I ran to the store to buy a case of water. I was in aisle 2B when Jesus walked up to me. He began to share with me everything I had ever done, thought, felt and said. Things that only my secrets knew–He made known in laser detail. Then, there in the aisle, Jesus made an offer to join me in the journey for the rest of my life. I can’t explain why, but saying “no” was nowhere to be found. I emphatically and excitedly said, “YES!” I felt this warm, oceanic wave move through my body, from head to toe. As if years of dirt and stain succumbed to its cleansing salt-waters. I was so excited about this NEW me, I blurted, “can I get a selfie?!” Jesus obliged. Still excited, without saying bye and without my water, I took off. When I got home, I told everyone at our house about Jesus. I grabbed my phone and tweeted, Facebook’ed, and Instagrammed our selfie and convo. The next day, I wasn’t done! I told my trainer at the gym, my barista at the smoothie place, and my nail tech at the salon. Sound familiar? It should because it’s what happened in John 4. And when you read it, you learn Jesus didn’t tell her to go tell everybody. SHE WANTED TO! This begs the question: am I occasionally and casually sharing my faith with a few? Or emphatically and passionately finding every possible way to share Him with everyone? Lord, infuse me with excitement. Let me leave proverbial water behind to run and tell as many as I can about the best Living Water of All Time!
I think the cliché, “green with envy” should be “black with envy.” The bible says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30) If something rots, it’s not green, it’s black! Now, jealousy is an attitude toward another person. Ugh. But envy is an attitude toward another person’s success. Double UGH! We find humanity’s first envy in the first book of the Bible, when Cain was envious of his brother. Consequently, it led to humanity’s first homicide, when Cain killed his brother. Envy untreated can rot, which untreated, can cause death. To this day, we are still writing envy’s history–-giving Dateline unlimited material for new episodes! We need to intelligently recognize a fact: our biggest enemy Satan (a fallen angel) fell because of envy. (Isaiah 14). So envy will be one of his tactics to get US to fall. Envy is always around my corner, because as I strive for my best, there’s someone else doing better. This presents a choice: be happy for them or be envious of them. Full disclosure, I have a couple envy-skeletons in my closet that ashamedly led to the death of a couple friendships. So this post is dedicated to the one I hate, “little-envy-human-Heather,” but also dedicated to the one I love, “King Jesus in Heather who can conquer it!” Here are 3 things I do when I sense the ratchet stank of Satan’s envy-ploy: 1) Confess my envy to Jesus, and ask him to forgive me. Sometimes, this is a daily thing. But His grace is enough! 2) Pray for the one I’m envious of! Praying for the one I’m envious of is like Raid (God’s love) to a cockroach (Satan’s envy)…it knocks it dead. 3) Find ways to compliment or encourage the one I’m envious of. Actually “like” their social media post, tell them “you did great job,” or say, “Hey I prayed for you today.” I can hear someone now, “But Heather, that’s fake!” But is it? God looks at the heart. If your heart is resolved to rid itself of envy, it’s not fake, it’s genuinely trying. I have experienced that applying these 3 things today— leads to small victories, tomorrow. And like Proverbs 14:30 says, you give life to your bones and peace to your heart. YOU are the winner when envy loses!
“But God, who comforts the downcast (the depressed [TPT], the discouraged [TLB]), comforted us by the coming of Titus, also by the comfort you had given him.” (2 Cor. 7:6-7 NIV) These 3 translations provide 3 synonyms for “being down,” and this verse is a triple-dose remedy! #1, Paul (penning for God) said God comforts the downcast. If we look at God, from Genesis to now, “comfort” is a constant, continual characteristic of Him. Which syncs up with Him being God, i.e., never-changing. He was—who He is—who He will be: a comforter. You don’t need to buy, bribe, bargain, beg or borrow it “gently used.” If you have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, you have His comfort! #2, Paul pens that God used someone to be His comfort-courier, a guy named Titus. I once heard, “sometimes we just need God-with-skin-on.” I would say when we’re down, that’s one of those times. God-with-skin-on can lift up, hold up, wipe tears, walk beside, pray with. Paul and his guys were down–so God sent Titus who had “skin” to do those things. Now the last layer of this triple-stack got me on my feet! #3, God didn’t just send Titus to comfort. As I let my imagination wander, I got to thinking: what if Titus got down on his way?! What if his camel broke down? He got the flu? He got robbed? Who knows what could have happened on his comfort courier-route. The end of this verse says “by the comfort you had given him.” God made sure that when Titus arrived to comfort these guys, Titus was filled up with enough comfort to go around. Ah!! All the feels!! This verse speaks to two of us: those who need comfort and those who are sent to comfort. I hope you identify which one you are; and leave this post knowing whichever one, God’s got it.
One of the fights that can ensue on the battlefields of our minds are dark thoughts that enter and look for a place to stay. I don’t want to expound on what these thoughts are for us, lest I give them power. But they’re dark; and they have no right to our minds. I found a powerful counterattack in the bible for this: Romans 8:6, “but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” If you have Jesus in your heart, you have his LIFE and PEACE in your mind. His life and peace outweigh, outlive, outlast, overrule AND overcome the dark thoughts trying to stay there. Don’t be a wimp with dark thoughts. Don’t just roll over and settle for them. They don’t own you, and can’t take you. Jesus and you are bigger and more powerful than your thoughts. If you suffer from any degree of this, take your thoughts captive and SHRINK them to what they really are: cowardly attempts to attack turf that Jesus has already won. If you are struggling with thoughts having too much control over your mind, email me, I’d love to pray for you, as I pray for myself. I hope this encourages someone today.
Being a waiter or waitress requires a lot of waiting: on tables, on customers to place orders, on indecisive customers to change orders, on the kitchen, on customers to pay, on change for a $50, on your manager, on a raise. Waitering is WAITING. You know who’s a good waiter? Jesus. Jesus waited to reveal Himself early on, saying, “my time has not yet come.” Jesus waited to heal a girl so He could heal a bleeding woman. While on a boat in a storm, Jesus waited to calm the storm. Jesus waited three years for Judas to betray him. Jesus waited on the cross for every Old Testament prophesy to happen before dying. Jesus waited three days in a tomb. Jesus is waiting for you to believe in Him. Jesus waited for me to come back to Him. Jesus is the ultimate waiter, who said, “I’m being patient to return to judge the world, because I want every soul to be in heaven for eternity.” (2 Peter 3) Jesus will come back. Tho the bible doesn’t say when, it does say He is waiting. So while Jesus is in Heaven waiting to return to Earth, why does He have us wait on Earth before gettin to Heaven? I did some research (so I take no credit for this) and found 3 reasons: 1) The Bible says we are made in the image of Christ. When we wait, we produce patience—growing more like Christ (less like the world). 2) The way you wait can make or break someone’s thoughts about your God. People will watch when you wait for a child, cure, job, relationship, recovery. If they see your patience (ie, refusal to quit) they will desire what you have. 3) I’ve heard it said, “don’t pray for patience, you won’t like God’s answer,” but I think that’s dumb. If I don’t pray for patience I settle for impatience—a sin that causes ulcers, headaches, circumstantial and relational hardship. I guess as it pertains to waiting, I’m praying: “Lord, You are the Waiter to me, from my here to eternity. Since You’re in my heart, help my belief that I have everything I need to be your waitress on Earth.”
There are questions I want answers to. These questions are pressing in on the walls of my brain as if the questions are the vice, and my brain is in between. Left to themselves, these unanswered questions can leave me restless during the day, and sleepless at night. “Why did she…?” “Why did he…?” “Why did it…?” I’ll confess I’ve spent too much time letting them “replay” in my head. If it’s possible to get cited for prayers with too many questions, I’d be the Queen of Citations. But I found two things in the Bible that gave me a new hope! The first is Romans 12:2, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” God has given us the ability to change by “resetting” our thoughts. If there is something that is on replay in my head, and it’s distracting, depressing or deviating me from God as my focus, it needs to be reset. And I (and you) can do that with God. The second one is actually sprinkled throughout the bible. Some of the most honorable people in the bible asked questions to God (!!)—and didn’t get answers. Moses, David, Elijah, Job and Jesus himself (all holier than I; and had it tougher than I) asked questions and didn’t get answers. Yet they fulfilled God’s purposes on Earth and are in their glory in Heaven. When I am at a precipice with a questions, God’s love gives me a choice. I can make it my mission to find answers. Or I can also lift them up to God, let them go to God, and keep going. Knowing that whether or not they’re answered on this side of heaven—they’re safe in His hands. I hope this encourages someone today.
The French say “paix.” The Spanish say “paz.” The Dutch say “vrede.” The Norwegian say “fred.” The Pig Latins say “Eacepay.” And in a timeless, universal language, Jesus says, “I am leaving you a gift of peace,” (John 14:27) Jesus is the peace we need. When there was a violent storm, Jesus calmed it. When Jesus was being arrested, He brought order to the chaos. When Jesus’ ministry was upsetting the town, He left quietly. When there was a lesson on revenge, Jesus said turn the other cheek. And at the end of his timeshare on Earth, Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.” (John 16:33) He is the Prince of Peace. Jesus said His peace is a gift – He gave it to you when you gave him your heart. OPEN this gift, TAKE His peace out of the box, apply it when it hurts, activate it when your waiting, set it like an alarm when you can’t sleep, and take a bath in it when your future is uncertain! The amazing thing about His peace is you’ll run out of days before He runs out of peace. You can’t take too much. It’s abundantly, exceedingly, infinitely there for the taking…within you! Hey, wanna pray with me? (I’ll assume you said OK) Lord, thank you for Your peace! Forgive us for forgetting it is already ours! We ask that you would i.d. the missing pieces of peace in each of our lives. Please fill them in with your peace… to. the. overflow!! May the spill-over be for others around us, who need your peace, too. Your gift of peace is for everybody–we know You want nobody to be without it! You are the Peace to every missing piece. That’s why you are God and we are not! We love you, Lord. Yes, Prince of Peace, we surely do. Amen.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through my town, as the stockings went up, the sun came down. The trees were getting trimmed, the smell of pine near. It was Christmas now, was Thanksgiving even here? My kids sensed something fun in the air Yet I struggled with something that didn’t seem fair. In the midst of shopping, snow and fun, I wondered what it was like for a hurting kind of one. Ole’ St. Nick had a better view of my busy, boomin’ town. From the Pole, he saw every face I was around. He saw a single gal at Starbucks all alone. A child at our mall, avoiding his home. The moon was rising, night came on fast, But from the Pole, he could still see thru glass. “That family, in the gated home, you think has it all? “Not true. Thru their windows there is only a wall.” “The bagger at the store? Today with no reply?” “Not one person spoke to him, not even a sigh.” “And on the expressway with a line of cars” “Was a man in a tollbooth, a soul with a scar.” “And at the intersections of those major traffic lights? “They are homeless with hearts, not beggars of plight.” So may I offer a suggestion with this festive affair? Hoping my message conveys because I care. If there’s a thing inside, a holiday ache, Stop for a moment, cause it’s a nudge…take a break. My view’s the North Pole, but God’s view is MORE precise. Loving by what He sees, because He doesn’t have to think twice. This season, He implores, “Please help from where you are.” At Starbucks, the grocery store, when you’re in your car. Sure, at Christmas, as God, I could reach down & help nearby. But I’d like to partner with you, if you’d give it a try?” “Let’s slow down and make the season a journey. You’re made in my image, with love there’s no hurry. When in a store parking lot, take your cart to the man, Tell him thanks and go ahead, why not, smile, shake his hand. Dining at the Pancake house, ask your server for more–More about her life, and what her future has in store. I think you get the idea, tis the season, to have Christmas and to give without reason. But you know the last line; don’t forget this word, alright? It’s: Merry Christmas to ALL …because all deserve a good night.
My favorite Christmas song is “O Holy Night.” The one line gets me every time, “Fall on your knees, Oh hear the Angels’ voices.” Falling on your knees before God is not a comfortable posture. It isn’t attractive. It is awkward. We don’t see if often in our Americanized religious gatherings. And it displays to anyone watching: humility and desperation. In 2009-2010, I battled a strong bout of depression. My morning quiet time became unproductive because I didn’t know what to pray. The words just weren’t there. So I tried praying on my knees. At first, it was weird; but eventually, I found it the most comforting moment in my day. Sometimes, the sunrise would beam through the shutters in such a way that I could feel the beams on my back, as I was praying on my knees. Maybe God was using them to hug me! On some days, depression can render you horizontal in bed, as if there’s concrete blocks around your ankles. But I discovered that if I’d start the day praying on my knees, I was half way to standing up on the floor. This Christmas, if it’s hard to sing “Fa La La La La, La La La La” take a line from “O Holy Night” and try this. It may be a Christmas gift [from God] you weren’t expecting—turning a dismayed morning into a holy night! ❤️