Slaves to Sin to Slaves to Him

Are you aware that there are approximately 27-36 million slaves in the world today?  That is 27-36 million lives controlled and exploited every day.

Kidnapped.

Set up.

Raped.  Over and over again. All day, All night.

Beaten.

Threatened.

Killed.

My heart breaks for these slaves, victims, of such a horrendous injustice.

When I first learned about this injustice of human trafficking my heart kept breaking and praying for these victims but it was not until about a year ago that my heart started breaking and praying for the other slaves.

I wonder how many other slaves are in the world today.  These would be the lives that are slaves to sin.  The pimps the johns.  The lives that have let evil reign in their hearts and choose to violate and exploit innocent lives every day.  

The truth is, our battle is not against these slaves to sin (Ephesians 6:12).  Sometimes I am tempted to see these slaves to sin for what they do instead of seeing them for who God created them to be.  Their actions are inexcusable.  God will deal with them in His perfect way in His perfect time.  It is my job to love these lives just as God Himself loves these lives.  I have learned that when it seems impossible to love someone, you can love them by praying for them.

In 2015 I am challenging myself to not forget about these other slaves as I pray.  I challenge you as well to pray for these lives caught in the grasp of sin.  As God continues to set them free, it is my hope that one year there will be fewer and fewer slaves to sin and more slaves to Christ.  I will keep on praying until 27-36 million becomes ZERO.

DIVE redux

Last year, God laid the word DIVE on my heart.   I was so ready to dive into all God had for me in 2014.  Or so I thought.  In reality those words that came out of my mouth were ready but the words in my heart were not.  There were so many parts of my heart I was not ready to give up to God.  I wanted to hold onto worldly things because they brought me a false sense of comfort and happiness.  I thought I knew what was best or what should happen next in my life.  I prayed almost every day that God would do whatever He wanted in and through me, but it was all conditional.  How could I ever dive into what God has for me when I was weighed down by all of this yuck in my heart?

As I sit here and look back at the past year I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for the work God did in my heart the very last month of 2014.  It was not easy or fun, but I realized there were so many little walls forming in my heart around the “things” I simply did not want Him to control.  After this realization I cried out to God.  I let down these walls and let God’s grace wash through.  During this process, God reminded me that there is much joy to be found while surrendering to Him.  The joy for me was knowing that God waited patiently for me to let Him into this corner of my heart.   The joy continues knowing my heart is now ready to dive into all God has for me.  I know His plan for me is better than anything I can think of or imagine.  This year I want to embrace the joy that is found as I continue to let God in to every crevice of my heart to work out His purpose for my life.

Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Something New

Isaiah 43:18-19

“Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
“Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.

These verses have kindly interrupted my life in the last couple of months.  I was eager for God to teach me what He wanted me to learn through these words.  Being the first day of a new year it seems so appropriate to share what it is He is teaching me.

In 2014 there have been more times than I can count where I have cried out, “I cannot do this.”  There were a lot of times in the past year where I wanted to give up.  I wanted to follow the ways of the world because it was easier.  I failed a lot.  I failed so much I felt like the world’s biggest failure.  How did I get here?  In this wilderness of sin and lies.

No matter what kind of wilderness you are trying to find your way out of right now, God is there.  Making a way.  He is making a way for you to find Him.  (Jeremiah 29:14)  He is making a way for you to know Him (Psalm 46:10)  He is making a way for you to take your, “I cannot do this” and turn it into “He can.”  (Exodus 14:14)  God loves us so much so that when there was no way, He made a way for us to spend eternity with Him through the gift of His Son.  (John 14:6)

Even though I found myself in a place I wasn’t expecting to be in this past year, today I can have hope that God is making a way for me.  There is a journey to be had in this wilderness.  One where I find His hand in mine.  As I journey with God into this new year, all my heart can truly know is that He has been EVERYTHING to me and will continue to be.

It is my sincere prayer for 2015 that we would not let our circumstances keep us from perceiving the marvelous things God is doing in us, with us, through us, and for us.

What is in Your Heart?

Deuteronomy 11:18  Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

Proverbs 3:3  Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 7:2-3  Keep my commandments and live, and my teaching as the apple of your eye.  Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

I believe with my entire being that God’s Word is holy, perfect, true.  I see God’s Word all over our world.  I stumble across certain scriptures on decorative signs to hang on the walls of your home (which I happen to be a huge sucker for).  I see a lot of Bible verses posted on Facebook walls.  I notice Scriptures on clothing and billboards.  If our eyes are open I am sure we will see God’s Word spread all around us each and every day.  Let me ask you something I felt God ask me recently, Is your heart open to receive His Words?

I presume this is an important question to really think over and answer honestly.  And this is why:

If we see with our eyes God’s Words but do not secure His Words to the walls of our hearts we miss out on the transforming power His Words can have in our life.  He wants us to store up in our hearts all of the treasures He prepared for us to receive from His Word.  There is no problem to have God’s Words scattered across the walls of our homes, the desk space at the office, our Facebook/Twitter accounts as long as those very Words are fastened firmly to the walls of our Hearts first.

I am thankful God has asked me such a bold question.  I know He is thankful that I answered it honestly.  Every day God is showing me what it looks like to have His Words in my heart.  I desire for others to see what is transforming me from the inside out: the treasures of His Words stored up in my heart.  I pray that they too will be transformed by what they see and start to open their hearts to receiving all they will ever need, Jesus Christ.

the Calm after the Storm

As I was driving today dark clouds were following me all the way.  Kindly the clouds waited to burst open, letting out sheets of rain, until I walked through the door of my apartment.  There was a short break before the next storm rolled in.  On and off storms have been the theme of these past couple of days.  In the midst of these storms one thing has held true, there has been a beautiful calm just after each one.  The rain goes away.  The dark clouds disappear making room for the sun to shine down brightly.

This beauty was created for you and me.  That makes me feel special, you?

Today, I am taken back to another rainy couple of days just a year ago.   This would be the time I was in India.  When we arrived the rainy season had just hit.  The rain was pouring down almost non-stop.  There was one particular rain storm that stands out the most during our time at the YWAM campus in Lonavala.  There were 14 of us “praying aunties and uncles” there to hold a retreat for sixty precious princesses of the Most High King.  These precious ones came to Lonavala needing to find God and grow deeper with Him, so did we.

On rainy day 3 of our retreat it was time for my “talk”.  I tirelessly prepared a talk on the importance of the Armor of God and a very safe part of my testimony.  This talk took a very unexpected turn for the best the moment that I felt the Holy Spirit’s nudging to share my story.  What followed was simply His words and not my own.  As the rain pounded on the roof of the building we were in, tears fell on each of our hearts.  We all came to the center of the room, so many girls pouring their hearts out to God.  Our tears were washing away the pain, the fear, the abuse, the torment, the sin, the shame, the guilt, and God’s grace was filling up the room with His love.  As we stood there I instantly thought of doing a sort of victory dance in the rain.  It was short lived but it was so freeing.  As the rain fell on the tops of our umbrellas I was reminded that God’s love will fall on all of our wounded hearts and wash the pain away.  The storms may seem relentless, but God’s love will calm even the most destructive of storms.  He will use each tear that falls to melt away the pain in our hearts to make room for Him.

Just as the sun shines after the storm, God will shine in our lives after the storms leave us.

 

 

No Pain, No Gain

When someone is struggling severely in life it makes me want to take the very thing that is causing them to struggle and blow it up, making sure it never returns.

I just hate so much to see someone in such devastation.  I want to help.  I want to fix.  I want to take away the pain, problem, battle.

I have so strongly been feeling this way about a particular situation very near and dear to my heart.  Just when I wanted to be justified in these feelings, God reminded me of the danger of feeling this way.

1. I am not God.  I am human, a sinner, imperfect in every way imaginable!  It is not my job nor will it ever be my job to fix or take away someone else’s problem.  I can try but I will never succeed and in the process I will end up in the way of the only One who can truly fix every problem, God Himself.

2.  Struggles, as awful as they look when we are going through them, are truly a blessing in disguise.  I am fully prepared for you to disagree with me on this, however it is SO TRUE!  I went through one of the worst struggles I never imagined I would survive to tell you about.  I was trapped in an abusive relationship for years.  I didn’t know the way out, but God did and thankfully I found Him to help me get out before it was too late.   Looking back, this awful event in my life is one I am most thankful for because it led me to a beautiful encounter with my Savior.  I would go through everything I went through all over again if and only if it had the same outcome every time: a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

3.  These struggles can be used by Satan to try to destroy us, however they can also be used by God to bring Him glory and save lives!  (Genesis 50:20)  As much as Satan can use something for the purpose of destroying us, God can use the same thing to save many lives!  On the other side of a struggle we find a testimony of God’s power, love, forgiveness, and grace.  This is our story and a tool we can use to bring others to Jesus.

I am reminded tonight that I should not be praying that these current struggles, and the ones to come, go away and never come back…I need to be praying that in the midst of these struggles we find God.

Hard Loving You

They keep telling me all you need is love.

That I should be the one to love you.

As if my love could really do anything for you.

And I wish it could, would.

If I knew my love would fix you I would love you in a heartbeat.

But it’s not that simple, and it is not my love you need.

I am here.  I care.  I cry.  I pray.  I cry.  I cry.

Through tears I beg with God, please show me what it looks like to love.

In an instant my eyes are open, seeing clearer than I ever have before.

There I am in the fullness of my sin, and there He is in the midst of it all.

There I am on the strayed path, and there He is reaching out to bring me in.

It was hard to love me, but He did.

So now I know what it looks like to love.

There you are in the fullness of your sin, and there I am in the midst of it all.

There you are on the strayed path, and there I am reaching out to bring you to Him.

It is still hard to love you, but I will.

Because it is not my love you need but it is my love that will lead you to Him.