Dwelling Place

“The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwelling places, and in quiet resting places.” (Is 32:17-18)

I feel quiet right now, not unsettled, just quiet. As if I am waiting for something to unfold right before me, so I wait. I rest in the God who wants me to dwell in secure places, safely tucked away in the center of Gods will.

Our dwelling place is insecure and empty when we base our worth and our value on the ones around us. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, not a waste basket filled to overflowing with the trash, the wasted words that tried to define you…the petty persons jealousy of you or the one you love desperately that doesn’t get you.

Our dwelling place needs to be free from voices and opinions that do not reflect the heart of God towards us. A secure dwelling place cannot contain all of the beauty of God and remnants of trash from a life of dumpster diving.

His dwelling place is lovely-

Giving us beauty for ashes

Joy instead of mourning

Dressing us up in praise,

Instead of a heaviness of spirit

Isaiah 61 tells us that we will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

Oh, how deep our roots must go in Christ to find the nourishment of soul to grow big and strong. I want to be the display of His splendor. I want to dwell in peaceful places with the full assurance that God is the one who holds my hand. I don’t want to be like the wind. I want to be planted, grounded in Christ.

If you feel like you are standing on shaky ground right now, I encourage you to wrap yourself up in these words. With God we trade up every time…beauty for ashes. Joy instead of mourning. Praise instead of heaviness.

Spend some time at His feet!

“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty!” (Ps 84:1)

Wilderness Places and Lack

We all have our wilderness places carved out by time and heartache that remind us that we are lacking. Most of us are completely oblivious to what we are truly lacking, yet we feel it gnawing at us. That empty place that we assumed we could fill up with things that could never truly satisfy. Everywhere we turn we are painfully aware that we don’t belong here in a place called Lacking.

Lacking: missing, absent, not there, wanting, deficient.

The wilderness place reveals what is tucked away deep inside, it spills to the surface in the form of salty tears. Going around in circles with spinning memories that we have been here before in the land of “there has to be more.” We are not the only ones who wander. In Deuteronomy 8 God wanted to remind his people how He led the Israelites for forty years in the desert.

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna…to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (v. 3)

I don’t want to wander around in circles when I know that God wants to lead me to better places, a place in Christ where I lack nothing because I know exactly who sustains me.

“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land- a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills, a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing…” (v. 7-9)

After years of feeding on the same thing, God was listing off things that would prove that there would be no shortage. No lack. Springs flowing. Nothing but promise, yet He wanted His people to remember Him, to serve Him wholly.

We serve a God who longs to lavish blessings upon us taking us past our unpleasant dwelling place of lacking to a place of fullness.

Fullness: filled to capacity, with much or many, greatest in extent, with nothing missing.

“Oh fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. Young lions lack and suffer hunger. But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” (Ps 34:9-10)

If you find yourself in a wilderness place called “lacking” today, I want you to know that God longs to lead you out. Look up, cry out, and seek the face of God. It’s time to stop walking around in circles; it’s time to start gaining ground. We were not meant to live a defeated life when God has already paid the price for our victory! There is no lack to those who seek Him. What is God trying to teach you in this wilderness place?

We are praying for you!

Show Me Where It Hurts

The other night I had a dream. I can’t remember where we were, but it was my dreamer-friend, Keri and I. She was looking at me and I was showing her my scars. Battle wounds that I would have covered up years ago, one on my arm, the one below my jaw line that I call my manmade dimple.  Some scars she could see as I traced the place where the wound used to be. Some blended in so well as time had changed them, making them smaller and almost invisible. But, I still knew where they were, the roadmap of my life, my hills and valleys.

I woke up and went on with my day, but from time to time I would think about those “scars” and how we tend to hide our hurts from those around us. We don’t want to display them, we would much rather conceal them for fear that our fractures and flaws will be all that people notice.

You see; I used to be a broken girl from a broken home trying to figure out why on earth God was calling me, of all people, to work for Him. God has taken my life, my tears, and given me a voice. With trembling hands and bruised knees, I ran to Jesus time after time and this is what He says:

“Show me where it hurts.”

With a gentle kiss and heavenly Band-Aids.

With a skillful surgeons hand, wheeling me into recovery.

With a loving rebuke and needed time-out when my wounds were self-inflicted, He has been my Invisible Abba.

Jesus Christ came for the sick, He is not a crutch for the weak, He is the ultimate hospital. You don’t have to clean up to come to Jesus or hide your hurts so that the one sitting next to you will not see it.

Like a loving father, Jesus is waiting for you, ready to replace the brokenness with beauty saying, “Show me where it hurts.”

No More Chains

The word of God is not chained…Paul penned these words in 2 Timothy 2:9 while he suffered for Christ, wrapped up in chains and in the midst of persecution his words spilled out to Timothy, his beloved son. His words spill out for you and me…the word of God is not chained. It works. It is our lifeline when we wrestle with things we cannot see in the natural. As we war and feel wrapped up in our own invisible chains, Paul offers us hope.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.” (2 Tim 1:7)

The word of God is not chained by fear or our circumstances. No, it’s powerful and active and alive! We don’t have to fear our invisible chains, because we have a God who makes those chains look like a rubber bands. It’s nothing to Him. He is bigger than the things you are facing right now.

Paul instructs young Timothy of a promise of power and love and sound mind instead of fear. He also tells him to “hold fast to a pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim 1:13)

The enemy of our soul wants to rob us from a sound mind and replace our sound words with lies. If we are going to win this battlefield of the mind we have to fight with the word of God and trust in it to work and show us the victory.

For weeks now I have felt like I lost my words and had nothing to say. That’s a scary place to be for a writer who longs to reach out with my words. My source of strength has been the word of God, I have dug deep in His word to wash my mind with His promises and I have found Him faithful…day after day. He is life to me and He wants us to live an unchained life free with our hands lifted high in praise!

He is a God who fights our battles!

His word is not chained and we don’t have to remain in our chains, wrapped up, weak, and heavy with burden.

Ladies,

It’s time to take back our rightful place as daughters, clothed with dignity and strength! Walking in power and love and with sound minds. His word is not chained. This trial that you are facing right now will pass and you will be left standing in a strength that only God can grant you!

I am praying for you!

Much love,

Jennifer

Confession

“I need to tell you something”

Words I’ve heard a thousand times.

Confession.

Is there anything scarier than confessing? Yet something inside us compels the lips to give voice to the heart’s secrets. There is a deep knowing that all that hides in darkness must be brought to the light.

It takes different forms, confession. In my many years of youth ministry the conversation usually begins with a teenager telling me that what they are about to disclose will shock me. Sadly, after more than 15 years of youth ministry not much shocks me anymore. Still often times their confession is stated brashly, with as much shock value as they can throw in. A false bravado to hide the terror in their hearts.

Other times with those of us older, wiser, more seasoned, the words come in stops and starts. Between long pauses and silent tears. Eyes downcast, hands wrung we whisper out the admission of our guilt.

Earlier today I read a profound question posed in another blog that keeps rolling around in my mind. The question:

Do you want relief? Or do you want to be healed?

Most of the time I think we want relief. We want the pain to cease. The guilt to go away. The fighting to stop. The bills to quit arriving in the mail. The memories to quit haunting us. We just want relief.

Healing on the other hand seems too difficult. It involves pain and pressing through. It requires us to sacrifice and seek. It demands confession and surrender.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other

so that you may be healed. James 5:16

 

I’m not quite sure why God ties our healing to confession, but He does. I think when we confess what was hidden in darkness it loses its power over us.

Knowing that doesn’t make confession any easier. I distinctly remember sitting in Jennifer’s car late one night after a women’s ministry meeting as I whispered secret struggles to her. My heart pounded in my chest as I wondered if this new friend would offer condemnation or grace. Thankfully she not only extended grace and love to me, she went one step further. She offered confessions of her own. “Confess your sins to each other”. That night Jennifer didn’t leave me to drown in a sea of guilt. She offered me a life preserver, her own sin. Her own failures.

There in that raging sea confession became a lifeline that started these two broken girls on their journey to healing. No longer alone in our struggle we found a life raft, climbed in, and starting paddling for shore.

Girls, this journey is hard. Sin and temptation sit around every corner ready to pounce on us. None of us live outside of the grasp of temptation. God’s word tells us that ALL have sinned. Why then are we so fearful to give voice to the sin in our hearts?

We so desperately need each other. To confess to. To encourage each other. To give us a swift kick in the pants when we need it. This thing was never meant to be lived alone!!!

Do you want relief? Or to you want to be healed?

Because healing will require confession.

It’s scary stuff. But so worth it.

 

Praying that God will surround you with safe people who will jump in your lifeboat and help you paddle through your storm!

Love you~

Keri