When God Delivers, But It’s Not What We Want

they trusted and you delivered them…(Ps 22:4).

I wish God’s timing worked within my timeframe, but unfortunately, it does not. In fact, trusting in the Lord doesn’t mean a perfect life or immediate deliverance. With trust comes perseverance through suffering. For this is the duty of a Christian. To persevere with great joy and give praise to God, even when life feels unfair.
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I have noticed, in my own life, there’s something He’s always trying to grow in me while I’m waiting for His deliverance. Honestly, that’s really the deliverance that my life needs most. We want God to deliver us from our known, seen and felt realities, but within our waiting, He’s pruning our hearts so that we might be delivered from fear, insecurity, pride, and rebellion.
 
I know its hard. I get it. Quite honestly, I don’t really want the deliverance so much from the unseen as I do from my seen circumstances, but this is just because I’m impatient. It’s because I cannot see the growth in my heart, but I can see the physical blessings that my life wants so badly. Yet, the growth of the heart is what our lives need more than the physical realities of our personal demands.
 
There is a place that God is trying to take me. It is the place in my heart that is locked up in prisons of my own discord and unbelief. Yet, my faith calls me to sit with the master in the comfort of His shade, to simply be held by HIs love, so that He might make my heart anew. Wanting not to be delivered so much from my circumstances, but from the places in my heart that have been held in deep bondage. It’s there, in letting go, that I find the freedom that my heart truly needs. The freedom of letting go and walking in the light of God’s love for a sinner, saved by grace, just like me.
 
Oh Lord, you have heard my cries, but you do not work on my timeline. You have seen the injustice, and you are working on my behalf. You are changing my heart. I need not fear what tomorrow brings or what today doesn’t give me because I can trust you to supply for all of my needs. You are a faithful, mighty and loving God. I can trust you. You are so good, in Jesus name, Amen.

Sometimes I Feel Like a Failure to God

but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy….(Proverbs 28:13).

Sometimes I feel like a failure to God, a disappointment in His eyes, because of my struggles against sin. I’ll beat myself up and condemn my own self. Yet, this is not the way God treats me, truly, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve.” (Psalm 103:10). He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in loving devotion.” (Psalm 103:8)
 
He is full of mercy, for people like me, who don’t always get it right. A person, like me, still being made into HIs image. Who still struggle against the old self, but desperately want to put on the new self which is being created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness, (Eph 4:24) Oh, how I long to experience the mercy of God in my life. I am learning though, that in order to truly understand His mercy, I must receive it for my life. All of His mercy for a sinner like me.
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I just cannot get over the thought that God loves me. Truly, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. What an overwhelming thought. Could there be anything more beautiful than the love, grace, and mercy of God? Why then do we not allow ourselves to receive it fully? Why do we believe ourselves to be undeserving? I think its because, in our human experience, we rarely experience things like mercy. We believe the lies that plague our hearts and minds trying to convince us that our acceptance before God is really based on how good we can be for Him.
 
Yet, God’s mercy is like a flower in the field of my heart. He plants it and waters it, allowing it to grow into a flourishing, beautiful plant. I need only receive it and all the Father’s love to nourish what’s been planted in my heart. The enemy tries to convince us that we are undeserving, attempting to ruin the garden of God’s love being planted within our hearts. Today, I want to sit in God’s garden, being surrounded by HIs grace and mercy for my life. For an undeserved sinner like me.
 
Lord, sometimes I just can’t get over the thought that you love me. Show me today your love and mercy. I long to receive if for my life. I want to be made into your image. I want to sit in the garden of your love. Thank you for not treating me as my sins deserve, in Jesus name, Amen.

Hey Sin, Catch Me If You Can

The wicked flee though no one pursues….(Proverbs 28:1).

As I was teaching the students at church the other day I said to them, “Whenever I was doing something wrong that my parents didn’t want me to do, I lived in fear the entire time thinking I might get caught.”

Sin is like a drug. Although we know its bad for us, we’ll do whatever it takes to have it. Even though we know its not the right thing to do, we’ll pursue it anyways and live in fear the entire time. This keeps us from being able to live fully and freely in life, but the problem is, we don’t believe we can live without our vices.

There are many people fleeing from freedom, truly believing they are somehow liberated in their rebellious ways. Yet, there is no freedom in lying to get what you want, cheating to have what you think you need and stealing to have all your heart desires.

In the movie “Catch Me if You Can,” Frank Abegnale Jr. poses as a pilot for American Airlines. Somehow he’s able to pull off the gig for quite a while, stealing thousands of dollars by writing false checks along the way. Yet, the whole time, he’s running. Running from the truth and running from the law. Many of us are running from the truth in our lives because we fear the consequences. I have done that, fearing what my situation meant for my life, so I tried hiding it as best I could, thinking that was somehow liberating me from what I feared. Yet, this was not freedom. This was bondage and enslavement.

 

 

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We must be willing to face our fears and failures head-on. Until we do, we’ll find that within them lies chains of darkness seeking to hold us captive. When I give my heart, mind, and soul to the darkness I’ll find myself constantly running from people, relationships and places where contentment is found. Yet, when I am willing to admit my mistakes and own my fears I can find freedom for a new day. I can be truly liberated in places of honesty, repentance, and grace.

Father, I want to live fully and freely in your love. Let my heart and mind be satisfied in your goodness. You are the God of life, love, and liberation. May I live in that place today knowing that you are so good. Thank you, Father, for the love that you have poured out into my heart. Make me more like you, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

How To Hear God’s Voice in an Unexpected Way

“Speak, for your servant is listening.”…(1 Samuel 3:10)

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I have lost my voice. Literally, its pretty much gone. As I was sitting here contemplating the reality of having no voice, I thought flashed across my mind that, now I have been given the joy of listening.
 
Far too often I talk at God, and at others, but do not practice the art of listening. I fill the silence with words, demands or “good advice” instead of being still in God’s presence and in the presence of other people.
 
Listening is a lost art within our culture. Due to our own insecurities and fears, we constantly feel the need to be in control, so we place demands on God to speed up the process. We try to fix people with our words instead of listening to what’s behind the words they’re speaking.
 
Behind every broken word is a story. A heart that has been wounded. A grace that was not extended, a fear that was planted and a life that was darkened by life’s struggles, pressures, and disappointments.
 
A good listener learns to remove all fear, insecurity and the need to win an argument. A listener seeks to understand. To love and care for the person with whom they’re speaking. They don’t need to be right, because their goal is to nurture the individual with whom they’re speaking.
 
I truly believe that once we learn to listen well to others, we will naturally be able to hear, with greater clarity, the voice of God. Truly, God’s voice often shows up in the broken hearts of individuals who need the tender mercies of His love. I have often heard His voice, not when I’m speaking, but when I’m listening to the hurt behind a person’s words or actions.
 
I have heard God’s voice more in the past year than probably ever before. I can see, looking back, how He has spoken to me, not when I’m doing great things for Him, but when I’m caring for another person or sitting silently before Him through time in His word. It’s then when I hear His voice say to me, “Heather, you’re just like them too.” I too am fearful, prideful, insecure and full of doubt at times. We’re all the same, are we not? There’s no need to hide from others. In doing so, we start to silence the ever pursuing voice of God in our lives, because we no longer have a need for Him in our own pride.
 
Since we try to protect our image before others, we miss out on being Hs image to others who also live in a broken world full of sin. We must remember that we too are the beggar at the door of God’s mercy. Truly, without Christ, we would surely be lost.
 
Lose your voice so you can start to hear God’s whisper. Listen to the hurting so you can start to hear from His heart. It’s there, in their wounds, that together, as we seek the Lord Jesus, that our brokenness starts to become some beautiful for the praise of God’s glorious name.
 
Lord, speak, for your servant is listening. May my life be full of your tender mercies that I extend to others. Jesus, let my mouth praise you, but let my heart listen with pure intention first, in Jesus name, Amen.

I Have Been the Biggest Fool of Them All

but fools despise wisdom and instruction…Proverbs 1:7
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There was a time in my life when I would have not wanted you to tell me something I was doing wrong. Because quite frankly, I just wanted to keep doing what I was doing. Having you or anyone else tell me any different made no difference because my heart was too drawn towards the sin I was holding onto so tightly.
 
God will allow the fool to follow their own folly. In the end, a hot-tempered, foolish person only leads their own life towards destruction. Sin is always crouching at the door, we need not invite it in and play with it. Instead, we should welcome the wisdom of others. We should seek it out. Yet, what I have found in my younger years of immaturity, was not a heart that desired wise counsel, but instead, people who would side with me in telling me what I want.
 
The Bible rightly refers to this kind of person as a fool. I have played the fool more often than I care to admit, yet, through humility, I am learning wisdom. It was God’s hand that humbled me. Now, because of His loving discipline, I do not want to go back to the way of a fool.
 
We all have a choice to make, who will I become, what path will I take today? Honestly, the way we’ll go is already determined within our hearts. Truly, if our hearts are covered with foolish thoughts and desires, we will not choose the way of the wise.
 
We need a renovation of the heart. Only then can we choose the way of the wise. If our hearts are right with God, seeking Him above our own wants, wishes, and desires, we will see that from His hand comes better things than what we have clung to so dearly. Truly, He is a good, loving Father, who loves to shower good gifts on His children.
 
Lord, today I want to walk in wisdom. May my heart be soft towards wise counsel. Yes Lord, may I come with an understanding that without wisdom I am sure to follow the way of a fool. Cleanse my heart, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Messy Thoughts That Push People Away

in all his thoughts there is no room for God…. (Psalm 10:4).

Sometimes my car gets a bit messy, full of things that I need, some things I don’t need and maybe a couple of other things that I have no actual use for, except that they have found a resting place in my car. Quite frankly, some of those things just need to go. I need to purge them out and reorganize my car so there’s more room for better things, like people. To be honest, apathy keeps me from doing so, because its not a priority for me. Except of course, when I need it to be, then I’m dashing about, trying to clean as quickly as possible.
 
My thoughts are a lot like my car. Some thoughts just need to go, others are taking up space and room that are only keeping me from deeper relationships with people, while other thoughts are only making a mess of my life.
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My thought life, if not kept in check will really determine the path my life traverses. Sadly, I have found, more often than not, the way my life moves is towards self-directed praise and worship. Leaving little room for other people, because the true captain of my thoughts, is myself.
 
There are even seasons where the majority of my thoughts of God are not noble, but selfish and doubting. I do not like what God is doing, so my thoughts tend to center around arguing with Him instead of praising Him and believing in His goodness for my life.
 
When I clean my car out, I love it. It feels more welcoming. It invites others into my space so that they can enjoy fellowship and friendship with me.
 
Our thoughts need a purging too. As we clean out our impure, negative and ignoble thoughts we make more room for a relationship with God and others. Now, the purpose of my life isn’t tailored towards my own heart, so much as it becomes an invitation for others to join me on life’s journey as we travel towards God. Knowing that this life was never meant to be lived on our own, but to enjoy the fellowship and grace of others, as we esteem them better than ourselves.
 
Lord, sometimes, my thoughts need a good purging. Forgive me when my thoughts become more about me than you. It happens more than I care to admit. God, I want my thoughts to be about you. Clean me out, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.
 

He Tore His Clothes

When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes… (2 Kings 22:11).

Sin is a terrible thing to treasure. Yet, we store it up in our hearts for years and decades, pulling on its reserves to comfort our anxious, worried minds. It is like a sickness to our souls that we just cannot seem to shake. It pervades our hearts because we have quite simply allowed it to. We’re quick to pull on our reserves because we have not allowed the Lord Jesus to clean us out and fill us with a new heart and mind set on His righteousness.
 
As Josiah heard the words of Scripture he was undone. He became overwhelmed by the thought of how far Israel had fallen from God and he tore his clothes and wept in repentance.
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I wonder how many of us, myself included are so undone by our sin that we would weep in repentance before the Lord over it. I find, more often than not, what springs up out of my heart is not repentance, but a mixture of pride, and justification over my sin.
 
Just this past weekend, I was confessing sin to some dear friends who I asked to pray for me. Initially, my heart was humble and contrite, but soon after I began to justify my sin and try to play it off in my own mind as not all that bad. Once again, pulling on my reserves trying to protect my own image before others, instead of continuing to go before the Lord in true, genuine humility.
 
Until we become like Josiah, we cannot grow into the new creation God is trying to shape in us. He doesn’t force new growth upon His. He simply asks us to join Him in the process. This means we must empty ourselves of our own pride so that we can be filled with things like; humility, love, and grace. It is an ongoing process.
 
May we approach the throne of grace knowing that there is mercy for sinners like us, but may we never be ok with staying there in our sin. Let us become more like Jesus, admitting that we don’t have it all together and we are in need of His daily grace.
 
Lord, forgive me for my lack of humility. Sometimes I just want to hide, because I care about the opinions of others. Lord, please forgive me for my sins, my idols, and my false comforts. I want to be just like you. Continue to mold and shape me into your image, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.