July 18, 2018

The Wound of Bitterness

Hebrews 12:15  
Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.

When I engage in conversation with people I don't know very well, it usually does not take long to figure out who is holding onto bitterness in their life. This always saddens me because holding on to bitterness does so much damage to the person who cannot find a way to let go. Bitterness is like a thorn left in one's flesh causing a deep untreated wound.

A hard and deep bitterness allowed to fester will grow a deep root whose tentacles will spread a poison to every aspect of one's life. It will derail us. Stop us. And eventually, we will find ourselves going backwards.

Lingering bitterness will lead us to justify, rationalize, and reason that we have every right to feel this way until we even convince ourselves that we have made peace with living with this bitterness in our life.

This is a dangerous place to be. God does not give us permission to live a life rooted in bitterness. He warns us against this because He knows the damage it will do to our life, and to our testimony. It truly is God's will for us to allow no place for bitterness in our lives. Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Simply put, there is nothing like bitterness to make a life bitter. But there is good news...

We can remove the thorn. It does not have to remain. We can let it go. We can remove the thorn and heal, and breathe the fresh air of a life free of bitterness.

Where there is bitterness
There is brokenness
Where healing should be
Can be
Will be
When the bitterness is gone

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

July 15, 2018

Call and Wait Upon the Lord

Psalm 116:1-2
I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.

A new morning begins
Here starts another day
Here goes another week
I will go where He leads
I will call and
I will wait upon the Lord

I hope the beginning of this new week finds you hand in hand with the Lord, walking with Him in sweet fellowship and knowing all the love He has for you.

Romans 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

I hope this new week takes you places where the desires of your heart will be fulfilled and new doors open before you as you follow the Lord. 

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

And if you are waiting for something, something you have prayed and sought the Lord about, and wondering when it will come to pass, wait in the strength He’s given us when we fully place our trust in Him.

Isaiah 40:31 They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

If we take His hand and follow where He leads, and continue to call upon the Lord and trustingly wait for His answers, we can rest knowing we are exactly in the place where we are supposed to be. That place is where His will for us is accomplished in our lives.

Hebrews 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen

Psalm 25:4-5 Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.

July 11, 2018

God Lifts Our Burdens

I remember a difficult time when I was allowing a troubling circumstance in my life to heavily weigh me down. The flow of negative thoughts and worries surrounding the details of this situation were flooding through my mind almost constantly. I could feel it on my shoulders when I walked through the rooms of my house. I could hear it in the sighs that repeatedly escaped my lips. And I could do nothing to change the situation, I was helpless to make a single bit of difference, it was just that kind of circumstance.

I thought about my response to what was going on and realized I was making it worse by letting it trouble me this much. Instead of worrying and fretting, I needed to let it go and give it to God and free myself from the weight anxiety was pressing on me.

I knew to keep praying over this situation. I knew to trust God. When I made a fresh commitment to both of these, and reminded myself of some verses in the Bible that talk about giving our cares to the Lord, I began to feel that weight lift from my shoulders.

My attitude changed and the gray clouds of worry in my mind cleared away and in their place I could see blue skies and sunshine again. All that worry had become a dark cloud following me around, hovering over me, even glued to me on some days! Worry makes everything look dark.

But when I let it go and committed to trusting God to take care of this trial, my heart grew lighter, and then my steps grew lighter. That heavy weight was not sitting on my shoulders any longer. What a difference I experienced when I stopped allowing the worry to consume me by choosing to let it go. I gave this burden to the Lord, and He lifted it from my shoulders. Oh how freeing was that!

Are you casting your cares on the Lord? Are you letting Him lift your burden? 

Matthew 11:28
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

1 Peter 5:6-7
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

July 8, 2018

Our God Is Worthy

How is your summer going? Do you need a vacation to get over your vacation? For many of us, although we are enjoying our summer days, it has been a disruption in normal routines and that includes habits we’ve developed for our quiet time, prayer, Bible reading, and sharing special moments of intimate conversations with the Lord.

If you are like me, when I let those slide I always regret it. A day or week can feel completely out of balance and that is because this valuable time we needed was neglected. It is good that it affects us in this way since that is our God indwelled heart telling us to come back into consistent close fellowship with Him.

We will never be sorry we rearranged our day to make time for the Lord. It won’t happen though unless we purpose in our heart to set aside this designated block of time. But when we do make time for Him, we will be filled in empty places we didn’t even know we had. We will be quickened in our spirit in ways nothing else can compare. He will change us and make us better than before because we cannot leave Him the same as how we came.

Yet it continues to be a struggle and a battle and if we lose, we lose much because truly nothing compares to spending time with the Lord. He is worth slowing down for. He is our great reward.

Oh that we would intentionally stop and pause for a while each day with hearts open and poured out, acknowledging who He is and what He means to us. May we be drawn to worship Him because He is worthy.

I close my eyes and drawing still I find You drawing near to me.
I heard Your voice calling me to quietly sit before You,
And I found more than my heart had ever hoped to gain. 

“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”  ~ Revelation 4:11

July 5, 2018

Where Is God's Place in Your Life Today?

I am going to ask a tough question. We have all faced it counting myself, and some of us need to address it again.

I have heard many fellow believers admit they don’t ask God for help until they are at the end of their resources and at that point is when they will ask for His help when they find themselves in a difficult situation.

Truth be told we can do a lot in our own strength, but we cannot do everything. Our resources eventually run out. God’s resources never run out.

But what about the ordinary days? What about the normal days in our lives? I am talking about the non-serious trial days.

Are we charging off into our life with or without Him? Do we sometimes leave Him cast aside? Are there days we go about our business as if we don’t actually need Him?

Although we know He is always with us, do we acknowledge it throughout our day?

Where is God’s place in your life today?

Is He as near as your heartbeat and every breath you take? Or, is He in the distance on the sidelines, or maybe somewhere in between?

If He’s in the distance on the sidelines, the explanation is the one who moved was not Him, it was us.

He has promised us that nothing will separate us (Romans 8:38-39), that He will never forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5), and that He is not a God that is far off.

Do you know how blessed we are to have a God like that?

This is exactly why our answer should be that His place in our life is as near as our every heartbeat and every breath we take.

Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord,
“And not a God afar off?
Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the Lord;
“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.  ~ Jeremiah 23:23-24