Story Devos

Valley Living

As she walked tired and rugged, she came across a wooden cabin deep in the woods. A bed, desk, fire place, with kitchen stocked. She cleaned up from the rugged trail, it seemed she walked alone. Jesus knocked on the door and she invited him in. She hugged him closely surprised to see him. She walked past him to help him carry some stacks of wood inside.

He helped her unpack the rest of her things. She lay resting as he carved a piece of wood. She cried, laughed, and furies as she told him everything, the bad, the ugly in her journey so far. In the wee hours of the night, fire place crackling she shared with him her deep secrets, the ones she’d tell no one along the long venture, she told him everything. Her heart broke folding over again and again…

As she wiped her eyes she sat up hands in lap, she looked at him as he smiled and carved another groove, wood shavings slowly meeting the floor. “What have I done?” Shame and guilt over took her. Heart burning she tucked her legs close to her chest realizing all she’d said. Suddenly, he’d become unsafe for her…

“Lana…” Jesus looked at her with concern in his eyes. “Why am I here?” He asked. She coiled in tightly, “I. I. I’m not sure…” He lightly laughed and continue to carve away. She felt tricked by him, “You don’t fool me. I know why you’re here. To judge me, to see me for who I really am, all my struggle, all my temptation and sin to laugh and leave.” Wood savings only curled not falling to the floor, Lana’s heart beat fast tears brimming. Taking a deep breath Jesus put down his instruments. “Lana, come with me.”

Lana followed Jesus through the forest into the top of the mountain cascading with trees, clouds and waterfalls. “You see there?” She peered on her tip toes, “Yes I was there yesterday.” He looked at her as she continued to peer, “Me too…” She looked up at him, Jesus pointed out a far mountain top, “What about there?” Lana slightly smiled as warm memories came to mind, “I loved that place, though it was hard walk up. “ Then he pointed out several valleys. Lana’s heart dropped, “I really don’t want to talk about those…” Lana began walking down the mountain back to the cabin.

“Lana…” Jesus softly called after her. She stopped in her tracks and turned around, “Lana I was there too.” Jesus put his arm around her and led her to a log right outside the cabin. As they sat he shared his heart,“The pain you feel, the temptation you face, the sin you are overcoming, the person you are, the quirks you have do not scare me away from you. I will always call you even more so. I will desire you to seek my face even more. In valley living, you’ll never scare me away.” Tears in Lana’s eyes she laid her head on Jesus’s shoulder shedding weighted tears, finally taking a load off, Jesus held her close.

The next morning Lana awoke, Jesus sat beside her finishing his creation. She rubbed her eyes, picking up a fresh cup of tea beside her. Lana shared more deeply, freely, and fully… Valley living, where growth happens as you sit in the tension. A tension that invites Jesus who digs deeper, fully showing you how he sees you and who helps you to discover who you really are.

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Story Devos

Focus

To focus on your calling and purse it alone…

As a child our parents would go tell us to do something like clean up your room. We would go about huffing and puffing or some would just get to the task, but it was up to us to get the task at hand done. That was teaching us stewardship over our room, and the toys that we had meaning the possessions that was bought/ given to us by others i.e. our parents.

It’s written in the word of God that we are not alone, that Jesus will never leave or forsake us. That our task because we love God we will respond to that love through obedience. Our obedience is not a measuring stick or our love, it is stewardship of the love already given before we knew it. For it says in his word that knowledge puffs us up, but love, love makes us known by God. He sees us, he knows us. This stewardship of ourselves, and our relationship with Jesus helps us to build a solid foundation of who he is and who we are in him. Our identity who Jesus says I am, who God sees me to be, and the live words written that continue to speak beyond the page shapes who we are.

I’d forgotten who I was, I knew what obedience looked like and felt like and that was boring to me. Going down my own path now Jesus a consultant from time to time, his spirit a charging station and God who I avoided was what my faith consisted of. The task at hand which was very simple “write” was now mixed with gain social media followers, juggling 5 social media accounts at one time, doing my best to stay relevant, besides pursing my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and working a part-time job, dealing with daily life, and wondering how to take care of myself through all of this. When you are trying to keep relevant on social media more than keeping yourself grounded in actual life. When you started this task as the means to help others not knowing that you need just as much help, could we say more. Yes this is me now.

Paul who has stolen my heart with his writing and understanding of Jesus writes a response to those to who choose examine him, his intentions. 1 Corinthians 9  In this chapter he talks about how those have a work tend to get provisions from the work they do. How someone who tends to a flock reaps their milk to drink. He says several other examples as well. He then goes onto say he does have the right to gain material possession from the spiritual things he speaks, but he does not, it does not matter. It is more to him that he preaches the word lives out what he is called to do, than to do it just to gain provision. He then shares with an open heart how he has become all things to all people so that he might have saved some. Meeting others where they are being love, showing Jesus, sharing the gospel. He goes on to asks the question of someone who is examining him would ask. What is my reward then? His response brought me to tears.

“I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in it’s blessings…” – 1 Corinthians 9:23

It’s deeper than that. It is always deeper than that. The call to clean your room. God’s call on your life through Jesus Christ. His love keeping you, not by your own doings. It’s all deeper than that. Paul had a foundation that could not be taken by anyone, because not only did he want to share the gospel, he wanted to come alongside those he met along his journey and kneel with them bringing them to Christ, coming to Christ himself.  At the beginning of the prior chapter it talks about how knowledge puffs up, puts you on a pedestal. In the prior chapter it talked about the topic of idols. When Paul healed as Jesus did many began to bend down and worship him. He had to correct them, and pointed them to Jesus, just as Jesus pointed us to Abba God.

Though knowledge puffs up, it is written that  love builds up.

“If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet as he out to know. But if anyone loves God, he is know by God.”

– 1 Corinthians 8:2

Focusing on what we are called to do and doing it on our own. What we are called to do should not isolate us in an unhealthy. It should bring us closer to our identity in Christ and others that are like us and those who are not like us who will remind us how of this love that makes us known by God. It should bring us closer to our knees in prayer for others and ourselves as we go deeper than what we are called to do because what we are called to do is deeper than just a task. It shapes and forms our character, it brings peace to chaos, it may cause stress because it is important, just look at Paul, being beat up, yet still preaching and writing from jail. Our calling brings forth the fruits of the spirit, as his spirit teaches us, why because it is bringing us closer to him.

 

That I may share with them in it’s blessings… to focus, not alone, with faith.

 

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Story Devos

Father’s Fighting For You

“The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.”-Exodus 14:14

I was born a fighter. Born to fight, born to never give up, to speak up, to fight my own battles, to keep fighting even if I am bone tired. The brain is designed to keep you alive, so when you get in high pressure situations the hormone cortisol releases toxic stress begins and because the brain is designed to keep you alive you go have two options which is to fight or to run. More times than not fighting was my only option.

Sometimes we fight physically to keep going, sometimes we fight mentally, sometimes depressions comes to because you cannot mentally go, but still fighting to regain strength you search for more, for the answer. We fight to keep relationships alive, even drag our what is dead to keep our own selves alive. We fight by letting go that very thing that was dead, or does not bring us health physically, mentally, verbally, spiritually, or emotionally. Tears puddle, words are expounded, the yalps that are given in daily life and fill the dark ancient caves where those have dwelled in the past shared their own puddled tears, expounded words and yalps.

It is easy to become busy fighting alone thinking that you are enough to fight your battles. You are not. You are enough to fight with God by your side, the spirit of the Lord dwelling in you. His love is the foundation of your life and the reason for daily life.

In Exodus 14:14 Moses says, “The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still.” This is Moses speaking to the people of Israel right after they were freed from slavery. They had just seen pharaoh and his men coming their way and thought for sure that Moses had brought them out there to die, they even cried out to the Lord.

God guided Moses with the instructions to safety in crossing the Red sea. The Lord fought for them through Moses.

He will fight for you. It may not look like you want it to, hey it would have been better in my eyes for God to destroy Pharaoh and his army. God didn’t want to just fight the enemy on the outside, he also fought for the trust of the Israelite, and just like the Israelites he brings you far from where you were in bondage to newness in your life.

That was the continuation of the the fight, of the love story between a father and his children. The prophets sent, the stories told of old, the call to the father’s heart who sent his son to die because he loved the world, because he loves you.

He fights for you, because he loves you. He longs for your company, your time, your love because he delights in you. He delights in who you are now, he loves you for who you are now, and his love for you beautifully shapes who you are becoming.

It all trickles down to your specific life, the being that you are now. He fought for you before you even knew you needed to be fought for, before you knew him. As humans it is easy to forget that once we say yes to Christ that God fights for us, that we don’t have to constantly physically, mentally, emotionally fight. So instead of constantly being in this spiritual fight or flight that connects to all of our humanity, we can learn to have a trusting relationship with the Lord. That it is possible to have a Heavenly Father that not only delights in you but loves you and cares for you through Jesus Christ.

You don’t have to work endlessly not even knowing what you are holding onto anymore. You can let go and trust God. Knowing that you are building your life on a firm foundation. Knowing that when God is fighting for you that means you trust him. Yes it is scary at times, because you don’t have control over everything in the situation but yourself. Nevertheless in you being still you know who he is and you began to understand who you are in him.

He will fight for you, but not in the way you expect…

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.“- Psalm 23:5

Let’s Pray:

Lord I thank you for who you are, I thank for being a loving father who cares for his children. I thank you for showing up when we’d least expect it, but need you most. It says in your word that if we’d only be still that you’d fight for us, that means we can trust you. Lord in our personal relationship with you I pray that you teach us to trust you, to have comfort in knowing that you are fighting for us on a daily basis. Lord we are tired and desire to rest in you. Teach us Lord to trust and fight with you, not by ourselves. Loving father thank you for walking with us daily. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Just Listen…

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