Don’t Remove Your Heart From God

…..But they remove their hearts far from Me….(Isaiah 29:13)

Have you ever removed your heart from somewhere or someone because you felt like they just no longer cared about you or didn’t love or respect you the way you needed them to? I have.

Maybe you’ve removed part of your heart away from God because He feels distant. It doesn’t feel like He’s listening to your prayers so you stop believing that He’s going to come through for you and you simply remove your heart from Him. Then you wonder why He doesn’t feel as close, but maybe, just like me, you didn’t realize that’s what you were doing. You were simply trying to protect yourself from getting hurt again, because every time God doesn’t answer your prayer the way you were hoping it’s one more jab to your heart that you’d rather not have to deal with any longer.

Therefore, removing your heart feels safer, but friend, removing your heart from Him will not be good for your soul. It will cause you to flee from Him in all other areas. What you need is His closeness and His understanding. You need His daily grace.

Friend, life is hard, but with God there is strength and hope. Don’t draw your heart away from Him or from others because you’re just so disappointed. It could be that maybe this fire that keeps burning is meant for your redemption. Something bigger you can’t see. Could it be that some area in your life needs to die and this is how He’ll accomplish it? Removing your heart will just make you mad and bitter, so keep your heart engaged, because a day will come when He will wipe every tear and you shall see Him and be glad.

Lord, continue to show me where I have removed my heart from you or from others. Please forgive me when I do. Help me Lord when I feel weak. I need your grace. Please shower it upon me, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

To Draw Near

When anyone among you brings an offering to the Lord….(Leviticus 1:2)

The ancient Israelites were commanded by God to bring an offering of Korban before the Lord. Korban, at its root means “to draw near.” Therefore, the sacrifice the Israelites would bring before the Lord was given with the intention to draw nearer to God in worship.

It was also customary for anyone who entered the kings presence in the ancient world to bring a gift or some kind of tribute. To not bring a gift to the king was deeply disrespectful, because when you’re in the king’s presence you always offer up a gift.

Friend, if we know Jesus, you and I have the King of Glory residing in us. Each day and moment affords for us an opportunity to give the gift our bodies, hearts, minds and souls as a gift that would cause us to draw nearer to the King.

What then is not drawing you nearer? What part of you, heart, body, mind and soul is not being offered up as a living sacrifice of Korban to your King? Is it your will? Your thoughts? Your vocation? Your calling?

Friend, be reminded that because He lives inside of you, your life is the best gift you can give to the King who wants to meet with you today.

Lord, may my life be given as a offering of worship today, because I want to draw nearer. Help me to do that now through your Holy Spirit, in Jesus name, Amen.

Room For His Presence

and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God(2 Chronicles 5:14)

I am notorious for shoving things into a space instead of taking the time to create space for them. This is one of the reasons why my husbands hates it when he opens the refrigerator or sees how I put dishes in the dishwasher. His priorities for creating space for things to be put in their proper place are much different than mine.

If I’m being honest, sometimes I’ll shove a thought into my mind that there’s no space for either but I just want some sort of mental escape from my current reality. Instead of creating space for the good thoughts of God to dwell I’ll shove in thoughts of selfishness, pride and the like. However, the more I have matured in Christ the more I recognize these thoughts much quicker and seek to cast them out to create space for God once again. Sometimes I’m quicker to cast them out than other times.

Because friend, we cannot be a dwelling place for the full presence of God to reside if we have shoved in thoughts of selfishness, pride, unrighteous anger, unfaithfulness, doubt, fear, and anxiety.

Could it be that your relationship with God feels dull and unfruitful because you’ve not made room for the fullness of His presence to dwell within your thoughts? Could it be that you’re struggling in your marriage or family relationships because you told yourself something negative about that person and now you can’t get that thought out of your mind? Therefore, instead of the love of God filling your mind and heart thoughts of anger and resentment reside.

Much of what I taste and see from the Lord is really all about what I let into my mind first. Some of us never get to drink deeply of God’s goodness and provision in our lives because we are too busy feeding thoughts of insecurity, fear, control, pride, etc. If you go about your days angry at the world and those around you, you’re feasting from the wrong table. Friend, you’re shoving in thoughts that aren’t meant to be there, because theirs no room for the fullness of His presence to fill you with joy everlasting.

So go ahead, open up the dishwasher of your thoughts. What have you shoved in their that doesn’t create space for God? Take it out and replace it with something that makes more room for Him.

Lord, I pray that I would drink deeply of your love because I’ve made space for it first in my mind. I pray the story I’m telling myself is one of hope, joy and life that’s only made sweeter in Jesus. I want your presence to fill me in every part, so if something is filling my mind that isn’t making room for more of you than please show me, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Do You Ride the Sinking Ship Of Others?

And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall….(Matthew 7:25)

Earlier this week Adah and I attended story time at the library. As you can imagine, story time with a bunch of little ones can tend to be fairly unpredictable. Sometimes kids are climbing on things, crying, walking aimlessly around the room, hugging other kids or throwing a small tantrum when the library worker is reading us a story.

On this particular day a woman came in with her four children. In my estimation ranging in ages 18 months to around 7 years of age. She had a busy crew who didn’t always sit still but she remained so patient. She never seemed annoyed. She didn’t allow herself to get caught up in the wind of her children’s disobedience. She simply spoke to them with a steady voice, laying out the consequences of their poor choices, but never allowing those choices to rock her.

I don’t normally see that from most parents. What I normally encounter is a frazzled, anxious, hurried mom who gets swept up in anger over her own child’s poor behavior. Thus, loosing her peace of mind and I’ve been that mom too.

I couldn’t help but think that this woman’s steadiness offers us a picture of what life can be like as we follow Jesus through the storms of life and the poor decisions of others. She never let the choices of her children rock her, but what about you and me? Do you get angry at those close to you when their decisions make you look bad, bring heartache into your life, press your buttons of fear or worry or just plain annoy you? I can’t say that I’ve always remained steady. I have certainly allowed my own issues with control and fear to direct me instead of the steadfast love of the Lord.

Jesus reminds us in Matthew 7 that when a wise person builds their house on the rock, the storms can come, the winds can blow, but the house will continue to stand. Friend, what about you? Is your faith so grounded in Jesus that no matter what life brings, no matter who hurts you, does you wrong or disappoints you, your faith remains unmovable and your life becomes unbothered?

The reality is if we have people close to us, and we all do, they will walk through their own storms, but friend, don”t let it become your storm too. God really is in control and when my fears start to press in I remind myself that human beings are not in control, but God is in control. Therefore, I can remain calm and steady when those around me are living in chaos. I can live at peace knowing that through wisdom and faith, if my house is built upon the rock, Jesus will always make a way for me.

Lord, I trust you. When storms come, you are my steady place. Be that for me each moment. I pray I don’t get caught up in the chaotic storms that those around me find themselves in and that I don’t let their sinking ship be the one I find myself on, in Jesus name, Amen.

Faith Is Hard When Afflictions Hits Again

Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!….Mark 9:24

There are days when I feel like the man in Mark chapter 9 with who had faith, but also struggled with unbelief.

Can God really pull through? How can I keep going through this over and over again? Am I going to have to deal continually with the consequences of this reality? Will I walk away scared and bruised or better than I was before?

Friend, do you realize that Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den because of the ungodly, selfish choices of others and God protected him there? Yes, you might be in the lion’s den today because of someone else’s choices, but don’t you see, your God is big enough and mighty enough to protect you there. It’s the very place He showcases His power in you if you’re willing to believe that the place of your affliction is the place of your deliverance.

So friend, whatever is pressing you into the den of affliction, don’t push it out of your life, let God deliver you in it. Don”t become angered by the people who put you there because of their own selfish choices, but stand tall knowing that victory is already yours. As you stand in faith and continue to move forward (even though you sometimes wonder if you have the faith to do it) the Lord will meet you with the grace, victory and power you need to walk by faith and not by sight. He’ll restore what the locusts have eaten and He’ll promote you to a greater place of honor as you serve Him in the Kingdom. Not a place of honor for yourself, but a place where you can showcase and honor His name as He delivers you in your affliction.

Therefore, stay faithful in your job, parenting, friendships, marriage and family relationships. The hardship you’re going through in it can either bring you out of something in freedom or plant you deep in bitterness. The choice is yours.

Let your light shine in your affliction, that those around you may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief! Sometimes when I thrown into the lion’s den I doubt if I’ll come out without scars and better than I was before. Forgive me for my lack of faith. Help me now to walk in the victory that is mine in Christ Jesus! Amen!