When Doubt Comes Knocking….Don’t Open the Door

they worshiped him; but some doubted…. (Matt 28:17).

Have you ever been praising God one moment but doubting Him greatly in the next? Yep, that’s been me too. In fact, I sense that dichotomy going on me in now. Doubt and discouragement have been knocking on the door of my heart.
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I know what’s true about God and sometimes I forget that He is King and master over people and situations. It’s just that sometimes I doubt that He can work through people. Truth is, we cannot, nor should we ever put our faith in people. We can, however, rejoice that God works through people and that He works through our prayers and our willingness to trust HIm and walk in obedience.
 
Sometimes I must remember that my best prayer is not, “God change this person,” or “change this situation,” but, “Lord, give me the grace to submit myself fully to you and to trust in your unfailing love.” You see, this kind of prayer keeps us from hanging onto our expectations and our need to be in control. I’ve noticed that when I pray for God to change my situation what I’m really asking God to do is change things in the way that makes sense to me. I’m asking Him to work in my situation in a way that makes me comfortable.
 
Instead, I have learned to pray for the grace and courage to walk forward in faith, believing the best in every person and every situation for the glory of God. Trust me, I don’t always do this perfectly, but God offers me grace even in my doubt as I come to Him in repentance.
 
I feel like there’s a lot going on in my life right now that’s out of my control. Therefore, I am met often with thoughts of doubt or with waves of anxiety. My best place to be in this current state of my life is in a position of thankfulness. So today I’m thanking God for every good and perfect gift that has been sent from above. I’m thanking Him for His grace. I’m thanking Him that He is Lord over all. I’m thanking Him that if He has called me to something, He will see me through and He will make it beautiful.
 
Lord, I submit every worried and anxious thought to you. Please forgive me for my doubt. Honestly God, I desperately want to trust you, so please, be at work on my behalf. I need your grace to accomplish the task before me. Better yet, I need the grace to walk daily in obedience as a Christian, not in the waves of fear that sometimes try to steal my heart away. Lord Jesus, I surrender my heart to yours and I trust you, Amen.

When Life Stops Making Sense and Pain is to Excruciating….Place Your Heart in His Love

and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.” …. (Matt 27:10).
 
I know it doesn’t always feel like God is in control, especially when life starts spinning out of control. Yet, He is by all accounts, Lord over all. This is hard for us to understand when things in life go awry and curve ball after curve ball gets thrown at us.
 
I can recall a time, not long ago, when it felt like my life was spinning out of control. I was angry, confused and heartbroken. Life just stopped working and there was no sense in trying to make any sense of it. I recognized at that moment I had two places to land my heart. I could bury it in my pain and anger or I could rest it in the arms of my heavenly Father.
 
I chose to set my heart into the arms of my loving Father, even though life made no sense at all. Yes, there were moments and days where I struggled against anger and spent more of my time demanded justice from God then silencing my heart before Him. In the end, I realized that the Lord is King over all the universe and although the waiting was long, arduous and painful it taught me so much about myself and the Lord.
 
You see, I believe now that sometimes things have to die in our lives so that God can resurrect them with His new grace. For a long time, day after day, I had to deal with this deep longing and deep pain in my soul. Each day felt like another death, but you see, there were some things in me that needed to die.
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I had to submit my issues with control, fear and worry to the Lord. As I did, I experienced the painful death of dying, but now I am seeing the fruit of a woman who for so long felt like her heart kept being put on the altar. You see, it was for my good that I placed myself up there. It kept me humble. It helped me fix my gaze upon the life-giver and life-sustainer. It forced me to stay low, trust God and wait upon Him.
 
Now, I am so convinced that the altar is good for my heart and soul that I long to place myself upon it. I know, that as I die, God will bring about HIs best kind of fruit in me, so today, I’m choosing to die to my past and my present issues so that God can resurrect new fruit in me, for His great name.
 
Lord, here I am, all of me. I am but a beggar at the door of your mercy, ready and prepared to myself a sacrifice before you. I have nothing to offer you expect for the love that you have already poured into my heart. Lord, I lay my life before you today, in Jesus name, Amen.

Unexpected: God’s Provision May Come From Somewhere You Did Not Expect

in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this house of God…(Ezra 5:13).

I am asking God to show up in my life in ways that are unexplainable. Truth is, there are certain things, out of my control, that I need Him to pull through on. In my own mind, I’ve come up with some great ways that God can make those things happen for me. Yet, it was the Lord who used a pagan King to set forth the decree that would bring the Jews back to their promised land to rebuild the temple.
 
You see, God wants to provide for us in ways that we cannot see or understand. Maybe even in ways that we deem impossible. Therefore, we must be willing to set aside our expectations of Him to trust in His provision. We must be willing to accept it, even if it doesn’t look like a blessing at first.
 
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Then, we must practice perseverance as we move forward with faith in the place God has called us to. You see, the Jews experienced great persecution as they set out to rebuild their city, but they did not give up. Just because what God has given us is hard, doesn’t mean its not from His hand. It very well could mean that it’s just serving a bigger purpose for our own hearts sanctification.
 
I’m looking for God to pull through on some things in my life and I’m living with a hopeful expectation that He’s going to do it in ways that I would have never dreamed.
 
Get ready for God to do the same in your life. Sit back, practice faith and watch your God work for you on your behalf. You’ll be amazed at what He’ll do and where His blessing will come from for you!

Heavy Opposition

if this city is built and its walls are restored, no more taxes, tribute or duty will be paid, and eventually the royal revenues will suffer… (Ezra 4:13).

Ever faced opposition when you’ve set out to do the work of the Lord? Yeah, me too. The question is, what do we do when that opposition comes? If you’re like me, sometimes you cower in fear, other times, you start to entertain thoughts of discouragement and unbelief. Then, there are other seasons when you feel crippled by whatever it is that’s opposing you.
 
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I’ve been experiencing some of that in this present season. God has been pouring out so many blessings upon my life recently. In the midst of it all I am now being met with lies, and “what if’s” sent to distract and discourage me from the work God has given me peace in my heart to do.
 
I sense fear and anxiety that’s rising up in me trying to convince me to be afraid and take over control. Yet, I hear the Lord saying, “Heather, I’m going to take care of you.” Honestly, I desperately want to walk in His will and hear His voice clearly. I think I’m less concerned about what could happen if I trust God in faith, taking risky steps and more concerned that if I’m not walking by faith that I’ll make a decision rooted in fear, worry or doubt.
 
Truth is, I know myself and the buttons in my heart, that if they’re pushed hard enough, I get sent into a bit of a panic. Buttons of worry, doubt, control, and fear. The enemy is really hammering those buttons hard right now. Since I know his tactics, I’m disciplining myself to lay down each thought and make it obedient to Christ.
 
Do not be surprised when you set out to be bold and courageous for God when you are met with opposition. Instead, praise God that He will show up for you and win the battles that are facing you as you trust in Him.
 
Lord, why would I ever doubt you. You are so good to me. When I think about how good you are, I am overwhelmed. Why would I ever doubt your faithfulness? I know that you will make a way for me in the wilderness. Lord, I just want to walk forward in faith. I trust in your unfailing love. If I start to stray, lead me back, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

When the Altar is Painful…Stay There…It Holds a Great Purpose

Then Joshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates began to build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on it…. (Ezra 3:2).

Before the Israelites started to rebuild the foundations of the temple, they chose to offer sacrifices to the Lord their God. I can’t help but think about how much this relates to my life. There were many things I sacrificed to the Lord because, quite frankly, He asked me to. I can’t that I really wanted to. I just knew that I had to. In the end, I sacrificed my time, talent, treasures and dreams.
 
Can I be really honest? That was hard. It was difficult to let go of the things I loved and trust God with something better. There were days, weeks and months when I was weary of continually offering up myself as a sacrifice. I was tired of offering up my dreams, over and over again to the Lord. I was ready for Him to start building, but He still had some work to do in me first.
 
He still had some tearing down of idols, fears, and insecurities. In all of this, He was teaching me that He is the Lord and there is no other. Trust me, sitting upon the altar is painful. It’s gut-wrenching, but it is, on all accounts, very purposeful.
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Months ago, the Lord spoke to me, “Heather, prepare your fields for rain.” At that time, I didn’t understand or know what He meant but now, I am experiencing His rain. Truly, He is a good and loving God to His people.  In fact, I am overwhelmed out His outpouring of grace and joy upon my life.  
 
Do not grow weary of laying yourself upon God’s altar. Trust me, it is for your good. It’s the place where God starts to transform our hearts. He’ll start building and sending the rain for a great harvest, just keep offering yourself as a sacrifice and watch Him work.
 
Lord, why would I ever doubt you? Truly, you are the matchless King. There is no one like you in all the earth. Thank you for loving me. Abba, daddy, thank you for changing me. Although at times, I hated the altar, I am so thankful for it. Thank you for always being there with me and offering me your grace. You are so good to me, in Jesus name, Amen.

Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat….Humility Doesn’t Make You Weak

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…(Col 3:12)
 
I used to think that if I ate fat, that meant that I would get fat. I also thought that if I was humble before others, that meant that I was incompetent as a leader and people would be disappointed in me because I should have been stronger. I would wear this cap of shame because, in my mind, I should have never messed up, to begin with, and admitting that I had only made me look bad to other people (in my mind). It took me a while, but I came to realize that both insecurities I carried with me, about eating fat and practicing humility, were a farce.
 
Your body needs healthy fats and your soul needs a regular dose of humility. These are two lies I have entertained in my life, mostly rooted in fear, that made me spin in circles, instead of moving forward in faith. Now that I eat healthy fats, my body feels healthier and now that I practice humility, my soul feels freer. I feel like more of a real person. I no longer have to protect my ego out of fear for what others might think, say or feel. Humility is the best dose I have ever taken. Truly, it brings so much healing.
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If you’re stubborn like me and you’ve been stopped by your own ego when you knew you needed to practice humility, don’t fear, take heart, and let go. Let go of your fear, insecurity and your need to look good to others. I have learned that humility is actually what bonds me deeper to people. Pride only polarizes me from them.
 
Fat won’t make you fat and humility won’t make you weak. God gave us these gifts to help us grow into healthy people, made in His image, ready to do His Kingdom work. So, go ahead, throw a few more healthy fats in your diet and, better yet, start taking a few big doses of humility every single day.
 
Lord, I want to grow up in Christ. Help me to flee from worthless passions. Honestly, my greatest passion is often myself. I am proud, selfish and greedy. Lord, forgive me. I want to be like you, in Jesus name, Amen.

It’s Time to Start Asking Others That I’ve Hurt For Forgiveness….

if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount…(Lk 19:8).

I used to think that if I had wronged someone that as long as I went to the Lord, seeking His forgiveness, it wasn’t imperative that I went to that person, seeking theirs. Now I’m realizing that this is wrong. You know what’s hard though? Changing my behavior. Because this means that I need to dig deep into my past to seek forgiveness from someone I wronged.
 
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This is hard because if I could be quite honest, in my own pride, I have thought, but what if they never seek MY forgiveness for how they wronged me? Or what if they paint me as this awful person and use my willingness to go to them seeking their forgiveness against me? I know these are traps from the enemy sent to keep me from finding freedom through humility.
 
Humility is hard though when you have an ego to protect…that’s why pride must die. We must, on all accounts do what’s right before the Lord and trust Him with the results. Even if this means we look stupid in the eyes of people. Even if it means they never take ownership of their sins. Even if it means we have to humble ourselves in the deepest way possible, going to a place in our hearts our ego wants to protect.
 
You know the feeling, your ego tries to convince you it was their fault, it’s not that big of a deal and you’ve dealt with them not in your life for this long, you can certainly continue that way. I’m sure that we can, but is that what honors God most? I don’t believe so at all.
 
God’s heart is for reconciliation. Therefore, our heart should be too. It might not be safe for us to reconcile to the point of inviting that person back into our lives, but we should certainly be willing to break the wedge between us that most likely was set up there through some of our sins against them.
 
Therefore, today I’m sending an email to someone I really should have probably reached out to a long time ago. Today I’m doing what my pride, ego, fear, and insecurity have tried to stop me from doing until now. Would you do the same?
 
Lord, I submit myself to you. Forgive me for how I have wronged others in my own immaturity. I have been so foolish. I no longer want to protect my ego though. Help me to walk instead with your Holy Spirit and give me the grace to continue walking the journey of faith that you have for me, in Jesus name, Amen.