The ME God Sees

Nya didn't think she was worthy. But JESUS loves her and she came to believe that on this day.
Nya didn’t think she was worthy. But JESUS loves her and she came to believe that on this day.

When did I grow up? I’m pretty sure that I still think I’m like 20 something. Until I look in the mirror. Or wake up with an ache. Or somebody that must be not much younger than me says “Mrs. Heather” or “yes ma’am.” Maybe it’s because in my 40s (41 to be exact), I’m learning to like me. Learning to slow down. Learning to breathe.

Maybe it’s because 41 is honestly better feeling than 25 or 29 or even 35. I’m okay with the bad hair days. I’m okay with the lines .. Well, I’m better than I was at 38 about them. I’m good with whatever you think of me now. More so than I was in my 20s or 30s. I have gained wisdom and life experiences by the grace of God. I’m realizing the beauty of God’s love. I have experienced HIS grace and that is beautiful. I have experienced raw grief and felt HIS LOVE so strong. A love that truly did and does the same for me as HE did for David in the Psalms. A love that lifts me out of the miry pit. A love that restores, renews, and refreshes.

I’m learning to love me because Jesus does.

It’s a process. Learning to embrace ME. The ME God sees.   I mean think about it. {Insert yourself into the ME statements.}

JESUS knows me. The REAL me. AND. HE still loves me!

How awesome is that?!?! Pretty awesome if you ask me. I mean come on. I know I am hard to love at times. Aren’t we all? You know what? That same love that HE has for me, HE has for you. He loves you, the real you, the you that HE created you to be.

He loves you just the way that you are. You don’t have to get all fixed up in order to impress HIM. He made you. God knows exactly what you are capable of through JESUS. In fact, you can’t fix yourself up in your own strength without him. He already knows every single thing about you. AND He loves you still.

His love is deep. His love is wide. His love is grace-filled. Grace upon grace upon even more grace. His love never ends. His love never fails. His love never runs out. His mercies are abundant. He loves you and me more than we could ever even fathom. It is a miraculous love. A true love. A love without borders. One that cannot be matched by any other.

  If you are feeling sad or unworthy or unloved, think for a moment about “The ME GOD sees”. Stop focusing on the negative. And then, believe that YOU are worth it.

You ARE loved. (Read that again.)

20121214-205458.jpg HE loved you so much that HE willingly went to the cross. For you and for me.

It says that even in our sins, he loved us.

Enough so that he let them wrongly accuse him, mock him, call him names, beat him, spit on him, strip him of his clothes, publicly humiliate him,make him carry a heavy cross, hammer very large nails into his body, and hang him up on that cross.

Then, those moments of complete separation from God the Father before he died. ( You can read about it in Matthew 26 and Matthew 27) And then…oh praise GOD! Three days later HE AROSE! HE IS RISEN. HE lives. HE loves, and HE will come again.

But that’s not all. HE didn’t just go to HEAVEN and leave us. HE lives in each one who follows him and believes in HIM. Sound like a fairy-tale? It’s not. The love of JESUS is evident in those who are HIS. In those who are surrendered to HIM. (John 14:1-4,6 see below in Relevant Scripture)

Through HIM alone, we are able to love others. God is love. Period.

heatherdawkins.com
heatherdawkins.com

                                                                                    REFLECTION

Oh friends, I have to ask…

DO you know HIM? Does HE know YOU?

We aren’t promised the next breath..much less, tomorrow. If you don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, what are you waiting for? I don’t care what you have been told or led to believe. JESUS CHRIST loves you and desires a real relationship with you. It isn’t complicated. If HE is whispering to you..If you feel a pull or a curiosity and want to know more, please don’t wait. There is freedom and peace and a joy like you have never known that can only be found in a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Don’t let the enemy trick you into thinking that you aren’t worthy of the love that Jesus so freely offers you.

He loves you. God sees you. He sees the YOU that HE created.

To my friends who do know HIM:

Are you living like you believe that HE LOVES YOU? He does.

The ME (you) God sees. That ME (you) is loved. Treasured. Precious. Worthy. 

heatherdawkins.com
heatherdawkins.com

                                                                              RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

John 14:1-4 (NIV) ~ “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

John 14:6 (NIV) ~ Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

1 John 4:10 (NIV) ~ This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Psalm 40:2 (NLT) ~ He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.

1 John 4:19 (NLT) ~ We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:8 (NLT) ~ But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.


LINKING UP with 3-D Lessons for Life on Thought-Provoking Thursday

Until Next Time,

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Tuned Out and Tuned In

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heatherdawkins.com

Quiet. Unsettling. Different. I like it.

One week into the social media break and it’s funny how it came after my 31 Days of Being Present in Real Life series. The one that I purposely did NOT complete. Yeah. God does have a sense of humor.

So, here I am. Learning things about myself. Listening so much more to God. The noise is tuned out much better now. More “spiritual whitespace”. And while I am on that subject, I read a book by Bonnie Gray called Finding Spiritual Whitespace a few weeks ago. AH-MAZING. She is a beautiful soul, I can tell by her comments and sweet replies to my comments..It’s so neat how this internet works isn’t it? You can reach through the world-wide web and virtually meet people..but, I am digressing. That book was written from the depths of her soul. She writes so poetically and beautiful and from her heart.


 

I am learning what my version of “spiritual whitespace” looks like in comparison to God’s idea for me. I do want GOD. I want HIM more than the way I used to make time for HIM. I want GOD more than that mindless scrolling through a newsfeed that really  isn’t “news”. I want GOD more than likes or comments or replies or fame or fortune or knowing what everybody is doing. I want GOD more than I want me and more than my idea of wanting God looks like. Then and only then can I be completely at peace.

A soul one with GOD, with nothing in between, is a soul at peace. 

I am learning that obedience truly does lead to blessing. Even when obedience means cutting away some good things in your life. Even when it means removing for a short time something that isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing..just a distracting thing. Because GOD said so.

I am learning that even though I do have a good time of study in the Bible and a quiet time every morning, that God still requires more.

Because my idea of what is enough really isn’t enough at all.


 

I can look back over the past year or so and see where God is working and moving in my life and the life of my family and I am so excited to see what is next! Maybe a little scared too if I am honest. Maybe anxious is a better word. I just feel it in my bones and I am ready and I can’t wait to see what all God shows me and speaks to me through this time with HIM. Sweet time with my Savior and Lord. Tuned in to HIM.

I believe when GOD speaks we better listen. When GOD commands we had better obey. And that….

When GOD whispers, if the noise is too loud, I can’t hear HIM.

 


 RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

James 1:22 (NLT) ~ But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

Romans 2:13 (NLT) ~ For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight.


 REFLECTION

~ Is it too loud for me to be able to even hear God? Too much noise?

~ Do I really WANT GOD or just my idea of what wanting God looks like?

~ Am I willing to focus more on God than on other stuff?

~ Is God calling me to fast anything in order to hear HIM more clearly?


 

Until Next Time,

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The Harvest IS Plentiful

I don’t know about you, but for me, normally when I can’t stand the place I am visiting, I don’t ever want to go back.

Like ever.

For those who don’t know, my family went on a mission trip to New Orleans this summer. People warned me of the smells, and even the fluids that were commonly found on the sidewalks. They warned me of the darkness that seemed to hang over you like a cloud. They hinted at the free-spirited living. The smells didn’t bother me as much as I thought. And I have a sensitive smeller. No, it was the sights that broke my heart.

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From the countless homeless people to the small children roaming the streets, things were different just a few hours away from home sweet home. It didn’t take going thousands of miles away or even crossing oceans to do mission work. I didn’t even have to learn another language. Well, maybe I did. Maybe the new language was to See The Unseen with different eyes. Hearing their stories. Taking time to care. Hold a hand. Say a prayer. Give out a water bottle and a snack. Maybe that is a language. A love language.

Matthew 25:35 (NIV) ~ For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.

Matthew 25:40 (NIV) ~ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

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Our team worked together so well. It was a God thing. He definitely put us together. It was a beautiful experience. One that forever changed me. The person that doesn’t need people around. The person that tends to be a loner. The introvert. I learned that community is so very vital. When one falls down…the other helps him up. You know that verse. It is so true.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NLT) ~ If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.

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They say that once you go on a mission trip that you get the fever to keep going back. After a solid week of staying in a room with our team of girls and then a whole lot of girls that we did not know, and sharing 2 showers with them and their hair, I was ready to get home. I know that sounds spoiled. Remember my sensitive nose? Smells? Let’s just say Praise Jesus that my buddy had one of those laundry detergent pods. I slept with it on the middle bunk one night. Somebody above me from the other group drank too much water or something before bed, and that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Praise Jesus for detergent pods and smell good thingamajiggers.

I was so blessed by every single experience that God allowed on the NOLA recon team UNSEEN trip. Yes, even the yucky ones taught me something. Come on, if Jesus traveled from place to place and slept wherever he had to, so could I for one single week. At least we had a bed. Some of the UNSEEN slept on the concrete. Every single night. When I was tempted to complain, I quickly reminded myself of this. So spoiled and so blessed. I don’t deserve anything I have. That woman, that mother, she could very easily be me.

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Then there was Bourbon Street. The Midnight Outreach through The Dream Center reaches out to the women who work in the strip clubs, and the owners and bouncers as well. Whew. Only a few of us went on this mission. Let me clarify that our team stayed out of the clubs, but what we saw on the street was plenty. I only lasted through the orientation and about 30 minutes on the street. At first I felt like a quitter. But then, I accepted that I was obedient to go and I was obedient to bow out when God led me to leave.

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I saw what he wanted me to see. No more. No less. I saw women who had to get all drugged up and drunk to even be able to work. I saw families walking through the street with small children. Children exposed to nudity, sexual innuendo, alcohol, and all of the people who support it. I saw a young boy playing a drum on the sidewalk..on BOURBON Street. Where was his momma? Maybe across the street working in one of the clubs. Maybe standing half naked in the window as if she were for sale. Wait, she was. There were the men working the doors and trying to entice people to come in to their business. There was the man coming out of the strip club and the dancer coming out after him, clearly completely strung out. She would have to be I’m sure of it. She’s a person. With feelings.

Forever changed.

My eyes were opened. I saw the teenage girls talking to the bouncer and then walking in to the strip club. Were they runaways? Were they looking for a job? Did they know that they were about to be forever changed by their choices?

I’m not a crier by nature. I tend to hold it in. Cry in private. Act tough in public.

My tears came like floodwaters escaping through a breached dam. I couldn’t contain the emotions welling up within me. I can only explain it like this: The Holy Spirit within was broken…Jesus in me..I felt what HE must feel when seeing sin. Complete and utter grief. I know what grief feels like. I recently lost my Daddy. These were tears of grief. Heartache for those girls and women. Heartache for the people who treated other people like merchandise. MERCHANDISE! It shouldn’t be so.

Story after story I could share with you. God blessed me so much by allowing me to be a part of that trip. As much as I was ready to get home to Georgia, and even though I told my husband and friends that I had no desire to ever and I mean EVER go back to NOLA, guess what I miss? I miss NOLA. I miss being on that mission trip. Even though I had to wear flip flops in the shower and sleep with a smell good thingy, I miss it.

I don’t know where God will call my family to serve next. We are going to be obedient though. Obedience truly leads to blessing. I can’t wait to serve wherever HE leads us to serve.

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The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few… I promise you, the HARVEST IS PLENTIFUL. Every act of service is important. Don’t think that you can’t do anything because of age or a handicap or even because of finances. Can you pray? That is mission work too!

Matthew 9:37 (NIV) ~ Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”

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The mission field is not just overseas. The mission field is in your home, your work, your school, your neighborhood. If you can’t go out of town, don’t use that as an excuse to not serve. Everyone who is a child of God, an authentic believer and follower of CHRIST, is called to serve. I pray that I never forget those whom I met and the stories that I heard while on the New Orleans trip. Even though the stories aren’t always beautiful, there is beauty in remembering the stories.

I leave you with a few questions:

1~ Is there something that I am ignoring and that I need to be obedient to God and respond about in regards to serving?

2~ Is there sin in my life that I need to come clean about? Do I have a relationship with Jesus?

3~ Am I being faithful to God with the gifts that HE has blessed me with? Am I hoarding my talents instead of using them to SHINE Jesus?

4~ Am I expecting everyone else to serve while I sit on the sidelines and cheer?

{If I can pray for you about any of the above questions, please feel free to respond. I would love to pray for you and help you or guide you to someone who can help you.}

Until Next Time,

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Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Are You a Sheep or a Goat?

 

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copyright: heatherdawkinsphotography
heatherdawkins.com copyright: heatherdawkinsphotography

 Today, as promised, I am continuing the message : What Are You Filling The Voids With? , and if you missed the first part you should click on the title/link above.

  To begin this second part of the message, I need to ask you again, if you know HIM and if HE knows you. As I said in yesterday’s post, there is a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge.

Here is another really simple and you may think “crazy” way to look at it…….

  Are you a SHEEP or a GOAT?

Jesus is often referred to as The Shepherd in scripture, and if you are saved, you would be referred to as SHEEP.  Sheep needed the shepherd to guide them and show them where to eat and drink. Sheep needed protection from wolves, and the shepherd often slept in the pen with the sheep and stretched across the entrance to keep them safe from wolves while the sheep slept. Every sheep mattered, and the shepherd went to great lengths to find even just ONE lost sheep.

Seeing any parallels yet?

Sheep and goats often “hung out” and grazed together. Yet when it was time for the sheep to have the wool sheared off, the shepherd would separate the sheep from the goats.

God will separate the sheep from the goats as well. 

The true follower from the great pretender.

The real from the fake.

Matthew 25:31-34 ~ When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

 

Here’s some good news though, If you are a GOAT you can still become a SHEEP!

God’s love is unfailing, unchangeable, immeasurable, and AMAZING! His grace is enough! Our small minds cannot comprehend how deep HIS love is for us!

 

1 John 1:9 ~ If we confess our sins, HE is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

  Hebrews 7:24,25 ~ But Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

 

God loves you as you are. He loves you too much to leave you that way though. He sees you, loves you, and wants a relationship with you.

 

If you do know Jesus, and heaven is your home, then I ask this : ARE YOU SHINING JESUS?

Or is there some junk that you need to clear out of the way so that others can see HIM in you again?

Shine Jesus or shine the world…and the world doesn’t shine.

Make a difference for GOD or make a difference for the devil.

You are always making an impact on others around you. Are you making a positive impact or a negative impact? I am asking myself these same questions.

NO, you won’t be a perfect little shining star all of the time. You will mess up. I do. We all do. What we do when we mess up matters. Do you make it right? It matters.

What we fill the voids in our lives with MATTERS. Our actions (words, walk, talk, text, tweet, post,etc..) reflect what is in our heart. What we FILL UP with will show.

 

Luke 6:45 ~ The good man brings good out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks.

 

In life we have TWO choices in relation to eternity.

  Heaven or Hell. Both places are real and both last for ever and ever.

SHEEP or GOAT

 

If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus, what are you waiting for?

If you are saved, Are you shining Jesus? Do others see Jesus in you? Or do they just see all the junk that you have filled the voids in your life with?

 

True freedom. True peace. True love. They are found in JESUS.

To know Jesus you have to spend time with him. He doesn’t force his way in, because a forced love isn’t love. He wants to know you. He wants you to know him. He wants you to want him.

 

I know I have written a lot of questions in this post, but questions make you think. They make me think.

 

I leave you with these questions and yes they may already be in this post :

 

~ Do I shine Jesus or the world ?

~ Do I really know HIM and does HE know me?

~ Do I just know about him and “think” that I might be saved..but not 100% ?

~ Is there anything in my life that I am using as a substitute for Jesus?

 

God loves you.

 

  Blessings to you all, and I pray that this message, both parts, touches your soul. Share it with someone if you think it will touch their soul. All Glory to God, because this message is HIS..not mine.

 

Until Next Time,

 

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I Hear You God

I recently spoke at a “Girl’s Night Out” event that was held at  Redland Baptist. Not because I am a “speaker”, but because of a youth director’s obedience to God and because I knew that when she asked me to do this that it was definitely God wanting me to. Like I said, I am NOT a speaker by nature. I’m a writer. I was totally relating to Moses…the Moses who said “I’m not eloquent of speech..please send somebody else.” (paraphrased from Exodus 4:10 and also from Exodus 4:13)

However, God had been whispering to me that one day I would be “up there speaking and bringing HIS message”. HAHA! I of course replied with: “who? ME? Pshhhh. No. Thank. You.” When I was asked to do this, I immediately said out loud, to God : “I hear you God. You told me.” 

That’s not all I said either. Hahaha! You could say that I was scared to death. Not about speaking in front of people. Not about looking stupid. Not even about the fact that my audience was to be teen girls. Well, yeah, that WAS a bit unnerving. I was so afraid that I would mess up HIS message.

Anybody relate?

This was a FIRST for me. Sure I had taught sunday school, sang solos when I was a teen, led Women’s Bible studies, and put myself out there for HIS glory by writing and blogging. BUT…giving a message to a group of impressionable teen girls, from the pulpit, like for real, this was a FIRST.

I learned through this experience that GOD is so faithful. He provides. HE provided prayer warriors, friends and family who lifted me up and interceded on my behalf, time  to prepare for this day, and HE provided the message. God provided the girls to be there and for their hearts to receive it! God provided the music that fit perfectly with HIS message. HE provided!

(Oh, and I also learned that a 20 minute message can turn into a 40 minute message real fast. LOL)

Hearts were changed and touched that night. Mine included. There is nothing more beautiful than to see girls at the altar, praying alone, praying together, lifting their voices in song.  And honestly the most beautiful thing was to see the love that their youth pastors and leaders and volunteers have for them.

God speaks to us. We just have to listen.

Obedience and Surrender are scary sometimes.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary.

What’s even scarier is DISOBEDIENCE.

I am so very thankful that everyone involved was obedient. Obedience leads to blessing. I was definitely blessed by bringing HIS message to those precious girls. I was definitely blessed by their response to HIM.

Wanna hear something funny? Now I can’t wait for another opportunity to bring whatever message God wants to whatever audience HE wants. I am not afraid anymore. I know that MY GOD provides. I am actually praying for opportunities because honestly, my heart’s desire is for others to know Jesus and know that HIS grace really is enough.

I will be sharing the message (that I shared with them) with you all on the next blog post. I’d love for you to tune in and check it out!

I leave you with these questions:

Are you listening to God?

  Are you being obedient or are you trying to tune HIM out?

Joshua 22:5 ~ “But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Until Next Time,

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Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

  

New Year New Me

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15 NLT)

It’s been quiet here on the blog. Not because my mind has been quiet.. Because it has not. My mind and soul have been overloaded lately. When that happens, I still write, I just don’t publish. Sometimes it’s quiet on here because God is allowing me some time to learn and grow and even rest.

Learn and grow … I’ve definitely been doing that.

Last year God pulled me back from leading a women’s bible study. I wasn’t quite sure as to why at the time. I still obeyed. Around that time, our oldest daughter, a high school sophomore, began expressing an interest in being in a private school or being homeschooled. She’s a wise teen with big plans and dreams for her future. We looked into both, prayed about it, and sent her back to the public high school.

Still praying. Still growing. Learning new things about myself. Learning that boundaries were biblical and good and healthy. Studied a book called Boundaries by Henry Cloud / John Townsend. I did some bible studies on my own, and completed reading and studying through the entire Bible for my first time ever.

Through the last half of last year, I had shingles.. Which was very rare for someone my age. Stress can cause them to appear to anyone who has ever had chickenpox. I was definitely under some stress. My husband had a back injury that had him confined to the bed and then with a walker for several weeks. Things fell apart in different areas and other things fell together.

I got well, He was healed while on vacation. I mean healed. Instantly.
God was good and always faithful.

We also suffered a tragic loss of a family member in December of 2013. God has been faithful and good to our entire family through that as well. Our family’s faith in God is what has sustained everyone. I honestly don’t know how those who don’t have a relationship with God survive the hard, tragic, and trying times in life.

Now on to 2014. After much prayer and research and more prayer, we signed our oldest up with a wonderful Homeschool group… Classical Conversations. She had her first official day of school this Thursday and we couldn’t be more pleased! Never say never… No, really.. Because that’s what I had always said.

God orchestrated every event and meeting and circumstance in a way that led me to meet with a fellow blogger, friend, and homeschooling mom. Which in turn led to us following HIS call on our life. To begin this journey with one of our children. Praying that our youngest will decide on her own to join as well.

Oh, I forgot to mention something. I was asked in the fall to speak at a girl’s conference at a local church. Talk about out of my comfort zone. The thought scared me to death. Me? Yes, HE said.. me. So, after much prayer and seeking wisdom from other Godly women, I agreed. Why? Because praise GODHE uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary. Thank goodness, HE also equips the called. AND… Because I don’t plan on speaking MY words. I only want to speak HIS. If one girl’s life is impacted, then I can handle a little stage fright.

I’ve learned to balance my life. Put my husband first, after God. I’ve learned that it’s okay to say no. That it is NECESSARY to eliminate stress. I’ve learned that it’s okay to set boundaries. I’ve learned that I do not have to allow negative opinions to affect me. I’ve learned that sometimes God requires me to do things that make no sense to me or anyone else at the time. I’ve learned that I do not have to make everyone happy and that I can’t. I’ve learned to be still and bridle my tongue. I’ve learned to set limits. I’ve learned to trust HIM more.

I can’t wait to see what else I learn this New Year!

It’s a New Year and each day HE is making a new me.

As a quote I found yesterday on Pinterest says: “I may not have always known what I wanted to be, but I’ve always known the kind of woman I wanted to be.”

I’m on my way.

I’m living for God.

I’m not backing down.

I’m not entertaining negativity.

I’m seeking HIS WILL in everything.

I’m stepping out, even further out, of my comfort zone.

I’m NOT feeling guilty for saying no to negativity or drama or for eliminating stress.

Lots of new changes this year. One homeschooled by me, one still in public school ( middle school). A 16 year old with a driver’s license… (Learning the real meaning to praying without ceasing). Speaking at an event for the first time, (In front of teen girls). Who knows what else.. I do know that whether it be good or tragic, God is good and will hold me and my family in the palm of HIS hands.

One last thing, I wrote a list of my goals for this year in my journal. Maybe you have already done the same thing, if not, maybe you should.

Just know this… Your goals are great but be willing to let God interrupt your plans. For HIS plans are much better. Even if we don’t always understand them.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8 ESV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Seeking HIS Will,

Heather

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Don’t Be A Blessing Robber

 

Photo: HDawkins
Copyright 2013

 

There are times when we least expect it that GOD reaches out and loves on us. We don’t deserve it, none of us do, but HE freely gives us HIS LOVE. I don’t know why it still shocks me sometimes…

My FATHER GOD, HE loves me! So much that HE speaks to me in a language that touches my soul. Through the obedience of a friend that HE gave me..even though we have never met in person. As she said, ” Jesus is KOOL like that.”

Right at the moment when I needed it most, my friend sent me this poem that she wrote…right then… For ME. She said that the words kept coming and she stopped what she was doing and had to type them out. She said that she knew that I had to see it right then. That’s obedience friends! That’s using her gift to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Here is her original work.. She’s a published author.. A talented poet:

To see the truth!!

Oh how some see it!
That look in your eyes!
That feeling of hurt!
That you try to disguise!

The smile you send!
To hide those tears!
The laughter you give!
To fight your fears!

Just be yourself!
For you are loved!
Your healing will come!
From Jesus above!

Despite feeling weak!
You are very strong!
Jesus will help you!
Find where you belong!

Your heart was broken!
Your life has been a mess!
Jesus is healing!
You are beautifully blessed!

Copyright 2013
Jeanie Burkett

Still completely blown away by how my Jesus cares. Time AND Time again. HE is SO GOOD!

My life is blessed. Even in the messy times. Even when times are tough. Aren’t we all a mess sometimes? My life IS blessed. Even on days that I feel weak, HIS SPIRIT IS STRONG IN ME. All of us have fears and All of us hurt at times.

 

Maybe this poem is for you, too. I have a feeling I’m not the only one that ever feels weak or smiles through the struggles, or has yuck days.

 

There IS HEALING in JESUS!

James 5:16 (NLT) ~ Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Amen!

 

God uses us… HIS children, to speak to others and to serve others with whatever spiritual gifts HE has gifted us with. It’s the Holy Spirit using our bodies and the talents that HE enables us with, to BLESS others and to in turn BRING HIM GLORY.

Romans 11:36 (NLT) ~ For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.

 

I pray that you don’t refuse the gifts that HE has given you. That’s saying NO to God. That’s refusing to let God love others through you. That’s robbing others of a blessing. I’ve been guilty of that as well. I’d bet that most of us have.

1 Peter 4:10 (NLT) ~ God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

 

My hope in sharing this with you is for you to reflect on times when God blessed you through the obedience of someone. Then, I hope you will remember how you felt and use your ears to listen for when God wants you to obediently serve someone else with your gift.

Blessings to YOU!

 

Humbly HIS,

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You Know It’s Time

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Walking closely with Jesus, listening for his voice, and then knowing that you’ve just got to take that step and obey.

But…..

Is that MY voice I am hearing?

Is that HIS voice?

Is it because I. Am. Tired. ?

Is it because It. Is. Right. ?

How do you know what to do…where to go..which answer is right?

Walking closely with God. Training your ears to listen…your eyes to see…your spirit to feel.

That’s part of it…. And, praying…praying…praying.

Your heart feels when it’s right.

You have a nervous feeling in your stomach maybe.

You take that step. You obey.

Because…. the alternative is disobedience. Obedience leads to life. Disobedience leads to death.

Romans 6:16 (NLT) ~ Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.

Because bringing glory to GOD is what we are CALLED TO DO.

In every little thing. BRING HIM GLORY. It all matters. It’s ALL that matters.

YOU JUST KNOW IT’S TIME.

Time to move forward. Growth isn’t an OPTION when you are truly FOLLOWING GOD. Standing still and following are two entirely different things.

You can’t stay a seed forever. You’ll rot if you do. Seeds that aren’t watered obviously don’t grow. The seed has to grow. That is the NEXT STEP.

Growth is not optional in the TRUE CHRISTIAN’S life. 

SO.… even when it seems scary. And it probably will.  Even when we aren’t quite sure of the next step. Other than the fact that we MUST MOVE FORWARD… Then we just obey. We keep growing. We keep glorifying the ONE who is causing the growth in us. We help others to grow. We just obey.

Maybe you have been wondering if it was your voice or God’s voice that was talking. I’ve found that God is so awesome in that HE often repeats HIS message to me in different ways. Through messages, texts, songs, emails, signs…etc.  He uses HIS obedient children to give us messages sometimes.

Sometimes. We are TOO loud to hear HIM. Sometimes, we are TOO busy. Sometimes others are TOO loud around us. Those are all called DISTRACTIONS. We have to be intentional about listening and creating times that we don’t have distractions.

AND, when YOU KNOW IT’S TIME... whether it be time to step out of your comfortable little spot, or time to dig even deeper in HIS Word, or time to take a huge leap of faith… may YOU JUST OBEY.

 

Look at Noah… 

Genesis 6:22 ~ So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.

 

People probably ..no, definitely… thought he was nuts. Building a HUGE ship with 3 decks and for what? They had never seen rain. All of the vegetation was watered from below the ground until the flood. Noah just obeyed. The rest of the story…the whole story can be found in Genesis 6-9…  Noah wasn’t perfect, but he did obey God and he did have faith. AND he was protected because of that faith and obedience.

Obedience to God always leads to blessings. That’s a fact.

             Until Next Time,

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HER TESTIMONY

No spirit of fear here!
No spirit of fear here!

Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do everything through HIM who gives me strength.

Isaiah 40:31 ~ but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Psalm 34:4 ~ I sought The Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

I have something really amazing to share with you today!

I have just returned from an awesome weekend retreat with 60 something women. We feasted on HIS Word and lives were changed! I am so blessed by new friendships made and old friendships being strengthened. GOD is GOOD!

The story that I am sharing today, is not my own. I asked this sweet woman if she would allow me to share it. Why? Because….I want you all to see that there is POWER in prayer and that FEAR has no hold on you when you fully trust God. THIS IS HER TESTIMONY..all glory to GOD. ALL GLORY TO GOD!!

Thank you, Tawanna, for allowing me to share your story…I love you and I am so very proud of you!

In her words:

The Bridge

Every year, our church holds a women’s retreat at Epwroth by the Sea on St. Simon’s island. The retreat has been a blessing to me and my family because every year, I leave something on the island, and bring home something new that I have learned about the goodness and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I look forward to this yearly ritual that we have come to have where we spend the weekend in fellowship and worship. We sang, we prayed, we danced, we laughed, we cried. Trying to put the weekend into words is a bit challenging but if I had to chose one word, I would chose the word blessed because that is how I feel every time I am on that island.

The one struggle that I have is crossing that bridge that connects the island to the actual town. The first year that we went, I was riding with 2 of my dearest friends. As we started to near the bridge I looked to my left and at first I didn’t know that it was an actual bridge. From a distance, it looked like a big building, I thought to myself and said out loud, “Hey guys, check out that bridge. The blue is so beautiful it almost looks like the color of the sky. As we got closer to the turn my friend in the back said, “That’s not a building it’s a bridge.” As I burst into laughter, I told my friends that I was so glad that we wouldn’t be going over that contraption. I then started to laugh and make comments about the courageous people that went over it daily and I started to thank God that we were not amongst them. The more I talked the more my friends became quiet. They had no idea that I had a fear of bridges, being over water, and certain high places. As I am talking and laughing and talking and laughing, I realized that the turn that I was making towards the left, led me right towards that bridge. Well I started to yell and scream and panic. I started to drive in the middle two lanes, so the people behind me and the people that were trying to come down on the opposite lane, had to merge into one lane. As they honked their horns and yelled at me, and some made obscene gestures and said obscene things, I panicked even more started yelling back and telling everyone that I am on a retreat and that they cannot yell at me. You see I was like Peter in Matthew 14:29. We were all doing fine as we were driving and God was leading us, but I took my eyes off Jesus and started to let fear abide in me. This caused me to panic and to start driving in the middle of the bridge.

On the very last day of the retreat, our beautiful pastor’s wife Lanelle Rogers, asked that the ladies of the retreat pray for and with me, that I may conquer my fear and successfully cross that bridge. I crossed it, but I wasn’t trusting God. I allowed my friend to drive while I sat in the backseat sobbing with a huge sweater wrapped around my head. I placed the garment over my head as soon as we left Epworth by the Sea and did not take it off until I was told that we were well across the bridge. I didn’t want to see what was going. That weekend I had learned so much and was filled with so much love for Christ but I still was not trusting in him.

This year I was blessed to go back. I was so excited that I was able to attend. I asked my girlfriend and fellow sister in Christ Kim Wade to drive as I started to speak fear into my life. I told her that I just knew that I wouldn’t not make it on my own and made her drive. We had agreed that I would sleep the entire way there, and I had gotten up at 2am that morning so that I would be tired and would want to sleep. Kim and I have not seen each other in months so we did what ladies do best. We talked, and talked, and talked. Before we knew it, my phone rang and it was the member of the church that we were following, Lisa Colburn. She called and said that we were approaching the bridge and that she wanted to warn me because she knows of my fears.

We were approximately 5 minutes away and I allowed fear to take over my body. As we crossed the bridge I pulled my shirt over my head and started to scream and holler. The more I hollered the more I panicked. I started to hyperventilate and then before I knew it I was unable to breathe. In the midst of me trying to catch my breath, I became nausea. I closed my eyes, open the car door (not knowing that we were going 55 mph) and started to vomit until my stomach was empty.

I then spent the first night of the retreat staying up until 2am trying to find alternate routes off of the island so that I could avoid the bridge on the way home. While staying up I missed the fellowship that was going on downstairs right beneath me and later discovered that there was only one way off of the island, and it was over that bridge.

This weekend we learned how to abide in God and to allow Him to abide in us. I really paid close attention to the messages that were brought, the testimonies that were shared and on the last morning, once again, my sisters in Christ wrapped their hands around me, surrounded me and prayed on me and for me. Prior to leaving God sent an angel in the form of Heather Dawkins. As she hugged me she prayed for me and that I would not only make it over the bridge, but that I would open my eyes and look at the beauty that God has created all around me. As she prayed, I thought to myself, “how could I be afraid of God’s beauty?” It was then that I started to think about the bridge and what it represented. That bridge and my fear of it, represented the chains that had me in bondage. I then wrote down things that had me in bondage on several slips of paper and folded them into little pieces. As my friend and I crossed the bridge, I cracked the window. Although nervous in the beginning, I started to quote the scripture 2 Timothy 1:7, for God did not give us the spirit of fear. And I just kept reciting that scripture as I threw the slips of paper out of the window. When I looked at both sides of the bridge, I became humbled by the beauty that surrounded me, and how awesome God’s works are. That bridge no longer represents my fears, but the relationship that I have with Christ as his daughter. I am set free, no longer bound, no more chains holding me.

2 Timothy 1:7: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

WOW!!! Isn’t GOD good!!!!???!!!! So many people were praying for Tawanna…and they never ceased to pray and care… The BODY of Christ lifted her up…and allowed God to use them in her life. Please feel free to comment on this post and tell Tawanna what you thought of her awesome testimony…and share it with others..so that GOD can receive the glory that HE so deserves. 🙂

Until Next Time,

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November 29th ~ Thankful Thursdays

When do we normally give thanks? Not just praying..but when do we normally say Thank You or I’m thankful for… ?

Think about it for a second.

It is usually AFTER a blessing. Right?

After we’ve had an answered prayer.

After we’ve seen a beautiful sunset.

After.

What if we gave thanks to our Father before the blessing?

Jesus did.

Look at these two different passages of scripture and then tell me what you notice… They are lengthy..but PLEASE read them..

 

John 6:9-13 (NIV) ~ “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

There were ONLY five loaves and two small fish. There were about five thousand men. Jesus GAVE THANKS and then….fed all who were there and still had food left over!

John 11:38-44 (NIV) ~ Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

WOW! Can you just imagine this!!! Oh how awesome it would have been to have witnessed this first hand. I sit here now just imagining his voice..LOUDLY saying: “Lazarus, come out!” And then..to see the looks on their faces when lo and behold Lazarus came strutting out! Well, maybe he didn’t strut..I bet he was amazed and awestruck. Woah! Blows my mind.

They took away the stone at Jesus’ command and before Jesus even commanded Lazarus to come out, Jesus thanked God out loud for hearing him. BEFORE…not after the blessing..the miracle.

So..after reading and studying these passages, I am really reminded that we are supposed to give thanks BEFORE the blessing or miracle. That requires faith.

 

My gratitude list for this week’s post:

 

1) I am so thankful and blown away at how my God provides..He is so good to us!

2) I am thankful for photography..I’m thankful for those who allow me the privilege to photograph their families..and capturing those special moments..

3) I am thankful for being able to see and hear and taste…Being able to see the beauty around me..and even seeing the loneliness so that I can reach out. being able to hear the voices and laughter and music. Being able to taste good food. 🙂

4) I am thankful that my GOD will provide all of my needs.

 

Share with me…What 3 things are YOU thankful for this week …that have already happened? Then..what ONE thing are you thankful for that you are having faith that will happen?

 

Psalm 100:4 ~ Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

 

              Until Next Time,