Who Holds The Power?

‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty…(Rev. 4:8)

Do you ever fear people who have a sense of power over you? I do. In fact, that’s most certainly been a struggle of mine over the years. I’ve gotten better about it as I’ve learned to trust God, but I’ve noticed that when something has a deep significance to me, maybe too much significance, I can become easily worried or anxious when I feel like I might upset the person in charge of it.

Yet, I am reminded that human beings are not who I should fear, but God alone. After all, if God wants something for us He’ll work it out. If not, than we don’t have to think its because we upset the powerful people. Truly, we can go crazy over analyzing things we said or didn’t say that might have upset them.

Friend, if you want to be free, then let it go. Walk today in the goodness of Jesus. There is joy for you in His presence. Set your heart and mind free by releasing your worries to God. Offer Him the proper worship as you revere Him as King and not human beings. Please don’t make any human a king or queen in your mind.

Whenever the devil tries to bring something back up, just lay it down again and cover it in the grace and mercy of God again and again. Trust me, if all the powerful people spent as much time thinking about your situation as you did, they’d never have any time in the day to do anything else, so please, don’t give them so much space in your heart and mind. Treasure what you do have, and that’s Jesus. Let go of what you fear, so you can live in green pastures today. Don’t feel the need to walk in insecurity, but rest in the one who makes you secure, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Truly, before you can go with Jesus, sometimes you must lighten your load and let His love and mercy guide you. So stop treasuring what’s weighing you down and start lifting up empty hands of praise instead. Let His word wash over you like water as you sing it from your heart today into the world. It’s the song we all need to hear and He wants to sing it from your lips too.

Lord, I surrender my fears. Forgive me for holding on too tightly to things I wish I would have said or done. Sometimes I can cherish things far too much. Forgive me for that. I pray instead I would walk by faith, let it be so, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

A Bandaid and a Bath

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful…(Heb 12:11)

Yesterday, my very strong willed toddler and I had a showdown with a bandaid and a bath. She needed a bath and since the wound on her head is still healing we can’t let the glue on her head soak in water. Therefore, a bandaid was necessary for the bathtub and she wanted neither a bandaid or a bath.

I held her, explained things to her, prayed with her, sent her to timeout and after about 30 minutes of all this back forth with my strong willed child I just about gave in. However, I knew that giving in meant she would win and would know that if she could press me far enough I would stop bolding the line and let her do what she wanted. So, we stayed in timeout for a little while longer and finally, she relented.

Of course, the bandaid was fine and she loved the bubble bath. I realize, with my child, that it’s not really about bandaids and babble baths. It’s about something much deeper. A will to be in control. A desire to have what she wants, even if that means rebelling against authority. But friend, I love her too much to let her heart grow towards that desire. Which means, sometimes, my discipline has to last much longer than either one of us want it to.

I had a moment, when I just wanted to leave my crying child and go be by myself, but part of me said, “No, Heather, you’ve got to stay with her in this. Don’t leave her because its hard on you. Stay with her because you love her.”

God is like that. No discipline ever seems fun. In fact, it can be downright awful, but friend, He’s with us in it because He loves us. Sometimes His discipline has to last a little bit longer, because we just won’t relent. However, when we do, there’s joy for us to be had with Him in His presence because we have finally submitted our will to His.

After all the craziness and commotion, I held my daughter as I whispered these words, “Mommy will never ask you to do something that would make things worse for you.” My child couldn’t see it at the time that taking a bath would bring something good into her life and you might not see how this timeout from ministry, health concern, financial setback or disappointment could ever bring about something good. But friend, if you’re willing to stay with God in it, He’ll bless you. Trust me, I’ve seen Him do it in my life as I have finally submitted to His discipline in my life so that I might be made new. I have watched God uproot deeply imbedded lies, pride and so many other things in me. Because friend, just remember, it’s not really about what God is asking you to do that you don’t want to do. It’s about a deeper condition of your heart and the circumstances in your life are revealing all of that. Won’t you trust Him through it?

Lord, thank you for challenging days with my child. Truly, they give me opportunity to help grow her heart. Help me to see my own need for growth as I help her grow, in Jesus name, Amen.

Why Is Your Ministry Not Moving Ahead The Way You Expected?

I am rich. I have acquired great wealth and do not need a thing…(Rev 3:17)

I’ve gotten things backwards for most of my life and now God is taking me on this journey of total transformation, uprooting one of the biggest lies I’ve ever believed.

That is, that my worth and value is found in my success and that if I’m not successful and receiving the applause of others at some level, I must not be in the center of God’s will.

I have uttered this prayer much recently, “Lord, did I not hear from you? Did I move ahead without you on this? Is that why things are moving so slowly?”

As I prayed those very words this morning, placing myself in a posture of listening, I had this thought come over me, “Heather, don’t focus on “success” focus on the people I’ve put in your life through this season.”

The truth is, although these past few years have not brought about the “fruit” I would have expected or had in previous seasons of my life, I have become deeply connected to truly wonderful people.

Friend, I’m learning this, sometimes God doesn’t give us a booming ministry that everyone is going to follow, love and like. It could be that He’s choosing instead to grant us more connections with people who we can love, support and encourage. After all, life’s journey just isn’t about having a bigger stage, its about treating people well.

Years ago, I remember having a band commit to playing at one of our events and they backed out on me because a better opportunity hit their doorstep. While on the phone with one of the band members I explained to him the importance of integrity and leaving a good impression with people, no matter how small the stage. Unfortunately, I said, I can’t trust you to stand by your commitments. Therefore, sadly, I can’t trust you’d be reliable in the future. Which also means I can’t suggest that my friends hire your band either.

For now, in my life, similar to that band many years ago, God is putting me in a similar place and I don’t always like it. Through this process of being transformed, time and time again, God keeps drawing me back to loving on the people I’m with, caring well for them and choosing to be a shepherd, no matter how small the stage.

Lord, I choose today to love the people you’ve place in my life. Forgive me for becoming discouraged with you because I feel like you’re not giving me your blessing. Help me to see that you’re blessing is found in the people you’ve placed in my life. Let it be, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Dead or Alive in the Faith?

….you have a reputation of being alive but you are dead….(Rev 3:1)

Years ago, I was talking with a young college student about her faith journey. She told me about how she was actively involved in her church and even served on her student leadership team. I thought, well, surely I don’t need to share the gospel with this woman or ask her about having true saving faith in Christ. But something in me told me to go ahead and approach the subject and so I did and her response floored me.

“Yeah, I have never made that decision to make Jesus the Lord and Savior of my life.”

Wait, what?!? You love church, you served in leadership and were a faithful attender, but you’ve never gone all the way in with Jesus?

How could this be I thought?

It made me realize that there are people among us, serving within our churches, leading things that might make them seem Christian yet they are not.

Friend, what about you? To whom do you belong? Do you truly belong to Jesus? Is He the master and savior of your life?

If you do know Him, does your life reflect His life inside of you? Are you riding on your church attendance, feeling pretty good about yourself, yet walking in unrepentant darkness?

My prayer for this young woman, just as it is for so many, is that they might find new life in Christ through placing their allegiance to Jesus as Lord, master and Savior. Dear friend, turn from your sin and find freedom in Jesus name. It’s the only name by which we are saved.

Lord, your love reaches out to all. I do pray that woman I met so many years ago has truly found new life in Christ. Help us all to examine ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith, in Jesus name, Amen.

He Has Been Faithful Too

…he is faithful in all he does…Psalm 33:4

Have you ever said something to God, as I have, along the lines of something like this, “But God, I have been faithful to you and this ____________, so why is my health still waning, my child still going astray, my marriage still struggling, and my life still not going the way I thought it would go? You get the idea. I have said this to God more times than I can count and I was spending time in reflection and prayer I heard a still soft voice whisper, “I have been faithful too, Heather, just look around and rejoice in the good things I am doing.”

Friend, I don’t know who needs to hear this today, but look around and rejoice at the good things God is doing. Don’t get so focused on the thing He isn’t doing for you. After all, there’s a bigger plan that you can’t see and there’s an even greater purpose in all of this if you’re willing to praise and trust Him in it.

Lord, life doesn’t always go how we want it to, but you’re still faithful. Forgive me when I forget that and help me each day to see the good you are doing in my life and praise you for it, in Jesus name, Amen.

Train Your Eyes For Battle

They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed…(2 Peter 2:14)

As a basketball official, I have trained my eyes to watch for things that are illegal. I have also trained myself to get ready, based on what’s happening in the game, for the call that might be coming. As things are taking place, in my mind, I am constantly saying to myself, “legal or illegal.” Illegal contact or any kind of illegal violation means that play must stop. The behavior is penalized and hopefully corrected by the player so they don’t make the same mistake again.

Over the years, the Lord has brought deeper conviction into my heart over the things I allow my eyes to gaze upon. Some things lead me into unhealthy places. Therefore, I have trained myself to be on guard against what could be coming. However, there are times and seasons when I’m not as well-prepared because I’ve rushed into the day without much thoughtful preparation.

Last week I had a game that I rushed into without much thoughtful preparation and I didn’t call the game as well I could have. My mind was not fully engaged in the battle. Therefore, I missed some calls I should have made.

Lately, I’ve been feeling that too. Although I have been engaged in the battle, I don’t feel like I’m winning. I just feel like I’m getting by. Not really living as more than a conqueror, but just someone making it through the day with God’s help.

I recognize that what I need is more time in thoughtful preparation to train my heart, mind and eyes, just as strongly as I would for a big matchup between two competitive teams. Because my match up and yours is agains the enemy who loves to steal, kill and destroy, whispering deep deception and lies into us on a daily basis.

Friend, we would all do well to train our hearts to be able to see with spiritual eyes the things that are legal and illegal so we don’t get ourselves in a place where we have to sit the bench for a bit until we make things right with God.

Lord, forgive us when we go into the day without much spiritual preparation. There’s a battle taking place each day for our hearts, souls and minds. Father, forgive for me for my lack of preparation and help me to see how I can grow. I want to be more like you. Forgive me for not making spiritual preparation a priority like I should, in Jesus name, Amen.

Slow Down and Experience Him

In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat…(Psalm 127:2)

Last night I officiated a game with a veteran official. I asked for some feedback after the game and he said, “Heather, slow down. Sometimes it seems like you’re in such a hurry to make the call and move onto the next thing.”

Immediately, a thought flashed through my mind and I said, “That’s kind of how I am in life.” Quickly moving from one thing to the next. The truth is, most of the time, I just do too much. At the heart of it, it’s because I’m trying to find my identity in the tings I do. Hoping I’ll accomplish something noteworthy or I’ll chase after something I fear, therefore, finding myself in more of a hurry than I need to be because I went running after something I was never meant to chase.

So today, I’m going to focus on slowing down and make listening and rest a deeper part of my life. I’m going to do the same tonight when I step back on the court for another contest. Because, the truth is, sometimes I can get too quick with my play calling because the thought that’s swimming around in the back of my head is, “I really hope these people think I’m good.”

Friend, chase the approval of people and you’ll always be disappointed, but rest in you Father’s love for you and you’ll find joy, peace and contentment. Therefore today I am choosing to repent of trying to find my identity in what I do and choose to rest in God’s great love for me.

Lord, I love you. Sometimes I rush out of my time with you because I’m chasing after something I fear. Oh Lord, please forgive me. I want to live in your rest and therefore experience your delight. Let it be so, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.