Heart’s Desire

Sometimes it is easier to pour out my fears, weaknesses, sins and shortcomings to the Lord than it is to place my hopes and dreams in His hands.  It is easier to believe God forgives, heals and rescues than it is to believe he blesses, accomplishes and favors.

It is hard to believe these desires of my heart will come to fruition.  After all, what have I done to deserve them?  Yet His words says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  This passage isn’t directing us to dream up any want we can think of and expect the Lord to grant it like a genie in a bottle.  What it is saying is the Lord actually places His desires for you within your heart.  When your eyes are fixed on Him and you are walking this life journey with Him, you will begin to desire the things that are pleasing to the Lord.  And because you desire the things that please Him, he will surely bring them to pass.

What are the deepest longings of your heart?  What is your heart cry?  What do you desire above all else?  Sometimes these deep desires are difficult to even put into words.  Maybe it is for a loved one to know the Lord, a child to find grace, or to find that special one to share your life with.  Perhaps it is a goal, a vision for ministry or a dream for your family.  Whatever it is, give it to God. If he gave you the desire, give the outcome of it back to Him and allow him to work it out to completion in your life.

How do we know if the desire we have is from the Lord?  Does it bless him?  Honor him? Bring life, hope and joy to others? If it is something other than for selfish gain, it is likely from the Lord. After all, He created you.  He gave you your talents, gifts, likes and dislikes. He gave you a unique personality that would long after the path he planned for your life.  Think back to when you were a child, innocent and uninfluenced by the world.  What did you want to be?  What brought you the most joy?  So many times, those desires get washed away by the harsh reality of the world we live in. This broken land robs joy and steals dreams.  It tells us we’re unworthy, unlikely, and undesirable.  But God says we are chosen, holy and dearly loved.

God says he will carry out his plans in our lives. We only must believe God has the power to do what he has promised.  When God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations, Abraham had a choice to make; trust God’s word or believe what was his current reality.  He chose not to consider his own weaknesses; “his own body, already dead or the deadness of Sarah’s womb”, rather he chose to be strengthened in his faith.  “He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”  That is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Abraham chose not to look at the obvious; his old body, his old ways, his current circumstances.  He chose to look to the One who made the promise and was able to accomplish anything.  The deep beauty of Abraham’s example is grace.  Abraham did not work for God’s blessing.  He didn’t earn merit badges by being a good church member or going door to door.  He was highly favored because he believed God.  For “to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt”.  “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace.”

Let us look then at the desires God has placed in our hearts and look only unto Him as the one able to accomplish them through us.  For we know that “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given us”.

Psalm 37:4, Philippians 1:6,  Colossians 3:12, Romans 4:20-22, Genesis 17:5, Romans 4:4, Romans 4:16, Romans 5:5

Praise from the Garden

The sun takes its moment to shine forth in brilliance. Its rays beam and burst out in all directions with four strong points to north, south, east and west as if a blazing cross has been set in the sky. As the trees wake to the breeze they clap their morning praise. The sun seems to pulse in and out of the leaves; the heartbeat of the sky.

All creation shouts your praise and I delight to join in the chorus. What can I say? What could I sing? I pause. I simply sense your greatness in this place; the magnitude of your presence. I stand silently in awe of your glory. This is worship.

The veil is torn. The coal has touched my lips. Your love has seared my soul. Your grace has cleansed my heart. This is holy ground.

Psalm 148:5, Matthew 27:51, Isaiah 6:7, Exodus 3:5

It is Well

It’s just the two of us. His greatness and my frailty are mingling together. We are one in this place, though the thought is almost unbearable and nearly unimaginable. My facades are removed. Every mask is taken off and dropped at His feet.
I am Bare.
Shame attempts to intrude but He gently pushes it away. My heart exposed, He begins to mend, restore and tend to each need. This is a process. Each time I come, more work is accomplished. Often, there are new wounds. This broken world easily produces more brokenness.
No matter to Him. It is as if He doesn’t notice. He is unshaken by anything I could bring. My worst, He makes his best. This process, so tender and so gentle, brings waves of peace and undertones of tranquility.
I rest.
I know all will be well. In this place, more than any other, I can truly say it is well with my soul. It is here I am made alive and anew. What is not complete is held in his hands, reserved for another meeting. It needs time; a process of healing. This rests well with me as He knows better than I.
I wait.
In hopeful, joyful expectance I wait. He breathes life in my lungs while the warmth of peace and the cool rush of anticipation fill my soul. There is more, much more. There is a promise; a sweet hope. For here, I see dimly. This is only a portion, just a small glimpse, of what awaits. It is but a foretaste of what He has prepared.
I hope.
My hope is placed fully and only in Him. It is well. It is well.

Lamentations 3:22-23, James 1:2-4, Psalm 23:6, John 14:3

Creed

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I am not my accomplishments.
I am not my appearance.
I am not what others think of me.
I am not my own.
I am loved.
I am chosen.
I am His.
I am forgiven.
I am made worthy.
I am made new.
I am a child of the One true King.
I am not driven by the ways of this world; by money, lust or greed.
I am not moved by things.
I am called.
I claim a higher purpose.
I follow His plan, His ways, His steps.
In Him I live and move and have my being.
I will not be shaken, though the earth give way and the mountains crumble into the sea, because this is not my home.
I am not of this world.
I am only and completely found in Him.
He is my way maker.
He is my peace.
He is my light.
He moves me.
He makes me.
He guides me.
Constant He will be.
Forever I am changed.
One thing remains; I in Him, He in me.
Unstoppable
Unshakable
Immoveable
Life-Changing
Breathtaking
Good
Alpha and Omega
All I ever need
The One
True
God.

Acts 17:28, Psalm 46:2, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Revelation 22:13

Great Love

babybird

A few days ago we found a baby bird. It had fallen from its nest and it was not old enough to fly. The little guy was certain to be prey to the next animal that came along but we weren’t sure how to help him. We couldn’t find the nest and weren’t sure if the mother robin would come back for him. My husband couldn’t bear to leave him on the ground so tiny and vulnerable. He knew he would either starve because he was too young to find his own food or be killed by another animal, possibly even our dog who was watching all if this intently. We called the animal rescue center and they gave us some tips on how to help this baby robin. In the meantime, my husband fed the tiny bird worms by hand. We read that these little guys need to eat from the time the sun rises until it sets each day, and should be fed every 10-20 minutes during that time, but unlike mammals, robins never need overnight feedings. Whew! And I thought nursing an infant was work. On the advice of the rescue center, my husband crafted a makeshift nest out of a minnow trap and attached it to the side of a tree with a bungee cord. Ok, so it wasn’t the Hilton but it was a place to stay, more along the lines of the Motel 8 variety of bird domains. Within minutes of being placed in his temporary dwelling, the mama robin came to him with food. She came and she came and she came. Back and forth she went getting worms for him. It was her job. She never rested, just fed that little baby. Within days, he had nearly doubled in size and flew out of the nest. Still she would find him and feed him. Whether he moved to another tree, was hidden in the branches or landed on the ground, she would find him and take care of his every need. Even when she left him, she was aware of him. She knew exactly where he was at all times and those moments when she left his side, she was still tending to his needs. Isn’t it amazing that God created this bond even in the smallest of animals? He planned every detail and equipped the mother perfectly to care for her fledgling. The Bible tells us if He does this with even the birds, how much more does he care for us? Matthew 6:26 tells us our Heavenly Father feeds them and cares for their every need and that he does the same, even more so for us. Luke reminds us, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?” After all, we are of much more value to him than birds. Christ laid down his life for us. He gave the ultimate sacrifice. The Lord cares for us so deeply that even the hairs on our head are numbered. So how much more does he tend to our needs than a mother robin cares for her young? Can you envision it? The God of creation, the One who made the Heavens and the Earth watching over you, sheltering you under His wing, bringing you nourishment, keeping you safe and never letting you out of his sight? No matter where you go, how far you fly, He is there. We can exclaim with the Psalmist, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” What love is this? What great love not only covers a multitude of sin but cares for your every need as well. Only God. He is all and is all we ever need. Let Him care for you and remember no matter where you fly, He is there.

Luke 12:6, Matthew 6:26, Matthew 10:30, 1 John 3:16, Psalm 139:7-10

Just One Name

Hello_My_Name_Is_Sticker_by_trexweb

There are times when words fail me. When heartache cuts deep, when loss is so great, when the longing of my heart surpasses known language, those are times when only one name needs uttered. Jesus. A whisper, a cry, my very breath; only Jesus. There is a place deep within each of us, a need only he can fill. This place we can’t describe or name. Where deep cries out to deep. That need is only met, when we cry, “Jesus”. He turns my way, he looks at me, knowing everything. He knows more than I how I need him. Here, face to face, all is known and all is understood.

There is a moment in one of my favorite movies, Dirty Dancing (yes, I’m using Dirty Dancing in a devotional blog) where Johnny is walking away and Baby cries out to him, “Johnny!” Just that one word; his name. He turns and he looks at her. Their eyes meet and all is known. No words are exchanged. With one glance all is understood.

I think of that when I cry to Jesus. Only magnified one hundred percent because he knows everything. As creator, he knows my very being. My past and my future; all of eternity is in His hands. He knows every desire of my heart because he places those desires within my heart. His sovereignty is unmatched. I am his and he is mine. One word, one name. Jesus. The name of Jesus.

Genesis 16:13, Romans 8:26, Psalm 37:4

Scars

hands

It was early morning when my son fell out of bed; our bed where he had slept all night kicking us, but both of us where too tired to move him to his room. I was up with my hot tea writing away when “clunk”; every mother knows that terrible sound. A thud then screaming. I ran right out of my slippers as I dashed to the bedroom and struggled to open the door because the crying little body was right in front of it. I snatched him up and did the full body check once over; no bleeding, no sign of concussion, not that I even know what to look for, and no sign of broken bones. Everything was moving and every body part was working. Immediately, as I sat down and snuggled him in close to my chest he stopped crying, closed his eyes and fell back asleep…hopefully concussion free. As I held him close I started thinking about how the Lord holds us. No matter how badly we’ve fallen, no matter how far the fall, he picks us up and holds us until we calm down and find rest once again. He checks us out, heals any wounds and holds us close. We may develop scars from the fall, but scars tell a story you know. Scars help remind us where we’ve been and how we’ve healed. I have all these funny little scars that remind me of my childhood. One on top of my foot from the time I did a cartwheel in the living room and crashed into the wooden chair. One from a piece of metal stripping on a step in the church at Vacation Bible School (today someone would probably sue the church), even my c-section scar that brought my son into this world. They each tell a story and bring a memory to life. Some scars though aren’t visible. Some have left an imprint on our hearts, etched deep in our minds. They may be painful; terribly, terribly painful scars. Some of so much pain that they are buried deep in an effort to forget they exist. Some right on the surface, fresh, like it may rip open any day. The world tells us time heals all wounds. Christ tells us, I took all your wounds upon myself. He alone is our burden bearer and healer of all scars. He alone can hold us in the dark places after a fall and bring us to his rest. His presence is healing balm, ointment to our minds, salve to our souls. He knows where we’ve been, not as an outsider who watched our journey, no the bible tells us he experienced it. He felt our very pain, our sorrow and the weight of our sin and shame when he hung on the cross for us. His scars, the deepest of all, save us. His scars make us free. His scars give us hope. Our scars hold a memory, his hold our future. His wounds secured our home in heaven where all our scars will be no more.

1 Peter 2:24, Psalm 46:10, 2 Corinthians 1:4

Confidence

trailblazer

With God, you can be confident enough to take long strides. You don’t need to tip toe through this journey. However, there are times when He speaks in slow ways so we have to be patient and listen. It is only by dwelling in His presence that we learn to move in His rhythm. His ways are not our ways, neither His thoughts our thoughts so to move with Him we must learn his ways. Something happens when we truly enter into the presence of the Lord; when He washes over us and all else fades away. We are fully known by Him and we begin to glimpse who he is. We won’t fully know the Lord until we see him face to face in glory. Our human bodies will not allow us to even comprehend the fullness of his majesty, yet we can taste and see of his goodness. By sitting at his feet we enter his rest and begin to feel the stirring of the Holy Spirit. In our hearts we hear his voice. In our thoughts, he speaks his ways. For He give us the desires of our hearts. When we walk this trust walk with him, the desires of our hearts align with this will for us so that His ways for us become our heart’s desire. He becomes our heart’s desire. There is a confident trust that grows when God is our desire. A confidence in his strength and his power, for he has already equipped us for this journey. Move boldly along the trail he has blazed for you. He has promised never to leave your side.

Isaiah 55:8, 1 Corinthians 13:12, Psalm 34:8, Luke 10:39, Psalm 37:4

Needy

I’ve begun to realize, I may need the Lord more than others. Perhaps I was made weaker and needier. I see people going here and there; doing and living, and their strength seems to surpass my own. Do I have any strength apart from the Lord? I do not know where I would be without God’s intervention in my life but I imagine, most days, it would be a challenge to just get out of bed in the morning. Oh how I need Him! Every hour I need Him. My very breath, every step I take, I need Him. I used to resist this need. I would look at others and assume there must be something wrong with me; as if I should be able to handle more of life’s challenges on my own. Now I see it as a gift, for His power is made perfect in weakness. Every time I try to run ahead of Him or walk in my own strength, I fail miserably. I falter. I fall. His ways are not my ways but He has shown me the path of life. I stand only in the strength of the Lord and oh what a glorious strength it is! He has clothed me in righteousness that I may walk in the light. For it is in God alone that I live and move and have my being. Thanks be to God!

2 Corinthians 12:9, Isaiah 55:8, Psalm 16:11, Acts 17:28

One Hat

As women we are often called to wear many hats. Wife, Mother, Friend, Co-Worker, Employee, Daughter, Leader, Financial Expert, Taxi Driver and the list goes on. No offense to the men out there but there is something innate in a woman that makes her a multi-tasking ninja. These many roles bring abundant blessings but can also lead to a whirling swirling mind and a weary parched soul. There are moments when all the hats must be packed away and only one thing is needed. In these moments, I choose to come before the Lord and be only his. All the other roles, responsibilities and chatter of the rushed life fade and I am standing before the throne in the presence of the Almighty One. I am simply his baby girl, his chosen child, a daughter of the King. This is the one role I am always favored in; the one hat that always fits just right. It never matters how I come, I am always welcomed fully. When I am still long enough, the Holy Spirit will flood my heart and mind so I can lay my cares at his feet. He does this so tenderly and gently. A wise saintly woman I grew up under in the church used to say, “The Holy Spirit is a gentleman”. He will never force you into the stillness of his presence, but once you come, it is here that you will want to abide. Today, even as I take up my many hats and head into the day, I choose to abide in His presence.

Psalm 46:10