I Wish Jesus Was My Greatest Treasure, But I’m Just Not There Yet

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also….(Luke 12:34)

I’m still working on making Jesus my greatest treasure. I wish I could say with full confidence that He is, but there are days and moments when He’s not. In fact, just recently I’ve felt my heart be carried away by worry. Mostly over those idols in my heart that love to rear their ugly head and catapult me into places of worry and isolation.
 
You see, when something has your heart, it has your mind, affections, time, energy and devotion. It’s hard to be fully present with others or enjoying fellowship with those you love when your heart and mind are running into a place of control, worry and idol worship.
 
I’m not always quick to recognize it either. So, I’ll indulge the flesh for a bit to soothe my worried and anxious heart. Sure, it my seem like its nothing big and others probably don’t even notice what’s going on in my heart and mind, but I know it. Because I watch myself slowly disengage from situations not pursuing people, but instead pursuing those things I treasure the most. Those temporal pleasures that I’ve set up as idols in my own heart that love to steal my affection.
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I find it very easy to notice these selfish motivations in others closest to me. Mainly, my husband, which causes me to become easily annoyed with him as I watch his mind get carried away by something stealing his affection. Truth be told though, I have the same issues of selfishness that I’m dealing with in my own heart and mind.
 
Until we get to the root of why we hold so fast to the treasures we worship and admire, we will never truly and fully understand ourselves. Can I be really honest though? Sometimes, fully understanding myself means that I have to go somewhere painful in my life that I don’t really want to uncover, because doing so is going to require work. I’d rather be lazy and comfortable than diligent and humble as I pursue the painful experiences of my past to uncover the roots of why I find myself so easily indulging in my idols.
 
Is it possible to be free from such behavior? Yes, absolutely, but we must be wiling to admit that our treasures are idols in disguise. We must be honest before ourselves and before God that our hearts have a problem that only the love of God can fix. As we submit those realities to Him, His love can finally fill in the gaps that our fears told us He wouldn’t.
 
Then and only then, in my repentance can the Lord fill my heart with His grace as I walk in obedience to His love, setting my treasures aside to make Him my greatest delight. As I do this, I become more available for people. My greatest treasure is no longer me, but Jesus who reminds me that I am first and foremost a servant to my fellowman.
 
Jesus, be my greatest treasure. Help me to be spiritually strong in you as I submit my heart, mind and will unto you. Please forgive me when I make life all about me. Help me to grow up in you as I let go of myself to take up you new life. I want to love like you, in Jesus name, Amen.

When God Speaks and Your Pride Keeps You From Hearing Him

The LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting… (Le 1:1).

There have been many seasons in my life when I have been desperate to hear from God. Truth be told, the reason I’m not hearing from Him, in those seasons, is because I either don’t like what He has already said or I haven’t placed myself in a posture of listening.
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I shoot prayers up to God like a shotgun blast as I run from one activity to the next. I’ll ask Him what His will is, but come to Him with a heart that’s covered in rebellion and pride. Have you ever done that? Asked God what He really wanted, but came with a wall of pride, knowing that in the back of your mind if He didn’t answer your prayer how you wanted you were still going to do what you want? I have and let me tell you, that never turns out well.
 
God speaks, but since I’m not listening I’ll say things to others like, “I sense God saying to me…..or, “I haven’t heard from the Lord on this yet”….when, I know that I have, I’m just covering His voice with my own, which leads my own sinful heart down the same destructive journey it started out on before I asked Him what His will was for me.
 
As I’ve walked this painful journey of rebellion I have finally reached the point where I’m so tired of hearing from myself that the thought of not heeding God’s voice actually sends a bit of trepidation into my heart and mind. Not because I’m afraid of God, but quite simply, I’m afraid of going on without Him. I’ve walked that journey far too many times. The one where I plow ahead of Him and it always ends up bad for me. Not because God is bent on punishing me, but because in His love, He’s trying to protect me and I’m not listening.
 
So, don’t fear letting go, it’s the best place you can find yourself in. Truly, in His will, heeding ourselves to Him and His voice, as we place ourself in a posture of listening before Him, we are truly safe. This is the best place for our hearts and minds as we submit ourselves to the loving hand of a merciful and almighty God. As we come to Him with nothing but ourselves and our deep love for Him, His presence surrounds us as we hear from His tender, loving voice.
 
Abba, I long to hear from you. I want to always be in a posture of listening. I do so much talking, but what I really want is you. Help me God, to kill my pride so that I can hear you more clearly, I ask, in Jesus name, Amen.

Surrounded By His Shelter

…and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence….(Rev 7:15).

Beloved, do not worry, God is with you. His presence is available for you as you determine to rest in His love. Truly, His grace is available for all who would choose to sit still. God longs to tabernacle with you. To enjoin His heart to yours and cover you with His everlasting love.
 
I need more of that love. The kind of love that surrounds me when the world starts to fall apart. It is His love that makes the most sense.
 
Can I be really honest though? It’s difficult for me, at times, to tabernacle with Him, because of my own fears, pride, worries, and insecurities. Just yesterday I sensed the Lord impressing upon me to practice humility and something rose up in me that said, “Yeah, I don’t want to do that.” What I really needed at that moment was the tabernacle of God to cover my prideful, stubborn and rebellious attitude and it did. Once I submitted my foolish thoughts to His grace, I sensed the peace of His shelter covering me.
 
Friends, we find shelters to keep us safe from storms and provide a fun and safe place to fellowship. Jesus longs to be that for us too. To be our shelter, not just when the storm hits, but at all times. That way, when the storm hits were not running for the shelter, being pelted by the storm. Instead, we’re resting in His love, already safe when the storm hits, because we have learned how to keep our hearts safe under the shade of His tabernacle.
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Father, surround me today with your presence. I long to be at rest in your promises. Truly, your heart is so full. It has room for even me. What a gift. My the outflow of your love for me be what I give to others today as I invite them to rest in your presence through me, in Jesus name, Amen.

Seek to Love in Your Pain…Not Hide in Shame

they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been….(Re 6:11).

You’re not alone in your struggle. There are others who’ve walked a similar, painful journey as you. They too have had to deal with the same kind of betrayal, loss, and heartache that you have or are now facing as you.
 
Many of us, in our struggle to keep pushing through forget that there’s power in sharing our story. You see, when we do, it connects with other people sharing in the same kind of struggles. It helps us to know and understand that we are not, nor have we ever been alone. Sometimes shame wants to convince me that I’m the only one, there’s no one else out there like me and what I’ve found myself in is all my fault and that people are immensely disappointed in me.
 
Shame has a way of keeping us from bridging our lives with others in a way that fosters healing. You see, radical love is lived out with one another when we take radical steps of faith towards the people who are hurting just like us. I’ll be honest, when I’m hurting the last thing I want to do is go and love someone else. I tend to become consumed by my own thoughts and pain. Yet, whenever I reach out to connect my heart with someone else I find that there’s healing not just for them, but for me too.
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Sometimes I think our healing is delayed because we keep waiting for people to come to us when God might be asking us to simply reach out in our broken humanity to another human being in need of His radical love. One of the most powerful things I can do is give someone the gift of going second. Whenever I share my story, the gross, disgusting parts that are full of pain, I now give someone else the opportunity to say, “me too.” Bridging my heart to theirs where God walks across with the two of us towards His healing, radical love.
 
Lord, I know that I have never been alone. I have everything that I need in you. Lord Jesus, be the joy and delight of my heart. Help me to always be vulnerable and transparent so that you can connect my story with others in a way that fosters healing, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Freedom From Pornography

I have covered my bed

with colored linens from Egypt….(Proverbs 7:16).

Pornography is a destroyer of the very vigor and lifeblood of those who consume it. Not only does it destroy one’s life, but it wrecks and ruins the relationships that are closest to the one who fancies themself with it.
 
It is an open grave, a pit of destruction set out to swallow up the soul of the one who indulges in it. Pornography is serious. It is a serious epidemic in our world today, among men and women of all ages.
 
It is a confusing epidemic for our young people since they have been raised on its images. The smartphone has opened up easy access to its entrapment and our youth are being conditioned by it far too young without the spiritual and emotional maturity to know how to handle it.
 
Lonely fathers, mothers, and singles are seeking it to give them some false type of companionship. A sense of satisfaction that they feel as though they lack is now being searched for in pornographic images sent only to rewire and pollute their brains.
 
You see, pornography steals one of God’s greatest gifts to any married couple or person who hopes to be married someday- intimacy. You cannot grow in intimacy with one another if your heart and mind are being captured by the destructive ways of pornography. Simply because it teaches us that sex is the exact opposite of true intimacy. It tries to make us believe that sex is all about the one who wants it, not about the gift of serving another person in love.
 
Is pornography an easy fix to a desire or want? It seems as though it is, but it fixes nothing. It only destroys, demeans and dehumanizes all who are involved in it. It is terribly sneaky and deceptive. Truly, it is altogether terrible. So, what do we do in a culture where pornography has weaseled its way into so many minds and hearts?
 
We learn how to listen to those who consume it. We sit with them, hear their story- with compassion and walk alongside them as they pursue true, lasting freedom from it. No one will find freedom if we heap shame upon them, but they will find it if we meet them with grace. Truly, when we do, we open a door for them to walk out of the darkness they have found themselves in. Now we can journey with them into the root of why it became such an issue in their life.
 
You see, an addiction to pornography simply reveals a deeper issue of the heart and if we are not willing to go with people into that place, we will never get to be the grace of God to those who need it. But if we are willing, we will see God’s kingdom come as men, women, and children find freedom from their pasts in Jesus name. We will see lives, hearts and minds restored as we teach people how to flee the deceptive ways of pornography and find true, lasting freedom in Jesus Christ.
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Father, please help our world find freedom from the entrapments of pornography. God, please forgive us for how we’ve allowed it to pervade our society. It only hurts people. You know that. Help us now, to walk with others as they seek to find freedom, in Jesus name, Amen.

I Know That Person Hurt You, But It’s Time to Move Forward in the Grace of God

you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants…..(Psalm 79:10).
 
Don’t become angry with God because He hasn’t avenged your situation just yet in the way and time that you want Him to. I have learned in life that sometimes, in situations where I was wronged or mistreated, I can’t go on hoping that God will punish the wicked done to me like I want Him to. Instead, I must go on with a heart of thankfulness that God is forever for me.
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You see, I think what I’m learning is that God’s victory doesn’t come when that person who wronged us has been disciplined and punished by God. It comes when we can move forward, away from bitterness, walking in our freedom in Christ.
 
Sometimes I feel this desire to stay stuck on the situation, to mull it over a thousand times, watching and hoping that God will avenge me and I will see the wicked fall. Beloved, let the wicked fall in God’s way and in God’s timing, but you dear Christian, move forward in the grace of God.
 
Don’t you see, this is where your victory is found. Not in looking back on the wrong done, but in moving forward with God towards His freedom, joy, and love. I get it, I know that’s hard, trust me, I really do. I’ve lived it and in many ways, I’m still living it. Part of me feels like maybe God isn’t doing His part because my situation hasn’t been avenged like I want it to be, but then there’s this other part of me, the one that’s been saturated in grace that’s telling me to let it go. To trust God with my future and to live in the blessings of His grace instead of dwelling on what was a painful experience in the past.
 
This sets me free from what happened and sets me up in a spacious place with God where I can dance in His freedom and deliverance. You see, God hasn’t avenged my situation just yet in the way that I want Him too, but He has blessed my life tremendously and when I keep my gaze fixed upon those blessings I start to embrace that maybe this is the way that He is avenging my situation and for that, I can be glad as I leave the rest to Him.
 
Lord, I entrust it all to you and I rejoice that you are working for me. Thank you for your great love. Thank you for your grace that challenges me and grows me up in maturity. Thank you that I don’t have to see the wicked fall in the way that I want them to, but I can rejoice that your hand of blessing is being poured out on my life, in Jesus name, Amen.

God Uses His Power to Work For Me….Not Against Me

What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open…(Rev 3:7).

God really is all-powerful. In total control. Sovereign over everything within our lives. The good and the bad, even though it might not always feel like it. He shuts doors no one can open and opens doors no one can shut. Why then do we live as though His power falls short in our circumstances? Why do we act and live as though He is powerful for others, but chooses to restrain His strength within our lives?
 
For me, it’s because I’m impatient. I want God to act on my timeline. I want Him to work on my behalf, but sometimes, I’m resistant towards Him when I have to walk through pain. Pain keeps me from seeing God at work because I start to believe the lies that He’s no longer for me, but against me. Simple words of shame start to implant themselves in my soul. I tell myself things like, “God is punishing me still” or “There must be something I’m doing wrong that’s causing all of these poor circumstances to rise up because it feels like God keeps bringing them into my life.”
 
Beloved, don’t you see, God doesn’t use His power to work against us like we often believe. He works in His power for us. We simply have to learn how to release our present situations, no matter how bleak or painful to His Lordship. As the master weaves out His plan in our lives, we start to see not our circumstances, but His overwhelming grace. We can celebrate the small things because we’ve learned how to entrust to Him the big things.
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Abba, thank you that you are always at work. Thank you that I can trust you. Yes, I can trust you. You are such a good, loving and faithful God. You are all-powerful, yes, even for me. Thank you for this grace, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.