Bitter or Better

Bitter or Better

•Moment of transparency•

There are many areas in life that I could apply this verse to. Many areas where I need to apply this verse. Here is what I’ve learned and finding this verse is a result of looking for an answer in His Word.

In life there are seasons and not just seasons of people. There are people that come and go and seasons that are high and low. There are people who stay. There are those who hurt us and who we hurt. Some accidentally, some on purpose. You learn that you can only fix you and you can only change your heart.

There are those who are like sandpaper and those who we mesh with. But we don’t get to choose who we should be kind hearted to… even when they hurt us. Then there are those who are oblivious to the fact that they pour salt in our wounds over and over. But we can’t live in a bitter state and rise above at the same time.

Bitter or Better. I remember Granny Shiver saying: “You can let it make you bitter or better.” when sharing about life issues. It’s always stuck with me. In the back of my mind. And praise God that His Word is always available to me. When I want to wallow and try to figure out why… I can just turn to the Word and find “why not” or why to not wallow in my feelings. Sometimes it takes longer than others. Sometimes it’s my last resort instead of first instinct. That’s real life.

There’s more to this thought of mine that I’ll be sharing here on my blog. Until then, maybe you needed this reminder, too.

People will let us down, but God NEVER will. Grace. He gives it to us abundantly.

The seasons and people in our life can grow us, if we choose to let them make us better and not bitter. I’m working on becoming better. It’s only possible with God.

Seeking Him,

Without JESUS

I’ve found that with grief comes moodiness. Some days I’m more irritable than others. Some parts of the day I’m “ok” and at other moments I’m not.

Not many people see those sides of my grief. Or if they do, I don’t even realize it.

Truth is, I don’t know when the low moments will occur. Anything can trigger them. They may last 5 minutes. They may last 5 hours.

I’m learning that it’s part of the process. Riding the waves of grief. Learning to swim in it. Getting better at holding my head above the waters so that I don’t drown in it.

If I drown in it then I’m not shining Jesus like I should.

As the saying goes: “My lifeguard walks on water.”

I’m so thankful for this TRUTH.

Without JESUS I’d surely drown in grief.

I don’t share these truths for pity. I share them so you’ll know that you are not alone. Everyone will experience their own losses.

We are all appointed once to die. Eternal life is a gift promised to all who believe and call upon The Lord to be saved.

Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. (John 6:47 NIV)

That’s where my hope rests.
That’s where my source of peace is found.
JESUS.

Without JESUS I’d have no hope.
Without JESUS I’d have no peace.

Grief is real. You never “get over” the loss of those you were closest to. You just don’t. Nor should you. They are a part of you. You just learn to swim in the ocean of grief. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes the water is choppy. You just learn to navigate through and soon it becomes your new normal.

With JESUS it is possible to smile through the tears and shine through the rain.

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:8, 9 NIV)

Believe me. It’s true. But only WITH JESUS.

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

Striving to SHINE,

Heather

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Some Days are Hard

SHORT and SWEET SIMPLE TRUTHS

 

Some days ARE harder than others. Harder to choose joy. Harder to be patient. Harder to believe that things will get better.

ROMANS 12:12 ~ Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

I don’t know about you, but on those days, I’m even more heaven ready.

That’s where the “joyful in hope” comes in.

There is a peace that comes with knowing that this earth is not my permanent dwelling place. That HEAVEN is my permanent home and that is only because I know my Jesus and my Jesus knows me.

Do you have that assurance? That joy that only comes through knowing Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord.

Here’s the thing… What separates the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls… How well we shine Jesus when the days are hard.

What makes us think that we are so special? What makes us think that we should be exempt from the HARD DAYS? Jesus wasn’t.

The term “CHRISTIAN” means little Christs.. Like Christ.

Let me ask you this…

Did Jesus suffer?

Did Jesus have some HARD DAYS?

You better believe HE DID.

Way more than any of us. And.. Here’s the kicker, HE SUFFERED ON PURPOSE and FOR A PURPOSE.

Isaiah 53 tells us of the suffering and the glory of Jesus. Please take a moment and read the whole chapter..it’s only 12 verses.

Isaiah 53:3 ~ He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah 53:5 ~ But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

 

So… When Some Days are Hard... I’m going to remind myself that any of my seemingly tough times don’t even compare to what Jesus willingly suffered for me.

 

Until Next Time,

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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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My Safe Refuge

My Safe Refuge

Nahum 1:7 (NIV) ~ The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.

This past week has been one of those weeks that made me thankful & tired all at the same. If ya know what I mean…

We all have times of trouble. Times when we need rest. Nobody is exempt.

That’s what you call… LIFE.

But… As believers in Christ.. Authentic Followers of Christ, We have a SAFE REFUGE. The LORD.

Who do you run to when you are weary? Where do you find rest?

True rest. True peace. True comfort…
Is only found in HIM.

I keep thinking of these lyrics from Hillsong.. I Will Exalt You

My hiding place My safe refuge
My treasure Lord You are
My friend and King Anointed One
Most Holy

That’s. Who. HE. Is.

Psalm 32:7 (NLT) ~ For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory.

Beautiful promises.

We only have to let go of our grip.. Our control.. And just rest. In Him.

Are you tired? Are you in pain of any kind? Are you just looking for a place to rest?

Maybe you’ve had a long week. A week of sickness or disappointments. Perhaps you are just plain worn out.

God knew that you would experience every single one of these emotions.

While we are commanded to do everything without grumbling or complaining.. We aren’t commanded to be without feelings.

He knew. He provided.. The Refuge. The Hiding Place.. It’s HIM.

I hope you will find your hiding place.. In Him.

Until Next Time,

Heather

Even When I Don’t Feel Like It

    Psalm 139:1-4 (ESV)

1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

you discern my thoughts from afar.

3 You search out my path and my lying down and are

acquainted with all my ways.

4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord,

you know it altogether.

   Isn’t that a beautiful passage of scripture… GOD already knows. HE knows my feelings. HE knows my fears. He knows when I don’t feel like doing something.

   I’ll be honest with ya! There are days that I JUST DON’T FEEL LIKE IT. I get weary. I get tired. I get to throwing myself a little pity party…

   Sound familiar?

   Be honest…Be real…

   There are those times, when I wonder why I am even writing, teaching, etc. I feel so unworthy. I AM unworthy. Then..HE shows me again that HE is the reason. He reminds me that HE doesn’t call the equipped…NO, HE equips the called.

   Did you notice in the few sentences above that there were a lot of “I” statements?

   Here’s what happened this morning:

   I sat down at my kitchen table to have my quiet time with God. I was tired. My mind was filled with so many distractions and things that I was concerned about. From questions about what I should be doing with my life to thoughts about my kids starting back to school. I just felt very compelled to be real with God. Before I even opened my Bible, I just talked to God.

   I told HIM…as if HE didn’t already know…(see Psalm 139:1-4 above). I told HIM what was on my mind.

   You know what? It felt GOOD to be honest with HIM.

   He already knows. He appreciates our honesty. More so than that, HE loves for us to admit that we can’t do it alone.

   See, true faith begins with humility. True obedience begins with surrender.

   There are going to be times when you won’t “feel” like being obedient. There will also be times when you will feel like you aren’t making a difference. Those are the times when you have to take YOU out of the equation and totally put the focus on God.

   There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with telling God that you are tired. There is nothing wrong with being completely honest with your Father. He prefers honesty anyways.

   We can’t fool HIM.

   We CAN trust HIM to lead, guide and direct us.

   If I am focused on how I feel…then I am NOT focused on obedience to GOD. Pray for the desire to be obedient. I DO. By the way, did you notice that my word popped up again? Here is the link to the post on Obedience that I posted earlier…if you don’t know what I am talking about.

   It boils down to this. This life is NOT ABOUT ME. Tired, weary, confused…those are all “ME” feelings. If I am focused on “ME” then I am not focused on all of the blessings and all of the ways that I can be a blessing to others because of God working through me.

    THINGS TO PONDER:

   Are you being real with God?

   Sometimes I am…and sometimes I forget that HE knows my true feelings.

   Do you ever feel weary even though you are actively serving God and others?

   I do. When I take my focus off of HIM…and begin thinking of how I feel…When I am being selfish.

   Do you realize that GOD knows your thoughts..your heart..the words that are going to slip off of your tongue?

   I realize that..but, sometimes I don’t grasp this truth completely.

   Does the fact that God already knows your thoughts, etc.. scare you? Does it make you want to apologize to HIM?

   It is definitely a humbling thought. It definitely makes ME want to be very careful and thoughtful and to please HIM completely!

   I pray that on the days when YOU just don’t feel like doing something that HE has asked you to do, that you will take a step back and be real with God. Take a breath. Pray. Be honest with God. He understands and HE can and will change your heart! You just have to let Him. Like I did…

   “If God sends us on stony paths, he provides strong shoes.” ~ Corrie ten Boom

   Blessings to you all…

   UNTIL NEXT TIME,

  

When You Are Weary, Don’t Look Past HIM

  I wonder if any of you have ever felt like you were just beating your head against a brick wall? Or maybe have you ever just wondered why…why..why? Maybe even wondered if you were the “person” for the task at hand? Like, “God, I don’t want to do this and I am tired of this same problem!”

   Bear with me just a minute as I let some questions fly…  Do you find yourself in a state of fear about a situation that just isn’t going well in your opinion ? How about this..ever just want to say to God, “Please God..could you just go ahead and show me why this thorn is still there?”

   I am going to be transparent with you right here and now. I have asked every single one of those questions and I have felt the pain and the fear that accompanies them. I have cried out (aloud) to God..saying “I just don’t understand, I am weary, I am tired, could you just take this “thorn” away!!” You are not alone. I am not alone.

   2 Corinthians 12:8 ESV ~ Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

   Even as I cried out, I felt The Holy Spirit saying to me..“Because there is a lesson in it. Trust Me. Everyone has their own thorn. “ Now, I am NOT going to lie to ya! I don’t like that answer..I don’t. See, like you probably, I want what I want. And what I want is for life to be easy. I am being real here. I am so thankful that I do hear and feel that immediate “no, no, no..trust me Heather..I will never let you down..it’s gonna be all good..just trust me” that comes from my Jesus. He keeps me straight and I am so grateful that I am His!

   Psalm 142:3(a) ESV ~ When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way.

   Allow me to share with you, a portion of Pastor Judah Smith’s message from last week at Catalyst. Judah is Lead Pastor of The City Church in Seattle, Washington. He is an author as well. Well, Pastor Judah asked a few questions also. Let me just share them with you..and as you read them, truly think about them.   Since when is Jesus not enough? Do I realize what I have in God? Since when did we have to supplement our Savior? Something else Judah Smith said was, “There’s no secret, Jesus is freely and willingly available to everyone!”

   You are probably wondering what in the world do these questions have to do with what Heather shared??

   It is simple. Those thorns, problems, reoccurring issues, difficult people, hurts, weaknesses. Those fears, and the weariness and just “banging your head against a wall” feelings. Jesus, Savior, Father God, IS ENOUGH.

   He tells us…MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU

   2 Corinthians 12:9(a) ESV ~ But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

   Since when is He not enough?

     We look past Him sometimes…all wrapped up in our pity parties..or woe is me attitudes.. When we simply need to just Come To Jesus. Lay our burdens at His feet. Trust in Him and Him alone. Realize that we are nothing apart from Him. Quit asking why and for the “thorns” to be removed and just Let God Be God! Quit trying to supplement Him with other people…and worship Him alone. His grace is sufficient..and He alone is worthy to be praised. Look to God alone when facing difficulty and Let Him Be Who He Is. And last but not least, quit expecting other people to fill a void that only God was meant to fill!

   Psalm 16:5 ESV ~ Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.

   Amen…I love to study the Psalms..King David was real and he struggled just as we do today. He knew that the Lord ..alone.. was all he needed.

   My hope for whoever reads this is to realize that you are not alone. Not just because you aren’t the only one who has these feelings..but BECAUSE Jesus IS enough. Don’t look past Him.

   Until Next Time,