eat at Jezebel’s table.”….(1 Kings 18:19).

For many years, I fed upon fear, pride, insecurity, and control. Therefore, what my life kept producing was a woman who lived in captivity, controlled by my own fears. I was a glutton to them with a heart and mind that were growing fat with sin. Eventually, our sins start to leak out, until we begin to starve ourselves from feasting at the wrong table.
I hear many people say, “I’m going to stop eating sugar, or I’m going to stop eating fast food.” I hear very few people say (myself included), “I’m going to stop feasting upon fear, pride, insecurity, and control.”
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It is no wonder our world is so broken, with so many of us feeding at the wrong table, our minds get weighed down. Out spirits become burdened with our own self-indulgent gluttony. I think what my life needs, more than anything, is not a fast from food, for truly, the issue isn’t food, the issue is the heart. We become addicted to food, exercise, sports, tv, success, money, and material things, because of things like fear, insecurity, and control.
The longer we feed at their table, the deeper our deception goes. Bad habits formed over many years take a long time to break. The same goes for sinful habits we have indulged in. It will require a fasting of the soul to break them. A relentless pursuit of freedom. A change in our minds and wills to start feeding at the right table.
The only way to be free is to dine at the Lord’s table. The table of His love, mercy, grace, and goodness. Truly, He is sufficient.
A few weeks ago, the Lord challenged me to take a step away from fear and into faith. It meant dealing with something in my life that I didn’t want to make known. It meant releasing control and fear. It meant laying down some things that I wanted to hold on to. I decided that God is trustworthy and that He honors people who release their fears and practice faith.
This was a big step for me, to side with God and to start feasting from His table. Now, I sense His peace and grace. My belief in who He is for me is growing because fear and control aren’t weighing me down. This journey with Jesus is all about learning to daily fight for our freedom as God grows and shapes us into new people our hearts swell with His love so that we learn how to be content in every circumstance, in Jesus name.
Abba, daddy, you are so good to me. You are a good, loving father who desires to give good gifts to His children. I know that you are giving me good gifts even now. Gifts of your love, grace, and mercy. Gifts of the joy of Jesus. Gifts of your sufficiency. Gifts of contentment and peace. Gifts of a heart that is full of you. Jesus, let it be so. I want to grow in you, Amen.

Betrayal and Forgiveness

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him…(Isaiah 53:10)

Betrayal is a terrible thing. It is deeply crushing to the soul and it requires the furthest extent of forgiveness. It is an awful reality in the lives of people who live in a broken world.
Divorce, adultery, abandonment, abuse, giving false witness about someone, having a friend turn their back on you. Many of us, if not all, have experienced some form of betrayal or it has come knocking at our door or of someone we love deeply.
It requires the furthest extent of forgiveness.
I have been contemplating this thought recently. Mercy says I forgive you. Grace says, now come and dine with me at my table.
Grace is truly the furthest extent of forgiveness.
Grace is not something I always want to extend. I want to hold onto anger. Yet, the Lord Jesus beckons me to come and be crushed for Him, not letting people walk all over me, but letting my own demand for justice be crushed out of me. Some of us are waiting to forgive a person until they ask for it in the way that meets our expectations. We must choose love, grace, and forgiveness, regardless. Even if their repentance doesn’t meet our expectations. Maybe they never repent, we must choose to let it go.
We must release our own desire to have justice in our way be crushed out of us so that the Lord Himself might fill our hearts with His love. This doesn’t always mean that we become best friends with that person once again, but we cannot justify storing up bitterness and resentment towards a person if we are to live as Christians fully alive int he Lord Jesus.
Lord, today I will walk in grace. To forgive at the fullest extent. To be wise and walk in love. Abba, daddy, you love me. I have you, therefore, I have enough. For those who have hurt me, I forgive them, to the fullest extent. To those I have hurt, I pray they would offer me grace. For truly, I am a sinner in need of love too, in Jesus name, Amen.

When Idols Die and Faith Grows

“Every word of God is flawless; 

he is a shield to those who take refuge in him….. (Proverbs 30:5).

For many years I worshipped a false god. It was a false god of doubt and fear. I would take it with me everywhere. This false god of fear and doubt made me constantly question God, doubt His goodness and feel like I had to be in control. It led me down paths I’d rather not recall and caused me to make decisions that have proved to be very painful.
The past year of my life, I was brought to a crossroads. There at the crossroads, God challenged me, “Heather, will you follow me now, or will you continue to serve your worthless idols?” I knew something in me had to change. Something desperately needed to grow, so in order for it to grow, God had to allow for crushing circumstances to enter my life. Circumstances that in many ways crippled me. Everywhere I turned God would throw up something else until I felt powerless. Powerless in my own strength. I knew what I needed what the power of God. Our idols give us a false sense of strength and security, but once they are brought before the throne room of God they cannot stand up against His might.
I am now finally learning how to practice faith. How to live without fear. How to love well. How to believe God for who He is; mighty, trustworthy, powerful and good. For the first time, what is coming out of my mouth is actually lining up with the peace I sense in my Spirit. It’s a belief that says, “God is bigger than that. God will redeem, restore and heal all in my life that the enemy tried to steal, kill and destroy.”
It was a slow journey, but that is what sanctification is. It is the process of being made new. We must understand that no growth comes overnight. It comes through many nights of holding fast to the Lord Jesus, as He changes us from the inside out.
Lord, I believe. I really do. I know that you hold me. You will take care of me. No matter what life brings me, I have you. Therefore, I have everything I need. I have the joy of Christ. I am a child of God. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for demolishing strongholds in my life. Thank you for making me a new woman, in Jesus name, Amen.

Seven Evil Spirits

it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order… (Matt 12:44).

It’s easy to look at the lives of others and think, “Wow, they really have it all together.” A simple picture or encounter at the grocery store can send us tumbling down a path of jealousy as we daydream about their perfect life. However, a pristine image doesn’t always mean there is a transformed heart or a healthy home behind the image.
In Matthew 12 an impure spirit leaves a person only to come back and find that the house is vulnerable to an attack. It brings with it seven evil spirits, bringing even greater destruction upon that person to begin with.
When the impure spirit came back it found the house, “put in order.” You could say that from the outside the house looked healthy. It looked well put together. Some onlookers might even have become jealous over the outward image that the house now reflected. However, outward images do not keep us from spiritual failures. Outward images only invite spiritual attacks, because truly, we have made ourselves vulnerable in our own pride and apathy.
Dustpan And Brush On A Wooden Floor
We must go beyond putting things in order, to filling our homes with the power and presence of God. What the house needed was the warring power of God, lived out in a person whose heart was driven not by outward appearances, but by the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit. Found only in humility. If I am willing to admit that my inner man is in desperate need of God on a daily basis, replacing a pristine home with the grace of God, my heart and mind become cleansed from superficiality. Then, I must replace my superficiality with total dependence on the living God.
Now, when the enemy returns, there is no room to even approach the doorway, because the mighty angels of God stand in protection of it. For truly, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. If I am willing to admit my need for God and my total dependence on Him I can find with it comes the energy, power, and fortitude of the living God who fights my battles.
Lord, fill my heart and mind with your power and presence. I want to live as a woman whose heart has been made fully alive. Protect my home and my heart from evil. Jesus, reside there in the inner places of my heart that are desperate for a touch from you. Abba, I need you. Fill me now with your Spirit, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

How to Find Peace When Everything is Falling Apart

search your hearts and be silent….(Psalm 4:4).

Sometimes God wants to fill the silence of our hearts with His love. I am experiencing that now as I quiet my heart before Him. I sense His peace even in the midst of circumstances that I do not understand.
Loss, grief, abandonment, betrayal, neglect, abuse, we have all experienced one, a few or all of these. It’s in those moments, in the midst of our pain that God wants to fill the silence of our hearts with His love.
Also, in these moments my misunderstanding of who God wants to fill the silence with anger, doubt, fear, and despair. Yet, I know that my Redeemer lives and I will stand with Him on the earth. Truly, no weapon can be formed against me. No plan of the enemy shall prosper in my life as I place myself in the loving hands of a mighty God.
Through this season of crushing God has been teaching me what it truly means to care for people. He is teaching me that not only do I need to be silent before Him, but before others as well. Sometimes, the only thing a person needs is the quietness of God’s presence lived out through His people. So that God can fill the silence, speaking into the heart and mind of that person.
Lord, today I choose to be silent, for I know that your plans for my life are good. I have nothing to fear. I believe only in the redemption of my life. I believe that whatever the enemy has set up for my destruction will be used for my ultimate good. Lord, I trust and believe you, because you are a mighty, powerful, loving God. In Jesus name, Amen.

Chaos, Faithfulness​ and Joy

and her faithful people will ever sing for joy…. (Ps 132:16).

A byproduct of faithfulness is joy. It’s the kind of joy that makes the heart grow in love, contentment, and peace. When the world is crumbling around you, nothing can steal your joy. With each step of faithfulness, walked out over time, the heart swells with even greater joy for the things of God. When the enemy comes thrashing at your life he is attempting to destroy your faithfulness. For he knows that if you give way to his destruction, your joy will die. A chaotic, fearful heart amidst difficult circumstances is really a reflection of a life that does not understand the heart and character of God.
There is a season I am walking through that I do not understand. It is confusing and painful. The thought of what could be is devastating. Yet, in my heart, I sense the peace of God. Why? Because that’s what I have been planting there for months. When God strips us of all we hold dear, He’s giving us an opportunity to plant new things in the garden of our lives. Things like trust, faithfulness, and obedience. I am learning that the greatest witness I can be for Christ is not when I am doing things for God, but who I am becoming in the quietness of the morning, being planted in His love as I commune with Him.
As God grows our heart through our sweet time with Him our spiritual readiness flourishes because of our faithfulness. Now, when the time comes to stand we do not waver in unbelief, fear or anxiety, because we trust the one who has us in the palm of His hand.
Does my heart still wrestle with the why, how and what? Yes, of course, but the only place I can land my heart is in His arms. Fear, bitterness, anger, resentment, and shame call me to land my heart in their distress, but I will not because only destruction lies there. I will die in the hands of my maker, for truly when I do, He resurrects me with joy from His vineyard of grace for the newness of my own heart.
Lord, I do not understand, but I believe. I believe that you are good. I believe that no matter what life brings me I can trust you. You are so good. My heart, my life, take it all, for it belongs to you. Abba, daddy, please fill my heart today with what I have been planting in it. For those who have planted anger, bitterness, and fear into their hearts, Abba, I pray that they might embrace your love instead. Let it be so, I pray, In Jesus name, Amen.

Finding Calm Among the Chaos

But I have calmed and quieted myself….(Psalm 131:2).

Sometimes life becomes chaotic, busy and unstable. I have found in these moments that I have two choices to make; join in the chaos, letting my heart be run by it, or become a calming presence, anointed and filled with God’s love.
More recently in my life, I have been conscious to check my heart in these situations. What I have come to realize is that whenever my heart feels overwhelmed by fear, I always join in the chaos. Fear of what might happen, fear of how this will look to others, fear of what this means for my present circumstances and my future. Fear keeps me stuck in the cycle of chaos.
I have been dying to fear in my life recently. As the Lord has been stripping one thing after another from me for the cleansing of my own heart, I am learning that I must trust Him to send the rain in my life. The rain of His grace and provision. The rain of His love into my heart, that I might become a river of love for the world to see and experience.
As Christians, one of the greatest roles we can play in our world is to be a people that consistently calm and quiet themselves before the Lord, so that people have a safe place to go to find rest for their worried, chaotic souls.
A few days ago the Lord spoke something into my life. He said, “Heather, prepare your fields for rain.” I’ll be honest, I’m kind of over that. I’m really done sitting in this season of cultivation and waiting. I want the rain to come now. However, as much as my flesh wants to fight against God’s timing in my life, I am learning, with great patience, and sometimes with a little kicking and complaining that the only place I can go is into the arms of God, finding rest for my soul.
Today, I will sit with the Father in the fields of my heart, allowing Him to reshape me there. I’ll let Him uproot things in my life and plant new joys and mercies so that in His timing, He might send the rain.
Lord, I want to live as a calming presence for the world of your love. Sometimes, I get distracted. Sometimes, fear overtakes me. I am learning though, that fear is from the enemy and that I have the Spirit of God. I am your child. May my heart and mind be fully satisfied by your love. Oh Lord, let it be! I am yours! In Jesus name, Amen!

Prepare Your Fields for God’s Power in Seasons of Drought

As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” – (1 Kings 17:1)

The drought that Elijah would predict over the land of Israel during the reign of Ahab and Jezebel had nothing to do with rain or crops, but everything to do with the destruction of Baal. Baal was a Canaanite fertility god, whose worship was now being practiced throughout the land of Israel thanks to the poor leadership of Ahab and Jezebel. It was believed that if the Israelites worshipped Baal that he would provide a fruitful, fertile land for them, bringing rain to feed and grow their crops. Therefore, the absence of rain meant the destruction of Baal.
Sometimes God takes us through seasons of drought, solely for the purpose of destroying our idols. The drought should never be our focus, although, I’ll be honest, sometimes it’s the only thing I can see. Sometimes, it gets my main energy and attention, because I just want the drought to be over. Yet, there’s something in the drought God is destroying to demolish old patterns of behavior and sinful tendencies in our lives.
After three years God finally sends Elijah back to Ahab to let him know that rain will come once again upon Israel. The climax of the story comes when Elijah meets on Mt. Carmel to have a showdown to see whose God will burn up the sacrifice. The prophets of Baal cry out, slash themselves and try to invoke their god to send fire, but nothing happens. Elijah steps up and in no time the Lord brings fire down upon a sacrifice that Elijah drenched in water.
You see, God wants to put His power on display in our lives. He sends the drought because there’s preparation that He’s doing in our lives that we cannot see, but we must trust. I feel like I’m living in this place where God keeps sending the drought because He wants me to prepare my fields for rain. He wants me to cultivate the soil of my heart, and train my hands for war against the devil of my soul. I am learning that training for war really means sitting in a place of cultivation with the Father. It means allowing Him to dig up sinful patterns and behavior. It means letting go of my idols so that He, the Lord, might send the rain.
Lord, I trust you. This is so hard for me to be in a place of waiting. I do not like it, but I know it is for my good. I know that you are asking me to prepare my fields. I know, that in your goodness, you will send the rain. Jesus, be my joy, I believe in your love. You are so good to me, in Jesus name, Amen.

Take a Look in the Mirror

The older brother became angry and refused to go in…(Luke 15:28).

It’s easy to look at the lives of others and become jealous. It’s easy to sit back, wishing we had their life and not ours. It’s also easy to grow hidden resentment towards that person because they have what you want.
Selfishness is a real issue in the human heart. As jealousy rages, love dies, and self-takes center stage. If you have a hard time listening to someone else’s story without making it about you, then there’s a deep-rooted problem with selfishness in your heart.
The son who did not run off and spend all of his money on prostitutes and wild living was not as righteous as he thought. For truly, he was just as sinful in his own heart and mind. Sometimes, the persons sin I see the most is not my own, but everyone else’s. However, a healthy heart is a heart that first looks into the mirror to see how their own self-has played into the matter. Admitting our own faults first is the first step towards freedom in our lives from things like fear, anger, jealousy, and pride.
Why don’t we have that conversation with someone who has hurt us? Why are we not addressing things as we should? Is it fear? Is it pride? Just because another person does something we don’t like doesn’t mean that our role is now to sit back and complain about. A healthy response would be to lovingly confront that issue with the other person. I have noticed in my own life when I avoid hard conversations its because I’m afraid of what might happen.
There are two people involved in every conversation. We must remember that. Two people with flaws, insecurities, and fears. Two people with their own baggage and brokenness. Sometimes the only bag we pick up is their own baggage, when really the one we need to be unpacking is our own.
Lord, I have issues in my heart, you know this, but I am growing in you. I am impatient. I am fearful and prideful at times. Lord, I want my life to point others to your love. I want it to sing of your mercies that are new every morning. Lord, be my joy today, I pray, Amen.

Speak Up

But the people said nothing…. (1 Kings 18:21).

Have you ever sat back and said nothing when someone was taking advantage of another person or doing something wrong? I have. Have you ever stayed silent because you were afraid that people wouldn’t like you, that they would talk about you or pick on you? I have. Have you ever not shared your faith or talked about Jesus for fear of rejection or being looked at as weird? I have.
What I have found in my heart in these moments is fear. Fear keeps me from doing the right thing, for standing firm for what is right, and caring for someone who is being misused, forgotten or left alone. My fear is really rooted in selfishness. A selfish heart that cares more about my own appearance before others than standing up for what I know is right.
As the Jewish people stood before Elijah and the prophets of Baal he challenged them to stop wavering between two opinions and to choose for themselves if Baal was god or if the God of Israel was God. Sadly, as the scripture goes, the people say nothing.
I imagine their reasoning for saying nothing was because some of their hearts had turned away from God. Others may have been afraid of the prophets of Baal and their perceived power. Therefore, not saying anything because of what the consequences coming from these evil prophets might have been. Some of us have faced deep injustices in our lives because we have been taken advantage of and no one spoke up for us. Maybe someone did, but it fell on deaf ears or maybe we were the person who was supposed to speak up for someone else, but we remained silent for fear of the unknown.
Staying silent is never the right option when injustice is happening. Silence speaks to the oppressor that your own identity and power matters more than their present plight.
Speaking up for God, choosing to live radically for Him may mean that we lose things in our lives like popularity and prestige. If we are willing to let go of our own pursuit of power and start lifting up others, living boldly for God, not caring about what others think of us we can find joy in knowing that we are safe in the hands of God.
Lord, I don’t ever want to waver between two opinions. I want my life to be saturated in your love. I want to see others, speaking up for them when they are being taken advantage of. I want to be a woman who is set on fire by your love and who is not afraid to stand for Jesus no matter what the cost. Lord, today, I will walk with my heart surrendered to your love, in Jesus name, Amen.