I Have Laid Up Many Stones Upon My Heart to Keep Me From Getting Hurt Again….

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb….(Luke 24:2).

There have been many stones laid up upon my heart. Stones of unbelief, fear, discouragement, and pride. Stones that keep me hidden in the grave. Yet, we must remember that God is always seeking to redeem us from the grave. Yes, He is in the business of resurrection. Truly, He is the God of life and peace. He makes all things new and that includes removing the heaviest of stones we have placed upon our hearts.
 
I had a big stone laid upon my heart as a teenager. It was a stone placed there to protect myself from getting hurt by other people. It was a stone that said, “I’m not letting you in, because I’m afraid you’ll hurt me too.”
 
The more stones we lay up upon our hearts, the less meaningful our relationships in life will be. Jesus wishes to free us from the burdens we have placed on our own lives. The heaviness of sorrow, the anguish of unbelief and fear. The weightiness of pride and the back-breaking reality of shame. For far too long I hid behind these stones, not letting people in, because I was afraid that exposing my true self meant being rejected by others.
 
As the two women went to the tomb that morning they saw the stone rolled away and entered in to see what had happened. There was no body to be found because the Lord Jesus left the tomb. Yes, as God rolled the stone away Jesus walked out and into new life. Beloved, hear this, Jesus is rolling your stones away, please, walk out. Your freedom awaits you because your Lord is rolling the stone away. Do not stay stuck in the grave, walk out with your Lord towards new life and freedom. Is it risky? Yes, of course, but truly, it is worth it.
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Abba, daddy, you have rolled the stone away. Thank you for setting me free by your love. Thank you that you don’t leave me in the grave, but you are always looking for ways to set me free. Lord Jesus, I trust you. Today, I want to run with you out of the grave and into faith. Yes Lord, roll a stone away today. Show me where I am not trusting you, so that I can set that aside to walk with you towards freedom instead, in Jesus name, Amen.

What’s In It for Me?

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon….(Luke 23:44).

The Lord spoke something into my Spirit today. As I was reading, I found myself scanning the Scriptures to simply find something that “speaks to me.” Instead of searching the Scriptures to simply find God I came looking with the attitude of, “What’s in it for me.” Ouch….
 
This is the same kind of attitude that filled the world with darkness and placed an innocent man on the cross to be crucified. An attitude of selfishness that’s constantly asking, “What’s in it for me?”
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One of the saddest realities for the son of God was not His death, because truly, God brought about the resurrection, but it was the betrayal of those He had walked so closely with during His life. It was the darkness of the heart of man that selfishly chose what was best for their own agenda instead of caring for another person. When we neglect to care for people in the Kingdom of God, we too will throw them up on crosses to be crucified if it means the advancement of our own personal agendas.
 
Whenever this kind of evil enters into our minds, we must be quick to submit it to the Father. This keeps us from pressing forward with our own selfish motives asking, “what’s in it for me” as we join with the crowd, shouting out our demands.
 
Jealously and bitterness have a way of making us shout even louder. In our pride, it’s hard to let other people be better than us. This was an issue in the religious leader’s hearts that they could not overcome. If we don’t overcome it, we’ll leave people to be crucified too, if it means the protection of our own ego. In my own selfishness, I’ve done this, because I wasn’t secure in who I was in Christ.
 
If we truly want God’s light to shine through us, we must begin to ask ourselves not, “What’s in it for me,” but, “What gives God the most glory?” “How can I love, support and care for this person in front of me?” “How can I make them more important than myself?” This is when light enters in.
 
Lord, forgive me for my own selfish heart that is more often than not crying out, “What’s in it for me?” I need your restorative love. Jesus, enter into the deepest places of my heart and mind in need of your metamorphosis. Yes Lord, make me brand new. Forgive me for when I have crucified others to protect my own ego, in Jesus name, Amen.

Hearing God’s Voice Amongst the Clutter of My Own Stubborn Heart

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps…. (Proverbs 16:9).

The Lord is saying something to me, it’s, “Heather, slow down.” I feel my heart running ahead, and I’ve sensed for quite some time the Lord was saying to me, “slow down,” but I kept plowing forward anyway. I have a tendency to do this in my life because I’m just not very good at waiting. However, this morning, I’m listening.
 
Great plans always come from my mind. At least, they seem like great plans. My timeline seems perfect, the answers to all of my questions seem great and the outcome seems like the perfect fit, but God says, “Heather, I’ve got this.”
 
Yes Lord, I know, but can you move a little faster, please? Oh, how stubborn I can be with the Lord! Like a child, waiting in the grocery line demanding a candy bar to satisfy my hunger, I have a hard time waiting for the beautiful provision God wants to bring about in His way and in His timing. Whatever gets me to my destination faster seems like the right fit. But, this is not always the case. In fact, it rarely is what’s best for us. We need a heart that is content as we wait upon the Lord. I can plan and prepare all I want, but this only keeps me from truly being able to hear the voice of God clearly.
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Our minds are so full of our own good ideas that we often drown out of the voice of God. Simply because we’ve contemplated our own ideas more than seeking Him and His will for our lives. I’m just saying that because I know I’ve done it. In fact, I feel myself doing it now in this present season.
 
I heard a great sermon yesterday that challenged me to set aside my own wishes, wants and desires and get in a place of stillness and quietness before the Lord. We cannot hear rightly from God if we have not silenced our hearts and minds before Him. Many of us don’t hear very often from God because we do not create quiet places of rest within our lives. Since there are no rhythms of rest, there is little space for God to speak.
 
Another thing I’m finding is that because I let go of faith and held fast to doubt, there is a lot of clutter in my mind which makes it hard for me to truly hear God’s voice because I keep being met with another box full of thoughts of doubt and unbelief. Until I clean out the clutter and replace those lies with God’s truth, I will have a hard time hearing His voice.
 
Lord, I want to hear your voice. In fact, I long to hear from you. I have to hear from you because my own voice is so loud. God, forgive me for my impatience and my stubbornness. Forgive me that I hold fast to so much unbelief. Today, I want to quiet myself before you, because I must hear your voice alone. Lord, let that be true, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

I Have Closed Part of My Heart Off….But Faith is Knocking….

I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!….(Mark 9:24).
 
I have closed part of my heart off. I know it. I can feel it. Especially now that faith is knocking. I feel internal walls of protection shoot up to keep faith out because quite honestly, practicing faith on this one puts me in a vulnerable place only to possibly get hurt again.
 
Yet, faith keeps knocking, keeps asking to come in and lead my life down what to me, seems like an impossible path. A path that requires me to put aside all unbelief and trust in a mighty God who moves mountains, splits the sea and raises the dead. I know He’s capable of great and mighty things, but my hesitancy comes from a place of fear. I’m afraid that if I let my walls down and allow faith to come in and things don’t go as I hope then really, in the end, I’ll just be hurt once more.
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Faith is risky, isn’t it? It requires us to put down all of our own past experiences, or present pain to believe against all odds and side with the King of Glory. I hear my heart saying to the Lord, “I believe, help my unbelief!” I believe God honors that prayer and with each moment, as we seek Him, He tears down those walls within our hearts that we’ve put up to try and protect ourselves from being hurt once again.
 
The crazy thing is, I hear another voice, saying, “don’t let faith in!” I know that’s only the enemy keeping me from seeing and experiencing the greatest of God in the places of my life that are being redeemed by His hand. So today, I’ll choose to walk in faith, even when my heart tells me not to. Today, I’ll trust in the Savior’s love to melt my stubborn heart as I surrender it to His love.
 
Lord, I know that you’re knocking. Please forgive me for my stubbornness. Forgive me for my lack of faith. I know that you are a mighty God, even for me. Today, I open up the closed part of my heart to your healing love. I can thank you that no matter what happens even if its a no once more, you are such a good and loving God to me, in Jesus name, Amen.

Learning to Let Go When My Selfish Heart Says to Hold on Tight…

I have put my hope in your word…..(Ps 119:147).

Sometimes I put too much hope in myself; my good ideas, my own personal thoughts, and feeling, etc. I have to be very aware of my own selfishness as I seek God’s will for my life.
 
I sense that God is asking me to come towards Him with open hands, not holding on too tightly to what I’m hoping for. Instead, letting go of everything I desire to simply receive from His hands. When and if He’s ready to give it.
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You see, the tighter we hold onto things, the more we starve our hearts of God’s provision. I cannot receive very much from God if my hands are full, clinging ever so tightly to my own wants and desires.
 
I hear the Lord say, “Heather, let it go. I’ve got something great for you. Just be patient.” My heart says, but, what if…..or….why not now, Lord? Then my Spirit says, “TRUST in the Lord.” Sometimes God will give us what we desire, but we cannot come to Him demanding it from Him. We must accept the fact that maybe it’s not what God wants to bless us with and we will praise Him no matter what.
 
So today, I’m coming with open hands and a heart that is fully aware of its own bent towards selfishness. Today I’m choosing to walk towards my own personal freedom with a willingness to receive from God whatever He wants even if what He hands me is, “WAIT.”
 
Lord, today I come with hands that are open. I don’t need anything other than you. Thank you for loving me, for showering your love upon me and for making yourself known to me. Thank you that I have joy in you. Truly, there is nothing better in this life than living according to your word. May I always be applying it to my life, for your glory, and for your grace, in Jesus name, Amen.

Super Mario, Flower Power and The Holy Spirit

You armed me with strength for battle….(Psalm 18:39).

When I was a kid I played a lot of Super Mario. As Mario, one of my goals was to tap into something called, “flower power.” Whenever you got flower power you’d light up and be able to run with reckless abandon, overcoming your enemies with ease and finality.
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Can I be really honest? I don’t always run with “flower power” as a Christian. Although its power is available for me, to overcome my adversaries, I don’t always tap into its power. Sometimes I get distracted by what’s not going right, who seems to be getting in the way and things that happened in my past that was painful. Instead of living in the power of God, sometimes, I find myself in discouraging places of unbelief or anger against God over why such and such thing happened in my life.
 
However, what I have found for my life is that God’s power is always available for me to overcome the dark places the enemy tries to press me into. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, I can overcome. I can stand in triumphant victory as God places my enemies under me. God doesn’t just ask our enemies to leave, but instead, we stand on top of them, crushing them under our feet as God raises us up to victory in His name.
 
You see, this is the kind of life I lead as a Christian. Not as a defeated foe, but as a winning warrior. Trusting in the power of the risen Savior who lives inside of me.
 
Lord, today, I choose to live in your power. Today, you will fight my battles. Today, I will walk in your victory. Today, I ask for your power to run through me so that I can live like a mighty warrior for your namesake. Jesus, I trust you, Amen.

Sometimes I Let a Voice Inside of Me Tell Me I’m a Total Failure….

But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”… (Luke 22:69).
 
Jesus knew His place in God’s story. Even though others tried to tell Him that He was a criminal He still understood that His true identity was not in what people said about Him, but in who God has defined Him to be. He was the Son of God. The hope of glory, seated not in shame, but in victory at the right hand of the Father. Although those around Him tried to shame Him into something different He stood firm in who the Father said that He was.
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Sometimes, I let the words of others, spoken in their own insecurity, define me. Words like, “Yeah, you’re not very wise for doing that,” or, “You know, you should really ___________” or “You are _____________.” You know, those words and phrases that you let define you that are not from God. Sometimes I hear them in my heart when I’m seeking freedom from the past.
 
“You’ll never get out from under this.”
 
“You’re such a disappointment.”
 
“You deserved this.”
 
“You’re a failure.”
 
As the words of the accuser were flung at the son of God He stood firm in His identity that was rooted in the Father’s love. Although it was certainly wrong, unjust and unfair, Jesus did not fight it. Instead, He rested His heart and mind in the truth of the Father. Many times in life, we get stuck in our circumstances instead of learning that joy is found, even in life’s greatest tragedies as we rest in the words that our Heavenly Father speaks over us.
 
“You are my beloved.”
 
“You are my child”
 
“I will never leave you.”
 
“You are wonderfully made.”
 
“You have a purpose.”
 
Lord, today, I want to rest in the words you have spoken over me. Whatever the enemy tries to shame me with, instead, Lord, I pray that I would let your words define me. Abba, thank you that my joy, hope, peace, and purpose is found in you alone. Yes, I am a child of God, may I live in that promise today, in Jesus name, Amen.