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

I Wish I Was A Little More Desperate For Jesus

I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat….(Mark 8:2).

Sometimes I wish I was a little more desperate for Jesus. More often than not, I find myself easily distracted from Him. I’ll press into my abilities or the ways I’ve operated to make things work, instead of leaning heavily into His grace. When life becomes uncomfortable or less than desired, instead of sitting with Him in stillness, I’ll look for ways to flee my present woes.
 
Many of us might think that we’d be willing to go above and beyond with Jesus if He were here in the flesh. Sure, we’d stay for three days too with nothing to eat, just like those people did in Mark 8. At least, we think we would, but knowing me I’d probably have somewhere I needed to be, like a softball game, meeting, or in the comfort of my own home enjoying a good nights rest and a hot meal.
 
Sometimes, I’ll even prioritize my restful time on the couch over my restful time with Jesus. Isn’t that sad? I think it is. Mostly because, on a daily basis, the King of Glory wants to feed me with His bread. His life, peace and sustenance is what He longs to fill me with, but its hard for me to stay in His presence long enough to even begin to know or understand what my true needs really are.
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I think this is why we have such a hard time truly hearing from God in the church. I think its why we don’t make ourselves available very often to hurting people. Since, in our own minds, we have too much to do, and can’t imagine giving up whatever it is upcoming on our schedule to remain present in this moment with Jesus.
 
My to-do list starts to run in my head and I go chasing it instead of chasing the Father. Thankfully, God has grace for to-do list chasers like me, but oh, how I long to sit at my Father’s feet, being forever changed by His love!
 
Father, I want you as my first priority. I know this isn’t always the case. I’m very quick to prioritize what’s best for me over what’s best for others. Lord, please help me to find that healthy balance of self-care and caring for others. May my home and my heart be an open door for your work to do be done. May I always be inviting others into my life to taste and see that you are good, in Jesus name, Amen.

I Am Often Plagued By This Question

He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret…. (Mark 7:24).

 
I often wonder how many people actually encounter Jesus when they are around me. This is a question that plagues me often. Truly, my deepest desire is that they would see the risen Christ alive in me and thus be drawn to His love.
 
The older I get the more I am drawn to people whose hearts have been captured by love. They’re the kind of people who go out of their way to make me feel special, offer a smile or encouraging word. I used to go looking for people who could help me get ahead in life, make me more influential and improve my status. Now, what I want more than anything is people who will love me for where I’m at in the present moment, in all of my messiness, as we journey together in the grace of God.
 
What made Jesus famous? One might argue that it was His ability to perform miracles or His authority that He had as a master teacher of Gods word. Although these qualities, I’m sure, played into His greatness, without love, they would have meant very little. There are plenty of people that I have met who can do and accomplish great things, but if they’re treat people poorly I quickly lose respect for them. I would much rather be around a person with a little giftedness and a lot of love.
 
I believe it was the way He loved that made Jesus truly unforgettable. But, what about you? Does the love of God spring forth from your heart so powerfully that people encounter Jesus when they are with you?
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For a season in my life, God took away my platform. The method I had once used to “shine for Jesus” was now gone. The only thing I had left to do was to love like Him. Can I just say, in that season of life, I have never had such strong relationships be formed? Since His love was all I had, I did everything I could to live out of that place. Now that my platform is back, I long to connect to people in the same way. I want them to see and experience Jesus in me.
 
Lord, I want people to experience you when they see me. Help me to live in a way that shows them you. I don’t want to live any other way. Jesus, abound in me more and more, for your glory, I pray, Amen.

A Critical Heart

“What comes out of a person is what defiles them.”….(Mark 7:20).

I have to be very careful about what I feed myself and I’m not talking about food. What I’m actually referring to are my thoughts. I am often amazed at how critical my thoughts can be towards someone.
 
In fact, pessimistic, disapproving thoughts about someone are my default. Even if someone shows me overwhelming kindness I am often met with this thought of criticism and negativity towards their kind gesture towards me.
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Recognizing this makes me feel absolutely disgusted. I’m disgusted that what I’ve allowed my heart and mind to feast upon. What I’m recognizing is that I need a new heart and mind. Praise God that this is what He offers me through His love.
 
I don’t have to live this way any longer, nor do I need to feel shame over it. I can walk in the freedom that Jesus offers me as I release all of these things to Him. I can rejoice knowing that He offers a new heart and mind for someone like me. He can take my critical heart and transform it through the power of His love. That’s what I’m banking on today.
 
Lord, you make me new. Thank you for sending Jesus so that I could have a transformed heart and mind. Shower me with your love and grace. Fill me to overflowing with more of you. May my heart be filled with good thoughts towards others. I don’t want that critical heart any longer. I want it to die so that Christ can be raised up in me, in Jesus name, Amen.

When My Pride Seeks To Cause Division

“You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”….(Mark 7:9).

Yesterday, as I was meeting with my senior pastor I shared with him how I was struggling with prideful thoughts that were trying to cause disunity among myself and some other brothers and sisters in Christ. I told him, “I keep having these thoughts trying to crowd their way into my heart and mind towards others. They’re critical thoughts, because in my pride, their not like me and that bothers me.”
 
As I confessed this reality to him I also shared that I’m combating those prideful thoughts by speaking prayers of thanks to my Heavenly Father for those people. I’m asking God to help me see what others, who are different from me, can teach me about God. I’m asking Jesus to help me see them in a new light and not be annoyed by the fact that they’re different from me, but see how I can be blessed by their differences instead.
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Satan loves to throw wedges between us and he’ll use our pride to do it. That’s the recipe I find him mixing in me the most. My pride gets served up on a platter and if I’m not careful, I’ll feast upon it and before I know it a wedge of distrust, disunity and disdain rises up in me towards those I really do care about.
 
The Pharisees dealt with this too and Jesus rebuked them for it. Their desire to hold onto their pride kept them from loving others well. This is one of our biggest issues in the church, not that we don’t have all the right plans and programs, but that we often allow our personal preferences to become sticking points of disunity within the body of Christ, because of our pride. In doing so, we hurt others, shame them and in our own heart and mind categorize them as irresponsible, lazy, or whatever else our pride convinces us to believe. The only way to be free from this is to speak words of praise and thanks. A critical attitude has to die at the feet of praise. Lord, let it be so in me.
 
Father, forgive us for our sinful and prideful thoughts. Jesus, when I see my brothers and sisters in Christ I want to see them with a Spirit of thankfulness. Lord, thank you that I can rest in your love and that you can change my prideful attitude to one of thanks. Continue to do that in me, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.