Sometimes it Feels Like God Has Me in Prison

Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard…(Acts 23:35)

Because of some men who wanted to kill him, the best place for Paul to be while he was in Caesarea was to be kept in prison.

Friend, I know you’re going through a season that feels like prison, but it very well may be the best place for you and your spiritual growth. There might be things or opportunities outside of where you are right now that would crush you. It’s quite possible that God is keeping you at bay, not granting you the opportunity to serve Him or the ministry you’ve been praying about for years because your character isn’t where it needs to be. If you left prison, you’d be crushed, because your character has not gone through the furnace of affliction. You’ve not reached the point of humility that leads you to true service to God.

After all, it’s God we serve, not our callings. It’s people we love, not the ministries we want to build that matter most to Him. One thing I have been praying for myself is, “Lord, keep me here as long as it takes to grow my character. As much as I hate it, Lord, changed me. I submit myself to the process. Show me my sin within this so that I might repent and be changed.”

Maybe, this thing isn’t taking off for you just yet because God wants to grow you first. It’s quite possible that God is keeping where you’re at to love those around you. Friend, there are so many church leaders who love the ministries they lead more than the people in them. So before you go running off trying to find success somewhere else, plant yourself where God has you and love those around you deeply. Then, when you’re ready He’ll lead you out of what feels like prison, to a bigger shepherds field o love more people for the Kingdom.

Lord, I love you. I want to love others. Sometimes it feels like you put me in prison. Forgive me for getting angry and upset with you about that. I trust you, because you are good, in Jesus name, Amen.

Wait For God To Bring You Out

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”…(Acts 16:30)

Paul and Silas got to see God work a miracle in their life in prison. Only God could make chains fall off to produce their escape and because they waited long enough for God to do it, others were brought to Christ because of it.

Friend, I don’t know what kind of prison your in today. Possibly a place life has put you due to certain circumstances, but unless its causing you to be harmed by someone else or yourself, I want to encourage you to stay there. Yes, I want to encourage you to wait for God to bring freedom to your life. This might take weeks, months or possibly years of waiting, but I want you to wait, because if you’re willing to do so, the Lord will make your release so amazingly unbelievable that others will be drawn to Christ through the testimony of your life.

Paul and Silas didn’t plan their own escape, no, they just stayed in prison and trusted in God. Because of their willingness to wait, God brought them out. Friend, if I’m being honest, I don’t always want to hear that. I want to get out of prison fast. I don’t want to experience wilderness wanderings. But friend, there’s something about our trust that He’s building there in prison. It could be, this journey feels much longer to you, because you keep trying to figure it out yourself instead of simply waiting on God to make it happen.

Easier said than done. I understand, but how will we ever experience His power, redemption and deliverance if we are not willing to wait for it? Beloved, sit still and watch God work on your behalf. It will be beautiful if you’re willing to do it and I’ll be right there with you, sometimes impatiently waiting for God to do the thing I’ve been asking Him to do, but choosing to rejoice in Him regardless of what He does or doesn’t do for me.

Lord, you are good. I know that I can trust you. I don’t have to doubt your love. Be my hope and my joy. Be my victory and great reward. You are so kind and good. I trust you, and when I don’t, please forgive me, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Whenever You Run in Fear….

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear…(Psalm 27:1)

Yesterday, my sweet girl and I were playing at the park. She was on the bridge, making her way to the other side when she got spooked by another child coming the opposite direction towards her. Because of that, Adah, quickly turned and tried to run the other direction, but because she turned so quickly she fell right off of the bridge and landed pretty hard on her side and then on her head. Although I was standing right beside her she moved so fast I wasn’t able to grab her before she fell. Thankfully she wasn’t hurt. The bridge is not very high and the ground underneath was made of some sort of rubbery sponge-like substance, so she mostly bounced off the surface more than collided with it.

Not knowing this though, I quickly raced off the bridge scooped her up and spoke these words to her,

“Oh honey, we cannot run away from things in fear, whenever we do, it might cause us to hurt ourselves or possibly hurt others.”

As those words spilled out of my mouths, I had this deep impression that those words were for me too to serve as a spiritual reminder to walk in courage and not in fear.

The other day, my husband and I invited the elders of our church to pray over us. For me and my struggles with fear and for my husband and his battles with anxiety. We were starting to see them both manifest in our little girl and so we knew, we had to break the generational curses. We had to do something more than just hope God would heal us. We had to invite others in and so we did following the biblical principle found in James 5:14.

Since that night, I have felt more free of fear than I ever have and my husband would say the same with his anxiety. I can even tell the difference in him and have made multiple comments about the change I see in him and I feel the change inside of me too. I believe that as our daughter sees us walk more in courage, peace and faith she’ll start to overcome her own battles too and generational curses will be broken through the power of prayer, accountability and inviting others in.

So friend, consider inviting the elders/leaders of your church to pray for you as well. It takes some humility, but if you’re willing to do it, generational curses just might start to break. And be reminded that whenever we live in fear we will always hurt ourselves or others, but God offers us a better way, free from fear through the love and support of a church family who will pray for our freedom.

Lord, you offer us freedom. We don’t live in bondage, we stand in faith and walk in freedom because of Jesus. Help us now to live in that kind of faith and have the willingness to invite others in as they support us in prayer, in Jesus name, Amen.

Rebuking in Love

Better is open rebuke than hidden love…Proverbs

Friends, some people are ready to hear gospel truths and others are not. I have offered a number of loving rebukes in my life. Some people were ready to hear it and they repented and walked a different direction, but honestly, what usually happens is they keep on going the same direction. I have learned though, that if I have shown first, before I rebuke them that I love and care about them, even when they keep walking that same painful direction, they’ll continue in relationship with me.

The times when I have neglected to make known my love and care for them, they’ve walked away and then cut ties from me. I can understand why they would feel that way. I really can.

So friend, be careful to care for others first, before you go on rebuking them. God might lead you to call someone out on some sort of destructive issue in their life after you’ve just met them, it’s possible that you might serve as the last piece of the puzzle that leads them towards their repentance. What is more likely is that you’re the individual God has put to walk with them. Yes friend, to be that loving support system who cared for their soul first and shows that you’ll continue to care for them after. Which means you’re going to have to walk a hard journey for quite some time, not always asking them to change, but standing by them as a friend who prays for their repentance.

As I have done this with people, they usually end up falling into deeper pain. Stand beside them and be the love of God to them. It is the only way forward as we walk with people through life, not demanding their allegiance but speaking the truth in love and walking with God as God works in their life through your willingness to love and care for them.

Go Outside Your Comfort Zone

Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?…Acts 2:7

The Lord has been challenging me to step out in faith. Sometimes I like to stay in the safe lane. The place where I know I can excel because that’s where I feel most comfortable. The words I hear when I leave my comfort zone are things like, “You can’t do this, you don’t know enough, people will figure out quickly that you’re not good enough for this!”

I have learned over the years to push my feelings aside and place myself in the grace of God instead. When I do that, He gives me supernatural power, strength, abilities and support to continue driving in the lane outside my comfort zone.

No trail has ever been blazed that births a new ministry or opportunity within God’s church by people who chose to stay in the safe lane. Real faith is practiced by those who are willing to take risks. Walking by faith means not having all that you need when you step out because you’re trusting God to fill in the gaps for you with His supernatural power.

So friend, I don’t know what God is calling you into. But I know if it’s from Him its going to push you to places that you don’t feel qualified or equipped. Don’t run from that, stay put, He’ll supply you with what you need if you’re willing to walk by faith.

Lord, do the work. Fill me with the power of your presence. Be my joy and hiding place. Grant me your supernatural ability through Jesus Christ, Amen.

Who Will Roll the Stone Away?

Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”….Mark 16:3

Three brave and devoted women made their way to the tomb Jesus was laid in. They didn’t know how they would get inside the tomb because the stone was so heavy, but they went in faith. They went because they knew their faith and actions would honor God and the Lord met them as they were going. He rolled the stone away and they simply went in faith.

Friend, it’s time to get up and go in faith. The Lord will move the mountain, roll the stone away and break chains for you, but you have to take the risk and go in faith.

I feel like the greatest things I’ve seen God do in my life had no answers before me, but an opportunity to trust God in faith. That of course was scary to me, not knowing what the future held. I just knew that I had to be willing to walk in faith and trust God with the results. I’ve seen God do beautiful things in my life because of that. I’ve really and truly seen Him roll a few stones away and bless my life because I took up the same courage these women did as they made their way to the garden tomb.

This why, I believe, the enemy loves to pelt me with doubt. Trying to convince me that my steps of faith don’t matter, no one cares about what I’m doing and I should probably just give up. But friend, there’s a stone just about to be rolled away if I just keep moving forward in faith. I believe there’s one God wants to roll away in your life too and you can be part of that experience if you just keep walking by faith.

Lord, you are so good and kind. You are a good and faithful king, a loving master and friend. Fill me with courage to keep walking by faith. Yes Lord, may my life bring you praise now and forever, in Jesus name, Amen.

Shepherding a Heart is Hard Work

And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died,[c] he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”…Mark 15:39

I have spent much time as a mother focusing on things that just don’t matter. I have spent little time looking into the heart of my child. That’s just the truth. It pains me to admit that, but I tend to focus on external things, silly things that get me trapped in worry instead of eternal things of the heart.

As the centurion saw how Jesus died, he saw something others around Him didn’t. He witness the death of Jesus, but through it, He saw something bigger. He saw beyond what was going on around Him to look into the heart of what was taking place among Him. Because of that, He saw Jesus.

Friend, I’m making an effort to do the very same thing. To center my thoughts on what God is doing and how He can use me to develop and shepherd it instead of wasting my time in worry. Focusing on things that just don’t really matter all that much. Things I can’t control, but want to. Things I’m fearful of might happen.

You see, in order for this centurion to see Jesus He had to be present. He had to look beyond what was going on around Him and place His eyes on the Savior. Friend, when it comes to my role as a mother, this is something God is challenging me to grow in. After all, as parents, friends and mentors, our goal is not to keep bad things from happening to those around us, but instead to help shape their hearts towards Christ.

Then, together, we can say, God is at work among us, through us and in us. I long for my daughter to say that some day. To tell others about how her mother spoke life and words of loving correction that led all of us closer to Christ, because I kept my focus on Him.

Lord, help us all to be more present. To see where you are working and join you there. Forgive us when we get so distracted by worry and doubt. Help us now to live fully and freely alive in you. Grant us your grace to keep our focus on you and your glory, in Jesus name, Amen.