The Devil is Trying To Hand Me Tiny Morsels of Deception

But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die…. (John 6:50).

I often have to ask myself, “Heather, what are you feasting up?” Sometimes, I don’t really care for the answer I have to that question, because, quite frankly, more often than I care to admit I’ll discover myself dining upon pride, fear, insecurity, and selfishness.
 
Even now, as I woke up this morning I sensed the enemy trying to hand me morsels of sin to dine upon. He’s trying to push old buttons in me to cause division in my heart and mind against those that I love. He’s crafty and I’ve noticed with Him that the more I grow in Christ, the more backhanded and suttle the handing of those tiny morsels becomes.
 
Therefore, I must always be on my guard against the schemes of the devil that seek to steal, kill and destroy the good work that Christ is building up in me. You see, it’s those tiny morsels that if I feast on them long enough start to weigh me down into the grave. I can no longer stand tall for Christ, growing up in Him, because I have chosen to dine at the devil’s table, growing fat with lies and deception.
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But you see, I want to grow up into maturity, no just grow out, if you get what I mean. Our hearts and minds can either grow sleek and fit with the love of Christ or fat and lazy with the darkness of the devil. As Christians, we are not controlled by the devil, but we can certainly be influenced by him. It’s up to me whose table I choose to dine at. Will it be at my Father’s table, where I grow up in maturity as I dine upon love, grace, and truth. Or will it be at the enemy’s table where I grow fat with lies, anger, bitterness, and pride?
 
Lord, I surrender all my thoughts to you and I claim my victory in Christ. I thank you that I can stand upon your truth. I don’t have to give way to fear, but I can trust fully in you rejoicing that you are for me. Fill me now with your grace, truth, and love in Jesus name, Amen.

In the Midst of Great Worry, I Hear the Father Saying, “Let Me Hold You”

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow…(Matt 6:34).

Has the enemy ever tried to propel you into worrying about the future? Yeah, he’s definitely pushing those buttons in me now. The what if’s and things that could go wrong are running rampant throughout my heart and mind. Things I can’t control and what if’s in regards to my future.
 
I hear the Father saying to me, “Heather, let me hold you.” As I imagine myself being embraced by Jesus, my body feels stiff and resistant. Mostly because I have not been yielding to Him over these past few days of worry.
 
I’m asking Him to melt my heart into His. To enjoin me unto Him and take my fears, worries, and anxieties as I allow myself to be held by Him with no need to worry about tomorrow or six months from now, but to learn how to simply be abandoned to His great love that is for me today.
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Walking in today means trusting God for our tomorrow’s. Sitting with our Father, in His warm embrace means that we give up our need to know what two weeks from now holds. It means that we are willing to let go of control and simply sit at the master’s feet. Truly, He is safe, loving and kind. It is His kindness, wrapped in grace that leads our hearts beside quiet waters.
 
So, today I want to go on a walk with Jesus, there beside those quiet waters where He and I simply enjoy one another. There a the banks of the river I want to simply be held by Him. Without His embrace I will be captured by and carried away by fear into a future I cannot control.
 
Jesus, why do I worry? Because I allow the enemy to press buttons of long-held fears in my life. Fears of not having enough, not being enough and not being able to stay in control. Forgive me for my foolish heart. I am a new creation in you and so today, I will walk in that confidence, that in you, I am free, new and loved, in Jesus name, Amen.

Motivating Others With Fear….Never Produces Real Change

 Be merciful to those who doubt…(Jud 22).

Has anyone ever used fear against you in an attempt to get you to change? Yeah, that’s definitely happened to me. Whenever someone uses fear as a tactic to get us to change we will never respond to that person out of love, but will always respond out of a sense of obligation or duty. Duty in the sense that if we don’t do what they say that we will live with the grave consequences of their condemnation against us. Sadly, this never produces real heart change within us, because fear is the driving factor for our motivation to change.
 
Love is what changes people. Love and kindness, mixed with grace, truth and mercy are what compels us towards a new heart and mind. God is immensely patient with us. It is His lovingkindness that leads us towards repentance. Should we fear a life without God? We should, but that’s not how God motivates us to change. You see, written all throughout the Scripture is His love letter to us and His patience in drawing mankind to Himself. God is not some overbearing judge who wishes to only squash us at every turn. He is a kind, patient and loving Father who draws us in with His kindness.
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For many years I lived in an environment where I was pushed by fear to change. Therefore, I walked on eggshells, and tried my best to change my behavior for this person, yet the whole time lived with the weight and anxiety of their expectations of me. There was no freedom in that place. It was bondage. Bondage because love was not the motivator. Control and fear were and those two mixed together only lock people up in prisons of condemnation.
 
Therefore, we must be keenly aware of how we operate when we motivate others. Are our hearts burning with love? Do we give others grace and a second chance or are we quick to keep them locked up in prisons of fear trying to push them to change?
 
My prayer is that love would be my banner. Yes, a heart that loves is one that can call people towards a different life, but it doesn’t force them into it when they’re not ready. As the shepherd of our souls, Jesus, leads us in His kindness towards new life, so shall we usher people into the grace of God as we seek to love, honor and cherish those to whom He has given us, in Jesus name.
 
Abba, I want to motivate others not with fear, guilt or condemnation, but instead with grace, love and truth. Forgive me if I ever start allowing my sinful heart to press fear upon others. Jesus, I want to live differently. Help me to be a conduit of your grace to others, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

My Performance vs. His Grace

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands…. (1 John 5:2).

Sometimes I put way too much pressure on myself in life and ministry. Whenever I start to think that something depends on me, I always become weighed down by the burden of a responsibility that isn’t mine to carry.
 
I’ll think to myself,
 
“It’s my job to make this happen.”
 
“This is on me and time is short, so I need to see results right away.”
 
“What if the bottom falls out?”
 
“God didn’t work for you the last time when you prayed for that, so why would He now?”
 
It is remarkable to me how quickly my mind can spiral into wrong thoughts about God and myself. If I’m not careful, these thoughts can quickly take me into places of feeling defeated, worried and afraid. But, God simply asks us to love others and be faithful to Him. That’s it. He doesn’t place grand expectations on us to be the perfect spouse, parent, leader or friend. He simply asks us to love and walk in faithfulness. This is our greatest calling as Christians, not to build great programs, ministries or whatever, but to learn how to love like Jesus and walk in faithfulness to what He has asked of us.
 
I often wonder, within those large programs and ministries that we’ve built, if much fruit was produced there. Were love and faithfulness really the anthem that was driving our motivations? In light of eternity, was our investment in those things really making an eternal impact for the glory of God? Were we too concerned about numbers, how well “we led” things or what our leadership in this area says about us as a person. Maybe that’s just been me who wrestled with those things, but I’m asking the Lord to take those thoughts captive so that I can walk freely in the victory and grace of God as I learn to simply love others and walk in faithfulness.
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What if we all decide that this mantra would be our goal? To love God and walk in faithfulness? I wonder how different our churches would look because people wouldn’t be serving to be served but to simply shower others with the grace of God. It wouldn’t be about their egos, their need for approval or recognition.
 
It would simply be about grace, no longer leading from a place of insecurity, as I often find myself being tempted to lead out of, but a place of trust in the grace of God to work for us on our behalf. Maybe what we need is not another strategy to reach people, grow our ministries, change our kids, or fix all our problems at home, but what’s needed is a heart that trusts in the Lord to bring the harvest.
 
Lord, I long to see you bear fruitfulness in my life. Sometimes, I become impatient in this. I put too much pressure on myself as if it depends on me. Forgive me for my worry and fear. I want, instead, to walk in true faithfulness, for your glory, in Jesus name, Amen.

I’m Still Learning How to Love Like Jesus

perfect love drives out fear…(1 John 4:18).

If love is the laying down of one’s life to serve someone else than fear must be the exact opposite of it.
 
I have watched my own heart and mind be captured by fear on countless occasions. This fear has kept me from being a servant, practicing humility or giving up my rights to value someone else above myself. Fear is always trying to protect me from something. Something unforeseen, something that happened in the past or something that I’m not willing to let go of. Fear truly is a liar and has kept me from truly loving people like Jesus would.
 
I’ve allowed fear to keep from praising the gifts of others. Thus, my pride has taken center stage because my fear encouraged it too. I’ve not led well, in those moments, because my heart was not captured by and being led by love.
 
For many years I believed that leadership meant I was the one who was leading and if I could be quite honest, letting someone else lead felt very threatening to my ego. I was unwilling to lay myself to make someone else look good because my fear told me that if I did, I’d lose the recognition I longed for in other people’s eyes.
 
Thankfully, through many humbling circumstances, the Lord taught me that the best leaders give up their need to be known, seen, and acknowledged before man. Just like Jesus, they live their lives not to make a show, but to be a servant, letting go of their ego to take up His humility, forbearance, and love. It is His love, being made perfect, in us that gives us the grace to love others in a way that our fear tries to convince us not to.
 
It is His love that calms and quiets the fears we’ve held onto for far too long. Truly, in Christ, we can walk, knowing that our position is not one of needing to be recognized before others, but instead one of being of little repute, so that others can be served, in Jesus name.
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Lord, I want to be small so that others can be celebrated. I want my life to reflect your love unto the ends of the earth. Jesus, I want to be your servant. Shower me with grace. Help me to walk in faith, hope and love and not fear, insecurity and pride, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

I’m Learning How to Let Go of Past Wounds to Trust My Husband

I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar… (1 John 2:4).

Sometimes, obeying, submitting to and following God is hard, because this little voice tries to convince me that I can’t trust Him. I’ve noticed this happens in my relationship with others fairly easily too. Especially my husband.
 
As we are learning this beautiful partnership of submission in marriage, the Lord is taking me to some difficult and hard places; some wounds from the past where I was deeply hurt. Now He’s asking me to trust my husband and let go of what happened in the past.
 
It’s easy to hold the past over people’s heads and believe that they’ll always be the same way. I find myself dealing with these thoughts, “Your husband’s kindness and patience are fake. He’s just acting this way towards you so he can get what he wants.” Then, I’m flooded with all the memories of the pain from the past.
 
Last night as we were sitting on the couch talking through an issue that we’re trying to navigate together I said to my husband, “Rodrigo, I am so sorry and this is not on you, this is me, but I just am struggling to say that I trust you. I know I’ve put a lot on you tonight and quite honestly, its because I’m fearful to let go of control. I’m afraid that you won’t lead me with gentleness and that you’ll run ahead without me because you’ve done that before.”
 
I asked my husband to forgive me for my lack of trust and for allowing the past to become our present. Then, I kindly asked him to give me the grace to heal from the wounds of the past as they surfaced themselves through a now present-day situation that was similar to one we faced years ago. I expressed to him the deep hurt I had experienced through that experience. Then, he kindly and humbly asked for my forgiveness.
 
Trusting others is hard, isn’t it? It challenges us to let go of the wounds of our past and not treat people with contempt or try to control the situation out of fear that we might get hurt again. That was me last night, a woman, not willing to really trust her husband, because she was deeply afraid that if she did, she’d get walked all over and taken advantage of.
 
This beautiful dance, this partnership between husband and wife requires humility, honor, and trust. Without it, the dance dies and someone reaches for control. But when the dance is flowing, both persons are valuing the other above themself.
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I have learned that submission is not me giving away all of my rights, wants, needs and desires to simply become a “yes” woman. Submission is me, entrusting myself to someone who loves, honors and cherishes me. Someone who patiently waits for me to join him on the dance floor and doesn’t take a step without me. That my friends is leadership. It doesn’t have anything to do with control, but it does have everything to do with trust. It would be wrong of me to wait in joining my husband on the dance floor because I’m trying to stay in control. It would also be wrong of him to grab for my hand forcing me onto the dance floor when I am not ready.
 
You see, a husband leads not with a rod or first of anger or a controlling spirit, but with a gentle hand of strength, that awaits his bride to join him as they dance together in the strength and wisdom of God.
 
Lord, I want to do what you say. I want to walk in your wisdom. Help me, as a wife to honor my husband and to trust him as I learn to let go of my pain. Father, help us to dance together, not apart. Please forgive me when I reach for control instead of trust. Grow me, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Falling Up

be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position…. (2 Pe 3:17).

I have spent much of my life falling. Mostly, because of my own insecurities, fears, and pride. All of these issues in my life eventually led to my swift and sudden disaster. They all left him in a heap of ruins, fashioned from my own unhealthy desires.
 
Until you’re sick and tired of falling, you’ll keep obeying the same voices that get you there.
 
For me, I had to learn how to stand. Now that I know how to stand firm, not following my feelings, emotions or need to be in control, I fall much less than I did before. There’s something about standing that grows our faith up in the Lord Jesus as we plant ourselves in His great love.
 
I know what you’re thinking though because I’ve been plagued by such thoughts too. What if God doesn’t pull through? What if something bad happens or what if I let go and He lets me fall? All of this comes from a heart that has yet learned how to stand.
 
Standing firm means that I train myself up for war. It means that no matter what emotion hits me, I take each of them captive as a warrior for Christ. It means I give Him complete and total control without letting myself drown in unbelief or fear. The more I stand, the stronger I become through Christ and the more victories I see.
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Truly, for those who know how to stand no longer feel the need to run ahead of God. They simply watch Him work and rely on Him to bring victory. I don’t know about you, but I need God to work on my behalf, but in order to do so, I must learn how to stand.
 
I often envision my walk with God in slow motion. This helps me process through my thoughts as I slow my heart and mind down asking myself where these feelings are coming from. It allows me the time and space to recognize what’s being put in front of me. Either I’ll chase the bait of Satan or I’ll stand firm in the peace and mercy of God. The choice is really up to me.
 
Lord, I’m tired of falling because of my own sinful actions. I want to continue to grow as I practice standing firm. I know that I am stronger than the enemy. I know that he can’t control me. Help me, as I grow, to continue to stand firm in your grace, in Jesus name, Amen.