How Can I Know What God Wants Me To Do?

he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand….(Esther 5:2).

Have you ever wondered if God was behind a decision you’re about to make? I have. We vacillate between action and indecisiveness. Wondering what God wants from us and when.
 
I cannot help but see in the Scriptures a theme that runs like a river throughout its pages. Some themes in the Bible take a little more time to unravel because we aren’t always looking for God’s heart. We’re just looking for an answer.
 
As I see God’s heart in the Scriptures certain themes arise. Themes of redemption, restoration, strength, and victory for those who walk by faith. I see blessing and encouragement given to those who walk in obedience. I see favor extended to the humble and mercy and grace for the lowly of heart. Then, I see pride being something God abhors and opposes. Thus, the proud are often falling and failing in the end.
 
Perseverance through suffering is a necessary virtue for everyone who wants to follow Jesus. So if you’re sitting here thinking today, what does God want me to do? I think its quite possible you’re asking the wrong question.
 
First, we must ask, who is God? Then, we must ask, what does He desire? What is his heart? If I seek God only for answers, I may very well get them, but I will never even begin to scratch the surface of understanding why He does things if I do not pursue His heart. If I do not see Him in light of the entirety of Scripture I will see Him as unfair and unjust to me. Yet, If I’m willing to trust His heart for me and pursue that above all else I will be able to see with fresh eyes that He is truly for me.
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As Esther went before King Xerxes, it wasn’t that she had an answer from God that she would be safe. However, Esther knew that God loved the Jewish people. She knew that a promise had been made to them that they would be God’s people. Therefore, I believe Esther acted with courage because she knew and understood something about the heart of God. Now, God didn’t have to protect Esther as He did. He could have brought deliverance from somewhere else.
 
Esther’s faith was not in something she hoped would happen, it was in a person she knew. We spend so much time hoping God will meet our desires when we never stopped to pause and try to understand Him and His heart. He is a good, loving Father who delights in giving good gifts to His children. We can rest in knowing that the greatest thing we will ever receive from God is not the promotion, the car or the _________, but it is quite simply the blessing of knowing Him as our good, loving Father.
 
As we rest in the Father’s love, the peace of His heart encompasses ours. We can walk by faith and with courage as we allow the Father’s love to be what guides us. The words of Scripture come alive our hearts as we sit in silence with our Father. Now, we can walk forward in faith, because our Father is carrying us on to the next step. We need not fear what tomorrow brings, because if we abide in our Father’s love, we have joy and peace.
 
Lord, I entrust my whole heart to you. I long to know you and your heart. I can rest in your love. Sometimes I flee and run into the arms of fear or pride. Father, forgive me. I want to abide with you today, in Jesus name, Amen.
 

Let That Attitude That Says, “I Deserve This” Die

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God….(1 Peter 5:6)

I’m not a very humble person. At least, not underneath it all. However, thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit I am seeing unhealthy patterns, thoughts and behaviors start to bubble to the surface. Thoughts that really just make life, my situation, what I’m not getting, what I am getting, what I believe I should be getting, all about me.
 
That’s the worst when we start viewing life from the perspective of what we believe we should be getting. Thus, our next response is only to start treating people poorly or to think badly of them in our own minds, because they aren’t giving us what we believe we so rightly deserve.
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At the root of all of this is a stubborn, selfish heart. As I have been processing these feelings of self-willed superiority and pride the Lord has said to me, “Heather, why do you always have to make it about you in this situation?”
 
At the root of my sin lies an issue in my heart with contentment. An unwillingness to fully embrace and accept the place God has me. Yet, Jesus says, “”If anyone wants to be first, he must be the last of all and the servant of all.”- Mark 9:35
 
Today, I will die to thoughts that make life all about me. After all, we must remember that Jesus’s ministry didn’t flourish through his nobility, but instead, through His death and resurrection. Jesus became a servant of all. Instead, we want people to become the servant of our needs, wants, desires and dreams, but what if we switched our mentality away from us and start investing in someone else’s dreams and desires. Maybe then we’d see more people living fully alive in how God is made them, instead of seeing so many people demanding their rights, because they, much like me, have made life far too much about them self.
 
Lord, I want to live for you. Help me in my life to be fully alive in my death so that I don’t keep trying to steal the glory from you in my pride. Today, may I live not with entitlement, but as servant of all, in Jesus name, Amen.

Desperate For His Presence

And if I perish, I perish.”….(Esther 4:16).

Esther understood that unless God showed up in her situation, she was as good as dead. She asks the Jews to fast with her so that she can be prepared well, full of God’s power and blessing as she enters into King Xerxes presence to make her petition.
 
I’m not sure we live the same way as Esther, with a sense in our lives that if God doesn’t show up, we’re done for. We either rely on our own abilities, get lost in worry or give way to prideful motivations. We’re not all too desperate for God because our minds are busy stewing over senseless things that have no weight in the Kingdom. I’m only saying this because I live it, almost on a daily basis. I don’t operate with an awareness that each day I need to live with a desperation that if God doesn’t show up in my heart and mind I’m certainly done for. I’ll absolutely give into sin left to my own devices apart from God being presently active in my life.
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God doesn’t withhold His presence in our lives, but sometimes, we don’t create the space for Him to work. We can’t seem to let go of control or fancy ourselves with the thought of letting Him do His thing. Maybe we care far too much about our own ego and self-advancement, so our platform is only big enough for ourselves, making no room for God.
 
Esther’s actions proved she understood with absolute certainty she was desperate for Gods action on her behalf. Therefore, she emptied herself, prayed and sought the Lord’s favor. I often find myself only seeking God with the same desperation in these Esther like moments, when everything in my life comes crashing down.
 
Yet, I recognize that truly, even today, on a normal Saturday with nothing big on the schedule that I need to approach this day with the same kind of attitude, being fully present and aware that I need God to show up in my life. Therefore, whatever is crowding space in my heart with God needs to be brought out into the light so I can be a true Kingdom worker for Him today wherever I find myself. Even on an ordinary Saturday.
Lord, I need you.  Fill me with your power today.  I need your fresh fire of the Holy Spirit to be present in my life.  Lord Jesus, use my life today.  I want to be a Kingdom worker for your name.  My life is in your hands.  Use me, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen. 

When God Starts To Take Things Away

he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder…. (Luke 11:22).

I used to be really big into lifting weights. Honestly, the reason for it wasn’t because it was a hobby so much as it was something that I used to control my fear. Sadly, a lot of our hobbies are just that, tools that we use to comfort our anxiety, worry, and insecurity.
 
God has been taking me on this journey where He’s been stripping me of the things I trusted in. In fact, I can even see that in this present moment there are things that I am placing too much trust in that I need to release to the Lord Jesus. Things like money and my own abilities.
 
If you’ve ever prayed for God to make you more like Jesus, don’t be surprised when some things in your life start to fall away. Chances are, you found some kind of false hope in them. Now, God is trying to strip away from you. Possibly a false sense of worth or identity, maybe a false sense of security or hope.
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I am learning that a heart at rest, through the test, will find God’s very best. That is His love. God’s peace is found as we let go of our need to be in control, have all the answers and know all the outcomes. It’s found when we learn to abide in the Father. Resting in who He says we are, found only in His word.
 
As my heart has grown in delight, the voices of worry, anxiety, fear, and control have started to slow down in my life. I’ve started to see them for what they are and call them out for their destruction. As we replace those lies with God’s truth, we find ourselves not in the places or things we’ve trusted in, but in the person who is trustworthy. In His arms, we are safe. He is for us and we can certainly sit quietly with Him, knowing that He is a mighty God who is working all things for our good and for HIs great glory, in Jesus name.
 
Father, you are so good. Why would I ever doubt you? Why would I ever believe that you are not faithful and trustworthy? I’m done trusting in my own abilities. I”m placing everything I have in you, in Jesus name, Amen.

Your Busy Life is Only Wearing You Out

She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet… (Luke 10:39).
 
Life gets busy, doesn’t it? Sometimes even chaotic as we dart from one thing to the next, trying with all our might to muster up the energy needed to run from one activity to the next. We expend labor for God, running at high speed, but not stopping to pause and listen to the Lord. We cannot hear Him in the storms or see Him in the valley’s because we’re too busy trying to fix the problems in our journey or work hard for Him to make ourselves acceptable to others that the thought of slowing down actually scares us. Because if we slow down we might lose control, so we keep running, trying to control our lives, but only wearing ourselves out along the way.
 
As Jesus came to Bethany he stayed at Martha’s house and her sister Mary was there too. Martha busy’s herself with preparations while Mary simply sits at the Lord’s feet. It’s interesting that Jesus doesn’t tell Martha she has chosen something bad, but that He says, “Mary has chosen what is better.”
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On this journey God has been taking me on I am learning that my most powerful position is not when I’m running, doing great things for God, but when I’m seated before my father, being encouraged by His love and saturated in His truth.
 
Stop running so much, it’s only hurting you. Set aside time with your Father. Make rest and quietness before Him a priority in your life. For truly, in doing so, you will find that you are indeed choosing what is better.
 
Lord, be the joy of my heart. You are better than anything this world can offer. You are a great and mighty God. I have all I need in you. Be my joy, hope, peace, and purpose. I long to rest in your love, in Jesus name, Amen.

A Lowly King, My Own Self-Righteous Heart and the Invitation of God

“If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is”…. (Luke 7:39).

As Jesus was dining at the house of a Pharisee, (a deeply religious, devout Jew) a sinful woman enters into the home. Had Jesus lived His life as just another pious Jew this woman would have never known that she could even approach Jesus, but truly, long before this, Jesus made His own-self lowly so that others would know they could enter into His presence and be received by His love.
 
Jesus never rejects the poor or the despised. He always welcomes them. He only rebukes those whose faith has become more about a demonstration or a show than a realization of who God is. After all, once we have a right view of God, we see that truly, we too are lowly. Thankfully, He is not a King who despises the lowly, but instead, He is a King who became like one of them.
 
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There is an invitation that our faith should extend to others. It is an invitation that says, “I am just like you, now let us come to the Healer and be made well. Let us find our rest and eternal delight in His love that dances over us. Let us, together, in all our messiness be refreshed in His love.”
 
Years ago, I too was a Pharisee, putting my faith on display for others to see so that I could be praised. Therefore, I ignored the lowly. I dismissed them and they plight because I had no time to climb into their pit on my way to the top. After a good rebuking from some dear friends, I came to understand that I had my own pit of brokenness.
 
Thankfully, thanks to their loving rebuke, still, to this day, I have an understanding that my life is no different than the broken teenager down the street who cuts herself. The man who just recently lost his job and the mom who struggles with addiction. We are all in desperate need of the love of God. When I exalt myself, I make Jesus into some ideal that makes Him unattractive and difficult to grasp for those I believe are lower than me. I don’t have to say it with words, I only have to show them through my own self-righteousness that they are too lowly for the King of Kings. Yet, Jesus is not for the spiritual elite. He is for the spiritually broken who know and understand that only He can take their lives and make them brand new according to His love.
 
Lord, let my life be lived for others to see that they are welcome to come and be changed by your love. I too am a broken sinner, saved by grace who daily needs your love to fill my heart and mind. Jesus, be my eternal joy. Be my hope and my purpose in this life. For truly, all I have is you. Let my heart rejoice and be glad that you made yourself lowly so that someone like me could come to you and be changed by your love, in Jesus name, Amen.

Why I Give More Power to People Than God

Fear of man will prove to be a snare…(Proverbs 29:25).

I give way too much power to people. There are different moments and seasons in life when my heart becomes worried by how someone will react or what they will do, so I’ll stew over the possible results, believing that somehow the end result lays within their hands. This is idol worship at its worst. It is dethroning God from His rightful place of King over all the universe and master of my life.
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In my own worry, I have made God into some puny being that lives inside of the world of human limitations. It is wrong to believe that somehow God will be thwarted by human beings and man’s propensity to sin. Sometimes, in my distorted view of God, I give too much power to humans, because I believe their sin is somehow stopping God from His plan for my life.
 
Although sin, albeit, our own or someone else’s can certainly throw a wrench in the equation and take us down a path we did not anticipate this does not mean that God is now confused on what to do with our lives. Truly, His is sovereign over all creation, trustworthy, reliable and good. We can worship Him because He is God, we can bow to Him because He is Lord and we can serve Him because He is mighty. Sadly though, instead, I often wrestle in my heart to not give in to worry, feelings of defeat and discouragement. There in the bottom of my heart, I long for it to beat for Jesus, but sometimes, it’s bowing to human beings instead. Seeking their approval, waiting for them to propel me down the direction I hope to take and carving the path for me I want to traverse.
 
Again, this is idol worship at its worst. A misunderstanding of God’s character. A wrong view of Him that only thrust my heart into deep waters where I cry out, “but Lord, what if I drown?!?!” Then I hear the master say, “Oh you, of little faith, why did you doubt?”
 
Lord, I long to be so close to your heart that I trust so much in your name that I hear no other voices but yours. Abba, daddy, I need your grace. I will not give way to anxiety or fear today, for I know that you are sovereign and that you are good. I place all of my life in your hands. I release control of my life and place it in your Lordship today, in Jesus name, Amen.