Story Devos

Only Jesus

Promises (1)

Jesus does not promise the new job, the family that we have and are desiring to have or the relationship we desire to be in. He does not owe us anything, yet he gave everything because he does promise that when we seek first the kingdom of God all others things will be added on, he does promise that he will never leave or forsake us, he does good for those that love him, he brings us closer to God through our obedience to him in love. He promises us himself, he died for us, he continues to work with us, grow us, be a true friend, giving us access to the father.

His love is beyond all that makes us feel good and goes straight to the core of who we are, truly changing from the inside out. His love last longer, soaks deeper, and heals more than anything we could try to do on our own. He meets us where we are, in what we are doing and reaches out for us. This is so much more than having a good feeling which will come in serving the Lord not knocking joy or happiness. You truly can’t understand and appreciate those bright seasons of life if you have not experienced and seen God in the dark seasons, and some seasons are mixed, truly. We worship in the midnight hour ( in our grief), we worship in the noon day, we worship in the morning when mercies are new.

For he is the same yesterday today and tomorrow when life isn’t. When we lose the job, when the family hasn’t come yet and there has been more loss, when we are single and it hurts to see another engagement photo. These are just a few examples, but life happens and Jesus proves time and time again that he can be trusted that he will walk with us through all the ups and downs of every season of our life. If you haven’t seen that happen it says to taste and see that the Lord is good. Try Jesus as they used to say, just try his way, experience his love, it’ll change you, it’ll develop you, it’ll mature you.

When sometimes I’d rather walk, talk, act as child in life, when I want to give up, when I want to turn away from Jesus to Netflix and YouTube marathons I am once again reminded of this very truth and constant lesson. I am not promised anything but him, He owes me nothing yet gave everything to reconcile me back to the father. And because he owes me nothing and has given me everything what he does give is a gift, and even if all I have is Jesus he is my greatest gift. At times this has to be said with a heavy beating heart, clenched teeth, and tears white knuckling it through it all.

I am required to love him through obedience, through my body as a living sacrifice, through renewing my mind daily in his word, and as I choose him and accept what he gives in him there is life, abundant life. Even within daily death of myself, even within the loss of loved owes, even within all that is broken and a holy consecration bleeds through this brokenness…there is life, he died that we might have it.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. -Matthew 6:33

Let’s Pray:

I thank you Lord for who you are, for being beside me in all seasons of my life, I thank you for your promises beyond what I think I need and beyond what I know I need. I thank you for showing up every time even in times when I can’t feel you. Lord I need you today, in this moment right now to guide me, lead me, and heal me. Lord help me in my hurt and lord through your holy spirit lead me to you. Help me to choose you when I’d rather choose to be numb, to not deal, or to react rather than respond. Help me Lord to practice obedience when I think it is easier to handle it on my own. I need your Lord and cannot do life without you. Amen.

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Story Devos

The Thing About Control

One of the hardest things I struggle with is trusting God in that he is enough. Enough so that I can let go of the control I do my best to implement in every aspect of my life. It has been something I have never faced. I’d surrender my heart during service, prayer time, or in times where the pressure was high or I was so broken that I had no one else to turn to but Jesus. Yet once I received the strength, the revelation I’d do as James tells us not to do and forget what happened not applying it to myself saying, “Thank you Jesus for showing up for me, for teaching me, for healing my heart, but I got it from this point on. I’m good. ”

Like my and your spiritual ancestors prior to the kings that ruled the Israelite  I’d call on Jesus, invite him in my home through his spirit and from there allow him to steak out in the living room, even push him out the yard. It’s funny it feels like I’ve told this story before, and that’s because like the Israelite I’ve lived it over and over again.

Control of what is to come, of others reactions, and the process of making plans is all an illusion. What is reality is our response to different situations in our lives, through our faith in Jesus Christ, and working this salvation out daily. I am not saying write out a schedule for the day, or even 5 years from now. I am saying that no matter what he is in control. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” -Proverbs 16:9

No matter what he is in control.

I hadn’t been to church in awhile and though what I consider girl time in prayer with my mom had ensued helping me greatly, I was hungry for something more. Church started at 10:30 Sunday morning. I feel asleep and woke up around 10:35, “Okay Lord I’ll go next Sunday, I’ll just spend some personal time with you today.” After spending some time writing and reading, even scrolling through instagram, I took a shower. Around 4:20 p.m. my mother walked into my room and says, “Hey… I was thinking about going to church this afternoon…” She had an iffy look on her face. My spirit jumped and I jolted, “Yes! Let’s go! I just took my bath.” I hurried and found something to wear, but my heart started to beat fast and doubt overshadowed my mind. I then proceeded to tell Jesus what was going to happen, how I was going to respond and participate, “Lord, I am going to church, but I will not get all emotional, I will listen to what is being said and I will not go down to the alter to pray.

Riding to church I put on my music and tried to breathe because my heart was beating out of my chest. When I got to church, a dear friend, sister, and mentor of mine waved at me and I made my way to sit by her. We hugged and caught up for a second. As the service proceeded well, my heart was challenged, to look at myself, the hurt that I carried fought against my desire to love those that hurt me, to even give my hurt to the Lord. After the sermon a song came on like a prayer asking, “Lord purify my heart…” Suddenly I gave into the desire to love as God has called me to and give my hurt to him, to let him have it all. Tears began to fall from my eyes as I began to break inside. Another dear sister of mine came and grabbed my hand and walked me out of the pew to walk me to the front for prayer. I couldn’t even make it to the front. I cried and broke down on her shoulder after months of stumbling through this collected “controlled” pain.

No matter what he is in control.

The pastor got up told me to come to the front. Once the song came again, I fought. I fought for my joy, to release pain, to heal, I gave him everything and not only that many came and fought with me wiped my tears because at the end of the day no man is an island and we were made for love and connection. Many were the hands and feet of Jesus to me that day. It changed me life and I can tell you this was not on my itinerary. It needed to happen because turns out I needed emotional healing. I’m not saying that one time healed me completely, but it gave me strength to continue on, and helped me to trust in God more. You see letting go of control allows you trust God more, to trust the love of Christ, to trust that this control that is being asked of is being asked of in love to provide peace, to go live life in a way that you will grow through your trials not to succumb in your trials. We were made to grow.

“…. knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” –Romans 5: 3-5

Thy word is a lamp onto my feet and light unto my path. If his word, that illuminates our spirit, that heals our souls, that teaches us daily lights up our path that means we have to rely on him for our next step. Our dependency on God does not show our weakness but builds our faith and strength in him. Dependency on God gives us the strength to walk in the spirit, and to choose him daily in what he teaches and in how he loves. For everything that is done is for our good and in the love that we have the opportunity to accept and live in. Without love there is nothing. So in love he calls you to the alter of your soul, and asks you to give him everything daily so that he may provide you with the daily bread you need for the day. He asks you to trade your worry for his peace, your pain for his healing joy even joy in pain. You see when you let go give control to the lord you are never left empty handed.

Jesus was talking to the disciples sharing with them that he will have to die. When Peter heard  he stated that Jesus would not have to do so with great vigor I would suppose. Jesus responded, “Get behind me Satan.” (Matthew 16:21-23)Peter loved Jesus. What if Jesus would have listened to him and said, “You know what Peter you’re right, I’m glad you said that… I’m not going to die on the cross… my father will send someone else.” Imagine if that happened? Who would pay the debt we cannot pay, would save the entire world? Who? It was Jesus that loved God more than any of his own humanly desires, that trusted the Father more than anyone around him, and because of that Peter who denied the one he loved, was able to be forgiven and not only that lead thousands to Christ.

It’s a daily process and choice. Yes broken father and/or mother relationships, sexual, physical, emotional, verbal, mental abuse, miscarriages, cancer, the loss of someone, loss in general, chronic pain, and all that life brings good mixed in with bad can cause us to hold our stuff and say, “Look Lord I’m good, you can stay in that room, you don’t need to come back here…” But that is where the true healing lies. May I petition to you that God wants more and not only that he wants to enter into places you have not let the closest person in your life into because of shame and guilt. Jesus on the cross represents all of your pain, all of your loss, the abuse, the illness. The scars on his hands that “doubting” Thomas touched says, “Me too…” and his listening ear says, “I’m here.”

One time of opening up in prayer does not change everything at once. For some it does, it does not always work that way though, but one time in prayer at church, in your room, in your car, or even at your job and gives you the strength to begin,  a chance to dump it all on the Lord and allow him to work with you and heal your hurting heart.

The thing about control that it does not allow you to develop a loving relationship with the Lord. It’s on your terms and most times that is not enough, we can only walk alone for so long. We need Jesus and sweetie it is quite alright to need Jesus. This is a daily walk, a relationship that with the help of Jesus and the surrender of our broken hearts grows and matures overtime that we may be more like him. Jesus didn’t die to heal one part of you, Jesus died for every single part of you. He does not heal partly, he heals holistically. You are so loved and cherished, for he wants everything. He wants you, every single part of you.

Let’s Pray:

Lord I need you. I cannot open up to you on my own, I can’t carry this pain, this grief, this bitterness, the hurt on my own anymore. Please Lord enter my heart and help me to heal. Lord please provide for me what I need this day. I know that you are the provider of my soul. I am broken and breaking daily, please take these broken pieces and make something more beautiful and new. Help me Lord, I surrender my heart to you. I give you the broken pieces, I give you the pain, I give you the anger Lord carry this for me, take it away Lord and help me to carry my cross. I give up the need to control, for you are Lord of my life and comforter of my soul. I love you Lord and thank you for showing me that I am never alone and that I am loved by you always. Amen. 

Update…

The next time I went to church. I told said within myself ,”I’m not putting an agenda on you today Lord…” Went to church and he continued to work on me and with me. Yes I was emotional, yes a broke down in tears and yes I did pray. I am stronger now than I was before. I am learning that when he is in control, you feel more in control, because you are following the one who is in control of it all. If he holds your today, you can trust and know who holds your tomorrow.

Journal Question: What are you giving God control of?

Referenced Scripture: 

 

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Story Devos

The Steadfast One…

 

Mountains

It easy to say, “God is always for you.” to someone who is in a difficult season, when moments are more beautiful and easy for. There is more receptivity to this truth when you have positive feelings to back it up. What happens when you feel betrayed, angry, or even resentment towards God as his goodness transforms due to the perspective of our lives, the ups, and downs? Is he still for you? Is he still good?

The automatic answer is yes he is still good because he never changes. As humans we deal not only with absolute statements in our constantly changing worlds and lives, but feelings and emotions, as well as beyond difficult situations that challenges our faith, leads us to our knees in surrender and repentance or leave our hearts hardened from God all together because forgiveness is too much, holding on to pain is easier in order to protect ourselves. Though I am using a lot of pronouns of we, and us I am talking mainly of myself. I also know that it would be prideful of me to think that I am the only one on this earth who has struggled with forgiveness, who has struggled with pain, and letting go of anger and bitterness in order to hold onto Jesus, actually trusting him.

Trusting is not a one time commitment and choice, it is daily. Love is not a one time commitment and choice  it is daily. The goodness of God does not change because our life constantly changes a we grow like flowers opening an closing to the sun.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” – James 1:17

With the Father there is not variation or shadow due to change, there is no possible change due to the downs in our lives. He is the same, he is the loving, just, caring, all powerful father that will continue to work with us as we journey in our relationship with Jesus. As the son of God, Jesus assures you that it’s in his spiritual DNA to never change.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” -Hebrew 13:8

He is for you, he is always good. Your pain, your struggles, your trails will not cause him to change, walk away, even turn away if you decided to walk away for he loves you and cherishes your heart. His foundation is love and truth. Let him love you, and if you’re not ready, take your time in getting to know him all over again as Abba Father. For he loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.

Prayer in Life’s Changes: Lord work with me in knowing that you are good no matter what. Understanding that your goodness does not change with the constant changes of my life. I thank you for your grace and mercy in my life. I thank you Lord for your direction even if it is a small shift. I’ll hold your hand as you hold my heart. Amen. 

READING // PSALM 42

 

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