Godly Men Who Use Their Strength to Protect….Not to Harm

treat them with respect as the weaker partner…(1 Peter 3:7)

I’m ok with admitting that my husband is physically stronger than me. In fact, not just a little bit, but much, much stronger than me, even on my best days. God has endowed men with strength and this strength is best used towards their wives “with respect.” A man’s strength is for the purpose of protection and provision. To protect a woman from harm and to provide for her, creating a place of safety in the home.
Sadly, sometimes, because of a man’s unhealthy need to display his bravado or protect his ego, he stops protecting women and instead turns his strength towards hurting her or other women in his path. This is one of the saddest realities within the church. Men who do not protect, but instead use their strength to bring harm.
As men seek to lead within the church it goes without saying that they must first lead in the manner of loving, caring for, protecting and guarding those weaker than themselves. This is the honor of a man, to keep women and children close to him, providing for them a safe place that speaks of the overwhelming love of God.
Why do so many children grow up with a distorted view of who God is? Much of that reason is tied to an earthly father who did not display gentleness but instead exhibited anger, living a life of duplicity. Going to church on Sundays, but creating an unsafe place in the home for his wife and children.
Thankfully, my earthly father was immensely kind, gentle and gracious, because of this my view of God is quite positive, but I know there are many out there who have different stories. Stories of pain that shaped their view of God. What these women need is the love of Godly men to show her the safe, gentle, loving side of an Almighty God who offers a place of safety and rest for her soul.
Womanhood is put on display when the heart of a woman trusts her husband as he loves her like Christ loved the church. Women should never submit themselves to abuse, nor should they feel like it would honor God more if they just kept staying. It honors God when we draw healthy boundaries, giving the opportunity for that person to repent, grow and find a new heart through the love of God and support of Godly men in the church who encourage that man towards freedom. Shepherding him towards redirecting his strength in God-honoring ways to bring glory to God and his family.
That woman must choose for herself, wisely keeping herself at a distance for some period of time, to speak life into that man. To believe something good for him. To encourage him towards godliness and always, always, believe in him. She must learn to speak to his honor even when he seems as though he has none.
This is the key God has given women. The key to unlocking a man’s heart that has been plagued by anger, jealousy, fear or pride. Her words hold the healing that God can use to lead him towards repentance. Strangely enough telling that man he’s jealous and prideful doesn’t work, but believing in him and offering words that build up his character and his personhood as a man of God helps him see the spark of God that lives inside of Him. Her words remind him that it can be lit and that he doesn’t have to keep using unhealthy patterns to find his way in this world. He can live freely in the grace of God, not as a perfect man, but as one who is being redeemed.
Not every man will repent, some hearts will stay hard but always believe with all hope in the glory and greatness of God to take a life from the pit and restore it to fullness through the resurrection power of Jesus.
images-13
Lord, our world is so broken. We have so much hurt and pain. Please use the church to speak life, hope, and peace into the hurting. Pull men overwhelmed by anger out of the pit and restore them into men of courage, dignity, and gentleness. Use our words as women to restore, renew and speak life, not to tear down or discourage but to believe with all hope in your greatness and for your glory, in Jesus name, Amen.

Heed The Warning Signs…Walk in Freedom

but the simple keep going and pay the penalty….(Proverbs 27:12)

Have you ever had a check in your heart? You know, the ones that nudge at you, that little voice that says, “Don’t go down that path. It’s not good for you.” Now, have you ever ignored that voice? If you have, so have I. God is kind and gracious, He sends up warning signals in our lives to keep us from traversing a journey that would prove to be painful in our lives because of our sin. You see, sin wants to drag me into the pit, convincing me that it is the safest place to be when God says, “I have something better for you, hold up your hand and let me lift you out of that pit.”
 
I’ll ignore the warning signs because quite simply, I do not trust God. My heart is so wrapped up in my vices that the thought of living without them terrifies me. I cannot see life any other way, other than to keep going the way I always have. The way that feels safe, when in reality, it’s just me, digging myself into a deeper pit.
warning-sign
 
I hear God’s voice saying to me, “Heather, rest.” But all of my buttons are being pressed, and the pits I’ve dug for myself are trying to pull me back into them. Yet, I hear the Lord say, “Come, sit at my feet.” But I want to keep moving, keep going, keep doing what I’ve always done. That’s just me, living in my comfort zone. The places that feel safe. The place where my amenities and I commune together.
 
As I release my worries to the Lord Jesus, His peace and joy come upon me. Instead of following my anxiety, which always leads me back into the pit. I’m fighting instead, to sit with God in the spacious place of His rest. The land of His bounty and provision. Yes, a land flowing with milk and honey. A place of joy and prosperity for my soul, away from the graves I have dug for myself and into a land that is spacious and free for my heart to roam in the goodness of God.
 
Abba, daddy, you are so good to me. Sometimes, I forget that following you is really all about faith. There are times when you ask me to do things that just don’t make sense. May I live with radical obedience. May I live a life that doesn’t make sense, because I believe so much in your greatness. Forgive me for my weak faith. Lord, today I want to sit before you. To hear and listen and learn from you, in Jesus name, Amen.

Hold Fast to Hope

he has given us new birth into a living hope… (1 Peter 1:3).
 
Have you ever lost hope as a Christian? I have. Have you ever started to entertain the lie that nothing will change and there’s no sense in hoping for it? Yep, that’s been me too.
 
I am learning over this journey of faith that the greatest joy I can experience is when I hold fast to hope when life doesn’t make sense. When it seems as though there is no prospect of change, I can believe against all odds because I serve a God who is bigger than my very limited understandings. Truly, He is a mighty God.
 
Truly, He has given us new birth into a living hope. A hope that is alive for us today, tomorrow and years from now. A hope that does not disappoint, spoil or fade. A hope that offers us unending joy as we persevere. A hope that takes our lives and makes them new. A hope that redeems even the most broken situations in our lives. Yes, even yours.
hope-of-glory
 
There have been many times when I have cried out to the Lord, “I believe, help my unbelief!” I know you’ve been there too and maybe you’re there now. Keep holding fast to hope. Keep believing in the full redemption of God. His grace is working all things together for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. Truly, He is for you and not against you. Wait, watch and pray, He is working for you. Stand fast in your faith and let your King and Savior fight for you. Great joy is coming! Hold fast to hope!
 
Lord, you are so good. Why would I ever doubt you? I have so much to rejoice in. Thank you for satisfying me in a sun-scorched land. Thank you for leading my life and for redeeming the places the enemy has tried to destroy. You are truly a mighty God. I praise your name forever, in Jesus name, Amen.

A Shrinking Faith? Take Heart and Persevere

“The righteous will live by faith.”…. (Romans 1:17).

Faith is what God is making new in my heart as I learn to walk with Him. The faith of a child is what can bring great joy to a loving father who longs for us to abide closely with Him. It is His sustaining love that drives us towards hope. It is His joy that carries our hearts when we feel afraid. It is faith that takes us from one step to the other on our journey with God.
romans-1_17
 
When my faith is shrinking it’s because I’m worshipping, within my own heart, a false god. A god with little ability to move the mountains. A god with qualities and limitations much like my own. A god who sits not on a throne, but in the dust.
 
My weak faith only reveals something inside of me that needs to grow- perseverance. As we persevere faith rises up in us. It becomes something we take great delight in because we know the joy giver. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see. Faith takes us from unbelief and into joy. Joy even in the midst of great calamity. Joy without limits as we learn to trust in Father’s love.
 
Lord, I trust you! Sometimes life becomes less than ideal, but truly, you are a mighty God who sees all and is full of righteousness, justice, and mercy. Thank you, God, for your holiness. Thank you for your love. May my heart be glad in you. May my spirit rejoice in your love today, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

The Treasure of Your Heart Reveals the Way You’ll Act When Your Impatience is Pushed

The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly…. (Luke 16:8).

When I was a kid I couldn’t wait to open up my Christmas gifts, so one Christmas I went searching to see if I could find any gifts that my mom had hid around the house. As I was sneaking around the home I came across a box with a big giant picture of rollerblades on them, “jackpot” I thought to myself. As I got closer to the gift I realized that yes, this was a gift for me since I had asked for rollerblades that Christmas. However, my excitement quickly turned to disappointment because now the surprise of opening the gift I had been waiting for on Christmas day was gone. The worst thing was, I had done it to myself because of my impatience.
heres-how-to-rollerblade-like-a-pro-entity-1320x720
 
In the parable of the dishonest manager, the master commends his manager for getting him rich quicker, by lowering the debts owed to him. He seems happy that instead of receiving the full amount, he receives a partial amount because he was able to receive the money right away.
 
Our lives are much like this parable. God has something good in store for us, but because of our impatience, we settle for something less. We rush into a relationship, buy the home of our dreams, but get ourselves into an extremely high mortgage rate. Take the job we didn’t want because we’re too impatient to wait for the right one.  We take matters into our own hands, time and time again because we want what we want and we want it now.
 
There’s something great God has for us, but we’ve never fully experienced it because we’ve lacked the ability to trust God. Instead, in our impatience, we have acted impetuously never experiencing the fullness of the gift God has in store for us.
 
It became obvious as the parable played out that the master treasured money. Whenever we act impetuously, its always because of a wrong belief about God that’s tied to fear in our heart, a need to be in control and an unwillingness to sit in the pain of waiting. I get it, waiting is hard, but as we wait, God reshapes our heart and fills us with the gift of HIs mercy.
 
Lord, you are so good. I trust you in this season of waiting. Thank you, God, that I don’t have to take matters into my own hands, but I can trust you for the end result. Yo love oh Lord sustains me. Where can I go from your presence? Be near and meet my needs Lord Jesus, you are so faithful and I trust you, Amen.

Desert Seasons….Not Defined By Our Failures

As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did…. (2 Chronicles 7:17).

DId God forget the life that David led? Did he forget that David was not faithful? Did God somehow wipe out his memory of David’s adultery and plot to murder the husband of the woman he impregnated? Did he forget all of this? Obviously, the answer is no, but why then does God say that David, a murderer, and an adulterer walked before Him faithfully?
It is because God does not define us by our failures. He sees something different in us and He calls it forth. He does not shame us, He loves to shower unending grace upon us.
Recently, the devil has been trying to trap me in this thought that God is looking for ways to punish me, so I had better watch my steps because if I don’t walk perfectly before the Lord, punishment is certainly coming. I find myself swimming in thoughts of self-condemnation. Thoughts that try to convince me that God isn’t all that good, He’s not a good, loving, gracious Father. He’s a God of punishment, therefore, I should watch my steps because if I dare make one wrong move I’ll be sure to continue to wander in the desert for much longer.
Yes, we should be careful to walk in faithfulness before the Lord, but there is freedom in our walk with God. Not to do what we want, but to give ourselves grace.
I don’t know where life meets you today, but having walked a bit of my own desert season I’m ready to be out of it. My thoughts keep going to, I must still be in this desert because of my sin! I must have done something wrong, therefore, I need to try walking perfectly, so I can get out of here.
dara-desert
This is such an oppressive place to be. There’s something about the desert seasons that God wants us to see is good for us. It’s the place where we need not loathe in self-condemnation, but instead, bask in the grace of the Lord who promises to never leave nor forsake us. God is doing something bigger. Something that doesn’t feel good at the moment, but if we’d be willing to walk in humility we can see His hand of mercy there as we wait upon Him.
God has done so much for me in the desert. He’s brought so much healing. He’s done unthinkable things that only He could do. Maybe its because I’ve never liked sitting on the sidelines. I”ve never liked being taken out of the game. Yet, as a dear friend said to me yesterday, “Sometimes we’re trying to be Martha and God wants us to be Mary.” To sit still and sit quietly before Him, so that He can teach us. Yes Lord, teach us, we need your wisdom more than what we think we need.
Lord, you are so good. Forgive us when we stray, but help us to live in your grace. To know and understand that there is, therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Yes, Lord, you love to shower grace upon me. You do not define me by my failures. You love to shower grace upon your children. Thank you that you love a sinner like me. That you see not a woman who is constantly failing, but one who desires to walk faithfully before you, in Jesus name, Amen.

An Overwhelming Love

No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly….Psalm 84:11

I love Jesus. I really do. Truly, He is a song bursting forth from my heart. A song of victory and praise. A song of mercy and justice. A song of peace and hope. A song of love that dances over me. A song of victory in the midst of life’s storms. A song of love from His heart to mine. Truly, His love for me is radical, beautiful and glorious. I am so unworthy, yet He sees me fit for such a love like this. Not because of anything I can or could do for Him, but simply because He is a good Father who loves to shower His children with the gift of His love.
starla-canning-gods-great-love-heart-grateful-connecting-ministries-cm-blog-romans-5_8
 
There is so much good to see in who God is, it is an overwhelming thought to contemplate the depth of His character. I could stay in it for all eternity and still not grasp the depth and magnitude of who He is. Yet, in my heart, I want to know Him, all of Him, because I have been radically changed by Him. I cannot imagine life without Him. Yet, I know how desperate I am for Him. Desperate to hear His voice. Desperate to know Him more and desperate to have a new heart and mind not directed by sin, but held close by His love.
 
If God is for me, truly, who can be against me? Although my enemies rise up against me, the Lord is my stronghold, whom shall I fear? Although ten thousand rise up against me, the Lord fights for me. He is always by my side. We need not fear the sorrows of life nor the whispers of discouragement from the enemy. Truly, we can bask in the Father’s love. A love so great that we wouldn’t believe it. A love that sings joy into the hurting and peace into the broken. A love like this is for you and me, because of and through the resurrection of Jesus. Truly, He is a wonderful Savior. Won’t you trust Him today?
 
Lord, you are so good. You are for me. When the Devil tries to tear me down and throw me into a pit of despair, you are there, fighting for my heart. Yes, you are so good and I can trust you. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for sinners like me. You are such a great God and I love you! Thank you for loving me, in Jesus name, Amen.