Consider Him

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart…. (Heb 12:3).

Don’t give up. You’re just getting started. Our journey’s with God last a lifetime, but the enemy wants us to get stuck in time so that we don’t keep moving forward with God. Some of us get stuck in our pain. Others of us get paralyzed by fear, worry or discouragement. Then, at other times, we get stymied by sin and are unable to move forward with God towards the future He has for us.
I have lived in all of those place in different seasons of my life. I wish I could say with full confidence that I never stray from the path God has for me, but that’s just not true. I wish I could say that I’ve never felt like giving up, but again, that’s just not true either. 
The writer of Hebrews reminds us to consider Jesus, the one who persevered through great trials. The Savior who lived and died and never gave up. The King who was misunderstood, mistreated and forgotten, yet did not give into despair, discouragement or deception.
But how was Jesus able to endure as He did?
It was through His abiding in HIs father that He found the strength to keep pressing forward. Even in moments of great anguish Jesus kept pressing into HIs father.
You see the enemy was defeated in Jesus’ life, because Jesus wasn’t. I need you to hear that. Even though Jesus had every right to feel defeated, He chose a different journey. He chose to press into HIs Father although I’m sure, everything inside of Him, as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsename told Him not to. Since Jesus was so intimately close to His Father He was able to stay faithful despite His difficult circumstances.
As you and I stay close to our Father, we too will be able to persevere and not grow weary in the midst of trying and difficult circumstances.
Father, you are so good. Help me to walk by faith as I trust in your love. I want more of you. I want to be so close to you that I continue to abide and not grow weary no matter what comes my way. May this be the song of my heart, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

When Your Own Thoughts Start to Cause Division Within the Church

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many…..(Heb 12:15).

Unity in the church is so important that without it, things start to fall apart.
If I am not careful, I sense a voice of disunity and division start to wedge its way into my own heart and mind. It’s then, during those times, when I sense a voice of negativity start to flood me that I must begin to tell myself a different story- a Godly story. A story of hope and goodwill. A story of peace and grace. If I don’t, a bitter root will spring up that starts to pollute my heart with the poison of division.
Division within the church is so hideous that to us, it seems justified, based upon the story we’ve been telling ourselves for far too long. You see, bitter roots start to make sense when we have played their messages on repeat. I know I’ve lived in that place of sin, where one message became so convincing to me that I was sure it was true. The more convinced I became the more bitter and hard my heart grew towards that lie.
We will always operate out of those divisive thoughts when we play the wrong song on repeat.
If we truly want to be unified we must live with an awareness that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy the good work of God. Until we learn to cast those doubts, fears and deceptive thoughts out bringing them out in the light of transparency, we will be swallowed up by them.
Godly living is not easy, we must work towards it. We must fight for it. We must persevere in it. It’s the only way we’ll find freedom together within the body of Christ.
Lord, we love you. We thank you that you love unity. Help us, God, to pursue it with relentless passion. Father, we want to be like you. We ask for more of your grace. We are so weak, yet you are so strong. Pour out your grace upon us, we pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

It’s Going To Be Ok”

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them…. (Ps 34:7).

The Lord spoke something into my Spirit yesterday.
“Heather, it’s all going to be OK.”
As I came to Him with my fears and insecurities I sensed His nearness and His voice reminding me not to worry, but to trust. Truly, His heavenly armies were guarding my heart when all I really wanted to do was retreat into a place or worry and fear.
What I have come to realize in life is that God’s deliverance doesn’t always mean deliverance from something physical or tangible. His deliverance might very well be something as simple as me, learning to release my fears, so that I can continue to walk forward into a difficult time knowing that God is in control.
As much as I would like God to automatically fix all of my problems this is not the kind of deliverance that grows our faith and trust in God. Truly, when I learn to take courageous steps of faith, even in the midst of great difficulty, my heart is changed, because I have learned to trust my Heavenly Father.
I don’t know where life brings you today, but understand that your Heavenly Father is always working. He loves to deliver us, and sometimes His deliverance looks much different than what we might expect.
Yesterday I wasn’t delivered from a difficult situation, but I was delivered from fear. I sensed great peace in the midst of trouble because I was able to set my heart at rest in His great love. Remember that the same deliverance awaits you too. Trust Him, He is working.
Father, thank you for your peace in my heart. Truly, you are a good and loving Father. Thank you that I can trust you. Be glorified in me and shower your grace upon me, in Jesus name, Amen.

Dealing with Betrayal

“Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”…(Lk 22:48).

Have you ever been betrayed by someone you thought had your back? Only to realize that what actually was happening was that they were talking about you behind your back? If you’ve lived any bit of life, you’ve experienced a similar betrayal. In my own immaturity, I’ve treated people this way. I’ve not been kind or brave enough to have an honest conversation and because of that I’ve done my own fair share of, “betraying someone with a kiss.”
I have repented of such behavior and asked for the Lord’s forgiveness on the matter because when you’re on the receiving end of the kiss, it is so painful. I certainly don’t want to put others through that kind of pain and so once you’ve experienced it for yourself, you become much more aware of just how damaging that kiss can be.
I think a lot of us, myself included, believe that if the kiss comes somehow we’ve failed God, others and ourselves. We take it way too personally and own it as if it was a burden that was ours to carry. You see, the kiss of betrayal that Judas laid upon Jesus was a kiss that Jesus was willing to receive since He knew it was coming. Jesus was willing to walk the painful journey that it brought.
Can I be really honest? I don’t want to walk the painful journey that any kind of betrayal big or small brings into my life. I’d much rather not deal with it any further. However, Jesus understood that as we trust God with betrayal, we can find joy in His refuge. Yes, we find true, genuine redemption of even the most broken situations.
So don’t get mad at the betrayer, but entrust yourself to God who will see you through. Trust me when I say this, as you hold fast to Him, you’ll walk out more beautiful than you were before. Just don’t get so focused on the betrayer that you forget about the redeemer and allow bitterness to well up in you. Learn to have a heart of grace that releases your pain to God, seek reconciliation as much as possible, but ultimately entrust yourself unto Him who judges justly.
Father, I entrust myself to you. Thank you that you see and know everything. Thank you that you care for me and that my identity isn’t wrapped up in the betrayal nor hurt I experience in this life, but in the one who judges justly. Jesus, thank you, I trust you, Amen.

A Much Needed Awakening

For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness….(Heb 7:28).

We must first recognize that we are weak people. Yes, we are all fallible, weak and insecure. We give way to our own fears far too easily. We walk not in holiness or reverence of God, but in a need for control, lust, and power. Truly, when we start to grasp what really lies underneath it all, we can finally start boasting in the one who makes weak people strong.
I have noticed that when I voice out loud to others my fears and insecurities that those things which were plaguing me become disarmed by the grace of humility. The power of my fallibility is still very real, but when I speak out loud acknowledging it with true and genuine honesty, something rises up inside of me that is from God to disarm its grip.
It’s not long after my confession to others when I sense a renewed heart and mind over the matter. I sense new strength because I am no longer living in the fear of that moment or in the insecurity of what I think might go wrong. Instead, I’m living in the freedom of knowing that there is grace for people like me who are weak. People like me can be made strong through the support and encouragement of others who love me just as I am and who support me in prayer no matter how weak I’ve become.
Truly, this is the body of Christ at work in its most beautiful fashion. The church doesn’t shine the most when all her members are coming across as perfect, but when they are confessing their need for grace. Yes, this is when the church becomes the most powerful. Not at the precipice of some great action they’ll do for God, but at the awakening of each individual’s personal need for grace.
Father, thank you that you love me, someone who is so weak without you, but so very strong in your grace. Lord, may I never boast in myself, but may I always boast in my weakness. Jesus, please be my joy. Capture my heart with your love, I pray, in your name, Amen.

My Unbelief is Telling Me That People Will Just Fail Me Again

We put our hope in the Lord…..(Psalm 33:20)

Can I be really honest? Sometimes, because of the things I’ve been through, I easily lose faith in God’s ability to act because I place my hopes in people. Since I’ve been burned a time or two by others I have a hard time thinking that others won’t do the same. Which, actually keeps me from praying with great faith that God will work in their hearts because I’ve become cynical about it.
Have you ever done that? Believed that someone was going to fail you just like the last person because of what you’ve been through? Have you ever lacked the fervency to pray, because the past keeps whisking you away making you believe that they’re just going to treat you the same way as the last person?
Maybe that’s just been me, but I want a different heart and a different attitude. You see, sometimes God walks us down the same or similar path to rip open some old wounds that need His healing. I think I’m noticing that I’ve used cynicism as part of my self-preservation to deal with the hurt I experienced. My cynical heart has become an unhealthy way that I coped with my past experiences. Now I’m seeing I need to change my heart and allow God to work in the ways that only He can.
I’m not saying that I’m all the way there, but I’m learning, with each moment to release my thoughts of unbelief and cynicism to the Lord as I’m met now with a similar challenge. I’m learning, once more, how to pray in faith, believing with all hope that God can and will work in the hearts of man and that they will respond in ever-increasing faith and humility.
Lord, this is a tough one for me. To really let go and trust you when I’ve covered up my heart with cynicism. Forgive me for my lack of belief. Help me now to grow in you and to grow in grace. I want to be a woman of great faith, let this be so, I pray, as I surrender my past and my present to you, in Jesus name, Amen.

When Life Gets Discouraging

“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us…(Matthew 20:31)

There are some days when I find myself crying out, “Lord, son of David, have mercy on me!” Today happens to be one of those days. If I could be quite honest, it’s because, without Him, I’ll become blinded by my own need for approval, and the disappointing circumstances and moments that have filtered their way into my life.
These blind men in Matthew 20 wanted to see and Jesus showed great compassion upon them so that they regained their sight. You and I constantly need to have our sight regained. It’s far too easy to fix our gaze on things that are disappointing and hurtful to us.
I think if Jesus were here, He’d say something like, “Beloved, don’t you know that I love you? Don’t you understand that I knew this would come your way? Don’t you believe that my mercy and grace is enough for you to walk this journey?”
Maybe I forget that because I’m not seeing with His eyes. Instead, I become bogged down with what I can only see in front of me, which feels hopeless and scary, defeating and discouraging. Yet, it was God who parted the Red Sea and delivered Israel from a hopeless situation. It was God who made the walls of Jericho fall. Therefore, it will be God who brings victory for you in the darkest of valleys in your life too.
Don’t be afraid to cry out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” I’ll be doing the same with you, awaiting His perfect provision, peace, and mercy for my life today.
Lord, I trust you. Truth is, all I have is you. Help me to see with eyes that are open to your grace and your leading. Lord, I feel misunderstood. I hate that, but I know that as I entrust each situation to you, that you will work all things out for your perfect glory, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Preparing for God’s Eternal Rest

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God….(Heb 4:9–10).

There will come a day when we will rest forever from all of our labors. Truly, it will be a day where we will experience an eternal Sabbath with God.
The word, Sabbath, or Shabbat in the original Hebrew means to cease, desist, to rest. When I think about a day like this my heart warms with great joy because I know it will be a day I have longed for nearly all my life. Not just because I’ll be in the presence of Jesus, but because I’ll feel no pressure to perform or create, do or become, I’ll simply be at peace with being fully His.
In this life, we have the opportunity to listen, to cease and desist from all our labors. Truly, this is our training ground for what it is to come. We have the joy, now, of entering His rest so that we can have a small taste of the happiness that awaits us.
I have learned over the past few year the value of rest. Truly, it offers me so much that busyness has stolen from me. It creates within me a peaceful city, a joyful destination and a heart of true happiness and pleasure. This place in time, where God and I simply be together are some of my most treasured moments of the day. Truly, there, in His presence and in the comfort of His rest, I can be my messy self, fully accepted by Him as I allow His arms of love to shape me into a new creation.
Yes, dear friend, rest is good for your soul. Truly, it is where we find God, as we sit still in the comfort of His love.
Lord, this rest is so good for our lives, but neglect is so often. Forgive us that we feel the constant need to be producing, controlling and creating. God, you’ve made us to create, but sometimes I know my pursuit of it comes from an unhealthy need to perform and receive the praise of man. Lord, I want to receive your praise and your praise alone. Capture my heart today, according to your love, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

When Worry Keeps Me From Entering God’s Rest

they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief…(Heb 3:19).

Worry, fear and unbelief are all things that have kept me from rest. You see, my inability to let go of what was in front of me and trust God genuinely kept me from being able to lay down in His presence and be held by His love.
There’s something so deeply satisfying about His presence, but sometimes, it becomes so rare for me to enter it. Especially as the day goes on and the worries of life start to press in on me. I have quickly learned something about myself that has helped me combat this reality.
I have learned not to trust myself, but instead, to entrust myself to God. Quite frankly, I know my intentions are not always pure, but in the moment, its difficult for me to see that. Therefore, throughout the day, I find myself constantly pausing to reflect, and ask some honest questions of myself before God.
“Where are these feelings coming from?”
“What’s driving me right now, peace or chaos?”
“Am I operating out of a place of joy or a place of anxiety and fear?”
These questions, very quickly reveal to me where my allegiance stands. If my heart is wrung with worry, then I will constantly live in a state of chaos, making decisions outside of the will of God, hurting myself and those I love the most.
I think an epidemic in the church, which keeps us from truly hearing from God and responding in faith is that we have neglected the powerful spiritual discipline of rest. Truly, every single day, my heart is in desperate need of this rest. If I do not practice it, I become controlled by chaos, but when I surrender myself into the throne room of God, my heart and mind can rest assured that my Heavenly Father is for me. Yes, He is comforting me and offering me great joy in the power of His perfect rest.
Lord, I surrender myself to you today. Truly, you are a mighty God who keeps His covenant of love. I can trust in your promises and rest in your love. That brings me such great joy to know that I don’t have to worry, but I can sit still knowing that you are always in control, in Jesus name, Amen.

Is God Listening?

I will wait for the LORD,… (Is 8:17).

Have you ever felt like God just wasn’t listening? Maybe that’s just been me, but I can recall many, many times when I kept offering up the same prayer only to receive nothing but silence. As I look back on those occurrences I believe some of His silence came from the fact that what I was asking of Him was wrong. My intentions and motivations were purely selfish and so my prayers fell flat before Him.
Then, there have been other times when I know that my motivations are not wrong, but God is asking me to wait upon Him. Can I be really honest? I really hated those seasons of waiting. Although I knew the waiting was for a good purpose it was so hard for me to let go of the things I wanted in the immediate. I often felt like a kid in a candy store, demanding God for a treat, instead of waiting with a tender, surrendered heart for the bounty that He had prepared for me.
Sometimes God challenges us to come towards Him with empty hands. Yes, empty hands that are ready to receive whatever He places in them. Sometimes what God gives us is the gift of suffering, in other seasons He pours out great gifts because of our obedience and then in those seasons of testing, He pours out silence. I think this is simply for the purpose of growing and stretching our faith. Truly, His silence teaches us to keep seeking and to keep weighing out before Him our motivations and intentions.
It’s not that God isn’t listening. Truly, He is always working. It’s that He’s teaching us something new about Him, but instead of seeking it as a treasure to behold, we stay stuck in our demands, spinning our heels into a deeper pit of discontentment formed and fashioned by our own stubborn hearts. As we learn to release our need to know all the answers and have everything in our timing we can rest assured that God is good and that truly, we can trust Him.
Lord, thank you so much for your grace. Truly, I don’t know where I would be without it. I have everything I could ever need in you. Forgive me when I forget that life is not about me, but truly, it is all about you. Thank you, God, for loving me and for setting me free from myself, in Jesus’ name, Amen.