I’m Still Working on This Command From Jesus

Love your neighbor as yourself.’ n There is no commandment greater than these.”… (Mark 12:31).

I’m working on this command from Jesus. Truly, it is a daily thing for me to wrestle with my treasure being me. My thoughts, my wishes, my desires, hopes, dreams and preferences all love to rear their ugly head when it comes time to “love my neighbor as myself.”
 
I’ll be honest, sometimes I get more annoyed by my neighbor than I should. If they infringe upon my time, schedule or agenda I’ll become very quickly and easily bothered by their presence. Ouch, that is not a fun reality that I’m noticing about myself.
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However, since I know this to be true about myself, I often have to stop my mind and my heart and say, “Heather, stop what you’re doing, put your things down for a moment and be present with this person.” I don’t always like doing that, in fact, I can’t really say its something that I enjoy doing at all. Yet, I know that the more I do it, the more I’ll teach myself a new rhythm. A rhythm of love and compassion instead of annoyance towards people, so that I can start loving them like Jesus would and not like my sinful nature tells me to.
 
Oh Lord, I do struggle in this area. I know that you know that. Forgive me when I become overly concerned with my to-do list and I don’t “love my neighbor as myself.” Please, grant me the gift of your grace so I can share that grace with others, in Jesus name, Amen.

Step Down So That God Can Step Up

having sacrificed the sin offering, the burnt offering and the fellowship offering, he stepped down…(Lev 9:22).
 
It’s time to step down. Some of us, myself included can be…. what you might call, a control freak. What I have found, at least for me, is that my need to control, really stems from a root of fear. Until we allow God to break that stronghold of fear and start uprooting the real reason behind our need to control, we will never be able to step down in surrender.
 
It’s hard to step down from the things that we love, I get that, but when the things we love become the things that WE MUST have, well, now we have a problem. We’re now carrying a burden, instead of seeking to lift one from others. We’re now defining ourselves by what we hold onto, instead of by the one who holds us.
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The Lord is challenging me in this present season to step down and trust Him. Quite literally, I have to step down from things like my job and many other facets of my life as I enter into to a season of carrying for a newborn child. Part of me starts to worry about all the things I’ll be stepping down from, but then the Spirit says something different to me. The Spirit says, “Heather, it’s not about you. It never has been. I can work in mighty ways without your help. You are your best self when you are in a posture of letting go.”
 
That’s a tough one for me to internalize sometimes, but what I walked through over a couple of years ago in my life, in many ways, shattered my insecurity and fear over the need to constantly be in control. Something about walking through devastation makes you realize that your feeble attempts to be in control just don’t work and they never will. So, today, I’m going to choose to rest in my Father’s love and be thankful that I can step down, so that God can step up in my life.
 
Father, I trust you. I know that you have good things for me. I know that you are strong and good. Help me, Jesus, to walk in the fullness of your presence. Use me to bring great glory to your name, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Experiencing God

and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people…(Lev 9:23).

Aaron and Moses did something great for the people of Israel. Through their dedication, obedience, preparation and reverence they brought the nation into an experience with God.
 
I want to bring people into an experience with God. I long for people, especially youth, to taste and see that the Lord is good. I know He’s alive and active, but why is it that it’s rare for us to experience Him in our daily lives or draw others into a true, life-giving experience with the living God? Could it be that we ourselves are not preparing our own hearts to experience Him? Are we so busy, that we lean into our schedules and our idols instead of HIs grace? Are we so concerned about our church programs, making them cutting edge, instead of leaning into the simplicity of the Holy Spirit to work in our midst?
 
Those times when I have experienced God the most was never because my program was outwardly worthy of adoration. It was always because I created simple space for God to move. I brought people into a quiet place with Him. I expounded His word with great grace and power through the Holy Spirit or I leaned into the gifts of others in the areas that I lacked them. This is when I’ve seen God’s power most beautifully displayed. It’s so simple, yet so beautiful. There’s no flashing lights, or extravagant show. There’s just the bare bones of what really matters within our faith; quietness, rest, reverence for His word, repentance of sin and love for His people.
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So if you want to usher your loved ones into an experience with God, create space for stillness in their lives. Where they an hear from God. Create a place for them to come and share their brokenness and being will to first, share your own. Surround others with the life-changing power of the word of God and watch has their hearts start to come alive, not because of over stimulation or some mountaintop experience. But simply because they have learned to drink daily, from the fountain of the Father’s love.
 
Lord, I long to bring others into an experience with God. I long to experience you daily. To drink from your love and be forever changed by it’s power. Help me, God, to run to you, the well that never runs try, in Jesus name, Amen.

Pour Yourself Out

He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him to consecrate him…(Lev 8:12).

Life as a Christian is meant to be shared. In all things, we are to live as an offering unto others as we pour ourselves out upon them, seeking to be the sweet aroma of Christ unto their life.
It took me a long time to get this, because for many years the insidious thought of, “what’s in it for me,” took up residency in my heart and mind as I pursued relationships with people. Quite frankly, as a former performance junkie I’ve cared more about projects than people. This is something I have to always be aware of in my mind, because I’ll be very quick to set people aside for the sake of one more task I need to accomplish.
It’s not that tasks are bad, it just that, many times, they can wait. If I’m not creating enough time and space in my schedule to be fully present with people than I have missed the mark on being the sweet aroma of Christ to everyone that I meet. It’s quite possible that I’m doing too much if my focus is all about the things I’m doing, instead of the people I’m investing in.
In the Old Testament, when someone was set apart for God, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them. This was done by taking oil and pouring it upon their head in great measure. Now, as believers in Christ, who live under the new covenant, the Holy Spirit has been poured out into us. You see, oil represents life and when we share it with others, we bring them the life of Christ that lives inside of us.
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Therefore, it is our role as Christians to constantly be pouring out that power and love to everyone that we meet. Yes, the Spirit is ultimately not just meant for us. It is very much meant for us to share it with others. Truly, Jesus is a lamp unto our feet. When we allow Him to light up our path, we can act as His presence to a world that desperately needs His love. I want to be that kind of person today. One who pours herself out for the betterment of other people, in Jesus name.
Father, thank you for filling me with your Spirit. I long to share your Spirit with others. Grant me the grace to lead, love, serve and act like you. I want to love like you did, Jesus. Live through me, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

God Will Provide

we are his people, the sheep of his pasture…. (Ps 100:3).

God is going to provide for you. You do not have to fear what tomorrow brings. Trust me when I say this, trying harder, expending more energy and dreaming up all the possible ways to fill the needs of your life will not bring about the results you’re hoping for. In fact, they will leave you depleted and exhausted.
 
I know this to be true, because I’ve spent far too much time trying to play the role of provider in my own life. It took me years to learn how to truly rest in green pastures with my Father. I thought that if I tried harder, I would get what I needed, but if I could be quite honest, my trying harder only brought on more anxiety in my life. It never brought on lasting peace, until I learned how to sit in green pastures with my Father holding me.
 
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That came through very painful circumstances though. As I learned to sit with my Father, sometimes, it felt like I was fighting against Him, wanting to leave His pasture, but I just knew that I had no place else to go. Since everything had been stripped from me, nothing more was left except me and God. Although this was a painful place to live. It was a very purposeful place for me to grow. As I sat with my Father in His green pastures, I learned to submit myself to His Kingship and His ability to provide for me in my life.
 
Since then, I’ve become a little less controlling about money. A lot less worried about my calling in ministry and much more at peace as I’ve learned how to sit still in the Father’s love. For someone who used to be an addict to doing more, this has been good for my soul to learn how to detach and be at peace before my Heavenly Father.
 
His green pastures for you are good. Therefore, do not worry about what you can’t see today. Truly, He is working behind the scenes awaiting to shower you with great blessings as you rest in His great love.
 
Lord, I love you. Thank you for taking me into those green pastures and for showing yourself faithful. I knew that you would pull through and you did. I claimed your promises over and over again and you proved yourself loving and good. Thank you God, for being so good. Lavish your love upon me today as I sit with you now, in Jesus name, Amen.

With Jesus Leading The Way

They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way… (Mk 10:32).
 
The Lord has been teaching me how to slow down and listen to His voice. For many years I would run ahead of God with all of my great ideas. I mostly did this out of fear and an unhealthy need to have something to show for myself.
 
As someone new in ministry I was afraid that if I didn’t have all these things to show for myself others would consider me ineffective and replaceable, so I did my best to have something to show for myself with the hopes that others would be impressed by my “work for God.”
 
This left me exhausted, drained and defeated. Quite honestly, I would start things I never should have pursued, because I never really bathed them in prayer to begin with. I didn’t really know how to listen to the Lord and wait upon Him because listening wasn’t a daily practice for me.
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Making things happen was the only thing I knew how to do, so that’s what I did. Waiting is not something that is part of my nature, so instead of allowing God to reshape me, I operated out of what I had always known. Which only added more unhealthiness into my life as I pursued one thing after another.
 
Now, I long for Jesus to “lead the way.” I’m so tired of walking down paths that my insecurity tries to convince me to follow that I want nothing more than to hear directly from the Lord and follow after Him.
 
Abba, thank you for your love. Thank you that you take women like me and transform me. Thank you that I don’t have to operate any longer out of fear or a need to perform. Thank you that I can trust in your daily grace, in Jesus name, Amen.

When Life Gets Harder, Keep Pursuing Your Freedom

When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth….(Mk 9:20).

 
Don’t be surprised if your life gets much harder when you start pursuing your freedom. In fact, you should expect it. It’s not because God wants to make things harder on you. It’s that the enemy doesn’t want you to be free, so he’ll throw every flaming dart he can think of to try and keep you from your true freedom.
 
I know this to be true because I experienced it first hand. When I opened up about some deep pain and struggles in my life and started pursuing my freedom, it was like everything in my life started to crumble. All of my fears were pressed and I had one choice to make. Either cave to those fears and retreat or keep pressing forward, knowing that what I was walking into would bring me great pain.
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There’s always purpose within the pain we walk through. People who avoid pain, will never quite find the purpose for which they were created. They’ll hunker down, creating a safe environment for themselves, but this is only a false reality that they live in because they’re trying to somehow keep themselves from what they fear the most.
 
Maybe, they started pursuing freedom and the enemy started pressing in and so they gave up. I can understand why, because I wanted to give up too when I was walking through my own dark and painful season.
 
Don’t believe the lie that says things will always be this way and don’t give up on pursuing your freedom. God will bless you for your faithfulness if you do not give up. I’ve experienced that first hand too.
 
Lord, give us the grace to keep moving forward in Jesus name. Yes, life is hard, but you are so good. Yes, the enemy doesn’t want us to be free, but you give us the grace we need, each day to keep moving forward with you. Capture our hearts we pray, in Jesus name, Amen