Planted by the Water

Jeremiah 17:7-8. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.”

Let your roots reach out for the things of God! You can’t find fulfillment in this world — only in the Living Water!

“It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Faith and fear cannot exist together; you will be full of one, or full of the other. When your roots are drawing from the Stream of Life, there’s no way you can be full of anxiety or fear. God has provided for you, so that you WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. Heat and drought may come, but YOU WILL STAND.

Hold on to that!

He is solid.

Always.

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Published in: on November 27, 2012 at 12:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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No Makeup. No Fear.

Last night I walked into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. I was wearing athletic shorts, a too-big hoodie with the sleeves rolled up, a spiky messy bun, and not a bit of makeup on my face. And…I liked what I saw. For the first time in my life, I truly liked what I saw. Because I saw more than CoverGirl and Maybelline beauty; I saw my own. I didn’t see my design; I saw God’s design.

I didn’t like what I saw because my eyelashes looked long and thick, or because my skin looked smooth. I liked what I saw because there was confidence in those eyes, because the girl in the mirror was a girl who was comfortable with herself and who she is, who knows that she is unique, accepted, and loved.

A very different girl than the girl who left home two weeks ago.

There are so many little things that I don’t even consider worth writing about at the time, but they add up, and they’re changing me. Simple things like riding down the road standing in the back of a pickup, wind blowing my hair, hand on hip and aviators on face, chilling with friends and being awesome. Like the quiet moments when God opens up my eyes to something new in Scripture. Like knowing that I look ridiculous dancing, and dancing anyway. Like laughing till I cry. Like going to Sonic with a bunch of girls and just being girls. Like being around guys who treat girls right, like not wearing makeup and being okay with it. Like…knowing that I belong here.

Published in: on June 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Fire Fall Down

On Monday we did the climbing tower. I was fairly confident at first and started up fast, thinking, “Oh, I got this.” But halfway up I hit a point where I couldn’t find anywhere to balance. All the rocks around me were too small to stand on, and by that point I was starting to realize that I’m not nearly as strong as I thought I was. And I also learned that I’m really not good at admitting defeat. I couldn’t make it to the top, and it felt like a huge failure. It temporarily erased the confidence that I had built up over the last few days, and I felt like it cancelled out all my other accomplishments that I had been so proud of before. When I got back to the cabin to shower before dinner, I just sat down in the corner of the shower and cried. I was embarrassed that I couldn’t do it, and then I was embarrassed that I was embarrassed and was making such a huge deal out of it.

Mrs. Sharon (Mom) led a powerful devotional that night, and I felt like every word of it was spoken straight to me. She talked about how we try to self-generate the qualities that we think we need, but we can’t equip ourselves. She asked the group what are some things that we fear, and Mr. Fred answered, “Being unable to do things we think we should be able to do.” That had been so me at the climbing tower. I knew I should be able to climb to the top, and it made me so angry that I couldn’t. We talked about 2nd Corinthians 12:9-10, which I had written in my journal the night before I left for camp. “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

“The weaker the instrument,” Mom summarized, “the more clearly God’s grace shines through.”

Then we had a time of individual contemplative prayer in which Mom read/imagined us through letting go of whatever we were holding. By this point, I couldn’t hold in the tears anymore, and they dropped steadily onto my lap. She had us write down what it was we were giving to Christ. I’ll write that here, but I’ll also add how He responded to me:

I’m holding everything I need to prove. It’s a long list. It’s heavy. I’m tired of carrying it with me. He takes it from me and we begin to talk. He asks why I was so upset about not making it to the top of the climbing tower, and I answer that I want to be strong and self-sufficient. He takes it from me and responds, “But this way, I can be strong for you.”

We all went outside with our pieces of paper to where there was a fire waiting. One by one we crumpled them and threw them in the fire, and sat around the circle watching them burn. Caleb was playing his guitar and singing “Let Fire Fall.” After we repeated those words a few times, building up to the climax of the bridge, Caleb started playing louder and more intensely, and raised the song an octave from its soothing tempo into a passionate cry – and as soon as his voice rang out, there was a quick burst of flame as the fire sparked loudly. The timing was too perfect for coincidence. We all knew it was something else. And it was one of the most amazing, powerful things I have ever witnessed God do.

Published in: on June 2, 2012 at 10:33 am  Comments (1)  
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forgiven, not condemned.

“There is now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus!” One of the most beautiful verses of all time.

Reminds me of another one: “Beloved, since our hearts cannot condemn us, we have confidence before God.”

My misguided heart may tell me that I am condemned, but God in His great mercy through Christ has shown me truth that overcomes feelings. I am not condemned, because He has said I am not condemned.

And that’s all I need to know.

Published in: on January 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Confidence

“This is how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.”1st John 3:19-21.

Based on the context of the rest of the passage, I would venture to suggest a couple of word changes to make the language a little clearer (except I can’t take credit for this, because I’m pretty sure it’s stuck with me from a speaker I heard years ago. And yes, I did actually write this in my Bible with a permanent pen). In verse 21, cross out the word “if” and write “since” — and replace “do not” with “cannot.”  And throw in an exclamation mark for good measure. It should now read, “Dear friends, SINCE our hearts CANNOT condemn us, we have confidence before God!” Can’t you hear the triumph in that joyful declaration? There’s no guesswork in salvation! God is greater than our hearts — the truth overrides the self-deprecating lies that Satan plants in our hearts.  Jeremiah 17:9 warns, “The heart is deceitful in all things…who can understand it?” When we let our emotions dictate whether or not we feel secure, we throw away the promise of stability which God offers.

Confidence is the recurring theme throughout 1st John, which is perhaps why I love this book so much — reading it, I can’t help but feel empowered. “We can be confident and unashamed before Him.” “We know that we shall be like Him.” “We have confidence before God.” “We will have confidence on the day of judgment.” “There is no fear in love.” “I write so that you may know that you have eternal life.” “We know that He keeps us safe, and the evil one cannot harm us.”

Claim the promise! If you are in Christ, doubts are groundless and fear will only hold you back. Know that God is greater than your heart. Crush the uprising of doubt and let the truth have the final word!

Published in: on April 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm  Comments (2)  
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