Take This Cup From Me

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, but not my will, but yours be done…..(Luke 22:42)

All of us have a cup that we’re drinking from in life that we’d rather just dispose of completely. It’s the embarrassing thing that we’d rather not talk about. It’s the job loss, marriage and family troubles, troublesome children or financial challenges.

I have a few cups of my own that the enemy loves to try and use against me. Cups that make me feel like a failure if I let his voice speak to loudly into my life. Cups that make me wants to go back and undue everything. Cups that make me angry at God and others if I’m not careful. Cups that keep me from becoming something new.

Friend, don’t you see, that cup was given to you to do just that- make you new. Yes, brand new in the image of Christ. Stop hiding your cup and covering your heart in shame. The thing happened, it just did and we can’t undue it now. It does not mean you’re a failure. Stop drinking from that cup of failure and start embracing your sufferings as gifts. Yes, as gifts. Trust me, I know that’s hard, but when we don’t view them as gifts, we just see them as suffering and we’ll always feel like a martyr. We can’t love the people who were part of what’s inside of the cup if we keep wanting to throw that cup away. We just can’t.

So today, dear friend, I would simply ask you, as I have had to discipline myself to do many times, to accept this cup with joy and to see it as a gift to grow you more into His image. Look, you’re not drinking this cup because God is punishing you. It’s quiet possible that through it, if you’d let Him, He’s simply setting you free.

Lord, today I choose to drink with joy from the cups in my life that I feel short changed by. Forgive me God when I let my feelings take over and start to become critical of the things in my life. Grow me into your image as I drink with joy from the cups in my life that are challenging, in Jesus name, Amen.

When Faith Feels Risky

All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth, but she out of her poverty put all she had to live on….(Luke 21:8)

Faith, real faith, to me, feels scary at times. Doesn’t it for you? At least, that’s the journey God keeps taking me on. It feels risky, but I know in His hands I am safe.

Truth be told though, I really want faith to be easy. I want my relationship with God to keep my bank account full, my marriage always happy, child always healthy and my ministry always fruitful. But I’m learning something so much different about faith when things don’t go how I expected. I’m learning the power of truly abiding in God for my daily bread. The bread that I need to be a gracious, honoring wife. The sustenance I need that comes from Him to feed my daughter with the love of God and the grace to believe that He provides, truly provides for my every need.

That’s easy to say, until He takes you there, isn’t it?

My thought in this present season is that whatever it is that I lack, I need to give more abundantly. To test God to see what He might do for me.

Friend, if you keep hanging on to it He can’t do much with it, but if you’re willing to truly set it free and let it go, waiting in a time that pushes your buttons and makes you uncomfortable, He can make something good from it.

I started getting angry with God a couple of days ago about a situation in my life that wasn’t working out how I had hoped. I know though that my anger towards Him had to be transformed into praise and belief for what He had planned to do. It just meant He had something better. I had to believe that and friend, it’s true for you too.

God loves to give good gifts to His children, just be patient and choose to give out of your poverty. It’s when He can finally step in to make something good out of your situation. That’s what I’m believing for my life today. Won’t you join me?

Lord, faith, real faith, is hard. I can’t say I always like it. Oh Lord, but I want to trust and believe. I want to be found faithful to you. So in this season of need, make me more generous, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

In The Smallest of Matters

Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter…(Luke 19:7)

We all, within our humanness lust for a bigger stage. A greater purpose, maybe the one our friend has or seems to have. We think our lives would have more meaning if people would just see how great we are! At least, that’s what I have felt before in the depth of my selfish heart.

But maybe the call of the Christian life isn’t to be “someone” but to be faithful, even in the smallest of matters.

Maybe loving your grandmother, staying by her beside during her last days on earth is more powerful than delivering some great sermon or pulling off some great ministry event.

Maybe sitting with a person dealing with grief and sadness, simply listening to them pour out their heart and weep is better than launching some new and exciting ministry.

Maybe taking care of special needs child, watching them for a few hours, so their weary parents can get some respite is far more meaningful than leading a Bible study for the masses.

Maybe faithfulness, not success, is the key to fruitfulness.

This is the journey God has been taking me on. He seems to be hitting repeat on some things in my life to give me a do-over. I can’t say that I really like that if I’m being honest. I don’t want to go back and do things over. I want to keep moving onward and upward, but friend, sometimes, God has to take us back and put us in a similar place we were before to see if we’ll choose faithfulness over folly. Wisdom and waiting over wanting, wishing and having our own way.

So if you keep finding yourself in a familiar place. As I have in recent years, look up, your Heavenly Father is doing something and you can trust Him. You just have to be faithful.

Lord, I really don’t like it that things resurface in my life in areas where I didn’t listen, I didn’t trust, I didn’t walk by faith. But oh how I want to do things differently this time around! Forgive me for not waiting, not listening, no obeying. I want to walk in humility so that I don’t keep getting things put on repeat, in Jesus name, Amen.

My Marriage Was Full of Chaos

I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out….(Joshua 14:11)

Years ago, my life was filled with a chaotic marriage. Life for me was not stable. It was, on every level, confusing, heartbreaking and filled with deep grief and sadness. I had no rest during that period in my life. I learned to live in small pockets of grace, but life was not peaceful at home. Which made it difficult for me to live as a woman of rest.

My husbands heart was not at rest. It was filled with anger and all of that anger caused my husband to stop fighting for his own personal freedom.

Friend, when we stop fighting for freedom, we will always spin in chaos and live in places of defeat.

You see, Joshua, was a man in the Scriptures who experienced great rest with God. However, his rest came after he chose to fight for what God had given him. Then, after walking forward in faith, he was able to rest.

The same was true for my marriage. It wasn’t until we both decided to fight, no longer against one another, but for each other that rest started to shape our lives instead of chaos.

Whenever chaos tries to slip back into my life or my husbands, I know it’s because we stopped fighting for freedom in Christ. Because friend, when you do that, you’ll get sucked into all the lies, start believing them, living in them and bringing the ones you love the most into your own personal chaos.

We must learn, instead, how to fight for freedom from sin. When we do, yes, it will be hard and humbling at first, but once we’ve fought and defeated the devil through the power of the risen Christ, we can live in the rest of God.

So friend, if you feel like that relationship is always going to be this way. I want to remind you to look up, be revived again and fight for freedom. Not from that person, but from your sin. It’s the only way out and it’s the way of peace for those who would walk in it.

*** I do understand, as was true in my situation, that abusive relationships are real and many people experience them. I would never counsel nor encourage someone to just stay in it and keep fighting. Sometimes, as it was in my case, separation is needed and necessary and if that person chooses to stay abusive and not repent, then please don’t enter back into that chaos. Find a supportive spiritual counselor who can help you navigate things moving forward and please, get help.

Lord, you are my peace. Help me to see my sin. I don’t want to live in it. I want to live in peace. Use my life to be a place of peace for others, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Is The American Church Under a Satanic Lullaby?

Yesterday at church, our pastor told a story of a woman who had come from a third world country to America. After only being here a couple of months she told her husband she was depressed. He asked her why and her response was, “The church in America is under a satanic lullaby.”

Friend, I just can’t get those words out of my head and when I read the words of Jesus, I think what this woman has said is really true.

Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26)

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27)

In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” (Luke 14:33)

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21)

The activity of Jesus seems to be most prominent among people who give more and serve the least of these. People who don’t go wishing for more things, but who store up treasures in Heaven. Those whose lives are characterized by growing Gods Kingdom by spreading His message and choosing to be His light.

I just can’t get those words out of my head though- “The American church is under a satanic lullaby.” I’m asking God to show me where I have been sung to sleep by satan and his words of deception.

I think what God is showing me is that one of the main areas I need to wake up in is to start speaking His name more among the people I meet without fear of offending them. Friend, this is all too costly for the souls of people. We have to speak up that hell is a real place, and that there is good news for all- that Jesus saves and rescues, redeems and draws people out of darkness. Out of a life headed towards hell and into His life.

I’m praising God for my new life in Christ for the joy of Heaven that awaits me someday, but I also realize that there are many who are headed to hell and I must speak with greater boldness about His love. Won’t you, dear friend, join me on that Kingdom mission? So that the American church might be revived as we start taking the words of Jesus a little more seriously.

Oh Lord, I repent of my quietness. I want to speak of your name to everyone that I meet. To tell them about your forgiveness and love. To share your Kingdom message, in Jesus name, Amen.

Did You Actually Hear From God?

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus….(Luke 16:14)

I can’t tell you how money times my husband or other person has said something to me and I filtered it through some kind of insecurity and didn’t actually end up hearing what they were truly saying.

I’ll get this little voice inside my head that tells me something that just isn’t true, but I’ll start to spin the words around in my head as if they really are.

All of this makes me realize that when it comes to hearing from God, I have to be very careful as I truly attempt to discern what God is saying to me. Truly, I don’t want to filter what I think He’s saying through my insecurities, but if I’m being honest, I know that sometimes I do.

I think God gives us, at times, certain liberties and freedoms. Kind of like boundaries to stay in, and freedom to live within them. Then, there are other times when we bust through the boundaries, start living outside of them, but somehow convince ourselves we’re still in them because we’re hearing what we really want to hear, not what God has said.

In trying to reconcile a relationship in my life through forgiveness years ago the other person said to me, “God told me, it is finished,” and that was it. Therefore, we never truly reconciled the relationship and forgave one another. I have compassion for that person though, because I know, just like me, they sometimes filter what they think God has said through their insecurities.

Friend, don’t get to mad about it when you see it in other people, but understand that it holds you too. Those fears and insecurities, those hang ups and disruptions. That’s why it’s so important we seek out wisdom, within the body of Christ, as we attempt to truly hear from God.

So I don’t know what wise friend you need to call today, but call them and ask for their help as you discern God’s will for your life.

Lord, you are master. I trust you. I know I need the help of wise friends to hear from you. I don’t want to hear what you’ve said through my insecurities. I want to believe that you are good and faithful. I want to follow you, in Jesus name, Amen.

Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing….Proverbs 34:10b

Have you ever caught yourself thinking, I want THAT car, marriage, experience as a parent, house, job, financial security, body, health, or happiness? Yeah, I’ve been there too and wrongfully, I’ve felt short-changed by God because I didn’t have it.

I get it, it’s painful. You desperately want the same life experiences as those around you. You don’t understand why your child is sick, you lost your job, your marriage is such a struggle or why that loved one had to die so young. If I’m being honest, I can’t say I understand it either. I’m not sure why some people have to endure such painful things, but one thing I do know is that we are all, on some level, enduring pain.

So instead of thinking i need THAT, I’m going to tell myself no. That’s what I do with my child. I tell her no often when she asks for something she believes she needs so badly.

Because as much as I want that, I know that I just need Him- the Lord Jesus and waiting on Him is far better than wanting whatever that is.

So won’t you join me today as we thank God for His new morning mercies knowing that even if we never get that- we have Him and for that we can rejoice. We don’t have to go looking, chasing and running try to find “that” we can rest in knowing that as we live a life of surrender we will receive everything we need in Him.

Yes Lord, I trust you. You are so good. Speak to me as I surrender my wants and desire only what I need in you, in Jesus name, Amen.

Moses Was Faithful In The Desert

I will give you every place where you set your foot as I promised Moses….(Joshua 1:3)

Moses had a difficult, yet blessed ministry. Truth be told, he never really got to see the greatest blessing by entering into the promised land. Joshua was the one who would go after Moses and lead the Israelites into the land God had promised them, many, many years prior.

Have you ever sat back and wondered why your ministry seems so hard? Sure, it is blessed but maybe it just seems like one more hill to climb after the other. But friend, maybe your role isn’t to see the promised land, but instead, to stay faithful in the desert, so that the generations after you might be blessed.

Would you we be willing to be like Moses, to trudge through the desert, to stay faithful to God in the midst of hardship just so that the younger generations coming up after you might experience something so great that your eyes wouldn’t believe it?

That’s what I’m clinging to for my life. That although my ministry looks different and at times feels harder than it has before, I recognize that my role in the Kingdom isn’t all about walking in the promised land. Sometimes it’s about staying faithful in the desert. The desert of my calling, marriage, parenting and friendships. The desert of my health or of loving a sick child or family member. The desert where God asks me to be like Moses so that the generations after me might be blessed of God to see the goodness of God in the promised land of His blessing and grace.

Lord, I know that your blessing and grace meets with me even in the desert. I want to be found faithful. Yes Lord, let it be so, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Living In The Lap of God

and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders….(Deut 33:12)

I love it when my daughter slows down long enough to sit in my lap, rest between my shoulders and embrace me in a hug. It truly gives me some of the greatest delight when she snuggles up close, near to me. I feel that way with the other people in my life who I love- my parents, husband and other dear friends.

The Lord loves us in the same way. He waits for us to slow down long enough to sit in His lap, right between His shoulders and embrace Him for all He is in a hug. I love that about God, don’t you? That He is a safe, loving, gentle and kind Heavenly Father who doesn’t just give us new life, but who cares for us as a Father.

As a child I used to sit in my dad’s lap during church service. I can still take my mind back to those moments as a child when life felt safe, secure and gentle with my father. I don’t remember much about the church services. I just remember being close to my father’s heart. That’s what I cherished the most. That was what was most precious to me.

Maybe life as a follower of Jesus is supposed to work in the same way. We feel so close to Him that we cherish His presence more than His power or working in our life. I have to remind myself often that His presence is better than His activity in my life to answer my prayers and do what I need. Truly, being close to His heart, snuggled up between His shoulders is the best place for me in this life. Even if He doesn’t answer my prayers the way I would have liked- I have Him and that is enough for today.

Lord, I long to sit between your shoulders and to rest in your love. I take great delight in knowing that I am your child. What a gift! Thank you for being a safe, gentle and wonderful father. You are so good, Amen.

It’s Time To Rise and Shine

try hard to be reconciled on the way….(Luke 12:58)

Friend, it’s time to let go of those grudges. I know you’ve got them. I deal with them sometimes too. I can even find myself in a place where the enemy tries to get me mad again over what happened after I’ve already set it free and let it go. I think that’s just part of the process though, learning to let things go and embrace forgiveness, each step of the way even when we’re triggered and want to get mad all over again.

Sometimes it feels good to get mad. If I’m being completely honest. Each time I get mad I start to feel as though maybe un-cracking that story once again to help others see the un-justice will give me a sense of satisfaction, but I have learned all of that is so futile and pointless. Instead I’ve learned to walk away from that, choose forgiveness once more and walk hand in hand with God into His mercies that are new every morning for my life.

Each morning as I walk into my daughters room to get her up for the day I sing a song my mother used to sing to me. I add a little spice to it and dance my way into her room as I grab her from her crib.

“Good morning, good morning, good morning, it’s time to rise and shine.”

Her face lights up, she giggles and my silly dancing and life feels much simpler, and much more delightful. But friend, that’s where a heart at rest finds itself- dancing to silly songs and delighting in the little things. I just can’t do that when I’m holding a grudge.

So won’t you dance with me today, not back into the past, but fully alive in the present today, so that others might taste, see and experience His love in you?

Lord, thank you for redeeming all things. You are so very good. I love you. You are my joy and delight. My victory and very great reward, in Jesus name, Amen.