Monday, July 27, 2009

Spiritual soil

I had the opportunity this weekend to attend a coference called Desperate for Jesus at Oak Cliff Bible Church in Dallas. What I didn't realize before I got there was how desperate I had become. I had managed to dig myself into a rut on how I spent time with Him and how I was praying. My spiritual soil was drying out and I didn't even know it!

During the conference one of the speakers, Michelle McKinney Hammond, described our spiritual soil condition. When we allow ourselves to begin drying out spiritually, we can no longer hold on to all that God has to pour into us. Have you ever watered a potted plant that was dried out? Did you notice that the water seemed to run straight through and out the bottom? The soil wasn't prepared to receive the water so it could only hold on to a little bit. That small amount of water may perk up the plant for a little while, but soon it is drooping and wilted from thirst all over again. It needs a continuous dose of water to stay nourished and healthy.

We're just like that plant! We'll take a quick dose of God's word to hold us over, but unless we saturate ourselves, we are never fully quenched. Many of us get a big dose of living water during church on Sunday but never go back for our daily dose of God. So by Wednesday or Thursday, we're a crispy Christian! That Sunday dose has run out and we're no longer saturated in His truth. Or maybe you're more like me, you take time with God each day but never realized that the dose you were taking was not quite enough. Maybe you're sippin' on God instead of drinking Him in. If so, it's time for a shot of MiracleGro for your soul! Mix it up a little, change your routine and remember to pray knowing HE IS ABLE!! We don't serve a Lord who may be able to change our circumstances, we serve a Lord who can completely alter our circumstances if it's His will to do so. Remember - If God doesn't get you out of your situation, He is using your situation to get something out of you!!

Be blessed,
Jennifer

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dealing with the weeds

This weekend I took advantage of an unseasonably cool evening by tending to an ignored section of our flower bed. I’ve been trimming it up instead of taking the time to pull the weeds out, as if it was grass instead of just weeds holding hands. I was unleashing all my strength on these weeds and was becoming more irritated by their defiance! There was one mega weed in particular that I was convinced was attached to the wreath on the door of hell…it was a beast! I had been digging, pulling and was covered in mud but was making very little ground. It had become dark and I couldn’t really even see the weeds anymore so tired, sore and frustrated; I decided to give up the fight for the night.

The next day brought warmer temperatures with lots of warm sunlight and I found a new determination within me. I gathered a new arsenal of tools, but noticed that the fight was not nearly as hard. Now that I could actually see the weeds, I could untangle the root. As I took my time uprooting all of the weeds, I noticed that all the digging resulted in some rich, tilled soil. I was able to smooth out the ground and turn the neglected bed into a rock garden, just as I had planned.

We have neglected ‘gardens’ within us too. When we stay in the dark playing tug of war with the sins and strongholds that have taken root in our hearts and minds, we soon become tired and defeated. But as soon as we shine the light of God’s word on the sin, it becomes so much easier to detangle. We use Scripture as an arsenal of tools to remove the stronghold and preparing our hearts for the truth that God wants to plant there. Once the strongholds are removed, we are ready for the purpose that God had intended for our lives…and the results are beautiful!

Do you have some ‘weeds’ within you that you’ve been ignoring? Are you treating those weeds like they belong there or, even worse, do you not even see them within you anymore? Ask God to show you which mega weeds need to be removed so that you can move closer to God’s plan for your life and look forward to the blessings of new blooms.

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:13-17

Monday, July 13, 2009

Because I said so...

Ever have those moments where you feel you’re being prompted to do something you don’t want to do? Now, ever know that those promptings are coming from God but you still don’t want to do it? Yeah, that’s me right now! God is prompting me to consider an option in my life that I had dismissed a long time ago. Now, here it is again, staring me right in the face saying “Pick me! Pick me!” Urghhhh!

As I have struggled back and forth with the choices that lay ahead, God has gently reminded me that we have been in this place before. We have stood in this place where I say “I don’t want to…” as He says “Trust me.” I come back with “but why should I do this?” He simply whispers “Because I said so…” The first time I was here with God was right after I had become a believer and God was prompting me to be re-baptized. I struggled long and hard over this because I had been baptized as a child and didn’t see the point. However, the point was this: God was prompting me to be obedient to Him. The baptismal water wasn’t required for my salvation; God was asking me to take my first step of obedience. Proclaiming my faith in Him was for His glory not mine! Sharing my internal struggle really witnessed to a lot of hearts that day – praise God! He has rewarded that obedience a hundred fold since that day.

A perfect example of doing what you’re told even though it may not make sense comes from the book of Joshua. Joshua had followed God‘s direction and led the Israelites to Jericho and now faced a looming problem. Jericho was surrounded by a great wall and Joshua didn’t have a plan of how to overtake it. God instructed Joshua to gather the 7 priests and carry the Ark of the Covenant around the wall every day for 6 days. Then on the 7th day they were to walk around the wall 7 times and then blow their horns and give a great, long yell and the wall would fall and Jericho would be theirs. How crazy is that??? I’ve been prompted to do some things that have made me uncomfortable but not anything like that! In a worldly perspective, Joshua had a great deal to lose. His men would think he had gone crazy, it would be challenging to make them all do it and why would that even work? Well it would work because God told him it would!!

Joshua was obedient to God and was rewarded with a great victory. God has a great victory planned for each of us if we stop saying “Why Lord?” and start saying “Yes Lord!” When a great price is paid, a great victory is earned!
Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Monday, July 6, 2009

The choices we make...

My husband and I recently caught up with an old friend that Greg grew up with. While they enjoyed spending time together and reminiscing about the past, I noticed that he often compare his life to ours. He had had several hardships in his life and it had not turned out they way he would have planned. I could tell that he had lost hope of having a better future for himself. I didn’t have the opportunity to speak hope into his heart, so I wanted to share what I would have said with you.

Our lives consist of the series of choices that we make. Some of our choices align with God’s will in our lives while other choices align with the will of our flesh. Choice after choice can lead us further and further away from God. However, sometimes it’s our circumstances rather than our choices that steal our hope. All too often we become overwhelmed when bad things happen that we merely throw up our hands and yell ‘Enough!’ We begin to separate ourselves from God before we see how He intended to use the bad situation for our good. When we take our eyes off of Him and only see our own circumstances, the walls of our pit of despair get higher and higher. Unfortunately, we get so blinded by the pit that we lead ourselves into that we lose any hope for a life of promise.

But that’s not where the story ends! While it’s true that numerous choices can lead us away from God, fortunately God’s word shows us that we’re never too far away to come back to Him. God taught us through the parable of the prodigal son that even if we go our own way; the Father’s love is always available when we decide to come back to Him. We have never gone too far to be covered by God’s love! With the promise of God’s love comes the promise for a hope and a future. He will redeem and restore you…it’s a promise!

I pray that you’d be encouraged today no matter how near or far from Him you are!
Be blessed,
Jennifer

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20