Today Will Be A Great Day

And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord:…(Numbers 11:1)

Everyday I tell my sweet girl, “Adah, We have a special purpose from God today. To be kind, loving and to serve others, so that we can show them the love of Jesus.” Then I’ll say, “We’re going to have a great day today.”

Life is all about choosing to have a great day though, isn’t it? It’s easy to get caught up in the reality that some days are not that great, but as I told my sweet girl yesterday, life is so much more about our perspective to choose joy even though life is painful.

Complaining comes natural to most people. I feel it in my heart most days. What does not come natural is choosing joy, peace, love and all the rest so that we can be free from the trap of a critical, discontent heart.

For example, just yesterday I realized that our vegetable garden was looking a bit sad because I forgot to water it the day before. Some of the leaves on our plants looked a bit withered, but after I watered them the leaves sprang back to life. But what if I looked at our garden and said, “Oh, look at that, everything is dying” Then I just spent the rest of my day complaining about my dying garden but never took the time to give it what it really needed- water.

Friends, what you really need is the living water. Stop complaining so much and seeing life as a drag and come to your Heavenly Father instead for a drink. After all, you have a special purpose from God today and we cannot fulfill that purpose if our lives are tanks are empty and our hearts are covered with the bitterness of a complaining heart.

Lord, grow me into your image. Satisfy my soul. May I choose joy each day as I live to bring glory to you, in Jesus name, Amen.

Repentance Swept Over Him

…Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.  The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.(Matthew 22:60-61)

The other day I encountered someone I had sinned against and guilt, remorse and a true desire to repent sweep over me. As I repented I was reminded that I have the power, even in my weakness to be strong. To stand against sin. And now I have the power to be free from the sin I had allowed into my heart and mind.

I often wonder how Peter and Jesus felt during the moment after Peter denied Jesus three times and then they make immediate eye contact with one another. Did guilt, remorse and repentance wash over Peter’s heart too? It seems as though it did because his actions show that he repented and Jesus extends tremendous forgiveness despite the deep and painful betrayal of a friend.

If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve probably experienced a deep betrayal as well, but what covers your heart? Is is hatred towards the other person if you’ve been wronged or is it a desire to reconcile and be restored? Is it shame and guilt if you’ve done the wrong, but you have no real desire to restore the relationship because shame has told you not to or maybe your pride is in the way?

The account of Jesus and Peter reminds us that every relationship can be restored through true repentance and forgiveness. It is true that some people will choose not to restore the relationship, but still do your part to keep yourself free from further sin. That way you won’t fall into a trap of bitterness and hurt more people with the hurt that’s been done to you. Let God lead you instead so that you might restore what sin sought to destroy.

Lord, you are so very good. Thank you for your lovingkindness. Thank you for your grace. Now restore all things according to your love and mercy, in Jesus name, Amen.

God Will Come Through

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…(Psalm 23:4)

This past week I’ve had God come through for a friend of mine in such a big way. God’s provision and blessing over her reminds me that nothing, absolutely nothing is too hard for God. While we may walk through dark valleys, as my friend has in her life recently, God’s heart is still with us.

When I have walked through my own dark, painful seasons what got me through was the constant reminder that God’s heart was with me. He saw me even when others didn’t and God would often come through for me in ways that proved to me that it was He and only He alone watching over me.

Friend, God sees you. He really does. I know you don’t have much to offer Him right now because your heart is so broken and shattered, but if you’re willing to give just a small offering of yourself unto Him He’ll bless you beyond what you could ever imagine.

For this friend of mine I prayed a big prayer. I didn’t know how God was going to do it. I just asked Him to do something great for her. The Lord responded and I am beyond glad. What friend in your life needs God to come through for them in a big way? Keep praying, God can do anything and don’t give up on God even when you yourself are in the valley. His heart and His presence is with you.

Lord, you are so very good. Your heart is good. You walk with your children. Even in dark moments. You are there. Thank you God for being there with us. Thank you for your love an presence, in Jesus name, Amen.

Break Up Your Unplowed Ground

break up your unplowed ground;
    for it is time to seek the Lord…Hosea 10:12

At the beginning of the summer we decided to plant a family garden. Adah loved helping do this and about 10 seconds after we finished planting all of our seeds she says, “I’m going wait for the vegetables to grow.” She stood for a few seconds and asked, “Are the vegetables ready now?”

Aren’t we much like my three year old? We expect God to always bring the fruit, but sometimes we have to do the hard work of digging, tilling, pulling, plowing and planting first. Then He sends the rain, which can sometimes feel like a flood or a downpour that just feels like too much. Only then, after a time of rest and continued weeding out of sinful habits and patterns does the garden begin to grow.

I’ve made the mistake in the past of planting a garden but not caring for it regularly. Of course, those gardens never turn out well. A garden not cared for, just like a spiritual life unattended will suffer and start to whither and die.

Friend, maybe God has you in a season of digging up new spiritual ground in your life. Healing you of old roots that have just been choking you for years. Making something new in you so that something more beautiful can blossom in the years to come.

I have been praying for God to do just that in my life. To uproot sin and change me so that I can be a more loving and kind person. Just yesterday I took note of how long it takes my husband to park. I wanted to make a sarcastic (critical) comment about how long it takes daddy to park, but then something came over me. “Heather, what if what he’s doing is actually birthed in wisdom? What if his slowness in choosing to park is because he’s keeping everyone safe, including others nearby? Why not say that instead of your usual sarcastic, cutting comment?”

Friend, its time to partner with God in your spiritual transformation and that is a lifelong journey. A journey of being changed by God as you partner with Him in the process of digging up unplowed ground so that He can grow a beautiful garden of His love in your life. For His goodness, glory and namesake.

Lord, continue to grow and change me. Make me more like you, each day, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

A Season of Preparation

Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house….(Proverbs 24:27)

I love doing things. It gives me a deep sense of satisfaction, but sometimes I can start so many things that I don’t always finish them well. Truth be told, I feel “led” to do them because of the results they’ll bring me, but I don’t take into account the fact that I just don’t have the time to do them well.

For much of my life I’ve been a person who has found her sense of joy in doing things that produce the results that my heart and. mind tell me I need. I’m not very good at resting and I don’t normally take the time to consider the amount of preparation it will take.

Truthfully, I don’t really like preparation. I want results. Yet, the Lord is holding me in a season of preparation. Oh friend, I fight Him a lot on that. I keep looking towards the future, hoping, wishing, wondering and waiting with anticipation when He’ll give me what my heart wants. I have been challenged though, through loving friends, to stay put in this season and wait on God until He sends the rain.

Maybe you’re in a similar season. For people who struggle with issues of wanting to make things happen now its hard to wait and be still. Yet God doesn’t always work something great through you friend. Sometimes He has to work out something in you and as I am learning, that can take years to do.

The gift of His grace is that your story is never done being written. You haven’t sat out too long. Your resume is not too dusty. After all, it’s not about the future. It’s about what He’s doing in you now that’s preparing you for whatever future He has for you. Therefore embrace it and live in the light of His grace and goodness today. Don’t chase your dreams, rest in your Savior’s love and wait for Him to unfold your destiny in Christ.

Lord, I submit myself to your Kingdom work. Use me for your glory. I choose to release what I want to embrace everything you have for me today, in Jesus name, Amen.

He Sees You

I know every bird in the mountain….(Psalm 50:11)

I’m tying something new as a basketball official during the summer. I’m using my time on the court to try and build into these young athletes as much as I can. If I notice something they do well and I have a second during a free throw, in bounds or even after the game I’ll make it a point to say, “You’ve had so many great rebounds this game,” “That was a great step back move you had,” “You play really great defense, etc.”

I’ve asked the Lord to help me become a better official on the court by making it less about me and more about how I can encourage someone and build them up.

After all, we all just want to be seen, don’t we? We all want to know that we matter and that we’re doing a great job. It really gets to me when all I hear from coaches and parents is criticism and anger towards this generation when they mess up on the court.

We are reminded in the Psalms that the Lord sees us. He knows us. He’s not angry with us because we’ve made a couple of mistakes. He’s made us with great potential and friend, you don’t need the applause and approval of people to keep moving forward with God. You’ve already got His approval and for that you can rejoice and be glad.

I still struggle with feeling like I need the applause of people though. It’s an issue I’m working through with the Lord. I’m reminding my own heart today that God sees me. He’s in my cheering section. He’s got Kingdom work for me to do and although I might not do it perfectly He sees me and He loves me. Friend isn’t that enough?

Lord, thank you that you love me. Thank you that you see me. I don’t have to run this life for the approval of people, because you are with me. Thank you that you’re with me, in Jesus name, Amen.

Purpose From Pain

Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered….(Hebrews 5:8)

A couple of weeks ago, at youth group, I spoke on how God can take our pain and give it purpose. As long as we come to Him with our pain an truly release it to Him, He can make something purposeful from it.

However, if we hide our pain in the darkness. Fearful to share it with others. Not wanting to expose our dirty laundry for fear of the disapproval of people we will never truly find purpose from our pain. Our pain will just suffocate us in lonely ways. We might not think its an issue, but our pain will begin to shape our identity as person’s and make us put up walls to protect ourselves from other people.

Yet, if we let God take our pain and share it with others for the purpose of redemption, we created bridges for others and not walls. We create rivers of healing for others to encounter as they journey through life with us. Our stories can become part of the lives of others if we’re willing to let all the pain out into the light with grace, forgiveness, and humility.

This is just what God does for us when we side with Him. He takes our darkest moments in this life and grants them deep purpose if we’d simply give it all to Him.

Lord, you make all things new. You create purpose out of pain. Thank you for doing that for us, in Jesus name, Amen.

There’s Still Important Work To Do

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession…(1 Peter 2:9)

Not being chosen for things really bothers me. It makes me feel undervalued and insignificant. I notice that I tend to focus the very best of my time and energy towards the places where I am chosen for something important.

This mentality has me searching and looking for a place to be chosen. The Lord has been working something out in me these past few years, putting me in places where I’m not the one getting picked. Instead, I’m the one sitting on the sidelines or not being put on the starting team.

I think all of this is preparation, because, at least for me, these are deep lessons in humility.

Will I feed the sheep around me still? Will I make time to love others regardless of whether or not someone chooses me to do it? Because after all, although people might not choose me for the starting spot, God has done that. He’s put me on the frontlines for Kingdom work. He’s called me to something higher. He’s given me an important role to play.

It’s just that the role God often asks us to play is not glamorous, but it is deeply purposeful. Yes, will we love, serve and give of ourselves to care for another human being even if we’re still not getting picked?

My child loves it when I notice her. Mommy, watch me do this, she says! And I love to watch her do the silly things she does. Your Heavenly Father loves to watch you love, serve and care for others. Although people might not applaud you, your Father in Heaven sees and He is glad.

Lord, I want to love the sheep even though I might not be picked for the starting role in my mind. Help me now to walk in the faith and grace of the Lord Jesus so that I can give of myself to love others with great grace. In Jesus name, Amen.

There’s Still Time Left

Lord, make me to know my end….(Psalm 39:4)

There are days when I start to feel guilty for the years I spent making life about me instead of simply loving people. But, then I am reminded that there’s time left to do it differently. That gives me hope. Knowing that although I may have done it wrong in previous years, I can start doing it the right way now. Loving others and putting their needs first. Taking the time to be present with people. Making someone feel special or making them smile. All of these things bring the love of God to the people around me.

For years I used to think my job as a Christian was just to get people saved, but I realize now that as much as everyone needs the saving grace of God for their lives, they need a loving, safe person to reflect God’s love and character to them as well. That way they have someone to go to on their journey of following of Jesus. They need to see Jesus in you. Which means that you lay down your life to do something for them that builds them up and doesn’t tear them down. It means the gospel is something that you live, not just something you preach.

That’s why I’m thankful that as long as there is breath in me God has given me more time to do it right and to flip the stories of my life around. To change my priorities and to walk in further grace. So friend, you don’t have to live in shame and guilt from the past, because you treated people without love or made life about yourself. You can choose to be a different person today through God’s love and make a new you for others to see that truly does show them Jesus.

Lord, thank you that my story with you is still being written and that I can love others like Jesus. Help me now to do that by faith, in Jesus name, Amen.

Don’t Hide in Isolation

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ…Gal 6:2

The other day after I was finished speaking at youth group a young man was waiting for me outside the sanctuary doors. He said, “Hey, Heather, can I talk to you?” For the next few minutes he poured deep heartache and pain. As I joined with him in this moment I knew that I couldn’t fix his pain, but I could be present with him in it. Then, we asked God together to help bring healing and freedom from the lies that were trapping him. Truthfully, our stories were somewhat similar. Since I was willing to share, during my message, some of my deepest heartache and pain, he didn’t feel so alone. Knowing they were similar made both of us feel connected to one another in Christ-like love.

There’s something about sharing your story with someone else that sets the lies free. The longer we hold it in the more room and time we give to the enemy to fill our hearts and minds with shame. Shame keeps us stuck. Lies about ourselves and God make us slaves to sin. We cannot experience the full freedom of God until we choose to set the lies free.

Sharing with someone else not only sets the lie free, but if also gives opportunity for other people to love us and support us in prayer. Their prayers for us are used by God to make us stronger during those times when we feel weak. Keeping our stories hid behind closed doors keeps us from experiencing the powerful prayers and support of those who we call brother and sister in Christ.

One of the greatest tools of the enemy is isolation an fear. The fear of not being loved by others. The fear of keeping our stories and our pain hidden behind closed doors we have created in our hearts and minds. Yet, for those who share they felt supernatural power now on their side to walk out in freedom from what used to hold them captive.

Maybe today is the day for you to step out in freedom. To call that friend and set those lies free. It’s really quite simple and is has the potential to grant you deeper joy and greater freedom in this life.

Lord, you are so merciful, kind and good. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for the body of Christ and for the love we can receive from it. Help us not to live in isolation and fear, but in freedom, in Jesus name, Amen.